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Old 13 March 2021, 03:08   #1
amifan
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Would the A1200 be able to emulate a PC Engine?

My all two favourite systems are the Amiga and the PC Engine, I think compared to the Megadrive and Super Famicom the PC Engine had a very diverse library of titles. It got me thinking about emulation, would the A1200 have enough oomph to emulate a PC Engine. The A1200 should have enough colours available, though maybe I am wrong and the PC Engine CPU is not that powerful, is it something the Amiga 1200 could handle?
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Old 13 March 2021, 03:15   #2
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I don't think so. The Master System emulator is quite usable with a 030/040 CPU. But a PC-Engine has a bit more power: with the two 16bit graphics chips and the modified 65C02 chip with 3,58 MHz - 7,16 MHz (software switchable).
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Old 13 March 2021, 03:18   #3
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The problem is visual throughput, same as emulating any 16 bit console(ok PCEngine is 8 bit but its gfx chip was 16bit). The 1200 doesnt have throughput to have the same effects as a PCEngine(although its close), nevermind emulating it.
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Old 13 March 2021, 06:26   #4
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I remember the magic engine on my performa 6400 was working with frameskip 2 or 3 so i am afraid might be out of reach for a base 1200
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Old 13 March 2021, 08:34   #5
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From emulating the cpu perspective, no problem. From emulating the 2 graphics processors, especially the sprite engine, very doubtful.

Up to 256 sprite pixels per line and up to 64 sprites on-screen at once. Available sprite sizes are 16×16, 16×32, 16×64, 32×16, 32×32, 32×64. Sprites of any available size can be mixed on-screen

I’m saying no. Prove me wrong ;-)
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Old 13 March 2021, 12:45   #6
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I'd say the 512 colours on screen (potentially all on the same scanline) poses a greater issue than the Sprite HW. Sure, the A1200 can't display as many sprites, but it can at least display the same number of Sprite pixels per line.

Anyway, my answer is also no. I don't see it happen.
On the other hand, the PC-Engine can't emulate an A500 either because it can do things the PC-E can't, so swings and roundabouts
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Old 13 March 2021, 12:55   #7
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the author of the Ami series of emulators use to be active here, love to know his thoughts iirc he did get some pc-engine games running.
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Old 13 March 2021, 19:38   #8
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AmiPC-Engine Emulator v0.3 (30 June 2020) (PREVIEW VERSION)
http://aminet.net/package/misc/emu/amipc-engine
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Old 13 March 2021, 19:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobby_UK View Post
AmiPC-Engine Emulator v0.3 (30 June 2020) (PREVIEW VERSION)
http://aminet.net/package/misc/emu/amipc-engine
Yup, as we thought - A1200 can't do it.

Anyway, even though this emulator has a 68060/50 as minimum CPU for real speed emulation it still uses short cuts that keep it from being a 1:1 emulator. Still, fascinating approach to use sprites like that.
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Old 13 March 2021, 20:54   #10
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Quote:
From emulating the cpu perspective, no problem. From emulating the 2 graphics processors, especially the sprite engine, very doubtful.
I don't see how a 68020, even at 14mhz, the 68020 can't emulate the hu6280 @7.16 mhz at a good rate .
A stock A1200 is also too weak to emulate for exemple the 32,16 colors sub palettes .
The sound chip is close to the amiga one,but the graphic part is impossible on AGA imo .

It's in the text
Quote:
The minimum Amiga hardware needed to emulate a PC-Engine with a real speed is:
68060 at 50mhz

Last edited by touko; 14 March 2021 at 21:50.
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Old 13 March 2021, 21:01   #11
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but the author did write

Quote:
Originally Posted by doble07 View Post
Hi all!

I think that PC-Engine can be emulated well with an 030/50Mhz using my own emulation system (I use 100% assembler and AGA hardware directly to make possible to gain A LOT of speed and performance) The only problem is that PC-Engine is capable to show more than 256 color in screen (Tiles + Sprites) But probably few games uses it.

You can test emulation speed testing Parodius Da! in AmiPC-Engine. You cannot play, but the menus and music works!!!!

A PC-Engine emulator coded in C or using AmigaOS will probably require a 060/50Mhz or more :S

My AmiPC-Engine emulator is based on AmiNES, for this reason I developed an alpha version in only two weeks!!! (I left AmiNES develop because other two NES emulators were in development too, CoolNESs and A/NES)

I have in mind to continue AmiPC-Engine when I finish a MSX2 game that is in development now... My friend ZENER (Tracker Hero coder) always is remembering that I need finish AmiPC-Engine

I like Parodius Da! of PC-Engine a lot and all Konami games in general...

see you

Juan
but.....that on Aminet is an update 2020-07-01, never knew that could be interesting.
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Old 14 March 2021, 01:23   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roondar View Post
Yup, as we thought - A1200 can't do it.

Anyway, even though this emulator has a 68060/50 as minimum CPU for real speed emulation
So it can do it!


Quote:
it still uses short cuts that keep it from being a 1:1 emulator.
Nobody expects the first (or any) iteration of an emulator to be '1:1'.

I don't own a PC Engine and never played with one, so I don't know what to expect. If my Amiga can emulate it good enough to play a game even if not 'accurately', it qualifies as valid emulation for me.
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Old 14 March 2021, 09:57   #13
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Originally Posted by Bruce Abbott View Post
So it can do it!
And if I was talking about an A1200 with a 68060/50, you'd have a point. But since the OP and myself are clearly talking about the base model without expansions, you don't
Quote:
Nobody expects the first (or any) iteration of an emulator to be '1:1'.
In this case, it can't be 1:1 unless you change the GFX hardware. Which is the whole point I and some others were making, though I added the reverse is also true even with the OCS Amiga's.
Quote:
I don't own a PC Engine and never played with one, so I don't know what to expect. If my Amiga can emulate it good enough to play a game even if not 'accurately', it qualifies as valid emulation for me.
And you're free to do so, but that's not what the OP was talking about, so neither am I.
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Old 14 March 2021, 17:31   #14
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A base A1200 cannot handle a usable PC-Engine emulator. You'd have to have a very robustly altered A1200 to even run a PC-Engine game at a remotely playable speed and, if using AGA, the graphics would have to suffer compromises. You'd need a frankensteinian A1200 (68060+, tonnes of Fast RAM, RTG card, etc) to be able to run a 1:1 PC-Engine emulator.
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Old 14 March 2021, 18:15   #15
Bruce Abbott
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
And if I was talking about an A1200 with a 68060/50, you'd have a point. But since the OP and myself are clearly talking about the base model without expansions, you don't
Yes I know that, hence the smiley. But it's 2021 - isn't it about time people thought about upgrading their base model A1200's, even if just with some RAM?

Quote:
In this case, it can't be 1:1 unless you change the GFX hardware. Which is the whole point I and some others were making, though I added the reverse is also true even with the OCS Amiga's.
And my point is that no emulator can ever be 1:1 (maybe 0.999999:1...).

Seems to be a defeatist attitude around here.

The OP asked whether the A1200 could emulate a PC Engine, not how well it could do it. We know the A1200 can emulate the ZX Spectrum, IBM PC, MSX etc., but emulations generally require more RAM than the base model and a faster CPU for real-time operation. So does this mean we have to say the A1200 can't emulate all these other systems? Of course not.
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Old 20 April 2021, 08:30   #16
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Quote:
And my point is that no emulator can ever be 1:1 (maybe 0.999999:1...).
I don't know where this sudden '1:1' comes from, no one mentioned it originally.

Basic A1200 is not good for that many things, even using basic software can be slow without at least FAST RAM (and hopefully a 030). I remember suffering a lot before I got expansions - THEN it became fun.

If we take a '060-equipped Amiga 1200, surely it can emulate PC Engine - after all, it can emulate arcade systems with MAME, too - just not very fast. I was still gobsmacked to play arcade versions Pengo and Kung-Fu Master on my Amiga back in the day, albeit very slowly.

As someone once wisely said, even C64 can basically do anything and everything (if there's enough RAM), it's just a question of 'how fast'. (Of course the graphics and sound chips can limit things, if the CPU's output/calculations can't be rerouted to another GPU/sound card or something)

So basically any CPU can be put to emulate any other computer, it's just a question of 'how viable' it is or 'how fast' it can do it. It might take 80 billion years for C64's CPU to render one frame of some game, but it can still do it..

Amiga could do it purely on software side, soft sprites and all - and then it could render everything in HAM8 - or just calculate everything in as many colors as the PC Engine or game requires, and then create an 'optimal render' of that in 256 colors for the fullscreen enjoyment. That way, there'd be some loss of colors, but 256 colors out of 16.8 million palette is still going to look pretty good.

This is probably not viable even with much faster CPU than '060, but people were asking if it CAN be done. I am sure it could, technically speaking, it would just be incredibly slow.

PC Engine is a quirky system, of course, just like Amiga. You couldn't emulate Amigas for a -really- long time, until PCs got enough RAM, CPU power and GPUs started bypassing Amiga's capabilities - and even then, on some Pentium III @ 450MHz, Amiga 500 emulation could make the PC crawl, choke and sputter with the right game/demo and the proper settings in WinUAE.

Those copper effects weren't easy to emulate.

So basically, there are philosophical possibilities, technical possibilities, and then there's 'viable possibilities'.

I don't think there's much point in trying to emulate these quirky, powerful systems that have their own special chips on Amigas or at least too weak systems. We all have PCs nowadays, we can emulate those things just fine on PCs... I would really like to have a real PC Engine or equivalent proper machine, as it lets you customize the waveforms and its sound chips might be pretty nice to explore, as well as the games - it does have some real gems.

Something about these japanese systems seem awfully similar, though - MSX and Colecovision both remind me of NES some reason - the graphics always look similar. PC Engine is like a cross between Sega Master System and some kind of pre-Super Famicom.
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Old 22 April 2021, 18:10   #17
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It is posts like this that make DE10 NANO FPGA the ultimate choice.

Fast amazing hardware emulation with Minimig Core, and TurboGraphics16, plus many many others - all in one.

I am working on putting a DE10 Nano into an A1200 case - it will be an Amiga 1200 to touch, but many cores underneath. Using Keyrah to keep the keyboard. It's going to be magical!
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Old 23 April 2021, 10:21   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nishicorn View Post
Something about these japanese systems seem awfully similar, though - MSX and Colecovision both remind me of NES some reason - the graphics always look similar.
MSX and Colecovision use the TMS9918 video display processor, which is quite different to the NES's graphics system. So I suspect it's not hardware similarities that remind you, but a similar graphics style which is not necessarily dependent on the hardware. If the same Japanese companies had developed Amiga games they too might have looked 'familiar'.

Quote:
I don't think there's much point in trying to emulate these quirky, powerful systems that have their own special chips on Amigas or at least too weak systems. We all have PCs nowadays,
You could argue that there's not much point using an Amiga either, now that we all have PCs. And if all you wanted was a tool to do a job then you would be right. If you just want to play PC Engine games without needing to have a PC Engine then a PC is the obvious solution.

But the Amiga was never just a tool - it has always been a hobby computer, and a large part of hobby computing is enjoying the challenge of proving that you can do something. Right from its inception the Amiga was admired for its ability to emulate other platforms, and we tried to emulate as many as we could, often just to prove we could do it on our lowly Amigas. This activity hasn't hasn't been invalidated because modern PCs can emulate any retro system without breaking a sweat, because it was never about just having a tool to do the job (otherwise we have used the real machines 'back in day' rather than going to so much effort to emulate them).

The Amiga has also always been about breaking boundaries and challenging assumptions. "There's no way you can run IBM PC programs on a 7MHz 68k" they said, and then Commodore showed them Lotus 123 loading and running from a copy-protected disk on an Amiga 1000. OK it was a lot slower than a 4.77MHz PC, but it did work and was usable - which probably caused a few heads to explode. "Well fine, we'll give you that one", they said, "but you'll never emulate a color Macintosh faster than a real Mac!" and more heads exploded.

There is no challenge in emulating a retro system on a PC - you just keep throwing code at it until you have the level of accuracy you want. In short, the job is boring. On the Amiga you will need finely crafted machine code and all the hardware tricks you can muster just to get an emulation that works at all at a reasonable speed, and inaccuracies will have to be accepted. What's the point? To hone your coding skills, discover new tricks, think outside the box, and make a few heads explode when you show them your Amiga doing the impossible.

You might only get one PC Engine game going well to be playable, but that is enough (especially if it's your favourite game). Or perhaps it is a slideshow - but at least you proved the concept (and even that might be useful for some purposes). The important thing is you didn't just give up and brute force it with a PC because "Everyone knows the Amiga can't do that".

Last edited by Bruce Abbott; 23 April 2021 at 10:31.
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Old 23 April 2021, 10:48   #19
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Originally Posted by Bruce Abbott View Post
There is no challenge in emulating a retro system on a PC - you just keep throwing code at it until you have the level of accuracy you want. In short, the job is boring.
I wonder what byuu, Toni, Frode and a few others would have to say about that
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Old 23 April 2021, 11:42   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Abbott View Post
...
But the Amiga was never just a tool - it has always been a hobby computer, and a large part of hobby computing is enjoying the challenge of proving that you can do something.
...
You might only get one PC Engine game going well to be playable, but that is enough (especially if it's your favourite game). Or perhaps it is a slideshow - but at least you proved the concept (and even that might be useful for some purposes). The important thing is you didn't just give up and brute force it with a PC because "Everyone knows the Amiga can't do that".
Look, I get this idea and I actually agree with it. Trying out stuff to see how to make it work is definitely very much Amiga. And I agree that you can probably get something to work in some fashion (though probably closer to slideshow than full framerate unless you go to 68060/PPC levels of CPU).

But at the same time, it's quite clear that this angle has very little to do with what the OP meant. The OP very clearly meant emulating in terms of actually playing those games at acceptable speeds on a basic, non-accelerated A1200 (hence the comments about the A1200's 'oomph' and relative CPU speeds). That's why I and others pointed out the HW challenges, that's why some people say it can't be done. It's not about being anti-Amiga or having a defeatist attitude, it's about realistically looking at the actual question being asked rather than looking at an abstract version of the same concept.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreadnought View Post
I wonder what byuu, Toni, Frode and a few others would have to say about that
Well, I'd say about that: sounds like the words spoken by someone who never made an emulator. Now, neither have I... But, considering that all the really good emulators have years and often quite literally decades of work behind them it, the point sounds more than a little strange.

Last edited by roondar; 23 April 2021 at 11:51. Reason: Added reply to Bruce as well
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