ZapFC Headerless Format

Discuss emulation of the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom.

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etabeta
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Post by etabeta » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:33 am

tepples wrote:@mudlord: Game Boy has an internal header, much like Super NES. So is it in need of extra board information?
a couple of mappers can only be detected by crc. I don't remember which ones, sorry, and I still have to clean up our gameboy.xml database, so I don't have the specific info handy

mudlord
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Post by mudlord » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:47 am

Yeah, same logic for the Super NES version of ZapFC I guess :/

ibeenew2
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Post by ibeenew2 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:31 am

FitzRoy wrote:You can put a board file in the container.
Thats great, now anyone can put a garbage board file in the container! I thought one of your goals was having no bad ROMs, and you just made up an easy way to create them.
FitzRoy wrote:And screw color, and pcb scans, and 3d renders of the plastic molding, and game guides, and genres, and game credits, and, and, and... Most of that stuff is so flippant, complex, or subjective that you will never come to an agreement on how to preserve it or what to exclude.
This is why an XML type approach would be better for preservation, that info can be added as needed without breaking all existing ROMs. Things like PCB scans could be added to the same ZIP with the file name in the XML instead of locking down the ZIP to not allow any other files.

Instead you just say its too hard, so ignore it all? Even though bootgod's site is already doing much of it? So much for wanting real preservation. Good job ignoring all the other problems too.

3gengames
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Post by 3gengames » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:12 am

etabeta wrote:
3gengames wrote:People trying to change standards are icky.
I'd agree if the standard was capable to represent all games, which iNES is not... at least iNES2.0 can eliminate this 100%.

Fixed.
FitzRoy wrote:
3gengames wrote:Emulators != ROM formats. ROM formats are standard while Emulators are not.
Dude, you are so unbelievably dumb. Rom formats are influenced or even created by emulators.
[/quote]


The first ones are created by emulators, and it's the standard. See the iNES standard set in what seems to be 1998. It's been modified since then slightly for the very few games that did't work and weren't known to exist, but that has since been fixed, sorry.

http://nesdev.com/neshdr20.txt



And also, should ALL PRG-ROM's be at least 32KB big since in games that are only 8K/16K make the whole data range just mirror? Game might be 8K, but that doesn't mean the game program uses the last 8K or the first 8K to run. So it technically is all needed.

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clueless
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Post by clueless » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:29 pm

It seems to me that there are three main goals, and they don't overlap. All of them are hindered by insane copyright laws adopted by democratic governments where lobbyists prevail.
  1. Fitzroy is concerned with preserving the exact details of dumped game ROMs. He champions the "ZapFC" format for this.
  2. Most of #nesdev is concerned with making game images (homebrew, commercial, pirate, anything) playable in emulators and on real hardware. We champion iNES (1 or 2) or sometimes UNIF.
  3. Arcade emulation, which due to the huge variability in system board, must preserve exact ROMs and uses databases that tell the emulator how each of the CPUs in the arcade use each ROM, where it is mapped, which buses connect to which and so forth. Here emulation requires exact preservation. (Please correct me if I'm wrong on this. The only things that I know about MAME and the like I gleaned from this thread).
Fitzroy stated that his big concern is archiving accurate ROM dumps. ROM dumps that he probably can't openly share with the world for legal reasons. I'm willing to bet that the VAST majority of users of NES ROMs are to play games in emulators, not as digital historians. Those users don't really care how it is packaged, so long as the EMU is able to play the game properly.

I don't know how many "official" NES games there are. I thought that there were 760 or so released in the US market (based on unique prog-roms or titles that use the US region's lockout chip), and a few hundred more that were only released in Japan, Europe or the rest of the world. So I'm going to pull a number out of my ass and guess that not counting hacks or homebrew, there are less than 2000 unique NES titles. There are a handful of solid emulators that are actively maintained and work reasonably well. If these emulators can successful play the entire corpus of "official" games, then the iNES format is sufficient for emulation.

It doesn't matter if you dump a game to iNES or ZapFC or MAME format. People can't use the ROM until they obtain it from you. If your goal is to archive perfect images of games ot prevent against bit-rot or just history taking its toll, you'll have to store copies in lots of places and ensure that a legacy of maintenance follows behind you. I just don't see that happening effectively enough to be viable, at least in Japan or any western-civilization type country, due t the insane copyright laws that we tend to have.

If the ZapFC format were agreed upon and adopted, consumers of ROMs archived in that format still need to obtain the ROMs, most likely through technically illegal means. This is no different that using FCEUX and dumps in the iNES format.

It is obvious that ZapFC will not replace iNES. Let those who want to archive ROMs exactly do so, with whatever format they want. Why is it so important to crusade against the established format, when it works well enough? Can't we just have both (or three if MAME does something unique)?

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FitzRoy
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Post by FitzRoy » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:48 pm

Thats great, now anyone can put a garbage board file in the container! I thought one of your goals was having no bad ROMs, and you just made up an easy way to create them.
Huh? A garbage board file will make a licensed rom fail completely to load. And I never said board files for inifinite games wouldn't suffer the same rom-side problems as iNES. That's an inherent problem for that material, you can't improve upon it.

It's an extra feature to support for people who believe in its benefits, it's not going to "replace" the Lady Gaga of rom formats. If you can't stop interjecting with fud statements, it's because you're ridiculously insecure about iNES. What I'm saying isn't rocket science. This is just a way of using a standard container that can be opened by standard programs with licensed mapping delivered by a trusted source. That's all it is. Woe be the emulators that ever support it. Woe be to them. How about letting the worthless, pointless, woeful format be discussed without further interruption from iNES groupies?
Last edited by FitzRoy on Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

3gengames
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Post by 3gengames » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:55 pm

This format is the only worthless one here, honestly.


And plus, when the court finally sides with Nintendo (It'll happen eventual....from bribes.) do you think anyone will want the names inside the ROM's? HELL NO.


Sorry you wasted your years on this. :(
Last edited by 3gengames on Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FitzRoy
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Post by FitzRoy » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:56 pm

Still insecure enough to troll incessantly?

tepples
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Post by tepples » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:56 pm

Please cut the "you're ridiculously insecure" part. Some users have complained to me that it looks like a personal attack. And the same goes for anyone else replying to this topic: Address the idea, not the person. If it gets even more out of hand than it is, I'll have to call Secret Bear.

As for the facts: This approach is worth it for the same reason that MAME's handling of Vs. Unisystem and PlayChoice games is worth it.

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FitzRoy
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Post by FitzRoy » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:01 pm

Are you kidding me? 3gen said he would stop posting 3 pages ago. He posts the same thing. "This format is worthless. This format is worthless." He's not adding anything to the discussion, he's not rebutting points with reasoning, he's just interrupting the thread with provocation. We get his position. We get it already. He'd have been banned from any other forum for doing this. Someone clearly enjoys his prodding.
Last edited by FitzRoy on Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

3gengames
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Post by 3gengames » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:01 pm

Well, sure....but not here. And even then, they're still basically just NES carts.

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Zepper
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Post by Zepper » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:03 pm

- With respect, but... yes, tepples:
Image

panzeroceania
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Post by panzeroceania » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:36 pm

tepples wrote:
panzeroceania wrote:
3gengames wrote:Let's make more stuff that makes ROM's not useable on real hardware from the virgin files! Despite that being basically the whole idea....
how hard do you think it would be to add support to a flashcart?
About as hard as porting Info-ZIP UnZip to run on a Commodore 64. To see why, see previous pages.
FitzRoy wrote:Decompressing the set to ".fc" folders treated as files by the flash cart is probably better suited for stuff like flash carts. The format only enforces ZIP as the default because folders can't be download links and flash carts are less than 1% of users.
I think you missed the part where he said not to use .zip for flash carts tepples.

clueless wrote:ROM dumps that he probably can't openly share with the world for legal reasons. I'm willing to bet that the VAST majority of users of NES ROMs are to play games in emulators, not as digital historians.
I've started to look to the future, I want my kids to get the real mccoy, and I want to be damn sure it's verifiable. I'm being completely serious. I play on a flashcart most the time anyways or real carts, but real carts will die eventually. Some of mine are already failing. And yes that really does matter to me.
clueless wrote:Those users don't really care how it is packaged, so long as the EMU is able to play the game properly.
while it may be true, that's a pretty complacent attitude, lots of things wouldn't get done with that "good enough" mentality. Of course you can go to far in the opposite direction, but I'd rather do that than be complacent. Just because the majority of people aren't enthusiasts and are complacent, that doesn't mean that's the right attitude. The fact that we are all here on this board because of a console that is over 25 years old, older than me in fact, means we're enthusiasts, not just ROMZ KIDDIES.
clueless wrote:If these emulators can successful play the entire corpus of "official" games, then the iNES format is sufficient for emulation.
that's a matter of oppinion, but even assuming that's true, that doesn't mean it's enough to reproduce a cart in 100 years.
clueless wrote: People can't use the ROM until they obtain it from you. ... I just don't see that happening effectively enough to be viable, at lest in Japan or any western-civilization type country, due t the insane copyright laws that we tend to have.

If the ZapFC format were agreed upon and adopted, consumers of ROMs archived in that format still need to obtain the ROMs, most likely through technically illegal means.
people will either dump their own games and verify against the database, or they will do what they've always done, download ROMs from ROM sites, it's not like this format is magically unable to be uploaded to ROM sites.
clueless wrote:This is no different that using FCEUX and dumps in the iNES format.
What does the emulator have to do with it, and how does being able to download ZapFC ROMs make it the same as iNES? that's like saying jpegs and mp3s are the same, because you can download both of them.
clueless wrote:It is obvious that ZapFC will not replace iNES.
probably not, just like no-intro hasn't replaced goodtools, but no-intro is popular enough to be self sustaining and is live and being updated.

It's also like bsnes vs zsnes. zsnes is more popular but it's stagnant.
clueless wrote: Why is it so important to crusade against the established format, when it works well enough? Can't we just have both (or three if MAME does something unique)?
Yeah we can have all of the above. I don't think Fitz honestly expects to "REIGN SUPREME LOLZ" I think he's just got a persistant personality, and wants people to know what he has to offer. Is it perfect? no. is it progress? yes.

Do most average users care? no. Do I care what other people care? no.

This is clearly for the enthusiast, but if the enthusiast does the heavy lifting, it may make it easier for the people who don't care later down the road for random game X.

Finally, there are plenty of things that work well enough but leave plenty of room for improvemnent. What I don't understand is the negative reaction to improvement.

Even if you don't believe it to be improvement, what is the big deal? The only reason I can think people might be upset about it, instead of indifferent, is if they actually think it might take off a little, and become a problem for them.

Who knows.

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clueless
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Post by clueless » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:59 pm

panzeroceania wrote:
clueless wrote:If these emulators can successful play the entire corpus of "official" games, then the iNES format is sufficient for emulation.
that's a matter of oppinion, but even assuming that's true, that doesn't mean it's enough to reproduce a cart in 100 years.
My statement was about iNES being good enough for emulators, not for reproducing carts. To repro a cart, you would _WANT_ something like Fitzroy is proposing. Its not an either this or that mutually exclusive choice.

My main point was that we can have both, as they serve different needs, different audiences.

panzeroceania
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Post by panzeroceania » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:27 pm

fair enough, I'm not trying to misrepresent what you're saying. :(

I agree it doesn't have to be one or the other. I personally tend to lean towards the other side but to each their own I suppose.

I knew you weren't saying anything about reproducing carts. That was kind of my point. It's my inclination to pick something that is robust enough to do many things, and then try to encourage adoption of it so that when it's needed, it's widely available enough to be easy to get and use. Does this mean it needs to dominate? no. Just be prevelant enough that people are familiar with it.

Here is a question. Assuming homebrew developers can use this even if they dont' get added to the database. How does this hurt end users? if an end user can use a more robust format that can be helpful in other arenas, and he's none the wise, how does this hurt him? All that would be needed is support by NES emulator authors and it would be like nothing happened to the end user. No pain, no problem.

ultimately though I don't think this is aimed at the end user primarily, but more at dumpers, devs, etc. and having end users use it would just be a bonus that gives devs an additional reason to work with it.

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