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NT Analogue announces Super NT

SmiteOfHand

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May 28, 2014
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Thanks guys! So one day will it be possible to use this type of hardware to configure it to later consoles i.e. Ps1/2, GC/N64 etc.?
Yes, although complexity and costs ramp up dramatically the further along you move in video game tech. One day hopefully it could all be cost effective.

Why it's important to support folks like kevtris and projects like this (as well as software emulation projects like byuu does, don't forget about them!) Because it shows demand for this type of hyper specific weirdo chameleon chipsets that don't have mass market appeal like a PC or cellphone chipset.

Not that they likely ever will, but every bit helps.
 

Jamix012

Member
Jun 6, 2012
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Fuckity fuck fuck shit, I waited too long to sell off my original SNES hardware, now the value is gonna plummet.

Though now I dunno if I want to sell off my carts too or not.

Hmm.
??? The actual SNES hardware isn't THAT valuable in the first place and probably won't drop that much because of this. The games will continue to retain their value.
 

socksfelloff

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May 5, 2015
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I have a feeling the Snes special chips will be harder to add then nes mappers. The SD2snes still doesn't support several chips such as the sa-1 and the superfx series.
 

PumpkinSpice

Banned
Aug 27, 2013
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I have a feeling the Snes special chips will be harder to add then nes mappers. The SD2snes still doesn't support several chips such as the sa-1 and the superfx series.
Some of that is development effort and some of it is FPGA space. The SA-1 features the same CPU as the SNES so implementing it shouldn't be too crazy. I think it's more a question if the FPGA would have enough space to fit two 5A22 implementations.
 

Zushin

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May 26, 2011
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Yes, although complexity and costs ramp up dramatically the further along you move in video game tech. One day hopefully it could all be cost effective.

Why it's important to support folks like kevtris and projects like this (as well as software emulation projects like byuu does, don't forget about them!) Because it shows demand for this type of hyper specific weirdo chameleon chipsets that don't have mass market appeal like a PC or cellphone chipset.

Not that they likely ever will, but every bit helps.
Cheers! I am definitely tempted go get one.

------

What are some must have games outside of the games on the SNES mini y'all?
 

smisk

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Jan 15, 2015
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This is really cool. After the NT Mini I figured this would be the next step, but I didn't think it'd be so soon, or so cheap.
So how likely do you think it is that this'll cause a run on SNES games and all the prices will go up?
 

DOT DASH DOT

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Aug 26, 2015
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Question, this guy I know RGB modded his Nes, and it looks amazing, very sharp and clean! Does anyone know if the output on the Nes Nt, has this level of quality?

Guess what I'm trying to find out, is if the Snes Nt has a good chance of having similar quality in regards to clarity.





 

TheWraith

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Jan 9, 2013
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Question, this guy I know RGB modded his Nes, and it looks amazing, very sharp and clean! Does anyone know if the output on the Nes Nt, has this level of quality?

Guess what I'm trying to find out, is if the Snes Nt has a good chance of having similar quality in regards to clarity.





That looks like a HDMI Kevtris mod from what I can tell from the sharpness of those scanlines, and not a RGB mod though. And yes, the NT mini offers this quality and even more adjustable to fill the whole screen without distorting proportions. The new Super NT will have the same kind of output.
 

cacophony555

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Dec 5, 2014
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Question, this guy I know RGB modded his Nes, and it looks amazing, very sharp and clean! Does anyone know if the output on the Nes Nt, has this level of quality?

Guess what I'm trying to find out, is if the Snes Nt has a good chance of having similar quality in regards to clarity.
The Nt Mini output is a bit sharper then what you can achieve with an RGB mod + high quality upscaler like the Framemeister.
 

cacophony555

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Dec 5, 2014
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FPGAs can cost hundreds of dollars, while ASICs can cost just a few dollars. The problem is setting up the fabrication can cost millions.

A company like Nintendo could produce something similar in large quantities for a mere fraction of the price.
Could being the key work here. They unfortunately don't choose to go that route.
 

tuffy

Member
Sep 17, 2010
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Will stock firmware allow other wireless controller support? Or will I need the 8bitdo
The console itself will only support anything compatible with a SNES controller port. But 8bitdo's receiver is compatible with other bluetooth controllers.
 

SmiteOfHand

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May 28, 2014
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Will stock firmware allow other wireless controller support? Or will I need the 8bitdo
You'll need at least something like the 8bitdo retro receiver which has support for other controllers like PS4 (receiver might need a firmware upgrade depending when it was produced) so picking up at least one is pretty worthwhile.
 

DOT DASH DOT

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Aug 26, 2015
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That looks like a HDMI Kevtris mod from what I can tell from the sharpness of those scanlines, and not a RGB mod though. And yes, the NT mini offers this quality and even more adjustable to fill the whole screen without distorting proportions. The new Super NT will have the same kind of output.
The Nt Mini output is a bit sharper then what you can achieve with an RGB mod + high quality upscaler like the Framemeister.
All sounds very good to me!
 

KojiKnight

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May 24, 2012
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I don't need this (don't have the money for it T_T)... Are these going to be a single run item? I love my mini, but being able to play my collection of cats directly would be super nice too.
 

SmiteOfHand

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May 28, 2014
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being able to play my collection of cats
You will probably be ok holding off a bit if on the fence. They seem to have their production pipeline down pretty well. NT mini has been up to pre-order for months. Always the possibility that demand could completely overwhelm and they have to push out a delayed second run or something.
 

cacophony555

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Dec 5, 2014
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I don't need this (don't have the money for it T_T)... Are these going to be a single run item? I love my mini, but being able to play my collection of cats directly would be super nice too.
Nah, I'm sure they'll sell it for a long time. The original Nt was limited because they were sourcing original hardware for parts, but no reason they wouldn't keep making the FPGA based consoles.
 

Lunarwhale

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Sep 13, 2013
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Settled on the Super Famicom color scheme. I'm in the minority that loves the US design, granted probably mostly for nostalgia because lord it is unnecessary and overdesigned, but the Super Famicom design fits it so well. love it. Differentiates it a bit more from my SNES as well.
 

SmiteOfHand

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May 28, 2014
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I didn't realize there were color options when I ordered in haste in a sleepy stupor this morning, so I put in a second order with the superior color choice. And looks like Analogue does not cancel pre-orders sooo.. guess I've got two now. Cool. ...I guess...

I'm still going to try reaching out. I'll update with how it goes.

https://www.analogue.co/pages/terms-conditions/
Just heard back. Cancelled and refunded with no fuss. Cool. Maybe they took mercy since it was essentially a double order.

Probably best to still consider a pre-order as final because who knows if I was an exception to the rule.
 

Sir_Crocodile

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Mar 31, 2009
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I've thought about it back and forth, and I think I'll wait to see if the Super NT can simulate the DSP-X, SA1, SDD1 etc onboard before I commit, as I don't know how much headroom they'll have left on the FPGA after simulating the SNES, and Kevtris understandably doesn't want to say anything at this point.

Hopefully they're still selling them by then!
 

CharlesDangus

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Sep 28, 2012
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Thanks guys! So one day will it be possible to use this type of hardware to configure it to later consoles i.e. Ps1/2, GC/N64 etc.?
Kevtris said awhile back that PS1 was the upper limit of current tech/his skills. I think he said N64 would run up against current FPGA clock speed limits. We'll see how fast and cheap FPGAs get over time, which will probably not happen as quickly as for normal CPUs, RAM etc.

Theoretically any of these systems could be simulated on an FPGA, it just comes down to affordability of the FPGA. As the console generations went on, systems got more complex with more custom built components whose documentation may be sparse or unavailable to the public. Patents would need to expire for some systems and components as well. Disc based systems present additional challenges:

-Including an optical drive that would behave exactly the same as the given system's would be annoying and costly

-eschewing an optical drive in favor of playing CD/DVD ripped isos begs the piracy question

-the system BIOS would have to be reverse engineered or rewritten, or you could tell customers to dump their own system bios (but everyone will just pirate it).

I could see some disc based system functionality come as a jailbreak core, running dumped games off the SD card, for existing or future Analogue FPGA system. Probably the first one we could reasonably expect to get is PC-Engine CD/TurboCD, as it's a much simpler CD add on than Sega CD.
 

i23mix

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Jan 6, 2009
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That looks like a HDMI Kevtris mod from what I can tell from the sharpness of those scanlines, and not a RGB mod though. And yes, the NT mini offers this quality and even more adjustable to fill the whole screen without distorting proportions. The new Super NT will have the same kind of output.
Just chiming in for a former gaffer. This is an RGB modded AV Famicom. It was run though a Framemeister in 720p mode. Instructions of how he modded his AV Famicom: https://richretro.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/nes-rgb-mod/
 

byuu

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Feb 6, 2013
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99% accurate ain't 100% accurate, and will always have more latency than an FPGA.
The Super Nt isn't 100% accurate either. It's an emulator just like higan is, based of reverse engineering effort just like higan is. The Super Nt has a far more capable programmer than myself, but I have been working on refining mine for over 13 years now. I'm excited to see just how well the Super Nt does, and I suspect I'll be very impressed with the results.

99% of latency is due to using PCs running modern operating systems, not the use of a software emulator. But you're right, a dedicated single-purpose FPGA console will beat out a software emulator on a PC by a wide margin. So this is more of a technicality.

The key take-home message is that it's hardware that can be re-configured. This is kind of a new thing, certainly in the retro gaming world.
Verilog source code is still code. It's still emulation, sorry. Even the people writing FPGA emulators agree. It's just the marketing speak from Analogue that claims otherwise.

FPGA removes one layer of indirection (CPU opcodes), and handles deterministic timing and parallel code execution in a superior fashion. This can be overcome with sheer processing power alone.
 

SmiteOfHand

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May 28, 2014
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Verilog source code is still code. It's still emulation, sorry. Even the people writing FPGA emulators agree. It's just the marketing speak from Analogue that claims otherwise.
I hear you, and agree. I think people are just looking to distinguish the terminology because as soon as you say anything remotely close to emulator box you get a flood of posts like "just get a $30 retro pi! Why is this so overpriced!" and so on.

And even though I am clearly on the FPGA train, I still very much believe your work, and in general software approaches, are a vital part of the puzzle. It is a very good thing people are going about it from various angles.

The internal components inside the Super NT will eventually fail, just like the SNES. Having virtualized hardware representation is equally important to having virtualized software representation in terms of (very, very) long term preservation.

In fewer words, thank you for your work, byuu.
 

fester

Banned
Jun 22, 2014
1,694
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I hear you, and agree. I think people are just looking to distinguish the terminology because as soon as you say anything remotely close to emulator box you get a flood of posts like "just get a $30 retro pi! Why is this so overpriced!" and so on.

And even though I am clearly on the FPGA train, I still very much believe your work, and in general software approaches, are a vital part of the puzzle. It is a very good thing people are going about it from various angles.

The internal components inside the Super NT will eventually fail, just like the SNES. Having virtualized hardware representation is equally important to having virtualized software representation in terms of (very, very) long term preservation.

In fewer words, thank you for your work, byuu.
Good post and good way to look at it. Both approaches have their merits.
 

cacophony555

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Dec 5, 2014
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And the bit of extra accuracy and reduced lag comes at a cost...no savestates, rewinding, fancy shaders, and a few other things.
Save states are a possibility. They weren't done for the Nt mini because of how Kevin originally designed the mappers, but it's possible he'll support them for the Super Nt.
 

Weevilone

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Nov 11, 2011
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I'm ready to go.. Wife will be so proud!

Few weeks ago... what's that thing? That's a device that lets me hook stuff like the SNES to my HDTV...

Last week.. what's that? That's an adapter for that thing from last week... oh ok.

Soon.. what's that? That's a new SNES so I don't need that other thingie I bought a few months ago ..
 
Dec 10, 2014
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Verilog source code is still code. It's still emulation, sorry. Even the people writing FPGA emulators agree. It's just the marketing speak from Analogue that claims otherwise.
Glad you posted this, was tired of ppl saying otherwise.
 

AgeEighty

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Aug 2, 2014
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The Super Nt isn't 100% accurate either. It's an emulator just like higan is, based of reverse engineering effort just like higan is. The Super Nt has a far more capable programmer than myself, but I have been working on refining mine for over 13 years now. I'm excited to see just how well the Super Nt does, and I suspect I'll be very impressed with the results.
It isn't an emulator, it's an FPGA. There's no emulating going on with one of those; it's a chip programmed (using Verilog but not actively running Verilog thereafter) to perform exactly the way the original hardware does. There are no layers in between at all while the game is running. For the purposes of how the game is being run, as long as the chip was programmed properly, it's functionally no different from running it on original hardware.
 

cacophony555

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Dec 5, 2014
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Verilog source code is still code. It's still emulation, sorry. Even the people writing FPGA emulators agree. It's just the marketing speak from Analogue that claims otherwise.
Yes, Verilog code is still code. But when you play a game on an FPGA console the Verilog code isn't running. The Verilog code is used to program the FPGA chip, and if it's programmed properly (like the Nt Mini) the FPGA will for all practical purposes be identical to the real hardware.
 

Beer Monkey

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Hardware definition language is not emulation. Emulation code executes when the game runs. As stated HDL configures the physical circuits that will run the game code. Very different.

FPGAs are not emulation.

Not to take anything from higan which is a major accomplishment.
 

SmiteOfHand

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May 28, 2014
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Counter argument.

FPGAs are the most emulators. Emulation in its purist form, if you will. Literally instructing and informing the metal of the machine. If you insist on the distinction being important due to the layer of abstraction then your more traditional emulator (as we know them) start to lean closer in definition to virtualization.

But what matters most, imo, for enthusiast forums and the likes is people knowing what the hell you are even talking about. Communication. And saying hardware emulation (simulation if it makes you feel better) means people will know exactly what you mean in nearly all contexts.


Exactly, FPGA is a form of hardware SIMULATION and is not emulation
People latching on to simulation might want to consider a little more what that word actually means. It hurts, not helps your arguments.

https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/134746/whats-the-difference-between-simulation-and-emulation
 

TheWraith

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Hardware definition language is not emulation. Emulation code executes when the game runs. As stated HDL configures the physical circuits that will run the game code. Very different.

FPGAs are not emulation.

Not to take anything from higan which is a major accomplishment.
Exactly, FPGA is a form of hardware SIMULATION and is not emulation, even if some of the same logic/code is used in the actual programming of the chips. It is important to make a distinction between the two, especially going forward to the future of this kind of retro-preservation.
 

PumpkinSpice

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Aug 27, 2013
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This is splitting hairs but sure it's emulation. In the sense that you're creating an act-alike.

You could use an FPGA to re-create say a 555 timer; have the same inputs and outputs and act exactly the same but inside what's going on between those inputs and outputs would be very different from an ASIC, just the logic you end up with would be the same. You could do the same thing in software, just define inputs and outputs and what you do along the way is up to you as long as the output for a given input is correct. They're both emulating a 555 timer.

Broadly you do the same thing in HDL/FPGA emulator that you would do for low level software emulators. Re-implement each relevant chip (CPU, PPU, sound stuff, etc) and have them talk to each other over interfaces, in the case of HDL/FPGA you just do it over electrical interfaces or busses in the same way as real hardware.

The result is limited to reverse engineering for sure. I've said in the past that the NES might literally be the only system I'd really trust to an FPGA implementation due to the sheer amount of effort that has been poured into finding every facet of how that system works, and sure enough Kevtris's "cores" for Master System / GameGear have some of the same bugs that emulators do. Now that I think about it SNES may be OK too.

I err towards not calling it emulation most of the time because people don't understand how FPGAs work. Like at all. Trying to be pedantic and insiting people call it simulation or whatever seems pretty weird though.
 

AgeEighty

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Aug 2, 2014
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This is splitting hairs but sure it's emulation. In the sense that you're creating an act-alike.

You could use an FPGA to re-create say a 555 timer; have the same inputs and outputs and act exactly the same but inside what's going on between those inputs and outputs would be very different from an ASIC, just the logic you end up with would be the same. You could do the same thing in software, just define inputs and outputs and what you do along the way is up to you as long as the output for a given input is correct. They're both emulating a 555 timer.

Broadly you do the same thing in HDL/FPGA emulator that you would do for low level software emulators. Re-implement each relevant chip (CPU, PPU, sound stuff, etc) and have them talk to each other over interfaces, in the case of HDL/FPGA you just do it over electrical interfaces or busses in the same way as real hardware.

The result is limited to reverse engineering for sure. I've said in the past that the NES might literally be the only system I'd really trust to an FPGA implementation due to the sheer amount of effort that has been poured into finding every facet of how that system works, and sure enough Kevtris's "cores" for Master System / GameGear have some of the same bugs that emulators do. Now that I think about it SNES may be OK too.

I err towards not calling it emulation most of the time because people don't understand how FPGAs work. Like at all. Trying to be pedantic and insiting people call it simulation or whatever seems pretty weird though.
The problem is people calling it emulation are, in some cases, trying to use this to argue that it's functionally the same as or similar to running ROMs with a software emulator, which it is not.
 

DOT DASH DOT

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Aug 26, 2015
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I'm confused about how 'cores' work on the Nt Mini, I mean if the chip has been programmed to completely mimic a real system, how do additions like the Master System and Collecovision work if the mini wasn't built around them to start with?
 

R_Deckard

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Nov 14, 2013
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Am I the only one not into these new expensive retro consoles it seems ever 5 minutes. How many company's are making these at the moment? Each month we get a new one.