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What retro computer activity did you get up to today?

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

  1. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    Very much for the lose.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambus#Patent_lawsuits

    Terrible company, terrible product. And to this day making it a pain in the arse to get homebrew RAM upgrades for the Nintendo 64, so I'm still cranky.
     
  2. kjparker

    kjparker Member

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    I've been working on getting my Pi400 setup with some emulators. one of them being my favourite console from my childhood - Vectrex. Finally with the assistance of elvis I got it running to the point I could share it with my Son. He was instantly hooked.

    Still need to buy / build / find a controller that is closer to the original Vectrex one (anaolg stick, with 4 buttons beside it in a row) but with the modified OG xbox controllers I had here, we were able to have some fun!

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  3. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    Very Cool kjparker
    Does the emulator do the horrible buzzing sound of the crt ?
    :lol::lol:
     
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  4. kjparker

    kjparker Member

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    Mine never had that buzzing at least as a kid I dont recall it, however if it did, I probably just turned the volume up! With mame though untill I got my settings right, the audio did have a crappy buzzing through it!

    Incidently the most annoying part of getting this all setup, was figuring out command lines, and where you needed to put things etc. Vectrex on Mame on Rpi, as far as I could find, isnt commonly done (Just use RetroPie is 90% of the google hits) so finding the information was painfull. Also getting the overlays to work properly was a ball ache as well. It's easy when you get the hang of it, but not intuitive to get there...
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2022
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  5. OP
    OP
    adz

    adz Member

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    elvis cranky? Surely not :lol:

    From a P4 perspective, it works quite well and certainly feels snappier than a similarly equipped P4 running SDR or DDR SDRAM from that era

    In saying that, I would have never dreamed of paying the extortionate prices asked at the time, only later when I scored the current gear I have now for a few $$$ did it enter my realm of interest.
     
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  6. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    I'll comment here that the popularity of lessor products is your enemy here. I know we're all very used to "just Google it mate" as the answer to all of life's problems, but MAME is one of those things where it's a very specific technical tool, and most of its userbase are morons and not to be trusted.

    I recommend going to the source on this one. MAME does have very excellent technical documentation. "User friendly"? Probably not. But remember that this is an ecosystem that emulates somewhere in the order of 44,000 different machines with a HUGE amount of variability across functions, types, vendors and all of computing history, so making a simple one-click menu that single-system and single-game emulators offer is well and truly off the cards here.

    Here's the documentation for how to find files, how to add devices like virtual cartridges, disks, devices, etc:
    https://docs.mamedev.org/usingmame/assetsearch.html

    And here's an example of some specific system documentation. Read through a few, and you get a hang of how defining devices and software addons for various systems within MAME works:
    https://wiki.mamedev.org/index.php/System-Specific_Setup_and_Information

    The documentation has been painstakingly written, and gives people what they need to make this complex tool work. Sadly, as mentioned above, "tragedy of the commons" is the enemy here. MAMEDev are an excellent crew who go out of their way to document things well. Groups like RetroPie are trying to distil the near infinite variability of MAME into a one-stop-shop for people who want to turn 1980s UNIX workstations into a Nintendo NES, and ultimately doing more harm than good to what is truly an excellent product that gets frequently abused by the masses.

    But, that's all by the by. You got it working, and the screenshots look amazing. Considering that it was a vector based system with plastic overlays on a CRT, the emulated version looks quite convincing, and that's a real win. Very happy the kidlets enjoy it. That's a quality education in computing history right there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2022
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  7. kjparker

    kjparker Member

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    Thanks Elvis and yep that is where I eventually found most of the stuff to get it going, along with some random posts I found on various forums, each giving a little piece of the puzzle, a reference to a commandline switch to look up the syntax for etc.

    Sadly though, Vectrex does not seem to be widely used / documented in Mame...
    upload_2022-6-7_10-49-28.png

    Very happy wth how it turned out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2022
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  8. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    That "snappiness" was more due to the fact that the original P4 design was quite poor, and likewise pairing RAMBUS's equally poor designed with it somehow cancelled each other out, and made that combo less sucky.

    Evidence of how poor P4 architecture was is that it was abandoned all together, and the "Core" architecture we saw in the next generation was a revival and improvement of the PIII design. Even Intel realised the error of their ways, and P4 was put in the rubbish bin of history where it belonged.

    Nintendo banked (pun intended) on RAMBUS RDRAM to try and satisfy the bandwidth hungry nature of their N64 design. Sadly the sheer cost meant other cutbacks needed to be made, and along with not embracing optical media, the rest is history for one of Nintendo's poorest selling consoles (and one that very nearly sent them broke when it went up against the SDRAM based Sony PlayStation).

    Definitely a case of poor searchability there, however it is almost identical to any other cartridge based system.

    If I didn't have so many projects already on my plate, I think I'd volunteer to get an account on their wiki and start writing up doco. They've got a lot of good stuff, but helping people find the bits they need could do a lot of good.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2022
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  9. kjparker

    kjparker Member

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    The builds you already do for those who want to run native and recent mame on Arm are already enough! Without them, I probably would have resorted to retropie!
     
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  10. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    I think this was a source of frustration for a lot of people. MAMEdev were of the opinion that the RPi was "joke hardware" and ignored it. The RPi3 was quite competent, and the RPi4 especially is quite good at emulated vanilla MAME under a wide array of internal drivers and configurations, which was why I bothered to compile it and benchmark it in the process - to show individuals that the "older MAME is better" was false, and to show MAMEdev that they should really stop ignoring the RPi.

    I hope that's worked for both cases. But yeah, now the challenge is on to make command-line MAME less scary for people who see the benefit, want to migrate over from RetroPie, but are quite terrified of MAME's complexity (which is understandable if you're coming from a RetroPie/RetroArch world).
     
  11. kjparker

    kjparker Member

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    Time will tell. But I certainly hope so.

    I'm wondering if it might be possible to get my vectrex carts etc working via one of the "software lists" Theoretically from ym reading so far, that's what they are for, but I wonder if I am going to be getting myself into a world of pain trying
     
  12. elvis

    elvis OCAU's most famous and arrogant know-it-all

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    From a frontend point of view, generally easier to make it just enumerate on filenames.

    Create yourself a custom script file called "vectrex.sh", with a one liner:

    Code:
    mame vectrex -cart "/path/to/carts/${1}"
    
    Then tell your frontend that your custom emulator is "vectrex.sh", that it should pass the cart files to it, and off you go. Name the screenshots of games the same as the cart name, and the frontend will match them up.

    A bit painful for huge sets, not much of a drama for the limited Vectrex complete library.
     
  13. kjparker

    kjparker Member

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    Thanks, I'll have a poke.

    Incidently, It's only about 5 titles I am interested in, that I had as a kid...
     
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  14. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    First generation P4 systems with SDR and DDR SDRAM couldn't compete on bandwidth as the 850 chipset was running two banks of RIMMs (the 820 ran one by comparison). The 845 chipset had only one channel as did the clones (VIA P4X266, etc.).

    The second generation 865 and 875 chipsets put a bullet in the head of the RAMBUS experiment. The P4 was still a bad architecture, though, with horrible issues due to the exceedingly long execution pipeline.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
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  15. OP
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    adz

    adz Member

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    I don't think anyone here is going to argue with how terrible the P4 architecture was, my comment was more of a apples to apples comparison, back then I was rocking a Tualatin Celery, from there it was straight to the Athlon XP, I never actually owned a P4 as my daily driver.
     
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  16. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    My mate had a vectrex.. amazing bit o kit that.. the games were really responsive compared to the then early galaga hamdhelds of the era.. I just remember the rapid fire being awesome..
     
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  17. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    I attempted to set mine up in a Socket 7 machine tonight. It'll only see 8GB, but that'll be fine for Win95. I bought one of these $13 IDE adapters from seller cirex-store - seems to work fine, and that is legit local shipping.

    upload_2022-6-8_21-54-3.png

    Seeing this on boot piqued my interest (but it just went into a boot loop from here):

    upload_2022-6-8_21-55-0.png

    I didn't progress from here, because the Cono Box is throwing tantrums tonight. Since the drive has escaped formatting for now, I'll have to plug it into a Linux box and see if there's anything interesting on it.
     
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  18. BuuBox

    BuuBox Member

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    I did notice they hadn't been cleared but I just formatted them for testing. It'd be good to see what they were used for!
     
  19. partybear

    partybear Member

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    Do you think that combo would work in older stuff?
     
  20. -=QuaddamagE=-

    -=QuaddamagE=- New Member

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