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PS1 on MiSTer FPGA; public release and damn its impressive and one of the most run retro gaming achievements in 2022 (so far)

VGEsoterica

Member
It never ceases to amaze me the speed at which things happen in retro gaming. Betas and alphas long thought lost suddenly appear, new hardware comes out...and an entire 90s console gets recreated in FPGA logic gates that is as good as the OG hardware and has some quality of life improvements / enhancements that make it feel in some ways BETTER than the original hardware.

PS1 on MiSTer FPGA is the latter of those awesome things; a full PS1 recreated in logic gates with the ability to play any game you want while outputting in PRISTINE scaled HDMI or perfect RGB out (or component if that's your thing) while also giving you native 16x9 support on 3D games, texture filtering, cheats...the works. Plus considering how DAMN FRAGILE the PS1 laser is and how expensive an Xstation and HDMI mod cost...just damn cool

Anyone on GAF playing on FPGA lately?

 

ljubomir

Member
It never ceases to amaze me the speed at which things happen in retro gaming. Betas and alphas long thought lost suddenly appear, new hardware comes out...and an entire 90s console gets recreated in FPGA logic gates that is as good as the OG hardware and has some quality of life improvements / enhancements that make it feel in some ways BETTER than the original hardware.

PS1 on MiSTer FPGA is the latter of those awesome things; a full PS1 recreated in logic gates with the ability to play any game you want while outputting in PRISTINE scaled HDMI or perfect RGB out (or component if that's your thing) while also giving you native 16x9 support on 3D games, texture filtering, cheats...the works. Plus considering how DAMN FRAGILE the PS1 laser is and how expensive an Xstation and HDMI mod cost...just damn cool

Anyone on GAF playing on FPGA lately?

I've been playing unstable releases for a while and never had major issues. DE10-Nano is a near perfect PS1 replacement - low lag, can use modern controllers that are not utterly destroyed by decades of abuse and comes with an ODE/flaschart AND an FTP server :D. Whats not to like.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
I've been playing unstable releases for a while and never had major issues. DE10-Nano is a near perfect PS1 replacement - low lag, can use modern controllers that are not utterly destroyed by decades of abuse and comes with an ODE/flaschart AND an FTP server :D. Whats not to like.
exactly. And I own a LOT of PS1 hardware. But its an ODE and an HDMI modded PS1...that you can just download lol. Amazing!
 

ljubomir

Member
exactly. And I own a LOT of PS1 hardware. But its an ODE and an HDMI modded PS1...that you can just download lol. Amazing!
I have like 15 PS1 consoles both PSX and PSones, couple of multitaps, weird controllers etc, but I play none of that, Mister today is too convinient.
 

PhaseJump

Member
2022: Custom music playback in the main menu, ps1 core, 32x release and Saturn being worked on from a war zone.
 

00_Zer0

Member
I have been eyeing one of these for a long time, but at 300+ investment to get everything together, I am not so sure. I use my PC for all my emulation needs right now and can't justify the purchase of a Mister right now. I hope the Saturn core will eventually be as great as the Playstaton core. That might put me over the edge to purchase one someday.
 

Manji Uzuki

Member
This is super great news. There has also been advancements with Saturn which probably will take a while but hopefully they achieve good results one day. And also would be awesome to see dreamcast one day. Those two would make me 100% jump into it
 

Tarin02543

Member
This is super great news. There has also been advancements with Saturn which probably will take a while but hopefully they achieve good results one day. And also would be awesome to see dreamcast one day. Those two would make me 100% jump into it

Perfect 32X simulation is now a thing on Mister, since the 32X used a similar Hitachi chip as the Saturn I do not think a Saturn core is far away.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
As far as I can find it will set you back 500 euros . Been looking into this myself 😞 this or a Polymega .
You 100% want MiSTer over PolyMega. Take my word for it...I own every damn console made and a few that didn’t even release...and I’ve played every damn emulator around. FPGA is legit. If I can’t play real hardware I’m playing FPGA. For some stuff like Capcom CPS 2 and the giant motherboard and carts i sometimes play MiSTer instead as it’s smaller / more convenient

I’m a FPGA fan and I’ve collected every damn esoteric console and arcade board I can find Lolol
 

Kadve

Member
Can someone explain what FPGA is exactly? heard the term thrown around quite a bit recently and have never really understood it.
 

Gunsmithx

Member
Both retrorgb and my life in gaming did very good videos going over the mister project and where to start recently. You don't need pay 500 to start but it'll be around 300 probably like everything it's just gotten more expensive
 

sinnergy

Member
Both retrorgb and my life in gaming did very good videos going over the mister project and where to start recently. You don't need pay 500 to start but it'll be around 300 probably like everything it's just gotten more expensive
If you want a full build it’s closer to 500.
 

VGEsoterica

Member
Can someone explain what FPGA is exactly? heard the term thrown around quite a bit recently and have never really understood it.
Honestly it’s very hard to describe and easier to watch / read an academic paper on

But fundamentally FPGA devices function wholly different than software emulators. Field Programmable Gate Array just means “logic gates you can program”

The simple version. Say the PS1 CPU is made up of a set of building blocks. You can rebuild that “blueprint” in logic on an FPGA 1:1 or you can redesign it to have the same function but even more efficient.

Console chips run in parallel. So each chip can perform a function simultaneously. Software emulation runs these functions in succession. So with modern CPUs you can fit all those successive steps in one cycle and you wouldn’t notice it...but it’s not executing instructions in the same manner as OG hardware

It gets much more complex to the point where to understand it all you’d want at least a bachelors degree in the field (which I don’t have)
 

coffinbirth

Member
While this is cool and all, this right here is all I need. Runs amazing on Snapdragon 865 and Series X.
 

Kadve

Member
Honestly it’s very hard to describe and easier to watch / read an academic paper on

But fundamentally FPGA devices function wholly different than software emulators. Field Programmable Gate Array just means “logic gates you can program”

The simple version. Say the PS1 CPU is made up of a set of building blocks. You can rebuild that “blueprint” in logic on an FPGA 1:1 or you can redesign it to have the same function but even more efficient.

Console chips run in parallel. So each chip can perform a function simultaneously. Software emulation runs these functions in succession. So with modern CPUs you can fit all those successive steps in one cycle and you wouldn’t notice it...but it’s not executing instructions in the same manner as OG hardware

It gets much more complex to the point where to understand it all you’d want at least a bachelors degree in the field (which I don’t have)
So kinda like virtualisation but on a much more basic level and using different hardware alltogether?
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Can someone explain what FPGA is exactly? heard the term thrown around quite a bit recently and have never really understood it.
Someone else might be able to give a more technically detailed explanation, but in layman's terms, it's basically a chip that can be programmed to reproduce the behavior of another chip. It allows for cycle accurate recreation of legacy computer hardware.

This is similar in concept to emulation, of course, but emulation is software that either interprets or recompiles legacy software on the fly. Cycle-accurate emulation is possible, but most emulators aren't, and those that are can be quite demanding, even for fairly old hardware. So in general FPGA is more accurate.

Emulation also, by its nature, introduces a certainly amount of latency not present in the original, where FPGA does not. FPGA is especially favored by those who use CRTs for that super low latency native hardware feel.

FPGA is so close to the original hardware, in fact, that it can, with the right I/O, work with real accessories and add-ons, or even, say, play a networked game over link cable with a real system. And like emulation it can offer certain enhancements like video filters or rendering enhancements, save states, etc, so it offers some of the best of both worlds of emulation and real hardware.

Emulation, on the other hand, tends to offer a lot more options in terms of user experience, better front ends, far wider support in terms of the number of systems supported, and is a lot more viable when it comes to emulating anything newer than the fifth gen (32-bit) consoles. For now I tend to favor emulation for those reasons although if I were to build a CRT-based arcade cabinet I would for sure use FPGA.
 
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Gunsmithx

Member
If you want a full build it’s closer to 500.
Around 300 gets you the de-10, a usb hub and sdram which is all you really need. But when you start with Io boards and cases it can get pricey, but you can run all current cores at 300. You can always add stuff down the line as you need or want.
 

Ladioss

Member
FPGA is just a bunch of logic circuits you can reconfigure dynamically to mimic a specific hardware - it's a good fit for simulating those 30 years old chips we have in 8/16 bits consoles, as they are relatively simple.
It's nothing like virtualization. And it's much easier to get timings right with FPGA than with classical emulation sofware because of how modern hardware and OSes works (with diminishing returns the closer you try to do it perfectly).
You can still have input lag on a Mister FPGA depending on the gamepad you use and in which mode, though.

I still need to try out this PS1 core with Xenogears when I have more time (or maybe Alundra, as I never played it ?).
If you are interested, buy a mister fpga now people. It's probably going to get more expensive in the future.
 
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Just started playing Suikoden 1 on it and it looks superb at 1440p. I did, however, run into some issues - specially with PAL games.
 

20cent

Member
Can someone explain what FPGA is exactly? heard the term thrown around quite a bit recently and have never really understood it.
FPGA is basically a chip that is programed to emulate a machine on hardware level instead of software level like regular emulators do on other platforms such as a PC for example.

Or something like that.
 

Ev1L AuRoN

Member
I wonder if it's feasible to make a PCI-E board with an FPGA on it, so I can emulate with perfect accuracy on my PC. I would pay money for that. Think about it, a card made like a GPU, with some I/O on the back.
 

Ladioss

Member
I wonder if it's feasible to make a PCI-E board with an FPGA on it
Such cards already exists (IIRC for specialized server stuff ?), but 1/ if you use the card I/O and not the PC's then there is no point and 2/ routing input and output through PC hardware/OS would add latency and defeat the purpose of the mister project anyway.
 
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SScorpio

Member
So kinda like virtualisation but on a much more basic level and using different hardware alltogether?
I'd phrase it more as emulation at the hardware level versus software.

If you run a software emulator on a modern PC or phone you still have the OS controlling things. There is a scheduler swapping processes in and out giving them CPU time. You can never control when something is processed, it's still a full 60fps, but timing is uneven and things can just feel off.

With an FPGA the chip is reconfigured based on the "core" that's loaded. Each logic element is configured and things are all processed at once without things being swapped in and out. It's still a recreation of the hardware, but you have extremely low level control over how things work.

On an FPGA multi processor things like the Saturn are theoretically easier to implement, for example if you have two processors described in an FPGA, each would be running at the specified clock at the same time. On a PC you either have a single thread and do some processing of one processor, and then some processing of the other. Or you'd have two threads on a PC, and need to do locking to keep things in sync.

If you are someone who can tell the difference between a real console, and an emulator and prefer the former. You might want to consider the jump to FPGA. The MiSTer has that "correct" feeling that real hardware has, while being able to output a perfect video and audio signal to analog display or go through a perfect scaler and work on modern displays. You also gain access to being able to use any controller you want, and some of the quality of life features of emulators.

Not everyone will see the benefits over "just get a Raspberry Pi", but for those that can. It's great having this hardware preserved in a format that can be brought forward for decades to centuries.
 
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SScorpio

Member
Whats the file size of the full PSX games collection? I need to know what size hdd to buy to store them on
I'd recommend against a full set that's all revisions of all regions. If you went for say a full single revision US release list, and then the PAL and Japanese exclusives, in CHD format it's between 550GB-600GB. I'd recommend going for at least a 2-3TB.

There's already the SegaCD, and PCE/TurboGphxCD. Then bring in the future Saturn collection, and maybe a few hard drive images for some of the computers.
 

Faithless83

Banned
For people that are into retro hardware (consoles, retro computers and arcade boards) mister is worth it's weight in gold.
If you just want to play and don't notice a tv in cinema mode while playing games vs a CRT lag wise, raspberry pi is your way to go.
Can someone explain what FPGA is exactly? heard the term thrown around quite a bit recently and have never really understood it.
Lots of replies but imagine that a flashcard is the equivalent of the cartdrige, or an ODE is the equivalent of a CD drive; Mister FPGA is the same, but it simulates the whole console/arcade board/retro PC instead.
 
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SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
You can still have input lag on a Mister FPGA depending on the gamepad you use and in which mode, though.
Things like wireless controllers and displays can add some latency to to the stack, but the system itself shouldn't have any latency compared to native hardware.
 

Sophist

Member
I wonder if it's feasible to make a PCI-E board with an FPGA on it, so I can emulate with perfect accuracy on my PC. I would pay money for that. Think about it, a card made like a GPU, with some I/O on the back.
I doubt this thing has perfect accuracy, especially when it come to audio.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Whats the file size of the full PSX games collection? I need to know what size hdd to buy to store them on
A lot, I think like 1TB, but there are things you can do to get that down.

1) Get a 1G1R set (One Game, One Rom) which basically means that for any games that have multiple revisions or regional variants the best English language version is chosen and all others are eliminated. LaunchBox can pare down a rom set automatically like this.

2) Put everything on a compressed format. CHD is the new standard for disc based systems, but PBP is also an option and has the advantage of allowing multi-disc games to be stored in a single file. Just don't use official encrypted PBPs from PSN, they won't work.

3) Further pare it down to just English language releases and translation hacks.

All of that will probably get it down under 400GB.

Saturn is a lot smaller, with all of the above done it's about 90GB.
 

Teslerum

Member
A lot, I think like 1TB, but there are things you can do to get that down.

1) Get a 1G1R set (One Game, One Rom) which basically means that for any games that have multiple revisions or regional variants the best English language version is chosen and all others are eliminated. LaunchBox can pare down a rom set automatically like this.

2) Put everything on a compressed format. CHD is the new standard for disc based systems, but PBP is also an option and has the advantage of allowing multi-disc games to be stored in a single file. Just don't use official encrypted PBPs from PSN, they won't work.

3) Further pare it down to just English language releases and translation hacks.

All of that will probably get it down under 400GB.

Saturn is a lot smaller, with all of the above done it's about 90GB.
It's something over 400GB for all English releases (Assuming you include European exclusives)
Edit: - Educational and Shovelware games (like the Lightspan games and the Phoenix Game titles for example.) So, all in all closer to 450GB.
90GB for Saturn is spot on.
 
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sinnergy

Member
Around 300 gets you the de-10, a usb hub and sdram which is all you really need. But when you start with Io boards and cases it can get pricey, but you can run all current cores at 300. You can always add stuff down the line as you need or want.
Good tips ! I’ll look into this .
 

PhaseJump

Member
Can someone explain what FPGA is exactly? heard the term thrown around quite a bit recently and have never really understood it.

Think of CPUs or any chips designed for motherboards to do a job or fill a purpose. They are typically prototyped, designed on an FPGA, tweaked, the blueprint is established on how it should operate.

Designers decide the paths it takes while functioning, etc. All the info around that is finalized, and printed in mass production. They nail down everything into a smaller, specific design as the parts we all use.

They slap the chips in a socket, it runs as intended, pairing up next to other chips on motherboards or inside an integrated CPU or whatever to complete a system. Games run from roms and operate on that hardware setup.



The FPGA part of it is like the big expensive playground you can design things on. A big grid or array of logic gates. A bunch of on/off switches all lined up to simulate logic. FPGA chips are like a mobile ARM CPU and on the side, a wide open array to design things or simulate prototype designs on.

The DE10 nano board is the standard one used by MiSTer. It's an FPGA kit made more affordable for everybody because it is intended for school students, and so it gets subsidized by Intel. It's cheaper than it ought to be.

The "Cores" that run on it, are like blueprints that are reverse engineered by the scene. From the old computer chip designs found in the old consoles/carts/boards. People have pulled apart and studied the old hardware to map things out, and then recreate all the chips in a language that runs on an FPGA.

Then it becomes a matter of managing to simulate those old chips, their timing, etc. Side by side at the same time. The size of the FPGA and how many logic gates are in there, determine whether it can be done.
Typically, the devs have FPGA running all the "simulated" chips that make up a game console and rig it to work with modern I/O like HDMI or added filters. The accuracy is usually so close, much closer than software emulation, that the game's rom can't tell it's not running on real hardware.


It's a complicated process, and this is simplifying things.
 

SScorpio

Member
Things like wireless controllers and displays can add some latency to to the stack, but the system itself shouldn't have any latency compared to native hardware.
If you use analog output, and then SNAC for input, you have the exact same latency as a real console. Even to the point where an NES zapper will work, and that requires precise timing down to the TV's scan line for it to function.

If you are using HDMI, the scaler is less than a frame of lag, and USB can be pooled at 1000Hz, so while not exactly real console so light guns won't natively work (there are work for HDTVs), it's at the point where any normal person and probably most abnormal (speed runners/fighting game frame counters) can't notice. If you use a real console with an external scaler to an HDTV, you will have almost the same experience, but the MiSTer has cleaner audio and video since it remains digital rather than being analog and getting converted over to digital.


I doubt this thing has perfect accuracy, especially when it come to audio.
MDfourier says hi. https://junkerhq.net/MDFourier/

MegaDrive and PCE are pretty much perfect. Real console can have different revision chips, and how things sound can be different based on say a capacitor or clock chip being at the edge of "in spec" so that one console does have a slightly different sounds. But at that point what is "correct"?

This project is capturing audio from a large number of real consoles and the results are being compared to one another to establish a baseline. The MiSTer and software emulators are then being modified so they can hit that baseline. The MiSTer was where the fruits of this work was first done so it was the most accurate recreation at that time.
 
Been playing with MiSTer for a number of years now. Never ceases to amaze. The PS1 core is such a cool addition. I was introduced to FPGA hardware with the NT Mini. I also got the Super NT and Mega SG when they released. Since getting the MiSTer, I never touched them again so I sold them. I don't even use original hardware anymore. This is so close that I don't feel the need to use them. It can get a little pricey to build this but the arcades, consoles and computers it has cores for more than makes up for it in my opinion. MSU-1 support has been added in the last week or so too.
 
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NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
Let me get one thing straight.
If you were to get one now, how does it work when new systems are added? Do you have to completely change any case you already have, for example? Do you add new physical components? Or is it just a matter of uploading some new files to the thing you already have?

PS1 getting added is killer, and if this gets Saturn, then I’m definitely in.
 

SScorpio

Member
Let me get one thing straight.
If you were to get one now, how does it work when new systems are added? Do you have to completely change any case you already have, for example? Do you add new physical components? Or is it just a matter of uploading some new files to the thing you already have?

PS1 getting added is killer, and if this gets Saturn, then I’m definitely in.
New systems "could" require something like needing dual SDRAM, but so far everything is working with just one. Originally the SDRAM sticks were 32MB, but they were later updated to 64 and now 128MB. The old 32MB sticks will still work for most things, but larger games on Neogeo, computers, and GBA can make use of the additional memory.

With my setup when something new is released, I run the update_all script which will update all the cores to the latest version as well as grabbing needed BIOSes, etc. After that I just need to copy over games or HDD images for PCs.

As was mentioned earlier a DE10-Nano, USB OTG hub, and SDRAM will lets you use every core. The IO boards, and cases are all 100% optional.
 
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coffinbirth

Member
What makes this different from SouljaBoy's console from a legal standpoint?
I'm not 100% familiar with his console, but I'm pretty sure it has pre-loaded roms, which is super duper illegal, also I believe it used Nintendo IP as marketing materials, lol. It's just a Chinese piracy box he slapped his name on it.
 
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