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ozzuneoj
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:22 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Yeah, on a "real" PC, there's a big difference. I basically can't tell the difference from an input standpoint between real hardware on a CRT and my PC on my monitor. It's an IPS panel and so there's ghosting, but there's not any input lag. But the RPi on the same display I can definitely feel a difference.

Maybe a NUC is the solution to my problem. When my TV detects it's connected to a PC, all the post-processing disappears and it turns out it's super fast. at worst, one frame of difference. The way I measure is hardly scientific, though - my iPhone recording 720p60 with both the controller and the TV in the frame. Too bad I ebayed the parts of my Skylake build when I caught retro fever, because that's the machine I should be using for retro gaming, oddly enough.

BTW if you need a retro-style PC controller, the Hori Fighting Commander has the Sega Genesis/Saturn-style six face buttons and then four shoulder buttons. The outermost face buttons are mapped to R1 and R2, and a hardware switch on the top of the unit lets you decide how the shoulder buttons are mapped. Your options are:

L1, L2, R1, R2
L3, R3, L1, L2

The second option, if you don't mind fiddling with emulator mappings, lets you have 11 total input buttons (counting select/start and the PS button). It's also got a switch to let you switch between PS3, PS4, and PC modes (PC mode works with an Xbox 360, too, because it's an Xbox 360-style XInput device). For systems without analog sticks, it's a great solution. I love mine.


That does look like a really nice controller for 2D games. I like it!
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NTMBK
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Re: Retro console gaming

Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:44 am

NTMBK wrote:
TRB wrote:
This day and age playing old games is hard due to all the old school hardware and wires but this guy above has got it right, Emulators are the way forward


Screw emulators, bring on the FPGAs! The RetroUSB AVS and Analogue NT Mini both clone the entire NES/Famicom hardware with an FPGA, so they can get absolutely perfect hardware-accurate results, but with built in HDMI output.

I look forward to the day when an FPGA powerful enough to run SNES and Mega Drive level systems is affordable to consumers. A single FPGA system capable of emulating any 8/16 bit system with 100% accuracy would be my dream.


Well shucks, looks like they went and did it. https://www.analogue.co/pages/super-nt/ And it's substantially cheaper than the Analogue Nt.
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:55 am

NTMBK wrote:
Well shucks, looks like they went and did it. https://www.analogue.co/pages/super-nt/ And it's substantially cheaper than the Analogue Nt.

Awesome. Price on the old NT is kinda ridiculous. I wonder how hard it would be to combine the NES & SNES into a single box. Even a hardware switch between the 2 would be fine, as long as their was a single power in and video out.
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:54 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
NTMBK wrote:
Well shucks, looks like they went and did it. https://www.analogue.co/pages/super-nt/ And it's substantially cheaper than the Analogue Nt.

Awesome. Price on the old NT is kinda ridiculous. I wonder how hard it would be to combine the NES & SNES into a single box. Even a hardware switch between the 2 would be fine, as long as their was a single power in and video out.

There are clones that play SNES/NES/Genesis (like the Retron 3 and Super Retro Trio) but they use low-quality components and aren't particularly accurate.

OTOH, the Super NT has an SD slot. If it goes the way of the Analog NT Mini, it'll get "unofficial" firmwares from the official FPGA programmer (who goes by kevtris) and I would expect to see NES, SNES, Genesis and PC Engine ROM support, at a minimum. This is awesome.

Too bad it's not coming until February.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:58 am

Stopped by Walmart last night and they just happened to have an SNES Classic still in the case. They don't anymore, of course, because I brought it home with me. But now I'm at a crossroads:

Do I want to hack it full of ROMs or flip it on eBay for ~50% markup?
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bthylafh
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:06 am

Don't be that guy. Put a bunch of ROMs on it and enjoy.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:31 am

bthylafh wrote:
Don't be that guy. Put a bunch of ROMs on it and enjoy.

That's how I've been leaning. It's got around 300MB of free space, from what I've read, which is plenty for 100+ extra SNES/NES/Genesis games.

edit: this is going to accelerate my need for an HDMI-equipped monitor for retro gaming.
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Vhalidictes
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:50 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
This is going to accelerate my need for an HDMI-equipped monitor for retro gaming.


derFunkenstein, wouldn't a nice small television be a better idea for this use case than a PC monitor?
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:54 am

Vhalidictes wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
This is going to accelerate my need for an HDMI-equipped monitor for retro gaming.


derFunkenstein, wouldn't a nice small television be a better idea for this use case than a PC monitor?

I was thinking of a 1080p 27" monitor due to what should be lower input latency. I've got the SNES Classic connected to my PC monitor right now and the input latency is basically undetectable. I attached it to my main TV and the latency is much more pronounced.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:02 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
I was thinking of a 1080p 27" monitor due to what should be lower input latency. I've got the SNES Classic connected to my PC monitor right now and the input latency is basically undetectable. I attached it to my main TV and the latency is much more pronounced.


Uh oh. You know, it suddenly occurs to me that maybe the issues my son is having learning to play Sonic the Hedgehog might have a lot to do with the $50 special '1080p inputs but it really is upscaling 720p' 20" television we hooked up to the game machine. Yeah... lag testing... need to...
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:47 pm

Just ordered one of these Viewsonic monitors and a composite/S-Video to VGA converters. I think together they have everything I think I need to marry old-school and new-school gaming:

HDMI - which I have a 4-port switch
VGA - to convert the old-school signals
1/8" audio in
1/8" audio out (to my retired Visio 24" soundbar)

It should have low latency, plus it has all the audio routing I need to get my soundbar working. The manual seems to imply that I can mush the VGA into a 4:3 area and keep the HDMI like normal.

Yes there will be a little ghosting, but that doesn't bug me. I can even dig out my VGA box for the Dreamcast again, since the picture should be adjustable enough to mitigate any overscan issues. A handful of my games aren't compatible with it, so depending on what S-Video looks like I might skip it.

SNES classic and RPi can share the HDMI for now, and other consoles can stay on my S-Video switch.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:02 pm

OK so some thoughts on the SNES Classic Mini:

* Emulation quality is far better than SNES9x-2010 on the RetroPie. Probably as good as SNES9x-next core, but running at full speed all the time.
* The controllers are excellent, but the cords are still too short. Fortunately thanks to the NES Classic being even worse in this regard, extensions are cheap and plentiful.
* The UI and emulation features are easy to use. Only slight downfall is that getting back to the menu requires a reset. Easy to fix with a hack mod.
* Hacking the thing is braindead-easy. The driver is signed so installing it was simple, using the Hakchi2 software was simple, and adding games is a snap.
* For the handful of games that could really use it (mostly Enix games and Earthworm Jim 2, that I've found so far), RetroArch integrates seamlessly.
* There are really only around 60 games in the SNES library that I really want to play. Maybe that's being a Sega kid, but I had plenty of room for the SNES games I wanted.

tl;dr: Nintendo obviously cares about the experience, and it's easy to augment it with ROMs. Compare that with the Genesis Flashback, and Sega should be embarrassed that their log is on that thing. The first round of reviews from late July was universally disappointing, but AtGames said they sent "faulty" units. The second round of reviews (complete with a second NDA that lifted 10/13) were mostly equally harsh. The emulation is choppy, the sound is not accurate, and it's depressing, honestly. Emulating the console and its add-ons is basically a solved problem on the PC, and even little ARM-based PCs like the RPi3 do a great job. It's sad to see those emulators do so poorly on AtGames' device.

https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/13/1605 ... -hd-review
https://kotaku.com/sega-genesis-flashba ... 1819380165

And this third one I'm kind of hesitant to link. The guy that runs Armchair Arcade is honest in the review that he does consulting for AtGames, but even then I feel like he's being extremely lenient. The value of this one is some videos of the emulation quality. It's irritating to me to hear the music in Sonic 1 is out of tune, tinny, and not instrumented correctly, and he makes no mention. At least he provided the videos.
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The Egg
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:33 pm

Can either the SNES Classic or the Super Nt do different systems, such as NES, Genesis, SMS? I'm kinda hoping to cover the entire 8-bit and 16-bit eras with one device, but I want the accuracy and UI to be top-notch.


Edit: Upon further inspection, I may have misunderstood the functionality of the Super Nt. Is it able to run ROMs, or just cartridges?
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:38 pm

You're going to have to deal with accuracy compromises to some extent regardless - the only compromise-free SNES emulator (Higan/bsnes) really wants an i5-2500K at minimum to get good frame rates. That said, the SNES Classic can be jailbroken and RetroArch installed on it with several emulators.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:30 pm

The Egg wrote:
Can either the SNES Classic or the Super Nt do different systems, such as NES, Genesis, SMS? I'm kinda hoping to cover the entire 8-bit and 16-bit eras with one device, but I want the accuracy and UI to be top-notch.


Edit: Upon further inspection, I may have misunderstood the functionality of the Super Nt. Is it able to run ROMs, or just cartridges?

The Super Nt is for cartridges, but the Nt Mini (an NES clone based on a less-complex FPGA) got a "jailbroken" firmware shortly after release that added support for tons of other consoles. kevtris has stayed quiet so far, but I'm speculating that he'll make use of that Cyclone V to program other cores for other systems and add SD card ROM loading after the Super Nt ships. 8-bit cores and jailbroken firmware for the Analogue Nt Mini were available like 3 weeks after launch. Hoping for a Genesis core to arrive in similarly short order.

The SNES is a special case because so many carts used chips for enhancements. There are four different NEC chips in the "DSP" family (Mario Kart uses DSP-1 for example), two different SuperFX chips, and several others that made their way into very popular games. Whether those can be simulated by the FPGA while it's already running an SNES core is something I can only guess.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:49 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
* The UI and emulation features are easy to use. Only slight downfall is that getting back to the menu requires a reset. Easy to fix with a hack mod.

No need for a hack. Not only does the Wii Classic Controller Pro work with they SNES Classic, we discovered last night that the Home button is recognized by the OS and brings up the menu. The downside is that the cord is even shorter than the provided retro gamepads.
 
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Re: Retro console gaming

Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:51 pm

Interesting. I bought extension cords for mine so the length isn't a big deal. I wonder why they didn't add a menu button in the first place, then? Doesn't matter, I have already done what I've done and there are around 200 games on the system now (Genesis, TurboGrafx 16, and NES included)

The menu wasn't really made for a collection that big, but you'll get the hang of it soon enough. :lol:

edit: after TONS of futzing, I'll give anybody interested in hacking the SNES Classic a couple hints:

* Don't use the web installer unless you're running your PC with LUA off. The working directory is in your Documents path, and running as admin changes that.
* Do use the portable version, and run as admin. Otherwise the app never detects that the console is booted and ready to go, even with the drivers installed.

The latest version of hakchi2 (2.21e as of this post) does a great job filling in a lot of the blanks, like getting the game name right, and detecting whether you're adding a game that doesn't run with the built-in emulator (canoe). I'm using canoe wherever possible, and only like 3 of the SNES games I've added were detected as incompatible - Earthworm Jim 2, Illusion of Gaia, and Super Street Fighter II.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:49 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Just ordered one of these Viewsonic monitors and a composite/S-Video to VGA converters. I think together they have everything I think I need to marry old-school and new-school gaming:

HDMI - which I have a 4-port switch
VGA - to convert the old-school signals
1/8" audio in
1/8" audio out (to my retired Visio 24" soundbar)

It should have low latency, plus it has all the audio routing I need to get my soundbar working. The manual seems to imply that I can mush the VGA into a 4:3 area and keep the HDMI like normal.

Yes there will be a little ghosting, but that doesn't bug me. I can even dig out my VGA box for the Dreamcast again, since the picture should be adjustable enough to mitigate any overscan issues. A handful of my games aren't compatible with it, so depending on what S-Video looks like I might skip it.

SNES classic and RPi can share the HDMI for now, and other consoles can stay on my S-Video switch.

Reporting back to say this was a *great* decision. My Dreamcast and Saturn look decent on S-Video, and the Dreamcast VGA cable (which most games can use, but not all) looks great, if 640x480 anything can be "great". On the HDMI side, the SNES Classic (which now has around 150 SNES ROMs) and Lakka-equipped RPi (which has lots of other consoles) look as good as can possibly be and the lag is basically completely gone. It's low enough that I cannot feel it in fast-paced platformers like Sonic 3 & Knuckles and fighting games like SF2 Turbo.

Soundbar looks a little stupid since it's apparently much wider than I remember - wider than the 30" cabinet. It was probably 34 or 36 inches instead of 24. :lol:
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:12 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
if 640x480 anything can be "great".


Every time I see a screenshot from an old game I think "Why'd they scale it down? Oh, wait...". Glad you got a setup which works well. :P
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Re: Retro console gaming

Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:21 pm

Not strictly retro, but I have to mention how good Sonic Mania is: it's so good. I love the way the throwback zones work: the first act feels like the old game, and the second gets really inventive with the theme. I would have liked to see an Ice Cap throwback or maybe Casino Night, but the mix of old and new is pretty solid anyway. The animation is really super smooth, too. Lots of frames in every action Sonic does, and the mixed 2D/3D bonus stages are all pretty great. For $20 it's decent value, but if you wait for it to hit a sale definitely snatch it up. It's been down to $18, and since it's several months old I figure in the new year it'll dip down lower.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:36 am

Two pieces of retro news:

NES Classic Mini is available again. I ordered from Best Buy at around 6:50 AM CDT and had no problems. As of right now (around 8:30 AM CDT) they're still in stock.

If you thought Nintendo's little systems were a cash grab, though, wait til you get a load of Playmaji's Polymega. For a year now they've been making bizarre claims about what the system will do. No kickstarter or crowd-funding. They found an anonymous investor to fund the project but the Internet seemed to have a problem figuring out just why someone would do that. They made a ton of ridiculous claims:

- no third-party or licensed emulators. They were going to emulate every system this thing supports from scratch
- something called "hybrid emulation". Nearest I can tell is that it's real-time (or semi-real-time) cartridge access via an FPGA
- cartridge/controller access provided by swappable modules that have the slot/ports but little else
- CD-based system emulation for Sega CD, PSOne, and PC Engine/TurboGrafx Super CD
- and they're going to milk you for the privilege. $250 for the base unit + one expansion module, and $60 a pop for the others.

The device has an SD slot but they'd said all along that ROMs on SD are going to be a no-go, but you can dump your own carts to the SD. Guessing they're encrypted and tied to the system or something.

And then at E3 they showed off the device (that TechCrunch link has details) and unveiled what I think were their plans all along: online retro-shop, like the Wii virtual console. So if you had been trying to figure out a way to spend $1000 on a bunch of retro games, I think you just found the way to do it. With ROMs all over the internet and emulation via downloaded ROMs being some sort of casually-accepted piracy, I can't see how they plan to make money with this thing. If it was a ROM player I think they'd sell a lot of them if the emulation is done right and the other features work. But without ROM support and with the expectation that people will spend $X per 30-year-old ROM they download seems unlikely. They think (apparently) they've found free money.
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:22 am

Speaking of retro console gaming, I'm considering a display replacement for my Game Boy Advance. Cleaned it out tonight, and it works... except for the display, which appears to have destroyed itself and is now both very dark and mostly covered in seemingly LCD-damage induced blackness.

It's so awful, that trying to play Pokémon Yellow is like... well, the game runs, the sound's fine, but when the only thing you can see of the title screen is the copyright text and the bottom-right portion of Pikachu, you know you have a screen problem. Same deal with Pokémon Pinball, and I'm still trying to find my Final Fantasy I&II cart. The fact that apparently some Disney shovelware GBA game managed to function normally, besides the display, tells me the GBA is literally 100% fine except for the LCD. (Well, the power switch is a bit finicky, but it works. Probably just needs cleaning, which I'll deal with after reassembly)

(My Game Boy carts also need a battery replacement, but that's easy as hell.)
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:14 am

Replacement screens aren't expensive, and backlit GBA screens can be had for not much more. But the best way to play GBA games (IMO) is on one of the backwards-compatible DS models (original, DS Lite) or, if you have a Gamecube, the Game Boy Player.
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Noinoi
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:35 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
Replacement screens aren't expensive, and backlit GBA screens can be had for not much more. But the best way to play GBA games (IMO) is on one of the backwards-compatible DS models (original, DS Lite) or, if you have a Gamecube, the Game Boy Player.


Funny you should mention that, I don't have a DS Lite anymore and I never had a Gamecube.

Emulating them on a CFW'd 3DS is an option, but I definitely can say the controls aren't natural. I think I prefer the feel of the original GBA whwn playing its games.

What should be the ballpark price of a replacement GBA LCD panel and the screen cover? I've been browsing eBay and the like, and I'd like to minimize chances of getting scammed.

There's also the option of simply getting a pre-modded backlit GBA...
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:29 am

This is the kit you want for a backlit original GBA.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/201821898933

You just need to look at the board revision, by peeking through the battery compartment. The AGS-101 referenced in the listing is the brighter version of the GBA SP. This seems to be the listing that everyone recommends on the retro forums like AA. I don't have a GBA, because I have a DS Lite that can play the games, but the feedback seems legit.
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Noinoi
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Re: Retro console gaming

Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:10 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
This is the kit you want for a backlit original GBA.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/201821898933

You just need to look at the board revision, by peeking through the battery compartment. The AGS-101 referenced in the listing is the brighter version of the GBA SP. This seems to be the listing that everyone recommends on the retro forums like AA. I don't have a GBA, because I have a DS Lite that can play the games, but the feedback seems legit.


Damn, it looks nice. Shame about the international shipping, though ($20 to Malaysia) it seems.
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