Road Blaster, now also on SNES

Discussion of hardware and software development for Super NES and Super Famicom.

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Hias
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Post by Hias » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:54 am

Actually Ikari already sold the first and second batch of his sd2snes already on snesfreaks ;)

byuu
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Post by byuu » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:59 pm

Thought about a MSU1-less version with HDMA audio streaming and just a big, fat ROM plus custom mapper, too.
FlashROM is dirt-cheap nowadays (~$20 for an 8Gbit chip on digikey), so it's a possibility.
As long as you only use it for one data stream, that should be easy. You only need more expensive parallel NOR flash when you want to have two things hitting the storage at different areas simultaneously (audio track + data stream simultaneously.) [that, or you need a really fast chip and lots of buffering ahead.] The other design method is one ROM for data, one ROM for audio tracks. The latter with a TOC.

As for the audio, I was surprised to see you go with sound effects over the MSU1. It was really meant more to be the BGM track, with SPC700 sound effects ... but of course, you are free to use it however you like :D
If you want to implement it on hardware anyway, it's honestly not any harder than a custom bank mapper. The SNES has the left/right audio input pins right on the cart, which act exactly like an RCA input jack.

Although it would be great to have an MSU1 standalone design for just this sort of thing; I understand the appeal of a simpler design. If you want to prototype, I can help set up a custom chip under bsnes so you can get the code working in software first.

Simplest mass storage design: I would advise using a 74LS chip (or two?) to hold a 16-bit register value, map the write latches wherever (say, $?0??????:6000,6001). Then treat all accesses to $40:xxxx as $74LS:xxxx; by routing the 74LS to the upper address lines of your flash chip, and the lower lines directly to the Abus.

<offtopic, sorry>
Truth be told, I really wanted to allow >4GB of storage, and eight audio channels so that you could do BGM+sound effects, and completely ignore the SPC700 (aside from unmuting it at power-on.) Perhaps use it as a math coprocessor or something. But I knew that if I got too carried away, it'd never be implemented in hardware or other emulators.

I stopped at 4GB because that's a common limitation for most portable libc file access functions and for FAT32 and such (IIRC.) Made the 4GB block read-only so that you only had to buffer in one direction, and so any medium could be used. Stopped at one audio channel because each adds seek access overhead for non-parallel ROM; and >1 requires an audio mixer.

So I pretty much designed it to be 'stackable', instead. Idea is that in the future, you just use as many MSU1 'units' as you want. One at $2000-2007, one at $2008-200f, etc. Of course you'll probably never see that in hardware form; so it's strongly advised to stick to one. I really owe a world of thanks to ikari. Had he not made the actual hardware implementation, this idea would have never taken off.
</offtopic>

SkinnyV
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Post by SkinnyV » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:54 pm

Hias wrote:Actually Ikari already sold the first and second batch of his sd2snes already on snesfreaks ;)
Crap! I've been following his blog and don't remember seeing any mention of this. Disappointing!

How can English (or french :) ) speaker can acquire one? That website's forum is all in what appear to be German...

d4s
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Post by d4s » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:40 pm

byuu wrote: As long as you only use it for one data stream, that should be easy. You only need more expensive parallel NOR flash when you want to have two things hitting the storage at different areas simultaneously (audio track + data stream simultaneously.) [that, or you need a really fast chip and lots of buffering ahead.] The other design method is one ROM for data, one ROM for audio tracks. The latter with a TOC.
At the moment, this cartridge version is more like a pipe dream than anything else.
I would probably try interleaving audio and video data first.
byuu wrote: As for the audio, I was surprised to see you go with sound effects over the MSU1. It was really meant more to be the BGM track, with SPC700 sound effects ... but of course, you are free to use it however you like :D
Actually, I'm using it exactly in this way:
The warning beeps (which are more or less the only sound effects right now) are generated on the SPC700 and the movie sound comes from the MSU1.
Movie sound includes sound effects, though.
Nothing I can do about that. ;)

I really, really wanted to use the audio track of the Mega CD version(Road Blaster FX/Road Avenger), because it features much better music and sound effects IMHO.
Too bad the sound quality of that version is so bad it's beyond useable.

One day, I'll meet Sakuraba Motoi and he'll readily hand me all the master tapes.
Yeah, I can dream... :/

byuu wrote: Truth be told, I really wanted to allow >4GB of storage, and eight audio channels so that you could do BGM+sound effects, and completely ignore the SPC700 (aside from unmuting it at power-on.) Perhaps use it as a math coprocessor or something. But I knew that if I got too carried away, it'd never be implemented in hardware or other emulators.
I think you made sensible choices in these regards.
Filling 4GB with worthwhile content is difficult as it is.
And I believe the SPC700 is entirely sufficient for sound effects.

KungFuFurby
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Post by KungFuFurby » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:32 pm

Hmm... the MSU-1 would allow me to produce music with no conversion to SPC needed (AKA, no channel limitations). However, I would lose the ability to test the game, as my computer is incompatible with the latest version of bsnes (I only run an iMac G5 running Mac OS X 10.4.11... :( ).

With four gigabytes of memory, that's enough to fit a whole bunch of music in there! I can easily create lots of music, and you'd be surprised at just how much.

Greg2600
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Post by Greg2600 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:29 pm

Just to double check, Road Blasters on BSNES says NTSC mode not supported. Is there a way to change to PAL mode, or does the emu read that from my PC or something?

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TmEE
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Post by TmEE » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:20 am

The game must be relying on the very significant boost in VRAM bandwidth that PAL gives.

mic_
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Post by mic_ » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:51 am

Is there a way to change to PAL mode
Settings->Configuration->Advanced->Hardware region

byuu
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Post by byuu » Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:50 am

> With four gigabytes of memory, that's enough to fit a whole bunch of music in there!

The 4GB is for the data file. You can have up to 65,536 audio tracks that are each as large as you want (>16GB per song if you wanted.)

> Just to double check, Road Blasters on BSNES says NTSC mode not supported.

The default operation in bsnes is region auto-detect, so you must have asked it to override that setting.

d4s
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Post by d4s » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:18 pm

Greg2600 wrote:Road Blasters on BSNES says NTSC mode not supported.
Just for the record, the error message says
NTSC-mode is not supported yet

Greg2600
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Post by Greg2600 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:54 pm

mic_ wrote:
Is there a way to change to PAL mode
Settings->Configuration->Advanced->Hardware region
There's no such Hardware region option, at least not anymore. I have bsnes v085.

d4s
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Post by d4s » Thu May 17, 2012 2:52 pm

I've released the finished game earlier this week.
Enjoy & check it out at http://www.dforce3000.de/?uid=43.

FYI, the game runs perfectly fine in NTSC and PAL mode now.

byuu
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Post by byuu » Thu May 17, 2012 4:20 pm

Greg2600 wrote:There's no such Hardware region option, at least not anymore. I have bsnes v085.
The GUI no longer allows overriding the game. Edit the manifest.xml file and set <cartridge region="NTSC"> instead of "PAL". The filename may be "Super Road Blaster.xml".
d4s wrote:I've released the finished game earlier this week.
This is awesome and you are totally awesome :D
Kudos on making the most visually impressive SNES game ever.

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MottZilla
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Post by MottZilla » Thu May 17, 2012 8:37 pm

If only MSU-1 was more accessible. It's a shame that only SD2SNES supports it right now. =( That and I can't buy an SD2SNES right now even if I wanted it.

smkd
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Post by smkd » Thu May 17, 2012 9:33 pm

Nice work. I tried it out and while I'm not a huge fan of the gameplay, it looks like a well presented port. Well done =)

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