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Do you feel a separate "Reproduction carts" board/forum would be beneficial?
Yes 71%  71%  [ 80 ]
No 8%  8%  [ 9 ]
I don't care either way 16%  16%  [ 18 ]
Other (please explain in a follow-up post) 5%  5%  [ 6 ]
Total votes : 113
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:35 am 
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Once they're segregated, you can just not click through unread posts if they say "in Reproduction Carts". That's why I'm voting yes. What INL appears to want is a feature to allow a user to put a particular forum on ignore, which would appear to require development of a new phpBB 3 MOD.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:46 am 
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koitsu wrote:
Please don't reply with a post here unless you've voted for the "Other" option (in which case feel free to propose an idea/recommendation).

Only 3 votes for "Other", but 10 unique posters (now 11) in this thread, so that didn't work out. :)

Personally I voted "no" because I don't want it to seem like this forum explicitly encourages reproductions. I also largely agree with Bregalad on this topic. Here are some random reasons (I understand some of these are not valid grounds for removing all repro discussion and/or not creating a subforum for it):

1) I don't like people making money off of other people's copyrighted work
2) The repro threads tend to be boring (to me) because reproing is mostly monotone, simple work (and most people seem to do it by reading step-by-step guides written by more knowledgeable people)
3) People making repros don't seem to be contributing much to the community knowledge-wise

(Sorry, this turned more into an argument against repros rather than for/against any forum structure changes.)

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:17 am 
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I don't know why but something tells me that they'll keep posting in other forums asking repros question thinking that making Earthbound cartridge and selling them for $100 is cool and that this is all that NESdev is about.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:19 am 
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I completely understand the points you and Bregalad have made. The "problem" is that they're of a subjective (referring to (4a) in that definition list) or ethical nature. I shouldn't need to mention the ramifications of forcing opinions or ethics upon another individual.

The reason for the poll is to find out what the majority would feel is beneficial. And while I agree "what the majority wants" is not always what's ideally best for mankind as a whole, this forum poll isn't something that's going to affect the human race or something of a similarly large scale; it's not like the poll will result in the death of a thousand people or something. :-)

Anyway, my point is that if a board was created for repro-oriented talk and all the talk took place there (including threads started in other boards/sections, which we mods/admins would move to the repro forum as needed), in effect those who do not agree with the reproduction cart subject wouldn't need to participate in that board. Please be sure to see my updated post where I mention I've found it is possible to "hide" a board entirely on a per-user basis so that folks who feel very strongly wouldn't have to sift through or micro-manage posts shown via "View unanswered posts" and similar features.

We (forum admins/mods) can't make every single person happy, and I'm sure those opposed to the separate board concept know that. However...

Say the entire forum suddenly instilled a strict "no reproduction cart discussions/topics" policy -- something you and Bregalad, for example, would endorse fully -- we both know exactly what would happen: the "repro cart people" would still show up and still ask questions, just in shady/sneaky/roundabout ways. In fact, I can think of 2 situations in the past where this has happened (the one I remember specifically is where a user asked "carefully-phrased" questions, prompting myself and some others to enquiry as to the motive/purpose, and the user admitted they were attempting to make reproduction carts).

At least with how things are right now, the majority of the time they state up front they're trying to make reproduction carts. Whether they're doing it for fun or profit is really besides the point -- people who do things that are shady/questionable are going to do those things no matter what. It makes me think of locks on doors -- generally pointless because a dedicated thief will find an alternate way into your home to get what they want.

I'm trying very hard to keep my own personal opinion/view out of it (you might be surprised what side of the fence I'm on), but I will state that I actually find the repro cart threads somewhat interesting because they usually result in thorough discussions of how to do things like wire a flash chip to an existing cart PCB (which requires a bunch of rewiring, i.e. pin X on the PCB goes to pin Y on the flash chip), which is something nobody has documented concisely/fully. In fact, I remember asking how to accomplish this task for a devcart in #nesdev some years ago, and the response I got was literally, quote verbatim, "you just connect A10 to A10, D2 to D2, etc.". Sorry for cursing, but that's utter bullshit -- it's way more involved than that.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:09 pm 
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If people like cutting traces and soldering wires so much and have so much fun doing this, then they should become EE engineers like me (personally this is my least beloved part of my work but hey to each their own...). They can also move to China and work in gloomy dark factories where they would be able to fully express their passion 24/7.

I wouldn't care about a hidden forum, but the problem is that Nintendo COULD do something about it and shut this forum if people are encouraged to make repros.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:40 pm 
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I just realized that another way of looking at the repro issue is that it's basically a bunch of newbies trying to do things somewhat outside their skill level. Since newbies usually don't take on ambitious hardware projects, the hardware section doesn't have a newbie division (unlike the programming one which does, and would have had similar problems when there wasn't one). So in a way this is just adding that needed division along skill level.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:39 am 
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It would be nice to have a section to toss all this stuff. I know there are a lot of legitimate reasons to make repro carts. Generally, and unfortunately so, it's about holding someone's hand through the production process of making a cart that contains someone else's work to be sold to collectors or enthusiasts, which is very ethically questionable. We also have a no commercial ROM distribution or linking policy here. Destroying limited production carts to reproduce and SELL pirated and/or unauthorized copies of previously unavailable software and homebrew is a little more shady that posting a binary file.

If this is to be allowed at all, it should be heavily moderated with expected guidelines and separated from the usual hardware discussions. Obviously you cannot advertise on the forum, and if you are going to be reproducing unauthorized or copyrighted material, have the sense to not incriminate yourself with details. The fifth amendment can't help you if you rat on yourself.

I wouldn't want us getting blocked by the UK anti-piracy/porn/terrorism/drug/esoteric knowledge wall.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:44 am 
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I'll throw in my two cents, since I'm one who has come here recently asking questions about reproductions.

I totally get why people wouldn't want to help others basically cheat their way into the bank with ebay. I have found that that has been a huge hindrance on being able to get reliable help (not talking about here, just in general). Alot of sites post conflicting and at times wrong information that is hard to discern to someone who is lacking of knowledge.

There also seems (to me anyways) that some people have an attitude of "If you don't know how to do this, you shouldn't be doing this." I must have missed the nes pin mapping diagrams from 1st grade. Trust me, i know first hand working desktop support that there are many things which seem like they should be intuitive that some people just will not be able to grasp until it is laid out for them. I recently had to explain to someone what the "PrtScn" button did because they got loaded with maleware after dl'ing a program to take screenshots.

Personally, i learn by doing. I like to read how-to's because they have pictures and that's easy for me to understand, but most are so poorly written. I don't want to know just WHAT to do, but WHY. Why am I connecting this pin to that hole? Oh, it's because that trace runs to the battery for saves. This information is almost always left out.

For instance. Going by this guide from this website : http://nesdev.com/NES%20EPROM%20Conversions.txt
It will tell you to bend up 5 pins, but then only where to solder 3. Asking about it, people say to leave them alone if they aren't being soldered anywhere else. I've heard some people say to ground them, and others to leave them floating. So which is it? it really shouldn't be that hard to get an answer on something this simple.

I would love to make a nes or snes game, but I'm not a programer. I'm a hardware guy. I loved reading all 7+ pages of comments about the Component upgrade to the SNES. That stuff tickles my feathers. I've always loved taking things apart and seeing how they work. When i took apart my sports game and stuck in a socket, i can't recall the last time i had so much fun, when all i was doing was sticking in different maskroms to play madden 96 on a cart with a NHL label. I'm weird.

I do plan on making reproductions. And yes, unfortunately this will cause me to "destroy" games. I'm being as good about it as i can. I cut traces once, no more. From now on just running wires. I keep the original maskrom in tact and tape it inside the cart, just in case i ever want to turn it back. While i have attempted some nes games, my driving force is to do Snes games, where i am just going to buy the SFC version and swap out the maskrom for an english version on a tsop adapter so again, if i ever felt inclined, it would simply be a matter of de-soldering the new and re-soldering the old.

So why do i ask questions? Mainly because i DON'T want to cause permanent damage to a game. I wanna get my first attempt at a cart to ultimately work, and not have to take apart another game.

I even asked about the blank PCB boards, in terms of what chips do i need to get to replicate a game, so i wouldn't have to use an existing one, and again. No definitive answer was given. I'll probably break down and buy some boards from nesinfintelives if I want to do more, but having to use their proprietary programmer makes me weary. I already have a programmer, i would be happy to buy the chips and put them in myself, but what i don't want is to buy a bunch of stuff and never make it work because there is no definitive manual, or guide.

So what's the point of this post? I don't even remember exactly. Just laying out my intentions i guess. I'm not trying to make a bunch of money, or get this site in legal trouble. I'm just trying to play Final Fantasy III (the only one i haven't beat) on an actual cartridge that will sit proudly next to my other games in my collection.

I wish I inherently knew everything I needed to know, but i wasn't born that way. I'm just trying to learn to do what, as I've gathered from reading posts on this site, alot of you guys have already done. I thought i could benefit from the community knowledge. If you guys institute a ban against asking about reproductions, then no hard feelings, I'll just try to find somewhere else to ask.

If we make a new subforum, then i would contribute. Personally, i think the best way to combat people selling repros for $100 is to make it plainly easy on how to make them (or perhaps start reporting them to ebay). This stuff doesn't seem to hard (despite me not yet being able to make one work). I've learned a ton in the last few weeks, and I'm excited to learn more!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:47 pm 
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revfds wrote:
There also seems (to me anyways) that some people have an attitude of "If you don't know how to do this, you shouldn't be doing this."

If you've developed your own NES game, as a programmer or artist, then sure, we'll help you learn to put it on a cartridge.

Quote:
I must have missed the nes pin mapping diagrams from 1st grade.

The pinouts for the mask ROMs (and thus for the holes on the PCB) are on the NESdev wiki, and the pinouts for your EPROM are on the datasheet. From there, it's just connect-the-dots, la la la la la, matching up the address pins and the enables. That'll help with your "why" curiosity too.

Quote:
Trust me, i know first hand working desktop support that there are many things which seem like they should be intuitive that some people just will not be able to grasp until it is laid out for them. I recently had to explain to someone what the "PrtScn" button did

It's in a part of the keyboard that people gloss over. A when the "print screen" key was originally added to the PC keyboard, it sent the contents of a text-mode screen to an actual printer.

Quote:
I would love to make a nes or snes game, but I'm not a programer. I'm a hardware guy.

Are you also an artist? Or a musician? If so, you could team up with a programmer like me and make an NES game.

Quote:
Why am I connecting this pin to that hole? Oh, it's because that trace runs to the battery for saves.

In that case, I agree with you that there needs to be more documentation on the wiki of traces on the popular PCBs (such as SNROM) other than the ones that go to the ROM.

Quote:
I'm just trying to play Final Fantasy III (the only one i haven't beat) on an actual cartridge

I thought that one was ported to the DS and OUYA consoles.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:11 pm 
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@revfds -- I am in full/complete agreement with you, especially WRT the "pinout conversion" documents/etc. scattered all over the place and their complete/total unreliability.

This is exactly why I think if the wiki (the one here on nesdev.com) had this kind of information in it -- ACCURATE information showing exactly what to wire to what, the chips used, etc. with proper diagrams -- the number of "help requests" here on the forum would greatly diminish.

Additionally, it would make those wanting to make their own devcart feel a lot more comfortable. Most of the people here who've known me for many years know that for, oh I dunno, the past 15 years?, I've been bitching about the fact that there's really no decent explanation anywhere on how to make (using donor carts) a devboard for MMC3A/MMC3B that has battery-backed SRAM on it (i.e. TNROM, TKROM, or TKSROM), with a flash (or even EEPROM (not EPROM!)).

As I said earlier in this thread, the response I've gotten from hardware people in the past is "it's not hard, you just connect all the pins up", which is total horseshit. I am not an EE-savvy person, but I am more intelligent than the "hi i want to make repro cart for Surep Marcho Bors 3 w/ Penis Hack" folks, and know how to solder properly. Yet, because this information is "hoarded" in some particular way by the hardware folks -- maybe not hoarding, but presenting more of a "if you can't figure this out then sod off" attitude -- people keep asking the same questions over and over. Gee, I'm sorry that I don't know as much as you guys, but to tell me "just map X to X" when you know it's a lot more involved is dismissive and rude.

I've given up entirely on making a devboard this way, and instead have chosen to wait for the INL-ROM v2.0. It just isn't worth my time screwing around with all this unreliable documentation -- people think my NESTECH stuff is outdated/wrong? Ha, try the pinout conversion docs. @infiniteneslives is a godsend, I just wish he'd been around doing all this 10-12 years ago, but that's me whinging.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:11 pm 
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B00daW wrote:
We also have a no commercial ROM distribution or linking policy here.

OT: I just want to point out that those were the policies of the old host (Parodius, RIP). It might be worthwhile to discuss the policies again, or at least to post them somewhere (in a sticky?) if they're inherited from the Parodius days.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:19 pm 
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thefox wrote:
B00daW wrote:
We also have a no commercial ROM distribution or linking policy here.

OT: I just want to point out that those were the policies of the old host (Parodius, RIP). It might be worthwhile to discuss the policies again, or at least to post them somewhere (in a sticky?) if they're inherited from the Parodius days.

As of this writing, they are not inherited from the Parodius days. WhoaMan is the hosting provider at this point, so the responsibility of defining policies would fall onto him (as I see it).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:15 pm 
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@tepples

I'm not sure why you felt the need to mock and speak down to me because i shared my feelings using brief generalized examples. (the post was already long enough without me going into the detailed issues i am having right now.) But this is exactly the kind of attitude i was referring to.

I've seen the data sheets, and pin mapping in the wiki, and all of that along with your lalalala video doesn't solve my question about why am i bending up 5 pins, soldering 3, and not able to get a straight answer as to what to do with the other 2.

I am not a mucisian or artist, i have friends that are who would work on it with me, but lack of a programmer and knowledge as kept things in the "what if" stages. I want to be able to bring something to the table outside of "let's do this". I'm the story guy, the technical one of the group. I literally need everyone else to do my bidding in order to create something, i figured it would be best to know what it is i need done, and to learn the parts that i can do.

As for FF3 i don't have an ouya, haven't heard good things about it. I also don't own a DS, and for me it just isn't the same. I realize is said "cart" but i pretty much meant the console experience.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Aside from tepples' 2nd paragraph which I agree is a bit belittling (but his lalala link is in jest, I'll explain this below), the rest of his comments are just general observations/statements (tepples I'm fairly certain has Asperger's *grin* ;-) ). With regards to lack of documentations/diagrams/etc., he's in agreement with you (see his 2nd-to-last paragraph), and that's the important part (IMO).

As for the semi-jestful part of the 2nd paragraph -- those of us who have been in the community here for some time have gotten somewhat familiar with each other's personalities and their quirks/nuances/behaviours (For example my own comment pokes fun at Tepples in a jestful way, not really all that serious). I'm not defending his words/actions, but I am saying the more you talk with the older folks who reside around here the more you figure out/get used to everyone's different personalities. Eventually (hopefully) things get to a point where there's a harmonious balance of everything, like one of those self-sustaining ecosystem fish tanks.

If you want a really great thread to read -- and participate in! -- that can greatly help break some of the ice (if you will), see this: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10286


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:52 pm 
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I now realize that I may have appeared abrasive. I don't want to hide behind my condition too much, but sometimes it keeps me from correctly guessing how someone else is going to take something.

And the legalities and moralities certainly affect the tone: too many repro topics mention specific fan translations, and I don't want to be seen as publicly aiding and abetting commercial copyright infringement. That's why I started that topic about games that are clear to reproduce, so that we all can eventually discuss repros with a clean conscience, at least having a substantial noninfringing use excuse to be more open with people who come here just to learn to build a repro. But the known clear games listed as of today are all NROM, likely because a homebrew game that uses more space takes a lot of work to make especially when one isn't getting paid to do it, and rewiring is very different for the 1 Mbit and larger mask ROMs compared to the 64-256 kbit ROMs needed to build an NROM game.


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