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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:55 pm 
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I've come across a few limited attempts at integrating online connectivity with the NES, which got me wondering: is anyone out there working on a WiFi-enabled cartridge, or is such a thing feasible? A cartridge-based solution seems nearly ideal to me: it wouldn't require you to take up a controller port (as with the ConnectedNES), you wouldn't need a NES with the expansion port (as with the ENIO products), and you wouldn't need to buy the AVS (as with the AVS scoreboard). All you'd need is the cartridge. And this kind of connectivity could open up a lot of interesting possibilities, such as:

  • Online user profiles for granular in-game achievements across games, as well as global game stats.
  • Turn-based online play, either with friends or with random strangers.
  • Downloadable content.
  • Integration of semi-real-time content.
  • Bugfix rollouts.

I am emphatically not a hardware guy, so I have no idea if this idea is prohibitively difficult or expensive. I think about it a lot, though.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:50 pm 
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qfwfq wrote:
I have no idea if this idea is prohibitively difficult or expensive.

If you just want to make one for yourself, the hardware isn't very expensive, really (e.g. far less than $100, probably less than $50).

The difficult part is probably be that no software exists for all those possibilities you mentioned. That software is worth a LOT of hours of work, so if anything's expensive I think it's that part.

If you want to mass produce something, it's that much harder to make good software that makes enough good use of it to justify the expense per cart.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:16 pm 
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For a controller-port device, one can build a controller pass-through into it. I think this is preferable so it's usable with any type of cart, but being on-cart could be faster (reading 8 bits at a time instead of 2 bits).

With wireless specifically, there is some red tape. You can buy a Wifi or Bluetooth module that's already FCC certified and that solves most of the issue, but if you're building beyond a certain quantity you're supposed to have your device pass it's own certification, and you have to pay for that testing (hopefully just once). If you can only easily sell a couple hundred of them, that cost is going to outweigh the hardware cost. Though it might be possible to sell it as a dev kit that a user adds their own module to, I don't know, it's kind of a legal murky area.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:19 am 
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Always wondered if a Raspberry Pi could be used for this? Put it inside a cart and connect the GPIO pins to the cartridge connector.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:28 pm 
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I need to do some reading on the expansion port, because that would seem to make the most sense - however I saw something recently that really made me scratch my head.

The NES "world class service" test benches had the expansion port available on side, and I think I was watching a video of gametechus installing an NESRGB board in it, and saw him mention the "super nintendo expansion". I had known for a while that apart from the plug, the controllers for the SNES and NES/fami were identical, just that the SNES had an additional shift register for the additional buttons.

I went looking on eBay, and sure enough - the SNES test bench connects to the NES test bench via the expenasion port, and from what I have seen, the NES test bench really is just a stock famicom with a pin adapter for the NES carts.

That tells me that at least some SNES functionality can be piped into the NES via that expansion port, but I hadn't gotten around to digging any further into it than that.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:41 pm 
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grynold wrote:
Always wondered if a Raspberry Pi could be used for this?
Better off using an ESP8266.


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