Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

You keep asking so here’s PCE status: In progress.

I know it doesn’t look like it from the outside but I am working on it. Most of the Saturn code changes I’ve introduced lately are actually meant for PCE. It’s quite difficult to do a proper low-level optical drive emulation. For example dumps usually don’t have track 1 pregap or leadout data in them – it has to be spoofed. Missing sector headers, EDC/CRC data has to be regenerated on-the-fly. Copy protection has to be spoofed. Not all dumps have subs so basically the whole system must be able to do without them, whereas it should actually be based on subs only. Then there are hardware limitations, I want to avoid PLD/FPGA devices as these make things more expensive and difficult to upgrade – so I have to resort to some tricks that aren’t always easy to implement or timed perfectly. And don’t get me started on hardware bugs, both in the stuff I use and in the consoles.

Case in point: After some tinkering Rhea has only one code path now that handles both audio and data sectors, which actually requires more processing but the result is closer to what a real drive does. This, coupled with some changes in the internal logic and status reporting made Bug! work. New FW will be available once I test things a bit more.

For PCE I’m going to go even further and limit supported image types, subs will be required. Now that I have one less thing to worry about I can focus more on hardware design again. I will post some photos but only once I have something booting at least a few games.

Speaking of Rhea, I’ve sold all the leftovers – there really weren’t many so it all happened pretty quickly. I’m planning to start Phoebe run next, probably near the end of this month. Then Rhea or GDEMU, depending which will look like less work. As usual watch the blog for announcements.

More Australian Winter

GDEMU list is finally done. Not everything is shipped yet but I have all devices ready. I will now go through the backup list with any leftovers, that shouldn’t take more than a week.

As for the next odering window – it’s still way too hot to do any serious assembly so I can’t quite give you any dates right now but as soon as the weather gets more reasonable I’ll make a new post here. In the meantime I have a few unsold Rheas it seems so I’ll briefly open ordering this weekend to find them a new home.

Don’t be surprised to see a newer FW in your device than what’s available on the download page. There isn’t any new functionality (well, officially :P) but there was a considerable code refactoring/cleanup done. I also moved to CMSIS 5.0 and will now try gcc-arm 5.4 so there might be another “empty” version bump or two. I’m only saying this in case there are regressions, otherwise there’s nothing you need to worry about.