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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:10 am 
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tepples wrote:
Tetris I'll grant because Elorg was making things complicated at the time. But are you referring to authentic copies of Tengen's After Burner and the Wisdom Tree games as "pirate"?


I guess maybe unlicensed is the proper term--mostly I meant the games not grey and 'nintendo shaped' with a nintnedo seal


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:16 am 
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thefox wrote:
chromableedstudios wrote:
It doesn't seem to work at all with my Nrom-128-04 28c256 flash cart that I have been working with for development... big disappointment since it is literally a nintendo board(makes me suspect they are doing something funny with a hash for mapper detection or something?)

Using development carts on Retron 5 is pointless anyways, you may as well use an emulator on PC.


Different tools have different uses at different stages of development.

[edited for unnecessary sass]


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:27 am 
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chromableedstudios wrote:
It doesn't seem to work at all with my Nrom-128-04 28c256 flash cart that I have been working with for development... big disappointment since it is literally a nintendo board(makes me suspect they are doing something funny with a hash for mapper detection or something?)

the sad part about the "bad" section is that ALL of these games play on the $15 yobo


Your $15 Yobo is a nearly identical clone of the circuits in the real NES/Famicom. Clones have been known to have their problems due to incorrect cartridge port signal wiring and the audio duty cycle switch. But besides those issues they are more accurate than most emulators. And ofcourse they will work with any mapper if the cartridge port has all the appropriate signals connected.

This Retron 5 is just an emulator which poses plenty of problems. Chances are they aren't using their own emulator but instead are using the source to an open source emulator and modifying it for their purposes. One thing they had to do on their own is figure out how to detect cartridges and their mappers so they can dump the ROM to load into the emulator. Maybe this aspect is not well engineered yet. I've heard it's using some sort of database to try to detect games by a checksum. We've had discussions before about how databases can be problematic with emulators due to homebrew and hacks.

Ofcourse since this thing can be updated they can improve compatibility.

Oh and ofcourse this will look way better on your HDTV than the Yobo or a real NES because it's outputting a much higher resolution and quality signal for the HDTV to work with. HDTV's do not do well with low resolution Composite video. They mainly support that for TV and Video, not low resolution computer graphics.


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:19 pm 
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Well, personally I think it has more to do with the introduction of a digital signal than the resolution(and the fact that the signal processing software on my main tv is poor) but I'm sure both have an impact.

MottZilla wrote:
Your $15 Yobo is a nearly identical clone of the circuits in the real NES/Famicom


Not so nearly identical that Afterburner works(I think there's a couple others that don't work on yobo too, but I don't really know enough to know why)

Given that it is emulation, I guess I would be happier if the mapper identification(ines header probably?) process was transparent so I could just add my own game or Nomolos or whatever to the list

As a side note: Apparently you have to generate some file(retron-update-request.dat acording to manual) on the retron5 sd card which gets uploaded to their website in order to get new app update


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:32 pm 
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After Burner, Gauntlet, Rad Racer II, and MMC5 games use nametables on the cartridge, something that a lot of miswired famiclones don't support.

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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:32 am 
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chromableedstudios wrote:
Well, personally I think it has more to do with the introduction of a digital signal than the resolution(and the fact that the signal processing software on my main tv is poor) but I'm sure both have an impact.


Yes, both parts are helping. Again TVs upscale analog video with Television and Video (VHS/LaserDisc/DVD/Etc) in mind and not computer graphics. They do a poor job of handling it. So anything you can do to eliminate upscaling by the TV or give it a better quality signal to work with helps alot.

And Tepples beat me to the issue with NameTables. People mistakenly think that these clones "aren't accurate" because various games do not work when infact they would work if the cartridge port was not wired incorrectly. These clones are very accurate as they aren't really reverse engineered, they are copies of the original chips. The only mistakes I'm aware of are some have the duty cycles reversed and some have the cartridge port signals incorrect affecting certain games. But other than that they are more accurate than many emulators and they run in real time like the real system does. So ofcourse unlike an emulator they should be able to run any cartridge with whatever mapper, barring problems with cartridge port signals being wired wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:44 pm 
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Well, seeing as this is the hardware section, I decided to tear apart the retron5 today and take a peek

the biggest visible components on the top sides of the boards(I didn't take it all the way apart) are:

On the main board:
-Rockchip RK3066
-2x Nanya ram
-29F16G

On the cart board:
-Xilinx Spartan XC3S50A
-4x ALVC164245 which look to be voltage related

then there are two skinny boards for the controller ports

It looks like the flex cables connecting the boards may have been glued in? strange

there's also a couple of through hole resistors connected to a testpoint on one end and a wire on the other that stick out like a sore thumb on what looks to be a late 'revision' to the board

edit:
Drivers:
http://www.rockchip.nl/downloads/
Hold reset and power on while connected with mini usb to PC

looks like maybe this is the software you could use to flash it? RKBatchTool
http://www.mediafire.com/download/koja2 ... ip+1.5.zip

[let the hacking begin?]


Last edited by chromableedstudios on Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:07 am 
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chromableedstudios wrote:
-4x ALVC164245 which look to be voltage related
Voltage translator for interfacing between the 1.8-3.3V of the rest of the system to the 5V for the cartridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:06 pm 
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Anybody have ideas on how to get ADB or recovery enabled? there are quite a few posts on rooting rk3066 based devices on xda but they all assume you can get ADB access already

I think I read that bunny helped someone get into recovery mode(some phones enable Adb in recovery?) but I didn't quite understand what he did

Also, has anybody seen GPL sources for retron 5? I can't seem to find any place to request them, but I would guess on an android based system there ought to be at least a few gpl libraries


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:53 am 
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here is a 'generic' clockwork mod recovery for rk3066 maybe this would help get a CWM recovery for retron 5
http://androtab.info/clockworkmod/rockchip/

it seems like based on https://github.com/naobsd/rkutils and some of the rkandroid tools that maybe the nand can just be dumped via the rockchip drivers?

I couldn't get the existing tools out there to correctly recognize the retron5 device though

it just said maskrom device detected but would not allow me to dump from address 0 for 2 length to try and get a parameter file which might describe the nand memory partition

on a side note: there seems to be an unpopulated surface mount miniUSB(5pin) on the opposite side of the board from where the populated one is... anybody have a port and bold enough to solder it on and see if it does anything? maybe if hyperkin got really creative that could be the ADB port?

(update: after looking at it with a multimeter it seems like maybe a bunch of passives would have to be populated to actually enable the second usb? it is tinned and labeled CN2. The usb is next to two small holes with exposed copper not tinned maybe a jumper? The holes were in a white box labeled CN3 and one side had voltage when the retron was on. I think CN1 is a series of three small holes on the other side of the board one of which had voltage when the retron was on also. There are also quite a few circular copper pads with white circles around them that look like testpoints--although only the boards other than the mainboard had TP# labels.)


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:07 pm 
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FWIW I've heard reports confirming that the retron5 detects mappers via checksum against a database. Apparently all you have to do is ask them what the deal is on their facebook page and they will tell you whatever you want to know.

So they're dumping some portion of what's usually a fixed bank, detecting the mapper based on some segement of a checksum (perhaps it's usually the last 8KB since most mappers have that fixed? Then dumping the rest of the cart and playing it in their emulator. So hacks, homebrews, perhaps some unlicensed carts, and anything which modifies that check sum'd segment won't work even if the mapper is supported as it doesn't know how to dump the cart.

I've heard second hand that someone provided a hacked rom of a popular hacked title to hyperkin and they added that title to their supported list. I'm planning on providing them with some titles I'm working with to help get them supported. But apparently it's pretty easy, just ping their facebook and perhaps support email. Now non-standard mappers like 28 for action53 will be a different story as they have to create mapper support, not just add it to their database. But apparently they're interested in supporting everything, and have plans to detect the mapper via non-database means. But who knows if that day will ever really come.. They've been getting a lot of flack for their database means of mapper support, so perhaps they are significantly motivated.

Yes, I did receive these reports second hand, but I trust the source. And if anyone questions it supposedly all you need to do is ask em via facebook.

Furthermore, this method of operation also confirms that there is effectively zero chance of traditional flash carts like the powerpak and everdrive will ever be supported. Because those devices rely on an menu to be operating via the NES/FC to load the mapper and roms. Sounds like something like my old nesdev1 project would work though as the PC handles loading the roms and initializing the mapper and from the cart edge it just looks like that title provided it's in the database..

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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:38 am 
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It would be much more useful if it allowed you to load a ROM directly into the Retron 5 than it would be to have it attempt to support a PowerPak / Everdrive.

As for the checksum identification, I don't think they have much alternative, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt for them to have an "advanced" user option to manually override it and/or edit the database.


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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:11 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
As for the checksum identification, I don't think they have much alternative, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt for them to have an "advanced" user option to manually override it and/or edit the database.

I think it would be possible to detect most mappers by using heuristics. Write to certain registers, and see what happens.

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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:17 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
Apparently all you have to do is ask them what the deal is on their facebook page and they will tell you whatever you want to know.

Additionally, for Facebook abstainers like myself, the FAQ page mentions a phone number for reporting "Unknown Cart" errors.

Quote:
Now non-standard mappers like 28 for action53 will be a different story as they have to create mapper support

Which shouldn't be too hard given full mapper docs on the wiki, including a Python reference implementation that Hyperkin engineers can translate into whatever language their emulator uses. On the other hand, given that the game is currently discontinued on cartridge, it might be a little hard to obtain an official copy for testing unless it's among the titles that you're "planning on providing them with [...] to help get them supported". Should I put a signature in the last bank of future Action 53 ROM images to help the dumper identify it more quickly?

Quote:
and have plans to detect the mapper via non-database means

Which shouldn't be too hard. If you do get in touch with them, feel free to let them use the mirroring-based mapper guessing that I made for Holy Diver Batman, which should cover most licensed NES games that use an ASIC mapper.

rainwarrior wrote:
It would be much more useful if it allowed you to load a ROM directly into the Retron 5

I think the reason it doesn't take ROMs is to keep Hyperkin from getting Lik Sang'd. By having the machine rely exclusively on the cart slots, Hyperkin can rely on the essential copy defense, codified as 17 USC 117(a)(1) and foreign counterparts.

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 Post subject: Re: Retron 5
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:13 am 
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thefox wrote:
rainwarrior wrote:
As for the checksum identification, I don't think they have much alternative, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt for them to have an "advanced" user option to manually override it and/or edit the database.

I think it would be possible to detect most mappers by using heuristics. Write to certain registers, and see what happens.


I agree, you could probably come up with a semi-decent process of writing and reading to probe a cartridge and try to determine what mapper is likely being used. Atleast when it comes to NES. The alternative would be to allow the user to select a mapper number.


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