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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 11:45 pm 
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lidnariq wrote:
switch to a more-nearly-C-friendly ISA (Z80 is better than 6502 for that),

Eww, gross. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:19 am 
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Come on, this topic has already been discussed over and over here and here. But because I'm stupid I'll state my opinion once more on the matter ^^
  • Either 3BP graphics with multiple palettes, or 4BP with a dual BG/sprite palette (SMS-style)
  • Resolution would probably be the same as the NES but with overscan properly hidable. Either that or 320 px horizontally.
  • One non-scrollable high priority BG layer for status bars, one scrollable BG layer for levels. Either it's 256x256 pixels, or even 512x512 (or parametrable).
  • Either that or we have enough sprites so that the scrollable BG layer is not necessary at all (Neo-geo style), in that case, the "dual palette" idea won't work
  • I don't think the CPU really matters because it just comes down to personal preference eventually
  • At least two interrupt sources for vertical retrace and arbitrary timing.
  • Either wavetable synth or FM, I think wavetable is easier to use, for example 4-bit samples with either 32 or 64 samples and 4-bit volume control would be cool. It could be abused to paly actual samples by playing a "FFFFFF" sample and using IRQs and rewriting the volume constantly during playback :)


Last edited by Bregalad on Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:22 am 
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pubby wrote:
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Oh, come on! Why can't we go for nice power-of-2 dimensions to make scrolling easier?

I like this idea but you need to come up with how attributes/tile colors exist in memory.

The obvious thing to do would be to extend NT entries to 16-bit, like lidnariq said. That'd give us enough bits to address 512 tiles, select 1 of 8 palettes, flip tiles horizontally and vertically, and control priority.

With 16KB of VRAM (what the Master System had), we could have 512 3bpp tiles (12KB) and 2 256x256-pixel name tables (4KB). It would be cool if there was an option for this memory to be on the cartridge, like is the case with the NES, so that tiles could be bankswitched.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:27 am 
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Personally I'd just drop the concept of "nametables" (as far as I know unique to the NES) and have a nice extended tilemap instead. Makes it much easier for scrolling to have a single larger tilemap rather than multiple smaller tilemaps. The only "advantage" of nametables is if we have a status bar and want to keep it somewhere fixed (Battletoads-style), however if we have more than 1 BG layer or enough sprites this stops being an advantage.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:44 am 
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Hardware decompression and video codec. Similar to how PS1 had MJPEG in hardware, this hypothetical console could embed VP9.

...what? Who says proper FMVs wouldn't fit an 8-bit game?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:00 am 
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calima wrote:
Hardware decompression and video codec. Similar to how PS1 had MJPEG in hardware, this hypothetical console could embed VP9.

...what? Who says proper FMVs wouldn't fit an 8-bit game?

What about this then, the console is basically an ehanced VHS player, and games are distributed as VHS tapes. Part of the tape contains the program, and part can contain FMVs. The software running in RAM can control the VHS in order to seek anywhere to either load new data into RAM or play a FMV.

This would be the only way to conciliate FMVs with authentic, 8-bit hardware I can think of, and it actually sounds like it would have been cool back in the day. Sort of a 3DO before it's time :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:08 am 
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There is a VHS adapter for the C64, it is used in lieu of the Datacassette, so plausible... They also made a CD version, so you can get a pile ( 30? ) Codemasters games on a CD for the C64.

And yeah if you making a new console, ditch nametables, and just have tilemaps...


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:15 am 
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I really love this idea, but instead of thinking strictly consoles, why not go for a configuration that could work with everything onboard on a single PCB for a plug-n-play solution just like arcade JAMMA boards, or those plug-in consoles with built in games?

I don't know a lot about electronics, but I would love it if it were possible to design a simple complete "open source console" that could easily be set up on a breadboard with just a couple of FPGAs and a bunch of easily available ICs, along with hopefully a minimum of extra components or complex wiring.
Would that be possible?

There doesn't seem to be a lot out there in the sense of open source FPGA based video chips, and the few there are, all seemed to be based on modern 3D rendering, etc.
I absolutely agree though, not making nametable screens 256x256 would just be repeating the same mistakes the NES did. It would be pretty cool to have at least two background layers to work with, too.


Last edited by Sumez on Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:29 am 
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see
Mega65
C-One
MiST FGPA
Chameleon


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:37 am 
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Quote:
it were possible to design a simple complete "open source console" that could easily be set up on a breadboard

This has already been done.

Quote:
that could easily be set up on a breadboard with just a couple of FPGA

:lol: :lol: :lol:
FPGAs are anything but "easily set up".


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:40 am 
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It was my impression that if you're working with a predetermined configuration and have the necessary tools, programming an FPGA is no more complex than writing to an EPROM. But I guess I was wrong.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:41 am 
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Programming the FPGA is as easy as EPROM, connect a cable and press "program" button on the PC side... just making the stuff that gets programmed isn't anything along the lines of easy :P

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:58 am 
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Oh fudge it, just make a GBA. And if you're dissatisfied with that, make a NDS. And if you're dissatisfied with that, go full Tegra X1.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:27 am 
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2 cents:
-uniqueness is more important than capacity. If we want something that's a middle step between nes and snes, there's turbo-grafx or mega drive; they also have a larger user base than a completely new console.
-thus, what would be interesting is a set of features and limitations which feel, look and sound unique.
-assembly is hard, but fun (for the 65xx family). BASIC is ineffective and limiting, but accessible and fun. Is C fun?

For audio:
555 timers, thermal noise with a simple but rather sharp BP filter, and a couple of simple vactrol (optocoupler) envelopes. OH YES. Not only would the vactrols make for a distinct sound - it would be a bliss from a score/music engine perspective. They can take an impulse, a prolonged "on" or a variable voltage, anything goes, everything sounds musical, you don't need to store or process envelopes to make nice sounds. The circuit can be as simple as anything gets, they can even be passive if they must, sans programmable logic. But they could also feed back to modulate the timers for percussive punches. If an impulse is sent while a lower voltage is being fed continously, it sounds like two instruments on one channel. It would be pretty effective. It's a very cheap and small circuit to have them select between gating amplitude only or both amplitude and low pass filtering. The latter is generally more musical, but sometimes you may want the bright edge of amplitude gating only.

Wavetable or FM would be more versatile than a simple set of 555 timers, of course.

Maybe even add a mix tap to a bucket brigade delay to make things even easier for the music engine.

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Last edited by FrankenGraphics on Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:36 am 
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I've always used the terms "name table" and "tile map" interchangeably.


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