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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:53 am 
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byuu wrote:
This didn't stop a company from selling my emulator...
<break>
Yeah, I can name about a half dozen instances where their license was ignored.
Yep, nobody cares about license/rules. It's the wild west. People just take whatever they want.

byuu wrote:
Would you be interested in selling the test ROMs you've made separately, which are claimed to fail in higan?
"Claim"? What...you don't believe me? Haha. XD That's ok. I'll be happy to include all of them in the source release along with all of my other personal notes. Another incentive to get it funded! :) Releasing them right now would be ill-advised as I'm sure some other commercial vendor's developers would love to get their hands on them. ;) Once I reach the funding goal then I've got no issue releasing them. I assume I'd just end up posting everything on a github page.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter to me either way if the source release is funded or not. If it is great! If not, great! I'm just having fun writing the code and learning how the SNES works. But I'm not going to give away massive amounts of work for free that will be used by others for profit.

But with that said I'm willing to make a funding page since people seem to really want this stuff released. I think the biggest issue would be getting enough publicity to get a relatively niche project funded to the required level.

In any case, right now I'm just trying to decide which crowd funding site to use. I was really liking the idea of Patreon because it could support me to continue work on adding more features to the core system, fixing bugs, implementing SA-1, SuperFX, etc. But there is one very minor issue with using Patreon - from what I can tell, there is no way to to show supporters the total funding received so far over the life of the project. All values shown are monthly including the goals themselves. I mean, I could tell people how far/close we are from the goal, but there's no reason anyone should believe me so that doesn't work. It really only works if Patreon is reporting it themselves as a third party.

I had also thought maybe kickstarter or indiegogo. On those you can set a total goal, but they only run for 30/60 days. So you run into the issue of getting enough publicity for a niche project over such a short period of time. I could do what they call a "flexible funding" campaign in which you are not required to reach the entire goal in order to receive the funds. If that happened then you can just run the campaign again...but then who's to say that the second campaign would get any more funding if the first one didn't even succeed? XD

In any case, I'm having fun learning about the crowdfunding stuff. I'm just kind of chewing on which option would have the most chance of success to get the code released to make everyone happy. The more I think about releasing the code the cooler I think it will be. We could even end up having some open source hardware designs to pair with the code (e.g. drop-in replacements for the motherboard, upgraded sd2snes hardware that can handle SA-1 and SuperFX, etc). Would also be great to be working with other systems testers who could report bugs (too many games to do it all myself!). Cool stuff!

But if I get too annoyed with thinking about it or it becomes too time consuming I'll just pick up where I left off and keep plugging away at the code! :D

Cya! :beer:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:46 am 
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Quote:
"Claim"? What...you don't believe me? Haha.


Oh I most certainly believe you, or else I wouldn't be trying so hard to get them ^-^ In fact, I just found a new bug in the HDMA implementation of all emulators today. However, I won't say they're definitely issues until I confirm them. Everyone has written a test ROM with bugs before.

It's just a little disappointing having to spend time doing more hardware reverse engineering myself if you already have the answers just sitting there :|

Quote:
Releasing them right now would be ill-advised as I'm sure some other commercial vendor's developers would love to get their hands on them.


That's exactly what I suspected was the case.

It's not even that I'd release them, it's that the corrected emulation would appear in higan, and some hypothetical company could use that information I guess? I really don't think that's likely, but I can see where you're coming from at least.

That's quite unfortunate that emulation is being held back because you want roughly half a million dollars (don't we all?), but ... at least it's understandable why you're being so secretive.

Quote:
But I'm not going to give away massive amounts of work for free that will be used by others for profit.


My only real concern is if you publicly advertise "more accurate than bsnes/higan!" without providing any proof of your claims. Of course, if you did, I'd fix the issues, so ... I see why you'd be hesitant to reveal them. But I'd be pretty bummed if you took an approach like that to fund your project, especially considering all that I've done to help everyone else in the SNES emulation scene ... and yes, for free. That would be really one-sided.

Quote:
I think the biggest issue would be getting enough publicity to get a relatively niche project funded to the required level.


I don't want to be a downer here, but ... my Patreon gets around $200 a month, and I've sold exactly one commercial license for $2500. In total of 13 years, and including $2500 that I used to pay a decapper, I've brought in maybe $10000 (and spent $30000, but that's another story.)

I really don't think the demand for an FPGA implementation is going to get you to $400000. But who knows, maybe I'm just shit at marketing :P

If you really want $400000, try emulating the Wii U or the Switch. That's working out great for Cemu ;)

Quote:
In any case, I'm having fun learning about the crowdfunding stuff.


You could also consider GoFundMe. I passed because they force you to reveal your full legal name to everyone. Same problem with Paypal. Guessing you don't mind that given your handle :)

I've no problem with you being paid for your work, so I wish you the best of luck :D


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:37 am 
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Really cool! I've followed this project for a bit and am happy to see it nearing completion (or at least initial release status.) I have a couple of questions about things you mentioned earlier.

Is the Bad Apple demo issue (that is still listed as a request in the opening post) still present? I saw a youtube video of yours where it looks like it's running fine but I wasn't sure if this was a seperate version or what.

Is this fixed?
Quote:
Once I finish with sprites I'm going to attack that HV Timer issue with NO MERCY! :D


Does the rain in Super Metroid work now? You mentioned it might be some kind of strange HDMA issue in your Youtube video so I'm wondering if all those kinds of issues are worked out.

Anyway congrats on your progress so far!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:27 am 
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Extremely cool project! Watching your reports with much joy!
I wrote you a PM just now, hope to hear back from you!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:48 am 
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On a seperate note, I read over the funding discussion and I have to say I am a bit concerned. You basically want to sell information (which is fine), but without any independent assessment or peer review, how can we know how good the information is? In my opinion, the value of information is based more on how much better it is then existing information, not how long it took you to get it. I wouldn't consider funding this at any level unless someone can independently confirm that this is an advancement over the state of the art.

Maybe as a confidence builder, you can release one test that passes on snes / verisnes but fails on emulators. Then even if it's used in other commercial projects it's not a big deal as it's only a single data point (and presumably if you are offering real advancement you have many more then just one), but people who might want to back the project can at least be confident that what you are offering is new, valuable, and real.

Apologies for the blunt tone, but I do feel that selling information needs a different tact then asking for funding for some potential future project (where the implicit assumption is that nothing may come of it.)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:33 pm 
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I just randomly found this project and I must say it is an amazing work!

jwdonal wrote:
So how much is ~8,000hrs, 83k lines of FPGA-vendor-agnostic Verilog code, and the myriad possible applications worth? [...] I would need to make enough money from releasing it that I won't feel bad about everyone that's going to steal it to make a commercial product or use it as a marketing attractor while giving me absolutely nothing in return.


8000 hours times USD 100... Quite easy math. ;) No, but honestly, you can't get anything like it in return. All you can get is fame and glory, plus a small donation every now and then. And yes, it will be cloned and sold. Totally unfair, but that's just how the world is. Still, not releasing it means 8000 hours for nothing. By releasing it, you will bring joy and happiness for a lot of people. How much is that worth?

How about this... Why don't you set up a kickstarter with a goal you find worthy, like USD 50000 for releasing the code as GPLv3 or whatever license you pick. Maybe some stretch goals for porting it to DE2, Mist, ZX Spectrum Next, FPGA Arcade etc. Just an idea.

Edit: Oh, and please let me know when the KS is running and I will ship in my share. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:12 pm 
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Hi there.

The way I see it is, you are a programmer. You are an engineer and a genius but you are not a retail expert or have any desire to become one. Yet you still deserve compensation for this.

In other words you are in the same situation as kevtris or ikari. In which case do what they did, they developed something great, and allied themselves with someone experienced in manufacturing and/or retail, and/or already had a system in place to turn his intellectual property into a profitable product. This is, I think, is the only real way in which people will pay, get something back in return, and you will eventually reach your well deserved 400k.

If I may offer a suggestion, should you decide to go down this path, do not ally yourself with the analogue nt team, under any circumstance. 500 dollars for a retro console is crazy and outprices a lot of potential customers. Besides, they already have kevtris who is apparently also working on a snes fpga Core.

Instead, you would do great if you ally yourself with, say, krikzz, stoneage gamer, brian parker from retroUSB, René from dbelectronics, or maybe jason rauch from gametech-us.

I will also note that before the nt mini was jailbroken unexpectedly by kevtris, the nt team was still selling their console for the same ridiculous price, and even jason and kevtris were suprised at the unsually high price of the nt mini, as they mentioned on their AVS review video.

Anyways, think about it: find a partner, proft, win-win for everyone, and the snes lives on forever.

EDIT#1: additionally, you could choose to open source the code once you reach a certain number of sales, i.e. Once you reach your 400k. Ikari has his code open source and still makes a profit with krikzz by selling his sd2snes, so it might still work for your partner.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:20 pm 
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Sorry byuu, I totally missed this reply of yours somehow...
byuu wrote:
It's not even that I'd release them, it's that the corrected emulation would appear in higan, and some hypothetical company could use that information I guess?
That's correct. I'd have no problem trusting you not to release them but since your code is open source that could be a problem.

byuu wrote:
My only real concern is if you publicly advertise "more accurate than bsnes/higan!" <snip>I'd be pretty bummed if you took an approach like that to fund your project, especially considering all that I've done to help everyone else in the SNES emulation scene ... and yes, for free.
That would be a really a-hole move. But I understand your concern as certainly somebody might do that. Fortunately I'm a nice guy. :) There's no way I would talk down about any software emulators, most especially yours. After working on the console for so many years and seeing the complexity of the system you can't get to that point and have anything but total admiration for SNES emulators. I will never understand how in the heck the existing emulators are as accurate as they with doing ONLY software-based reverse-engineering. Seriously, HOW is that possible???? It was hard enough with a damn logic analyzer hooked up to every single pin of the system!!

byuu wrote:
If you really want $400000, try emulating the Wii U or the Switch. That's working out great for Cemu ;)
Yeah, that's so epic. $21,000/month? Yeesh.

byuu wrote:
You could also consider GoFundMe.
I'm not going to lie, I didn't even bother checking their site. I thought GoFundMe was only for people who were very ill or something like that. Guess I'll check it out...

byuu wrote:
Guessing you don't mind that given your handle :)
Good guess. I think everyone knows my name already. Lol. It's not a big secret.

Alyosha_TAS wrote:
Is the Bad Apple demo issue (that is still listed as a request in the opening post) still present?
Yes, this was fixed a while ago.

Alyosha_TAS wrote:
Does the rain in Super Metroid work now?
No, still like that. That bug is near the top of my list of things to fix though. ;) It's most certainly an HDMA issue.

leonquest wrote:
The way I see it is, you are a programmer. You are an engineer and a genius but you are not a retail expert or have any desire to become one.
Except for the genius part, I think that's a pretty accurate assessment. ;) You see I have my own consulting business and myself and two other engineers develop and sell HDL IP cores all day long. But that is equivalent to throwing code over the fence. We don't develop PCBs and we sure as heck don't develop enclosures and all that. We are contracted to implement algorithm X, we do it, we ship it, we're done. Easy-peasy. Developing a product is far too time consuming for me right now. There aren't enough hours in the day! XD

leonquest wrote:
In other words you are in the same situation as kevtris or ikari. In which case do what they did, they developed something great, and allied themselves with someone experienced in manufacturing and/or retail, and/or already had a system in place to turn his intellectual property into a profitable product. This is, I think, is the only real way in which people will pay, get something back in return, and you will eventually reach your well deserved 400k.
I have no problems at all working with others to get the code released or into a product. The more I think about releasing the source code the cooler I think it will be because I think of all of the cools things everyone could do with it. And I could be a lot more open with exactly what's changing in the code, maybe even do some livestream programming videos. So much awesomeness is possible.

leonquest wrote:
If I may offer a suggestion, should you decide to go down this path, do not ally yourself with the analogue nt team, under any circumstance. 500 dollars for a retro console is crazy and outprices a lot of potential customers.
Yeah if they charged $500 for NES FPGA console can you imagine what they'll charge for SNES???? LOL Maybe they think of themselves as the Apple of retro gaming? I dunno. But yeah, $500 is insane.

leonquest wrote:
Instead, you would do great if you ally yourself with, say, krikzz, stoneage gamer, brian parker from retroUSB, René from dbelectronics, or maybe jason rauch from gametech-us.
I'm not opposed to any of that. Actually, someone (sorry whoever you are, don't feel like going back through all the posts to figure out who it was XD) posted an idea earlier that I could have source code release goal and then stretch goal to make some actual hardware. I thought doing that or something similar was a really cool idea.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:53 am 
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leonquest wrote:
Actually, someone (sorry whoever you are, don't feel like going back through all the posts to figure out who it was XD) posted an idea earlier that I could have source code release goal and then stretch goal to make some actual hardware. I thought doing that or something similar was a really cool idea.


Are you referring to my post two posts above yours? I haven't read through 12 pages to see if it was already suggested.

johey wrote:
How about this... Why don't you set up a kickstarter with a goal you find worthy, like USD 50000 for releasing the code as GPLv3 or whatever license you pick. Maybe some stretch goals for porting it to DE2, Mist, ZX Spectrum Next, FPGA Arcade etc. Just an idea.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:50 pm 
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jwdonal wrote:
byuu wrote:
It's not even that I'd release them, it's that the corrected emulation would appear in higan, and some hypothetical company could use that information I guess?
That's correct. I'd have no problem trusting you not to release them but since your code is open source that could be a problem

I'm struggling to see how having that information be available would have a negative impact on VeriSNES at all. Software emulation and FPGA emulation aren't even close to the same thing, as I'm sure we all know, and I don't see how having more accurate software emulators would hurt potential sales of an FPGA SNES product.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:14 pm 
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Hey jwdonal and others, I've been following this project and others like it for quite a while now and I just wanted to introduce myself and weigh in on some of the discussion. First off, SUPER congratulations on getting VeriSNES as far as it is now - it's a major undertaking and it's clear how much work has gone into this project.

---

Now, on to the topic of cash, I think it's important to look at the core issue here: sales. While I can certainly appreciate the amount of skill and time has gone into this project, I think it's really important to the stress the fact that what you have created here is (if you want it to be) the foundation for a product. Whether you decide to make a product on your own, with partners, or whether you take this intellectual property and sell/license it to another company to create a product with, at the end of the day, in order to get this into the hands of people someone down the line has to create some kind of finished product. As such, the value of the product -- and by extension the value of your IP -- can only really be determined by estimating how many final units someone can sell and at what price.

Whether you make something 'on your own' like bunnyboy did with the AVS, or partner with someone like kevtris and Analogue did for the Nt Mini, the big question in my opinion is, "how much demand is there and at what price?". Regardless of who makes this thing, it will need to be priced in a way that is profitable yet within expectations of the market of people (like us) who are interested in these kinds of devices. You could factor your own months of work into the total cost per unit, but in the end of the day there would still be a lot of development work to do when it comes to hardware design, optional case design, etc., and these months of work would need to factored into the unit cost somehow, along with all of the other more obvious costs (parts, manufacture, shipping, etc.). But I still think that how much you charge per unit when it comes to all of the design stuff really factors into how many units you think you can sell, and what price the market would tolerate. Even if you were to just sell your core to someone else, they'd still have to buy it at a price that makes sense for the market if they were to stay in business.

Analogue may have a good reason to price their devices the way that they do, whether it's to cover higher costs, more marketing, niche market sales numbers, or a 'premium' image, I can't really fault them for that and I think they have made some cool stuff. However, I do get a sense that they are already pricing their devices pretty much at the edge of what the retro/FPGA gaming market will tolerate. I could be wrong though, as I think hardcore retro gamers are certainly willing to spend decent chunks of cash on nice devices and games in order to have a great experience.

I wonder if RetroUSB or Analogue would be forthcoming with ballpark sales numbers? It might be at least worth asking them to gauge how big (or not) this market currently is, as a rough starting point. That's all under the assumption that you're at all weighing the possibility of taking this from being a project to being a product.

I also think you have to be a bit careful about equating kickstarter interest with sales interest; I'd happily drop $300-400 tomorrow on a HDMI FPGA SNES (especially if it had some of the 'jailbreak' abilities that kevtris built into the Nt. Mini, wink wink) if it was finished and for sale, but at the same time I'd be very skeptical about dropping that same amount money on a Kickstarter for the same project. Kickstarters are never really guaranteed to succeed or live up to the promises of the creators or dreams of the public, and that says to me that when you put money into a kickstarter you better be more than willing to just completely lose it. As such, I'm much more conservative with my money on kickstarter than I am when it comes to just buying a product, and I'm sure that is true for other people as well.

---

When it comes to Open Source, I'm personally a big fan (although, not a zealot by any stretch). I honestly couldn't even list off the number of open source programs I use on a daily basis, from GNU, Linux, git, Blender, Krita, browsers, emulators, etc... Every time someone takes their hard work and shares it openly with the public, the impact is massive and the ripples can help the community give birth to some really cool new things. Obviously it'd be huge for the retro gaming community to have good, open source implementations of the SNES or other consoles. Frankly, it'd be a game changer, in my opinion.

On the other hand, I certainly don't think you're obligated to take months of your work and simply give it away for free, especially when (as you guys were saying) it can be very hard (i.e.: expensive) to enforce licenses, if not basically impossible when we're talking about certain countries. We've seen this before with certain commercial devices making use of emulators without complying with licenses, and I'm sure that it could happen again in this case. It's a very reasonable concern that I have no answer to. I think making your cores open source would severely limit your ability to cover the cost of all your development time, and it would effectively become a massive gift to the larger community. Money could still be made off FPGA gaming hardware needed to play your core and others, of course, but once the verilog/hdl is out there it's out there.

As such, I think that someone like a Kickstarter or Patreon isn't necessarily a bad idea when it comes to opening up the source code, with the caveat that I think the size of the audience for that sort of thing is pretty niche and that you might have to taper your expectations a little bit. At this point we start getting into the territory of specific cross sections of the retro gaming market who also care about open source code, and if you're hoping to make hundreds of thousands of dollars as the threshold for whether you open source your code or not, I'd be surprised if it succeeds. I'd imagine it's especially hard to sell crowdfunding users on the idea of open sourcing code/hdl, due to the fact that it's not always immediately clear what they can expect to get out of it in the end - that makes it significantly different that a kickstarter for something like a popular game sequel, in which case users have a good idea (sometimes too good) what they will eventually get.

---

Anyway, wall of text, I know. I'm just a fan of these kinds of projects who has been excitedly following your VeriSNES and anticipating one day playing an FPGA SNES. Just wanted to chime in with some thoughts.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:06 pm 
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Hi jwdonal!

I have few questions and could you please clarify:
As far I understand you do almost the same what SNES emulators do but just use FPGA for that instead a software approach?
Your hardware based emulation has better results than the current SNES emulators because of your analysis of hardware and also because you could adjust and tune your emulation?
Am I right that you are not intended to make a full hardware clone? Each single semiconductor to each FPGA gate?
To simulate SNES hardware to full extent in FPGA with 100% precision you would need to investigate the hardware in electron microscope layer by layer and after that analyze a lot of received data and convert it to FPGA code?

Thanks a lot for the clarification!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:09 pm 
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Yes, this is a clone. There aren't public micrographs of the Super NES chipset yet.

Making a super famiclone on an FPGA, even if it is as inaccurate as the final version of ZSNES, has two advantages over full software emulation: you can use authentic Game Paks with arbitrary coprocessors, and less than 0.02 ms latency on 240p or 480p out (or less than 1 ms with 720p/1080p upscaling).


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:25 pm 
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Also less power consumption and (probably) less expensive than a suitable PC.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:57 am 
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Eh, ARM boards capable of SNES emulation are about 20$, FPGA boards able to run this would be on the order of 100$ (my guess).


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