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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 7:53 pm 
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This version adds Chase, Snail Maze Game, updated versions of Denine's games, and fixed resetting in Theremin. But now I'm worried that we might get in trouble with Sega because the layouts and music are almost exactly the same as in the SMS BIOS.


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 6:40 am 
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tepples wrote:
  • Ask Krill to slim Auge down to 16K if possible so I can pair it with another 16K game; I noticed it had a lot of unused space

I'd be able to reduce the code to fit below 16K but not the entire game (PRG+CHR).


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 6:56 am 
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If you can fit it all in a 24592 byte NROM-128 image, that'd be fine. My menu already compresses CHR data into unused areas of other games' PRG ROM.


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:07 am 
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That shouldn't take too long to do, I'll send you a PM with it as soon as it I'm done.


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 12:17 pm 
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DABG currently assumes horizontal mirroring for the scrolling levels, but is set to vertical mirroring in the pack.

I don't know how mirroring control works with the menu system or it's tools, but seeing as it has been a problem several times, maybe it'll be worth it to have the tools automatically get the mirroring bit from the ines header.


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 1:53 pm 
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tepples wrote:
Ask about Sgt. Helmet Training Day
For what it's worth I did ask na_th_an about this, in his reponse to my inquiry about Sir abadol he said:
Quote:
I don't know if it's too late, but feel free to include this (or any future) games in your cartridges.

So if we can get a hold of him it sounds like his okay with including it, as he already gave permission to include Sir Abadol or any future games in the Action53 carts. Would be good to have his explicit permission for each title though. Perhaps Shiru can help us get in contact with them? Shiru is the one that posted about their work with Sgt Helmet afterall. So maybe he has better contact info for them besides PMs.

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Get me a serial boot cable so that I can stash the client in the app bank
I'll get that and a blank INL-ROM flash board packed up over the weekend so you can play around with it next week hopefully.

Quote:
Choose a headliner for the label and title screen
I don't know how necessary this is, if we feel that we really need one and don't have anything comparable to Streemerz this time around perhaps we can use love story since it took first place in the compo. I don't know if it would as fitting in the cartridge label like we did with streemerz since it's not quite as complete/polished. But it could be fitting in the title screen perhaps, but generic nesdev/action53 splash screen would work IMO.

Things are kind of bleeding together between threads, but this seems to be our general action53 compilation thread. We have permission to include NESpix, and I think it'll work out well. A few items need to be handled though. While NESpix is SNROM with battery backing, it's only 32KB prg (or less), and it only uses WRAM for saves. From what I can tell WRAM is untouched until you actually go to save the current project. So converting to our mapper seems reasonable and I should be able to convert it to use flash for saves.

My thought on making user flash available to any games/tools who choose to use it, is fix the first 8KB of the PRG-ROM to $6000-7FFF. For all intensive purposes that can always be there. Using fixed banks and only allowing flashing to $6000-7FFF provides some security to only allowing those two 4KB sectors to be erased/programmed. I'd like to ship Tepples a board with this configuration so he has it for his own testing purposes along with the serial bootloader cable if there are no objections to this configuration. This setup also makes things simple for the bootloader as it can operate with the basis that user flash is always fixed to $6000-7FFF. The bootloader code itself would have to be stored outside of these two 4KB sectors though along with all the other tools/games.

Perhaps we could make the menu smart enough to sense SRAM vs. Flash, so the same rom could work on both platforms as well. Alternatively we could have a separate build for each.

I really like thefox's idea about NESpix:
thefox wrote:
infiniteneslives wrote:
Curious what you guys think about it's <NESpix> inclusion with Action53 volume2.

I think it's a good idea. Including stuff like this and the serial bootloader could coax people into getting their feet wet with NES development. Which, with your suggestion about using Flash, immediately brings forth another idea: the graphics editor(s) could be used to edit graphics in some small game that is included in the cartridge.


Initially I thought that it might not be that reasonable as we need to actually figure out what game to do this with. But I think we have the perfect game now in our library for this use now that we're including CHASE. Not only is it a simple NROM game, but it also is meant to be a tutorial introduction to programming the NES with C. So it sounds like the ultimate matchup to get people interested in NES development. They can tweak the graphics to CHASE with the pairing of NESpix, then they can take it one step further and dig into Shiru's code.

The best way I can imagine this working is by adding some options to the menu of both NESpix and CHASE. In CHASE's menu, the option would be added to overwrite Pattern tables by selecting which of the three NESpix save slots to use. Alternatively this choice could be handled by the action53 menu, but it should be able to be done from within the CHASE rom alone. Additionally one would want to have the option within NESpix to copy CHASE's chr data into a selected save slot/project. This is necessary so the user can know which tiles are used for what once running in CHASE.

Part of me can't help but think we're biting off more than we/I can chew with all these elaborate ideas. If we're able to pull it off, I think it would be well worth it though. With all these additions beyond the compo entries it's starting to really feel like an action packed cart. ;)

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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 2:05 pm 
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Good news: I think I've found a place to store mirroring configuration in the title directory.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 10:19 pm 
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I improved the builder.
  • Builder allows specifying the map mode (starting register $80 value) for an activity, which includes the mirroring and whether $8000 or $C000 is fixed.
  • Builder automatically guesses a suitable map mode. The mirroring fix is no longer needed, and I have to patch it out of Function now.
  • If $8000 is fixed, start with first 16K in both 16K banks; if $C000 is fixed, start with second 16K in both 16K banks. This makes NMI redirection trivial.
  • Combining two NROM-128 games into one 32K bank is more automated.

Current ROM contents:
  • Games (13): 2048, Auge, Chase, DABG, Function, Love Story, MilioNESy, PCB Artist, RHDE, Sir Ababol, Sgt. Helmet, Sliding Blaster, Snail Maze Game
  • Toys (2): SFX Editor, Theremin
  • Blank space: 5 32K banks


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:12 pm 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
Part of me can't help but think we're biting off more than we/I can chew with all these elaborate ideas. If we're able to pull it off, I think it would be well worth it though. With all these additions beyond the compo entries it's starting to really feel like an action packed cart. ;)


I agree, these idea's are amazing! I can't think of any other games off hand where you can make a graphics hack from within the game itself. Sounds like a lot of progress is being made, I'd try it out but I can't remember which emulators support this (are there any powerpak mappers that work as well?).


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 1:05 am 
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infiniteneslives wrote:
only allowing flashing to $6000-7FFF
How would that work? As far as I can tell, for FLASH 'PROMs you'd have to allow writes to the entire bottom (or top) 32K in order to turn on writing &// erasing mode, because the signaling sequence involves ROM A0-A14 (and keeping all of the higher address lines as all 0s or all 1s).

Not that widening the writable window to 32K is particularly onerous...


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 12:19 pm 
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Good point lidnariq. I forgot about the unlock commands being allowed writes and all.

I still think it'd be good to procedurally only allow flash writes to $6000-7FFF. Mainly because flash code has to operate from ram, and flash unlocks need to write to what's typically a mapper address. So you have to be concerned about what bank is mapped to $8000-FFFF if you were writing to flash in that address range. So we can still get comparable protection by procedural means alone.

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 12:51 pm 
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Three ideas:
  • Writes to ROM automatically switch the CPU-visible memory space to the bottommost 32 KiB of the ROM. Really simple, but doesn't address emulator compatibility, and opens the entire bottommost 32 KiB to writes.
  • Add a banking register that allows the window at $6000-$7FFF to be banked between the 2nd and 3rd (or 61st and 62nd) 8KiB slices of ROM. This should let you restrict the writeable range to only the same 16 KiB that include the signaling sequence addresses.
  • Map CPU $6xxx to ROM 0x02xxx and CPU $7xxx to ROM 0x05xxx (or vice versa), which is noncontiguous but then it's entirely transparent and you get the desired 8 KiB RAM-like appearance. Requires adding CPU A12 and PRG A12 to the mapper IC.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 1:22 pm 
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If flash is at $6000-$7FFF, then where is the memory for holding the working copy of a document that exceeds 1280 bytes?


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 11:56 am 
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tepples wrote:
If flash is at $6000-$7FFF, then where is the memory for holding the working copy of a document that exceeds 1280 bytes?

Is this a thinly veiled attempt at promoting your own graphics editor? If so, I don't see how it would work in any case unless 8 KB WRAM is included in the cart, which doesn't make much sense if there would be only one application which would use it.

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 12:33 pm 
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thefox wrote:
Is this a thinly veiled attempt at promoting your own

It wasn't intended as such. If I need to stop accidentally promoting things, I can leave for two weeks.


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