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Messages - nitro322

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1
General Discussion / Firmware history and/or official site?
« on: 04/Sep/2018 02:08:57 AM »
Hello, all.  Been away for a while and just checked in to find a wealth of new activity and features in the latest firmware thanks to skaman and others.  Great news!

I'm trying to catch up on what I've missed, but I'm having some trouble finding all the information I'm looking for because of how the updates are being released now.  Hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

1. I see skaman has been posting new firmware details as separate threads in this forum with download links to mediafire, but the official firmware page still shows 0.19 beta as the latest release.  Is there any new central location to track these newer updates, or are they all being handled just through the forum posts?  If it's the latter, that's obviously fine, just want to make sure I'm not missing something.  I tend to find things easier to track when there's one comprehensive changelog you can check or download source.

2. Following from the above, I see skaman's four sticky posts covering firmwares 0.22 - 0.25a, but I can't find any details about firmware releases between 0.19 beta on the official site and skaman's 0.22.  I've seen references to 0.20 but can't find the changelog, and I can't find anything at all about 0.21.  Can anyone either point me to some reference for this or provide some details about what was included or changed in those releases?

Thanks!  And to be clear, I'm very appreciate of the updates, so please don't take any of the above as criticism.  Just excited to jump back into this with some recent pickups and want to make sure I have a good grasp on what's new.

2
that's absolutely fantastic news.  Congrats, Wannado.  It sounds like you still have some work to do, but based on the previous discussion I've seen about this it sounds like just getting a working prototype is an incredible feat, and for my own purely selfish reasons I'm really hoping you can see this through to a final product.  :-)

For the "Implement emulator-friendly '.nes' file" part, for simplicity could you use something like the NES Cart Database XML file, which already contains details and checksums about most (if not all) known NES carts to identify the game via checksum and assemble the file as appropriate?  It seems like that'd be a fairly straightforward way to handle this part, though I'd guess it'd introduce some other challenges since embedding the whole XML file within the firmware would be rather wasteful.  Just an idea.

3
General Discussion / How do I join the party?
« on: 15/Jun/2012 08:20:00 PM »
http://www.retrode.org/2012/06/retrode-turns-3/

Says I need a password.  I don't want to be left out.  :-)

4
General Discussion / Re: Atari 2600 adapter
« on: 01/Apr/2012 05:27:23 PM »
Yeah, I saw the schematics, but as had been established in the recent NES adapter thread, I'm a buyer, not a builder (just think of it as doing my part to turn around the economy).  :-)

On the 7800, idea though... you think there's a big market for a 7800 dumper?  I don't know... I actually don't know a single person that's ever owned a 7800.  5200 either, for that matter.  I wouldn't there there'd be a whole lot of demand for that, but who knows.  I'm sure if you're one of the people that do own a 7800, it'd be a nice option to have.  :-)

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General Discussion / Atari 2600 adapter
« on: 01/Apr/2012 03:34:47 AM »
Is it still possible to buy this anywhere?  If not, is anyone interested in selling theirs?

6
Support / Re: File copying on Win7
« on: 30/Mar/2012 03:54:14 AM »
Just FYI, I can confirm this behavior with Windows 7, at least in a VM.  With Linux, I have no problem copying a modified retrode.cfg and overwriting the existing one, but I cannot do the same under Windows 7.  As bunnyboy suggested, first deleting the file will allow me to copy it, and the settings are then saved after a proper umount.

bunnyboy - I don't know if this counts as "easy", but a workaround is to copy the file using the copy command.  This has no problem overwriting what's there, and again, the settings are saved after an unmount.  I couldn't find any way to work around it using a GUI or drag-and-drop method.

7
General Discussion / Re: NES cart dumping/plug-in
« on: 28/Mar/2012 11:24:08 PM »
Is the firmware source code available?  I only recall seeing the binaries on the website.

8
General Discussion / Re: NES cart dumping/plug-in
« on: 28/Mar/2012 02:35:34 AM »
You'd actually prefer bash over C? That's just about the oddest thing I heard today, and we had quite some odd stuff going on earlier.
Heh, yeah, guess I'm just odd like that.  Took me a while to get the hang of bash/shell syntax, but it's a pretty capable language in its own right, and ridiculously portable across UNIX variants.  Plus, I love being able to define arbitrarily complex aliases and functions directly within my shell.  I'm up to a 1123 line ~/.bashrc file full of useful little functions and shortcuts that I can easily copy around to whatever computer I'm currently using (hmm... maybe I do have too much free time...).  C, C++, Java [shudders], and other 'compiled' languages have just never done it for me, nor has stuff like assembly.

Well, thing is, in my experience the likelihood of that someone showing up out of nowhere is near zero.... Meanwhile, you might as well get your hands on a microcontroller and experience the good vibes that emanate from your first blinking LED (the equivalent of "Hello World") first hand :)
Fair enough.  Again, this is something I already would like to play around with some day, but that's not likely to be any time soon.  I have waaaay to many other projects I want to wrap up first before embarking on such a major new hobby.

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General Discussion / Re: NES cart dumping/plug-in
« on: 28/Mar/2012 01:54:26 AM »
Time doesn't seem to be in short supply for you :)
Hmm...  I'll try not to take too much offense from that.  :-)

I've thought about it.  Definitely want to do the soldering thing at some point, as there are a bunch of projects along the lines of CopyNES that I'd like to do one day.  But, as with so many other things I just never get around to it.  Too much other stuff constantly vying for my attention, and oh so many distractions and little side projects to work on (such as randomly deciding to dump all of my old SNES games for no other reason than "because I could...").

Just to be clear, I'm not exactly sitting here waiting for a 'programming messiah' to solve all my ills or provide all my desires (though I wouldn't exactly turn that down, either ;-) ).  I can program just fine as it is, but low-level stuff has never particularly interested me, nor has it ever "clicked" with me the times I've tried.  I prefer to stick to higher level scripting languages - I'm much more productive with them, and I find them more enjoyable to work with.  If I could write the NES plugin firmware in bash or PHP or something, I'd be all over it.  As it is, I'll let the hardware hackers handle the stuff they're good at, and I'll stick with the stuff I tend to enjoy.

In this particular case, I do think it'd be nice if someone with the interest and desire decided to take this on; I'd love to dump all of my NES games as well, and again, just because I could.  If it doesn't happen, though, no big deal.  I already got what I initially wanted and expected out of my Retrode, and I'll be quite content with that if that's all I get.  Nonetheless, I'll still hold out some hope that I may be able to utilize it for even more in the future.

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General Discussion / Re: NES cart dumping/plug-in
« on: 28/Mar/2012 12:35:33 AM »
Fair enough.  I'm satisfied that it is (or seems to be) at least technically possible, which was the main thing I was wanting to get out of this thread.  I can at least hope that someone with the time and desire to work on this will be able to do so in the future.  :-)

Appreciate the responses.

11
General Discussion / Re: ROM timestamps
« on: 27/Mar/2012 01:30:08 AM »
So, no particular significance, then?  In that case, could that hardcoded date be removed in a future update?  It seems super arbitrary, and if there's significance or reason to have a timestamp in the past like that, I think it'd make more sense, and be less confusing for the more detail oriented amongst us (that sounds much better than obsessive-compulsive :-) ), than using some arbitrary hardcoded date.

Granted, it's not a big deal, but if there's no need then why bother setting that?

12
General Discussion / Re: NES cart dumping/plug-in
« on: 27/Mar/2012 01:22:22 AM »
So, something along the lines of what I suggested would be technically possible, but at this point we lack the interested of a capable developer/engineer?  Is that an accurate assessment?

Hey, Matthias, I can understand where you're coming from.  By contrast, the NES and SNES are intertwined in their sheer awesomeness for me, whereas I've never owned a Genesis in my life and have zero use for that port (unless, maybe, for an adapter).  So, I get you there.  Looking at it from a different perspective, though, best I can tell there are no easy-to-use*, pre-built available NES cart dumpers readily available.  A NES plugin for the Retrode would be the first of its kind, and a very strong selling point for the device, helping you move more units.

Of course, if you're doing this for the love and challenge rather than the money (which I can totally respect), that's probably not going to matter a whole lot, but I wanted to throw it out there.  Otherwise, I can only hope some other crazy awesome retrogamer heeds the call.  :-)

*As awesome as the USB CopyNES looks, requiring physical modification of, and soldering to, a real NES fails my easy-to-use test, and for someone as clumsy as me it makes me fear for the safety of my beloved NES.

13
General Discussion / ROM timestamps
« on: 26/Mar/2012 06:52:00 AM »
What's the significance of 1990-11-20 23:00?  All files presented through my Retrode 2 have this timestamp.  At first I thought this was the time when the ROM was compiled or something, but all ROMs have this same timestamp.  So, where does it come from?

Related, would it be possible to get the original timestamp of the ROM and/or SRAM through the Retrode?  That'd be a nice touch.

14
General Discussion / NES cart dumping/plug-in
« on: 26/Mar/2012 04:34:59 AM »
I know this question comes up a lot, but rather than talk about how awesome it would be to have a plugin for this (though I won't lie - it would be quite awesome), I'd like to have a discussion about why it's so difficult to create one.  Specifically: what are the challenges involved in dumping NES carts, and are there any practical solutions for overcoming or working around them?

As I understand it, based on rather limited research, here are the fundamental challenges of dumping NES carts:
  • Each cart has (at least?) two types of ROM chips: PRG+CHR
  • Each cart may use one of many different, incompatible types of memory mappers
  • There is no programmatic way from the ROM(s) themselves to determine which memory mappers, etc. are included or should be used (ie., no built-in header)

Is that at least somewhat accurate?  I'm sure I'm missing and/or oversimplifying some details, so please correct me where appropriate.

As for possible solutions... I know that there are a lot of people working on documenting NES ROMs.  One of the most thorough and complete databases that I've found is the quite aptly named NES Cart Database.  The even publish an XML document to make the data available for programmatic use (this will be referred to as 'database' below).

So, is there any reason Retrode, or an appropriate NES Retrode plugin, couldn't leverage this data to workaround the limitations of the NES carts themselves?  For example, I'm thinking of something like this:
  • A copy of the database is either baked into the firmware or exposed separately on the device (similar to RETRODE.CFG) for easier updates
  • When reading a NES cart, a checksum is performed of the PRG and CHR ROMs
  • The checksums are compared against the database to determine which game is being read
  • Using the information obtained from the database, the ROM can be dumped in one of two different ways:
    • Separate ROMs for the PRG and CHR, plus an extra XML file (or whatever) to define the data
    • A combined data file w/ an appropriate header to define the data (such as iNES or UNIF format)

I think 4a would be better/cleaner, but 4b would be acceptable as well.  In either case, the result would be a successful dump of the NES cart through a Retrode, as joy and happiness abound.

Again, I'm sure I'm missing some details or (grossly) oversimplifying the technical challenges, but conceptually, is something like this feasible?  If not, why not, and are there any other feasible (if not easy) solutions available?  I'd like to better understand the problems/challenges involved.

15
General Discussion / Submitting "bug" reports?
« on: 26/Mar/2012 03:54:09 AM »
While dumping all of my SNES ROMs, I came across a bunch that were either overdumped and needed to be trimmed, as well as a few that could not be automatically detected and had to have forceSize set to the appropriate Mb size.

For the sake of improving the Retrode (2), I'm thinking of redumping all of my games and this time taking notes about the ones I had trouble with.  Would this be helpful?  Ie., could this info be used to improve automatic detection and dumping?

If so, what information would you like for each problem game, aside from, say, the game name, checksum, problem description, and necessary setting(s)?  Also, where should I post such information?

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