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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:47 am 
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Bregalad wrote:
How did that work in detail ? I tought the FDS has some serious copy protection mechanisms - the disks needs to have a "Nintendo" shape graved into them...

Actually the "Nintendo" shape was possibly the weakest part of the protection. There is a metal(I think) stamp/mold/whatever inside the drive with the Nintendo text backwards, so that when you inserted a disk that metal... thing will snap in place of the "Nintendo" hole on the disk to fix it in place.
In fact, as long as the plastic case of the disk has a hole at that position so that the metal thing fits into it, it will work. So, unofficial disks could have anything there, like "INTEND", "IN ENDO", etc. and later some disks(usually cheaper ones of lower quality) even just contained a plain large rectangular hole(admittedly these disks usually didn't lock in place firmly and might have some reliability problems).
So, as long as your disks didn't read "NINTENDO" you didn't violate any laws(the pirated software themselves though, were obviously another thing).
I think if I were the designer of that protection method I would be proud of what innovations I had, but after learning what really happened eventually I would lock myself up and cry all days.

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Finally, a whole disk side (64kb) do not fit into the adapter's memory (32kb) so copying a disk to another disk isn't that simple and need to be split up into several operations. This assumes an initial bootleg disk is somehow produced to have a copy program in the Famicom memory in the 1st place.

Yes. So, the backup software didn't copy the whole sides at a time. Earlier versions probably copied one file each time so you may need to swap the disks very often. I think these programmes couldn't deal with disks having the "hidden last file" protection either. But as the software improved, the number of times of swapping disks was greatly reduced, with the latest versions able to read whole 32kb a time so you only needed to repeat it once, and they worked even with the "hidden last file" protection. There were also backup software that worked only with game copiers, so that they could read the whole side in one single pass. Some shops even copied the games with PC workstations in very fast speed so that wasn't even a problem.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:56 am 
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Bregalad wrote:
Gilbert, thank you for sharing your experiences I still don't understang. From what I understand, the market of other Asian countries was basically lost to piracy anyways, no matter whether they released cartridge or FDS games. However, at home in Japan, the piracy was insignificant, no matter whether they released FDS or cartridge games.

Actually there was some "black market" thing in Japan, that sold pirated games (and unlicensed games) and game copiers discreetly via routes such as mail order and the like. And I think Nintendo did sue some of them BITD, so piracy WAS a thing in Japan. Most FDS backup and hacking software were actually even developed and sold in Japan and sometimes they could even get away with it since what they did was mostly legal. This article about Hacker International is a good read: http://magweasel.com/2010/06/29/hacker-internationals-head-speaks/


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:24 pm 
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I know that piracy was a big problem in Hong Kong and other Asian countries, but I still don't think it was a big enough of a problem in Japan to kill the FDS. It was probably all the other factors combined with it that eventually killed it.

Bregalad wrote:
Quote:
* When the FDS was released in 1986, 128 kB ROM cartridges already existed. And in june the same year, Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Douchuu on a 256 kB ROM cart was released. The limits of the FDS format was quite clear early on (Zelda, the first game already used up over half of a disk). And as carts became cheaper to produce, the benefits of the FDS became obsolete.

You could easy reach 256kb or more by having multi-disk games, a possibility that was only rarely used. Apparently this was planned (e.g. For FF1) but Nintendo shutted down the possibility very quickly for an obscure reason.

Several 2-disk games where released: Famicom Tantei Club 1 and 2 (both games had 2 disks each), Shin Onigashima, Yuuyuuki and Time Twist among others.

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My understanding is that the Famicom was released exclusively in Japan - other Asian countries either got an official PAL NES or (most likely) a flood of famiclones

I've seen Hong Kong version of both the Famicom and the FDS, but it might be one of those imported and PAL-converted machines with unofficial packaging saying Hong Kong version. I used to have one of those with a custom power board saying Makko Toys (but no box).


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I don't understand what happened exactly. If there was no problem, the FDS would have faded slowly as cartridge games became less expensive and more powerful. Instead, the FDS seems to have vanished extremely quickly in the last quarter of 1987 for an obscure piracy-related reason, this is what I'm particularly interested in.

When Nintendo planned the FDS, the format seemed to be a thousand times better than cartridges (note that this was very early in the life of the Famicom, so only NROM and CNROM etc existed) given how much space they have and the cheap manufacturing price of disks. But it took time to design the system, and when it was finally finished, cartridges had already caught up and became cheaper and cheaper. But did the FDS really die that quickly? The latest games was released in 1992. I think it was a slower death, as carts gradually became cheaper and cheaper until finally the FDS format became almost obsolete. Nintendo managed to create some of their most famous gaming series on it during that time too.


Gilbert wrote:
Pokun wrote:
But how could this be the case? Disks where cheaper because they where cheaper to produce than carts, not because the profit was lower right? And rewriting a disk must be even cheaper for the consumer because you even provide the disk (so you actually loose one of your old games) and only pay for the software itself. No reason to decrease the profit, both the developers and the customers saves money on FDS games.

Because the service was really cheap. As you already read the Wikipedia page, it mentioned that writing a game only cost 500 yens on average, compared to a cart game costing around 4000 to 5000 yens at that time (I think a sealed FDS game was around 2000 yens), I wonder even though it was expensive to produce the cartridges, the revenue in selling FDS games was still much lower. Note that while it cost you nearly nothing to write to a disk the games still cost money to be developed.

So Nintendo and other companies was just stupid and cut down on the profit so they didn't earn much money on it? I still don't get it. Why couldn't they just sell for the full profit or even increase it? It should still be many times cheaper than producing mask ROM cartridges.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:51 pm 
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Pokun wrote:
It was probably all the other factors combined with it that eventually killed it.

Yes. I never said that piracy was the sole factor in its failure (though I think Sega did say it was a large contributing factor to the demise of the Dreamcast :roll: ) but it, together with the low profit, and those already listed in Wikipedia should all play large in it.

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I've seen Hong Kong version of both the Famicom and the FDS, but it might be one of those imported and PAL-converted machines with unofficial packaging saying Hong Kong version. I used to have one of those with a custom power board saying Makko Toys (but no box).

Yes, there were official PAL Famicom and FDS units released here, but that was near the end of the console's life. As I mentioned, Nintendo originally released the NES here, but seeing how easy, fast and cheap it was to import stuff here, most gamers already got the original Famicom and FDS. The questionable game library of the official NES (and unable to use the FDS without modifications) made it a failure. It was years later(nearly mid-90's I think), that they actually released the PAL Famicom officially, but few people cared (that being a PAL console just made it worse, as we love NTSC ones more, and most TV sets at that time started to support both NTSC and PAL anyway). I didn't know why they still cared to release the FDS though. I think by that time they didn't care whether we pirated the games anymore. They probably knew the FDS was popular here and attempted to squeeze some final profits from selling them(possibly, just to get rid of the remaining unsold units in stock).

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So Nintendo and other companies was just stupid and cut down on the profit so they didn't earn much money on it? I still don't get it. Why couldn't they just sell for the full profit or even increase it? It should still be many times cheaper than producing mask ROM cartridges.

Face it, if the FDS games were more expensive no one would even buy the drives in the first place. Piracy was not (initially) a reason people bought the drives. They bought the drives because of the interesting games that they could buy for cheap, not to mention some of the games were originally released on carts (mostly NROM ones), so would you buy the cart version or the disk version, if they're priced similarly? The drive itself was not cheap. It cost around the same as the console itself. Why would one buy it if the games weren't cheap? For all the reasons already mentioned and that magnetic media would more likely fail than ROM carts, no one will buy the system if it didn't offer some big advantages over the carts.
If they priced the games cheaply at the beginning, and then increased their prices drastically after learning the games didn't pay off enough, it would be even worse. That cart games became better and better (and becoming cheaper to manufacture; I've heard one main reason for designing the FDS was that there was a Silicon shortage at the time, so the carts were REALLY expensive to produce, but the cost dropped soon afterwards so it became much less of a problem) just made the FDS games even less competitive, OR, the high price of the games would just give an even better reasonexcuse for people to pirate the games.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:06 pm 
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On a similar note, here are some unofficial disks that I found at the common HardOff in Japan:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C6tqs-4U4AAfR8-.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C6troOBV4AArPJT.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C6trqQiU4AAO-aN.jpg

If the pictures don't show up, then my Twitter posts are here:
https://twitter.com/covell_chris/status ... 6311440384
https://twitter.com/covell_chris/status ... 3449278464

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:55 pm 
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There's pictures of a bunch of different pirate disks here:
http://www.famicomdisksystem.com/disks/

Some of them have rather hilarious distortions of the NINTENDO name.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:09 pm 
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On a similar note, here are some unofficial disks that I found at the common HardOff in Japan:

Interesting, so basically it's an "ordinary" Mistumi QuickDisk (even those those are technically rarer than FDS games) with an extension which defeats the "Nintendo" security ?!

Quote:
But did the FDS really die that quickly? The latest games was released in 1992.

Are you sure it wasn't a pirate games ?

How quickly did the FDS fade ? I'm pretty sure it was very quick, but I'd really like to have more info. Which FDS licensed games were officially released after dec 31, 1987, for the FDS ?


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Face it, if the FDS games were more expensive no one would even buy the drives in the first place.

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I think it was a slower death, as carts gradually became cheaper and cheaper until finally the FDS format became almost obsolete.

You guys are forgetting that the FDS is technically supperior to carts, due to the sound expansion and IRQ timer. This makes things simple to do that would be unthinkable with cartridges using ordinary mappers. Those did only appear within carts within Nintendo MMC5 (MMC3 timer is limited and buggy, and the FDS wasn't). This made the FDS "obsolete" only in 1990, but by 1988 everyone stopped caring about it.

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I've heard one main reason for designing the FDS was that there was a Silicon shortage at the time, so the carts were REALLY expensive to produce

Probably this was "fake news". Silicon is basically sand, I don't think there can be a shortage of. However Gold and Copper are rare/expensive, and used in cartridge games, so those are more likely to drag the price up.

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that they actually released the PAL Famicom officially

First time I ever heard about an official PAL Famicom. Basically it's a PAL NES CPU/PPU in a famicom case, correct ? That's really weird to imagine. Also it'd break many FC games due to incorrect timing, so they had to release the PAL version of them in FC cases ?!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:20 pm 
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Bregalad wrote:
How quickly did the FDS fade ? I'm pretty sure it was very quick, but I'd really like to have more info. Which FDS licensed games were officially released after dec 31, 1987, for the FDS ?

Wikipedia's list is sortable by year:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Family_Computer_Disk_System_games


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:26 pm 
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But this list includes pirated games, ports of cartridge games, it doesn't indicate which is which, and I fear it's not even complete with licenced games.

You know, WP is not always a solution to find information. (Sure it very often is, but still...)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:39 pm 
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It's not the best list, but it's still useful. I think there's a ton of stuff from 1988 that meets the question you asked, though? Even if you have to weed out some that you consider "false positive".

You can also see a dramatic drop-off by 1990. I don't think that's merely the selection bias of it being a poor list.

(I wonder if the corresponding Japanese article is better maintained?)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:00 am 
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Bregalad wrote:
Gilbert wrote:
I've heard one main reason for designing the FDS was that there was a Silicon shortage at the time, so the carts were REALLY expensive to produce

Probably this was "fake news". Silicon is basically sand, I don't think there can be a shortage of. However Gold and Copper are rare/expensive, and used in cartridge games, so those are more likely to drag the price up.

I don't know the chemistry involved in refining silicon, but I believe there is such a thing as shortages of available silicon with the required purity? I remember there was a a lot about this from solar companies a few years ago (example).

The term "silicon shortage" might also be shorthand for an electronics manufacturing shortage in general, too? Some bottleneck in the industry could easily get called that colloquially even if it wasn't due specifically to a shortage of the material.

To bring up wikipedia again (sorry) there's actually an article on a 1988 shortage:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chip_famine


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:34 am 
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Bregalad wrote:
You guys are forgetting that the FDS is technically supperior to carts, due to the sound expansion and IRQ timer. This makes things simple to do that would be unthinkable with cartridges using ordinary mappers. Those did only appear within carts within Nintendo MMC5 (MMC3 timer is limited and buggy, and the FDS wasn't). This made the FDS "obsolete" only in 1990, but by 1988 everyone stopped caring about it.

Actually MMC5 was already a very powerful mapper (we all know that) late in the console's life, and there were many advancements in mappers before that already. The FDS being technically superior to carts, yes, but only initially. Consider that a disk could hold about 1 Mbit of data(counting both sides), cart games pretty soon caught up with that with many games reaching 2 Mbit, meaning that you needed at least two disks and more swappings if these games were to be released in the FDS format. As for extra audio, many 3rd party developers (Namcot and Konami were obvious ones) already had that soon afterwards. I think Nintendo itself wasn't that interested in designing official mappers with extra sound channels at first, possibly because they would need to do more work when they released the games on the NES, after making the mistake idea to exclude the extra audio pin in the cart connector when (re)designing the NES (they've been there when converting FDS games such as Zelda and Metroid to Famicom/NES carts, and they probably didn't like the extra works). It's until they designed MMC5, (one of?) their most powerful mapper, that they decided to include audio enhancement, and even that was not much utilised, as (I think) MMC5 games that did use the extra audio were all exclusive to Japan.

Edited:
Also, if you really read the Japanese version of the game list posted by rainwarrior, note the circle symbols attached to the game entries. That circle meant the game was a (mostly NROM I suppose) cartridge conversion. It's obvious that in 1991 and 1992 the format was dying, for its low number of games released, but if you read carefully, of the 13 titles released in 1990 quite a large number of them were originally cart games, so there were only very few new games in 1990 and doubtlessly they lost interested in the format. Note also that in the late years, apart from Nintendo, the other publisher that had more stuff released was Tokuma Shoten, which was a very large publisher for mainly, you know, books. So their releases were more or less software "magazines", which made more sense to adopt the disk format than cartridges(in particular, Puyo Puyo in 1991, was originally released in Disk Station, Compile's software magazine for the MSX). Nintendo only had two titles released in 1991, which were actually the two half of a single game Time Twist, as hey had done this for a while in their adventure game series already. So there was only one 1st party FDS game in 1991, and in 1992 the only 1st party title was Clu Clu Land, and that was originally a cart game, so Nintendo itself didn't even release any new game in that year(though it's said that the FDS version was actually an enhanced remake, like how they remade Mario Bros for the FDS).

Quote:
Probably this was "fake news". Silicon is basically sand, I don't think there can be a shortage of. However Gold and Copper are rare/expensive, and used in cartridge games, so those are more likely to drag the price up.

I'm not quite sure the reason, but there INDEED was a period that electronic parts (mainly RAM and ROM ICs) were very expensive, and "Silicon shortage" was possibly more or less a name given to describe the situation, not literally short of sand.

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First time I ever heard about an official PAL Famicom. Basically it's a PAL NES CPU/PPU in a famicom case, correct ? That's really weird to imagine. Also it'd break many FC games due to incorrect timing, so they had to release the PAL version of them in FC cases ?!

I remembered my cousin got one, and I gave all my carts to him. I'm not familiar about its hardware detail, but there was a whole thread right here about this.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:45 am 
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For I would think it was the extra banking that the cart gave. Developing for Easy Flash rather than a 1541 disc drive gives a lot more power. In that I have random access to the entire ROM allowing me to pull in any table at any time, load some sprites from anywhere, make the music engine play any song stored anywhere. It effectively gives me a C64 with 1MB of Code and then 64.75K of RAM. So if you want to make a Final Fantasy, I can switch between the over-world and the battle in a heartbeat, I can load in any monster set I want. If I have a platformer I can devote a lot of RAM to the level and then also a fair chunk to make the "map" screen as well. On the Disk I have to keep it all in 64K or be multi-load and multi-load is fine but I can't have you load every time you want to enter a random battle, or every time you exit the battle. Look at SFII on the C64.. ignoring the other flaws, but each time you enter a fight, you have to insert a side of the disk that has the background for the location and then a side that has character 1 and then another for character 2. On a Cart load, switch, load, switch done. Also such random access makes it easier to plan and layout the game, working out what needs to stay in RAM at all times, budgeting it, working out what needs to be loaded in, where, moving stuff around to make it easier to do a single block load etc complicates development and that takes more time and costs more money.

I also fell that marketing could be an issue, the FDS to me would be like the Budget tape games you got on a C64. I.e. down to the local supermarket and get a tape for $5 and play if for a week, then go down next week and get another. People don't have a solid grasp of the immaterial aspect of software, here in 2017 we still have this problem, on iOS everybody thinks an App is free because they are not actually getting something, its just bytes on a disc that doesn't cost anything, but if you sold it on a DVD in the store, they would pay for it as they are "getting something", they can see the disc costs money, and that it has to be shipped etc, it has "value". The FDS to me suffers from this to, in that I have the disk, so your just putting it into the machine for 1min to change it to something else, why am I paying you so much for 1min in the machine. The Matel carts are huge, so you are getting something for your large amount of money, it is physical and its computery stuff and that is expensive, electronic stuff costs a lot of money, so sure I have to pay a lot of money for it, I get this big grey box.

People are lazy, and kids have no patience. I mention the C64 and all of you will instantly say "man you had to wait for it to load... ugh". Mum gives you 20 mins to play, you steal some game time... you don't want to spend 12mins of it finding the disk putting it in, waiting for it to stuff up, loading again and then play. Put the cart in, turn on, blow the cart, turn on.. game. That being said there are some crazy people in the C64 scene who still want Tape loaders for things :roll:

Nintendo had a lot of control because they could say, we are not going to make this game unless we at least make 1,000,000 carts. The cost of doing the mask ROM and firing up the forges is too high otherwise, so you have to order 1,000,000 carts at least ( note the NES numbers probably were smaller than 1mil ) or not at all. This means the game maker has to make a game that is good enough to warrant such an initial cash outlay. FDS look just spend the 2hrs and upload it to the network, so what is the game is lame, they buy it for $5 and play if for a week. Playstation wooed devs with runs of 50,000 and look at the crapfest that led too ;)

In short FDS has benefits for the developer but a worse experience for the consumer.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:49 am 
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So perhaps I was wrong with my premise that the FDS was quickly abandoned in the 1st place ? It might just be Square who rage-quitted the FDS platform after a long period of love, not Nintendo themselves ?

Quote:
The FDS being technically superior to carts, yes, but only initially.

My point is, since neither the MMC1 nor MMC3 re-uses the FDS CPU cycle counter nor the sound hardware, they were not superior, but at best different, if not inferior. This is not obvious by playing FDS games since pretty much all of them seriously underused the hardware they run on - the sound being only used for vague sound effects and the IRQ timer only for simple status bar splits at best. ROM size is not the only factor to consider when knowing which format is "superior", you know. Even when it comes to ROM size, since disks were so cheap, a 2 or 3 disk game wouldn't have been any problem - and there's only a couple of those. On the contrary in the era of CD games, games that spawned on more than 2 disks were extremely common, so much cheap were the disk to made.

What about Mega Man 1 who was initially supposed to be on FDS ? I think Capcom originally intended the room between the level and the boss to be there for hiding disk loading time, however it seems disk loading requires almost 100% of the CPU so I've always wondered whether that would have been technically possible. That's another topic, though.

Quote:
The term "silicon shortage" might also be shorthand for an electronics manufacturing shortage in general, too? Some bottleneck in the industry could easily get called that colloquially even if it wasn't due specifically to a shortage of the material.

That should definitely be it.

Quote:
To bring up wikipedia again (sorry) there's actually an article on a 1988 shortage:

So this happened already in the period of doomfall of the FDS and regain of interest for cartridges.

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As for extra audio, many 3rd party developers (Namcot and Konami were obvious ones) already had that soon afterwards.

Namco(t) and Konami were just 2 developers among hundreds - if they were rich enough to be able to make their own cart and their own mappers with expansion sounds, good for them. Most developers weren't, and relied on Nintendo to make their carts, and their mapper choice was restricted to discrete logic or MMC series mappers. Except if maybe they got a contract with Namco or Konami to use their mappers, but I don't think this ever happened (correct me if I'm wrong). Even within Namco and Konami, only a small minority of their games used the sound chips.

With FDS format, the sound chip is already here in the RAM adapter and is basically for free. You could use it just to improve sound effects slightly (what Nintendo did mostly), or to have music with an additional track which is very significant when the 2A03 only has 4/5 tracks in total. With the IRQ counter combined with $4011, this offers tremendous possibilities with sound/music that were never exploited. Too bad Rare wasn't a Japanese company :p

All this to see, if I was a game developer in Japan in 1988 (and working for neither Konami nor Namco), I don't see why I'd prefer developing a cartridge game over a FDS game on purely technical basis. I'd probably consider both, but I think the FDS sound and IRQ timer would make me favour this platform, but it seems the large majority made the other choice.

Quote:
I remembered my cousin got one, and I gave all my carts to him. I'm not familiar about its hardware detail, but there was a whole thread right here about this.

Thanks, I never noticed that. Honestly this model sounds very strange/buggy and I perfectly see why people were using famiclone instead - considering some of them handles NTSC game correctly with PAL video, something that Nintendo themselves never managed to do ! Personally since I imported a NTSC Famicom I never touched my European PAL NES ever again !

@ Oziphantom: You wrote your post while I was posting mine. I guess you're right and have the best explanation of what happened. In short, the long loading times killed the FDS, and it's benefits were seen as negligible in comparison to that. The musician in me is biased in admiring FDS audio expansion, but for most people it wasn't worth the trouble. That makes sense I guess. Yes, Final Fantasy could have compressed overworld graphics, compressed battle graphics, the entiere battle routine and the entiere overworld routine in RAM (plus the menu routine) in 32k, so that the game would have limited loading from disk but this would have been hard to program and require a lot of code optimization. Or simply use cartridge and swap appropriate banks, and this leads to ease to program and no loading times at all for the consumer. As opposed to the commodore disk drive, the FDS could not (easily) hide loading times, because 1) there's no tracking motor and 2) data loading basically requires 100% of the CPU.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:59 am 
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Bregalad wrote:
So perhaps I was wrong with my premise that the FDS was quickly abandoned in the 1st place ? It might just be Square who rage-quitted the FDS platform after a long period of love, not Nintendo themselves ?

Maybe "rage-quit" was indeed too strong of an expression, but as already pointed out, the low number of 1st party titles in the late years of the FDS did indicate that Nintendo did become less and less interested in the format.
And for Square... They're just close to bankruptcy at the time, and FF1 was a gamble. Maybe after assertion they concluded releasing it in FDS could definitely not save them (even if it sold well the turnover of selling a cheap FDS game possibly couldn't be enough to save them) so they released it as a cart instead, and that's probably the right choice. Imagine every 3 seconds, after walking a few steps the screen turns dark with the text NOW LOADING... staying for even more seconds, before a battle starts, I'm sure not many people would enjoy that...

Quote:
My point is, since neither the MMC1 nor MMC3 re-uses the FDS CPU cycle counter nor the sound hardware, they were not superior, but at best different, if not inferior. This is not obvious by playing FDS games since pretty much all of them seriously underused the hardware they run on - the sound being only used for vague sound effects and the IRQ timer only for simple status bar splits at best.

I think as a single hardware unit that cost as much as the console itself they tried to stuff whatever good stuff they could think of into the FDS drives, so that games for the system won't be outdated that fast and developers could just choose from available features to use in their games(as unlike cart games you cannot attach hardware enhancements into the disks). On the other hand, for cart games the mapper chips/logics just added to the cost of every single game, so unless absolutely needed the mappers were supposed to be economic enough that provided features just enough for the games. It was until late that really powerful "all-in-one" mappers such as MMC5 were invented, possibly because of technically advancement that the cost of such chips was no longer that high, so it's not a waste even no one single game would use all its features.

For features of the FDS being under-utilised it's possible that developers (other than Nintendo) probably weren't that familiar with the hardware initially, or some just didn't care that much due to factors such as time and cost. Compare early Konami FDS titles to later ones. In Akamajo Dracula I think they didn't use the extra audio(or used only a little), but in the sequel they're used in the BGMs. Bio Miracle Upa had really great themes too. That unfortunately they had to give up these extra bits when they converted the games to carts.

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What about Mega Man 1 who was initially supposed to be on FDS ? I think Capcom originally intended the room between the level and the boss to be there for hiding disk loading time, however it seems disk loading requires almost 100% of the CPU so I've always wondered whether that would have been technically possible. That's another topic, though.

I think it's not done to "hide load time". I suppose that "corridor" thing share data with the boss room, so that when you die in a boss fight you respawn in that corridor and you may still have some chance to farm say weapon energy before challenging the boss again, without the need to access the disk. If they didn't add that corridor thing, you either fight the boss immediately after your death if you don't want extra load time; or requires a disk access if you're to be thrown outside the boss room.
(Note that Dracula X on the PC Engine did a similar thing.)

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ROM size is not the only factor to consider when knowing which format is "superior", you know. Even when it comes to ROM size, since disks were so cheap, a 2 or 3 disk game wouldn't have been any problem - and there's only a couple of those. On the contrary in the era of CD games, games that spawned on more than 2 disks were extremely common, so much cheap were the disk to made.

No, ROM size is not the only factor (I never said that, so why mentioned this?) but size of games was actually one of the main reasons they designed the FDS, since it was very expensive to produce carts of large games. The FDS was supposed to expand the size of games. But soon it became a moot point when it didn't cost that much to produced large carts than before.
Releasing games in multiple disk IS a problem as load times and disk swapping are INDEED annoying, depending on what kinds of games they are and whether the developers are good enough. For example, if a game is divided into levels it makes sense to have the data a few consecutive levels on each disk side, so there will be load times like after each level and you only need to flip the disk every few levels; but if it's say a large free roaming RPG (not action "RPG" such as Zelda that the battle action could take place immediately on the field) such as FF1 above having load times before every battle and if the game spawn multiple disks, even requires the player to swap the disk often, would be an annoying experience.
In the current (real-life) library, that most games occupy at most 1 single disk, there are already many examples of good programmers (and planning) and bad ones. For good ones frequency to disk access and disk swapping is minimum, but for the bad ones... you really need to have tried it to believe it, and it's even harder to imagine what will happen if the games spawn multiple disks.

For CD games, one thing is, the access time is already much faster than floppies, and also, the capacity of the optical media is LARGE in comparison, so even if a game is released in multiple CDs you probably don't need to swap disc that often.

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Namco(t) and Konami were just 2 developers among hundreds - if they were rich enough to be able to make their own cart and their own mappers with expansion sounds, good for them. Most developers weren't, and relied on Nintendo to make their carts, and their mapper choice was restricted to discrete logic or MMC series mappers. Except if maybe they got a contract with Namco or Konami to use their mappers, but I don't think this ever happened (correct me if I'm wrong). Even within Namco and Konami, only a small minority of their games used the sound chips.

With FDS format, the sound chip is already here in the RAM adapter and is basically for free. You could use it just to improve sound effects slightly (what Nintendo did mostly), or to have music with an additional track which is very significant when the 2A03 only has 4/5 tracks in total. With the IRQ counter combined with $4011, this offers tremendous possibilities with sound/music that were never exploited. Too bad Rare wasn't a Japanese company :p

I think most developers(especially small ones aiming for non-major games only) just didn't care. The same could be said of the DPCM channel. It's inside the console itself but not many developers actually use it that much (unless you are Sunsoft). The sound capability of a Famicom was already miles ahead of the beeper of PCs and was better than the generic TI chip used in many other 8-bit systems such as MSX and the SMS, so some people were already content with what was available.


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