Z80 PC Engine? WTF??

August 31st, 2009

Just read this in issue 66 of UK magazine Retro Gamer on the subject of Hudson and the PC Engine:

“Since 1984, Hudson had been engaged in developing for the Famicom, but there were few people who could write programs for CPU of the console,” recalls Takahashi.

We’re talking about the 6502 here. Maybe Hudson’s programmers were just exceptionally dense, who knows…

“Therefore, at the beginning of 1986 we started developing a chip for a game console that utilised the most popular Z80-series CPU and whose programs could be easily written.”

The HuC6280 used in the PC Engine is as much a 6502 derivative as the Famicom’s 2A03. No Z80 involved anywhere, which also means that this is not just a case of someone mixing up two 8-bit processor families, but that the whole story makes NO SENSE AT ALL!

Did Retro Gamer make this up, or does that guy simply not know what he’s talking about? Research on the web reveals an interview with this Takahashi character that was available on a now defunct Hudson website and has thankfully been archived by the Wayback Machine, in which he states the same nonsense:

The whole point of the PCE was to make a platform that was easy to develop for. The Famicom’s CPU was the 6802. The PCE processor was based on the Z80 (same as the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis).

OK, I guess all you can blame Retro Gamer for is that they don’t recognize a fool when they see one. a) the Famicom’s CPU is a Ricoh 2A03, b) the PC Engine runs on a HuC6820 6280 which is based on the 65C02, c) the Sega Genesis is 68k-based and only has a Z80 audio processor, and d) SHUT UP!

Thankfully, no one has picked up on this, as it seems. Except Retro Gamer, of course…

Registration works now

August 16th, 2009

I hate e-mail, it always causes problems. Anyway, registration e-mails are now going out again.

psx4all-dingoo PlayStation emulator for Dingoo A320 (Dingux)

August 15th, 2009

I just released something that might be of interest to some:

http://github.com/uli/psx4all-dingoo

This is a port of psx4all to the Dingoo A320 (Dingux), with acceptable performance, at least on some games. I recommend 2/3 frameskip. I have tested the following games:

  • Brave Fencer Musashi
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Cotton
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Crime Crackers
  • Driver
  • Einhänder
  • Final Fantasy Origins
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Gran Turismo
  • Legend of Legaia
  • Parasite Eve
  • Nectaris
  • R-Types
  • R-Type Delta
  • Syphon Filter
  • Tetris Plus
  • The Hunter
  • ThunderForce 5
  • Tomb Raider II

I remember that Driver and Tomb Raider didn’t work, but I think all others did, at varying speeds.

The emulator supports a compressed file format I christended “CBIN”, which is essentially CISO with a different frame size (to accommodate raw CD images). A tool for converting BIN files to CBN comes with the emulator.

Binaries here:

http://github.com/uli/psx4all-dingoo/downloads

Have a lot of fun.

Lots of videos

August 20th, 2008

This Spanish page, being from a web forum, is a little too temporary for the archive, but it contains a lot of links to high-quality vintage computing and gaming-related videos in different languages downloadable from Megaupload,

MediaWiki Dead

August 18th, 2008

The MediaWiki database has died after a MySQL update, and I did not bother to restore it because I want to move the entire site to WordPress anyway. Could take a while, though. In the meantime, the front page redirects to the blog.

Search engine working again

August 11th, 2008

The search engine was broken due to a malformed annotations XML file. Should not happen again.

Encyclopaedia Britannica for Mediawiki

August 9th, 2008

Here is a Python script that I cooked up some time ago that feeds the articles from the Encyclopaedia Britannica 2008 Ultimate DVD into Mediawiki, which is a MUCH better interface than the one shipped on the DVD. It supports the Encyclopaedia Britannica proper, the Britannica Books of the Year, the Britannica Student Library, and the index, each of which goes to a separate namespace. To use it, you need to run it from the root of your Mediawiki installation, which you should set up to include some additional namespaces in LocalSettings.php:

$wgAllowExternalImages = true;
$wgExtraNamespaces[100] = 'IndexEntry';
$wgExtraNamespaces[102] = 'BookOfTheYear';
$wgExtraNamespaces[104] = 'YearInReview';
$wgExtraNamespaces[106] = 'Document';
$wgExtraNamespaces[108] = 'BSL';
$wgContentNamespaces[] = 102;
$wgContentNamespaces[] = 106;
$wgContentNamespaces[] = 108;
$wgCapitalLinks = false;

You will also need to change the path to your Britannica DVD at the top of the script. It takes several days to finish, but it can be interrupted at any time and will resume operation when started again. Make sure it is allowed to write the necessary data to your Mediawiki directory.

The script tries its best to transform the highly inconsistent Britannica HTML code to Mediawiki markup, including inline images and diagrams. It even adds additional links to the sparsely linked articles, yielding remarkable results. It is not perfect, however, and I’d like to hear of any improvements you can come up with.

Download: dopidx.py

FuseCompress

August 7th, 2008

I have taken over maintainership of the FuseCompress 0.9 branch. After two dozen bugfixes it looks really stable now. Check the Google Code page with the SVN repo.

Lecturer eBook reader for TomTom Go

August 6th, 2008

Something I came up with during HackWeek III: Lecturer, an eBook reader for TomTom Go 730 (and possibly 930) GPS navigation systems that can talk. It uses the text-to-speech system normally used to read out street names and incoming text messages and sounds surprisingly good. Apart from that it is a normal plain text eBook reader supporting variable margins and spacing as well as both UTF-8 and ISO 8859-1 encodings.

Play What?

August 3rd, 2008

If you don’t find at least a dozen really stupid mistakes in here, you are not reading this anyway.