Homebrew Emulation Introducing Nintellivision - an Emulator for the DS/DSi

wavemotion

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[Queue Bare Naked Ladies] It's been six weeks... since I first got this emulator running on the DS.

At the time, we could barely manage 50% speed - about 30 frames per second on Treasure of Tarmin.
Today we can run it un-throttled at about 105 FPS - a speed gain of almost 250%

I also spent a little time last night playing the old Intellivision Lives DS. The glitches in that game bother me less now that we have a mostly working replacement - and now that I understand more about the internals of the Intellivision hardware, I'm actually somewhat understanding of how they managed to cut off the entire row of icons at the bottom of some screens (since the Intelly renders the background stuff in 8x8 or 8x16 tiles...anything that screws up the rendering of that last row of tiles would lose the entire set of icons those tiles represents).

1634040186190.png


I'm working on speeding up Intellivoice games to see if I can get them running full speed on the older DS-LITE/PHAT hardware. I'm also looking into supporting bankswitching schemes for the few games that use them. I'll probably also revisit the much maligned ECS peripheral and see if that can't be ressurected and support the 10 or so games that use it. I also want to clean up the 10 built in overlays ... I've spent so much time on custom overlays that those have really fallen off the radar - but since most people's experience with this emulator will be with what's built in, we may as well make it look nice.
 

wavemotion

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Here's my first attempt at an instruction manual for Cloudy Mountain. It's an abbreviated but still fairly informative version of the original.
My second favorite Intellivision game! Looks great and is appreciated. 32 characters is pretty restrictive m huh?! :)
 
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wavemotion

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Not ready for a new build, but version 2.4a is checked in... this saves out the screen offset and stretch settings on a per-game basis. You can now use START to snap those values out to the configuration file when in the screen stretch/offset screen.

Unrelated:
I'm thinking about having a V2 of the .ovl overlay files... I'd still support V1 (as it exists today). The new version would be cleaner - you would only map the hotspot buttons that matter for your game and provide the ability to map disc controls as well so you can map the 7 fire directions for Vectron, etc. Maybe add some auto-fire or key repeat capabilities.

If anyone has any thoughts of any kind on custom overlay possibilities, I'm all ears.
 
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wavemotion

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You're quite welcome, Psi.

Just checked in 2.4b... custom palette support. You can now set the default palette in global config and override it on a per-game basis. A new palette option can be selected called "CUSTOM" which will load:

/data/NINTV-DS.PAL

This file is a simple text file with the custom pallet defined the same way that jzintv handles it:

; Primary Color Set
#000000 ; 0 - Black
#0000FF ; 1 - Blue
#E40404 ; 2 - Red
#CECE94 ; 3 - Tan
#0F8223 ; 4 - Dark Green
#04B640 ; 5 - Green
#F6E806 ; 6 - Yellow
#FFFBFF ; 7 - White
; Pastel Color Set
#A5ADA5 ; 8 - Grey
#24B8FF ; 9 - Cyan
#E39401 ; 10 - Orange
#424A08 ; 11 - Brown
#FF00A0 ; 12 - Pink
#918FF5 ; 13 - Light Blue
#27D305 ; 14 - Yellow-Green
#8A229F ; 15 - Purple


Edit: 2.3c is now checked in that provides mapping for DS key combinations like AX, XY, BY and BA. This allows you to map those to keypad keys like any other map... and for the first time you can fire in all 8 directions easily in AD&D Cloudy Mountain or Tron Deadly Discs. Enjoy!
 
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wavemotion

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Version 2.5 is released: https://github.com/wavemotion-dave/NINTV-DS

V2.5 : 15-Oct-2021 by wavemotion-dave
  • Horizontal Stretch/Offset now saved on a per-game basis.
  • Custom Palette support (see example in 'extras' folder).
  • Ability to map DS key to bring up manuals.
  • Added combo key mapping (AX, XY, YB, BA) for diagonal shooting.
  • Updated example .man manuals (see 'extras' folder).
  • Updated title screen - better color map to showcase the Intellivision.
 

ts-x

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Here are ten more manuals, including: 2048, Aardvark, Astrosmash, Atlantis, Beamrider, Beauty and the Beast, Dwarven Mine, Flapee Bird, Goatnam and Istar. Quite a few homebrews included, mainly so I could run up the score and stay motivated! I'm planning to continue to chip away in the coming weeks. If anyone else is doing the same, let me know which games so we don't duplicate efforts. Enjoy!

Edit 1: Added "Batch 2" which includes Burgertime!, Super Chef Burgertime!, Buzz Bombers and Grail of the Gods.
Edit 2: Added "Batch 3" which includes Bump 'N' Jump, Dig Dug, Lady Bug, Mouse Trap, Q*bert and Thin Ice.
Edit 3: Added "Batch 4" which includes Diner, Happy Trails, Loco-Motion, Mtn Madness SuperPro Skiing, Sharp Shot, Stampede

Edit 4: More consistent formatting and other improvements for manuals from Batch 1-4, combined all into "Batch1-4" archive.
Also added 25 new manuals via "Batch 5" archive, including: Antarctic Tales, D2K Arcade, Frog Bog, Frogger, H.E.L.I., Jr.Pac-Man, Killer Bees, Lock 'N' Chase, Missile Domination, Motocross, Ms. Night Stalker, Ms. Pac-Man, Mystic Castle, Night Stalker, Pac-Man, Popeye, Reversi, Sydney Hunter and the Sacred Tribe, SameGame and Robots, Stonix, Thunder Castle, Ultimate Pong, Upmonsters, White Water and Zombie Marbles.
 

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Tomtani1

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Hi Dave. Your Nintellivision DS emulator is working great. I am looking forward to more overlays. I have Nintellivision running in my New 3DS XL using Twilight Menu++ and it is working great. It has been 40 years since I last played Atlantis as third party games are not included in Intellivision Lives.

Here is the problem I am running into now. I downloaded version 2.5. I have the latest version of melonDS running on my Nintendo Switch and it is working great for (.nds file) DS games. I put your NINTV-DS.nds file in the same rom folder as the other .nds files in the DS Roms folder. When I run the NINTV-DS.nds rom I get a white screen. If I exit your NINTV-DS.nds rom and run another .nds rom then the other ds rom runs great. I do have the grom.bin and exec.bin files in the Intellivision Roms folder along with the Intellivision .int/.bin files. I cannot get your Nintellivision emulator running on melonDS in the Nintendo Switch.
 
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wavemotion

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Interesting - I didn't know there was a DS emulator for the Switch!

To be honest, I've no idea :) The only things I can think of is that NINTV-DS is really utilizing all of the memory of the DS (almost 4MB) plus stealing some of the unused video RAM for a few things... maybe melonDS doesn't like that? One thing you could try is one of my other emulators - say StellaDS and see if that runs. The library and way I run the emulator are virtually the same - only it's a much smaller memory footprint.

The only other thing I can think of is the need for the /data directory off the root of the SD card. I create it if it doesn't exist - that's where config stuff is stored. Maybe melonDS doesn't like that?
 

matt!

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How about a bottom screen that shows a circle control on the left side and the overlay on the right?

Are you against bundling versions of official overlays? (My thoughts are that it's transformative use as we're not using the whole overlay just the visible part.)

Could there be a button that toggles the screen stretch between these 3 states?

1. Stretch to fit (default)
2. Scaled 2:1 aligned to left edge
3. Scaled 2:1 aligned to right edge
 
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wavemotion

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Not ready for a new release... but 2.5a is checked in with Q-Bert patched to run properly.

It's still not a proper fix... I did as much debugging as I could and for some reason it's decrementing the life counter on every new board. But right before it decrements the life counter, it bumps up the level/round counter. So I put a watch on that memory location and when we increment the level/round counter (meaning we just cleared a board), I increment the life counter by 1 to compensate for the decrement that happens. To the player - this now plays properly - you won't lose a life when you clear a board. I played it up through about 8 boards with no issues (I suck at the game).

And, of course, if you're going to play Q-Bert you should ditch the default controls and switch the D-Pad to "diagonals".

This reduces the number of issues in the emulator to just a couple - we're getting closer to having everything run!

@matt! I'm not against bundling overlays - but would steer clear of proprietary images created by Mattel or Intellivision Productions. Everything (so far) in the released emulator is open source/GPL or code I created myself (which I release with an a fairly non-restrictive license).
 
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Tomtani1

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Interesting - I didn't know there was a DS emulator for the Switch!

To be honest, I've no idea :) The only things I can think of is that NINTV-DS is really utilizing all of the memory of the DS (almost 4MB) plus stealing some of the unused video RAM for a few things... maybe melonDS doesn't like that? One thing you could try is one of my other emulators - say StellaDS and see if that runs. The library and way I run the emulator are virtually the same - only it's a much smaller memory footprint.

The only other thing I can think of is the need for the /data directory off the root of the SD card. I create it if it doesn't exist - that's where config stuff is stored. Maybe melonDS doesn't like that?
Hi Dave. I just downloaded StellaDS 4.4 from your Gethub page. I put the StellaDS.nds file in the same DS Roms folder as the rest of the .nds games (including the NINTV-DS.nds). The result of running StellaDS is a white screen just like running the NINTV.nds. The other .nds games run perfectly. Because the two emulators showed the white screen and did not start up, I could not browse the roms folders. That leads me to think that the location of the intellivsion and atari2600 roms did not come into play yet. The location of the roms folder is as follows.
SD root/ROMS/Atari2600
SD root/ROMS/DS
SD root/ROMS/Intellivision
 

ariela

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Hi wavemotion, Thank you for the fantastic emulator and can't wait to try it on 3DS :)
Hi Dave. Your Nintellivision DS emulator is working great. I am looking forward to more overlays. I have Nintellivision running in my New 3DS XL using Twilight Menu++ and it is working great. It has been 40 years since I last played Atlantis as third party games are not included in Intellivision Lives.

Here is the problem I am running into now. I downloaded version 2.5. I have the latest version of melonDS running on my Nintendo Switch and it is working great for (.nds file) DS games. I put your NINTV-DS.nds file in the same rom folder as the other .nds files in the DS Roms folder. When I run the NINTV-DS.nds rom I get a white screen. If I exit your NINTV-DS.nds rom and run another .nds rom then the other ds rom runs great. I do have the grom.bin and exec.bin files in the Intellivision Roms folder along with the Intellivision .int/.bin files. I cannot get your Nintellivision emulator running on melonDS in the Nintendo Switch.
Hi tomtani1, Does melonDS on Switch has DLDI option (under emu settings) as on PC? If it does you can make a ramdisk with the roms+bios, load the image file and run the nds file. Same for StellaDS perhaps is the way it accesses the filesystem?

Edit: I used the melonDS for windows (0.93) and it can locate the roms using a ramdisk, maybe because the Switch version (r6) is port from older releases so is not supported yet.
 
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Psionic Roshambo

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Went to fix my New 3DS XL and so glad this emulator caught my attention the battery was super swollen and required quite a bit of effort to get the cover off with out breaking anything.

This emulator saved my 3DS!!! Ordered a new one from ali, I just hope it works... IF it does than I will be sure to set this emulator up first (after I rehack it)

Thank you again Wavemotion and even more so now!
 

ts-x

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Just added four more manuals to my original post - Burgertime!, Super Chef Burgertime!, Buzz Bombers and Grail of the Gods.

If anyone is looking for a good source of text based manuals for most of the original 125, try searching "dp library intellivision manuals".
 
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Tomtani1

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Hi wavemotion, Thank you for the fantastic emulator and can't wait to try it on 3DS :)

Hi tomtani1, Does melonDS on Switch has DLDI option (under emu settings) as on PC? If it does you can make a ramdisk with the roms+bios, load the image file and run the nds file. Same for StellaDS perhaps is the way it accesses the filesystem?
Hi Dave and Ariela. I think the Nintellivision emulator for NDS with the file NINTV-DS.nds is not working in melonDS may be because it is not in the rom list. The melonDS has a file called romlist.bin.
 
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wavemotion

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Just added four more manuals to my original post - Burgertime!, Super Chef Burgertime!, Buzz Bombers and Grail of the Gods. See post #188, still a "new" member and am not yet able to include links.
I’ve already found your manuals useful - I honestly had no idea that the visited mountains are only 4 deep - after that older ones will restock!
 
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