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Mega SG - New FPGA Console from Analogue

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I've been charged this morning too. Didn't expect that and also not the beeeeest time, but still! Totally awesome that this is coming. 

As a PVM owner, I really want them to get going with the DAC adapter so I can run these over RGB. If it works good I'll prob retire my OG SFC and Genesis consoles. 

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Now that I remember it, there was some criticism that the funds from the original Analogue Nt pre-orders were being used to fund R&D... which seems outlandish when you consider manufacturing and shipping costs.

I'd pre-order now if I could save a bit on the side to pay in April. Not the best time for me either.

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Interesting stuff from Mega Drive FM scenester Dustin O'Dell (of hardware OST rip fame), who wasn't that impressed by the audio on the sample video of Gunstar Heroes. One aspect was the lack of filtering, which may well be configurable, but the other was more concerning - he thinks they're clocking the FM chip at the wrong rate to get a convenient sample rate for the digital output, resulting in the harmonics being wrong - the FM chip runs at something odd like 53Hz.

 

I've recommended he drop a line to Kevtris, hopefully it's something that can be fixed.

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The audio will probably be tweaked and improved all the way up to the last moment - and probably even into next summer, judging by the FDS audio in the NT Mini having issues with filtering and warmth that took a couple of firmware updates before it was reasonably fixed.

 

If there's a way to get HDMI / system-compliant FM audio without messing with harmonic or other key characteristics it'll be done. I think the sample rate for Super NT audio might have been bumped up from the original 32,000 to 44,000Hz for vaguely similar reasons. 

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Not the most elegant solution for Mega CD 1 connection - without the little rubber mat, the Mega SG is suspended in the air by the connector.

 

 

Mega CD2 will presumably look a bit better, but nothing on Twitter yet. 

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Looking forwards to getting mine next month! To go along with my Super NT. 

I do spend almost all my time on real hardware into my PVM, but these things are just so amazing.

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1 hour ago, Kevvy Metal said:

Looking forwards to getting mine next month! To go along with my Super NT. 

I do spend almost all my time on real hardware into my PVM, but these things are just so amazing.

 

As someone who knows nothing about these; in what way are they amazing? Thanks.

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15 minutes ago, Camel said:

 

 

As someone who knows nothing about these; in what way are they amazing? Thanks.

 

Rather than hardware emulation in software, otherwise know as using "emulators". The Analogue products are doing Hardware simulation using a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA).

 

The FPGA is simulating each chip on the original hardware motherboard by configuring the single FGPA at the transistor level. The M68000, Z80 and YM2612 chips and such like used in the megadrive are basically replicated in the FPGA.

 

This means - WAY better accuracy and compatibility, and the biggest thing - NO LAG. 

 

Basically it works like original hardware -- warts n all, but you get the convenience of pristine HDMI digital video and other tweakable things. 

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Thanks. I know about FPGA, was just wondering what the advantages here are. I guess HDMI is the main thing then? Can you set it to display scanlines? Does it also have better audio output than your average MD?

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19 minutes ago, Camel said:

Thanks. I know about FPGA, was just wondering what the advantages here are. I guess HDMI is the main thing then? Can you set it to display scanlines? Does it also have better audio output than your average MD?

 

The Super NT has native HD output with lots of scaling options which you can configure and tweak in real-time, hybrid scanline generation (varies thickness of scanlines based on the brightness of elements, replicating the bloom you'd see on a real CRT - looks great and 100% natural), optional interpolation for X and Y axis to remove shimmering/tearing when using non-integer scale factors, native CD-quality digital audio output, zero-to-little-lag (using interpolation adds a bit), in-game hooks for reset etc, and it's a solid, fast, attractive little box that feels like a proper whack-the-cart-in-and-go console for the modern era.

 

The Mega SG will presumably have all of the above, plus:

- Master System support (including FM) with bundled cart adaptor

- GameGear and SG1000 support with adaptors to be sold separately

- Front headphone port

- Mega CD support (requires actual Mega CD, as the Mega CD was far from a dumb drive, and contains pretty much a whole second MD CPU + some custom chips)

 

The really tricky part is going to be getting the FM chip right. I know some FM mavens didn't think their earlier demos sounded that great.

 

Two things I'm really hoping for, but which haven't been announced yet:

- Support for setting different scaling factors for the Mega Drive's 256 and 320px width screen modes (external scalers suck at this)

- Support for using the MD start button to pause Master System games (should be a breeze for FPGA)

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I'm taking the worries about the sound with a pinch of salt. If you're happy with how emulators sound now, it's still probably going to be a step up from that.

 

Back in the day different models of the megadrive sounded different, everyone had different TVs and audio set ups etc. Reproducing the sound on old machines is always interpretive and it'll never sound perfect to everyone.

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1 hour ago, Alexlotl said:

Two things I'm really hoping for, but which haven't been announced yet:

- Support for setting different scaling factors for the Mega Drive's 256 and 320px width screen modes (external scalers suck at this)

- Support for using the MD start button to pause Master System games (should be a breeze for FPGA)

 

Support for 32X has to be a must after release. Although I dread to look at the final set up when that happens. Both cute and awful at the same time, judging by the MCD1 pics.

 

But yeah for me, accuracy and HDMI are the main perks versus Pi.

 

I'd love to hide this thing/fit it inside the real model 1 MD, at least it'll still carry on looking perfect that way. :unsure:

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16 minutes ago, NEG said:

 

Support for 32X has to be a must after release. Although I dread to look at the final set up when that happens. Both cute and awful at the same time, judging by the MCD1 pics.

 

But yeah for me, accuracy and HDMI are the main perks versus Pi.

 

I'd love to hide this thing/fit it inside the real model 1 MD, at least it'll still carry on looking perfect that way. :unsure:

 

It'll never support a genuine 32x, at least not over a digital connection - that crazy jalopy combines the analogue video output from the Mega Drive with the output from its own GPU. Blame 90s Sega, not Analogue.

 

Implementing 32x in-the-box in FPGA might be possible, but that would assume that a) the existing MD implementation has left huge amounts of gates free, which seems unlikely, and b) it's worth Analogue paying Kevtris vast quantities of money to support 40 largely unmemorable games.

 

That said, I'd love it if it was possible for them to somehow use the CD port and make a combined 32x + Mega-CD addon, with no moving parts. I would like to play Tempo one day.

 

Better photos here, including one of the MS converter:

 

 

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I'll be in the USA mid April. Any chance these will be available to order to the place I'm staying?

 

Would be nice to be able to bring one home. They look beautiful.

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2 minutes ago, Adrock said:

I'll be in the USA mid April. Any chance these will be available to order to the place I'm staying?

 

Would be nice to be able to bring one home. They look beautiful.

 

I would imagine so. If not, I'm happy to act as a proxy for you (I live in the US) - have it sent to me and I'll send it to wherever you are staying. 

 

I pre-ordered day 1, can't wait to get my hands on it. Hopefully they'll ship soon.

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When I ordered my Super NT (which, to be fair, was late last year so they'd been out a while and were not in any way constrained), I was expecting the usual two-week minimum wait for it to arrive in the UK. I think it took about 3 days to arrive. Super fast delivery considering.

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7 minutes ago, Zio said:

When I ordered my Super NT (which, to be fair, was late last year so they'd been out a while and were not in any way constrained), I was expecting the usual two-week minimum wait for it to arrive in the UK. I think it took about 3 days to arrive. Super fast delivery considering.

 

Yeah - my Super NT arrived in less than a week. Then again for $50 I'd expect it to arrive quickly. I didn't get hit by custom fees either, which was nice.

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Reading the manual now and checking on my wishlist.

 

  • Master System Start button support for MD pads is present.
  • Can't quite get my head around the horizontal resolution differences, but I think if you pick one of the preset modes (e.g. 4:3 for 16:10) then it'll automatically handle it.
  • The section on FM includes real hardcore FM nerd shit like enabling YM2612 ladder effect, so I think Kevtris probably has this covered.
  • No word on whether my beloved Mark III Paddle controller will be supported!

 

On the subject of the Master System, interestingly neither the Mega SG or the adapter has a hardware pause button, but the adapter is apparently designed to be moddable to add one. Odd choice.

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I own the grand total of 0 Mega Drive games and I don't think I'll be in a position to purchase any in the future owing to space restrictions.

 

I still want an FPGA Megadrive though and I had an 8bitdo Bluetooth M30 delivered by Amazon this evening, that is the controller bundled with this, isn't it?

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1 hour ago, Adrock said:

I own the grand total of 0 Mega Drive games and I don't think I'll be in a position to purchase any in the future owing to space restrictions.

 

I still want an FPGA Megadrive though and I had an 8bitdo Bluetooth M30 delivered by Amazon this evening, that is the controller bundled with this, isn't it?

 

Controller is sold seperately, but yes, it's the same one.

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1 hour ago, Adrock said:

I own the grand total of 0 Mega Drive games and I don't think I'll be in a position to purchase any in the future owing to space restrictions.

 

I still want an FPGA Megadrive though and I had an 8bitdo Bluetooth M30 delivered by Amazon this evening, that is the controller bundled with this, isn't it?

 

You don’t need much space - it’s tiny!

 

If it’s anything like the other Analogue consoles there’ll be a quasi-official jailbreak within a few months of launch which will let you play games off the SD. It’s not ideal for the Super NT as it doesn’t support any expansion chips, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the Mega Drive (unless you really want to play Virtua Racing). So no space needed for games either. 

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