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MiSTer: the thread of cycle accuracy

John

(he/him)
I haven't looked at the computer cores, but I'd love to jump down that well someday. It's one thing to download roms and point a core at them, and it's an entirely other thing to load up a computer + OS + software. It doesn't help that I keep mine plugged into an AtGames arcade cabinet, so not really conducive to a computer experience.


More neat stuff coming out of the PSX core. I love having an option for things like this, kinda equate it to the double disc speed option when playing PS1 games on a PS2. Doesn't fundamentally change the look of any game, just makes it feel nicer.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I believe there are pre-packaged packs you can use with the ao486 core. I'm not to the point where I want to use it a lot, however, as there are still quite a few compatibility issues in some games. Your mileage may vary, though. My understanding is that performance is roughly that of a 75 Mhz 486. Basically, I think DOSBox is still superior as of now.
 

John

(he/him)
The core that everyone has been waiting for just dropped, Sega 32X by srg320. I guess he's taking some time off from his Saturn core, and is still doing stuff while his country (Ukraine) is a warzone.

If anyone has the means, consider supporting him on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/srg320
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I had a feeling if Saturn was going to be possible that 32X would happen. Very cool to see it happen, and even more impressive that srg320 has kept this up while still being in a warzone.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Man, I was hoping that's what this post would be about. Gonna have some fun tonight!
 
I'm just getting started with MiSTer this weekend and I've run into some oddities:

1. I'm using it via HDMI to an LCD TV. The contents of the screen seem to stretch past the boundaries of the TV. I've noticed this both in the update script text and the games.

2. I've only tried arcade cores so far. Some (Arkanoid, Galaga) work fine. Jackal/Top Gunner doesn't load the background tileset, so it's player and enemies on a black screen. Some (1942, Commando) just load a color set (test pattern?) and some (Street Fighter Alpha, X-Men: CoTA) sit at a black screen after loading the file.

Parts-wise, I'm using MiSTer AddOns' SDRAM and Digital IO board. Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I can't help you with your second problem, but for the first it sounds like you need to change the overscan setting on your TV. TVs often chop off the edges of the picture, and usually there's a way to stop them from doing that buried somewhere in the menus.
 
Oh, I bet you're right about the overscan, but this TV doesn't have overscan settings, so I'll just have to live with it for now.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
Overscan setting go by a lot of different names, on my TV the relevant setting was “screen fit”, found by going menu->picture->picture options->size->screen fit. I think some TVs call it “just scan”.

Regarding the problems with cores not loading, I wonder if it’s your SDRAM - I initially used a 32MB board, and some games would run but with some of the graphics missing or scrambled and others wouldn’t run at all, which was fixed by upgrading to 128MB. You could try some consoles - mega drive should work without SDRAM, SNES will not. Or there’s the memtest utility, should tell you if your board is working right - maybe it’s not installed securely or something. Otherwise, I’d try deleting the relevant .rbf, .mra, and ROM files and running the updater again. I have found in a couple of instances I’ve had to edit the mra files to get games to work - Rainbow Street Fighter II’s was pointing to the wrong romset if I remember right.

Another thing is that occasionally things just don’t work for no obvious reason - if you’re going from one core to another sometimes there seems to be residue from the previous one in the system. Cold reboot or turning it off and on again can help. Though there is one problem that I’ve found easier to diagnose from inside a core - if the rbf hasn’t downloaded for some reason then when you select the core in the main menu the screen will go blank briefly then back to the menu. Select the same core from another core and you’ll get a “no rbf file” message on screen. I think the static background of the menu swallows the text box.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
If your TV has a "PC" mode, that will often fix it. You might also change the output resolution - sometimes TVs will handle overscan differently depending on what you use.
 
Thanks for all the suggestions. It was the SDRAM. Removed it, switched it to the other slot, and made sure that it was snug. Now all the cores I'm trying are working properly.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I finally got around to replacing the fan in my original MiSTer with a Noctua and holy cow, what an improvement. The original fan was part of the analog IO board that I got from MisterAddons, and it was pretty loud inside my 3D-printed case. The Noctua is so quiet that I had to open the case up to look to see whether it was actually spinning, because I couldn't hear it at all. Can't believe I waited so long to make the switch! The fan attaches pretty easily, but the included cable is longer than you need and it's made worse by a 3-pin to 2-pin converter that adds another inch or two. I found a YouTube video about how to cut the main cable down, but it was a more complicated project than I was after. This MiSTer sits behind my monitor, as it is part of a streaming setup that I don't typically mess with, so it doesn't matter if the case shell isn't 100% closed. But I could always hear the thing before, and it's really nice to have it be totally silent now.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Apparently, MSU-1 support is possible on the SNES core using the nightly builds (available on the Discord, I guess). I'm not a huge fan of the MSU-1 stuff, but I do think it's neat and if you didn't want to spring for a $200+ flashcart to use it...
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
There’s a public GitHub for the Saturn core now, though you have to compile it yourself if you want to use it and it is apparently far from done. I made an rbf from it, and it’s sort of working in that I can get into the bios, but I can’t run any CDs. After quite a while spent fiddling with it I realised that although Saturn support has been added to the main mister code, there has not been a new release of main mister since it was added so I either need to build that myself as well or just wait a few days for the next release before I’ll be able to run discs. I think.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
Got tired of waiting for the next official release so I downloaded the latest unstable nightly build of main mister and gave this another shot:

Izpyfjz.jpg


Looks promising!

RrZwANs.jpg


Getting somewhere!

k9zp2yn.jpg


It’s working!

That said, it’s not working well. Christmas NiGHTS is the only game I’ve managed to get into gameplay with so far, the others seeming to crash before or on the title screen, often on the Sega logo screen. Maybe it’s to do with my PAL disc images (taken from my original copies). The MiSTer resolution pop up is telling me 59.8Hz even though I have region set to Europe, which doesn’t seem right. In fact, looking at the GitHub, it specifically says PAL mode is missing for VDP2. Oh well. Someone on the mister forums posted a compatibility list which is not matching my experience - lots of stuff it says should work is not working for me. A few games seem to be locking up visually on one screen but the audio sounds like it’s getting further without me being able to see it. Anyway, it’s still pretty cool to have it working at all.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
That's really exciting. I'd imagine Saturn is really difficult to implement and the developer lives in Ukraine so it's frankly a miracle it's this far along.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
While I've got a Fenrir and Saturn, I'm still super excited to see this core get polished. Having the MiSTer being a one-stop shop for everything up to PSX/Saturn will be amazing.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I really hope it will be able to work off a single RAM module, because I don't want to give up my analog IO boards.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I'm unaware of any way to have simultaneous analog+HDMI output AND dual SD-RAM in the same board, because the DE-10 itself only has so many IO pins. Maybe somebody will prove me wrong someday! In the meantime, you can convert your HDMI to analog video and use dual RAM, but I really love the simultaneous output and I don't want to lose it.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I thought that MisterAddons was working on something, but maybe that's still leveraging the Direct Video feature.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I thought that MisterAddons was working on something, but maybe that's still leveraging the Direct Video feature.
Correct, his new board will have space for dual-RAM but it only does analog video through Direct Video. And if the Saturn core ends up being the only one that really needs dual-RAM (since PSX works more or less perfectly on a single module), I probably won't make the switch.
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
The current version can be run on single RAM, and that’s how I got those screenshots. I imagine there will at least be a less-compatible single RAM version once it’s finished.
 

Klatrymadon

Rei BENSER PLUS
(he/him)
I think I might need to back my games up and set up the SD card from scratch. I had an issue a few weeks ago where the 'update_all' script seemed to get stuck at the 'mame-getter' stage (I gave it a few hours, so I don't think it was still downloading games), and since then half of the stuff installed hasn't worked properly. All arcade games get stuck at the 'Assembling ROM' screen, Neo Geo games all display garbled graphics (except for text and logos, weirdly), and now most of my updater scripts simply boot me back to the main menu after a second or two, so I can't attempt to resolve anything with a quick update or reinstall. Does building the SD card from scratch sound like the best option, or are these all known issues?

Thanks!
 

Yimothy

Red Plane
(he/him)
I dunno how to fix those issues, but the neo geo thing sounds like something I had when I was using a 32 meg ram board and tried to run certain games. I don’t see how the update script would break your ram board, though. I think the update scripts produce log files, you could have a look at those and see if there’s any clues.

Otherwise, I had a problem with my network a while ago, in the end I found it easier to just format the SD and start over than to isolate the problem and fix it.

In other mister news, there’s now an early version of a Toaplan System 2 core available. At the moment it runs Armed Police Batrider.
 

Klatrymadon

Rei BENSER PLUS
(he/him)
Damn, hope my RAM board isn't fried. It would explain why a lot of stuff suddenly won't load, I guess, although I've still been playing PSX games without issue. I think I'll format the SD (after backing everything up) and see how I get on with a clean slate. Thanks!
 
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