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Author Topic: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion  (Read 13314 times)

Disch

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2015, 07:02:19 pm »
The difference, SGP, is you are talking about feature addons that have nothing to do with actual emulation.

I'm all for adding bells and whistles to make an emu more usable.  But at the end of the day the actual emulation portion of it should be emulating hardware.

SunGodPortal

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2015, 07:46:58 pm »
Quote
The difference, SGP, is you are talking about feature addons that have nothing to do with actual emulation.

I'm all for adding bells and whistles to make an emu more usable.  But at the end of the day the actual emulation portion of it should be emulating hardware.

I can understand that, but how much difference is there between the formats mentioned in the thread title and the "stock" ones?
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Disch

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2015, 07:47:50 pm »
I can understand that, but how much difference is there between the formats mentioned in the thread title and the "stock" ones?

Very little.  But that isn't really the point.

SunGodPortal

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2015, 08:01:09 pm »
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Very little.  But that isn't really the point.

Principal? :)
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FAST6191

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2015, 08:30:06 pm »
Regarding the original xbox there are some people doing some things, however if you take out the "also on PC" library as well as those that appeared on the PS2 or subsequent consoles then there is not a lot and by this point in time the PC was almost invariably the superior platform and by the standards of today even the slow and sloppy ports take no specs at all.
Likewise I was told that despite being "almost" a PC (you can almost think of it as a PC without the legacy 16 bit stuff) said almost is the same as just, while you are here and "it was only small" in mainline IT, building trades and medical circles respectively and thus actual emulation rather than some kind of remapping hypervisor becomes a more attractive route.

Disch

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2015, 01:08:23 am »
Principal? :)

No.

I actually gave a big long reply to obscurumlux01 in PM (apparently he can't post?) which sums up my view pretty well.  Quotes are from him:


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For the sake of emulators it wouldn't hurt to support ROM-specific custom mappers as long as the mappers aren't doing anything that isn't possible on REAL hardware using custom hardware chips.  The MSU-1 chip thing is a prime example.  It isn't possible on real hardware without the SD2SNES (or your own replica of it) but once you get the pieces in place then it can be a really awesome boon to expand the boundaries of what is possible.

Where do you draw the line with this, is the question.  If you cram enough hardware on the cartridge there is virtually no limit to what you can do with the SNES.  Or the NES for that matter.

Take a look at something like the Sega 32X.  It's effectively an entirely new console -- but also is a Genesis cartridge.  You could make the claim that something similar on SNES is technically possible (and it is), and therefore should be emulated -- but if such a thing never actually existed and is merely a product of some ROM hacker's imagination... why bother?

I have mixed feelings about the MSU-1.  It exists so it's legit, but it's an after-market thing that hardly anyone has access to.  It's like the SD2SNES or PowerPak... they're custom cartridges that actually exist... so they're legit.  And they have greater capabilities and higher max ROM sizes than any typical cartridges.  So should emu devs try to emulate them?

Emulation is hard enough without trying to keep pace with all this custom cart BS -- whether the carts are physical or imaginary.

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Requiring custom chips could deter carters, and they'd be even more deterred if they required custom mappers as well.

Honestly I don't have the hate for carters that most people do.  Yeah they're pirating other people's work... but that's pretty much the entire emulation scene in a nutshell, isn't it?  Besides, whether or not you like it, they are actually bringing hacks and translations to people who might otherwise be unable to play them.  They're legitimately providing a service.

Yeah, it's a bit sleazy.  But again... so is emulation.

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So we already have the MSU-1; why not create one or more additional chips for older consoles that could be replicated into a flash cartridge and work on real hardware but NOT work for carters?

My standpoint:

Show me a cartridge that behaves that way, and I'll try to work support for it in my emulator.

But I'm not going to go out of my way to emulate things that don't exist.  Or only exist in theory.

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The emulator authors would only need to add in support for these chips just like Higan has already added in support for MSU-1 (a custom chip that never existed for the official hardware).

MSU-1 does exist in hardware, doesn't it?  I'm sure I saw demos of it on Youtube.

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I'd like to understand the reasoning behind NOT supporting custom chips.  The SuperFX and various SNES-specific cartridges had custom chips to do what the hardware could not do.  So why not take it a step further and make updated/improved versions of those custom chips?

Do you remember the days of Netscape Navigator?  And early versions of Internet Explorer?

Each web brower was racing to add new features to make the browsing experience better.  As a result, pages worked in one browser but not another... and things in general were a total mess, both for end users and for web developers.  The reason for this is because there was no formalized HTML standard.  So browsers just did their own thing.

Once a standard was established, the web stabalized.  There were finally rules that dictated the "right" and "wrong" way to do things.  And people now choose their browser by criteria other than "what pages work with this browser" -- because every page now works in every browser.


Emulation is the same way.  There is a clear standard that dictates the right and wrong way to do things:  the hardware.  Anything else is bullshit.

What you are proposing is akin to turning emulation into a similar style feature race as the days of the early web.  Where emulators compete not on the merits of their emulation quality, or their usability, or their features -- but rather by how many bullshit extra "cartridges" they decide to add support for.  No standards, no uniformity... just the whims of people who want to make "advanced" hacks.  This is extraordinarily destructive and undermines the entire purpose of having an emulator in the first place.


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Like if I created the 'RHP-ZX' chip (romhackers paradise) and openly distributed hardware specs and worked with a flash cart maker to make the chip a reality (like how MSU-1 has been done) and it WORKS and allows for better graphics/gameplay/whatever then wouldn't it be required for a good emulator to emulate that chip as well?

Well like I say.  If you want to keep making things harder for emu devs ... I guess you could do that.  If you want to keep building an endless stream of new hardware that adds onto the SNES, nobody can stop you.

Personally I think that's shitty.  I think MSU-1 is shitty.  It's gimmicky and impractical.

But it exists!  So now emu devs have to support it or risk falling out of favor.  The starting gun has fired -- and the race has started.

Which is why I have little to no interest in ever re-entering the SNES emudev scene.  It's a complete disaster.

SunGodPortal

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2015, 02:33:10 am »
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MSU-1 does exist in hardware, doesn't it?  I'm sure I saw demos of it on Youtube.

I could be wrong, but I think it's a part of SD2SNES or something, right?

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Well like I say.  If you want to keep making things harder for emu devs ... I guess you could do that.  If you want to keep building an endless stream of new hardware that adds onto the SNES, nobody can stop you.

Personally I think that's shitty.  I think MSU-1 is shitty.  It's gimmicky and impractical.

But it exists!  So now emu devs have to support it or risk falling out of favor.  The starting gun has fired -- and the race has started.

Which is why I have little to no interest in ever re-entering the SNES emudev scene.  It's a complete disaster.

I don't think it will get that bad, but yeah I don't like MSU-1 either. The only CD-quality audio I heard while playing SNES back in the day came from my stereo (Megadeth, Primus, Morbid Angel, etc...). That's a Playstation thing, not a SNES one. Booo!
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Disch

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2015, 03:56:31 am »
I could be wrong, but I think it's a part of SD2SNES or something, right?

Beats me.

But the fact that we don't even know what it is just goes to show how obscure it is and why emulating it shouldn't really be a high priority.

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I don't think it will get that bad

Well, it's black and white in my book.  The hardware is the standard.  Emulators are written to emulate hardware.

If there's no hardware, there's nothing to emulate.

There's no ExLoRom hardware.  Hence, there's nothing to emulate.


Does that suck for ROM hackers?  I'd say no... as we're only imposing the restrictions that were already there... we're not creating any new restrictions.  But apparently many hackers seem to disagree.

justin3009

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #48 on: October 14, 2015, 04:55:28 am »
Isn't Star Ocean considered an 'ExLoRom' or are things a bit janky there?
'We have to find some way to incorporate the general civilians in the plot.'

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KaioShin

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #49 on: October 14, 2015, 07:35:20 am »
The "110% accuracy is the only true master race" argument is just as childish as the translation vs localization argument was in older days of translation hacking. People put different values on different aspects of emulation. Get over other people having different opinions.
All my posts are merely personal opinions and not statements of fact, even if they are not explicitly prefixed by "In my opinion", "IMO", "I believe", or similar modifiers. By reading this disclaimer you agree to reply in spirit of these conditions.

henke37

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #50 on: October 14, 2015, 09:17:29 am »
This discussion reminded me of the gigadrive.

KingMike

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #51 on: October 14, 2015, 10:37:59 am »
The only technical graphical limitation on the NES regarding BG graphics is that there can only be 13 different colors on screen at a time, and that each 8x1 pixel area cannot have more than 4 colors.  With the right hardware on the cartridge, that is fully exploitable.  There's nothing stopping someone from making a mapper which exploits that and allows for high[er] quality and detailed graphics on the NES.  But putting that in an emulator so that ROM hackers have an easier time would be retarded.
Higher quality graphics? Isn't that basically what some series of Famiclone-based x-crappy-new-games-in-1 consoles did? (DreamGear/Jungletac, etc. games)
I think the "standard" for that was called V-One or VTOne or something.
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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #52 on: October 14, 2015, 11:48:43 am »
The "110% accuracy is the only true master race" argument is just as childish as the translation vs localization argument was in older days of translation hacking. People put different values on different aspects of emulation. Get over other people having different opinions.

Hardware specs aren't opinion.

tryphon

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #53 on: October 14, 2015, 11:59:46 am »
This discussion reminded me of the gigadrive.

Same for me :) Let's hack an MD emu to emulate the Gigadrive :)

KaioShin

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #54 on: October 14, 2015, 12:14:34 pm »
Hardware specs aren't opinion.

If the goal should be to run games or to replicate the inner workings perfectly very much IS.
All my posts are merely personal opinions and not statements of fact, even if they are not explicitly prefixed by "In my opinion", "IMO", "I believe", or similar modifiers. By reading this disclaimer you agree to reply in spirit of these conditions.

tc

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #55 on: October 14, 2015, 12:30:49 pm »
If the goal should be to run games or to replicate the inner workings perfectly very much IS.

I'd say on sufficient hardware, the ability to run games is best treated as natural extension of having the inner workings understood and recreated. Save shortcuts for mobile devices or other situations that more seriously need them.

Disch

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #56 on: October 14, 2015, 01:04:06 pm »
The "110% accuracy is the only true master race" argument is just as childish as the translation vs localization argument was in older days of translation hacking. People put different values on different aspects of emulation. Get over other people having different opinions.

I've never faulted anyone for their opinions.  I've merely been stating my own.  I feel like I'm the lone emudev voice in a room full of ROM hackers.  Clearly I'm in the minority in this circle.

What I will say is that we can look at history to see how emulation progresses.  Very roughly, there are two stages.

Stage 1 is where emus are hacked together to "just get the games working".  This is the goal of first/second-gen emulators for pretty much any system.  We saw it with NESticle, we saw it with ZSNES.

Stage 2 is "okay we got games mostly working, but they're not perfect, so let's focus of emulating the hardware more faithfully to improve accuracy".  We saw it with NEStopia/Nintendulator.  We saw it with Higan.


This is how emulation has progressed historically... and how it continues to progress.

You seem to be content with stopping after Stage 1.  "What do I care whether or not the emu is accurate?  As long as it plays the games, isn't that the only thing that matters?"

Which is a totally legit opinion.  And in a way, you're sort of right.  What does it matter how accurate an emu is as long as it lets you play games and make hacks?


But again... like I tried to say in that other thread... that simply is not how emulation works.  History has shown that emulation progresses to stage 2 whether ROM hackers want it to or not.  Emu devs simply have a different mindset -- and ultimatley emu devs are the ones who are making the emulators, so they're the ones who get to dictate how emulation progresses.




More questions from obscurumlux01 via PM:

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I'm curious why you dislike the MSU-1 but I get it.  Your ideals are that of 'purist' thought.  You want to do only what was released on the console itself at the time and what is capable on the console without special custom chips that are created later.

I suppose you could say that... but I wouldn't say I refuse to emulate new hardware -- it's just not a high priority for me.

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What about pirate carts?

Like I said before, if there's hardware, I'll try to emulate it.  Though pirate mappers and indie cartridges like SD2SNES are definitely going to be lower on my list of priorities than commercial hardware.

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I get that SNES emulation is different from NES emulation, but on NES there were 'extra mappers' forked from the regular FCE emulation project and later merged back into the current FCEUX project.  So the question in my case is that wouldn't it be prudent to support these extra mappers for the purposes of pirate carts and homebrew?

NES and SNES are not as different as you might think when it comes to cartridge emulation.  The biggest difference is that the NES emudev scene is much more organized in how it categorizes cartridge hardware.

On the NES you have to emulate 80+ different cartridge layouts.
But you also have to do the same on the SNES.

MMCs and other additional hardware are certainly more common on the NES -- but the hardware on SNES cartridges is far more complex.  There is nothing that comes even close to the complexity of SuperFX on any NES cartridge.

That said... I'm not entirely sure what 'extra mappers' you're referring to.  Are you talking about the FFE mappers?  Because there is little to no reason for emulators to support those.  They've effectively been deprecated by the NES emu community.


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According to byuu, the ExLoROM and ExHiROM are just a series of ~80 or so mappers (including mirroring variations) that just tell the emulator where to find the data whereas on official hardware there are no such mappers as far as hardware is concerned and it would just read it regardless of anything else.

Terminology confusion.

My understand of the terms:

"MMC" = additional chip on the cartridge which provides logic for controlling/swapping blocks of memory.  I tend to lump things like SuperFX in this even though it technically isn't an MMC, but it is an additional chip which provides logic.

"mapper" = a combintation of the MMC(s) on a cartridge, as well as the pin layout and address mapping.  Basically the "mapper" is the description of how the cartridge as a whole operates.

LoROM and HiROM don't require any MMCs, they just connect address lines to the ROM chip in different ways.  But they're 2 different "mappers" because they describe two different cartridge layouts.

What byuu was talking about was that LoROM and HiROM are over-generalizations, and that actually there are ~80 different cartridge layouts all with subtle differences in how they're arranged.  Some of them resemble LoROM or HiROM, but are a tiny bit different.  And in fact, if you emulate the SNES using only LoROM and HiROM as your only 2 mappers, you will quickly run into several games that fail -- like Megaman X, the DKC series, etc.

Many cartridges intentionally went with slightly weird mappers to discourage piracy and prevent games from playing properly on copiers.  It's actually not unlike what puzzledude did -- the difference is they actually produced hardware.


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If something is POSSIBLE to get working on official SNES hardware without extra custom chips (like MSU-1) and it involves supporting new mappers then wouldn't that be worthwhile to pursue?

Again... show me the hardware, and I'll try to emulate it.

But I'm not going to go out of my way to emulate things that are nothing more than the brainchild of a ROM hacker who doesn't want to conform.

KaioShin

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #57 on: October 14, 2015, 01:10:12 pm »
Emu devs simply have a different mindset -- and ultimatley emu devs are the ones who are making the emulators, so they're the ones who get to dictate how emulation progresses.

And which council of emu authors gave you the authority to speak definitively for all of them?

The Snes9x and ZSNES devs seem to have been content with what they achieved. They could have kept going to strive for greater accuracy, but most of them didn't. So what, are those false emu authors? Do they just get booted out of the emu dev club once a system enters your "stage 2"? If not, there are obviously still emu developers who are happy with striving to just get games running with the means available to them.
All my posts are merely personal opinions and not statements of fact, even if they are not explicitly prefixed by "In my opinion", "IMO", "I believe", or similar modifiers. By reading this disclaimer you agree to reply in spirit of these conditions.

Disch

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #58 on: October 14, 2015, 01:12:54 pm »
The Snes9x and ZSNES devs seem to have been content with what they achieved. They could have kept going to strive for greater accuracy, but most of them didn't.

Except they did.  Snes9x updated and improved accuracy a ton and removed a boatload of game specific hacks around the time when bsnes was released (when all that new hardware details were uncovered).  Many of the Snes9x developers actually contributed into uncovering those details.

I can't speak to ZSNES, but in general it's not viewed as favorably as SNES9x is.  I wonder why....  oh wait no I don't.

KaioShin

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Re: ExLoROM & ExHiROM & extra emulated mappers discussion
« Reply #59 on: October 14, 2015, 01:22:17 pm »
It's very telling that you earlier go on a rant about how shitty some romhackers supposedly are for not respecting the work of romhackers that came before them, that they use as a base. And then you proceed to shit on emu authors who were at the forefront of figuring out how the system first worked and built the foundation for future emulators to come, just because they don't adhere to your personal opinion on what a "right" emulator has to be.

I'm out of this discussion, but I hope you'll eventually realize how full of yourself you are.
All my posts are merely personal opinions and not statements of fact, even if they are not explicitly prefixed by "In my opinion", "IMO", "I believe", or similar modifiers. By reading this disclaimer you agree to reply in spirit of these conditions.