What retro activity did you get up to today?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by adz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    USB is heavily loaded on a Pi 2 or 3. I recommend a Pi 4 (with USB3) or one of the SBC boards with SATA unless your performance needs are modest.
     
  2. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

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    So the daily driver IBM W520 is now retro and still in used daily as a work laptop, i7-2720QM (4,8 threads), 32GB mem and SSD...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinkPad_W_series#W520
     
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    For DOS and Win95, yes, needs are "modest". :)
     
  4. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Speak for yourself! I have DE220 cards to saturate.
     
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  5. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

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    Set up OpenMediaVault on Raspberry Pi 3 Model B (they are cheap now! bought mine for $60 shipped). This will be used ONLY for the delivery of a select set of DOS games onto my numerous retro and retro-ish devices, so I don't care much about concurrent use. The fact that Rpi's physical size is so small, it is not very power hungry and it can be set up headless made it the perfect choice for my needs (for now).

    I used a SanDisk Ultra 16GB A1 as a system drive and Kingston 16GB DataTraveller USB Stick as a data drive. I don't like the idea of a hard drive dangling off a wire with power delivery to boot. Read that for RPi 3 power delivery is advisable for your USB drives so I went with a thumb drive. Pretty sure 16GB for system and 16GB for storage will be enough for my needs for now as I'm more interested in setting up a nimble network of retro(ish) DOS-related systems than digital hoarding.

    I'm more concerned about stability and reliability and would probably partition my SD card instead of using a thumb drive to reduce footprint and avoid thumbdrive sticking out. But I decided that's too much fiddling for now. Other points of interest for me which I'd like to research in future: temperature control, sd card and thumbdrive lifespan, backup. I'm partially concerned with speed, because it would be great to run things off the share directly and only use client machines as thin clients when possible.

    As a complete beginner in all matters NAS I used the official (Windows 10 -> RPi) pdf to set up the system and this video to help me open a share on my windows pc to copy some files and backup my backup from a thumb drive to a proper HDD using SMB/CIFS:



    I set up system backup to backup the os onto the thumb drive using the openmediavault-backup plugin. Unfortunately, the UI is not clear enough to show whether this backup will run regularly out of the box or it's manual by default and you need to set up recurring backups later. The first backup only uses 500MB of space using fsarchiver storage method.

    Next step: set up arch32 on my Vaio P and run some games off this NAS.

    IMG_7088.JPG IMG_7089.JPG IMG_7090.JPG IMG_7095.JPG IMG_7097.JPG openmediavault c.png SDSQ16GB_sandisk_ultra_16gb_micro_sdxc_memory_card.jpg Untitled.png
     
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  6. rugger

    rugger Member

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    Over the weekend:

    1) Went to one of the computer stores here in perth and cleaned them out of cheap 50mm and 60mm fans. Also visited altronics and got a Pi-Hat prototype board, as I am going to use it to build a GPIO midi interface for creating a MT32 emulator. I'll leave as much room on it as possible so I can add a DAC at some time.

    2) Fixed up my Pentium MMX 233mhz:
    a) I fitted one of the 60mm fans to an old Pentium 3 Heatsink and attached that to the CPU. Had to disconnect the RPM wire for safety, as I was powering it from a motherboard header that is a strange pre-3 wire header ... not sure what happens if you just attach RPM sensor to ground.

    b) Saw fan was a bit noisy, so I tried to reduce it speed with one of the fan quieting adaptors, but then the CPU fan wouldn't spin. I measured the resistor it was using, saw it was 150ohm. I went through some of my donor boards (PCI 56k modems in this case) and found a big 100ohm resistor. So I cut one of the fan wires and run the 100ohm resistor in series. Success, fan now runs and is quiet ... but resistor gets pretty hot (70-80C or so). So I wouldn't want to run a resistance any lower than that in future.

    c) Had a problem with the computer where every 2nd boot into windows would hang and I would have to reset it. Tried playing with the bus mastering of the Matrox Mystique card, but didn't affect anything. Ended up tracing it to the particular Realtek 8139D network card I was using. Tried using a slightly different driver, but same problem. Tried using an 2nd identical 8139D card, same problem. Found a 3rd Realtek 8139D card, but this time a slightly different model, and success, no more hanging on 2nd reboot from windows. Very strange incompatibility problem, and strange solution for it ... but nevermind.

    d) Tried Final Fantasy 8 on it.... It doesn't like that at all ... needs faster computer, despite the readme saying it should work.

    I still need to setup boot scripts again on this computer to access DOS and have various memory settings.

    3) Played with my proposed fast Windows 3.1 build for a bit. Installed CD-ROM drivers ... however, strangely the small IDE-VCCD.SYS driver just hangs on this old 24speed burner, so I had to use the larger OAK CD driver. Tested it with some CD-Rs I had burnt. Doesn't like any old random CD-R unfortunately, looks like I have to use my good CD-Rs and maybe burn them at 32x or something. I did get Star Trek: Klingon running, in all its blocky full screen FMV glory.
     
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  7. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Busy weekends!

    Apart from the Covox capturing I did for the retro sounds thread, I decided to connect my Pavilion system (currently with Voodoo card installed for the NFS2 challenge) to my TV. This is done via my Extron RGB-DVI 300 which should be plug and play, and has presented no issues for any other machine. But the Pavilion doesn't like it, and is restricted to 640x480. EDID weirdness I guess? Who knows. But I decided not to spend my Sunday night trying to fix it.
     
  8. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    I've been messing around with DOS based emulators on my Cyrix MII 300 - SMS is working well, NES is of course Nesticle all the way, and now I'm looking in to C64 options.

    So far I've tried 2 different versions of CCS64 (1.09 and 2.0) and and older version of VICE for DOS. Of these V1.09 of CSS64 is winning at this stage - simple to use, looks great, handles all the games I've thrown at it (even some demos), and sounds pretty dang terrific too. The SID emulation isn't 100% there but it isn't way off, just a little odd after listening to the real thing for years. The other 2 options didn't work out of the box so will need further investigation.

    I love it when they need further investigation :D
     
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  9. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

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    Emulators under DOS. That’s my jam! :D
     
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  10. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    As well as using emulators that are years out of date. New versions have improved substantially.
     
  11. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    Yeah well that's the point - I have the real hardware if I want 100% accurate. I want to see what a socket 7 DOS machine is capable of and so far I'm very impressed. The main challenge has been sound - with a decent VESA3 capable video card it's possible to get a quality image with vsync at the right speed, but once sound is in the mix then it gets harder. Sound or image or both will stutter if the sound quality is up too high, but 8 bit / 22050 has been do-able and still sounds OK.
     
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  12. rugger

    rugger Member

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    Cyrix isn't a bad choice for things like this. Great integer workload performance, possibly a bit quicker than P2 clock for clock (but without the scalability of clock rates)
     
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  13. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Most emulators of that generation (and any generation honestly, with the exception of some like MAME, although early builds had noted limitations) push performance over accuracy. You'll find most target 60FPS at whatever hardware was "average" for the day by sacrificing whatever wasn't deemed utterly necessary to play the game.

    Often audio was the the lowest hanging fruit. Sacrifice framerate or visuals and it can ruin the whole game. The background tunes sounding a little off, more often than not, had zero affect on gameplay.

    SNES is a classic one. With deeply complex and highly parallel hardware compared to its peers, accurate SNES emulation is still difficult today even on very recent bitchinfast gaming rigs, despite its measley 3.58MHz CPU (barely running at full accuracy, full speed, emulated on a 3.58GHz CPU). SNES audio emulation was highly inaccurate for the longest time, with an entire generation of gamers thinking SNES9x on a Pentium II 350MHz accurately represented SNES audio, when it did anything but.

    I don't like to get too high and mighty about emulation accuracy though. I think accessibility is a more important point when it comes to the true definition of preservation. But I wonder about the long term effects of how this stuff is appreciated if people never experienced an accurate version.

    I guess the same can be said about anything. Do we appreciate listening to a recording of a concert compared to a real concert? Or a photo of classic artwork compared to the real thing? Difficult to say. But our lives would no doubt be missing something if we didn't have the opportunity to experience these things even in the way we do.

    Anyways, all rambles aside, the point is the emulators of the day would be brute forced into working by sacrificing whatever wasn't utterly critical to basic gameplay. So while it feels like they were pretty close to modern offerings, the truth is that were quite different in quality, although few would notice it on some cherry picked titles (often the popular ones which were deemed important to showcase the emulator).
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
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  14. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    I received this PM on Vogons overnight from DeathAdderSF, as other Aussies may have. I thought I'd share here in the retro spirit.

    tl;dr - This gent owns the rights to DOS fighting game Super Fighter. He's looking for an original copy of the Australian release "Fatal Encounter" for his archives.

    More background here including free downloads of the games: https://www.diskman.com/presents/supersango/
     
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  15. Grant

    Grant Member

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    Wow, amazing story!
     
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  16. power

    power Member

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    let's not forget audio differences in real hardware too!

     
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  17. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Good emulators and simulators have this covered. MiSTer has 4 different profiles for different Megadrive/Genesis audio (including one that mimics "Crystal Clear Audio" mods), and can emulate both of the YMF chips used across different models.

    In addition, MDFourier exists, which is a tool that takes full spectrum sweep measurements of all output channels and compares them to give objective analysis of audio between two different devices, whether they're real hardware, emulators, FPGA or other.

    I know you don't like hearing people bang on about MiSTer, but currently it is the highest accuracy - objectively measured - simulation of all models of the Sega Megadrive and Genesis, and allows the player/listener to choose the profile they prefer to consider as "authentic original". This doesn't mean it's perfect either, only that it's the best we have right now. But the point is it's open source and can be improved further, which people are working on. Likewise it can be ported to other FPGA chips, which is critical for long term preservation.

    MDFourier is being ported to several other devices also to enable the same audio accuracy checking across lots of hardware. For example, here's an analysis of the Nintendo NES, which like the Megadrive differs dramatically between all models (EU/US/JP, as well as front loader vs top loader vs Famicom).

    https://twitter.com/bernardbygott/status/1226267430193856513?lang=en

    There you can see three images:

    1) Two top loader US NES devices compared by different people on different sides of the US, proving the validity of the testing method

    2) US NES vs Higan software emulator - a modern and very CPU hungry emulator that demonstrates excellent objective accuracy to the US front loader NES

    3) US NES vs the Analogue Nt Mini, a commercial FPGA solution that is incredibly inaccurate when it comes to audio, with an author, development and marketing team who both reject open source and community efforts to improve emulation and simulation quality.

    There is discussion currently about porting MDFourier to microcomputers. What's missing is development talent on the software side - people who can write good quality, low latency code for devices like Amigas, C64s, x86+SB16 cards, etc that can drive audio devices accurately (needs to be more than a simple midi playback). I'm hoping that this can happen soon, as we're reaching a fairly critical point where real hardware continues to die, and clone hardware and emulators exist in number, but their accuracy is dubious at best (being judged by a few MP3s on the Internet, rather than truly objective meansurements).
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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  18. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    Yeah I was thinking about this too. My "real" SMS is actually a 60Hz modded SMD with an adaptor for SMS games. I use a PSIO with my PS1, which emulates more than the CD-ROM from what I understand - including sound. And I use a 1541UII with my C64 - more emulation. I run all of these guys through a Retrotink2X + scanline generator + HDMI->VGA converter.

    So yes it's a bit of a grey area - thankfully I'm a bit of a philistine so 'good enough' is often good enough for me, as long as I'm having fun :thumbup:
     
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  19. power

    power Member

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    I was more referring to how most people aren't even aware of it, yes it's nice that emulation has it covered but if you asked many people they'd be unaware of this as a thing. I mean how many people threw out their sound cards when on board audio became a thing?
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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  20. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    And that's definitely OK. But it's also nice to know folks are working behind the scenes to ensure "good enough" is also more accurate on each iteration.

    At some point all the real hardware will either be dead or sitting on shelves behind YouTubers for e-cred, and at that point the rest of us will only have emulation and simulation left. I would very much like the emulators and simulators to be as accurate as possible by that stage, for all our sakes.

    Quality pedantry will always be a thing. I *loathe* listening to music through these cheap rubbish battery powered speakers or tinny headphones, but that's how 99% of the population does it these days. Likewise audio quality of modern TVs is woeful as they continue to slim down, with few people investing in better sound.

    My brother-in-law came over for a retrogaming weekend a couple of weeks back. We played GoldenEye 007 on a real N64 and real XBox360, and he mentioned that it sounded so much better than what he remembered from his childhood. The only difference was that he spent his time playing on a mono speaker out of a small CRT, and I have all my consoles hooked up through 1980s Yamaha and Marantz amps hooked up to decent speakers.

    Same goes for people who spent their childhood playing consoles over RF or component, and now only discovering what RGB and digital mods are capable of producing. Or even the explosion of excellent quality OLED and MicroLED displays in the last few years that showed people just now nice accurate colour displays can be.

    Folks turfing their good quality sound cards for onboard audio on PCs falls under much the same category. Close enough is definitely good enough for the bulk of folks (I certainly can't afford the best fidelity across my entire collection), but again it's always good to remind people that better exists and matters, as it affects all of us, even those who use the cheap and nasty products to experience any of it.
     
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