MiSTer FPGA (computer/console/arcade hardware simulation)

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by elvis, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    I just bit the bullet and ordered the DE10. I'll have to sort out all the stuff for building the add on boards tonight I guess.

    Exciting! Worth it for just the arcade cores that exist today.
     
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  2. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    I genuinely have no preference over "arcade vs console vs computer" or any other arbitrary line in the sand when measuring silicon chips and the art of video games. Preservation of old hardware, regardless on how it was presented to the market or how popular it was, is incredibly valuable.
     
  3. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    I have quite a good selection of arcade PCBs and I play them. I like that this thing is filling in gaps in my collection for pre CPS1 things that while I like the idea of owning, are impractical to own for space and reliability reasons.

    For instance, two games I've always had a soft spot for are Commando and Ghosts n Goblins. Both I played at a really young age. I've always wanted a Ghosts n Goblins PCB but any time I see one it's grubby and over $200. If this thing had only those two games, for me it would have paid for itself.

    Interested to hear people's wish lists for cores. For me it's probably:
    Double Dragon
    Wonderboy
    Wonderboy in Monsterland
    Black Tiger
    Bubble Bobble
    Rainbow Islands
    Shinobi
    Golden Axe

    Also, thinking, just as I write this... I imagine that Cave 68000 will be possible. DoDonPachi, Esp Ra De and Guwange...
     
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  4. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    For me it's going to be Amiga, msx2, pce, neogeo and possibly c64 (if I can't sort my 128) and ofcourse...

    W o n d E r b O y!!!!

    (Is that playable already??)

    I actually learned a thing from my 128d, that there is no way in hell I have room for more crap... :/
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  5. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Other than "everything", for me the more at risk something is of being extinct, the higher it is on my list.

    Selfishly however, all Cave stuff, all CPS* stuff, all Taito stuff, all Konami stuff.
     
  6. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    Yeah with CPS* I really hope someone can figure out the CPS-A-01 chip and that is feeds back into a project to replicate it for repairing real boards.
     
  7. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    In no particular order;
    Donkey Kong
    Rolling Thunder
    Moon Patrol
    Galaga
    Xevious
    Galaxian
    Time Pilot
    Green Beret
    Splatter House
    Outrun
    Scrambler
    Defender
    Twin Cobra
    Snow Bros. Nick and Tom
    Donkey Kong jr.
    Qix
    Q-Bert
    Gyruss
    Dig Dug
    Altered Beast
    Tetris
    Burnin' Rubber
    Crazy Kong
    Frogger
    Ghosts n Goblins
    Ghouls n Ghosts
    Moon Cresta

    Must be some more I cant remember...

    And quick question. This whole FPGA thing would be a great way to preserve pinball machines right. Obviously the physical hardware side doesnt lend itself to quick swap. But what a great way to preserve the silicon side of the machines
     
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  8. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Juno First is the most overlooked shmup of all time. Change my mind.
     
  9. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Some of those are available, but someone definitely needs to create a Tempest core.
     
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  10. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    I'd seen there's a handfull. Thats more the games from my youth that I have a softspot for :)

    should have my de10 nano on Tuesday night by the looks of it :)
     
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  11. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    Id never played this. Fun game.
    Got a high score of 36950 on warp 4. Those "mines" that follow you are nasty :)
     
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  12. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Mut, please review it when you get your hands on it for us mate, very interested.. Ill probably order one next month, out-goings a bit steep this month already... (I know, its the 2nd...)
     
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  13. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    Absolutely :)
    Someome else here is also in on the purchase with me. So there might be two reviews, one competant and technical

    mine will be quite the opposite :D
     
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  14. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
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  15. Grant

    Grant Member

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    I'm thoroughly impressed with the project with just the base DE10 Nano and the Mega Drive core - it's really realising the dream of what the mini consoles of the last couple of years should have been. If there are any custom chips that companies have the design for but are holding secret, I hope this project is enough to get them to open up. I mean MAME is a much older project with the same goals, but there's just something extra cool about hardware reimplementation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
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  16. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    But they couldn't have. Not for their $99 price point.

    Commercial realities dictate mainstream devices. I attempted selling MAME powered arcade machines some years back, and the reason the venture failed was because we couldn't get people to understand the cost of making a psychical arcade machine, and that it wasn't a viable comparison with the then newly released XBox360 that was much cheaper.

    MiSTer with add-ons will set you back over AUD$400, and that's even with the DE10-Nano being partially subsidised. That's not "gimmick toy" money like a mini console is. Mini console manufacturers are stuck in a very limiting price point.

    It's certainly amazing that FPGA tech powerful enough to simulate games consoles can be had today for hundreds, and not for the thousands price point it was just a few years back. And I do certainly hope it'll be viable as a commercial solution for original games companies and IP owners to capitalise on one day. But the overhead both in hardware cost and development time means it'll be a hobbyist/enthusiast tool for a while yet.

    Don't forget that MAME is a documentation tool first, and a game playing tool second. MAME's very accurate description of hardware is often a starting point for FPGA cores, and without it we'd be waiting 10 time as long for MiSTer cores to mature.

    I see the projects as complimentary for a long time to come yet.
     
  17. Grant

    Grant Member

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    *starts googling "silicon lithography using common household items"* :lol:

    The problem I see is that once you need an ARM CPU to run the I/O stuff, you have enough power for "close enough" software emulation anyway. You could totally do a single-chip ASIC implementation of popular cores, but I'm not sure how much cheaper it would be in the modern manufacturing world to leave out the ARM coprocessor.

    Even the Analogue consoles use FPGAs don't they?

    I'd also really like to know more about eg. the licensed "Mega Drive 3" consoles from when the console was obsolete in Japan but still popular in developing markets. From the reported poor compatibility of these single-chip systems I can't see that they used existing chipset designs, more likely they started out as pirate clones and were later legitimised.
     
  18. OP
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    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    That's what most of the "FamiClone" consoles use. Hit up AliExpress to find millions of those. I've got a few, and they're generally lag free, but slightly inaccurate for colour and audio output. Certainly good enough to play games on cheaply, however. I know a few people who take them travelling with them rather than original hardware.

    They do, but they're equally as expensive.

    Flash carts like the SD2SNES also use an FPGA to simulate SNES add-on chips like the CX-1, DSP, SuperFX, SA-1, etc.

    FPGA and emulation together are the saviour of old games. Emulation will always appear first, as it's cheaper and easier to develop for. But between the two of them, I'm happy that we won't lose old games to time and lawyer/corporate stupidity
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
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  19. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    I'm slow. Happy to admit it. Slow as in must have taken several too many knocks to the head in years gone by. I know some were self inflicted due to volume of alcohol consumed, and other inflicted by the fists of rage from others (usually due to the volume of alcohol consumed by myself).
    However, I'm happy to report. I have a working MiSTer FPGA in the House :D And what a massive strain to my poor old brain cells this has been to get up and bootstraped into a MiSTer Arcade core :s :lol:
    So, a quick unboxing, some random pix, and a money shot :o

    The box
    FrontRetailPack.jpg

    Some Flyers in the box
    Flyer.jpg Flyer2.jpg

    Quick Start Guide
    QuikStart1.jpg QuikStart2.jpg

    Some USB cables included
    And the PSU with horrible USA pins
    USB Cables.jpg PSU USA.jpg

    Some spacers/standoffs
    Spacers.jpg

    I booted the included SD card just to see what's what. Whats what is you get a nice linux install that's really snappy on the desktop.
    DefaultSDlinux.jpg
    But that's not why I'm here

    Why are we here ...
    DonkeyKong.jpg

    Oh Mama !

    Oh and the knocks to the head comment, I'm make another post with some things/tips I found along the way
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  20. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    Double posting (I blame the knocks to the head :D)

    So all the instructions say must use Win10 x64. Yer, my main rig is still on Win7 so I thought I'd try it anyway
    I used Win7 and first formatted the SD card with "SDFormatter V4.0" (I believe it is the official software from the SD consortium group ??).
    And then used the most recent MiSTer SD Card Utility to make the card, and checked the menu.rbf is the latest version too. It was, seems the instruction Setup Guide is falling behind the development.
    It all is working OK, but you must let Win7 "fix" the card whenever you put it into the PC, or it will get the "0X80071AC3 volume is dirty" error.
    Just pull the card and put back in and accept Win7's fix. It doesn't find any errors, but it now lets you move/copy/write files to the card [​IMG]

    Another tip; To make the whole a.*.rom thing work you need to have the "Release" folder of the core in the root of C: drive. I don't know if this is common for all the Arcade cores, I'm about to find out I guess (this created much pain for my old head [​IMG])

    Currently letting Donkey Kong loop in attract mode and the core is sitting at 54C. I have an old ALU sink that fits nicely but no way of attaching reliably. For now it's just sitting on top and that lets it run at 48C it seems. I dont think donkey kong is super stressful so I'll stick to short bursts of other cores if I get any more working tonight.
     
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