The FPGA thread

We've had threads for individual FPGA systems, maybe we should have a general one.

What do you have?
What are you thinking about getting?
What do you think about FPGA gaming systems?

I picked up an Nt Mini Noir during the very brief Nt Mini Noir and Super Nt restock on April 9th.
I remember some other folk on the forum mentioning they picked up stuff during that too.

The experience buying it, was odd.
I barely knew it was being restocked before immediately having to decide if I wanted to buy it or not.
The Nt Mini Noir restock got surprise announced the day before the restock alongside an expected Super Nt restock announcement. It was then available for just a little over a day before selling out. This was the only time the Nt Mini Noir was for sale outside of the original pre-order which sold out before Analogue had announced what the features would be.

If I hadn't been following the restock news regarding the Super Nt and trying to buy one, I wouldn't have known I could buy an Nt Mini Noir.

I couldn't buy the Super Nt, the site got hammered and was super glitchy when I tried to order one.
It wasn't until after the Super Nt sold out that the site stopped glitching out for me and I bought an Nt Mini Noir.

Purchasing it was a bizarre experience, but it ultimately worked out well.

I love the actual device.
I've got some NES Dogbone controllers hooked up to it, and I'm more impressed with it then I thought I would be.
It doesn't have any trouble reading any cartridges. The menu system has fantastically exhaustive options letting me tweak just about anything imaginable to my heart's content. It looks great in 1080p. It is compatible with every NES/Famicom everything.

The device looks and feels good. It's a nice hefty little piece of aluminum.
It is the perfect successor to the AV-Famicom I lost along the way, and the NES I can't hook up to modern TVs.

I suspect that if I had been making an informed choice to buy one of their consoles having had hands on time with all of their systems, and a reasonable window to decide, I might very well have chosen this one.
I feel like I want to keep this forever. That isn't a feeling I usually get about game consoles.

The NES is my favorite system, and I can't imagine a nicer way to play NES games.
I'm so impressed with the Nt Mini Noir that it makes me _more_ interested in Analogue and their other products, but I do hope they make it easier to buy stuff from them in the future.

I'm going to be interested to follow future FPGA developments.
I'm very curious to see if the Analogue Pocket gets more cores developed for it. If the Pocket gets a Super Nintendo core and at some point is MUCH easier to buy than the Nt Mini Noir was, I might get one.

If I never get another FPGA system that would be fine, I think I already have the right one for me.

I have them all. Though my NT mini is still in the box. I have found the MiSTER to be the best of the set as it can run systems I never really had (PC Engine CD is a big one). But the Super NT and Mega SG are excellent ways to play those respective systems. And unlike the MiSTER would be nice in a living room / to bring around with you. My MiSTER will remain connected to my Component CRT.

In my early teens (i‘m 20 years old right know lol) I used to pretend to care about physical stuff because I drank to much of the youtuber poison and accumulated a modest amount of old games and consoles. As of late I really don’t care about owning physical stuff and I‘ve been playing “retro” games through the Wii Virtual Console and some PS2 compilations (because I can get 240p output out of them and play them in my pvm). That being said I’m extremely interested in getting a MiSTer.

I can't afford a MiSTer right now, but I'm waiting until I can sell on ebay again, in order to sell all my consoles and games and buying a mister with that money . Or heck, maybe I'll eventually sell some stuff on the sale thread.

(I live in Tijuana, mx, and normally I just sell stuff on ebay, cross the border and ship from San Diego (im not entirely sure if that's technically legal but I think it falls on a gray area) but the border has been closed to non U.S citizens since covid started and It's too expensive to ship from mexico, and even if I wanted to sell within Mexico, shipping from a border region to the rest of the country is expensive and slow due too weird fees and stuff and I'm too lazy to try to sell them locally))

I love the idea of having just one thing in which I can just load roms and play them extremely accurately in both my hdtv and my pvm, and not having to own a bunch of stuff.
It's not like I could afford their consoles but I profoundly hate analogue's business model.

I derailed a lot to basically say:

MiSter all the way!!!

I am enthralled by the idea of them.

There’s a fairly large overlap for me with personal interest and professional skill set that I’ve often thought about looking in to what would be involved in writing or contributing to a core. Often, that desire fizzles out because it gets a little too close to work and I’d just rather play something, read a book, and go to bed.

I will continue to at least entertain the thought however. Maybe one day.

I too lived in the “I wanted everything physical” camp, however I've not migrated completely away to digital at this point: I still use real hardware, I own scalers, a nice chunky 14" CRT sits upon my IKEA cube solution to really hit the full cliché.

I got interested in the MiSTER project because it represented an area that I couldn't possibly afford to expand into, arcade boards, as well as allowing me to experiment with items that I wouldn't normally buy, classic computers and the like. In the past I've worked around and on FPGA development so there was a fringe interest, but I've long since let those skills rot and I wouldn't be able to contribute.

So far my FPGA-based collection consists of:

Mega SD
Super NT

All in part because I had a nice (before I moved) living room setup and it helped in a way to reduce the wiring complexity, I don't use much in the way of original games anymore for those that take it though - instead owning things like a Mega SD or a SD2SNES.

I would have to give a shout out to Antonio Villena ( who created a case I felt best provides a low profile and professional style compared to the chunky upright 3D printed boxes that have become quite popular for the project


I think the MiSTER as a whole represents an interesting niché within the hobby in general, purely because of the way it's approaching emulation. It's nowhere near as accessible as just booting up bsnes or the like but the array of options available and what it provides in terms of research for other future preservation projects is great.

With that in mind it'd be easy to be cynical about things like Analogue in the market but I believe - despite the prohibitive price of some of their items - they offer a meaningful entrypoint for people. Even if for most, something like a mini console may suffice.

I think the corner case that tends to get ignored because of it's links to piracy in general, is that FPGA also represents a good way for drop in replacements for parts by emulating their behaviour - things like ODEs or replacement chips in things like the C64 will become more and more reliant on this as time goes on and I wonder if we'll start to see it creep out to other parts that we may not normally think about.

One thing I find really interesting and appealing about FPGA systems is the ability to mix and match original hardware and specifications with alternatives, often modern ones.

I like that my Nt Mini Noir can output via HDMI in 1080p.
I like that if I want to plug in my Castlevania cart, it can run it.
I like that if I'd prefer I can run a game off of an SD card, even games from other systems like Game Gear or Sega Genesis.

The ability to really fine tune things is also wonderful.
I like that I can turn sprite flicker off, and mess around with the expansion audio sound. I can make it sound like it would on an original Famicom, or like it would on an AV-Famicom, or even some purely original way if I want.

You see this with other FPGA systems too:

The CollectorVision Phoenix allows use of an original ColecoVision controller, or a SNES controller, or both simultaneously so that you can have the numberpad from a ColecoVision controller and the everything else of a SNES controller.

You see this with MiSTer with options like Bliss-Box allowing people to use original controllers or the more standard option of using USB controllers.

I think as more FPGA systems come out we'll see this further expanded with greater options for mixing and matching original hardware and modern hardware. I think that's what I find most exciting and appealing about FPGAs being used for gaming, it lets us mix the best parts of the gaming past with the best parts of the present.

@Geoff#31163 Whilst I see the improvements stuff, some irrational part of my brain still wants the imperfections left in - wy I find the MiSTER project so brilliant. The fine tuning is a fascinating aspect for hardware with multiple revisions with notable changes, the fact I can mix and match options for my Mega Drive based on soundchip is deliciously stupid.


Yeah, there can be value in imperfections.
The fine tuning available in a lot of FPGA systems is a marvel.

Sprite flicker in NES games is how those games were originally experienced, and having an option to leave that in (it is actually left in by default on the Nt Mini Noir), helps people who might not have experienced the OG hardware firsthand with understanding what the experience of playing NES games on a NES was actually like.

Most people wouldn't want to make an FPGA NES sound like an AV-Famicom, The way the AV-Famicom mixed audio was generally considered _bad_ and not in line with what designers likely intended. It puts the volume of expansion audio higher then the regular audio which wasn't something that the original Famicom did, and games likely weren't designed around that. I like the way it sounds, and it is how I first heard expansion audio since I used to have an AV-Famicom, so for me it's nice to have that as an option, even if it is also nice to have the option to hear how the games were supposed to sound.