SD2SNES Firmware 1.11.0 released

Ikari just released the new firmware for the SD2SNES Super Nintendo flashcard and increased it to the final version of 1.11.0. Here is a summary of features added and fixed implemented.

The blog post contains a lot more information, so make sure to head over to his original post to read more about known issues, save states and much more.

Features added:

  • First firmware release to support FXPAK Pro Rev. D
  • USB (usb2snes) support by RedGuy
  • Save state support (via USB/savestate2snes) by RedGuy
  • Stand-alone save state features by FURiOUS
  • Some compatibility improvements and optimizations for stand-alone save states by ikari_01
    • Add support for YAML list items for multiple savestate_fixes entries per game
    • Add support for simple bitwise operations on savestate_fixes patches
    • Add support for verbatim code execution on savestate_fixes patches – notably fixes Star Ocean (decompressed) save states (however the save state hook still needs CPU time optimization to prevent music glitches in Star Ocean.)
    • Add IRQ support on top of NMI for the save state hook – this enables save states on Out Of This World and possibly other games that only use IRQ. Also fixes controller input capture on a number of games so the game-specific input hacks could be eliminated.
    • Moved save state code outside of the USB hook area to make room for USB hook execution.
  • SGB support by Redacted173.
  • Favorite games list by freelancer42

Fixes:

  • Fixed savestates crashing occasionally when loading (and sometimes saving)
  • Fixed Star Fox locking up during sortie sequence when in-game hooks are enabled
  • Updated FURiOUS’s Savestates Readme to reflect changes pertaining to In-game hook
  • Fixed data caching bug in MSU1 data extension which could cause wrong data to be streamed
  • Savestates: do not try to capture data that is already in cartridge space anyway (e.g. SRAM). Fixes text distortion in Near’s Bahamut Lagoon translation when loading a state.
  • Fixed YAML config parser to support comment signs after list start items
  • Fixed SNES open-bus contamination (fixes sprite flickering in Near’s Bahamut Lagoon translation, certain speed runs that rely on open bus behaviour)
  • (hopefully) fixed rapid data line toggling sometimes resulting in address line glitches, causing random crashes in extreme cases, and occasional garbled graphics on SMRPG among others
  • Fixed data integrity problems when loading BSX games

Download (local mirror)
Download via SD2SNES: https://sd2snes.de/files/sd2snes_firmware_v1.11.0.zip

Source

Command & Conquer Red Alert – Rebuilt for the modern era

I used to play Command & Conquer Red Alert a lot back in the 90ties. Great game I really enjoyed. Interesting I play Red Alert now with my kids even more. The 2, 3 or 4 of us against one or two bots. Lots of fun. Thanks for the devs from OpenRA.net this is possible on new systems in higher resolutions.

What is OpenRA?

OpenRA is an open-source real-time strategy game engine that is inspired by the classic Command & Conquer games. It was developed by a community of volunteers and is available for Windows, macOS, Linux and FreeBSD.

OpenRA includes remakes of the original Dune 2000 and Command & Conquer: Red Alert, as well a Tiberian Dawn mod. Tiberian Sun is at this point in time still in development. These games feature updated graphics and gameplay mechanics, as well as support for online multiplayer.

One of the key features of OpenRA is its modding support, which allows users to create their own custom mods and scenarios. It also includes a map editor and a replay feature, which allows players to watch and analyze their previous games.

Overall, OpenRA is a popular choice for fans of classic real-time strategy games who want to play them on modern platforms. It is regularly updated with new features and improvements.

We play this game from time to time at home with up to 6 players over LAN. It works perfectly fine. Just make sure that all PC’s are are not too old, otherwise this might end up as the bottleneck and the game will freeze. I our case a 12 year old notebook with an Intel Celeron-CPU was just too slow. And yes, this is quite an old machine. So don’t try this at home 😉

Installation

  1. Go to the OpenRA website at https://www.openra.net/ and download the installer for your platform. If you are on Linux, your distribution might contain OpenRA, so make sure to use that repository to stay always up to date.
  2. Once the download is complete, open the installer and follow the prompts to install the game.
  3. Once the installation is finished, you can launch the game by clicking on the OpenRA icon on your desktop or in your start menu.
  4. Starting the game for the 1st time, the installer requires artwork and audio files from the original game. This can be done automatically by the installer downloading and using the freeware version (Quick Install) or also via providing a physical copy of the game if you own it, to copy over also the music, video and other content (Advanced Install) for the full experience.
  5. In order to play online multiplayer game with others, you will need to create an account on the OpenRA website.
  6. That’s it. Enjoy the game.

Need a physical copy for the full experience?

To enjoy (legally) the full experience with OpenRA you need a copy of the full games. You can try your luck on Amazon, Ebay or any other place:

Lakka 4.3 released

Just read the news about the new release from the Lakka team: Lakka 4.3. Looking at the release summary, the biggest update since 4.2 is the new new RetroArch v.1.14.0 integration and updates for many platforms supported:

Release summary

  • RetroArch updated to 1.14.0
  • Cores updated to their most recent versions
    • fake-08: added new libretro core (Pico-8)
    • mojozork: added new libretro core (Z-Machine)
    • puae2021: added new libretro core (Amiga, less demanding version of the core)
  • Mesa updated to 22.1.7
  • Added image for Orange Pi 4 LTS (Rockchip RK3399)
  • Added support for more Nintendo Switch variants (Hekate 5.0.1+ is required, on Nintento Switch Lite use touchscreen to change the default input device: Settings → Input → Port 1 Controls → Device Index → top most item)
  • Updated Linux kernel
    • mainline: 5.10.123
    • raspberry: 5.10.110
    • amlogic: 5.11.22

If you are interested in the full details, jump over to Github and have a look here.

To download the latest release, head over to the Lakka download page to grab your build.

Don’t have a Lakka machine yet? Probably the easiest (and cheapest) way to give it a try is using a Raspberry Pi. Get one here and download the image here.

Tutorial on how to install Lakka.tv.

Doom – How to play it nowadays

Alright, here comes one of the all-time classic 3d-Shooters probably everyone knows. Definitely one of my favorites too.

Introduction

Just in case you don’t know Doom:

Doom is a first-person shooter developed by id Software. It was first released in 1993 and is considered a pioneering game in the first-person shooter genre.

In Doom, players assume the role of a space marine who must fight his way through a series of levels infested with demons and other monsters. The game features fast-paced, violent gameplay and an intense atmosphere.

One of the key features of Doom is its use of 3D graphics, which were groundbreaking at the time of its release. Doom also introduced many gameplay mechanics that have become staples of the first-person shooter genre, such as the ability to switch between different weapons and the use of power-ups to enhance the player’s abilities.

Overall, Doom is remembered as a classic game that helped define the first-person shooter genre and is still played by many people today. It has spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs, as well as a number of imitators.

Doomsday Engine

So given it is 2023 and Doom is 30 years old, how can we bring the Doom game into the modern era? Yes, there are several ways. Lets start with one of my favorites, including a nice front end for all the various versions and mods. Can I introduce you to Doomsday Engine?

Doomsday Engine is a source port of the original Doom game. A source port is a modified version of a game that has been developed to work on modern platforms and devices.

Doomsday Engine was developed by Jaakko Keränen and is designed to be compatible with all of the games in the Doom series, including Doom, Doom II, Heretic, and Hexen. It features improved graphics, support for high resolutions, and many other enhancements.

One of the key features of Doomsday Engine is its support for 3D graphics, which allows the games to be played in true 3D with features such as dynamic lighting and shadows. It also includes many other features, such as the ability to create custom mods and play online multiplayer games.

Overall, Doomsday Engine is a popular choice for fans of the Doom series who want to play the games on modern devices. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The projects website can be found at https://dengine.nethttps://dengine.net/

How to install Doomsday Engine?

Prerequisites

  • Some Doom WAD files. You can grab the shareware version of Doom from anywhere on the internet or just from archive.org
  • For the full episodes you can buy Doom from Amazon, CDKeys or other any other place

Linux

If you are using Linux, the chances are very high that your package manager got a version for you ready. Head over to your Software Center, Apt repository or whatever your distribution calls it, search for Doomsday Engine and install it. Done. Find your menu entry to start the engine.

Windows

If you are using Windows, as most users probably do, do the following:

  1. Head over to the Windows downloads and install the latest stable release of DE. At the time of writing this was 2.3.1 and download “Doomsday 2.3.1 — 64-bit msi”. If you are using a 32-bit version, go and download that MSI.
  2. Once downloaded, double click the MSI file and install it to your desired location. Like c:\Games\Doomsday\ as example
  3. There should now be a Doomsday Engine entry in your start menu. Click it.

Where are the games?

  • Doomsday Engine should start. If you have Steam or GOG installations, these games should show up automatically on Windows.
  • If you got several WAD files stored in single folder, or you are using Linux (or Mac) click on “Select WAD Folder….” and navigate to that location. Now your games should show up.
  • From here you can simply click on a game you like to play and hit the “Play” button (triangle) to start it.

Enjoy Doom on modern hardware.

Settings

Of course Doomsday Engine gives you various options to amend your gaming pleasure. From changing the resolution, selecting audio plugins, network settings and more.

You should see a wheel in the bottom right corner that looks like in the picture below. If you, hit the “Esc” button, then it should appear.

There you can explore all the options the new engine offers. Play around with it and see what works best for you. High resolution, or high framerate, more or less effects, and more. We are not covering all the details here, so enjoy playing around with it.

Enjoy doom in the modern era.

Feedback and comments are very welcome. Something didn’t work for you? Let me know too.

ioQuake3 – Quake 3 Arena the modern way

You might have read my tutorial on how to play “Return to Castle Wolfenstein” using iortcw in a enhanced way. Quake 3 Arena is another classic shooter I like. As the source code of the engine is available as open source, there is also a enhanced version available for Quake 3: ioQuake 3.

What kind of features does ioQuake3 offer? Here are some features:

  • SDL 2 backend
  • OpenAL sound API support (multiple speaker support and better sound quality)
  • Full x86_64 support on Linux
  • VoIP support, both in-game and external support through Mumble.
  • MinGW compilation support on Windows and cross compilation support on Linux
  • AVI video capture of demos
  • Much improved console autocompletion
  • Persistent console history
  • Colorized terminal output
  • Optional Ogg Vorbis support
  • Much improved QVM tools
  • Support for various esoteric operating systems
  • cl_guid support
  • HTTP/FTP download redirection (using cURL)
  • Multiuser support on Windows systems (user specific game data is stored in “%APPDATA%\Quake3”)
  • PNG support
  • Many, many bug fixes

Yes, this is similar as iortcw of course, as the engine is based on it. Just in case you were wondering.

What do I need to install and play ioQuake 3?

  • An installation of the original game with patch (point release) 1.32c. I used the GOG version, which included all the patches already.
  • The latest test release for your platform (Windows for this tutorial). Grab it here.

In case you don’t own a legal copy of Quake 3 Arena yet, purchase a copy here and support the site. Thank you.

Apply the ioQuake3 engine

  • Open the test release file “Windows.zip” for Windows
  • Go to your Quake 3 installation folder, e.g. c:\GOG Games\ Quake III Arena
  • Extract all of the files in your installation folder and overwrite if prompted
  • That’s it. Enjoy Quake 3 Arena in the enhanced version by starting “ioquake3.x86_64.exe”

High-resolution textures installation

The project offers also higher resolution textures, which are definitely worth installing.

  • Go back to the project site to Extras
  • Go to “High-resolution textures
  • and download the file “xcsv_hires.zip
  • Open the archive and extract the file “xcsv_bq3hi-res.pk3” to your “baseq3” folder in your installation directory.
  • Start the ioQuake3 executable “ioquake3.x86_64.exe” to play.

Cosmetics

  • If you like to keep all your shortcuts, rename the file “ioquake3.x86_64.exe” to “quake3.exe”. Done.

Any question or feedback is always welcome.

Core Type R – New favorite emulation front-end

I used Lakka.tv for many years to play my retro games, when the original hardware was not connected to my TV. A couple of weeks/months ago I discovered a new emulation front-end build which blew me away: Core Type R.

What is Core Type R?

Core Type R is an emulation front-end for all kind of consoles, computer or arcade machines based on RetroFE. It runs (to my knowledge) only on Windows. It supports all kind of systems; starting from you normal Windows PC Games, Gameboy, Super Nintendo, PlayStation 1,2 and 3, Xbox and Xbox 360 and Wii U.

The outstanding feature of Core Type R is its artwork. You probably never saw such a beautiful emulation front end in your entire life so far. This includes box art, screenshots, in-game video and more. It is really a great pleasure to browse through the library. Even without playing then.

Check out some pictures in this article to get an impression. It is even more impressive if you got it on your TV.

Computer section (Core Type R)

Add-on Pack releases

Another advantage of the system is the constant delivery of releases by the team. (Almost) every week there is an update adding one or the other system. Or a theme update. Or artwork. For the elder systems (meaning less space hungry) there are the so called 1G1R sets. 1 Game in 1 Rom (or file). You will get all the mostly English games for a specific system in the pack including all the great artwork. For modern systems, ISO based, there is usually a base pack, mostly with the best games, and additional add-packs will be released separately.

PlayStation 3 (Core Type R)

Besides the official Core-Team packs, there are also many community released packs. Mostly focused on PC Games given less complexity involved here as much as I understood.

There are also great Arcade PC releases based on Teknoparrot for Core Type R. Remember all the more modern games on the arcades? They will come alive again with these releases. Fancy shooting some aliens with a lightgun? Connect your for example your Sinden Lightgun or your Wii remote and you set for the alien hunt. Lots of fun.

Arcade Section (Core Type R)

Input device

Core Type R is optimized to be played with a game pad. The Xbox controllers (Amazon) are probably the ones the system is optimized for. You can use Xbox 360 controllers like I do, or use the Xbox One or Series S/X controllers.

There are very few titles not being optimized for a game controller, but sometimes it is just not feasible to map all the keys required to play the game. Think Far Cry (1) is one of these rare exceptions.

Halo 3 Preview Movie (Core Type R)

Hardware

I built a separate machine just for Core Type R. That’s how much I enjoyed it. I tried to build a small computer fitting into an IKEA Kallax shelf using components being strong enough to play also PS3 and Xbox 360. Although, for Xbox360 I probably have to buy a dedicated GPU, which I tried to avoid due to temperature and space. But Xenia seems to work better with a dedicated GPU currently. Lets see. Here is what I bought for the moment:

  • Case: Cooler Master NR200 SFF Small Form Factor Mini-ITX Case (Amazon)
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX B550-I GAMING (AM4, AMD B550, Mini ITX) (Amazon)
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700G (Amazon)
  • Cooler: NZXT Kraken X63 RGB (Amazon)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL (2 x 16GB, 3600 MHz, DDR4-RAM, DIMM) (Amazon)
  • SSD: Samsung SSD 980 (1000 GB, M.2 2280) (Amazon)
  • Power supply: Corsair SF750 Platinum (750 W) (Amazon)

Where to get Core Type R?

There is no dedicated website for Core Type R, hence I cannot give you any direct links. You can find the team only on Discord using this link. Make sure to start in #start-here where all the beginner questions are handled.

Conclusion

Alright, thought it is about time for a little update. Hope this gave a short introduction to Core Type R. More to come. As there is also the Drive collection and the Assassin Light Gun add-on I have to play around with. An article will follow.

Have you tried Core Type R? Comments welcome.

For those new to the build: Would any installation tutorial be helpful?