General Old Game Hardware Thread

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Thad
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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Mon Oct 23, 2023 12:33 pm

Thad wrote:Once I finally dropped "fits in a mini-PC case" (and, with it, "uses onboard graphics") as a requirement, the project started to come into much clearer focus.

Mini-PC is out but I should be able to make a slim desktop work. I ordered a used barebones HP desktop that I can drop my processor, RAM, and SSD into, plus a low profile R7 250 for the graphics. I can use the Bluetooth dongle and whatever else I've got connected to the Pi that I previously tried to use for this project (future project: okay, so now I've got a Raspberry Pi 4 I'm not doing anything with; what should I do with it?).

It's not the most convenient size (if I'm lucky, I might be able to fit it in the mini-cabinet with my other retro gaming equipment*; if not, I'll have to stick it on a shelf under the TV and then run cables from it to the cabinet back to the TV, which isn't ideal but is a compromise I'm willing to make at this point), but I'm feeling pretty good about my progress.

I haven't tried it yet but I did notice that GroovyArcade has a desktop mode, so I should be able to use that to install and run any arbitrary programs I want (Kodi, Firefox, whatever), so watching videos should be a perfectly attainable goal. Running an actual desktop UI isn't ideal, but I can *probably* set up launchers that will run straight from AttractMode if I want to mess around with that.

* this would probably mean packing up my SNES to make room and just using my MiSTer for SNES gaming; I think it's caught up enough that it'll do everything real hardware plus an SD2SNES and a Super Game Boy 2 will, and I can turn off automatic saving if I ever want to play Shiren or anything else that would otherwise be constantly writing to the SD card

Got the PC into the cabinet; had to put the SNES away to make room for it, as expected. Devices in the cab are now:

DVD/VCR combo
GroovyArcade PC
PS2
Wii
MiSTer

Decided to move the Wii to make room for the MiSTer (which I moved to make room for the PC), and after half an hour of confusedly tracing cables trying to find the Wii A/V cable to re-run it I got the brobdingnagiest surprise of the day: apparently the Wii hasn't been hooked up to video the entire time I've lived here (over 2 years) and somehow I never noticed. I'm not surprised that I haven't had a hankering for a Wii or GameCube game in the last two years (or that if I have, I've gone the emulation route -- Xenoblade Chronicles looks pretty great in Dolphin, y'all), but I'm a little surprised that I never noticed on any of the various occasions I've tested all the inputs on my A/V switch to make sure they're working. I guess the other 4 things were enough that I never thought to ask "Wait, where's the Wii?"

After getting the cable out of my closet and hooking it up, I looked and saw that yep, I had a picture -- and to my horror, it was dim. "Oh shit, another Wii whose video output has gone," I thought for a second, then realized I'd just left it idling long enough that it had dimmed the picture. Having figured that out, it seems to be fine.

Everything was working for a minute, but at some point I lost sound on the MiSTer. Not sure how but it might have been when I chose the "test inputs" option, which did not do what I expected it to (as far as I could tell it just fucked up the refresh rate and gave me a rolling picture so I had to hard restart, but it's possible it fucked up some other shit in the bargain -- or it could be a coincidence and something else could have knocked out the sound, but I know I hooked it up right because it worked the first time I tested it after moving it).

GroovyArcade is good so far but the problem is that its purpose is what it says on the tin -- it's designed to be built into an arcade cabinet, with one, maybe two inputs physically connected to it, permanently. It doesn't have any frontend for setting up Bluetooth, and if you have multiple inputs hooked up to it, only one of them will work to navigate the menu.

Fortunately it's got Arch on the backend so I should be able to install whatever I want from the command line.

It could be that the default frontend, AttractMode, is the issue. Fortunately, you can switch to a different frontend; I think it comes with another one out of the box, so I'll try that and see if it works any better with a Bluetooth keyboard or with multiple controllers attached. If that doesn't work, I'll probably try EmulationStation. (But use it on top of GroovyArcade, rather than switch to an ES-based distro like Batocera, because Groovy has the out-of-the-box 15KHz support so I don't have to fuck around with modelines, and the Arch backend makes it a lot more versatile than Batocera's "Good Lord! What is happening in there?" take on a Linux environment.)

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Mon Oct 23, 2023 1:37 pm

Thad wrote:Everything was working for a minute, but at some point I lost sound on the MiSTer. Not sure how but it might have been when I chose the "test inputs" option, which did not do what I expected it to (as far as I could tell it just fucked up the refresh rate and gave me a rolling picture so I had to hard restart, but it's possible it fucked up some other shit in the bargain -- or it could be a coincidence and something else could have knocked out the sound, but I know I hooked it up right because it worked the first time I tested it after moving it).

i bumped the mute button on the keyboard

:facepalm:

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Mon Oct 23, 2023 7:16 pm

Got LXDE and Kodi up and running. Having some trouble with overscan; top and bottom of the screen is cut off which can make controls difficult to find. The default theme is surprisingly legible but I found one called Aeon Nox Silvo where the controls don't get cut off by the bottom of the screen so I think I'll stick with that. The downside is that it was clearly designed for a 16:9 ratio and feels a little squished.

Annoyed but not entirely surprised to find that if you watch a 4:3 show on the Pluto TV plugin for Kodi on a 4:3 TV it puts fucking black bars around it in both directions instead of showing it in fullscreen.

Release notes for GroovyArcade say it supports EmulationStation as a frontend but I don't see the option anywhere. Switched from AttractMode to something called Pegasus that doesn't have AttractMode's input issues but doesn't seem to have any built-in scraper functionality, which means I'm probably going to end up fucking around with Skyscraper on the command line. I haven't used it in a couple of years but my recollection is that it involved a lot of fiddling with config files to start with but ran pretty smoothly once it was set up.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Mon Oct 30, 2023 12:49 pm

Man oh man, ran updates recently and it's really impressive how many cores have been added to both MiSTer and the Pocket. CPS-2 support appears pretty complete; I saw the Street Fighter Alpha trilogy on Pocket and I think on up through Marvel vs Capcom on MiSTer.

Most of this work is by one developer, jotego. Pretty incredible stuff.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Mon Oct 30, 2023 11:33 pm

Poked around the MiSTer Saturn core a bit more. NiGHTs and Policenauts work. Marvel Superheroes vs. Street Fighter runs but has serious graphical glitches. Panzer Dragoon 2 and X-Men vs. Street Fighter both boot but then lock up.

So it looks like, aside from the two games that actually run, I'm going to have to stick with the emulation box for now. I find it's stuttering a little bit on most games; I used Mega Man 8 as my benchmark since I know the PS version well enough to tell whether it's running at the correct speed, but it turns out it wasn't the best benchmark since it runs a lot better than any of the other games I've tried. May need to tweak some settings or try another emulator.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Thu Nov 02, 2023 1:16 am

Thad wrote:emulation box [...] I find it's stuttering a little bit on most games [...] May need to tweak some settings

Yeah, it was vsync. Which for some baffling reason is enabled by default on retroarch.

I was concerned that you needed to enable vsync to enable hard GPU sync (which is the thing stopping black horizontal lines from popping in and out), but it turns out you don't. Everything seems to be running pretty well with vsync disabled and hard GPU sync enabled.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Thu Nov 02, 2023 1:39 am

Decided to try Chrono Trigger DS on the CRT. I remember being unimpressed with both the Slattery localization and the extra content, but I figured maybe I'd give it another chance, and I figured it'd look good on a CRT since, after all, it still uses the original SNES graphics.

The good news is that the sprites look great on a CRT TV. The bad news is that the font does not. There's a reason the old Square RPGs used motherflippin' Chicago; you need a brobdingnagian beefy font at TV-viewing distance. (And that doesn't just go for low-res games; I'm finding far too many recent games whose text I have trouble reading on a 55" LCD at 1080p at a distance of about 10 feet.) Chrono Trigger DS went for a much skinnier font; I don't recall having any trouble reading it on my DS (though TBF that was 15 years ago and I'm not sure how my current eyesight would do with it) but I have to squint to read it on a CRT.

I'm kinda curious whether I can get the PC version to run at 240p. I doubt it; I found a list of PC games which display at 240p/480i and CT isn't on it, and I'm sure I'm not the first person who's thought of it.

I also put PPSSPP on there since, after all, Tactics Ogre and FFT are games designed to be played on tube TVs ported to PSP, but so far trying to run it just locks up Retroarch. Still troubleshooting. If I really want to I suppose I can try just hooking my PSP up to the TV.

(You know what I bet would look great on a CRT? Trails in the Sky. Looks like it's got a 640x480 setting right out of the box; I should set it up on this machine. I wonder if I can get it down to 320x240 by editing the ini file. I've been focusing on emulation and haven't even really started installing actual PC games on the GroovyArcade box; I did install Ur-Quan Masters but haven't actually fired it up yet.)

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 07, 2023 12:04 am

Now that I've got my 480i/240p emulation box set up, I'm curious about obscure consoles I never owned.

3DO had some weird shit!


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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 07, 2023 12:33 am

Thad wrote:Decided to try Chrono Trigger DS on the CRT. I remember being unimpressed with both the Slattery localization and the extra content, but I figured maybe I'd give it another chance, and I figured it'd look good on a CRT since, after all, it still uses the original SNES graphics.

The good news is that the sprites look great on a CRT TV. The bad news is that the font does not. There's a reason the old Square RPGs used motherflippin' Chicago; you need a brobdingnagian beefy font at TV-viewing distance. (And that doesn't just go for low-res games; I'm finding far too many recent games whose text I have trouble reading on a 55" LCD at 1080p at a distance of about 10 feet.) Chrono Trigger DS went for a much skinnier font; I don't recall having any trouble reading it on my DS (though TBF that was 15 years ago and I'm not sure how my current eyesight would do with it) but I have to squint to read it on a CRT.

I'm kinda curious whether I can get the PC version to run at 240p. I doubt it; I found a list of PC games which display at 240p/480i and CT isn't on it, and I'm sure I'm not the first person who's thought of it.

Surprisingly, it would seem that I am.

The PC version of CT runs on a NTSC CRT, but out of the box it looks like balls; the sprites aren't scaled 1:1, the interlacing is headache-inducing, and the text isn't any more readable than it was in the DS emulator -- particularly due to the overscan which cuts off the top of the picture.

It doesn't appear to be fixable, because the config file doesn't take arbitrary resolutions, just presets numbered (I think) 0-7.

Other games I've gotten working so far:

Freedom Planet (480i out of the box but I've read you can edit the config file to set it to 240p)
Ur-Quan Masters (240p is an option in the menu)
Trails in the Sky (480i out of the box; font is difficult to read. No option to set to 320x240 in the menu but I'll look into whether it can be set in the config file.)
Shantae and the Pirates Curse (same)

Also, I can run these from a desktop but the launcher (Pegasus Frontend) lists them all but won't run any of them.

Same problem with Steam games.

Emulators mostly run fine at this point, but not Retroarch's PSP core; it crashes out altogether when I launch from Pegasus, whereas if I launch it from the desktop it runs but inputs don't work and I have to kill it from the terminal.

Still, it's progress. Everything is coming along nicely.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Tue Nov 07, 2023 9:10 pm

It's a pity the font in Trails in the Sky fucking sucks. Otherwise it'd be great on a CRT.

(It's barely legible on an LCD either, unless it's right in front of your face. I'm noticing this problem in a lot of games -- like, there's a growing list where I'm like "okay, I can play this on my Deck or on my desktop in my office but not on a TV" --, and I grant that part of it is I'm getting older and more nearsighted, but I couldn't read the text in Trails eight years ago, either.)

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Sun Nov 12, 2023 6:47 pm

Thad wrote:Besides just getting a real Saturn 3D controller and a USB dongle, which I'm considering, but from what I've read the Mayflash adapter has some issues, the raphnet adapter is out of stock, the Ultimate Daemon is a little on the pricey side, and if I want to order a Geeky Fab adapter I'm going to have to brush up on my Japanese.

It looks like the Gamer-Pro Advanced GPA is probably the thing. It's a USB adapter for...damn-near any console controller, with the right converter cable.

I've seen adapters like this for the MiSTer before, but they used a hardware interface that was specific to the MiSTer (SNAC, LLAPI, or BlissBox) rather than standard USB HID.

Seems like it could be useful for weirdo controllers like Saturn 3D or the Jaguar one with the number pad.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Mon Nov 20, 2023 12:19 pm

Fucked up my wrist somehow; hopefully it'll be better in a few days but in the meantime I hauled out that one-handed PS1 controller I bought a few years back and a PS1-to-USB dongle I've had for long enough that it predates the PS2 (though generally works fine with PS2 controllers) and fired up the MiSTer.

Most immediately noticeable problem is that the X button doesn't work. Not sure why; I'm pretty sure I used this with the MiSTer back during quarantine and it worked, but I guess I'm not 100% on that.

This is the controller

Image
Image
(via)

It's got X and Circle in the trigger positions. And since I was playing FF6 T-Edition and B is the run button, and X isn't working, I had to map B to Circle (because it's the only working button I can hold while using the D-pad). So I mapped A to Square, mapped Y (which of course is only used in a couple of places in FF6) to L2, and mapped R2 to bring up the MiSTer menu. Works pretty well, though I'd rather figure out a way to get that X button working. (Is it the adapter? the MiSTer OS? could it somehow be something in the USB chain -- the hub board, the USB A-A adapter that connects it to the main DE10-Nano board, the USB extension cable I'm using?) Still, it's a testament to how rock-solid the USB-HID standard is that it works at all.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Mon Nov 20, 2023 8:06 pm

Other detail I forgot to mention: I managed to map different things to the two Triangle buttons, which was surprising. I wonder what it is they're doing that registers as the same button on a real PlayStation but two separate buttons on my USB adapter.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 25, 2023 12:44 pm

Apparently Mad Catz released a controller called the FightPad Pro for PS3/4 that had 6 face buttons, 1 analog stick, and analog triggers, it'll work on PC, and you can still buy it new.

I just ordered that Gamer-Pro Advanced GPA, though, so I'm gonna go find me a real Saturn 3D pad on eBay.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby JD » Sat Nov 25, 2023 5:35 pm

I mentioned it in the game deals thread, but Anbernic just released the RG35XX Plus, a Linux-based Game Boy form factor handheld which will emulate platforms up to PSP and Dreamcast. It's a slightly beefier version of the RG35XX, adding Wi-Fi, a brobdingnagier battery, and a more powerful CPU. I don't have one, but I've heard good things.

Right now it's $57.99 plus ~$12 shipping at the official site (promo codes "anbernic" and "ANBF" may work). They're likewise selling on their AliExpress store where various site-wide Black Friday discount codes are available, which may work out cheaper. A third-party GarlicOS build is already out, which adds additional features such as other emulators.

If you want something cheaper and nearly as good, original RG35XX is on sale at the Data Frog AliExpress store right now for ~$38 with free shipping. It will emulate up to some PSX games and comes in purple.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Niku » Sun Nov 26, 2023 12:03 pm

I'm waiting to see how the Miyoo Flip shakes out (supposedly releasing before the end of the year) before I finally bite the bullet on any of the handheld emulation stations, but the RG35XX Plus adding Wifi is pretty brobdingnagian since I like wallowing in retroachievements.
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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Thu Nov 30, 2023 1:35 pm

Thad wrote:Fucked up my wrist somehow; hopefully it'll be better in a few days but in the meantime I hauled out that one-handed PS1 controller I bought a few years back and a PS1-to-USB dongle I've had for long enough that it predates the PS2 (though generally works fine with PS2 controllers) and fired up the MiSTer.

Most immediately noticeable problem is that the X button doesn't work. Not sure why; I'm pretty sure I used this with the MiSTer back during quarantine and it worked, but I guess I'm not 100% on that.

Got my BlissBox in the mail and its PlayStation dongle has the same problem with the X button. So whatever the issue is it isn't with my old PS/USB adapter.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Thu Nov 30, 2023 7:09 pm

Yeah, it's not the adapter; something's wrong with my PS1 ASCII Grip. I hooked it up to my PS2 and the same weird shit's happening (X doesn't work, right Triangle duplicates Circle instead of Triangle, right Square is X instead of Square).

I'm...almost certain it used to work correctly; I played Azure Dreams with it. So something got fucked up somewhere. I guess a short could do it, some wires touching that aren't supposed to, either on the board or in the cable.

The things go for $15 new on eBay so it's probably not worth taking apart to try to figure out what's wrong with it.

But I've also got a SNES ASCII Grip, and now that I've got my Gamer-Pro Advanced I can use that. No issues there; every button doing what it's supposed to. So that'll take care of SNES games. Or anything that doesn't need an analog stick or more than 8 buttons, so that'll cover Lunar 2 and such too.

I got a Saturn 3D Pad and that's not working with the GPA either, which is a bummer because that's kinda the thing I bought it for in the first place. Seems to work okay with a regular Saturn controller (or at least one of those wireless Retro-Bit ones). Guess that's something I should ask support about.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Fri Dec 01, 2023 4:01 pm

Thad wrote:I got a Saturn 3D Pad and that's not working with the GPA either, which is a bummer because that's kinda the thing I bought it for in the first place.

Fixed in the latest firmware update.

Will take some time to set it up in Retroarch when I get a chance. God damn Retroarch makes it confusing to set up any controller that doesn't use a SNES-style layout.

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Re: General Old Game Hardware Thread

Postby Thad » Thu Dec 14, 2023 9:18 pm

Thad wrote:It looks like the Gamer-Pro Advanced GPA is probably the thing. It's a USB adapter for...damn-near any console controller, with the right converter cable.

I'm loving the versatility of this thing but it's going to take some doing to get some of the more esoteric controllers to work. I bought the CX30+ paddle controller bundle, which is New Atari's replica of Old Atari's original paddle controllers, and the GPA recognizes it...sometimes (seems to take a little bit of plugging in and unplugging) but it's got some weird default mappings, with the dial registering as a slider and the buttons as the left stick, so I'm probably going to have to figure out some middle layer to remap the controls to something usable to get it to actually work on a PC game.

Haven't tried it on the MiSTer yet.

I also got a Jaguar controller, which I suspect will also need some kind of shim to get all 17 of its buttons mapped.

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