Core availability on the MiSTer

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nightshadowpt
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Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby nightshadowpt » Tue May 08, 2018 6:29 am

[Edited to reflect the comments from Sorgelig]

Hi,

It's been great to see how far MiSTer has come in such a short time. Sorgelig is the engine of this project, but you can already see other members stepping in and supporting the project.

At this pace, MiSTer will surpass the MiST core count in no time.

If you are curious about these things (as I am), here's a list of cores supported by the MiST and not the MiSTer, and vice versa:

Cores available on the MiST (but not the MiSTer):

Computers
    Amstrad CPC 6128
    Atari ST
    BBC Micro
    Commodore Vic 20
    Jupiter Ace
    Phillips Videopac
    Robotron Z1013
    Sharp MZ-80K
    Sinclair ZX81

Consoles
    Bally Astrocade

Arcade
    Galaxy Wars
    Lunar Rescue
    Maniac Miner
    River Raid(Clone)
    Space Attack
    Space Invaders
    Space Invaders II(Deluxe)
    Space Laser
    Super Earth Invasion

Cores available on the MiSTer (but not the MiST):

Computers
    PC - 486
    Sharp X68000

Consoles
    C64 GS (through the C64 core)

Arcade
    Bagman
    Bomb Jack
    Crazy Kong
    Defender
    Donkey Kong
    Pacmanic Miner
    Xevious

Cores available on both, but improved on the MiSTer:

    Amiga
    Commodore 16
    Commodore 64
    MSX
    Vectrex
    Sega Genesis/Megadrive
    All arcade cores (allow screen rotation)

Did I miss any core? Please let me know!

I look forward to see the MiSTer grow to surpass the MiST and become the FPGA system to own!
Last edited by nightshadowpt on Tue May 08, 2018 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue May 08, 2018 7:26 am

This is not full comparison. Cores on MiSTer usually are more advanced and have many problems fixed - so they are far more playable. So, you cannot compare by just name.

MSX - is pretty new version while MiST is based on very old version.
Minimig - you can use any HD resolutions like 1280x720 or 1024x768 while MiST requires a special Commodore monitor to display such resolutions. It also has fully integrated internet access including WiFi without external addons.
FPGAGen - has no memory bandwidth problem (although recently MiST core got updates to minimize this problem).
Vectrex visually is far more advanced.
C16 has more options.
All portrait Arcades has option to turn the video and play on TV in normal horizontal position.
Etc,etc...

Absolutely all cores provide HDMI video/audio to modern TV, so you just plug and play on any TV. You don't need to find very specific TV or monitor which will be able to display all that zoo-resolutions over VGA.
Almost any USB Joystick/gamepad support with up to 12 button + direction. Easy to define the buttons from OSD, so you don't need to mess with ini file and understand what codes to write there.
Keyboard remapping. Joystick emulation key are fully re-programmable.
FTP access allowing to copy files without touching the MiSTer and while it's running.

There will be a long list of improvements. Some of them are easy to notice, some not so visible but change the experience a lot.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue May 08, 2018 7:37 am

Btw, Commodore Max is included in C64 core. When you use Ultimax cartridges, C64 core provides compatible memory layout.
C64 for MiSTer also provides C64GS mode and 2-buttons joystick mode for compatible games.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby nightshadowpt » Tue May 08, 2018 9:45 am

Sorgelig wrote:This is not full comparison. Cores on MiSTer usually are more advanced and have many problems fixed - so they are far more playable. So, you cannot compare by just name.


That is a fair point, albeit not the purpose of my initial post.

Regardless, I agree with you that to provide a better comparison we should state that a few cores have been improved on the MiSTer.

I have updated my original post to reflect your comments.

Again, It's amazing how far the MiSTer has come in such a short time and I am sure that soon it will support all the cores the MiST supports and then some, with many of them being improved.

Thanks for your hard work.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue May 08, 2018 10:31 am

For me, porting absolutely every core from MiST is not a target. Although i would like to see some left cores ported like Atari ST, CPC.
Some cores absolutely not interested to me like low-end arcades of Space Invaders series (Space Attack, Space Invaders, Space Invaders II, Space Laser, Super Earth Invasion) or local computers which don't have English or Russian as main language (already had experience in porting X68000 which is at 99,9% in Japanese - don't want such experience anymore).

Although anyone is welcome to port or write cores they like including those i don't like.
The main difference between MiST and MiSTer: there were several developers who ported/wrote cores to MiST, while all cores to MiSTer (well, except may be couple test ones) were ported/written by a single person.
So, as i'm the only who port the cores, you are bound to my preferences ;)

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby nightshadowpt » Tue May 08, 2018 11:36 am

Sorgelig wrote:For me, porting absolutely every core from MiST is not a target.


I understand that.
I was just providing this information because it is useful for the users when choosing their FPGA platform, and to be honest it was more to show how far the MiSTer has progressed than to linger on it's faults.

Sorgelig wrote:Although i would like to see some left cores ported like Atari ST, CPC.
(...)
So, as i'm the only who port the cores, you are bound to my preferences ;)


Then I am glad our preferences are aligned :)

I would very much like to see Atari ST, CPC and the BBC Micro (in this order), so I hope some developer can one day take interest in these cores and port them to the MiSTer (if you don't have the time or willingness).

If I am to be honest, right now AtariST and CPC are probably the only reasons why I could still recommend a MiST to anyone.

Sorgelig wrote:The main difference between MiST and MiSTer: there were several developers who ported/wrote cores to MiST, while all cores to MiSTer (well, except may be couple test ones) were ported/written by a single person.


I am glad you mentioned this, because I still feel this is one of the largest risks of owning a MiSTer.

As awesome as your work has been, the whole platform has been *solely* dependent on your work and for an open source platform that is not enough to ensure its continuity.

What do you think, is keeping the other developers to contribute to this project?

Cheers,

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue May 08, 2018 1:37 pm

The risk is to buy closed source platform and fully depend on manufacturer. If it will stop to produce the hardware or updates, then you won't have any chance that someone else will pick it up and continue.

With open source project anyone can continue if interested. The project won't go to limbo when for some reason i will stop to work on it.

From other side, MiST has no development at all, so i don't see how it's less risky than MiSTer. MiSTer at least has both open source hardware and open source software. While MiST is not fully open source in hardware. So, you cannot make the board from existing documents. You will need to re-draw the schematics and then re-layout the board - this is not easy for generic user even if he can solder. So, imagine that main seller will disappear and will stop to sell. Well, there are clones exist, but that's different story.

All in all, your understanding of risk is wrong. You need to re-think what you call risk. The main idea of MiSTer is to make it exactly risk free as much as possible by providing everything in open source and as cheap as possible to exclude that crazy price margin for seller. I fed up that crap around FPGA and Amiga communities "Oh, It's for Amiga! it should be 3 times more expensive then!", "Oh, it's FPGA with small market, let's set the double price!". So I've introduced the way to get it much cheaper when only fun drives you.

nightshadowpt wrote:What do you think, is keeping the other developers to contribute to this project?

My project is based on free contributions (which i'm doing myself). As i'm not seeking the profit from this project, i don't do any aggressive advertisements or provide special motivation others as it will require the money. MiST team earn money from selling the hardware, and thus can give a free MiST to motivate a specific developer (i don't know if this business is really successful or not - i'm not talking about it, but about the business model in general). Since i don't sell anything, i have no money to provide a free HW for developers. Actually i spent my own money to bring this project to where it is.
Thanks to all my donators - i could get some my expenses back.

So, I'm just looking for self-motivated devs in retro emulation area. Unfortunately, FPGA is not as easy as traditional programming, so there are not many devs in this area, especially those who would like do this just for fun.

I believe that true preservation projects should be open source - this is the only way to improve the cores. May be not as fast as desired but eventually it happens. New developers don't need to start from ground again. Even after many years when may be DE10-nano won't be in production (Terasic still sells the boards they introduced around 10 years ago!) the full source code will allow to port it to new boards.

Those cores which even free but not open source are tend to die together with their dedicated boards and when author loose the interest.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby nightshadowpt » Tue May 08, 2018 1:56 pm

Sorgelig wrote:The risk is to buy closed source platform and fully depend on manufacturer. If it will stop to produce the hardware or updates, then you won't have any chance that someone else will pick it up and continue.


You do make a valid point on the Hardware part, but I disagree with your view when it comes to developing the Cores, as MiST also has a lot of open source cores.

Sorgelig wrote:With open source project anyone can continue if interested. The project won't go to limbo when for some reason i will stop to work on it.

In theory yes, but if you decided to stop working on MiSTer now, the project would (sadly) be dead on the water, as no other developers are currently contributing.

You could still buy the platform without problems, but the core development would resemble what we have in the MiST right now.

Yes, maybe someone else in the future could pick it up, but without creating momentum, that seems unlikely. And this brings us neatly to your answer...

Sorgelig wrote: As i'm not seeking the profit from this project, i don't do any aggressive advertisements or provide special motivation others as it will require the money. MiST team earn money from selling the hardware, and thus can give a free MiST to motivate a specific developer (i don't know if this business is really successful or not, but i'm not talking about it, but about the business model in general). Since i don't sell anything, i have no money to provide a free HW for developers.[/b]

I have never thought of it this way... but it makes sense. If we don't get the hardware to the hands of the developers, it will be harder to get them onboard the project.

Did you (or anyone else in the community) try to contact the core developers for the MiST to see if they would be interested in participating?
The MiSTer project is great and has a lot of advantages (as you mentioned). Hopefully a hand full of them could be enticed to jump aboard the MiSTer train :)

You have already ported most of the cores yourself, but it is not viable to have you updating and improving all the cores alone.

Sorgelig wrote:I believe that true preservation projects should be open source - this is the only way to improve the cores. May be not as fast as desired but eventually it happens. New developers don't need to start from ground again.

And here I fully agree with you! :)

Thanks again.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue May 08, 2018 2:54 pm

Till (the original MiST developer) has lost interest in FPGA development area (at least for MiST) long before announce of termination.
Przemyslaw - the HW manufacturer is pretty much aware of MiSTer and he knows he can manufacture the add-on boards if he wants. So, it's up to him to manufacture or not.

nightshadowpt wrote:but if you decided to stop working on MiSTer now, the project would (sadly) be dead on the water, as no other developers are currently contributing.

As with almost any opensource projects, there is no guaranties of stable progressive development in foreseeing future.
Some project get stalled for sometime and then get boost when new developer come with new ideas. Sometimes core gets it apogee and no more useful features can be added - so just use it - it doesn't become automatically abandoned.
What MiSTer already has right now is enough for long usage even without any updates for a long time.

Some people become update-holic after see so many updates. But it won't be always at the same pace when some level will be achieved.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Gehstock » Tue May 08, 2018 3:31 pm

C64 GS (through the C64 core)
on my Github, C64 Release Drawer
https://github.com/Gehstock/Mist_FPGA/t ... st/release
River Raid(Clone)
he is(somewhere in ARCADE Toppic)

Pacmanic Miner
Make a Mist and the First MiSTer Version
https://github.com/Gehstock/Mist_FPGA/t ... Miner_MiST
(see have a wrong Name)

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby hyperterminal » Tue May 08, 2018 4:16 pm

Thank you for the comprehensive overview, nightshadowpt.

I have to disagree with Sorgelig. Hardware is overestimated. The main problem is not wether the hardware is open source or not but to find dedicated and talented programers who invest their time in this hobby. It is unbelievable what a single programmer like Sorgelig has done so far with MiSTer. Even if the hardware was closed source, the results would have been the same. The original MiST is another good example. Although it is closed source there were many hard-working programers like Gehstock, robinsonb5, Darfpga and Sorgelig. I am sure they could have done the same with almost any other FPGA. Look what Kevtris has done with his FPGAs. The Analogue Nt mini is technically inferior to the MiSTer but it is the software side that counts.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue May 08, 2018 5:09 pm

I've progressed so far because of open sources. Because previous developers were so kind to publish the sources. So i didn't develop all cores from ground.
I wouldn't put Kevtris to the same "basket" as developers who provide the sources.
For me there is a clear division:
1) closed source and sell -> just commercial project to earn the money - nothing to do with fan or loyalty to retro scene.
2) closed source but free -> seeking the fame and other kinds of luring the ego - "Hey, look what I can do!". Something like retro demo scene when many people competed to each other just for fun to leave others to only guess how it's done. Someone grew from that, someone stuck on that till now.
3) open source -> true fan of preservation project - only this option made MiST/MiSTer and other small FPGA projects to appear.
Could we have Minimig on MiST/MiSTer if original Minimig author wouldn't release the sources? Nope. And it would stay at its OCS/ECS state on Minimig board which not in production long time.
Could we have C64 on MiST/MiSTer if original author wouldn't publish the sources? Nope. Although it's still not perfect, it got many improvements since last release of original author also because of open source parts from other projects.
And it can be written about any core. MiST wouldn't have so many cores without original open sources. May be it could have couple cores fully written by Till but wouldn't be so popular.
And you would need to buy many different FPGA boards if you need different cores.

It's hard to overestimate the open source. Especially in FPGA area where are not so many open sources exist. I appreciate all the developers who share their code and let the MiSTer (and MiST) to appear.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby hyperterminal » Tue May 08, 2018 5:22 pm

I do understand the concept of open source but I'm not sure if it works in this case.
Sorgelig wrote:And you would need to buy many different FPGA boards if you need different cores.
From all the FPGA systems that I have, the Analogue Nt mini is the one that has the most polished cores where I can play the most games with a single unit.

As of now I had to purchase four FPGAs (MiST, MiSTer, Analogue Nt mini and Analogue Super Nt) in order to get all the cores that I have now. I would have prefered to only buy a single FPGA which is much more efficient (less requirements for space, ports, cables, controllers, power supplies etc.) and to use the remaining money to pay the programmers.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue May 08, 2018 5:24 pm

hyperterminal wrote:As of now I had to purchase four FPGAs (MiST, MiSTer, Analogue Nt mini and Analogue Super Nt) in order to get all the cores that I have now. I would have prefered to only buy a single FPGA which is much more efficient (less requirements for space, ports, cables, controllers, power supplies etc.) and to use the remaining money to pay the programmers.

That's what i'm talking about.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby kolla » Tue May 08, 2018 5:25 pm

hyperterminal wrote:The original MiST is another good example. Although it is closed source


Hm, I only know of an open source MiST, if it was closed source I would not have bought it. It's the open source nature that makes it worth while, as anyone can pick up when original creators no longer are interested or have time. Today there are several MiST spinoffs, and I think that's great.

How many projects have died because the author gets entangled with real life and no longer have time? Far too many. Also, open sourcing should not be done as a last breath before author leaves the project, it should be done as early as possible to attract those interested, educate them so hopefully there are more people around who can increase the chances for some continuity in the project.
-- kolla

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Sorgelig » Tue May 08, 2018 5:40 pm

hyperterminal wrote:The original MiST is another good example. Although it is closed source

I just want to be clear, i never called MiST as closed source. It's of course open source at 99%. Only schematic is not in original source form and PCB design is not published. The software part is fully open source.
It's hard to call as closed source - even PCB can be re-made if someone will really want as PDF with schematic is available - although may be not the last revision. It's not easy for general user, but those who are familiar with EDA software will easily re-make it. That's why clones appeared.

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Re: Core availability on the MiSTer

Postby Newsdee » Sat May 12, 2018 5:20 am

I suppose this is a murky topic, but what if a clone publishes the schematic? Would that violate some kind of license or copyright? If not it seems to me it's the only thing needed to make the MiST open source.


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