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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:18 am 
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tepples wrote:
These registers would still respond to $5000-$5FFF and $8000-$FFFF like any other A53 mapper feature, but use of $5555 or $AAAA thematically matches the rest of the flash unlock sequence and would be easy to catch with the debugger.

infiniteneslives wrote:
So for the $5555 register, is that the only specific address where bits 6-1 of the select register stick? Or can you write 0x2A to any address $5000-5FFF and it has same effect as writes to $5555?

The latter. It'd just be plain old register $2A that can be set to the flash enable value or any other value. All other values ($00-$29 and $2B-$FF) would retain their meanings per the mapper.

infiniteneslives wrote:
Similarly, does the write to the 'flash enable register' have to occur at $AAAA, or can it be anywhere in $8000-FFFF? I'm assuming it must be $AAAA specifically.

I had assumed anywhere in $8000-$FFFF.

But it seems that going forward, we don't want to put this in the mapper definition, instead treating it as an implementation detail. So do what you think is appropriate for this volume and the next.


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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:29 am 
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tepples wrote:
But it seems that going forward, we don't want to put this in the mapper definition, instead treating it as an implementation detail. So do what you think is appropriate for this volume and the next.


Sounds good. I'll report back with the final implementation for documentation purposes.

Only other detail to cover for the rom's release then is special messages on the title screen. Is there a feature to do this as we have in past years with contributor carts and number of LE copies? I guess we'll survive without it, but if the feature is already built in and ready to use, what's the hex offset and limits for the message?

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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:27 am 
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I plan to work on re-adding that feature this evening if I don't have any paid work to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:35 am 
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tepples wrote:
I plan to work on re-adding that feature this evening if I don't have any paid work to do.


Sounds good. Take whatever time you need as far as I'm concerned. I'm pretty slammed with Lizard builds at the moment. But as soon as that calms down I'm planning to shift directly into action53 builds. Aside from this final rom tweak, we still need contributor info including title message, mailing & email addresses before I can ship contributor carts, and follow with public release shortly afterwards.

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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:18 pm 
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I did some more thorough testing of the current build and found some issues. I'm not sure how important it is to us to remedy these, but I wanted to bring them up if their easy fixes.

Several games don't seem to handle reset. It's about 50/50 or worse, most of the times reset just crashes and can't be recovered from without a power cycle. Includes most/only Runner up games: Brick layer, Flappy, Jupiter.

Brick Breaker & Flappy Jack seem to have issues of not clearing out nametables, or perhaps making PPU writes while rendering..? Brick Breaker starts with a bunch of junk on the screen that gets scrolled to black as I assume it was supposed to be completely. Flappy Jack has 'junk' sprites/tiles scattered throughout the "LEVEL #" screen everytime. There are a couple other things like this during screen transitions in Flappy, but those are a brief single frame. The LEVEL screen they're permanent and scattered throughout the screen.

Waddles the Duck has a strange issue, maybe its a feature? But doesn't quite make sense. I don't think it's clearing out RAM on start up because if you restart the game, or even hit reset and replay Waddles, the 'gem' blocks (mimic of SMB coin blocks) are already collected if you got them in a different play through. If you really want a fresh start on Waddles, you MUST power cycle the console it seems.

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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:09 am 
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For waddles, I can confirm that's a feature. It clears out all ram unless a specific byte in ram has a specific value that waddles sets to it. In that case the page in ram that has gems is left alone. To get the "true" ending, the player has to collect all gems in all levels, and the RAM thing is meant to make that a little less daunting. Loading and playing another game should reset it the way you'd expect most of the time. (And yes, I realize I'd have been smarter to do a checksum, but I didn't have the time/energy...)

Hope that helps narrow down the issues


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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:13 am 
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Thanks cppchriscpp, that's certainly an interesting feature. Perfectly fine, thanks for the explanation.

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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:08 am 
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Failure to recover from reset would be my problem. Because NROM-128 entries outnumbered CNROM entries in the first, second, and third competitions, I tried to pack two 16K PRG ROM segments into one 32K bank. When I get around to re-adding support for a gift message, I'll investigate reset failures in the games you mentioned. I anticipate that several things might make this take longer than I wish I could guarantee to you for the following reasons:

  • Since I made the page 13 build, the second replacement battery in my laptop (that is, the third battery in all) had died, and I had migrated to a different computer. It might take me an hour to dig up the project files from my old computer that I no longer use.
  • I can't test the full 1 MB ROM on hardware. I can test the half ROMs on a PowerPak or the full ROM in FCEUX debugger, but that's it.
  • Paid work comes first. It'd have to be on a day when I don't get a lot of hours at Phil's Hobby Shop or Retrotainment Games.


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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:27 am 
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Understood, TBH the reset problem isn't a huge deal IMO. I'll test with the 512KB versions to see if it behaves similarly.

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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:03 pm 
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While testing the 512KB rom with the reset problem titles, I was not able to replicate the issue as easily as with the 1MB rom had on real hardware.

I did get a core dump screen from brick breaker one time suggesting the reset vectors weren't in place. And one time I got jupiter scope to crash and hang on reset.

So with the 512KB rom I'd say it's much less noticeable for whatever reason. If you're unable to sort out what's wrong due to inability to easily test I'm not sure how much it's worth worrying about.

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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:36 pm 
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What actually happened to me over the past nine days is that Retrotainment Games dumped a ton of work on me related to a project that has not been announced.


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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:28 am 
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Not a problem! I can completely understand that paid work goes before volunteer work. I've pretty much been in the same boat. I think that I can speak as a group in saying that your work has been invaluable to the success of the competitions.


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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:17 pm 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
I did some more thorough testing of the current build and found some issues. I'm not sure how important it is to us to remedy these, but I wanted to bring them up if their easy fixes.

Several games don't seem to handle reset. It's about 50/50 or worse, most of the times reset just crashes and can't be recovered from without a power cycle. Includes most/only Runner up games: Brick layer, Flappy, Jupiter.

Brick Breaker & Flappy Jack seem to have issues of not clearing out nametables, or perhaps making PPU writes while rendering..? Brick Breaker starts with a bunch of junk on the screen that gets scrolled to black as I assume it was supposed to be completely. Flappy Jack has 'junk' sprites/tiles scattered throughout the "LEVEL #" screen everytime. There are a couple other things like this during screen transitions in Flappy, but those are a brief single frame. The LEVEL screen they're permanent and scattered throughout the screen.



Brick Breaker simply leaves the screen ON without first clearing the nametable and all video updates are done exclusively on vblank time. The new build I made fixes that by turning off the screen during startup and doing full screen updates via PPU burst mode which I should have done a long time ago. The newest build was posted in my game's thread.

I need to check this thread more often.

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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:25 pm 
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No worries, I'll be testing your latest build of brickbreaker and dougeff's flappy later today and reporting back.

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 Post subject: Re: Action 53 volume 3
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:57 pm 
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Quick update, Flappy & Brick Breaker have updated roms in their respective threads with corrections to the issues mentioned previously. So this should cover things enough to call all individual roms ready for final build.

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