Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

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Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby seastalker » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:35 pm

Hey guys!

Forgive me if such already exists, but IMHO the sub-niche of retro computers (/gaming) has a gap to be filled. I can't imagine the Firebee, Turbo Chameleon, and MIST owners take up a huge % of the population or even of Youtube gamers. I LOVE FPGA, but for others to embrace it, deMISTifying would be prudent. Some observations to put a cohesive information source together:

MOST people don't get FPGA. Hardware emulation? Right there, 'emulation' implies cheap substitute. My eureka moment was when someone detailed that all chips/instructions start as FPGAs, then finalized, and then solely to reduce costs: their instruction 'souls' are Han Solo frozen and then 'Attack of The Cloned' onto mass produced "read only" static chips on your motherboard... so FPGA is like just a more expensive 'original film negative' version of your DVD/Bluray with added benefit of playing more movies. That's it. All else is identical. So claims of FPGA not being the real thing is akin to claiming the only way to watch Star Wars is from Lucas's original camera negative... in theory.

FPGA owners know the complications: Despite hardware accuracy, the perfect clone experience depends on CORE accuracy, or Han Solo 'souls' of the original machines being carbon(ite) copy accurate of Han Solo. THIS is where FPGA may get a bad name and lumped with Windows emulators.
No one should fault the efforts of volunteer (unpaid) programmers to reinterpret the instructions of these original machines. We do need to know how advanced or accurate is the PC engine core? SMS?

Summary: there should be an online presence (Github??) that documents the accuracy of various cores for various FPGA re-implementation of classic systems. I've seen Youtube videos of the complications for USA based collectors to get a ZX Speccy working. I learned here that the MIST is spot on as a Speccy...great to know for USA based collectors. Others need work (thank you Braincell for C64), but the biggest question is this: how do we know how WELL/ACCURATE our cores are working if we never had the original hardware? I think a % based accuracy database would be great so people could contribute, and could make informed decisions between buying a MIST vs C64 Reloaded, real Atari vs 1088XEL or Eclair, or buying a Just Speccy or Mega 65.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby Newsdee » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:23 am

The way I describe is that FPGA are a kit to build Systems-on-a-Chip (SoC); miniaturizing the whole hardware in a tiny box. There are two objective advantages: it's cheaper than cloning the original electronics, and it is MUCH more power efficient.

As you say accuracy is a problem, but also the fact that people are used to save states and other enhancements.

One way to measure compatibility is to list which games work (or not). Although many will gripe about Demos or some business software that relies on obscure features :)

Truth is 100% accuracy is very difficult, even with software emulation.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby Newsdee » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:26 am

Also, have you seen the spreadsheet linked at the top of this page?
https://github.com/mist-devel/mist-boar ... CoreStatus

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby DrOG » Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:35 am

The above mentioned spreadsheet is a bit outdated and scanty as i.e. we have now a (more or less) working Sega Genesis /Megadrive core, some hungarian school computers (HT1080Z, Primo, Videoton TVC), and a lot of new arcade cores also...

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:59 am

No one is obliged to do what you want. There is a pretty simple rule: You want it - you do it.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby seastalker » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:56 pm

Thanks Newsdee! That is pretty darn close to what I was hoping for. I have some original hardware and a MIST, so I hope I can do some comparison work and contribute to the spreadsheet.

@Sorgelig - Did anyone make any demands or imply expectation of obligation? I agree with the "you do it" statement whenever possible. It starts with a wish and presentation of an idea, and testing the crowd to see if such work already exists so as not to reinvent the wheel. Seems there is a great head-start here
... your comment reads uncharacteristically abrasive. It's understandable as when you are as good at your work as you indeed are, I'm certain a lot of people unfairly expect or demand from you. That would bug me too: so, thought you could use a boost and reminder: your work is adored and respected and I thank you for it.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby rrmagro » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:43 am

seastalker wrote:Thanks Newsdee! That is pretty darn close to what I was hoping for. I have some original hardware and a MIST, so I hope I can do some comparison work and contribute to the spreadsheet.

@Sorgelig - Did anyone make any demands or imply expectation of obligation? I agree with the "you do it" statement whenever possible. It starts with a wish and presentation of an idea, and testing the crowd to see if such work already exists so as not to reinvent the wheel. Seems there is a great head-start here
... your comment reads uncharacteristically abrasive. It's understandable as when you are as good at your work as you indeed are, I'm certain a lot of people unfairly expect or demand from you. That would bug me too: so, thought you could use a boost and reminder: your work is adored and respected and I thank you for it.


@Sorgelig, for some time now I did not respond nor told anything about your replies. As I said before, this is not a chat. We are here to make a better MIST not to make a name for our selfs. Your comments are unnessacery and even destructive (abrasive).

Sorry I had do do this.

I'm certain that the MIST board wil continue to evolve, but I have already sold mine because of some replies. I am thinking of buying another one, if the community changes its perspective.
Not every developer needs to control nor take over the wonderful work of the designer of the hardware ( thanks Till). It's the community that makes this possible not a single person nor a smal team. Ideas must be discussed not placed in the trash, as they appear.

I'll be always attending this forum and watching for a better MIST.

Regards

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby rrmagro » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:45 am

Buy the way, you are still one of the active developers, in name of the MIST "fans" I believe a Thank You is on order.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:57 am

My comment wasn't intended to destroy someone's work.
As a community of free time developers and hobbyists, it can be developed only by willing. Anyone is welcome to add whatever he wants. If you can test all cores with many games and make the spreadsheet or review - that's really good!
But requests like "We need to do this or that" aren't welcome because it won't be accomplished. That's why i've wrote that no one is obliged to do what other person wishes. Either you do what you wish and share with community, or it won't happen if you will wait for others to support.
Basically, this forum is not MiST support forum with its classic form because there is no one in charge of support. The only thing which has official support is hardware itself. So, questions about hardware failures should be addressed to Lotharek as for manufacturer.
Everything else is actually under terms of GPL(or similar license) without obligations of support.

Selling the board just because of some replies? Weirdest reason i ever saw... If i buy something then i buy it for myself and i don't care what others say.

Community will be better when more people will be adding something.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby rrmagro » Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:49 pm

Sorgelig wrote:My comment wasn't intended to destroy someone's work.
As a community of free time developers and hobbyists, it can be developed only by willing. Anyone is welcome to add whatever he wants. If you can test all cores with many games and make the spreadsheet or review - that's really good!
But requests like "We need to do this or that" aren't welcome because it won't be accomplished. That's why i've wrote that no one is obliged to do what other person wishes. Either you do what you wish and share with community, or it won't happen if you will wait for others to support.
Basically, this forum is not MiST support forum with its classic form because there is no one in charge of support. The only thing which has official support is hardware itself. So, questions about hardware failures should be addressed to Lotharek as for manufacturer.
Everything else is actually under terms of GPL(or similar license) without obligations of support.

Selling the board just because of some replies? Weirdest reason i ever saw... If i buy something then i buy it for myself and i don't care what others say.

Community will be better when more people will be adding something.


You are right no one should be "forced" to do something.

It was an idea, like many others.

But if there aren't any new developments the hardware can not support it self, if this is a product and one buys it, it is because of both not just one part.

No matter what you and other people are the ones that make the MIST, the full product.
Not to disregard The hardware part that obviously is an important part also.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:19 pm

You may look at MiSTer project. It's much more powerful. It's still needs a lot of work at least to port all MiST cores. Actually it's not so hard but still need some time.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby vebxenon » Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:18 am

Well, and why divide the community and abandon MIST Board? I don't understand... there is too much work on MiST and that's why we are here. Even in the main core, ATARI ST, there is too much to fix, to work... and to enjoy. MiST even has MIDI ports and it's a good example of custom board.
Just a computer and videogame lover :)

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby Sorgelig » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:05 pm

MiST is not abandoned. There are many cores on MiST board t enjoy it. But at the same time many cores hit the limits and cannot be improved beyond current state. In most cases the big problem is lack of FPGA's Block RAM. As you can see it's hard to fix the FPGAGen due to lack of BRAM. Same goes to arcade cores. Basically any multi-CPU system has separate blocks of RAM chips and in most cases you cannot put them together into one SDRAM chip due to timings.
Another (big from my POV) problem is VGA where video is not standard, so it's not a plug-and-play solution. It's more like search-and-pray solution :) While it's good to have original video with butter smooth video, it doesn't matter if your monitor cannot support such resolution. In Minimig you are limited to standard PAL/NTSC resolutions which is shame for such great core.
ARM memory is also full at 90%+ and no much improvements can be added there. Adding more features in bare-metal ARM code is not easy and usually require adding a lot of code.
MiST is good for its level, but if you want something more advanced, then you need a new hardware.

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby vebxenon » Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:57 pm

Thanks for your answer Sorgelig!
Just a computer and videogame lover :)

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Re: Compatibility/accuracy database for FPGA cores (Not JUST Mist)

Postby braincell1973 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:26 pm

Well, The increased block memory would certainly help many projects instead of trying to time-slice sdram accesses. :)


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