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Firmware v0.1.7a released – important bugfix

Firmware v0.1.7a released – important bugfix

Another maintenance release, yay! Get it here.
This fixes a critical bug and two minor bugs reported yesterday:

  • Firmware locked up when loading Zelda 3 after soft-reset. I am surprised that it actually worked so well with all other games.
  • Auto Region Patch setting wasn’t saved properly.
  • Satellaview custom time had a garbled default value (year 1035). The default has now been fixed. If you’d like to apply it you can delete your config.yml or just the “BSXTime” entry from it to load the new default.
Firmware v0.1.7 – PLEASE REDOWNLOAD!!!

Firmware v0.1.7 – PLEASE REDOWNLOAD!!!

Obligatory service announcement! A bug snuck into the firmware where the ROM file could get overwritten with your save data when saving or resetting. On the bright side you’d never lose your save data… ;)
I just replaced the download with the fixed version. If you already downloaded v0.1.7, please re-download and replace it on your card. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Firmware v0.1.7 released

Firmware v0.1.7 released

OK, so I decided to release v0.1.7 ;) There is one feature missing out from the milestone (interactive cheat menu) but I really didn’t want to delay the release EVEN longer. Grab it here!

Here’s what’s new since preview 4:

  • Configuration menu. All settings are now available through the menu. Changes take effect immediately after confirming a setting with the A button. It can use some polish but should work fine. Note that the Video Mode settings are only effective on SuperCIC modded consoles.
  • SRM files (save files) are now stored in sd2snes/saves/<romname>.srm – existing save files will be moved upon save, there is no batch migration.
  • Game fixes:
    • DMA de-initialization has been reintroduced and changed from $00 to $ff. This reflects a real SNES better and hopefully finally fixes sprite corruption with SGnG and SSF2, AND title screen glitches/crashes with Pocky&Rocky US.
    • APU RAM is initialized to $AA (same as specific model SNESes). This fixes stuttering drums due to bugs in sound programming in the intro of Soul Blader on some consoles (not just 1CHIP!)
    • Data written by the SNES CPU is sampled to obtain valid data on certain time points. This should fix Mario Kart track/driver glitches everywhere.
    • All faulty multicycle constraints from Cx4 have been removed. There should be no random “register file error” messages or similar anymore.
  • MSU1 enhancements:
    • MSU1 volume boost: In case MSU1 audio is too quiet you can now increase volume in several steps. Available via Configuration->Chip Options.
    • Interpolation filter to reduce aliasing, resulting in cleaner sound
    • Fixed a bug where volume calculation introduced DC offset to the waveform output. This eliminates clicking or humming on volume changes/fades.
    • Changed MSU1 audio playback rate to exactly 44100Hz to match bsnes/higan implementation. Sound that syncs on bsnes should now also sync properly on sd2snes.
    • MSU1 resume feature implemented (Thanks to Michaël Larouche!)
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Missing ROM files are automatically removed from the “Recent Games” list. (Thanks to borti4938!)
    • Background text is now properly greyed out in the SPC player
    • Ultra16 awareness (mostly thanks to borti4938!):
      • Ultra16 serial number and autoboot setting is displayed in the System Information screen.
      • Exiting from the SPC player doesn’t crash the menu anymore on Ultra16 consoles.
      • Soft reset is prolonged a bit on Ultra16 consoles so you have the opportunity to release the controller buttons, not entering the Ultra16 menu by accident.
      • Auto region patching is disabled on Ultra16 consoles so it doesn’t interfere with the Ultra16’s own facilities.
Firmware v0.1.7 preview 4

Firmware v0.1.7 preview 4

Preview 4 of the notorious 0.1.7 firmware is available. Download here!

Changes in no particular order:

  • Prevent software from using uninitialized DMA ch.0 transfer to corrupt the stack (fixes Nightmare Busters)
  • Disable PPU region patching during the menu
  • MSU1: Stop audio playback on reset (fixes static buzzing noise in games after soft-resetting out of an MSU1 game)
  • Cx4: Add a switch for original/fast mode. “Original” mimics the Cx4 timing better (Megaman doesn’t die in MMX2 attract mode) whereas “Fast” uses a single CPU cycle for every instruction, improving frame rate when drawing polygons (rotating head in MMX2 intro).
  • Hide dot files and directories again (Regression in 0.1.7).
  • “Stealth Mode” for in-game hook memory area hides the memory region used by in-game routines from games. (Fixes Equinox, Lion King)
  • In-game hooks are a bit less intrusive in terms of CPU time, hopefully reducing glitches a bit with problematic games.
  • System Information screen shows file system usage on card.
  • Slow down DSPx a bit to better match original speed (should have no noticeable effect)
  • Font height is reduced by one pixel to increase readability (lines of text are more distinguishable). This has an effect on the font style so some might not like it…? ;)
  • Background is greyed out when a window is active in foreground
  • Menu now uses the dynamic hierarchical menu system, with automatic calculation of window dimensions, etc. Not much of it can be seen at the moment due to the lack of menu entries.
  • Experimental SRAM mapping for Cx4
  • FPGA: adjust address sampling time for “end-of-cycle” events. Should help primarily with DSP1 glitches.
  • MSU1: initial volume now adheres to the latest spec (initial volume = 0) so it must be initialized by software to the desired level. This actually breaks my own example player :D I will post an updated version of it shortly.
  • Text file based configuration. Allows you to change some settings while I procrastinate writing the config GUI :P The following options are currently implemented (taken directly from the config file, sd2snes\config.yml, as generated by sd2snes, along with their default values):
    # Allow SuperCIC Pair Mode (required for video mode setting)
    PairModeAllowed: false
    
    # Video mode (0 = 60Hz, 1 = 50Hz, 2 = Auto (game only))
    VideoModeMenu: 0
    VideoModeGame: 2
    
    # Satellaview Settings
    #  BSXUseUsertime: use user defined time instead of real time
    #  BSXTime: user defined Satellaview broadcast time (format: YYYYMMDDhhmmss)
    BSXUseUsertime: true
    BSXTime: 19970301180530
    
    # Enable PPU region flag patching
    R213fOverride: true
    
    # IRQ hook related settings
    #  EnableIRQHook: Overall enable IRQ hooks (required for in-game buttons & WRAM cheats)
    #  EnableIRQButtons: Enable in-game buttons (en/disable cheats, reset sd2snes...)
    #  EnableIRQHoldoff: Enable 10s grace period after reset before enabling in-game hooks
    EnableIRQHook: true
    EnableIRQButtons: true
    EnableIRQHoldoff: true
    
    # Screensaver settings
    #  EnableScreensaver: Enable screensaver
    EnableScreensaver: true
    
    # UI related settings
    #  SortDirectories: Sort directories (slower but files are guaranteed to be in order)
    SortDirectories: true
    
    # Enhancement chip settings
    #  Cx4Speed: Cx4 core speed (0: original, 1: fast, all instructions are single cycle)
    Cx4Speed: 0
  • Text file based cheat support. Cheat files are expected in YAML format with the filename “sd2snes\Cheats\<romname>.yml“. Multiple codes per cheat are supported. The expected data structure is as shown in this example:
    ---
    - Name: Invincibility
       Code: "AAAA-AAAA" # this is an example GG code
      Enabled: True
    - Name: Infinite Money
      Code:
        - "7E0345AA" # this is an example PAR code
        - "809AB001" # and another one
      Enabled: False
    

    Cheats are applied immediately after loading a ROM (if they are enabled). 6 ROM patches and 26 RAM patches can be active simultaneously. Currently there is no sanity check so things probably won’t work correctly if you exceed these limits ;) At the moment sd2snes will re-write the cheat file every time it is loaded so its look will change after the first run. GameHacking can now export cheats in sd2snes format. Awesome!

  • Minor cosmetic changes.
sd2snes v0.1.7 cheat support preview

sd2snes v0.1.7 cheat support preview

Short update: Things are dragging along a bit as we moved house and our second son was born a couple of weeks ago. :)

A tech-savvy user built the current development tree of the sd2snes firmware and made a short demo video. It shows how a YAML file containing cheats is supplied and the cheats are in effect:

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v0.1.7 preview 4 will be available in a couple of days. It will also feature a text-based configuration file so in-game hooks (and a couple of other things) can be configured via text file while I am working on the GUI. ;)

About work in progress, reporting issues

About work in progress, reporting issues

I’ve added Github commits & issues widgets to the sidebar so you can keep an eye on what I’m working on (or have just finished working on), in case you cannot be bothered to look at Github directly. ;) Of course I will keep posting a summary of changes whenever posting a new release.

Also it would be really really really helpful if you could report issues directly via Github, or at least check if your issue is already there before reporting again. I get many reports about the same issues, questions about when they will be fixed when I already replied to the question to somebody else elsewhere, etc. and I think this gets frustrating for both sides. My time is scarce as it is and I’d rather spend it developing than talking about the same thing over and over ;)
Of course I cannot force anyone to sign up with Github. So if it’s absolutely unacceptable for you to do so you may still report via comments or contact form and I will open a Github issue about it myself. Just check with the issues page if your issue is already there before reporting. ;)

Thanks!

Site hiccups and small update

Site hiccups and small update

Site should be running normally again. I switched to HTTPS a while ago and the transition wasn’t so smooth. In the process a configuration change made the spam filter eat most comments. I’ve dug them out from the spam folder, hope I didn’t miss any. Sorry about it!
Preview 4 will be up shortly but it will mainly contain bug fixes and stability improvements. Squatted some bugs that had been reported in the meantime – some of them a bit tough.

Internet!

Internet!

Home server is up and running again! \o/ Finally got around to approve all the pending comments that had stacked up in the meantime. As always, thanks for your support and patience!
My room is still packed in boxes, lots of work to do around the new house. I aim to have my development workstation running by the weekend so I can continue work on the sd2snes firmware. See you around. ;)

Ping

Ping

I’m alive ;) (sort of). I’ve been sick since mid-November so I’m still a bit bogged down. We put our son into nursery school at the beginning of November and he brings home new germs every day :D Having a cold for 2 months straight (and counting) really feels strange. Also we will be moving house at the end of February so preparations are ongoing for that.

Anyway I’ve been working on the user interface that will be needed for the configuration menu. As of now it can navigate an arbitrary number of sub menus (until stack runs out, that is) and display parameters. Next step is actually being able to alter them.
As some new features, like WRAM cheats and in-game buttons, turned out to have a negative effect on game compatibility I feel it is important to make them an opt-in setting. That’s why a configuration menu is inevitable for the 0.1.7 final.

The other thing to work on is the user interface for cheats. My current proposal is that a .cht file is used/created per game where cheats can be entered (or existing cht files can be downloaded and used). By request it will support entry of both Pro Action Replay and Game Genie codes (not sure how to detect whether a cht file contains GG or PAR codes… any pointers?).

Do you prefer another preview version with just the configuration menu in place (a “stable” 0.1.7 if you will) or do you prefer a later release with the cheat menu already included?

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