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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Hi all! Me and Masyanya have something for you. Let me introduce you Invitenes - a game SRAM cartridge for the Famicom and Dendy! It uses a 60 pin connector, but via an adapter can be used on a conventional NES. Yes, you heard right - you can play any NES/Famicom games on real hardware! Moreover, this does not need a computer, except that once for save some games to SD/MMC card. So, here is the device:
ImageImage
The board is designed for conventional cartridge case:
Image
We have already launched several mappers: UNROM, AROM, MMC1, MMC3. You can watch this video, showing the launch a Bucky O'Hare game (currently a bug with the mountains has already been fixed). Features:
1. 2 megabytes of RAM for the PRG.
2. 2 megabytes of RAM for the CHR.
3. Cyclone II FPGA as mapper and logic.
4. STM32 Cortex-M3 controller as a co-processor for memory card, SRAM, and FPGA (can be used from 6502 side).
5. 32 kilobytes of battery-backed WSRAM (as 4 pages of 8 KBytes).
6. USB connector, which can be used to communicate with the computer.
7. Support SD/MMC memory cards up to 32GB.
8. You can create your own mapper, and game for it!
And much more.
Yes, it's ROMless. All you need is stored on the memory card. There are special directory in which files are written which generate FPGA configuration for mapper function. Mapper number taken from the iNES header. To support the new mapper just add new file in that folder. The boot menu handled by coprocessor, so it is sorted and quite fast. Downloading a MMC3 game is about 3 seconds (2x 256K + 150K for FPGA config).
The device is still in development for the programming part, but shows its performance.

PS This is NOT 1st April joke! This device are real!


Last edited by HardWareMan on Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Quite a few advantages over the PowerPak! I like it! Let's see:

1. Works on clones;
2. Uses SD rather than the obsolete CF;
3. 4 times the space for PRG and CHR;
4. Direct connection to the computer;
5. Sorted files, thanks to coprocessor;
6. Faster transfers, also thanks to coprocessor;

Do you plan on selling these? I'm sure there would be a lot of interest!

EDIT: Too bad that the video doesn't show anything interesting. No menu, it just jumps straight to the game. We don't get to see anything about the cart itself, other than it is able to run Bucky O'Hare.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:44 pm 
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What about hacking? Will Firmware/mappers be open-sourced and documented? If so, you have an immediate buyer here...

/someone who already owns two awesome powerpaks for gaming but keeps wishing for a better development platform :)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:35 pm 
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Quote:
What about hacking? Will Firmware/mappers be open-sourced and documented? If so, you have an immediate buyer here...

Same here ! Good to know it wasn't an april fool.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Location: NE Indiana, USA (NTSC)
How well would an OpenStreetMap viewer run on the ARM? Is that ARM7 as in Game Boy Advance or ARMv7 as in modern smartphones?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:42 pm 
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great!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:52 pm 
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Location: Nanaimo, BC Canada
Very nice, good work guys.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:21 pm 
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I am very pleased with the fact that its designed for famicom. Using the powerpak with an adaptor works..but its not really elegant. Would be nice to just have a small cart plug in directly.

ps: if it wont cost too much a small dac for better "Extra" sound channel support representation would be nice...but I suppose you could go the powerpak route and just use 1 pin with pwm.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:25 pm 
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HardWareMan wrote:
8. You can create your own mapper, and game for it!
And much more.
Yes, it's ROMless. All you need is stored on the memory card. There are special directory in which files are written which generate FPGA configuration for mapper function. Mapper number taken from the iNES header. To support the new mapper just add new file in that folder.


I know this is a per-user specification, but I'd REALLY like $A2 (Mapper #162) to be associated with MMC7/RxROM.

...like, in the hearts & minds of everyone. That sort of thing. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Dr. Floppy wrote:
I'd REALLY like $A2 (Mapper #162) to be associated with MMC7/RxROM.

You want to reserve a number for a mapper that doesn't even exist? Why don't you make the mapper first? Or better yet, a game using that mapper, so that there's any reason for it to be officially included anywhere.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:26 pm 
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tokumaru wrote:
Dr. Floppy wrote:
I'd REALLY like $A2 (Mapper #162) to be associated with MMC7/RxROM.

You want to reserve a number for a mapper that doesn't even exist? Why don't you make the mapper first? Or better yet, a game using that mapper, so that there's any reason for it to be officially included anywhere.


I'm actually in the planning stages of such a thing, although it does tend to be a Catch-22: how does one create/test/debug an original game for a mapper with no emulation or hardware support?

This delightful device would appear to be a way out of that nasty cycle. I just hope, when it's all said & done, that I'm not too late. :(


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:31 pm 
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Looks good. And wow, that's a lot of RAM.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:37 pm 
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@Dr. Floppy:

I understand where you're coming from, but there are a lot of ideas on the internet that end up never becoming anything. I think it's a terrible idea to waste something as scarce (not so scarce with iNES 2.0, but still) as mapper numbers with things that don't even exist. If we did that for everyone that had an idea, well, we'd have a lot of unfinished crap just taking up space.

At this point, documenting the "MMC7" would do little more than confuse emulator authors, who wouldn't even have a test ROM to work with.

Both the PowerPak and this cart allow you to test new mappers, provided you know how to make them, without the need for an "official" mapper number. You can just give your mapper file any number you want and it will work on your PowerPak. If you don't know how to make mappers, maybe the first thing to do is to learn that. Or get someone else to make it for you, so that you can code your game.

I believe that only a working game would give you the right to claim an official mapper number.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:54 pm 
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tokumaru wrote:
@Dr. Floppy:
I believe that only a working game would give you the right to claim an official mapper number.


This is an incredibly well-timed coincidence, as it illustrates my concept rather nicely: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=0.0000,+0 ... 4&t=8&z=17

I can't think of a better showcase for [MMC5 + 4-screen mirroring] than an interactive 8-bit rendition of Google Earth.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:33 pm 
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Very nice.

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