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bmoc
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Re: Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" - 2600 to PCE-CD to PS1

by bmoc Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:46 am

racketboy wrote:I would like to see a solid alternative for a Genesis/Sega CD/32X that takes up less space and power units, but I think I'll wait on that as well.

Retro Game Cave makes combo ac adapters for Genesis to reduce the number of power bricks needed. I may decommission my Sega CD in favor of the Polymega base unit and finally splurge on a Duo ac adapter for Genesis/32X.
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:59 am

I've got one of their 3-in-1 adapters for my Genesis/CD/32X. It's amazing.
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by marurun Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:58 am

I think the change they made was necessary. They had people interested in more modern systems, and their initial CPU choice wasn't a good fit for any newer platforms. Moving to a faster, more expensive CPU means they have more room to grow in the base unit. And they can still include proper support with FPGAs in the expansion modules. I mean, at the price, this isn't really for me, but at the same time, I think their decision does make a certain amount of sense. Plus, the modules come with a small selection of licensed games, and they're planning on having a Virtual Console-style marketplace in the system itself. That's not a bad way to go.

I will be curious to see what their emulation quality is. It looks like they're actually working with emulator authors and licensing some cores (?) rather than just putting themselves in the middle of an ethical morass the way the Retron folks did. The fact that Saturn support comes via a Mednafen developer suggests they might be using Mednafen cores for other stuff, too, and for certain systems Mednafen emulation is a good balance between accuracy and speed.

I'm actually a little more optimistic that they seem to have a plan and are covering their legal and ethical bases better than some of their competition. I only wish there were a cheaper way to accomplish it. But if the emulation quality is good enough, a base unit might find its way onto my list sometime in the next year or two.
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by bmoc Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:57 pm

marurun wrote:And they can still include proper support with FPGAs in the expansion modules.

That's the rub though. They only have two FPGA modules planned at this point. One is a stretch goal (Famicom) and the roadmap of the other (SNES) is unknown. None available at launch. They don't seem interested in providing FPGA modules for any other systems. The Nintendo Life article mentioned that third parties would be able to make modules eventually. Perhaps they will pick up the slack? Who knows? Maybe Polymega will come around with enough constructive feedback. I'd like to see them ditch the bundled controllers and offer FPGA modules at the same $60 price point one day. I'd be all over that.
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by marurun Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:23 pm

Good, fast FPGAs are expensive. Though if they're using FPGAs mostly for interfacing and not for core emulation, they probably don't need very fast FPGAs. Still, an FPGA can be a pricey endeavor. The RetroUSB and AnalogueWhatever units aren't cheap in part for this reason. You could argue that software emulation is good enough on many platforms that purists aren't demanding FPGA cores for them. I mean, NES/Famicom and SNES/SuFami are the two platforms most known for mappers and co-processors and the like being shoved onto cartridges, so an FPGA interface makes particular sense because it is that much more important for those platforms. They probably suspect, possibly rightly, that those enthusiasts are most numerous and most willing to pay extra for a unit that improves compatibility with varied games and add-ons.
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by bmoc Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:39 pm

marurun wrote:Though if they're using FPGAs mostly for interfacing and not for core emulation, they probably don't need very fast FPGAs.

That seems to be exactly what they are using it for. The emulation is still going to be handled by the base unit's CPU no matter what. I don't know what FPGA specs are needed to pull that off but it doesn't seem unreasonable to think it could be mass produced for $60 or less. I could be wrong though.
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by racketboy Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:21 pm

marurun wrote:Good, fast FPGAs are expensive. Though if they're using FPGAs mostly for interfacing and not for core emulation, they probably don't need very fast FPGAs. Still, an FPGA can be a pricey endeavor. The RetroUSB and AnalogueWhatever units aren't cheap in part for this reason. You could argue that software emulation is good enough on many platforms that purists aren't demanding FPGA cores for them. I mean, NES/Famicom and SNES/SuFami are the two platforms most known for mappers and co-processors and the like being shoved onto cartridges, so an FPGA interface makes particular sense because it is that much more important for those platforms. They probably suspect, possibly rightly, that those enthusiasts are most numerous and most willing to pay extra for a unit that improves compatibility with varied games and add-ons.


So off the top of your head, which systems do you think would be a safer bet for emulation/not needing FPGA as much?
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by marurun Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:04 pm

Well, if you aren't considering on-cartridge add-on chips or mappers, the only other reason to have that "real-time" cartridge interface would be for stuff like a Game Genie/Action Replay or a flash cart, ala EverDrive. I don't think EverDrive support is really a compelling reason for them to release an FPGA version of a console add-on. I suppose you could use an FPGA to clean up some emulation if there's a hardware feature that was easy to represent in FPGA logic but difficult to emulate in software, but I don't know what kinds of features or functions those would be.

So basically, the Famicom and Super Famicom are the two strong candidates for an FPGA-augmented module. I don't know that any of the other systems would need that, really. There is a single Genesis game that used the SVP, Virtua Racing, that could benefit, but one game does not a price increase justify.
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by racketboy Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:11 pm

marurun wrote:Well, if you aren't considering on-cartridge add-on chips or mappers, the only other reason to have that "real-time" cartridge interface would be for stuff like a Game Genie/Action Replay or a flash cart, ala EverDrive. I don't think EverDrive support is really a compelling reason for them to release an FPGA version of a console add-on. I suppose you could use an FPGA to clean up some emulation if there's a hardware feature that was easy to represent in FPGA logic but difficult to emulate in software, but I don't know what kinds of features or functions those would be.

So basically, the Famicom and Super Famicom are the two strong candidates for an FPGA-augmented module. I don't know that any of the other systems would need that, really. There is a single Genesis game that used the SVP, Virtua Racing, that could benefit, but one game does not a price increase justify.


OK cool -- that makes sense -- thanks for clearing it up!
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Re: Polymega/Retroblox: New 1080p "Clone" 2600 to PCE-CD to

by bmoc Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:01 pm

Well I took the plunge on the base unit this weekend. Now begins the 7 month wait. :(

I'm woefully ignorant of NeoGeo CD and Turbografx/PCE CD games so I'm open to suggestions. I've got a few ideas from this thread and Racketboy's "Defining Games" articles. I also wouldn't mind some suggestions on PS1 games to import (both PAL and JPN). I will be traveling to Ireland soon so I'm very interested in PAL exclusives.
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