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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:07 pm 
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Apparently I got misunderstood. Of course using CHR-RAM was done back in the day and I'd do it today for doing a retro game. What I meant is that using both CHR-RAM and more than 8kb of it, allowing for animated tiles, was not done back in the day. So if you have *both* CHR-RAM only effects and animated tiles, that's not quite truly retro.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:34 pm 
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@DRW and @bregalad

To each is own but making game on retro hardware is retro enough, no need to limit yourself if the hardware allows it. It's like you guys like pain and just need more or it and need to constrains yourself for some masochistic reason :lol: (all in jest, I know you guys seems serious about it).


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:12 am 
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Banshaku wrote:
To each is own but making game on retro hardware is retro enough, no need to limit yourself if the hardware allows it.

It depends on what the retro hardware allows. If I do a game that could go on an existing donor cartridge, them I'm doing the stuff that the hardware allows.
If I use a RAM chip of a size that never existed back then, then where is the limit?

In this case, I could create a PowerPak-like cartridge that works with a flash drive, on which I put a dozen NES ROMs. Then I program the cartridge to load the ROMs in sequence.
I.e if you reach a certain point on the one ROM, the game triggers some kind of a reset and the cartridge software loads the next ROM as if it was loading a new level of the same game.
This would allow me to create NES games with unlimited size that still work on the unaltered console hardware.


Besides, I don't limit myself because of masochistic reasons. I limit myself, so that I can say that this is an authentic game that could have been created back in the day. "City Trouble" is something that could have come out in 1986. A time traveler could go back to 1986 and give the ROM to a publisher and the game could be released exactly as it was written now.

You know, simply programming a PC game with a retro look is not enough for me.
It has to be the real console, so that I can say: "This adventure game, that's something that could have been produced back in 1991 when "Final Fantasy" and "A Link to the Past" were popular."
If I use a new hardware configuration that didn't exist at all in commercial games, there goes the whole "this is really authentic for the 80s/90s" argument.
In this case, what prevents me from buiding a Rhaspberry Pi into an NES cartridge and simply routing the PC game's output to the NES' PPU?

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Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:00 am 
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@DRW

I was just pulling your leg and it did work (the "in jest" comment was about that) ;) You are free to apply any limitation you want if that is your personal goal.

As for myself, if just adding a bigger ram chip would make my life easier on a project, I would since the nes allow it. Would I add an FPGA that change completely how the nes work? No, I wouldn't, it not a nes anymore. Would I make a mapper that help solve a memory issue? Maybe, it it doesn't change the nes behavior and just help programming memory.

So everything is relative. I'm open minded bout that part. So many thing could have been done on the nes in the past if they could have made affordable memory mapper for that. If the VRC6 could have been usable on the american nes that would have been nice for the audio part for example.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:37 am 
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By the way, if I created a game based on a movie that's of a younger date, then I would use more advanced techniques as well. Because there's simply no point in trying to pretend that a game about "Star Wars - The Force Awakens" came out in the 80s.

But for my current games, I even include a fake production story into the manual.

For "City Trouble", it was the idea that we went to the United States in winter of 1985 to have a look at the arcade scene to get some inspiration for our first home computer game. There, we discovered the NES in a mall. Since those games were better than anything we've seen on home computers, we decided to create our game for the NES. One year later, "City Trouble" came out.

For the adventure game, it will be the story of creating an NES game in 1992 with a graphics style similar to "Final Fantasy", gameplay similar to "Zelda I" (screen by screen scrolling) and "III" (diagonal movement), and with plot buildup like in "Final Fantasy Adventure" where the whole story moves along as you play, instead of simply giving you an initial task of going through all the dungeons (which even "A Link to the Past" is guilty of).

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Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:54 am 
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I'm wondering if you're a stickler about using UV EPROM instead of EEPROM too? That wouldn't have been used in the 80s either, and I'd argue that the difference in capability (saves without battery) is much more significant. :P

The difference between using banked CHR-RAM and either unbanked CHR-RAM or banked CHR-ROM is pretty insignificant. Like if you think it would be unfair to have both a dissolving letters effect, and flipbook background animations... just don't use one of those two effects and you're effectively obeying the "limits" of either thing, if you really care about that specific distinction.

Otherwise both kinds of effect are well within the "normal" range of NES effects that games did use. I was really puzzled at this being called a "huge" difference by bregalad; there was no misunderstanding of his words, I just really don't get the severity being assigned to it. I think it's about as trivial a discrepancy as it gets with these things.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:34 am 
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... I thought his point about "not going to use more than 8 KiB of CHR-RAM" was defensible? At least, I think we made it clear that CHR RAM banking was definitely supported, even when there was only 8 KiB of it.

I suppose on some level, the real question is "how much more expensive was a 32 KiB SRAM than an 8 KiB SRAM in 1991?" Generically, we know that prices have been dropping by a factor of 10 every 5 years, but that doesn't say anything about specific relative prices of two similar parts at the same time, or when any given product falls out. And the only information I've been able to find so far is this catalog from Allied Electronics in 1981 (≈$10/1kibit) and this catalog for Atari parts from the mid 1980s (≈$3/2KiB)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:41 pm 
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rainwarrior wrote:
I'm wondering if you're a stickler about using UV EPROM instead of EEPROM too? That wouldn't have been used in the 80s either, and I'd argue that the difference in capability (saves without battery) is much more significant. :P

To me, it's only about the game itself.

If you use hardware that didn't exist back then, but where the game's ROM is still built in a way that it would work on an old donor cartridge, then it's fine to me.

After all, we don't use the original hardware parts anyway. My game's board is blue instead of green, it uses a third party multi-region lockout chip etc.

So, if you program a standard save capability into your game and then you use a modern flash memory chip instead of the old battery-backed RAM, this is fine because the gaming experience is still the same and the programmer still adhered to the authentic rules.
You're using more reliable hardware, but a time traveller could still sell the game to a 90s company and you could still grab a donor cartridge and put it there.

The ROM file and therefore 100 % of the gaming experience is still authentic. The NES' output still produces exactly the same that it would have produced back then. You're merely protecting yourself from real-worl hardware quirks that don't have to do with the gaming itself anyway (like batteries that can get empty).

Of course, if you use modern hardware to do things that weren't possible back then, like implementing the PRG ROM as a flash drive, so that you can use the PRG ROM as additional RAM, that's out of the question again.

But yeah, my idea of authenticity does not refer to every single hardware part, only to the fact that the hardware doesn't do anything that the old stuff couldn't do and that the game could still have gone on an authentic cartridge.

Just like you're still an authentic MS-DOS programmer, even if you distribute your game on a USB stick, bundled with DOSBox, you're still an authentic NES programmer, even if this very implementation of your ROM uses flash memory for convenience.

_________________
Available now: My game "City Trouble".
Website: https://megacatstudios.com/products/city-trouble
Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:50 pm 
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TGROM existed in NES carts, as did 32K SRAM. Therefore a TGROM variant with 32K CHR RAM could have existed. So here's how to repro an INL-TGROM game using vintage parts from Famicom or NES games:

  1. Program the ROM image onto a 512Kx8-bit NOR flash chip
  2. Open a Mega Man 4 cart and an Oeka Kids: Anpanman no Hiragana Daisuki or Romance of the Three Kingdoms II cart
  3. Replace the RAM with the 32Kx8 RAM from the second cart, rewiring based on the pinout difference between 6264 and 62256 SRAM
  4. Replace the ROM with the flash chip, rewiring based on the pinout difference between mask ROM and flash


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:34 am 
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Ok, found a useful price reference.
This advertisement in the back of an october 1991 issue of a electronics projects magazine has the "EasyTech" corporation selling 2 KiB SRAMs for $2.25/@1 , 8 KiB for $3.75/@1 , and 32 KiB for $6.25/@1. Ignoring the volume discounts that Nintendo would have had, this would be an increase in cost of materials of $2.50 / cartridge, and standard retail markup would correspond to an increase of $10 on the retail price.

Obviously Nintendo got better volume prices than that, so the increment would be smaller.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:41 pm 
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Sorry for the late circle back, but I wanted to I wanted to share the data point since it was being asked earlier. The Japanese version of Destiny of an Emperor 2 uses CHR-RAM banking (at least the translation does) but I'm not sure if it's for animation purposes. At one point I played the game without supporting CHR-RAM banking at the opening cut scenes were glitched, I think a few other things during game play were as well.

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