News: 11 March 2016 - Forum Rules

Author Topic: Project Exa Drive  (Read 2554 times)

Sliver X

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1091
  • der Wille zur Macht
    • View Profile
    • Panicus - A Fragment of Memory
Project Exa Drive
« on: November 13, 2016, 04:17:05 pm »
After first having access to a PS3 in 2008 and being intrigued by what it could do and infuriated by what it couldn't, I've designed several homebrew "consoles" since then that could do media playback and more importantly play tons of ROMs.

It's been four years or so since I had touched the last one; Someone gave me an old HP laptop from 2008 a few months ago and I decided to design a new one, this time using Linux as the base. ~200 hours or so later I'm finished:

"Exa Drive" v1.81

I know Gideon Zhi also does this kind of thing, but does anyone else here? I'd love to see what you've made if so!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2016, 07:29:14 am by Sliver X »

BlackDog61

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 784
    • View Profile
    • Super Robot Wars A Portable translation thread
Re: Project Exa Drive
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2016, 11:16:19 am »
I take it PS2 emulation performance is very dependent on the graphics card? Are there rules of a thumb to get a good PS2 experience, in terms of the hardware you choose?

Gideon Zhi

  • Discord Staff
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3536
    • View Profile
    • Aeon Genesis
Re: Project Exa Drive
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2016, 12:50:20 pm »
I should make a new shakycam video capture of the HTPC I've built; the old one is at least a year old. The new box is still tiny but features an i5-6600k and GTX 1070; it renders PS2 at full speed at 3840x2688 and just last night I added Turbo Duo support and tossed in a bunch more SMS games. It's capable of playing just about any PC game (it's a Windows box), though I greatly prefer ones that can be played with a controller (either natively or via joy2key.)

Current non-PC platform support includes:
NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii
GB, GBC, GBA, NDS
Sega Master System, GameGear, Genesis, SegaCD, Saturn, Dreamcast
PS1, PS2, PSP
Atari 2600, MAME, Turbo Duo

Front-end is a customized Kodi installation skinned with Aeon Nox 5. Emulators and non-Steam games are handled via the Advanced Launcher plugin; Steam itself is a different plugin and it launches directly into Big Picture. Kodi is in my PC's startup items, my desktop background is blank, and my taskbar is auto-hide for the most seamless experience possible. Everything is controlled with a wireless XBox 360 controller. Joy2key (and its automatic profile switching based on whichever app has focus) underlies the entire thing and provides some shortcuts on the controller like alt+f4, esc, enter, and alt-tab. I still need to tweak Windows's welcome screens and maybe add a key shortcut to bring Kodi back if it accidentally closes or crashes, but I'm really happy with it as it stands.

Sliver X

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1091
  • der Wille zur Macht
    • View Profile
    • Panicus - A Fragment of Memory
Re: Project Exa Drive
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2016, 01:17:41 am »
I take it PS2 emulation performance is very dependent on the graphics card? Are there rules of a thumb to get a good PS2 experience, in terms of the hardware you choose?

In my experience it's more CPU bound than anything. I run a first-gen Core i7 920 overclocked from 2.66GHz to 3.46GHz in my desktop machine and saw a huge performance increase from doing that. I went from a GeForce GTX 260 to a GeForce GTX 750 and saw virtually no direct speed benefit despite the significant difference in speed between them, using any of PCSX2's GPU plugins. Still can't run games like Wipeout Fusion full speed. :/

Quote
I still need to tweak Windows's welcome screens and maybe add a key shortcut to bring Kodi back if it accidentally closes or crashes, but I'm really happy with it as it stands.

I ran BBLean as the shell on my Windows MPCs mostly for the ability to bind custom key combinations to batch files (And created counterpart shell scripts for this one). I find having to push L3 and hitting select makes for a really hard to accidentally hit way of calling functions to kill Kodi/Running Emulators/JoytoKey+QJoyPad and bring them back up from a baseline config.

The reason I'm using two Gamepad to Keyboard mapping programs is because ePSXe and Kega Fusion directly alias gamepads by name and not joystick ID, so turning on "Player 2"'s Dualshock first would allow you to control Kodi/Mah!Cade but dump you as P2 under those emulators, rendering most things unplayable. So I just mapped P1 and P2 to keyboard controls to get around it. Antimicro should theoretically be able to handle this but has weird bugs applying separate profiles to multiple gamepads with the same name. Grrr.

Fortunately I ripped Kodi down to a bare minimum of addons and stripped a ton of buggy code out of my skin: Haven't had Kodi lock up in a few weeks after all that, whereas initially I was having to kill/restart it every couple of hours on average.

Also, Gideon, how do you handle NDS stuff? I can't think of any way other than doing something like emulating a mouse with analog sticks?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2016, 01:33:39 am by Sliver X »

Gideon Zhi

  • Discord Staff
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3536
    • View Profile
    • Aeon Genesis
Re: Project Exa Drive
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 06:17:50 pm »
Also, Gideon, how do you handle NDS stuff? I can't think of any way other than doing something like emulating a mouse with analog sticks?

The short answer to this is "badly." There are plenty of games that don't require touchscreen or mic input; I try to stick to those.

BlackDog61

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 784
    • View Profile
    • Super Robot Wars A Portable translation thread
Re: Project Exa Drive
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2016, 03:14:52 am »
The short answer to this is "badly." There are plenty of games that don't require touchscreen or mic input; I try to stick to those.
No screen touch? I mean - they have it for laptops...

Are you guys considering RPCS3 too? I just came upon it from  friend mentioning it and it seems interesting (even if still far away from complete).

Gideon Zhi

  • Discord Staff
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3536
    • View Profile
    • Aeon Genesis
Re: Project Exa Drive
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2016, 06:40:50 pm »
No screen touch? I mean - they have it for laptops...

Are you guys considering RPCS3 too? I just came upon it from  friend mentioning it and it seems interesting (even if still far away from complete).

My system runs on a dedicated box that outputs to my TV, which isn't a touchscreen. So, yeah, no touchscreen :)

I hadn't heard of RPCS3. Interesting to keep an eye on, but probably not worth it short-term. Once compatibility improves though, maybe!