Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

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Ploggy
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Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby Ploggy » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:45 pm

This is from Deunan, the guy who makes the Makaron Emulator.


Let there be light:
Image
And there was light:
Image
More pictures to follow soon :)

Status so far:
Voltage regulators - check
MCU starts - check
Bootloader operational using 3V3 UART - check
MCU JTAG - check
C runtime stub + simple exception handling - check
Status LEDs - check
UART 115200 8N1 console - check
Interrupts - check (need to investigate if registers are really properly saved though)
External RAM - check (problem found, should be fixed now)
High speed SD interface - in progress

Random fun fact: Many SD/SDHC cards exhibit various little quirks in SPI mode so the code needs to be aware of those to work properly in every case. One would think the native SD protocol is so tightly standardized that there should be no such surprises. Well, I just found a bunch of 2GB Kingston SDs that respond to ACMD41 with bad CRC7...

EDIT: Turns out the R3 answer is the only one not protected by CRC7, that space is marked as reserved and just filled with all-ones. I'm still not getting the busy bit within reasonable times on these Kingstons but I suppose reading the docs few more times might teach me something new again.

Anyway, here's the actual thing:
Image
Now it's a proper prototype, with all these wires and blinking LEDs. A few things are still missing on the PCB but right now I need to get SD protocol working so I can fetch FPGA configuration image and test it.

EDIT:

High speed SD interface - check
DMA on SD i/f - check
Basic FAT support - check
FPGA - in progress

I'm using my own FAT library, which has no write support but it was designed to be fast while consuming as little RAM as possible. In fact current SD cards are so fast it makes sector buffering impractical, since the lookups and LRU queues kill any gains with additional overhead. I suppose it'd be different if the CPU was clocked above some 400MHz and had some fast L1 cache.
Right now I get average of ~10MB/s in test that seeks to random part of 1.2GB file and reads 1-3500 consecutive 2352-byte long chunks. This is to simulate RAW image reads for GD-ROM. So pretty well I'd say, a nice boost compared to 2.5MB/s I got over SPI.

The native SD interface required a pretty much complete rewrite of some code, so I'm not 100% sure it's stable and all, but seems to work for hours without problems so far.







From what I understand this is a Dreamcast GDrom Emulating Device. (Similar to the Wii's WODE)
As far as I know this is the first device of it's kind for the dreamcast and Deunan says he may sell them once they are finished :) So if you have a Dreamcast with a dodgy reading drive or if you just like the thought of playing your dreamcast games from SD card, This is something to keep an eye out for. :)



Source:
http://dknute.livejournal.com/41023.html
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Ashen
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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby Ashen » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:17 pm

Sweet find! I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this. :D

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby Ploggy » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:33 pm

Thanks :) I thought it would be worth spreading the word. This is pretty big news for me, My drive has been on and off for ages and I'm forever messing with the POT. :P

Looks like I'll have to buy a new Controller first tho :)


Maybe if this all works out can we expect to see some Portable Dreamcast's from you? :P

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby mida84 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:43 am

This is great news. I have been waiting for this for a long time. So many projects have come and gone but this one looks like the most complete. Fingers crossed and good luck to him.

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby emu_kidid » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:19 am

yes, definitely looks very promising, I have been following this one too - now I just need a Dreamcast :p
Image

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby _Nold_ » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:35 am

Looks really sick! good that i'm already looking for a dc xD
This would be awesome for dc portables,too!
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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby liquitt » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:09 am

sweet!!
i'll def. get a dreamcast again!
please search before you ask - a lot has been discussed already!
(or use google with "site:gc-forever.com *term*")
http://is.gd/MDmZcr

we also have a wiki filled with knowledge
http://is.gd/dX58Rm

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby Ploggy » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:16 pm

Updates :)




And behold, it was very good...

Okay folks, since there are so many questions about the GD-EMU project and noone can be bothered to read the answers from the time I showed you my first iteration of the idea, here it is all again:

1) Ready when?
No idea. I would not be making a custom PCB and ordering new parts and working on it if I didn't belive it can be done, but at the same time I cannot (and will not) make any promises about delivery dates. Obviously though if I can't make it work as I'd like in the next few months it's going to be shelved again.

2) How much?
Again, no idea. In fact it's not even decided I will be selling those. If it doesn't seem like I can turn a profit without investing all my free time into it, I'll just stop at prototype phase. While I understand that it would upset many of you, I'm not a charity worker. It's one thing to code a free application and share it with the world and quite another manufacturing a hardware device for sale.

All I can say right now is the prototype is pretty expensive (compared to a price of a working, pre-owned Dreamcast). But that is true for all prototypes. Things get considerably cheaper when mass-produced. Then again it's quite possible the first batches will still be priced higher because of low volume of sales - I'm sure as hell not going to invest my own money into this.

3) Kickstarter? Preorders?
While Kickstarter seems like a good option, it's a no-no because I'm not a US resident. End of story right there. I will also not take any kind of preorders (or other money offers) until I'm certain the device will work and can be manufactured in suitable quantities. Things get serious when money are involved and I'm a rather cautious person.

4) Features?
It will be a 100% compatible replacement for GD-ROM drive, except using SD cards. It might offer better loading times but otherwise will function in the same way. It's meant to provide a backup solution for the laser and other mechanical parts of the drive which are no longer in production and fail after so many years of use. While many of you will interpret this last sentence as "it will play game rips" I'd like to point out that I never condoned software piracy. I think I made my point clear when I refused to fix any bugs in Makaron that were related to CDI rips of the games (as opposed to proper GDI images). Many of these "bugs" were actually how the rips worked on a real console, although these could be somewhat helped if I wanted to. But I didn't. So, if you are/were a Dreamcast user then you should be familiar with region locks, video cable restrictions, bootable (or not) homebrew, etc. Using GD-EMU will not remove/help with any of these. You might try image patching, sure, but I will not give any support for these modifications if there are any problems.

As for user interface - I like simple things that work as expected. I've seen too many projects that looked nice but didn't deliver what was promised in the first place. My goals are perfect compatibility and stability. Anything else is extra. I think 2 buttons is enough to select which game on the card should be "inserted".
If that's not enough for you, code a good Dreamcast app that will select games from the card - it can be put as the first image on it, which will boot by default. Then we can talk about how to make the hardware do what the app/user wants.

5) USB link to PC?
That's in plans, but no work has been done yet. I'm not even sure the USB port on the prototype works properly :) So, eventually yes, but probably not from the start. USB host support (as in USB HDDs and FLASH drives) is probably not going to happen. Did I mention I like simple solutions?

6) Other features?
Well, if it ever happens that I make tons of profit on these things, which I doubt, I might reconsider my stance on UI, USB host, and other things. But that would have to be a considerable amount of money to motivate me :)

7) Open source?
Highly unlikely. If only because some people could just take all my work and start selling their own devices. While I'm not stopping anyone from creating a different/better project, they better be prepared to spend as much time on it as I have. I've already helped many people by sharing important bits and pieces of info, and even programs made by me. There is goodwill and there is stupidity - and I have to say that more often than not I've came to regret my decisions. Once burned...

8) Pics or it didn't happen.
There are photos of my all-FPGA approach on this blog, and even some short movies on YT of it working (with minor issues) if you know where to look. I will post pictures of the V2 prototype connected once it actually does work. I'm redoing much of my FPGA code and this might take some time as I want to try another approach.


http://dknute.livejournal.com/41336.html

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby wii_HD » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:27 pm

Well I guess it will come down to the access speed and cost of the final product considering that its already possible to mod a Dreamcast with a SD card reader and the Dreamshell OS.

Also there are the serial port SD card readers for around 20USD.
Playing - Super Mario Sunshine - DariusBurst CS - Hotline Miami 2 - Rpi2 Lakka - X360 BurnOut Paradise City

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby Ploggy » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:43 pm

The SD adapter mod doesn't have the best compatibility and is slow on certain games. This device claims to have 100% compatibility and is going to be at least the same speed as the GDROM drive. (but most likely faster)



There is another team working on a ODE for the PS1/PS2/DC (but mainly for the PS1 for the minute)

http://psio.com.au/

BenoitRen
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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby BenoitRen » Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:40 pm

I find it disheartening that if he ever quits on the project he won't open-source it.
Hardware: Wii (PAL)
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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby Benni » Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:11 pm

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liquitt
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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby liquitt » Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:52 pm

what the guy mentioned in this thread does is different, as he is basically making a disc drive emulating device
please search before you ask - a lot has been discussed already!
(or use google with "site:gc-forever.com *term*")
http://is.gd/MDmZcr

we also have a wiki filled with knowledge
http://is.gd/dX58Rm

Benni
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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby Benni » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:22 pm

but this does almost the same...

You need just a bootdisc to start from SD...

Find a way to flash this to bios

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liquitt
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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby liquitt » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:45 pm

Benni wrote:almost


well, why are there modchips for the wii and optical drive emulators?
please search before you ask - a lot has been discussed already!
(or use google with "site:gc-forever.com *term*")
http://is.gd/MDmZcr

we also have a wiki filled with knowledge
http://is.gd/dX58Rm

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby yamaharacer » Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:36 pm

Benni wrote:but this does almost the same...

You need just a bootdisc to start from SD...

Find a way to flash this to bios



did you try this method? its fucking slow. I have tryed it with this adaptor from china and dreamshell. 2D games that have not much datarate work ok. they stutter a little bit. But games like Shenmue or Crazy Taxi arent playable. Thats plausible, because its no high speed connection. its only a seriel connection and only for loading homebrew not for loading games.

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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby Benni » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:26 am

O.K.!
THAT´S IT!

No, i never tested it!
got my 1.st DC yesterday! ;-)

Played a few minutes chuchu rocket - it´s funny!

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liquitt
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Re: Something to keep an eye out for :) (Dreamcast)

Postby liquitt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:37 am

Benni wrote:O.K.!
THAT´S IT!

No, i never tested it!
got my 1.st DC yesterday! ;-)

Played a few minutes chuchu rocket - it´s funny!


yeah these SD adapters are shit. if you order them from china don't expect any quality at all. 3 of 5 were D.O.A. in my order
and as yamaha already said, loading rates are a nightmare and you can't even make it better with better sd cards since the port is so limited.

this odd looks promising though
please search before you ask - a lot has been discussed already!
(or use google with "site:gc-forever.com *term*")
http://is.gd/MDmZcr

we also have a wiki filled with knowledge
http://is.gd/dX58Rm


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