Sup NesDev, iNES is dead, how do you feel?

Discuss technical or other issues relating to programming the Nintendo Entertainment System, Famicom, or compatible systems.

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X-or
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Sup NesDev, iNES is dead, how do you feel?

Post by X-or » Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:42 pm

Fare thy well iNES, thou shalt not be missed.

Details about iNES death.

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Disch
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Post by Disch » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:20 pm

I LOATHE the idea of using text based formats for things that are not text based. Writing parsers is a huge pain, and there's no reason why a properly designed binary format could not be every bit as flexible.

Not to mention an XML based format could only practically contain header information and not the actual ROM (not unless you convert all the ROM to text -- which would just be silly) which means you'll have to have the ROM image in a seperate file -- or multiple seperate files.. which ultimately just makes the format cumbersome and awkward. Of course you could .zip the files up or something, but then that's another pain in the ass the emu would have to add support for just to run a ROM.

Anyway -- I don't like this idea at all. I'd much rather see something like iNES 2.0 (what happened to that?) or even a good attempt to adapt UNIF to be more complete.

XML always seemed more trendy than functional to me.

I love Marty and he does a lot of great work -- but this is one of those things I really hope just flops and goes nowhere. I really think its success would just be a big headache. Emudevers would have a whole slew of new obstacles to overcome just to support these files, and end users would be no better off.

In that thread Marty says he spent days on an XML parser. I can write an iNES loader in about 5 minutes. And I don't really see anything there that makes it more descriptive than UNIF could be.

I'm probably in the minority though =( Judgeing from the positive response it's gotten in that thread.
Last edited by Disch on Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tokumaru
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Post by tokumaru » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:28 pm

Well, I'd miss iNES. It may not describe a cart accurately enough, but it's really simple to maintain. The last time I tried to do something as simple as extracting the binaries from a UNIF image I almost killed myself. To me, being able to perform such simple tasks without the aid of special software is essential. This XML approach seems simple enough though.

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blargg
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Post by blargg » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:35 pm

<iNES> The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

dvdmth
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Post by dvdmth » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:48 pm

I've said it before (on that thread IIRC), and I'll say it again. You cannot replace INES. I don't care if you have an idea that's a million times better - you'll never get rid of the ROMs already floating around. If it were so easy, then why is that bad dump of SMB so much easier to find than a clean dump?

The main thing I like about Marty's work is the database application. I've always wanted to see a *good* ROM utility that can fix bad headers, even convert to NES 2.0, based on an accurate, updatable database. Such a utility will be much easier to implement once a standard method is available for building the database. Indeed, the next version of Nestopia will have its database in the XML format instead of the previous binary format (which would sometimes change in structure from one release to the next). When the new version is out, I hope someone will make a ROM fixing utility that takes advantage of the new database.

The idea for ROM distribution (as I understand it) is to use a zipfile, containing one XML file along with a PRG file and a CHR file (identified by the XML file). It sounds nice, but I don't think it'll catch on. Too much stuff out there (such as the PowerPak) relies on INES, and no one is going to switch formats unless the newer style is backwards compatible. If you want XML info included with the ROM, you're better off appending it to the INES image instead of putting it in another file within an archive.
"Last version was better," says Floyd. "More bugs. Bugs make game fun."

tepples
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Post by tepples » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:51 pm

Minor letdown. When I saw the subject, I thought it was supposed to mean Marat has quit.
Disch wrote:Of course you could .zip the files up or something, but then that's another pain in the ass the emu would have to add support for just to run a ROM.
Tell that to Sun or Microsoft. The .jar format of Java, the .sx* format of OpenOffice.org 1, the .od* format of OpenOffice.org 2, and the "OOXML" formats of Microsoft Office 2007 are all zipfiles containing XML plus extra resources. Zip libraries and XML libraries are a dime a dozen.

The zipfile would look like this:
  • Classic Concentration Camp (PD).zip
    • index.xml
    • camp.prg
    • camp.chr
    • title.png
    • ingame.png
    • box.jpg
    • label.jpg
Or index.xml could state that the PRG and CHR are in an iNES file:
  • Classic Concentration Camp (PD).zip
    • index.xml
    • camp.nes
    • title.png
    • ingame.png
    • box.jpg
    • label.jpg
Enforcing copyleft would be easy:
  • Classic Concentration Camp (PD).zip
    • index.xml
    • camp.prg
    • camp.chr
    • COPYING
    • src.zip
But if we do go this route, please make the CRC or SHA-1 field optional so as not to complicate debug builds of homebrew.

bunnyboy
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Post by bunnyboy » Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:14 pm

The one and ONLY way to kill ines is to have an emulator that is significantly better, does not support ines, and has a place to download the already converted roms. If its not better nobody will switch. If it supports ines people won't use the new format. If people cant get every rom in the new format nobody will use the emu.

ines is mostly good enough, ines 2 is better but usually not needed, and an xml type was already tried (and generally failed) with unif. Yet another format with more complexity will not help. Add in the variations with a text description (74xx161 vs 74hc161 vs 74HC161 vs 74ls161 etc etc etc) makes the decoding far more complex. If you already have multiple files there is no reason a full description couldn't be included, just not used by the emulator.

Interestingly I didn't see anything like box art, manuals, game genie code, walkthroughs, etc to be included inside the game file, but I only looked at the first couple pages. That might be one feature that would get me to switch to a specific emulator and would be good for both playing and preserving. But again if you already have multiple files, including those in a folder along with a normal ines wouldn't be any different.

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Zepper
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Post by Zepper » Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:53 pm

Isn't Marty a God? He has created the sunlight, the earth, the community... and everything has become a NEStopia. Now, he (?) has declared "death" of... iNES format? I would laugh a lot... but i'll just ignore.

Nessie
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Post by Nessie » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:40 pm

Fx3 wrote:Isn't Marty a God? He has created the sunlight, the earth, the community... and everything has become a NEStopia. Now, he (?) has declared "death" of... iNES format? I would laugh a lot... but i'll just ignore.
You're being a jackass because your emulator sucks and you're jealous. Please grow up.

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Zepper
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Post by Zepper » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:42 pm

- Actually, it was a joke from me... I'm sorry if you took my comment as... bad. Plus, it's quite strange that you flame my emulator. It's not crap, and I'm sorry if you think it is, it's not a sign of intelligence.

Nessie
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Post by Nessie » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:45 pm

I apologize for my lack of humor and intelligence.

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Zepper
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Post by Zepper » Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:52 pm

Nessie wrote:I apologize for my lack of humor and intelligence.
Fair enough.

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Dwedit
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Post by Dwedit » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:41 pm

I'm still using basic iNES, with mapper-correction if "DiskDude!" is present.\

Fun fact: Google indexes NES roms. Google "nes diskdude" for fun.
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tepples
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Post by tepples » Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:48 pm

Dwedit wrote:Fun fact: Google indexes NES roms. Google "nes diskdude" for fun.
As far as I can tell, this is because so many web servers are configured to fall back to a "text/plain" or "text/html" content type for unrecognized file name suffixes.

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MottZilla
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Post by MottZilla » Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:00 pm

What's wrong with iNES? I remember hearing some weird cartridges, which were probably pirate/unlicensed, didn't work with the iNES format cause of weird things they did or something like that. I agree that nothing will replace iNES headered NES roms unless it is backwards compatible. Even then you'll always have to support the old format.

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