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Topics - Great Hierophant

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EverDrive N8 / Initial RAM State
« on: October 02, 2018, 05:13 PM »
When a NES or Famicom boots with a regular cartridge, the state of the internal RAM is somewhat random when the console powers up.  The program on the cartridge will instruct the CPU to set or clear memory locations as it needs.  Some games rely on semi-randomized state of the CPU RAM for their random number generating (RNG) routines, for determining whether a rest was soft or hard, debugging information or unknown reasons.

The EverDrive appears to initialize CPU RAM to a determined state.  I believe that the EverDrive fills the CPU RAM with all 00s, but it causes issues with a few games.  Minna no Taabou no Nakayoshi Daisakusen doesn't work, Terminator 2: Judgment Day won't show its initial copyright screen. 

More interestingly, and what prompted me to post this in the first place, was the warnings I read from the speedrunning community not to use an EverDrive with Final Fantasy.  Final Fantasy uses uninitialized RAM values to determine when encounters occur.  Apparently the value the EverDrive uses is non-optimal for speedrunning.  Also, River City Ransom uses uninitialized RAM values to determine which gang you encounter on each screen. 

I would suggest adding an option for RAM state to the EverDrive menu with three options, Initialize RAM to 00, Initialize RAM to FF and Initialize RAM to Random Values.  The Mesen emulator has this option and it works very well. 

Other instances where games rely on the contents of RAM on startup can be found here : http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/Game_bugs

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EverDrive N8 / Action 52 - Impossible? Not Anymore
« on: August 21, 2018, 04:20 AM »
In its original form, you can't run Action 52 because it is simply too large.  But if you know how to split and extract the ROMs, everything becomes possible :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocvFcOWbroM

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SD2SNES / Menu Background Color Weirdness
« on: September 20, 2017, 06:32 AM »
My sd2snes (rev. f) has a different menu background gradient color depending on the console I use it in.  My SHVC-CPU-01, 2/1/2 shows a blue gradient but my SNS-CPU-GPM system, 2/1/3 shows a teal gradient.  Is this normal?  How much variance is there in SNESes in this regard?  Both systems work fine with the sd2snes. 

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Turbo EverDrive / Turbo ED 2.x ROM & RAM Capable?
« on: September 18, 2017, 07:41 PM »
There are at least three instances where extra ROM & RAM may be used in the TG/PCE systems.  Is the EverDrive capable of splitting its 4MB RAM into being partially ROM and partially RAM?  I ask because there is some important functionality contained in this combo.

The first are the Tennokoe Bank devices, which are battery-backed Static RAM devices.  They can be used by some HuCard games to save games instead of using passwords to save.  I am not 100% sure that the RAM in the Turbo Duo and PC Engine Duos or the CD-ROM attachments can act as a Tennokoe for HuCards.  They may only be able to save games for CD games.  The Tennokoe Bank device that works with HuCards attach at the expansion port on the back of the PC Engine/Core/Turbo Grafx 16.  Wouldn't be awesome to have battery backed saves you can transfer to/from a PC?  The original Tennokoe bank devices didn't provide that option and had only limited slots.  Also, if your batteries ran dry, your saves went bye-bye.

The second are the Arcade and Super CD-ROM System cards.  These combine ROM and RAM on a HuCard.  Populous also does this and is the only game to do so. 

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System is an AV Famicom, OS is v16, ROM is No Intro.  I have observed no issues playing Castlevania III until today.  I was playing the Sunken City level and had just beaten the Bone Dragon boss for the first time when I saw random tiles display where I should have seen water tiles, indicating that the level is flooding.  The glitchy tiles continue to appear until I finish the stage.  On the PowerPak I see proper water.  I took a pair of photos with my camera of the incorrect (EverDrive) and correct (PowerPak) screens :

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOhkohaFonKv-o7WtDM-rHczyZY9wFUBe-7oMa2xOvYSL8bmDVBufl6aiE4HhBERQ?key=MVpWNkdPUXR6Ymt3YkpHM21vSWVJSHRBUk1PN3h3

I am not sure if the MMC5 mapper has been touched since partial support was been added in OSv9.  If this is a deficiency in the EverDrive's implementation, I would suggest that the reason can be found here : http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=4013&start=30

Akumajou Densetsu does not suffer from this issue, it uses a different mapper, VRC6.  I was able to beat that stage on the EverDrive without any glitches.

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Turbo EverDrive / Populous and Turbo EverDrive v2.5
« on: July 05, 2017, 07:58 PM »
I have a Turbo EverDrive v2.5 and just acquired a CoreGrafx I today.  I have no problems with any game other than Populous.  I always use the No-Intro ROMs.  I have tried both the official No-Intro ROMs and both Populous versions glitch quickly upon starting a Conquest game.  The screen may appear normal at first, but try scrolling it a bit or raising and lowering land and soon you will see glitchy graphics and the game will end very, very quickly.  Has anyone else encountered any issues with this game?

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I believe it could be possible to emulate a CD drive with an EverDrive-like device in the Game Card/HuCart slot. 

The original CD-ROM connected to the console through the expansion bus connector.  Although the expansion bus has 69 pins to the card connector's 38, the CD attachment does not use most of those pins.  In fact, once you eliminate the video and audio inputs, the card connector is missing only one "necessary" pin, the CD detect.  (At least according to here : http://www.gamesx.com/misctech/pcebp.php)

The current EverDrive provides 4MB of RAM to store games, but presumably it can be used for other purposes.  Of course the EverDrive hardware may need the RAM for its functions. 

The CD Unit provides an extra 64KB of work RAM and 64KB of ADPCM sample RAM.  The System Card provides a 256KB ROM BIOS and the Super System Card provides a 256KB ROM BIOS and 192KB of work RAM.  The Arcade Card adds an additional 2MB.  In theory the current EverDrive has the RAM to support the drive functions.

The CD interface would only have to be emulated to the extent it transmits data to the RAM.  Perhaps the CD BIOS can be hacked to simplify the process.  The timings would need to be preserved. 

Audio is a bit tricky.  The card connector has a single audio input in, so if the EverDrive wanted to support stereo audio, it would have to add an audio mini-jack.  CD audio streams at 150KB/sec, which is well within the transfer specs of an SD card.  Turbo CDs are not copy protected, so a standard BIN/CUE file format should serve to keep the data and audio in sync.  ADPCM would need to be emulated, but if the current FPGA does not have sufficient logic cells, then perhaps a future EverDrive may have the capabilities.

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EverDrive N8 / Bug : Little Ninja Brothers Portion of Screen Shaking
« on: December 29, 2015, 01:45 AM »
Using a ROM matching the information given here :
http://bootgod.dyndns.org:7777/profile.php?id=436

I have discovered that portions of the screen shake when they should not when you start the game.  Usually any screen with text or a menu on the bottom half of the screen will shake.  It looks like there is an error in the MMC3 IRQ timing.  I am using N8 OS v13 and have not encountered shaking in other MMC3 games known for shaking from inaccurate MMC3 IRQ timing (SMB3, Kirby, Crystalis, etc.)  The PowerPak with the save state v1.6 mappers does not shake with this game.

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EverDrive N8 / Dizzy the Adventurer with Famicom
« on: July 19, 2015, 08:48 PM »
Dizzy the Adventurer, which only came with the Aladdin Deck Enhancer for real, does not like my Famicom with my EverDrive N8 Famicom Edition.  The game will start, but will show jittery graphics and will crash when you press start.  This is even after I change the mapper from 71 to 2.  I checked the mirroring, which is vertical.  While I don't have the real cart, the game works fine with my Famicom AV and my NES with my EverDrive.  My Famicom (hard-wired) uses an HVC-CPU-07 PCB and has revision E CPU and PPU chips.  Many of these exist, they are not the less reliable square-button Famicoms.  Also, early NESes use revision E chips, so the problem can reoccur there. 

The game works with a NES PowerPak in the Famicom and Famicom AV with a pin converter.  The EverDrive works well with this Famicom otherwise, so far as the other games I have tested.

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EverDrive N8 / Cheetamen II Now Works in the Everdrive
« on: July 14, 2015, 05:31 PM »
Yesterday, I discovered a way to play Cheetamen II on the Everdrive.  It involves applying a patch to change the mapper used from 228, which is unsupported on the Everdrive, to mapper 1.  To obtain the patch, go here : http://thegaminguniverse.org/ninjagaiden4/mottzilla/ and click on Mapper Ports on the side frame.  Then apply it using an IPS patching tool and you can play this crappy, buggy, unfinished game on your Everdrive.

No need to thank me for persuading the awesome guy who created the patch to release the patch to the public.   8)

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EverDrive N8 / HDMI HidefNES Board Incompatibility
« on: July 13, 2015, 04:49 PM »
As some of you know, kevtris has finalized his HDMI mod board, called the HiDefNES, for the NES and Famicom and has released it to manufacturing.  Unfortunately, it won't work with the Everdrive unless serious work is done at the FPGA programming end.  Please read this post here for more information :

http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=12019&view=unread#p150882

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A 72 to 60 pin converter allows you to use  NES cartridges (which have 72 pins) on your Famicom or any compatible or clone with a 60-pin cartridge slot.  I believe the Russian Dendy also uses a 60-pin cartridge slot.  Cheap converters have been available for years, so I would love it if someone (Krikzz) to produce a quality converter.  Here are the flaws with the converters I have found :

1.  PCB too thick to fit in a Famicom slot , Famicom cartridge slots are firm but do not have a grip of death.

2.  The 72 pin connector on the adapter has a grip of death, leading to wearing down cartridge pins and making it difficult to remove the cartridge from the adapter.  The Game Genie had a connector that was firm without a grip of death.  I believe the Blinking Light Win connector may also have the same idea.

3.  Tying Famicom pins 48-49 together instead of sending them separately to their respective NES pins.  This makes any NES MMC5 game, Gauntlet, Rad Racer II and After Burner refuse to work or show proper graphics.

4.  The converter requires the NES cartridge to face the back of the console.  A cosmetic complaint, but it is still annoying.

5.  The pins are too short or thin to make a good connection with real Nintendo (or Sharp) cartridge slots

6.  The converter does not come with a plastic housing or the housing is so cheap that the screws holes will be instantly stripped once you open it, or the supports break off because of the force you need to use to rip the cartridge off the converter.  A housing is necessary to avoid any possibility of inserting the converter in backwards and to relieve stress on the cartridge slot by distributing the weight around it instead of just on top of it. It is also necessary to keep the converter and cartridge stable, a slight breeze with one of the PCB only converters is enough to crash a game.

7.  No convenient through holes to install the resistors needed to mix cartridge based audio (typically from an Everdrive N8 NES version or NES PowerPak but also a Gimmick reproduction board)  Maybe two screw-adjustable or thumbwheel variable resistors can be mounted on the housing to allow the user to tweak the levels to best suit his or her console without having to power the system down.  This is probably the biggest challenge from a design standpoint as things are pretty tight within the converter housing and the converter cannot be too tall otherwise the whole "tower" loses stability.  I would suggest the upper corners of the corner would be a good place to start and have one pot on each side.

Famicoms (especially the Twin and AV and Titler) are great systems and many use their NES carts with them.  Homebrew, reproduction and new development boards are almost exclusively 72-pin.  A quality product should sell and shouldn't be too expensive to make, being no chips required. 

13
EverDrive 64 / UltraCIC Questions
« on: April 28, 2015, 07:43 AM »
Now that the EverDrive-64s are coming with the option of the UltraCICs, which can be selected for NTSC or PAL regions, will the hacks for Jet Force Gemini and Banjo Tooie still be required?  Can the UltraCIC emulate the extra protection functions provided by the 6105 and checked in these two games?  Can this be automatically set as the game is selected?

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EverDrive GB / Shantae Save Game File
« on: January 11, 2015, 08:12 PM »
This issue was reported a while back, and I have been able to look into it :

http://krikzz.com/forum/index.php?topic=1612.msg16223#msg16223

In addition to being unable to delete the file, you cannot copy it or do anything else with it either.  This means you cannot (easily) backup the save file.   You can still save and load games just fine.

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EverDrive N8 / Game Testing and Issues
« on: January 03, 2015, 07:55 AM »
Having received my new Everdrive N8 today, I have put it through its paces and was thoroughly pleased.  Every game I tried worked with the exception of the following :

Unsupported Mapper :
Racermate Challenge II (Mapper 168)
Death Race (Mapper 144)
Cheetamen II (Mapper 228, and Action 52, which is too large for the Everdrive N8)
Maxi-15 (Mapper 234, only unique game is Stakk'M, which is a port of Poke Ball, so you can play that)
Nintendo World Championships (Mapper 105)
Super Mario Bros + Tetris + Nintendo World Cup (Mapper 37, PAL Only)

The PowerPak supports Death Race, Cheetamen II, Maxi-15 and Nintendo World Championships.

Unsupported Mapper Feature :
Bandit Kings of Ancient China (MMC5 EX-RAM not supported, too glitchy to play)
Gemfire (ditto)
L'Empereur (ditto)
Nobunaga's Ambition II (ditto)
Romance of the Three Kingdoms II (ditto)
Uncharted Waters (ditto)

All supported on the PowerPak using loopy's MMC5 mapper, but Uncharted Waters and Bandit Kings of Ancient China have serious glitches.

Glitchy Games :
Laser Invasion (glitchy graphics during takeoff sequence)
Mickey's Adventure in Numberland (status bar shakes)
Mickey's Safari in Letterland (status bar shakes)
Incredible Crash Dummies (intro text and status bar shakes)
Low-G-Man (Freezes at first boss)

All work without glitches on the PowerPak except for Numberland and Letterland. 

All tested with No-Intro set with headers added/fixed when necessary with the information in bootgod's NES Cart db.

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