MiSTerland updates for the beginning of May 2021

It's been a little quiet since the last time I checked in from MiSTerland. Let's take a look at some new developments in the CPS-2 beta and a new handheld core.

skankcore

It's time to report from MiSTerland once again, but updates are a little quiet from the front of FPGA development. In this edition, it's more of the same as I'll be highlighting my two favorite FPGA engineers again, but these two guys are working insanely hard at providing MiSTer enthusiasts with more to play with and I want to showcase their awesome progress. That's right, it's Jose 'jotego' Tejada and Robert 'FPGAzumSpass' Peip and they're back with some amazing CPS-2 fighters and the beginning stages of a brand new core, respectively. Let's dive in!

Feel, sensational thrills!

Spain-based engineer, Jose 'jotego' Tejada is no stranger to my MiSTerland updates with his incredible work on preserving arcade boards for FPGA implementations. He's graced us with the Capcom CPS-1 and 1.5 libraries and we even got a start on the Sega System 16 arcade hardware. For a lot of arcade fans, however, CPS-2 is the pinnacle of '90s arcade gaming and the latest update from jotego is no slouch with three amazing fighters. These captures are with my personal MiSTer and capture card setup, I promise, it looks sharper in person.

First up is Marvel Super Heroes. Loosely based on the Infinity Gauntlet timeline from '90s Marvel comics, Marvel Super Heroes hit the arcades in late '95 and features a unique Infinity Stone mechanic. The various Stones can be used by players to power up their fighters in different ways; making you stronger, faster, or even regaining health (which is always OP in a fighting game). This is the next game after X-Men: Children of the Atom and X-Men vs. Street Fighter, making it the third entry into Capcom's popular Marvel-licensed fighting games.

Next up is Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness, another '95 arcade release centered around giant robots or mecha, dueling it out to the death. This game is interesting in that it eschews the typical six-button layout of Capcom fighters for a four-button layout, reminiscent of Neo-Geo arcades. This is one that I had never experienced in the wild, I don't know if I've ever heard of it outside of a few mentions in some niche retro videos. I've only played this for a few minutes so far, but it's got excellent animation and music, like most Capcom fighters of that era. It also has an interesting storyline, something I don't usually care about in fighting games.

Finally, rounding out the trio of fighters in this update, is the entry in the Capcom/Marvel fighters that precedes the game everybody with a MiSTer is waiting for. Hitting the arcades in '97, Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter ramps up everything we learned from Marvel Super Heroes and X-Men vs Street Fighter. 2-on-2 tag team battles are back with the biggest combined roster yet in this Marvel-licensed fighting franchise. Flashy ultra moves are easier to input and variable assists now allow the player to mix up their team attacks instead of swapping characters only. With the release of MSH vs. SF, that can only mean Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes is right around the corner.

You ever wonder about swans?

The second and last big update news comes from Robert 'FPGAzumSpass' Peip, who I previously reported on developing the Atari Lynx core and implementing save states into the NES care. This time, Robert is back at it with a brand new core in development for the MiSTer FPGA and it's another handheld system. He's now set his sights on the Bandai Wonderswan, notable for being legendary handheld console engineer, Gunpei Yokoi's final hardware contribution to the gaming industry. Featuring a 16-bit processor, the Wonderswan also adhered to Yokoi's "withered technology" ideals with both a long battery life and low price point. The Wonderswan never made it across the ocean but did grab 8% of the Japanese market share before being overshadowed by the Game Boy Advance.

The Wonderswan only sold around 3.5 million units with 109 shipped retail games available, making it a curious piece of handheld history that I am eager to experience for the first time. If you ever owned a Wonderswan or had the chance to play with one, please leave a comment with your impressions. I am very interested in hearing some first hand accounts of what the system was like. It looks like it won't be long before all MiSTer FPGA owners get a chance to play with this unique hardware platform, and I can't wait to see what Robert Peip is going to cook up next.

That's all I have for today from MiSTerland. Please let me know what you're up to in the world of retro gaming and keep it classic!

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 3, 2021 10:07 AM

    I've journeyed through MiSTerland and come back with updates! Read up on some MiSTer FPGA developments.

    Read more: MiSTerland updates for the beginning of May 2021

    • reply
      May 3, 2021 2:05 PM

      Welp, fuck... with CPS2 support guess I can't hold out any longer.

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        May 3, 2021 2:07 PM

        I can. I will hold out for a generation.

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          May 3, 2021 3:50 PM

          For arcade games, this is about as far up as I need to go. After that you start getting nearly perfect arcade ports on a Playstation One or Dreamcast (Tekken / Ridge Racer / Sega AM2 games / MVC2 / CVS2) where a used console costs about 25% of what a MiSTer costs to setup and you can copy / pirate those discs to your hearts content. CPS3 would be nice (Third Strike). Beyond Dreamcast you start reaching the point where home consoles was better than arcade hardware.

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            May 3, 2021 5:44 PM

            3rd Strike is really all I’m missing on the CPS3 side. NAOMI would be terrific for CVS2 but I believe that’s out of bounds for the hardware. Not 100% certain tho

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              May 3, 2021 5:45 PM

              3rd Strike is out on everything.

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                May 3, 2021 6:01 PM

                A yet there still isn't a version that is arcade perfect that the competitive community can agree on playing tournaments on (ex. Cooperation Cup).

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              May 3, 2021 5:59 PM

              Yeah, I think NAOMI is too far for the current iteration of MiSTer and why CPS2 support is likely where someone like me jumps into getting one -- considering Dreamcast does 99.99% accurate NAOMI ports of MvC2 and CvS2.

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      May 3, 2021 2:20 PM

      Other than cost, what it the main argument against MiSTer?

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        May 3, 2021 2:21 PM

        MiSTer doesn't respect your emotional boundaries and thinks your model train hobby is dumb and your friends are losers

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          May 3, 2021 2:26 PM

          Well, 1 out of 3 ain't the worst. I could live with that.

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        May 3, 2021 2:34 PM

        It will add a lot of games to the list of games you already own and don't play.

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          May 3, 2021 2:39 PM

          Funny, because it's probably true. The fact that I'll mess with these for like 20-45min and then never play with a game is most of the reason why I haven't gotten into the retro scene very much.

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        May 3, 2021 3:31 PM

        Some people prefer emulation on a PC? There's a weird subset of gamers that view the mister as unnecessary or some form of competition to regular emulators.

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          May 3, 2021 3:45 PM

          Good friend of mine looked at it said "too much tinkering" and decided to go PolyMega instead. I expect I may have the same opinion if I jumped in. Then I'd post here about how I don't have enough time to tinker with it and when I get a system and game running that I played it for 20min before I had to go tend to the fam or something.

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            May 3, 2021 3:49 PM

            It's about as difficult as setting up a raspberry pi. Even easier if you get a prebuilt kit from misteraddons. With those you literally just plug in power, hdmi, and a keyboard/controller.

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        May 3, 2021 3:57 PM

        More of a hassle to setup, and no online play that was added later into some emulators.

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          May 3, 2021 5:42 PM

          It really isn't hard to set up. I'd actually say it's easier than getting a library properly set up in Retroarch.

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        May 3, 2021 5:42 PM

        The only argument against it is if you insist on playing on actual hardware. I think there’s a place for both in any retro gaming enthusiast’s basement.

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        May 4, 2021 12:59 AM

        - Cost is the main issue

        - User friendliness and complexity of setup has largely been negated by the generally standardized ecosystem. This is where projects like RetroPie and Lakka continue to fumble their initiative because the next major step for both is implementing native clrmamepro-levels of rom detection/set fixing/emu auto configuration based on results and holy fucking shit is that a gargantuan task as soon as you start peeling things back. The slow rollout of cores for the mister has been a godsend in that regard while the diverse splintering of decades of mame derivatives on the Pi has only discouraged adoption/use.

        - UX is a huge hurdle that's slowly being overcome with the development of new headers and interfaces, though there's always going to be use cases where a de10-nano just physically won't work. There's some other FPGA solutions available (like the Analogue consoles, the UnAmiga header, etc), but for building new guts in an old shell, the Pi w/a GPIO hat is generally still the best way to go.

        - Save states are generally standardized as core functionality on Pi-based emus, which is a huge benefit for people unable to structure their lives around archaic game design decisions.

        - The Pi family has a much higher performance potential for general gaming then what's going to be possible with the de10-nano, opening the door for higher internal resolution rendering and more powerful systems being emulated, especially as the Pi continues to evolve. Limitations in MAME structure and a lack of dedicated devs will prevent a lot of the higher end 3d stuff from getting added through any route other than brute force, but there's hope that increasing emphasis on ARM coding will continue to improve cross ports to the platform.

        - probably some other reasons as well, though with the prices being what they are, if you have a mister, you should also have a Pi. If you have a Pi, you should weigh the pros and cons of getting a mister, especially if you've been juggling some of those core setup frustrations.

        Also, anyone that pays money for a preconfigured SD card of roms for either platform can get fucked.

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      May 3, 2021 5:47 PM

      Just got my DE10-Nano today, now to order all the accessories. I'm pretty stoked to mess around with it.

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      May 4, 2021 1:02 AM

      Still patiently waiting on this + my ITX header for ao486

      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/checkmate1500mini/amiga-3000-inspired-mini-itx-computer-case

      :'(

      Was thinking about possibly putting it in the full size Checkmate 1500, but I'm kind of saving that for when I build my A500++ now that I've finally got all of the parts for it (still need to design some custom brackets though)

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