Apr 292015
 

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!

 Posted by at 2:09 pm
Apr 292015
 

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.

 Posted by at 1:51 pm
Mar 092015
 

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. ;)

 Posted by at 1:10 pm
Jan 142015
 

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?

 Posted by at 1:40 am
Oct 192014
 

A minor update, mainly in the name of stability, grab it here: v0.1.7 preview 3
This hopefully eliminates glitches unrelated to the in-game buttons on some consoles, e.g. Seiken Densetsu 3 rebooting intermittently or graphical glitches in DKC 2+3, that had been introduced with v0.1.7 preview 1.

  • Reintroduce more aggressive filtering for control and address lines from the SNES, previously removed after v0.1.6
  • Unify and centralize signal edge detection for all sub-units (e.g. S-RTC, MSU1, BSX, DSP etc.) instead of each unit having its own (slightly different) edge detection.
  • In-game controller scan has become slightly more time effective under certain circumstances (Auto Joypad Read enabled but no NMIs).
  • In-game hooks are now disabled for 10 seconds after loading or resetting a game to help certain games get past their boot screens. This will be configurable in the final.
  • Reconfigure the FPGA only when necessary on warm reset, speeding up “reset to sd2snes menu” by a couple hundred milliseconds.
  • Fix an MMIO access priority bug for DSPx.
  • Fix BS-X ROM detection for games with 2 startups left.
  • Fix directory browsing being broken after setting the clock.

Also some preparations have happened under the hood for configuration+cheat menus.

 Posted by at 2:43 am
Sep 252014
 

Here’s another preview: v0.1.7 preview 2
It addresses some issues reported with v0.1.7 preview (and some others).

  • Satellaview works again. BSX alters the original interrupt vectors at run time. The original interrupt vectors are now saved per hook call, not only once when loading the ROM.
  • In game buttons now work with MSU1, too.
  • Automatic hook method choosing: NMI is default but switched to IRQ when no NMIs are triggered. If both occur, NMI has priority. This should enable the in-game buttons for games that previously did nothing.
  • The hook routine saves some CPU time when auto joypad read is enabled by the game – it will just reuse the result instead of doing its own controller scanning. Also the controller is now only scanned every 8 frames. This helps alleviate some glitches, e.g. Secret of Mana now starts up correctly. There are still some glitches left which can’t be eliminated fully.
  • Auto region patching works again without having to delete the sd2snes.cfg.
  • BSX now emulates Type 1 memory packs instead of Type 2. Apparently the BSX BIOS is buggy with Type 2 packs when they contain HiROM games that are supposed to be run from PSRAM. So, at least Bomberman works now, and probably others too.
  • Fixed BSX PSRAM shadowing for HiROM.
  • Files and directories with “hidden” or “system” attributes are now actually hidden from the file browser.
 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Sep 182014
 

NOTE: Satellaview is broken at the moment because it doesn’t work with the NMI vector patching. I’m working on it.
At last here’s the v0.1.7 preview. Cx4 blew up in my face when I tried to insert the cheat/in-game hook engine and ended up taking days to get working. :|
Here’s what’s new (mostly copied from the status post):

  • In-game button combinations are in effect. See the table below for the key mapping. Note that some games show glitches with the in-game functions in place. I added an additional feature to temporarily disable them in case of game glitches (e.g. Secret of Mana hangs at the Squaresoft logo, displaying only garbage). I’m not entirely happy with the button choice but it will do for now. ;)
  • When running a game from the recent games list, the selected entry is now moved to top of the list.
  • LED blink codes for file system errors – e.g. in case the SRM file cannot be saved this will tell you that something’s gone wrong. The blink codes are yet to be listed.
  • Also the sd2snes will retry saving until it works so you have the chance to swap out the SD Card. In that case the directory structure must be present where the sd2snes expects to save the file.
  • “Screen saver” – in the menu, the screen is darkened after some idle time to reduce wear on CRT and plasma screens.
  • Memory sharing between SNES and the sd2snes CPU is greatly simplified (The FSM is reduced to only 5 states instead of 18) and timing is more relaxed. This should help with stability on a wider range of consoles.
  • On-the-fly file browsing. Also shows a little “loading…” window when loading directories/files.
  • Windows are now blue so they stick out better in front of yellow directory listings.
  • Cx4 data ROM is now embedded in the FPGA configuration – no more need for the external file cx4.bin.
  • Initial Satellaview clock is back to 18:00:00 from 18:05:30.
  • SD cards can be hotswapped. Currently there is no automatic refresh of the file list so tapping reset on the SNES or changing the directory is necessary to get the new contents.
  • The status line is moved upward a few pixels so hopefully it doesn’t get eaten by overscan.
  • Navigation: When scrolling page-wise with the right D-pad arrow, the end of the file list is now aligned to the bottom of the screen.
  • Navigation: The shoulder buttons can be used to jump to the beginning/end of a directory listing.
  • Bugfix: some compatibility issues with a number of games. (Super Play Action Football (S-RTC interference), GP1 Part II (WRAM initialization), Human Grand Prix (mapper detection bug))
  • Bugfix: properly initialize FPGA state machine (on some consoles the menu failed to start at all)

v0.1.7 final will contain menu items for various configuration settings and a cheat interface.
Please let me know if any games are broken that worked before, even with the in-game functions disabled.

In-game button mappings:

ButtonsFunction
L+R+Select+StartReset game
L+R+Select+XReset to sd2snes menu
L+R+Start+BDisable cheats
L+R+Start+AEnable cheats
L+R+Start+YPermanently disable in-game hooks (in case they interfere with game operation).
L+R+Start+XTemporarily disable in-game hooks (~10 seconds - if you need to get past a glitch but don't want to lose in-game buttons)

 Posted by at 11:59 pm
Sep 112014
 

Sorry to keep you waiting! Turns out I have some sort of GUI-code-a-phobia so the cheat interface isn’t done yet.
I’m currently updating the secondary FPGA configurations (cx4, obc1, bootstrap) with the updated in-game command interface and simplified memory sharing. So with a bit of luck I might be able to release a preview version (with everything but cheat support) this weekend. :)

 Posted by at 5:03 pm
Jun 232014
 

Here’s what I’ve been working on in the meantime:

  • More refactorings of the menu ROM. This will facilitate further UI development (sub-menus etc.)
  • NMI+IRQ hook routine – these are required for WRAM cheats and in-game reset. The latter is in working state as of now. I’d like some input on which key combinations would be desirable ;-) (some conflicts can arise with existing SNES mods, see below). There is now a dedicated memory area in FPGA block RAM mapped to $2a00-$2aff which is used for the hook routine and command exchange between a running game and the sd2snes main CPU.
  • Game loading handshake between SNES menu and sd2snes CPU – this is a technical prerequisite for error handling (such as missing supplementary files, write-protected SD Card, etc.)
  • LED blink codes for file system errors – e.g. in case the SRM file cannot be saved this will tell you that something’s gone wrong. Also the sd2snes will retry saving until it works so you have the chance to swap out the SD Card etc.
  • “Screen saver” – the screen is darkened after some idle time to reduce wear on CRT and plasma screens.
  • Memory sharing between SNES and the sd2snes CPU is greatly simplified (The FSM is reduced to only 5 states instead of 18) and timing is more relaxed. This should help with stability on a wider range of consoles.
  • Fixed some compatibility issues with a number of games. (Super Play Action Football (S-RTC interference), GP1 Part II (WRAM initialization), Human Grand Prix (mapper detection bug))

To do for the upcoming release:

  • Cheat management – technical prerequisites for cheats (ROM+WRAM) are met, now to code the GUI for it…
  • Finish on-the-fly file browsing
  • Decide on key combinations for in-game functions. (en/disable cheats, kill cheat engine, reset game, reset to menu)

About key combinations:
I wanted to use combinations that don’t interfere with my SNES IGR mod. This mod uses L+R+Select in combination with Start, A, B, X, or Y to perform different operations. In that scenario I still had the four directional buttons left to put other functions on. However :D With borti4938’s release of the feature-enriched uIGR these are now taken.

So far this is my new proposal for key combinations (UPDATED 2014-06-24):

ButtonsFunction
L+R+Select+StartReset game
L+R+Select+XReset to sd2snes menu
L+R+Start+BDisable cheats
L+R+Start+AEnable cheats
L+R+Start+YKill in-game routines (in case they interfere with game operation).

Updated to reflect some of your suggestions. Already looks better to me. I steered clear of L+R+Start+X because it’s similar to L+R+Select+X. ;)

 Posted by at 11:36 am