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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:06 pm 
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My PowerPak's CF card pins have started lifting, so using it has become a slight hassle. Would be super interested in a complete-support flash cart with possible monochrome CGB Wideboy mode.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:45 am 
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I'll buy one for sure. Hopefully native support for NSF, NSF2, GBS, and NES2 are included.

Perhaps some logic hacks to allow NSF/NSF2 access to GB sound hardware; as well as GB to gain access to Famicom expansion audio "hardware" within GB/GBS mode as well?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:50 am 
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Yes, I would definitely be interested! The gameboy feature is killer!!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:19 pm 
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B00daW wrote:
Perhaps some logic hacks to allow NSF/NSF2 access to GB sound hardware; as well as GB to gain access to Famicom expansion audio "hardware" within GB/GBS mode as well?

That'd be incredible. The chipmusic community would go wild! :P


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:53 pm 
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jmr wrote:
B00daW wrote:
Perhaps some logic hacks to allow NSF/NSF2 access to GB sound hardware; as well as GB to gain access to Famicom expansion audio "hardware" within GB/GBS mode as well?

That'd be incredible. The chipmusic community would go wild! :P

As long as we're talking about audio expansion, it would be really neat to throw in a Namco 163 option that uses straight channel mixing instead of TDM.

Throw a YM2612 in there too, let's get Genesis music playing on here!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:36 pm 
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What if we assume that both the flashcart and HDMI mod are being used at the same time, could the flash cart not communicate directly to the HDMI board by simply sending data directly to the "PPU" (in this case replaced by the HDMI board)? My understanding is that every PPU clock, the PPU will read a bit from four different shift registers, meaning we can send up to 4 bits per clock of information. Since the HDMI board is sitting in front of the PPU, it could read this data and use it in a manner that the PPU wouldn't support. Each NES scanline is 341 PPU clock cycles long, meaning we get 1,364 bits of information per NES scanline.

For the GBC, a scanline consists of 20 background tiles and 10 sprites. Each background tile has 8 x 2-bit pixels, and it can select from one of 8 different palettes. That's 8*2+4 = 20 bits per background tile, and 20 * 20 = 400 bits for background tiles.

Each sprite has 8 x 2-bit pixels, and it can select from 8 palettes, plus needs a 0-160 offset. That gives us 8*2+4+8 = 28 bits per sprite, and 28 * 10 = 280 bits.

That means that we're at a total of 680 bits per scanline for the actual image. In terms of palette information, the sprite palettes have only 3 colours to define (one is always transparent), and it's 15-bit palettes, so you need (8*4*15)+(8*3*15) = 480 + 360 = 840 bits to send the palettes.

That's 680 + 840, which is 1520 bits... That's more bits than we have on each scanline. However, my understanding is all games, with only a handful of exceptions, only update the palettes once per frame. A handful update it more than once per frame. So we can get away with only changing each palette every other scanline, because that will work correctly with like 99% of games, and the 1% that remain will still work nearly correctly, since they're unlikely to be changing both the background and sprite palettes every single scanline.

That means that even scanlines need 680+480 = 1,160 bits, and odd scanlines need 1,040 bits. Both of which are within our capabilities.

If you want to try to better support games that change their palettes, instead of alternating even/odd, just add one bit to specify which set of palettes are being updated in that scanline: background or sprites. That way, if a game changes the background palettes every scanline, but doesn't change the sprite palettes every scanline (or vice versa), you could actually be completely correct.


Alternately, if the HDMI board doesn't have the ability to store palettes, or draw a scanline that includes sprites like I described, you can just say, 1,364 bits, 160 pixels, you get 8 bits per pixel, like in a RGB233 config or something. That's not going to look as good as what a real GBC would do, but it'd be better than the RGB121 trick.


I may have completely misunderstood the degree to which the PPU can pull data from the cartridge, or the capabilities of the HDMI board, but it was fun to try to think of what could be done within my admittedly probably faulty understanding of the limitations.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:49 am 
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I would definitely be a buyer of such a flash cart, especially if it stayed in that price range.

I'm currently a PowerPak owner. My main complaints are the menus and how game saves are handled.

The PowerPak menus are pretty drab. I don't like how there aren't any button prompts on screen. If I haven't used the cart in a while, I tend to forget what start, A and B do, so usually end up fumbling about until I remember. Once I browse to a folder full of games, it's hard to read. It's not that the font is bad, but I find it hard to see what game the cursor is next to in a long list of games. It would be nice to have file names highlighted with the cursor next to them. Also, the allowed length of file names can get annoying, especially when you have multiple versions of the same game. I usually tend to lean toward functionality over aesthetics, so I don't need flashy menus with theme support, etc. But the PowerPak menus are so poor that it becomes about functionality, in my opinion. I also really don't like that they can't auto sort - that would be a nice feature to have.

The way SRAM is handled is a major complaint of many. Although most people find it annoying, I can deal with having to manual add save files to the CF card. But what really annoys me is the way they're written back to the CF card (having to hold reset for 5 seconds then select the backup option). This creates the possibility of losing your save file before you had a chance to back it up (forgetting/human error, electricity going out, etc) aside from being an inconvenience.

It would be nice if Game Genie codes could be loaded from text files. Specifically, I like when individual codes can be loaded one at a time (from individual text files) instead of being forced to load all or none.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:30 am 
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Ziggy587 wrote:
I would definitely be a buyer of such a flash cart, especially if it stayed in that price range.

I'm currently a PowerPak owner. My main complaints are the menus and how game saves are handled.

The PowerPak menus are pretty drab. I don't like how there aren't any button prompts on screen. If I haven't used the cart in a while, I tend to forget what start, A and B do, so usually end up fumbling about until I remember. Once I browse to a folder full of games, it's hard to read. It's not that the font is bad, but I find it hard to see what game the cursor is next to in a long list of games. It would be nice to have file names highlighted with the cursor next to them. Also, the allowed length of file names can get annoying, especially when you have multiple versions of the same game. I usually tend to lean toward functionality over aesthetics, so I don't need flashy menus with theme support, etc. But the PowerPak menus are so poor that it becomes about functionality, in my opinion. I also really don't like that they can't auto sort - that would be a nice feature to have.

The way SRAM is handled is a major complaint of many. Although most people find it annoying, I can deal with having to manual add save files to the CF card. But what really annoys me is the way they're written back to the CF card (having to hold reset for 5 seconds then select the backup option). This creates the possibility of losing your save file before you had a chance to back it up (forgetting/human error, electricity going out, etc) aside from being an inconvenience.

It would be nice if Game Genie codes could be loaded from text files. Specifically, I like when individual codes can be loaded one at a time (from individual text files) instead of being forced to load all or none.


I think this encompasses many of the complaints regarding the PowerPak, which don't get me wrong is still a very fine piece of hardware.

Menu suggestions :

Start : Begin last game
A : Select
B : Back
Select : Menu

The current file should be highlighted like SD2SNES and have pages like N8 ED instead of scrolling. I would also prefer the ED method of sacrificing lines for a text box giving rows of characters for the file name.

The ED N8 automatically handles creating SRAM files and has a battery backup for the SRAM. If you turn off the game it will save. Obviously I would expect nothing less from a competing device.

Ditto regarding Game Genie from text files. PAR code support for RAM modification would be nice too, but I understand that is much more complicated.

The PowerPak had difficulty with MMC3, there was only one mapper (thefox's Save State Mapper 1.6) I could use that would give appropriate scanline split-screen behavior in every game. iNES 2.0 support would be nice.

Finally, the PowerPak added quite a bit of noise to the native video signal. I assume this is not a problem with the HiDef NES Mod or the NESRGB, but on a real NES the jailbars are rather unsightly. The ED N8 is better, but real Nintendo-made carts are best. I hope this could be improved.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:06 pm 
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Great Hierophant wrote:
Finally, the PowerPak added quite a bit of noise to the native video signal. I assume this is not a problem with the HiDef NES Mod or the NESRGB, but on a real NES the jailbars are rather unsightly. The ED N8 is better, but real Nintendo-made carts are best. I hope this could be improved.


Interesting, never realized this was an issue (don't own either myself), guessing it's due to the excessive loading on the stock power supply circuitry? Curious if anyone has tried beefing up NES's supply to resolve this or done other debug here.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:12 pm 
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I don't see any picture quality difference at all on my machines with a real NES cart, PowerPak, or Everdrive N8. The output is identical, as far as I can tell. (I have a front loading NES, and a famicom, and two different powerpaks.) I'm kind of surprised that you have this issue, I've never heard anyone mention it before. (I believe you, I'm just saying that I wouldn't expect this to be a common experience.)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:31 am 
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I don't notice any picture quality differences between my real carts and the same games on my Everdrive either (I have an HVC-CPU-07). I haven't tried to compare them though and my power supply is a bit beefier than the stock adapter.

I agree with Great Hierophant about the menu control. I don't have a Powerpak but judging from the manual it doesn't look as good as the Everdrive (all buttons except the d-pad can be used to select? What about canceling?). And all that hassle with save files, you should definitively aim to make it more like the Everdrive.

The only problem with the Everdrive's menu is that controls are backwards by default (A is cancel), but that can be mended by setting an option for swapping A and B in the options menu.
However, I noticed to my horror that my newly acquired PC Engine Everdrive also has these backwards controls and it has no option to swap them! It doesn't make any sense to me why Krikzz keeps doing this nonsense.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:37 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
I don't see any picture quality difference at all on my machines with a real NES cart, PowerPak, or Everdrive N8. The output is identical, as far as I can tell. (I have a front loading NES, and a famicom, and two different powerpaks.) I'm kind of surprised that you have this issue, I've never heard anyone mention it before. (I believe you, I'm just saying that I wouldn't expect this to be a common experience.)


I have a front loading NES with PowerPAK and see no difference in picture quality between using the PowerPAK and an original cartridge. Although I guess it is worth noting that there are a couple revisions of the PowerPAK aren't there?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:42 pm 
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Wonder if the regulator/caps on Great Hierophant's NES have deteriorated/aged to the point where the rails are abnormally noisy with the extra loading. Or perhaps some other reason his video signal is more sensitive to rail noise.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:23 pm 
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I made a followup post here so as to not to derail the OP's topic :

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13219

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:58 pm 
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I totally want one of these, but sadly I have a SIDE-loading NES system (equipped with a Blinking Light Win), and no TV capable of accepting HDMI signals.

It sounds fantastic, though! :D


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