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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:07 am 
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Hello and congratulations for your project!
I am an EE with some experience to digital electronics but no experience to FPGAs.
As a project to start learning fpgs design i plan to recreate the snes APU.
(The reason for this particular chipset, is because i like snes music :))

My question is how do i start (besides the obvious learn Verilog/VHDL)?
I mean how this chip was exposed to the community in the first place? Was decapping and imaging used?
How did you approached writing your APU core?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:16 pm 
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Much of the APU information would have first been obtained or leaked from development documents and more information probably became available due to emulation projects. No decapping involved. If you want to create a SNES APU in a FPGA perhaps cloning the CPU of the APU module would be the first logical step.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:23 pm 
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Seems to me this project is dead.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:25 pm 
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Location: Seattle
I think you mean "this project is done" :p

Sure, I know you meant "can I buy it" but that wasn't explicitly ever something that was being offered.

And, from an external view, it seems to be quite close to finished, if not actually finished.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:19 pm 
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Location: New Mexico, USA
Hello all!

Yes, I'm still alive. :) Actually...maybe too alive... The popularity of my work on the SNES has had the unintended and totally unexpected consequence of generating more contracting requests for my embedded system consulting business. We were already overloaded with requests but I've been completely overwhelmed for the last several months trying to figure out how to handle the influx of design/consulting jobs. I finally broke down and hired two additional contractors just to keep the business above water - I originally wanted to avoid this because my consulting business was never meant to be this much of a time sink, rather just some fun side work for me and a couple other friends.

It's been a crazy time as a result and on top of that one of my family members had a medical issue which wreaked all kinds of havoc in mine and my wife's schedules. On top of that my wife and I have also been in the process of negotiating a new lease agreement so we can move her private practice to a new location. Needless to say it's been a whirl wind and the last several months are mostly just a blur. 0.o

So, sorry to keep you guys in limbo. I'm hoping to get back to SNES/retro stuff in the very near future. Things are finally starting to settle down............................I hope. :roll:

Cya!

EDIT: One other thing I had wanted to mention (that I thought was kind of humorous) was that some folks at my primary job requested that I make a software emulator version of this new neuromorphic processor architecture that I designed (semi-,kinda-,sortof-related to this other project I worked on viewtopic.php?f=5&t=14821). They primarily want the emulator because the FPGA hardware required to run the real deal is incredibly expensive and an ASIC implementation is still in the works.
When I first started working on emulation over a decade ago I never thought it would end up filling my every waking hour! :shock:


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:16 pm 
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Keep up the good work!!!!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:50 am 
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Please don't stop!
Your project is much better than Super NT.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:11 pm 
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jwdonal,

It's been a month, I know in your last post you covered how busy you have been, I hope the medical issues have cleared up, but do you have time for a small update for us? Even if the update is I'm still too busy to work on this!

Any hints on where you are going to take this project?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:23 am 
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Hi,
this is my first post so let me preface my entire writing which could seem crude or polemical without any premise:
  1. First of all I hope your family member solved its medical issue: health and family first.
  2. Let me thank you for getting me interested in FPGA. I watched with marvel your YouTube videos the first days I discovered about FPGA in retro gaming/computing. Then the FPGA emulation bug grew strong in me and now I own a MiSTer FPGA system and a Super NT. However, all started reading about MiST and watching your videos, so… thank you very much!
  3. I’m a strong believer in Intellectual Property and copyright; I’m a software dev and I run my own company earning its living thanks to its IPs. So… your work, your IP, your rules! You’re totally entitled to do whatever you want with your IPs.

Having said that, let me share my opinion about the VeriSNES release, without criticism:
  1. Monetary value: I really believe you put many valuable high level engineering work hours in this project, and all these hours could mean big money under a contract. My point is that you did this project as a spare time hobby project, without any contract, so this is not the right way to evaluate it. You could evaluate VeriSNES as a product, but, in this historical moment, this product has no (or a really low) monetary value since all FPGA SNES demand has been satisfied by Super NT. It may be sad, but I think that the market can absorb just one FPGA SNES so the money goes to whoever handles to be the first on the market; this already happened.
  2. China stealing IPs. This is an unpleasant fact of life, it always happened and it will always happen both for open source and copyrighted IPs. I don’t mean we must resign to this, but not releasing IPs is not the right way to fight IP theft. See what happens almost daily with Libretro/Retroarch and Kodi; this doesn’t stop them to release all their fantastic work. Not releasing an IP for fear of IP theft is just nonsense to me.
  3. Lack of time. I really know this problem and I’m sympathetic with you. Open sourcing VeriSNES as is would be a solution for that. Just release it and let the community put all the bells and whistles.

It’s a real pity seeing such a great project not being released. The time for releasing it as a commercial product is gone; time will come when someone else will release an open source HDL SNES and any interest for VeriSNES will be vanished. IMHO it’s better to open source it now and gain some community love than just letting it die.
Again, having said that, I repeat: your work, your IP, your rules! Max respect to that.

That’s my two cents.

Best regards.

Locutus73


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:10 am 
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Locutus73 wrote:
The time for releasing it as a commercial product is gone

I disagree. I think there's room in the market for more than one FPGA SNES. But of course it requires the sizable extra effort of building a finished product rather than just a prototype.

It's not an easy decision to open source something like this. Once you do it, there's no going back.

_________________
Download STREEMERZ for NES from fauxgame.com! — Some other stuff I've done: fo.aspekt.fi


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:45 am 
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thefox wrote:
Locutus73 wrote:
The time for releasing it as a commercial product is gone

I disagree.

I gladly accept your disagreement. We’re here to discuss.


thefox wrote:
I think there's room in the market for more than one FPGA SNES. But of course it requires the sizable extra effort of building a finished product rather than just a prototype.

Mmmhh… I don’t know. I really don’t think there’s much space left for another full blown product like Super NT. Without considering all the difficulties in taking a prototype running on a dev board to a full blown product status; and then mass produce it and put it on the market. Kevtris abandoned the idea of doing all this by himself and partnered with Analogue in order to leave production issues to them. Maybe there could be space for a licensed compiled core for existing platforms like MiSTer; I don’t know, I see difficulties in license hardening; it could ask some specific hardware id (i.e. NIC mac address) to the underlying Linux, but this could be easily cracked.
I think jwdonal should also consider the possible monetary value of spontaneous donations to open source project developers. i.e. I donated to the MiSTer main dev more than I would pay for a licensed VeriSNES.


thefox wrote:
It's not an easy decision to open source something like this. Once you do it, there's no going back.

Yep, it takes courage.
But it also takes realism to see where the project is really heading (or not heading) to.



Locutus73


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:49 am 
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Having been in the open source circles for ages, most projects get very little donations, even if they actively ask for them.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:53 am 
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calima wrote:
Having been in the open source circles for ages, most projects get very little donations, even if they actively ask for them.

True, anyway you’re right saying “most”... not all.
It depends on many factors.
Anyway, I didn’t mean “big money”, just some “thankfulness” money and much gratitude and love from the community (and the satisfaction of seeing his project evolving beyond his free time limits). I don’t think in this historical moment VeriSNES can do big money. Maybe (and I repeat maybe) one year ago, but I strongly believe not now.

And again: his work, his IP, his rules.

It’s just sad seeing such a project going... who knows? Somewhere? In his basement’s lab? Nowhere?

Locutus73


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:58 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 11:12 pm
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Location: NE Indiana, USA (NTSC)
Locutus73 wrote:
And again: his work, his IP, his rules.

If only certain ROM hackers appreciated this.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:08 pm 
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I could think of a good use for this for use in a product that isn't satisfied.

The older SNESs had pretty terrible RGB video output due to internal issues in PPU2's analog output. If possible, a device that would emulate PPU2 (and PPU1 as well if needed) that plugs into the mostly unused expansion port (assuming the necessary signals are there) that outputs HDMI and RGB would be amazing, and I'm sure lots of people would buy it. It would completely remove the need for owning a 1CHIP and you would still get the compatibility of a 3CHIP (assuming the FPGA core(s) are accurate). I think having a way to get sharper video out of a real 3CHIP console would sell quite well, especially if it was a modless solution.

An example of a similar existing product would be the Turbo Chameleon 64, which, among other things, has an FPGA implementation of the VIC-II that can output VGA: https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Turbo_Chameleon_64

Being able to sell this product may give compensation, and jwdonal would be able to release source code for the FPGA core without harming sales (just be sure that verilog is somehow incompatible with the expansion port product so that Chinese clone manufacturers would have a difficult time reverse engineering it, like for example including a proprietary video scaler in the core for HDMI).

Of course, this would still require selling a product, which I'm not sure jwdonal wants to do, but it is always possible to partner with a manufacturer/retailer to get that product made, like how the SD2SNESs are made/sold.


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