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MiSTer: the thread of cycle accuracy

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
War. War never changes.

I can't help but feel that half the reason the Saturn failed was Sega's previous screw ups and not even the Saturn's fault. Releasing it too early with hardly any games, pissing off half the shops that would otherwise carry it and being more expensive than the competition obviously didn't help, but there was no goodwill for it after numerous expensive add ons that didn't get long term support. The Mega-CD actually had a great line up, but it felt like it died really quickly, at least here in the UK. And after blowing over 200 quid on the damn thing I wasn't in a hurry to experiment again.

Sega could never compete on price with Sony. Sony made all their own chips, drives and CDs. Which is the main reason Nintendo dropped out of the specs war. They'd never have beaten the PlayStation, but if all had gone as well as possible it could have been closer.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Partly, yeah. Sega had a lot of missteps before the Saturn, and then they had a lot of missteps with the Saturn. I'm sure there's plenty of blame to go around, but I feel like Sega of Japan didn't have a good read on the US market, and didn't give SoA the leeway they had in the Genesis era. Of course, the Saturn was pretty successful in Japan, so they had the home market covered. And there's a chance that yeah, maybe they wouldn't have competed regardless, but as you say, it could have been a lot closer.

N64 on MiSTer when? ;) (Yes, I know it ain't happening.)
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I can't help but feel that half the reason the Saturn failed was Sega's previous screw ups and not even the Saturn's fault. Releasing it too early with hardly any games, pissing off half the shops that would otherwise carry it and being more expensive than the competition obviously didn't help, but there was no goodwill for it after numerous expensive add ons that didn't get long term support. The Mega-CD actually had a great line up, but it felt like it died really quickly, at least here in the UK. And after blowing over 200 quid on the damn thing I wasn't in a hurry to experiment again.

I don't know. Half feels pretty generous. 32x and Sega CD existed in Japan, but the system sold well there. Pissing off US retailers and publishers with the surprise launch really did them in. Like, Kay-Bee, the mall toy store in the US ended their relationship with Sega completely over it. And they weren't the only ones. And publishers were pretty unhappy, too.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
That looks really, really good. Not much use for me (unless I make a second MiSTer) but it'll make setting up a new one infinitely easier.
 

John

(he/him)

Looking really good! There’s also a new video of Rayman, but the audio is loud and glitchy, so turn yours down/off before watching.


Also, there’s a beta of the PS emulator out that plays a demo on actual MiSTer hardware. Exciting times in 32-bit land!
 

John

(he/him)
Saturn seems to be making enormous leaps. Really exciting, but I'm going to need a LOT more storage.
I will be curious what my load times will be over my NAS. I haven’t noticed much difference for SegaCD ISO’s between the SD card and the NAS, but I haven’t done much with it.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Depending on how this turns out, my Fenrir-equipped Saturn might not see as much time as I thought... very impressive work. And PSX is moving forward pretty rapidly, too.


I wouldn't expect much difference with load times over NAS, considering how slow the CD drive is in the Saturn (and more so in the SCD). Maybe latency would be an issue there, but I kinda doubt that, too, given that those systems already deal with non-deterministic seek times and whatnot.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Meanwhile, over at The Cave:

As someone who doesn’t understand any of this stuff, I don’t quite understand what this product is. Can I buy it and then load ROMs on it? Or is it a shell to start a build? The video is a little unclear on whether the actual FPGA chip board is included or not.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
It’s a replacement for all the other expansions, I think. Here’s a post on the MiSTer forum detailing what’s in it. You provide a de-10 nano, and it functions as a memory expansion, USB hub, I/O board, and a couple of other things. Plus a case. So basically you just need this and the de10 and you’re all set. It looks pretty neat to me, though having already bought a lot of that other stuff individually I don’t think I’ll be getting one.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
A lot of people think that it costs $400USD to get a MiSTer because they don't realize how modular the project is. You can play some stuff with just the DE-10, basically everything else once you add the RAM, and the rest is optional. This new board certainly seems to simplify the upgrade process if you're the kind of person who wants everything. But building a MiSTer is pretty easy, so anyone who is budget conscious can go piece-by-piece as the need arises. I still don't have a USB hub, and my case is a pretty basic 3D-printed one.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
How much is it going to cost to eventually build a Saturn-focused MiSTer? That's all I want one for at this point, once that's fully up and running
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I'd assume you'll need the RAM, so pretty much the same price as any other MiSTer. Around $200 if you just want the main components, plus more if you want to add analog video out, a built-in USB hub or a case. There are a few other minor expenses, like a heatsink, an outboard USB hub and a micro SD card, but they don't add up to much (unless you want a ton of storage).
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
I wouldn't need analog video out or probably not a USB hub? Dunno about that, but if bluetooth is available, I can just use bluetooth controllers. Otherwise I'd be happy to use my official Saturn pads. I could do $200! Hopefully they get really great compatibility soon...
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
If you want to use an original Saturn pad, you'll either need a USB adapter for it, or else the IO board/SNAC adapter combo. The latter lets you use original controllers, but only with the appropriate cores - no cross-compatibility, but extremely low lag. Honestly, it's probably not really necessary to go SNAC, there's a fast USB polling option that already cuts controller latency down to next to nothing.

That said, we still don't know if it's possible to fit a whole danged Saturn onto the DE-10! I wouldn't be too surprised if we get a Saturn core that has only partial compatibility, because even that's already a bit of a stretch. MiSTer is still incredible for anyone who loves retro games, but don't buy one just yet if Saturn is your main reason.
 

John

(he/him)
Bluetooth's not built in, so you'll need a USB adapter for it. Same with Wifi, it only has an Ethernet jack. Even though the DE-10 Nano has a couple different USB ports, one's only for serial I/O, so you'd need an externally powered USB hub with a micro-usb adapter to get any of that to work concurrently.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Ah, okay. Yeah, for now, Saturn is all I really care about, since I'm not a stickler for emulating other consoles. I do have a Fenrir 21 pin mod pre-ordered, but given how my DS tv out mod attempt went over the weekend (bricked two DS Lites and possibly a third, though it may be recoverable), something a bit simpler to set up may be preferable lol
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
To be fair, I use a wireless keyboard and wireless controller at the same time with just the cheapo MakerSpot USB hub and it works fine. Haven't tried using wifi at the same time, maybe the power drain is bigger?
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Yeah, you'll definitely need RAM, a heatsink and probably a fan. USB hubs work fine in my experience, but it's a bit messy, the proper hub is neater and fits in cases.

The benefit of MiSTer is you don't need it all at once, you can build it up over time.

And oof, what happened with the Lites?
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Fenrir is super duper easy to install, if it makes you feel any better. No soldering or anything. I got my 21-pin in a few weeks back, and while the documentation is slim, you really won't need it.

And yeah, really all you need to get started is the main unit, RAM, and a heatsink/fan. And maybe a passive USB hub if you're not hooking up too much, although it isn't a necessity. There's a super cheap one on Amazon that I got that works well.

 
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Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Fenrir is super duper easy to install, if it makes you feel any better. No soldering or anything. I got my 21-pin in a few weeks back, and while the documentation is slim, you really won't need it.
Oh, that's good to know! I should have remembered that, but I'd wavered on buying a N64 digital HDMI out mod over this past weekend (I passed on it due to complexity of installation), and remembered incorrectly that the Saturn install would be the same. Hooray!

Looking at my Fenrir order, I also ordered an S-video out cable, which rules since I also have the Retrotink 2x too. Way to go, past me! (Way to suck, memory)
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Nice! Yeah, S-Video output is good on the system. You probably won't have much luck playing Die Hard Arcade through the 2X, but most games should be fine.

I ordered my Fenrir from Castlemania Games, and it also included a new ribbon cable in the event the old one doesn't act right. I went ahead and used the new one just in case.
 

Kazin

did i do all of that?
(he/him)
Oh well! I'm mostly interested in playing the Saturn's RPGs, with a few exceptions because I'm a weirdo who likes Bug for some reason (and presumably Bug Too! though I haven't played it yet).
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Yeah, you'll be fine for them. I'm not sure why Die Hard Arcade does that weird resolution switch on screen transitions, but depending on your set, it may take too long to regain sync. You might have better luck than me, though!

Surprisingly, I've definitely seen some Bug fans, so you're not the only one. And it's a good thing he ironed out the issues with that - I remember it being one of the few that didn't work right in the early going.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
It’s a replacement for all the other expansions, I think. Here’s a post on the MiSTer forum detailing what’s in it. You provide a de-10 nano, and it functions as a memory expansion, USB hub, I/O board, and a couple of other things. Plus a case. So basically you just need this and the de10 and you’re all set. It looks pretty neat to me, though having already bought a lot of that other stuff individually I don’t think I’ll be getting one.
Okay, so it’s not a MiSTer itself, but an upgrade for one. Thanks, all.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Yeah, it's all of the parts other than the FPGA itself in one, and easier to assemble. Not that it's rocket science to put a regular MiSTer together, but it lowers the technical bar further.
 
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