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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:33 am 
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hould there be separate pages for each Chinese, retroUSB, or infiniteneslives clone of MMC1, MMC3, and other mappers first implemented using an ASIC? Should there be pages for "INL-ROM v1", "INL-ROM v2", and "INL-ROM v3"?

God, no please no ! (it's already enough a huge mess like that !)

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The NesCartDB entry for that game says "PCB Class: ACCLAIM-AOROM", or in other words, "This is Acclaim's board that implements the behavior first established by the AxROM series."

In this case, yes. But you'd note that, technically there is absolutely no mention of "AOROM" anywhere on the hardware, so this game is not AOROM, not even AxROM.

Also, you'd note that the Japanese version of Deadly Towers has a "PCB Class : IREM-BNROM", despite the fact the game was released before the term "BNROM" even existed (as only the american Deadly Towers, released one year later, ever had this name printed on it's PCB).
Calling it "mapper #34" is also wrong because of the confusion with the NINA, so there is no proper and technically correct name for calling the Deadly Towers' mapper, period.

(don't say me that the Nintendo name as the priority, either, because the american version of "Batman : Return of the Joker" does not have a PCB class of "SUNSOFT-JSROM", which would be it's name following this logic)

I know I'm being an asshole, and I probably myself bring the confusion between circuit boards and mappers, as everyone on this board do. However, technically this is wrong, I'm just trying to point it out. Now I don't know too much what is good for the wiki.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:38 pm 
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How about:

A mapper is referred to by (in order of highest to lowest priority): ASIC designation, board designation, game or company name.

If there's an ASIC mapper, the ASIC designation is used. If there's no clear ASIC designation, or the mapper is discrete, the board name is used. If the board name is unclear or unknown, the game name, or the company which produced the game and/or cartridge is used, and if even that is unknown or unclear, the mapper should default to the name "That Goddamn Unnameable Mapper Nobody Likes".

In the case of ASICs, there's hypothetically an unlimited amount of hacks you can apply to the base mapper, so for example, "MMC3" should always refer to the MMC3 as it is canonically intended to be used, and "modified MMC3" can be used for things like TxSROM.

A similar convention can be used for discrete mappers whose functionality is virtually identical to "official" discrete mappers. So if somebody used a GxROM, but with additional circuitry for software-controlled lockout defeat, it can be called a "modified GxROM", or it can be named after the company that used it, like Color Dreams.

Lastly, mappers are never referred to by their ines mapper number.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:45 pm 
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There exist more than one "modified MMC3". There's TxSROM, which runs CHR A17 out to CIRAM A10, and TQROM, which uses CHR A16 to switch between a ROM and a RAM. There are multicart variants, which typically get the "game" name. And there are plenty of variants on the Namco 108 theme. That's why I'm tempted to keep board names for unusual applications of at least Nintendo ASIC mappers.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:52 pm 
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Given that the Namco 108 variants have PCB names as memorable as "3453" and "3446", I don't really see an argument that those names would be more memorable, discoverable, distinguishable amongst themselves, or useful for reference than a mapper number.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:35 pm 
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I'd just say refer to the thing you're talking to by the most specific name that applies. This goes back to the principle stated early that we should avoid confusing iNES mappers (software) with boards or ASICs (hardware)

If you're talking about a BNROM/NINA-001 combo implementation, you should say mapper 34. If you're talking about the board used by Impossible Mission 2, say NINA-001. Where there are multiple names, use your judgement, e.g. VRC6a is probably preferred to 351951. If you're really uncertain, ask! I'm sure we'll have five different opinions ready for you.

Mapper 7 and AxROM happen to be synonyms, since AxROM is not a board name but rather a name we (Disch?) chose for a class of boards, all of which are supported by mapper 7. To me, AxROM is the more memorable and commonly used name.

Similarly, if talking about game that uses oversized BNROM (I'm making one at the moment), I'd follow Disch's guideline and call that BxROM, since BNROM is a specific board that doesn't support large sizes, and mapper 34 is a stupid combination of two unrelated board emulations.

These are just examples, I don't think we need to attempt a one-size-fits-all rule here; there's a lot of crazy stuff going on in the organization of mapper/board emulation, and we need to think carefully about the appropriate terms as we use them.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:26 am 
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Mapper 7 and AxROM happen to be synonyms, since AxROM is not a board name but rather a name we (Disch?) chose for a class of boards, all of which are supported by mapper 7. To me, AxROM is the more memorable and commonly used name.

I was under the impression AxROM was a name to refer all Nintendo made boards that starts in 'A' and ends in 'ROM'. In that case that would be ANROM, AN1ROM, AMROM, AOROM and perhaps some other obscure prototypes boards. This would not include the american Wizards & Warriors III, nor any mapper #7 homebrew.

That's just what I logically assumed, since SxROM and TxROM respectively are all baords using MMC1 and MMC3, no matter which mapper they are (TLSROM belongs to TxROM despite not being mapper #3).

Even if this naming convention were to be adopted (why not after all, despite being a little confusing), then how should mapper #3 be called ? CxROM ? But then what about CPROM which implements a totally unrelated mapper ?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:10 am 
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CPROM, TxSROM, and TQROM get "more specific" names because they have different behavior. But "totally unrelated" is stretching it, as the behavior is a small change to the "parent" board. CPROM is CNROM with a fixed bank, TxSROM is TxROM with CHR A17-controlled nametable mirroring, and TQROM is TxROM with CHR A16 switching between two different memories.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:32 am 
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Yes, if you're looking only from a SW point of view, mapper #12 is like mapper #3 with a fixed bank and CHR-RAM instead of CHR-ROM, which may effectively not be "totally unrelated" but "quite unrelated".

Were developers offered to have a fixed CHR bank, but with CHR-ROM ?

I think most of the confusion would be cleared up if we somehow could figure what official nintendo developers were "offered" and their viewpoint of the situation (I mean, without the iNES point of view, nor the hardware/boards point of view).


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:33 am 
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Bregalad wrote:
Even if this naming convention were to be adopted (why not after all, despite being a little confusing), then how should mapper #3 be called ? CxROM ? But then what about CPROM which implements a totally unrelated mapper ?


I'm not really interested in adopting any conventions. I just want to move forward using the terms as they already exist.

Yes, AxROM works for the actual A*ROM boards, and since the acclaim board and other boards you mentioned are transparently identical to AxROM there really isn't any confusion about the function of these boards if you refer to them as AxROM.

If you know using CxROM to describe CPROM is wrong, don't use the term CxROM that way. Use it only where you can make the meaning clear. Don't worry about establishing a convention for "xROM" terminology, boards and mappers aren't organized enough to have rules like this. It's not a periodic table.


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