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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:55 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
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nmalinoski wrote:
thebigcheese wrote:
ldeveraux wrote:
Is there a guide to installing a frontend like RetroPie to the Mister? Is this even advisable? I have the RAM board on order, but have played around with a few of the cores. It emulates perfectly, but I can't use the interface. Having to load with keyboard each time isn't enduser friendly IMO. Am I missing something, or is this just the way Mister is?


I don't believe that is even possible. They are completely different technologies. The MiSTer uses an FPGA for hardware emulation (ie it emulates the hardware components of the consoles) whereas RetroPie is just software that runs in an OS, ie software emulation.

I believe the proposal is not for running RetroArch on the MiSTer--it's for repurposing its front-end to make it easier to do things like load ROMs/cores and perform configuration.


Yes that's right. If the Mister is that superior, it should be able to stand toe to toe with a RPi RetroPie and blow it out of the water. IMO it's being crippled by the UI.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:18 pm 


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I guess everybody's free to port emulation station to the MiSTer. Emulation station is the frontend used on Retropie or Recalbox to eventually run/load Retroarch with its emulation cores.

I'm sure we'll get much nicer GUI options in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:34 pm 



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Fudoh wrote:
I guess everybody's free to port emulation station to the MiSTer. Emulation station is the frontend used on Retropie or Recalbox to eventually run/load Retroarch with its emulation cores.

I'm sure we'll get much nicer GUI options in the future.


Was there no GUI for the MiST either?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:08 pm 



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To be clear, the point of the MiSTer is to have more accurate emulation because of the hardware emulation. Since it's very early stages, naturally the focus is going to be on getting that right. Yeah, the menus look like crap, but currently it's function over form for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:41 pm 



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thebigcheese wrote:
To be clear, the point of the MiSTer is to have more accurate emulation because of the hardware emulation. Since it's very early stages, naturally the focus is going to be on getting that right. Yeah, the menus look like crap, but currently it's function over form for sure.


Awesome! Guess I didn't realize this was such a new development. I saw "better than RPi" and jumped on it without reading too much into. I'll enjoy the journey to full UI experience!


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:57 pm 


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ldeveraux wrote:
thebigcheese wrote:
To be clear, the point of the MiSTer is to have more accurate emulation because of the hardware emulation. Since it's very early stages, naturally the focus is going to be on getting that right. Yeah, the menus look like crap, but currently it's function over form for sure.


Awesome! Guess I didn't realize this was such a new development. I saw "better than RPi" and jumped on it without reading too much into. I'll enjoy the journey to full UI experience!


Will still take a year or so to mature. But there is every reason to be excited about this!
Currently playing the PCEngine core a lot, especially the SuprGrfx (since I don't own one) - and it looks and sounds quite impressive.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:36 pm 



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I picked up a DE10-Nano "MiSTer" the other day and got it set up. Like many users on this forum I'm primarilly an original hardware guy, but I have a soft spot for the extremely accurate Analogue FPGA consoles and I see opportunities that original console+scaler configs may never be able to offer (such as lag-free 480i transitions and working light gun games). I have also been caught complaining about hardware repairs from time to time and wouldn't mind a no-compromise solution made of new parts.

What I am about to say below sounds kinda negative but only because it's nit-picking from an end-user who prefers a console experience. These are early days and it should not be shocking to hear that the current build isn't perfect. If the concept excites you, get one-- I was pleased to learn that you don't even need add-on boards to play Genesis, Turbografx/ Supergrafx and many others over HDMI, which made my purchase something like $140 US. (You DO need a micro usb-otg cable and hub though, make sure to get that.) And the capabilities of this device are practically infinite.

Having set up my MiSTer, which was surprisingly easy, my initial reaction is that this concept will rule all in the long term but isn't much better than a good PC emulator right now. For one, I detected minor lag playing Ninja Gaiden on PC Engine. It's probably just a frame or two but it's there, and wouldn't be there with a PC Engine and OSSC. For another, emulation is technically not exact. For instance, someone just recently released a cycle-accurate 68000 to go in an Atari ST core. This is fantastic but it also means that all current cores running a 68000 are not yet cycle accurate. Again it's not a big deal, but it does make the MiSTer more like a solid emulator than a perfect copy of the original. Finally, you still need a keyboard (someone correct me if I'm wrong) to launch a core/ select a game so this isn't a simple console experience by any means.

On the positive side, there is the aforementioned ease of setup (using the wiki and a Windows PC), fast loading, scanlines that even look decent on my projector screen, and a smoothing filter I don't hate. And one more thing: there isn't a lot of fiddling available on the MiSTer, which helps me relax and enjoy my game once it's running. That's a positive for me at least, and also a reason why I love original consoles.

To summarize, the FPGA MiSTer will probably become a cycle-accurate way to play all your 8-bit and 16-bit consoles and PCs with little more than 5V and a USB gamepad. At present, it is a lot more like a PC emulator than a game console, requiring a keyboard and patience while cores progress from "really good" to "perfect." I'm going to keep mine and am hopeful that it will one day sit in a shell full of cartridge slots and retro controller ports, like a Retron5 worth owning. :D


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:22 pm 


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Thanks for the detailed review!

I was about to write about the recent breakthrough with the cycle-accurate 68k cpu core which has already been integrated in the Genesis core (btw, could you try that?).

Do you have the possibility to use the Mister with a 15khz CRT? I think that the lag you're experiencing is due to both the USB gamepad and the HDMI/Monitor output.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:56 pm 



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donluca wrote:
Thanks for the detailed review!

I was about to write about the recent breakthrough with the cycle-accurate 68k cpu core which has already been integrated in the Genesis core (btw, could you try that?).

Do you have the possibility to use the Mister with a 15khz CRT? I think that the lag you're experiencing is due to both the USB gamepad and the HDMI/Monitor output.


Thanks. I'm glad if post didn't come off too harsh.
I'll happily try the new Genesis core tonight if I get the chance. Especially excited to see Sonic 2's split screen.
I don't have any of the add-ons so I can't run to a CRT. My setup while I played was sort of unusual so other reasons for lag could certainly exist.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:05 pm 


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I picked up a DE10 Nano recently and I must say the setup was quite simple.

A great thing about FPGA development is that when an accurate core exists for a chip, it is not too big of a task to drop it into any FPGA system using that chip (the Genesis core was able to integrate the chip within a few days, for example). This is an incredible result in particular for the 68000, as it is used in a bunch of console and arcade hardware.

The current scaler implementation does indeed add lag which is not present in analog output. A low latency controller add-on board is also being worked on, but it is still a way off I think.

MiSTer is improving at an incredible rate, just the other day an open source FPGA SNES appeared on Github which has already been partially ported to the MiSTer. Updates are happening all the time.

The biggest problem with the MiSTer at present is the availability of add-on boards, the people supplying them are struggling to keep up with the demand generated by all the recent interest.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 9:59 pm 



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Kez wrote:
I picked up a DE10 Nano recently and I must say the setup was quite simple.

A great thing about FPGA development is that when an accurate core exists for a chip, it is not too big of a task to drop it into any FPGA system using that chip (the Genesis core was able to integrate the chip within a few days, for example). This is an incredible result in particular for the 68000, as it is used in a bunch of console and arcade hardware.

The current scaler implementation does indeed add lag which is not present in analog output. A low latency controller add-on board is also being worked on, but it is still a way off I think.

MiSTer is improving at an incredible rate, just the other day an open source FPGA SNES appeared on Github which has already been partially ported to the MiSTer. Updates are happening all the time.

The biggest problem with the MiSTer at present is the availability of add-on boards, the people supplying them are struggling to keep up with the demand generated by all the recent interest.


RetroShop.pt has the AIO boards in stock in Portugal and they work perfectly. Got mine yesterday, I love it!


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:09 pm 


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Galgomite wrote:
Thanks. I'm glad if post didn't come off too harsh.
I'll happily try the new Genesis core tonight if I get the chance. Especially excited to see Sonic 2's split screen.
I don't have any of the add-ons so I can't run to a CRT. My setup while I played was sort of unusual so other reasons for lag could certainly exist.


Not harsh at all. People just need to realize that the Mister is still in full development process and it's really young so there are huge possibilities for improvement.

I'm a bit skeptical about the 68k core being "cycle accurate" since that would require huge processing power, but, hey, let's see what people think about it. I really hope it has proper wait states emulation which, afaik, it's one of the missing feature of even the most accurate 68k cpu emulators (literally MAME).

EDIT:
ldeveraux wrote:
RetroShop.pt has the AIO boards in stock in Portugal and they work perfectly. Got mine yesterday, I love it!


Oh jeez that's fantastic!
So that AiO has everything? SDRAM, inputs/outputs/etc.? Doesn't need anything else? Just the DE-10 board?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:59 am 



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I checked out the new Sega Genesis core. I only had a few minutes. First impression is that it works but it's buggy. Every game I played worked but there were minor glitches. Funny, most of my roms have extension smd and the core isn't compatible with those, so I couldn't play a few of my intended titles like Sonic 2. (Renaming the extension doesn't help either.) Streets of Rage 2 music goes warbly when I choose Axl at character select. Otherwise looks perfect to me. Sonic 1 has garbled rings and stage intros. Sonic 3 seems perfect but I'm least familiar with it. Golden Axe seemed perfect save for a tiny hang at the start before the dialogue bubble. I don't know how this stuff works but perhaps it's related to data access.
In all, there's no doubt a favorite like the Genesis will be well-polished before long but it's (once again) early going.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:06 am 


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Superficially, the asking price of the Super NT and Mega SG suggests no more muscle than the MISTer--and those are cycle accurate machines.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:48 am 


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donluca wrote:
I'm a bit skeptical about the 68k core being "cycle accurate" since that would require huge processing power, but, hey, let's see what people think about it. I really hope it has proper wait states emulation which, afaik, it's one of the missing feature of even the most accurate 68k cpu emulators (literally MAME).

I think it's just the nature of FPGAs that cycle accuracy is considerably less computationally expensive than software emulators, I read somewhere that the MiSTer FPGA can parallel an 8700K in terms of performance vs a software emulator.

donluca wrote:
So that AiO has everything? SDRAM, inputs/outputs/etc.? Doesn't need anything else? Just the DE-10 board?


It's a combination of SDRAM and IO board, doesn't have the RTC but that is not used very often. The only downside with the AIO boards is you lose some modularity, say if a new core comes out requiring bigger/faster SDRAM (if a Neo Geo core materializes, it will probably need more RAM for example) then you will need a whole new AIO board just to replace the RAM.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:02 pm 


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Gotcha. Guess I'll wait for some arcade cores before going in.

Sad to hear that the Genesis core is glitchy... are you using proper ROMs? Like from a No-Intro set?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:03 pm 


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donluca wrote:
Do you have the possibility to use the Mister with a 15khz CRT? I think that the lag you're experiencing is due to both the USB gamepad and the HDMI/Monitor output.


That is a very real possibility.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:05 pm 


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Kez wrote:
I read somewhere that the MiSTer FPGA can parallel an 8700K in terms of performance vs a software emulator.


What does 8700K mean?
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:36 pm 


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Intel Core i7 8700K, a CPU model


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:42 pm 


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donluca wrote:
I'm a bit skeptical about the 68k core being "cycle accurate" since that would require huge processing power

If I understand how FPGA works correctly, there should be no difference between a cycle-accurate and non-accurate chip implementation, because all that matters is the number of logic elements involved. And I don’t think the accurate version needs more elements necessarily, could just as well be the opposite.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:53 pm 



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donluca wrote:
Gotcha. Guess I'll wait for some arcade cores before going in.

Sad to hear that the Genesis core is glitchy... are you using proper ROMs? Like from a No-Intro set?


I don't know. Sonic 1 and Golden Axe were from a 6-in-1 cart though.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:56 pm 


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Eh, might want to go an extra mile and grab yourself a handful of proper ROMs just to make sure.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:03 pm 



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Kez wrote:
donluca wrote:
So that AiO has everything? SDRAM, inputs/outputs/etc.? Doesn't need anything else? Just the DE-10 board?


It's a combination of SDRAM and IO board, doesn't have the RTC but that is not used very often. The only downside with the AIO boards is you lose some modularity, say if a new core comes out requiring bigger/faster SDRAM (if a Neo Geo core materializes, it will probably need more RAM for example) then you will need a whole new AIO board just to replace the RAM.


I had already gotten a SDRAM expansion before I'd gotten my AIO, and it's either one or the other. Obviously I'm going to use the AIO, but I wonder if I could solder more pins on top to also accept the SDRAM board? Double the RAM installed??


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:10 pm 


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ldeveraux wrote:
I wonder if I could solder more pins on top to also accept the SDRAM board? Double the RAM installed??


I don't think that would work, unfortunately.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:46 pm 


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I've been hassling the developer of BlissBox 4-play to make a HUB daughter board that will suit MiSTer and Pi3.

Basically it will be a fully functional 4-play unit with some spare USB ports.
The things that we are still trying to decide are the number of USB ports, and other things like db9 and db15 ports linked to the 4play ports so you dont need adapter cables for those controllers. Will probably make a footprint for those on the pcb and leave it to the end user if they want them. Trying to keep costs low.

Any feedback or ideas greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:57 am 


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The first LL Cool Joy board is built and in testing as I write this.

Smokemonster has a photo on his Twitter feed. That board is everything I want and need, so I'm not sure we need another input board. On the other hand, more options are always welcome.

Also, we need more conversation on this product HERE. I'll leave it at that.
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:44 am 


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That board is cool but the whole "make your own cable" thing doesn't really appeal to alot of users.

Having a pack of quality hdmi adapter cables is a better solution imo.


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:38 am 



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Syntax wrote:
That board is cool but the whole "make your own cable" thing doesn't really appeal to alot of users.

Having a pack of quality hdmi adapter cables is a better solution imo.


Just like the "make your own sdram & io board" thing I'm pretty sure people will sell the cables and I'd imagine the same people would also sell the controller board. Pretty crazy right?


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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:27 pm 


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Ash has a few comments about the LL Cool Joy board here. With this board installed, MISTer will finally be the potential open source FPGA platform we want. LL Cool Joy will bypass shitty USB and you can use the IO Board analog output with an OSSC for proper video output.

The internal HDMI out scaler is better than it was, as well. So, if you're playing an RPG or something, that might be a good choice.

https://twitter.com/SmokeMonsterTWI/sta ... 6569067521
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 Post subject: Re: MiSTer FPGA board
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:35 am 



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Syntax wrote:
I've been hassling the developer of BlissBox 4-play to make a HUB daughter board that will suit MiSTer and Pi3.

Basically it will be a fully functional 4-play unit with some spare USB ports.
The things that we are still trying to decide are the number of USB ports, and other things like db9 and db15 ports linked to the 4play ports so you dont need adapter cables for those controllers. Will probably make a footprint for those on the pcb and leave it to the end user if they want them. Trying to keep costs low.

Any feedback or ideas greatly appreciated.


I have the BliissBox, why would it not work natively with the Mister?


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