MiSTer frontend future

https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer/wiki

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sofakng
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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby sofakng » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:51 am

That Game Music Player concept looks fantastic!

I was just asking last week about a MiSTer VGM player. MiSTer seems like the perfect platform for playing VGM/NSF/whatever files using accurate sound chips!

I really, really hope that somebody works on this!

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby softtest1 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:17 pm

BBond007 wrote:For compliance with the GPL, I think installing required libs from the original unaltered "debs" is a lot better than just bundling a bunch of shared libraries (with ambiguous source) together as a blob. The "debs" contain the various license agreements for each package. I believe this was discussed in the ScummVM thread.


There is nothing in the GPL that requires you to use a package manager, or to refrain from forking, recompiling or modifying the source.

redsteakraw wrote:Linux does have tones of things that can be scripted and this won't entail much on the end of the menu other than a log feature. I don't foresee anything too annoying, and this would be opt in if it happens as even if logging is supported it will never be default.


I don't think that most people who object to this do so because of annoying popup windows or something like that. Having things silently logged in the background doesn't make the feature any less invasive on the user's privacy.

boogermann wrote:I put something together here pretty quick here to have an idea of space and how it would look, behold the MiSTer Game Music Player!!!
Image
how do you like it? ;)


This looks great. Is all the song information and the screenshot from the song file itself?

LewisD wrote:While I like boogermann’s front end concept, I really think the community should focus on improving the current OSD as much as possible before moving on to more drastic design changes.


I agree. Making the menu a bit larger on high resolutions to allow for more text on the screen is something that would actually improve the experience a little bit. Same with Unicode and ttf support, which would allow Asian text to display properly. The proposed fancier UI doesn't even address this, rather it seems to be taking a step back by only allowing uppercase letters.

The menu doesn't need to look fancier. It looks very good as it is.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby normal19 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:47 pm

Only thing I want from current UI is wider window so we don't have to wait for long file names to scroll

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby BitsNStuff » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:29 pm

Also, far fewer JT's smack bang in the middle of the UI would be a real bonus. The design of the UI itself works well but adding images of any type to a translucent backround amounts to little more than adding noise to an area that really does benefit from clarity.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby Sorgelig » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:55 pm

ReedSolomon wrote:
boogermann wrote:I put something together here pretty quick here to have an idea of space and how it would look, behold the MiSTer Game Music Player!!!
Image
how do you like it? ;)

That's a pretty cool concept. I agree that it'd be cool to be able to launch players from Mister Main for various cores that use the actual FPGA chips. C64 SIDS, Gameboy sound files, etc. Mister could be a great front end for playing vgmusic as accurately as possible.

it has nothing to do with FPGA.
Also software audio chips emulation is miles ahead, no way FPGA will catch it in the foreseen future.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby Shazz » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:54 pm

Sorgelig wrote:it has nothing to do with FPGA.
Also software audio chips emulation is miles ahead, no way FPGA will catch it in the foreseen future.


I guess you mean "the way to replay music on audio chips".
My understanding is that we have good Audio chips FPGA reproductions (YM2149, YM FM, Pokey,...) but on 80s computers and consoles, playing music was more than that, the CPU was doing a lot of things (and sometimes quite tricky to create effects) before finally setting the chip registers.
For example, Atari ST sndh files include the players code (and there are plenty!) which have to be executed on a 68K CPU+Timers.. or emulation).
Some exceptions, Leonard's YM files are compressed YM2149 registers dumps, so they can be mostly played directly on the FPGA version. Just need a loader and a state machine I guess.

But maybe I misunderstood....
...8bits are enough...

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby ReedSolomon » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:59 am

Sorgelig wrote:it has nothing to do with FPGA.
Also software audio chips emulation is miles ahead, no way FPGA will catch it in the foreseen future.


Perhaps it could potentially help FPGA audio chips get closer to perfection if more people start using them and listening to them for VGMusic. If someone out there one day wants to do it, could be a killer feature for a lot of video game music enthusiasts.

Does the NES core NSF player use FPGA or software player on the linux side?

Don't get me wrong, I also like and appreciate having software player option, but if there's the option to play it using FPGA, why not?

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby MottZilla » Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:03 am

flain wrote:Couldn't we just add an auto launch function to MiSTer to launch boogermans menu? That way you could keep the normal OSD, and those who want to use boogermans menu just set something in the ini file?

[MiSTer]
autolaunch=boogerman-menu.something


I like the idea of something like that for loading a game initially being optional. So those whom don't care to mess around with a fancy menu and images/metadata about their roms can continue as it is now. And those who want to mess around with it can do so. I understand the appeal of it but it really should be optional and not tied into anything on the other end.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby Sorgelig » Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:13 am

Shazz wrote:
Sorgelig wrote:it has nothing to do with FPGA.
Also software audio chips emulation is miles ahead, no way FPGA will catch it in the foreseen future.


I guess you mean "the way to replay music on audio chips".
My understanding is that we have good Audio chips FPGA reproductions (YM2149, YM FM, Pokey,...) but on 80s computers and consoles, playing music was more than that, the CPU was doing a lot of things (and sometimes quite tricky to create effects) before finally setting the chip registers.
For example, Atari ST sndh files include the players code (and there are plenty!) which have to be executed on a 68K CPU+Timers.. or emulation).
Some exceptions, Leonard's YM files are compressed YM2149 registers dumps, so they can be mostly played directly on the FPGA version. Just need a loader and a state machine I guess.

But maybe I misunderstood....

I didn't check precisely. but from my understanding of VGM format it's data captured on input pins of audio chip. Like PCM but the data for audio chip instead.
But regardless the format itself look into list of chips inside the VGM player, so you will see only couple are implemented in FPGA. Talking about competition having less than 1% of chips in FPGA is unreasonable.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby tenshin2002 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:30 am

Sorgelig wrote:
Shazz wrote:
Sorgelig wrote:it has nothing to do with FPGA.
Also software audio chips emulation is miles ahead, no way FPGA will catch it in the foreseen future.


I guess you mean "the way to replay music on audio chips".
My understanding is that we have good Audio chips FPGA reproductions (YM2149, YM FM, Pokey,...) but on 80s computers and consoles, playing music was more than that, the CPU was doing a lot of things (and sometimes quite tricky to create effects) before finally setting the chip registers.
For example, Atari ST sndh files include the players code (and there are plenty!) which have to be executed on a 68K CPU+Timers.. or emulation).
Some exceptions, Leonard's YM files are compressed YM2149 registers dumps, so they can be mostly played directly on the FPGA version. Just need a loader and a state machine I guess.

But maybe I misunderstood....

I didn't check precisely. but from my understanding of VGM format it's data captured on input pins of audio chip. Like PCM but the data for audio chip instead.
But regardless the format itself look into list of chips inside the VGM player, so you will see only couple are implemented in FPGA. Talking about competition having less than 1% of chips in FPGA is unreasonable.

Excuse my ignorance... But in the long run wouldnt it be cool to be able to play the music using the real chips through FPGA though? Couldnt it be done in the player to have the option for playback using emulation or FPGA cores for the systems that are supported? Just like people in this forum prefer to play games through FPGA than emulaiton, the same feeling would be for music playback.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby boogermann » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:03 pm

Sorgelig wrote:
Shazz wrote:
Sorgelig wrote:it has nothing to do with FPGA.
Also software audio chips emulation is miles ahead, no way FPGA will catch it in the foreseen future.


I guess you mean "the way to replay music on audio chips".
My understanding is that we have good Audio chips FPGA reproductions (YM2149, YM FM, Pokey,...) but on 80s computers and consoles, playing music was more than that, the CPU was doing a lot of things (and sometimes quite tricky to create effects) before finally setting the chip registers.
For example, Atari ST sndh files include the players code (and there are plenty!) which have to be executed on a 68K CPU+Timers.. or emulation).
Some exceptions, Leonard's YM files are compressed YM2149 registers dumps, so they can be mostly played directly on the FPGA version. Just need a loader and a state machine I guess.

But maybe I misunderstood....

I didn't check precisely. but from my understanding of VGM format it's data captured on input pins of audio chip. Like PCM but the data for audio chip instead.
But regardless the format itself look into list of chips inside the VGM player, so you will see only couple are implemented in FPGA. Talking about competition having less than 1% of chips in FPGA is unreasonable.


I don't have the knowledge in HDL to say how hard the implementation would be, but knowing what you guys can are able to recreate in FGPA, this guy I follow on youtube for awhile has done a bunch of hardware based VGM players and all his schematics and codes are on github. So it might be easy path for implementing it.

YM2612 & SN76489


https://github.com/AidanHockey5/Teensy_3_5_VGM_Player_YM2612_SN76489

YM2151


https://github.com/AidanHockey5/YM2151_VGM_STM32

YM3812


https://github.com/AidanHockey5/YM3812_VGM_Player

Those are just a few examples he has done other boards with different sound chips like the YM2610, AY38910, and YM2413 ...
I wouldn't mind helping on the software side that would feed the FPGA.

Here is the VGM specification
https://vgmrips.net/wiki/VGM_Specification


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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby Sorgelig » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:45 pm

boogermann wrote:Those are just a few examples he has done other boards with different sound chips like the YM2610, AY38910, and YM2413 ...

1) Those are using real chips.
2) it's limited only to specific chip
Software VGM player is nice because you don't have to care which audio chip is used in specific music. You just throw it in VGM player and it will play because almost all audio chips are implemented there. In FPGA we have only (SID with not so good filters), YM2149, YM2413, YM2610/2612, SAA1099, OPL1-3 (not 100%), SN76489, Pokey. Regardless that, software implementation in most cases is more robust and correct than FPGA implementations.
Music playing is the part where software or FPGA really doesn't matter as it needs only single characteristic - sample rate. If it's correct you won't hear any specifics of software emulation (in case if it emulates correct, of course!).
It's like using microscope to look at the object you can see through a simple magnifying glass. You can read some small text in both cases, but second one is way cheaper.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:42 am

posts about long file names display are moved to separate topic:
viewtopic.php?f=117&t=38177

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby mahen » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:59 am

@boogermann : you may be interested in this : http://retrocade.gadgetfactory.net/ (FPGA machine for live performance, implementing several audio chips)

Demo : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dge_dUZQlFY

I almost bought it... Many years ago. It seems kinda abandoned now ?
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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby mahen » Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:37 pm

@boogermann : Hmm, BTW, I guess no one wants to turn the MiSTer into a features freak, etc etc. but if you release a VGM music player, it would be cool if you could also just browse the filesystem to play MP3s & FLACs, why not MIDs and MODs... And why not MP3 streams too... Okay, I know, it's not the point of the MiSTer. Maybe some other people use it as their main gaming machine in a cabinet for instance ; it could be a jukebox too.

I already kinda use it this way (booting on the Amiga ; I have a complete MODs Anthology install, that's awesome...

End of "spoiled user feature request post". Please ignore it Sorge :-)
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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby djmartins » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:22 am

mahen wrote:@boogermann : Hmm, BTW, I guess no one wants to turn the MiSTer into a features freak, etc etc.


There are a lot of cores that need work and programmers are in limited supply yet
for a project like this it seems there are a lot of them.
It is a FPGA computer and it does some things very well while other things less so.
Emulation has been worked on for decades by hundreds of programmers and has every bell and whistle
imaginable plus a few hundred more but this is an FPGA and not software emulation.
I mean, if you or someone does makes cores with lots of whizz bang stuff stuff no one would complain
but turning MiSTer into a MAME/MESS machine seems like a waste.
We already have MAME and MESS and a lot of frontends for them, why reinvent the wheel?

I see you are an Amiga user and while I'd love to have a high end fantasy Amiga machines like you can make with some retro Amiga projects
there is more use for me being able to run most of the games and software.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby reflex » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:39 pm

Hey all!

I'm new to this forum but have been tinkering around with a basic MiSTer setup. I know I'm new here but after reading this thread I had a possibly small discussion that maybe could help with the debate going on.

I've noticed there is a divide between people who like the current boot UI, and people who want something more modern or full featured. There are merits to both, and I've also enjoyed the fact that it's a virtually instant-on device as is.

I have also noticed a lot of people requesting the ability to boot to a specific core or ROM in a supported fashion. I think the answer to both issues could be the same: An option in the default menu that lets you select another executable on launch.

The idea would be that by default this is off and you boot as normal. But if you want to have it boot to a core or an alternative front end/UI you simply turn it on and select your target and when the system boots up it will auto execute whatever the user has selected.

To be clear, I'm not requesting or demanding anything, I work as a software engineer (on the QA side) and I'm very aware there really are few feature requests that are as simple as those requesting them imagine. I'm fine with the product as is and it's been a great little project. I really appreciate all the work that has gone on here and will continue to enjoy mine and start contributing to a couple of the Patreon's that are set up.

Anyway, thanks again and great job everyone!

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby onaryc29 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:56 am

Well, in do not think the pb is to find a way to boot on one executable or another, imho it is more maintenance(/political?) thing : the repo owner/project leader wants to be able to maintain all contributions on, at least, the framework/menu (a dev can add something and go away without making any maintenance). Thus, the new features has to be thoroughly study, be compatible with the vision of Sorgelig and the perimeter can not extend to much, too fast.

If someone make a new and independent development, as boogerman which can replace the existing menu, i do not think it is a pb, in the worst case scenario, it will be developed on its own repo and will not be an official mister menu. I think it is best to make development which go to the official repo (the community around the project will more willingly help and you can implement more/better features, especially if they are not independent from the rest of the code) but it is not mandatory (i.e. the llapi build).

It can be frustrating sometimes, especially because Sorgelig can be hard to convince (and will all due respect, not always right), but it has its advantages : a mister is quite simple to build, setup and use.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby Sorgelig » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:57 pm

MiSTer is about starting the core and use the emulated system. Menu system is something you don't have to notice at all. Its task is to help to load/mount the file and change couple settings, otherwise it should do all work in background, invisibly.
Don't make cult from menu!
Don't torture yourself - grab RPi/PC/Multiemulator Handheld and find all you need there.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby djmartins » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:27 pm

onaryc29 wrote:It can be frustrating sometimes, especially because Sorgelig can be hard to convince (and will all due respect, not always right), but it has its advantages : a mister is quite simple to build, setup and use.


Hunh?
As a few here keep saying, if you want MiSTer to be a RetroPi or MAME then go use MAME or RetroPi.
MiSTer is MiSTer. I don't remember people demanding MiST become a RetroPi like system.
MiSTer works really really really good and isn't full of the bloatware that seems to infect all systems and
makes them crappy.
I love the Menu in MiSTer, it work well and fast and does everything I need.
When I am running a core I can hit F12 and get at all the setting I need and see what core I am running.
I don't need anime animations and five pages of info on the core and a dozen pics of the system to run the thing FFS.

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby onaryc29 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:20 pm

what? please reread my post!

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Re: MiSTer frontend future

Postby reflex » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:17 pm

onaryc29 wrote:what? please reread my post!

No kidding. Nobody is suggesting removing what they love about it. It's pretty rude to tell people to get lost if they don't like something as is. Especially in an open source project. But here we are.

Ah well, at least it is open source. I'd like to let my nephews and nieces use mine without adult supervision, they love the games but it's a pain to lock it down so they don't mess anything up.


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