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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:33 pm 
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What are you talking about ? Both the swedish and german versions use a genuine MMC3.
No PAL carts were ever released with 3rd party PCBs in them, nor 3rd party chips EXEPT two FME-7 games which still uses PCBs made by Nintendo instead of Sunsoft.

PS : It's good to see bootgod's database is up again. It has been down for a couple of days.
PPS : Err no... it appears it's blocked at my work I don't know why...


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:49 am 
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My bad, the flags were moving around different that I realized... ;)

Yes, the PAL versions are official Nintendo MMC3 TLROM.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:31 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
I did test it on my hardware implementation of the mmc3 and the words on the bottom of the title screen were jumpy similar to what it sounds like the everdrive is doing. But even if the acclaim mmc3 doesn't do this I don't feel so bad, since it may be acclaim's variant that's behaving differently. I might make another original mmc3 devcart though to see how the official mmc3 behaves.

EDIT: I do own WWF steel cage which is the same chip, but different board. If there isn't any glitching with koitsu's cart I can break out my logic analyzer and/or oscope to try and see if I can measure any difference between the MC-ACC and MMC3's IRQ's.


Some more IRQ delay would make the jumpiness go away I think, so would be interesting. Do you get flickering on the right side of the screen btw (provided you can see all of it)?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:16 am 
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I didn't notice any flickering on the right side of the screen, but perhaps it's cut off?

All I really see is the bottom half of the screen jumps up and down a scanline every couple frames or so. Just to be clear, this is my 'replica' of the MMC3 that I've created so take my data with that test with a grain of salt. Although if I got real curious I could modify my mmc3 to delay the IRQ by a CPU cycle and see what happens.

Tengen's RAMBO-1 has a very similar counter mode to the MMC3. There is a slight difference in timing of the IRQ assertion. Disch claims ~5 PPU dots (1-2 CPU cycles) Perhaps Acclaim's has some similar delay but perhaps not as long. Not giving the RAMBO-1 the proper delay in IRQ firing causes jumping as noted by Disch.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:08 pm 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
I didn't notice any flickering on the right side of the screen, but perhaps it's cut off?

All I really see is the bottom half of the screen jumps up and down a scanline every couple frames or so. Just to be clear, this is my 'replica' of the MMC3 that I've created so take my data with that test with a grain of salt. Although if I got real curious I could modify my mmc3 to delay the IRQ by a CPU cycle and see what happens.

Tengen's RAMBO-1 has a very similar counter mode to the MMC3. There is a slight difference in timing of the IRQ assertion. Disch claims ~5 PPU dots (1-2 CPU cycles) Perhaps Acclaim's has some similar delay but perhaps not as long. Not giving the RAMBO-1 the proper delay in IRQ firing causes jumping as noted by Disch.


Yeah, I get the same thing in my emulator, along with the top of the scrolling text being messed up while it jumps. Introducing >= ~3 PPU ticks of delay before the IRQ fires fixes it. I've implemented (what I think is) the correct polling points for interrupts, so it shouldn't be that (though it's possible that I've messed up somewhere of course).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:16 pm 
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Got the cart today. Didn't work in either my top-loader or my front-loader until I cleaned the cart contacts (talk about dirty!).

I don't see any lines or oddities on the right edge of the screen during the intro, title screen, or during gameplay. I tested on both consoles. I also adjusted the HPOS and HSIZ params on my Sony KV-13FS100 so that I could see as much as possible on the right edge -- nada. All looks clear/good, no lines or gobbledegook.

I did take a video of it all (roughly 7.5 minutes) in case that's needed for verification -- quality is not very good (sharp) since my camera doesn't allow for focus adjustment during video recording. Let me know if I should upload it (Youtube).

If you think my CRT might not be displaying part of the video signal, review the Service Manual (Section 4) and tell me what params I should adjust/change.

P.S. -- I do own a PowerPak if you'd like me to try the ROM out on that. I believe mine has loopy's mapper set/code.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:56 pm 
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koitsu wrote:
Got the cart today. Didn't work in either my top-loader or my front-loader until I cleaned the cart contacts (talk about dirty!).

I don't see any lines or oddities on the right edge of the screen during the intro, title screen, or during gameplay. I tested on both consoles. I also adjusted the HPOS and HSIZ params on my Sony KV-13FS100 so that I could see as much as possible on the right edge -- nada. All looks clear/good, no lines or gobbledegook.

I did take a video of it all (roughly 7.5 minutes) in case that's needed for verification -- quality is not very good (sharp) since my camera doesn't allow for focus adjustment during video recording. Let me know if I should upload it (Youtube).

If you think my CRT might not be displaying part of the video signal, review the Service Manual (Section 4) and tell me what params I should adjust/change.

P.S. -- I do own a PowerPak if you'd like me to try the ROM out on that. I believe mine has loopy's mapper set/code.


Neat, thanks a lot! :)

For reference, the image below is what it looked like when Pasky tried it out on PowerPak. You could check if you get the same thing to see if you're displaying enough of the screen I guess. On other screens you get an even bigger gray flashing thing on the right.

In my emu, on Everdrive, and on infiniteneslives' MMC3 implementation you get jumpiness and (I'm guessing, since that's what I get) some minor flashing on the right, which would make sense with what's going on. So either those three are broken (not sure what's going on with PowerPak - it's weird) or there's something different about Acclaim's MMC3 chip. The IRQ firing slightly later would make sense, since that seems to fix it.

Anyone with an Acclaim MMC3 chip (http://bootgod.dyndns.org:7777/search.p ... AIM-MC-ACC) willing to do some measurements? Mickey's Safari in Letterland is another game with the same chip that has jumpiness (in Nestopia and my emu - and hopefully not on the real thing).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:23 pm 
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Can/will do. What mapper set is being used on your Powerpak (stock ones from Bunnyboy vs. loopy's) matters here, I'm fairly certain, so we should disclose what we're using exactly.

I appreciate what you uploaded -- that really helps me to know what to look for. Nope, wasn't seeing anything like that. That almost looks like the gobbledegook seen in The Guardian Legend (where the screen splits), which I think is related to sprite #0 (going off memory here, could be wrong).

Also, just for shits and giggles, I uploaded the full video to Youtube. It's about 7:40 long, since I adjust the CRT and show all of what I'm doing. Parts that you'll be interested in (shots relevant to what you uploaded) are at 1:05, 2:05, and 5:50. The rest is more or less just me futzing around. Again sorry for the video quality, my camera is just a simple point-and-shoot.

I'll bust out the PowerPak and report back. I'll try to figure out what exact mapper set (zip, etc.) I'm using as well (certain it's loopy's, just not sure what "revision" (if there is one)).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 6:31 pm 
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Looks like what happens when you write to the palette in the middle of the screen. You can see the overscan color change as you write to the palette. You can even see it in The Nerd's review of Back to the Future.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:09 pm 
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Here's my follow-up:

I do see issues when running this game under a PowerPak.

I tested 3 mapper sets, each with 5 Crash Dummies ROMs, so a total of 15 tests. All 3 mapper sets had the same issue with the same ROMs, so effectively there's no functional difference between the mapper sets WRT this game. The mapper sets I tested:

- POWERPAK134105.zip -- "Base/stock" RetroUSB PowerPak set, v1.34
- powerpak_loopy.zip -- circa 2010 sometime -- definitely differs from the below
- powerpak_loopy.zip -- 2011-11-17 (according to loopy's site), i.e. the most recent set as of this writing

And the ROMs w/ their results:

- Incredible Crash Dummies, The (U) [!p].nes -- issue described below
- Incredible Crash Dummies, The (U) [b1].nes -- issue described below
- Incredible Crash Dummies, The (U) [b2].nes -- issue described below
- Incredible Crash Dummies, The (U) [b3].nes -- issue described below + bad graphics/audio
- Incredible Crash Dummies, The (U) [o1].nes -- issue described below

Note that none of the ROMs have (!) in their name, which according to the GoodNES docs indicates a ROM that is absolutely correct/confirmed not to have any dumping-related errors.

Now, the issue I see is this:

- Screens with a text scroller have a 1-pixel-height line of gobbledegook that flashes right above the scrolling text. Width of the line is about 2/3rds of the screen
- Screens with "static text" (text beneath an image), including those which also have the text scroller, will have the entire block of static text "jostle" or "jiggle". The text appears to shift upwards 1 horizontal row
- Gobbledegook above scroller and jiggling text happens "most" of the time, but not always -- sometimes after a "full screen transition" it won't happen. It isn't specific to any particular screen, it really is like it's random
- Still graphics at the top of the screen (the dummies, logo, etc.) do not ever jostle or have issues
- I do not see a "blotch" on the centre-right of the screen, or anywhere else

Two videos I made in the process showing the behaviour -- again, sorry for the quality, not much I can do about it given the wonderful design of my camera...

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL-e_HP7qTc
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyi-lQP1vRM

Too bad I don't own a capture card.

My gut feeling is that the game is either doing mid-screen PPU writes and either taking too long at some points, or (more likely) botching the address that the internal part of the PPU needs to have to "properly" (i.e. no glitching) resume where it was drawing. I think the "blotch" you're seeing is probably the same thing.

Dwedit's explanation seems most likely, but it could also be something like what I said. Mid-screen PPU updates are always tricky. What I can't explain (because I'm not an EE guy or fully understand the hardware) is why this would happen only on a PowerPak.

And I can't dump the mask ROMs because my programmer/dumper is from the late 90s thus parallel-based. *grumbles* :P


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:32 pm 
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Can you check Mickey's Safari in Letterland on the PowerPak? Any status bar glitches (look for shaking, shaking while jumping, or skipped lines)?

If I recall correctly, I was able to fix these issues by implementing cycle-accurate IRQ handling, so I'm curious to see how it looks with the PowerPak's MMC3 implementation.

Thanks

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:26 pm 
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I can try, maybe poke about in the game a bit, it helps if I know areas which are known to use the IRQ counter though. Else I'm just like "Looks fine to me! {never played this before, WTF am I doing}" :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:34 am 
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Thanks for those videos. Shows it clearly enough. :)

The glitching on PowerPak is just what I get in my emulator. Might be a generic MMC3 timing issue, but the only games that act up so far are Crash Dummies and that Mickey game, which both use use the Acclaim chip (granted, I haven't tried out hundreds of different MMC3 games yet). The glitch is timing-dependent, and caused by the game disabling/enabling rendering right around dot 256 on certain scanlines, where the vertical nametable position is bumped if rendering is enabled. If rendering is disabled too late or enabled too early, you get an extra vertical bump, which causes the graphics below that point to move up one scanline and messes up the top line of the text (since it no longer appears where the game thinks it will).

Re. River City Ransom, I think the composite PPU draws thin borders around the picture. Those would be the "left border" and "right border" in http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/NTSC_video.

So either something is different about the Acclaim MMC3, or the timing is just so tight that lots of different things get it wrong. I have implemented what I think are the proper IRQ polling points in my emulator (which fixed shaking in Magician), though bugs are possible of course.

In Mickey's Safari in Letterland the status bar only shakes while the screen moves vertically. Where it "settles" seems to depend on the current vertical scroll as well (same thing in Nestopia).

"Du kan dricka" means "you can drink" in Swedish btw, just in case you weren't aware of that. :P


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:03 am 
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Is the source code for the PowerPak mappers available anywhere btw?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:21 pm 
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If I had to guess I'd say it'd be timing-related and not so much related to MMC3 or Acclaim's variant (unless these games are using the IRQ counter and basing their timing/behaviour off that), else I don't know how the mapper chip could somehow "affect timing" in the way we're discussing.

Your theory about the thin borders makes sense.

And yeah, I know what du kan dricka means. I got it from watching Jönssonligan. :D

Not sure about the PowerPak mapper source code; loopy may have insights into that.


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