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

wavemotion

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And 1.3d is now checked in. I tried to make myself a custom overlay for Utopia and it was complex enough with enough colors that the buffers I allocated in NINTV-DS were not sufficient... and it crashed the emulator :) The new buffers should be plenty big.
upload_2021-9-15_9-58-4.png
 

wavemotion

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Major checkin just now - but still not ready for a new build! (soon... soon)

We now allow meta keys (Load, Reset, Config, Scores, etc) as mappable to DS keys in CONFIG (useful if you want to keep your custom overlay squeaky clean and map things like LOAD and RESET to buttons like Start/Select).

We now allow side-buttons to be mapped to custom overlays. Because... why not. This changed the format of the .ovl lines in custom overlays - there are now 3 new lines. See the new checked-in astrosmash.ovl example template.

This should give maximum flexibility for key handling. Virtually anything you can do with the Intellivision plus the extra stuff built into the emulator can now be mapped to either touch-screen custom overlays or to DS buttons.
 

wavemotion

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Version 1.4 is out! https://github.com/wavemotion-dave/NINTV-DS


V1.4 : 16-Sep-2021 by wavemotion-dave
  • Custom overlay support! See custom-overlay.zip in the distribution.
  • Hide bios files from game listing.
  • New d-pad configuration options.
  • Ability to map DS keys to meta-functions such as load, config, score, etc.
  • Other cleanups as time permitted...
 

Indy13

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Hi @wavemotion thank you for your awesome work, you rock dude ! ;)

I noticed that the Nova Blast game freezes at the start of a game, I don't know if it is from the emulator or if it is my file but it is happening since version 1.0 or 1.1a, I do not reminds me more exactly because it also happened on previous versions except 0.8 or 0.9 (sorry, I admit it's far from precise as an explanation)
 

wavemotion

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Hey Indy... yeah, in the readme for the emulator, I mention the 3 games that don't work right...

Stampeed - the cattle flicker in weird ways. Happens on Windows version of BLISS as well. Unknown cause.

Nova Blast - game will freeze several seconds into playing. Does not happen on Windows version of BLISS. Likely cause is that the game does something "unusual" and we've removed most of the normal emulator safe-guards to get maximum speed.

Q-Bert - game will lose a life after completing every screen/board. Happens on the Windows version of BLISS and also happens on the MAME/MESS emulator for the same game.

I haven't spent any time on causes yet... two of the 3 issues have been in the BLISS codebase (which is what I started with) for decades. To be honest, none of these is a great loss... Stampeed offers nothing to the 3 other versions (Atari 2600, 5200/8-bit) that you can already play with my other emulators. Q-Bert isn't anywhere near the best version of that game - B*nQ on the 7800 runs fine on A7800DS and there is an NES version as well - both of which are vastly superior.

Nova Blast is probably the only game I'd like to run correctly. It's not a great game, by any stretch... and it's better on the Colecovision... someday I'll figure out what that program did differently and try to add support for it.

Emulation is rarely perfect :) You can bet that if it was classics like the AD&D games or Beauty and the Beast that wasn't running right, there would be no end to the hours of my day tracking those bugs down!
 
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wavemotion

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I always had trouble remembering which of the 4 side buttons did what when playing Tower of Doom (this was in the later INTV days when they were really cutting costs and the keypad/overlays were not used much). With this new custom overlay, however, and the new ability to map side buttons to touch screen areas, I can touch the 4 big quadrants of the screen to get the functionality desired!

upload_2021-9-16_14-22-47.png
 

MarioKartFan

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Here's my contribution. It's for DK Arcade, by Carl Mueller Jr. Maybe the best port of DK I've ever played. You'll want to rename "Donkey Kong.txt" to "Donkey Kong.ovl".

Tapping on HELP! opens the Configuration. Tapping on LOAD! opens the file selector. Tapping on Mario's butt pauses the game.
 

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wavemotion

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That's awesome, MKF! I love that the Help and Load are in the "damsel in distress" font! I just sent an email to Carl (the author) to see if he is still selling his D2K with 8 new homebrew levels.

I went a different route for my custom DK1. I zoomed in on some old DK box art. Entire left side of touch screen brings up LOAD and the right side brings up CONFIG. I just map START/SELECT to RESET/SCORE to keep the screen clean. Rename DK1.txt to <gamename>.ovl
 

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MarioKartFan

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Not gonna lie. I am really proud of this one. I had to completely remake the overlay in HD and then scale it down.
It's for Dragonfire, which is one of my all time favorites. Same drill. Change File extension to .ovl.
 

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wavemotion

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MKF - that is sweet! I'm using it :)

In case you were unawares, you don't have to live with the default color palette of my template. So you can use GIMP to do Image->Mode and set to Indexed on your high-res image and it will generate an optimized 256 color palette. Then you can go back to your template and use Color->SetPalete and chose the high-res image to copy the palette... this way you can get colors you want.

Today I "bought" (for US$10 donation to the author), D2K which has the original 4 levels plus 5 new homebrew levels and it's really great! Same cut-scene climbing graphical glitch but doesn't affect gameplay. I really suck at the new levels :./
 

wavemotion

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The Intellivision Lives PS2 game (super cheap on eBay - I think I paid $8 for mine) has about 60 roms that you can extract using a PC CDROM/DVD reader... there is a guy online that has a little utility that will extract them from the disc. The old Intellivision Lives PC doesn't even encrypt them - all the games just sit in a folder off the root drive. I've been told something like GodMode on the DS can view games in Slot 1 and the Intellivision Lives DS has the games compressed in LZ77 format.

With the launch of the Intellivision Lives website - the original IP holders released 3 free packs containing greats such as Astrosmash, Minotaur (Treasure of Tarmin) and even one iMagic game - Beauty and the Beast. I think there were 10 or 12 games given away freely - these were the actual game roms for use with their emulator at the time. These were given away free by the legal holders of the copyrights and were available for many years to anyone. The site is long gone - but is archived via the wayback machine. I don't know the legality standard on something that was given away by the copyright holders but then the site was abandoned years later... but was archived by Internet Archive. In any event, I grabbed those packs when they were free - and I suspect if you grabbed them via the archived site the licence included will give you the rights to use them for personal use... but I'm not sure (and since I have those games in many formats released over the years, I'm not overly worried about it either).

And, of course, there are a number of great free homebrews games released by very talented programmers. Highly recommend seeking out Copter Command or Grail of the Gods or Princess Quest. You will still need the BIOS files, however... though there are open-source "mini" versions that will work with some (most?) homebrew games.
 
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MarioKartFan

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This has turned into an addiction. I'm way too focused on making overlays. Anyway, here's a very authentic one that I created for Beauty and the Beast. Same issues as before. Had to create an HD version of the original overlay and then downscale it. Rename the txt to ovl to use.
 

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wavemotion

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Not ready for a new build, but just checked in 1.4a which has some new config options.
You can now set the target speed to run from 60FPS (100%) in 10% increments up to 150% (90FPS) plus a new "MAX SPEED" option (replacing the FPS-TURBO handling). Now if you want to play Treasure of Tarmin at 120% speed (which I do!), you can set that as your default for that game. Sounds will be a little off-pitch but otherwise it works great. Obviously this will only be of value on a DSi where the CPU is capable of running that fast on many games. If the CPU can't provide you with your desired target FPS, it will simply run as fast as it can.

I also added a new "Frameskip EVEN" option. The default is "Frameskip ODD" which means odd frames are skipped. The default works great for just about every game - but I came to the realization that DK ARCADE (and the sequel D2K) uses EVEN frames to handle barrel draws and so skipping ODD frames actually works out good... but had he picked the reverse, barrels would simply disappear. So I'm giving the option of Frameskip OFF (draw all 60 frames), ODD (skip ODD frames) or EVEN (skip EVEN frames) so we cover all bases in the future.
 
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