Console Modding - let the lame tuning begin


#23

Fun busy week this was.
So I still had to wait a couple of days to get the new 2.5" IDE HDD and the adequate wire strip with connector. These were 44pin ones, and as I might have said previously, this is awesome because the HDD only uses 5v on 2 pins of the 44, instead of an extra molex connector for the power as in the 3.5" IDE HDDs, which also uses 2 voltages of 12v and 5v.
With these hard drives and wire strip, everything necessary for the mod to work goes through the strip, and soldered on the same “space” under the Dreamcast. Also the hard drive is tiny, and fits right nicely where the GD-Rom should go.

Anyways, I had to wait a couple a days so I decided to start with the plastic work.
My plan from the start was to take out a big piece of plastic inside the CD cover. As much as I could so I could take and put the HDD whenever I wanted without having to dismantle the entire console. And if I wouldn’t have CDs running… why the hell would I need that plastic anyway? And so I did:

Yeah… I know it looks pretty nasty but the tool I use to cut plastic is not exactly a blade. More of a filing thing, but in a circle. Still does wonders for plastic because as you can see, it melts it.
But perfectly controllable specially if you leave some extra plastic there to file later… as I did:

All smooth and pretty. Talking about pretty, I probably also mentioned what I wanted to do with those led strips (well at least one of them). I wanted to put it inside the cover, around that piece of plastic that is vertical to the cover itself. However the strips I have are too big for that. They are actually more than a couple of millimetres “taller” than the plastic thingie. So… I decided to put them on cover itself pointing down into the console, instead of pointing inside. Like this:

Beautiful, just love them pretty lights:

Now the next part of the plan was to make the hole for the reset button. Like I said it was going to be under that plastic “almost triangle” on the lower part of the cover. My plan was also to use one of my small micro switches (stupid name because they are buttons), and then have the triangle thingie on top with some kind of support on both sides of the switch. But for now I was only going to put the button there, and the necessary cables:

And this is how it looked in the front.

Problem with this is that it would be terrible hard to find the right supports for the plastic piece on top of the button, and without them, the plastic piece would be all wobbly from supporting it’s entire surface on only that tiny black button. This is how it all looked so far:

Everything looked pretty enough so far, and finally… the stuff arrived. I also took my chance that same day to go to the hardware store to get some hot glue, and I got some extra stuff while I was there:

As you can see I got the hard drive, the strip, the glue. I needed the tape for a long time but the interesting part are those micro switches (the buttons) and all that stuff to the right. The micro switch is FAR larger than the one I was using before (hard to see, I know). It has a big surface on the black button top, enough to glue the triangle thingie and not being too wobbly.
The other stuff allowed me to make a connection on the SD mod board, that I can disconnect any time I want. I could also do that for the VGA mod but Takashi once told me that video signals are… touchy. The less connections you have the best it is, or if you can have only solder and cables even better. And short cables. The thing is that the more exposed connectors, and larger cables you get, the more noise you get. That’s bad on video signals because it’s a lot of stuff going there… and any noise is visible. But it is perfect for the SD because it is data. Data transmission is very robust to noise, so a couple of connectors on such a small distance like inside a console… are basically nothing. So I got his done:

Also took the chance and changed the minijack plug for my final one, and not that tiny I had for testing. This one is rather big compared to the previous one, but it fits and it has really good quality (tough and noise wise).

Now I don’t have photos os the HDD mod, but I’ve already taken a few photos of that… and I was eager to try it out. Anyway I did the thing, solder the 30 and much points. Mad work. But all seemed OK, so I tried it out. Of course it worked =D, look at this thing detecting the disk all by itself:

And then some games:

However, I was obviously having problem. Some games that were documented that should be working were not. And on every single game the sound would be super slow. Bullet time slow. In fact that was when I also noticed that the Dreamcast screen at the starting of the BIOS was also like that. I thought the music was different (I have the development consoles animation) and it is, but it was not like that. I was sure about all this when I changed to the original bios and all worked fine. Why? because the original bios only runs with the GD-Rom on top. Without it… you simply don’t get animation and jingle. Then I remembered that OBVIOUSLY that I have read before that I need the GD-Rom board to run game sound and music at the appropriate speeds. But the board and only the board… but hey… guess what happened when I put it on top?

SONICUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

Time for some sexyness (perversely looking at hawt polygons):

Happiness in the world. Time for a sausage fest (not dicks fest… actual sausages… and beer… obviously that is fresh tomatoes and cheese… I’m mediterranean):

Ok, next day I resumed my plastic work. I took out the previous reset button, made the hole bigger, and installed the new bigger one. As you can see it now the difference is quite evident:

Afterwards I tried to put the main board inside the casing, with the shielding, but it wouldn’t fit. I had to touch some of the glue, cut some tall points or glue too near where the screw go. Those points is also where the plastic supports the shielding and the board. But still because of the HDD mod strip (now full of hot glue just to be sure I won’t pull anything in the future), the board wouldn’t get good support. So I took even more shielding just under the mod and the board fitted nicely:

Afterwards it was time to put the SD mod on it’s final place. I was thinking about somewhere on the side, inside the casing. There just wasn’t enough space. But then I had this fantastic idea of fixing it under the cover with hot glue. That way I would only have to open the cover to remove or insert either the HDD or the SD card. It wouldn’t look very elegant on the inside, but nothing too big on the outside:

The cover now has more problem opening up. it’s slower because it’s heavier. But still opens and you can always give it a hand. Proceeding with everything was time for more holes in the plastic. Minijack plug, VGA plug, and 2 small holes for LEDs that would indicate SD or HDD activity. Minijack was no sweat… simple 11mm hole (yeah big), but a perfect fit:


Then the hole for the D-Sub plug for the VGA. I hate to do these to be honest, and it didn’t came out too good. But good enough to fit the plug on the inside, but no screws to hold the cable. But honestly… those are 15pin on the VGA D-Sub plug… they hold pretty well, the screws are for extra security (you don’t want a medical screen to have the cable unplug mid way through a brain surgery… but for a console… come on press that Start button).
Also got a great place for the LEDs holes:


And it was time to start assembling the console again. First the LEDs for data activity. Real simple stuff, the holes were big enough for the LEDs to fit through, some glue under it would hold them. LEDs do warm up, but these are 3v ones, so… not enough to melt the glue, they will hold in place. also I left the legs exposed because I will use them to fit a connector to them directly.

Then a bunch of hot glue on the minijack plug and the VGA mod. Protection against shorts is always important… but I might have gone a bit too far =P:

Not the LED strip inside the cover needs 12v. I got them directly under the pins that come from the power supply with some long cables, that went all the way to the back of the console to a connector that could disconnect from the cover:

And this was how all look like disconnected. Also no more reader, but the board is still there with all the shielding:

And once connected. You can also noticed some isolating tape on top of the fielding for the GD-Rom board. On top of that I had some 2 sided take to hold the VGA mod in place. Again not elegant but since it is inside the console… no one really cares.

All fitted into place, a bit tight but well in place, and finally everything was assembled. Time to try it out:


Perfect… results:





However… after about an hour playing and testing (the reset button works pretty well btw), I started smelling like melted hot glue. Touched the console and it was COOKING. I immediately thought it was the power supply. I’ve read someplace that the DC without the reader, tends to have the power supply heating a bit more. Stable but stable at a higher temperature. However when I hovered my hand over the power supply… it was hot… but not much. When I touched the cover on the other hand it was very VERY hot. The LEDs strips are 12v ones… these babies warm pretty much. I couldn’t simply have them there and risking burning something on the process. Sooooo… much to my shame… pretty light had to come out. The video was also giving me some noise. Some dithering lines… always on the same place independently of the picture. I needed to reduce that somehow.

So new plan was to take out the LEDs strip on the cover, and reduce the VGA noise. The second is… really hard. Noise on video is a hard thing to work with. So I decided to apply everything I could, do some beer can shielding for the mod, make the cables shorter where I could, and put some ferrite beads every place I could. I wish I knew how to do filters for this kind of signal… but I do not. Did all those things and this was the new configuration:


As far as I can see the noise on the signal is almost totally gone (you have to make an effort to see it, maybe a shorter and better VGA cable would make it near invisible).
The power supply still warms quite a bit, but as far as I remember it is a normal heat. Doesn’t go to far.
So at this points the planned mods are all done, and the console is 100% functional. Great stuff going on in here. I would consider this console finished… buuuuuuuut. I know I’ll ruin the look on the console but I will apply another 40x40mm fan on the outside of the console, on the side of the power supply. It will make the console noisier, but I just don’t want to risk it warming too much. I will also try some new LED strips, with a voltage limiter resistor. Maybe it will work and if not, at least I tried.
Paint work… I’ll think about it at a later time, when I feel more confident =P.


#24

BTW… now I need to add some games, so please advise =P. Bad news Shenmue and REZ do not work on HDD of SD. And I personally want to keep myself out of the 2D fighting games because the DC pad cross was the only pad to ever make me bleed in my life… literally.
So anything else is fair game.
I don’t know much of the console library.

PS: I have the XBOX Jet Set Radio, and Seaman I played but it’s just too weird even for me (and I spent many ours with LSD… the PSX game I mean).


#26

Cosmic Smash is kind of like a 1-player Virtua Tennis meets Breakout with Rez aesthetics. In terms of home consoles, it’s still exclusive to DC as far as I know, so definitely check it out!


#27

Hey, decided to show some more testing of the Dreamcast, on the TV and phone camera (which sucks). So I think it’s looking pretty fine bypassing through the OSSC:






But obviously, not everything are fresh roses. After about 40min playing, the picture started giving out problems:

I assume the problem is the VGA mod, Takashi agreed saying that if it was the console then the problems would be textures and not the actual picture. But today I played for over 2 hours, and I had no problem. However I was playing on my PC screen, but also through the OSSC.
I’ll keep testing things out.


So… what arrived a few days ago?
The power supplies and the Pico PSUs:

As you can see the picture above, I immediately disassembled one to check how things were inside:

I was actually a bit disappointed on how simple the power supply is. But again it is a 12V and only 3A, also a switch power supply and not linear.
So first things first I decided to test if the power supply did what it was supposed to do. Get 12V of power out of the box:

Good, does exactly what it was supposed to… lights up led strips.
I did however noticed some noise coming out out from it. A high pitch hum… annoying, but just by covering the box you hardly hear it. If it is inside a console casing and at least a meter from you, I believe you wont hear it at all.

Afterwards was time to connect it to a Pico PSU and check if I got the desired voltages.
I’ll start with the Nintendo 64 (the Dreamcast has it’s original and it all seems to be fine for now). The N64 needs 12V and 3.3V. The Pico PSU gets all the necessary voltages for a PC motherboard (12V, 5V, and 3.3V):


Btw, that thingie you see on the PSUs pins is… a DIY jumper to start the Pico PSU. On a PC tower when you push the power button it basically does that. Connects the pin 14 (4th from the top on the left side) to a ground… which is exactly that there.
That extra voltage that you guys can see on the multimeter is normal, and acceptable for this kind of electronics.
Afterwards, to the N64 board and to take out the adaptor for the original power supply. I kinda plan to have everything inside the console, and somehow cover the hole on the back. I don’t really need the adaptor that way and I can simply connect the Pico PSU directly to the N64 board.


After all soldered, I had to try it out and see if the console turned on. Mind you I don’t have a video cable at all (just bought a chinese composite one, real cheap), and no games with me (like an idiot left them in Portugal). Also no controllers cause… well… just found the console on my cousin’s storehouse about to be eaten by rats. But:


It was really had to see, the led does’t light much (only has about 2V passing there… dunno if it is supposed to be like that… sure hope it is), but it does turn on. The console without game, controllers, and video cable, spend 0.36A with the Pico PSU from the 3A that the power supply gives away. I might just buy a smaller one if in the future I have problems fitting this one, I guess it won’t need more than 1A in total.

But I did found a problem. With the power supply and the Pico PSU both ON while the console is OFF, if I turn the console ON… it doesn’t, at all. However, if I leave the switch on the console ON, have the Pico PSU with the jumper, and turn the power supply ON, everything lights up like a xmas tree.

So what I’m thinking is hat I should just leave the console ON, literally take out the switch and connect everything with solder, and just put a switch to the power supply (takes about half a second to turn ON, need that time to gather those 3A current):

I’m saving the switch because I might still put it back there, but connect to the AC current from the wall socket, and then switch it to the PSU. But I’m not absolutely sure that specific switch will hold the voltage and current, I’ll have to dig into it. And I have to admit I don’t feel much confident in letting AC current going all the way through to the front of the board (even in cable). Some kind of plan will show out eventually.

And today… Kasia did Tiramisu for desert. Wonderful:


#28

And I’m mad.
Damn composite cable hasn’t come before the weekend. I want to solder something.


#29

And here:


Actually works…

The Pico PSU feeds the N64 quite well, at least this game is working.
I actually thought that it wasn’t working because all my tries so far to do some weird connection to the console had failed. Now that I have the composite cable… they still didn’t worked.

But I kept trying, taking the cartridge out and blowing on it, cleaning everything with a toothbrush, and I got it working once.

So I thought it might be the actual cartridge slot that is… dirty?
The N64 cartridge slot however is kinda hard to clean. But the top part comes off, because it has pins that go into the… slot underneath. However I also desoldered the slot at the bottom and cleaned it:


Still it isn’t working properly. I kinda brought the pins more inside to be sure they would come in contact with the cartridge… and it’s working better but still not too well.

I guess I’ll try to look on ebay for a slot. Sometimes you get parts of consoles there… but to be honest I don’t know how to solve this particular problem.
No… it’s not the cartridge itself. That one is looking pretty well, but I can’t be 100% sure cause… it’s the only cartridge I have =D.


#30

LOL is working fine from SD card for me. You’re so brave, I only got the pre-assembled SD-adapter from ebay and oh boy most games do not work that well. I mainly got it to exchange save files between VMU and emulator though, so it’s fine.

I always wanted to learn how to solder but never got around to, biggest hardware mod I did was replacing the HDD in my original XBOX :slight_smile:


#31

Yeah, the compatibility of playing Dreamcast games with an SD adaptor is really small. And the speeds on videos and stuff like that is actually pretty horrid. The HDD mod works pretty well in comparison.

And thank you very much, but I don’t think braveness has much to do with it. More like curiosity to a fault, or need to do shit. I am still very inexperienced and I do a lot of crap (lets not forget that I actually blew the original DC I was working on). But like everything else, you eventually learn and get better at it. I guess all you need is a few consoles you’re not using, or that aren’t working properly. This all started with that red PS2 fat which didn’t had the power supply working at all… and all because of a very small diode.

BTW, I also did the same with an XBOX after soft modding it. That console is a charm, and how everything goes without even the need to alter the console is just great. Also… transferring games through network without some extra need for programs, just with the alternative firmware… beautiful.

So back to what I’m working on right now… just look what arrived today:

On the right I have a new 40mm fan, that extra fan I wanted to put on the left side of the DC, on the outside. I have to say to it’s defence that is is silent. I left it turned on for like 4 hours because I actually forgot that I was testing how silent it was. But it is rather weak as well. I wish I could muster more wind out of it, just a tiny bit, but this is a 12V fan and that is all the DC has to offer.

Still I think it will offer just enough extra cooling to the console, and I read that just by opening some holes on that side of the console it makes things much better to the internal temperature.
The other thing is a filter cause… I want no dust on the insides of my console… D=. The screws I already had lying around.

But this will come afterwards… Because on the left is a little thing that I actually didn’t said I was going to do in here. That was on purpose… kind of a surprise. That is an RGB mod for the N64. Yeah, the strip came with it… nice guy doing this boards.

You can check them and purchase them in here: etim online shop
He is also the creator of the NESRGB board that, as is says in the tin, allows RGB video output from the NES. But the price tag on that one is quite high and this time I understand it… The mod and the board itself is really quite complex.

Anyways, with the N64 RGB mod. This mod is really simple to be honest, but not easy.
He has the exact instructions depending on the console you have (and the consequent necessary accessory for it), and it’s pretty straight forward. A few cables from a chip to the boad, and then from the board to the video output solders. But the reason why it is not hard is this one:

You might not exactly notice on the photo but those solder are really small, and not on a comfortable position. Apart from that I’m not using kylar wire. I could but I understand why it came with this strip and why to use it. The board as to go on top of the shielding, and to go around it this is safer. Also… I hate soldering to chip’s legs.

Still I think I did pretty well, and in the end:

I’m using a Gamecube “not so hot” RGB cable I did myself. I’ll get into the subject of cables later (and why mine is not so hot), but the mod instructions themselves say that this mod makes it that it works with a large variety of Nintendo consoles RGB cables. The console still works with the composite cable I have right on the side, and that is how I am getting the sync for the RGB cable. I will in posterity try my best to send the Sync signal from the mod board to the Luma output of the video. This is a better way to get sync, cleaner (less interference from the super heavy composite signal), but I will have to make the cable to accommodate that.

So final result:

So first of all… lets take into consideration that this is a photo, taken from my lame ass phone camera. Second it is connected directly to my flat screen that serves as PC screen.

Still the difference is quite evident. Forget the blurriness for now, I will get into that subject later. But the colours themselves are not so stupidly strong that blur every detail. Now you can actually see the metal texture on the menu yellow.
Another thing that you can’t see on the photo is that there is no noise. Actual signal noise. Some edges on some details with composite, the… it’s not accurate calling them pixels… blurs or colour were always flickering… THAT is noise. none of that crap now.

But obviously the most event thing here is that you can finally see pixels here. Wonderful. BUT… that is not only because the signal is cleaner. One of the beautiful things this mod does, and the thing that actually convinced me to buy it, is that it “de-blurs” the picture.

Ok… the N64 is infamous for it’s blurry image. Beyond the fact that you don’t actually have a way to get RGB out of the console without moding, the console has blur functions on it’s actually hardware architecture. There are ways to get that blur turned OFF through software (gamegenie). The Quake port for N64 even had this option in game. But the vast majority of the games uses this anti-aliasing by default. Now… I’m not a fan of anti-aliasing at all, but under 240p resolution… that’s just silly.

This mod actually turns off that anti-aliasing, reason why we can see pixels now.
However… from what I have informed myself… there’s actually ANOTHER… not even anti-aliasing filter, this one is simply blur filter, that goes on the final stage of making the video signal. This “blur” is impossible to actually turn off with software. It’s hardwired and you can’t simply turn off.

I don’t think this RGB mod actually does anything to it, but there is the UltraHDMI mod you can do that… lol… what it does it get the blurred signal, and the dudes actually reversed engineered how the blur is done, and the signal is again deblured. It works… really, they did a great job on this one. My lol is only because of Nintendo hardware choices that actually force people to do this kind of shit in the end (and hey… Nintendo fans do it… and sell it for very expensive prices).

Anyways, I have to inform myself a bit better about what filter this mod works on, but I did knew this was the second best choice I had out there. I didn’t wanted HDMI because I want to connect this console to my OSSC, which can go all the way to 5x each line opposed to a simple 480p that the HDMI mod provides.

As for the cables… I’m not using a good shielded cable for the RGB cable I did for the Gamecube. The cable is shielded on the outside, but not each individual cable. This allows signals in interfere with each other (specially composite super charged with RGB+Sync) which is not good.

The best choice I saw out there are multicore mini-coaxial cables, which is what the US based Retro Access cable manufactor uses. They have a wide variety of cables for various consoles, but the important here is that each of the heavy duty signals (R, G, B and Sync) are individually shielded from interference from outside the cables as from each other. You basically can’t go better than this.

Now what they use is a 5x5 cable, which means 5 mini-coax wires plus 5 isolated only wires (the cable I did only has isolated normal wires… you know… plastic with the wires intertwined inside). I don’t know the specific of how they do it, but I imagine that RGB and both Left and Right from the sound go all into coaxial. Leaving the isolated cables for grounding, or any kind of sync you might chose, even various types of sync (by composite or luma).

I have actually found a German manufactor of cables exactly like this… and wow they are expensive. The already assembled cables on the Retro Access page are also quite expensive, and more than if I do it myself (about 70% the price, but I won’t buy a lot of meters of this cable). But you gotta pay the people who actually work on them. But in the future I will try do assemble a few cables of these myself. So far I need for that Mega Drive up somewhere, for my PS2, in the future for my PSX that I still have to reassemble, and now for this N64.

In the end I really hope to have very clear picture on all these consoles, or even more in the future.


#32

Decided to take a few more photos with an actual camera, and on my TV with OSSC on 4x lines:





Also not great… but that’s what I got.
One thing I’ve noticed however is that… there is a STUPID amount of noise.
I still blame it all on the cable and the fact that I’m syncing on the composite output… pure and fresh out of the console. I bet one out of board would be much better.

But apart from that, I still consider this mod a success.


#33

There’s been some time I’ve posted, but I’ve done a few stuff along the way. Actually some time ago already. I’ve been busy with my stuff and spending my free time playing video games.

Anyways previously I posted the new very silent and weak fan arrived. What I didn’t post is that I found some really really cheap led strips, and also weaker (same voltage but less LEDs and smaller ones). So lets try those again.

Both the fan and the LEDs need 12V. I was not sure how the DC works but I decided to get it right from the pins that connect to the power supply. I could have tried to get from some other place on the board, but on the PS2 for example you have very small fuses around the board that might pop if you push more current through them than it is intended. I didn’t saw any around the DC board, but still I decided not to risk it anyway. So the cables have to go along the entire board like this:

Afterwards I needed to do some plastic work, the hole for the fan. There was no actual space inside the console to put the fan so it had to go on the outside. Since the power supply is the piece of the console that gives away more heat, I decided to put right next to it taking the heat out. After getting all the measures right, I did the hole with a hot box cutter and filled it:

There was however the small problem that in that specific spot of the case there is no place to screw anything. The plastic is just very thin. Also I’m not using screw but bolts… with a nut. So I just picked the nut and glued it to the inside of the case using super glue. It was kinda hard because I couldn’t get the super glue get inside the nut or the bolt wouldn’t fir anymore. But all went well. I’ve done the same with the VGA plug, so I no longer need to hold the nut to secure the plug in place.

After the previous mods I noticed that one of the big sources of noise on the console was actually the cover. Since I no longer had that huge piece of plastic where the CD reader goes underneath, the fan was pulling air through there and through the cover holes. That made a lot of wooshing sound so I did some hot glue around the circle so the cover would tightly rest on top of it, preventing from much air to pass thought it. It worked btw, just took me quite a bit of time and trial and error to get the hot glue on the right height.

I also previously stated that a couple of times the VGA mod was giving me problems, getting all these green lines on the screen. So yeah, I’ve redone the entire thing one more time, but I kept the same board. Also changed the audio cables to thicker ones, not that it was necessary but in case I want to disassemble the console again, it was worrying me having that heavy mini-jack plug dangling by only 3 kynar wires.


Not going to the biggest source of my noise problems, the 30mm fan. I did 2 things to silence our buddy. First I’ve added a resistor to the positive wire, about 100ohm, probably 75, just so it would lower the voltage a small bit and consequently the rotations. It worked quite well. The wind coming from it hasn’t lowered much but the noise and vibration sure did. Second thing I did was adding hot glue around the entire support for the fan, and where it was screwed on the console case. Believe it or not, it also worked. I didn’t screwed all the way down, but tight enough for the glue to make it safe. That soft glue absorbs a lot of the vibration to the support and to the case.

And finally, adding the LEDs to the cover, and bolting the new fan, and getting the cable on it’s place. It was important for the connector to the fan to be on a good place to it wouldn’t go on top of anything hot on the power supply, melt, and cause short circuits:

Basically all worked well. I’m still able to completely disassemble the console, change anything I want in it, and put it back together. And here it is working:



It is working perfectly. No problems with the VGA anymore. The heat inside the console lowered considerably. But the best of it all… so… freaking… silent. Much more silent than any unmodified one. The lights from under the cover are not very visible in there, because photos. But you can see it pretty well when playing and it looks very pretty.

So yeah… wonderful and I’m very proud of these mods. Maybe some paint someday =).


Now to the N64. So I got a new power supply, weaker one, smaller. It’s one from a router or something like that so quite safe. So… I had plastic work to do. That part where the original power supply goes, is full of plastic that I don’t need anymore. So I cut it all out, on both the top and the bottom of the console:

Afterwards I filed it, and used some sand paper on it. It’s ugly but quite smooth, and it will stay inside anyway. The new power supply would go there, but I was reluctant to just place it there without any kind of protection. So I decided to glue the top part of the power supply to the bottom of the N64 case, where would it be hidden inside. This serves as protection in case the power supply explodes or something, it won’t go all over the board, allowing it replace it if necessary. The Pico PSU goes to the heat plate on top, on the opposite side from the RGB mod board. So far it loots like this:

I’m using connectors to everything to allow to disassemble the console if I want too in the future.

I’ll still be doing some stuff with the console, but more of them aesthetic from now on.
But I’ll keep on posting along as I do shit.


#34

thread has me nostalgic for buying a pre-modded (messiah 2 chip i think?) ps2 in 2003 or something and regularly buying big dvd-r spindles to burn all the shit i got off usenet

it still works and saw regular use until pcsx2 got good


#35

PS2 is a charm, probably mostly because the community was so huge at some time.
The fat only needs the network adapter and a compatible IDE 3.5" HDD. Well… someone with a modded PS2 or that can run a burn disc so you an install the mcBoot exploit on a memcard… and done.

The PS2 compatibility for games on HDD is fantastic, specially with the latest loaders.
I have mine (that red thing on a post with fans outside the case, specially a huge with blue lets on top).

Been working quite well, and that’s an unmodded one. The DVD drive is almost dead but I don’t use it anyways.


#36

yeah, I had like the first revision of the HD Loader disc from 2003 or 2004, it ruled

Also had a chipped PS1 from 97/98, and a DS Lite with an EZ-Flash IV on the recessed GBA cart slot and the console FlashMe’d to boot from there

Those were all fun

Oh and I ran a lot of CD-Rs on the Dreamcast too because who wouldn’t


#37

I got to use the HD Loader (not disc) for a couple of years myself.
Now I use Open PS2 Loader and the compatibility comparison is astonishing.

For the PSX (not the late PS1 or ONE… I just get confused by this point) you now have a wonderful little thing called PSIO. You still have to solder a small PCB on the bottom of the PSX motherboard, but afterwards you plug a device to the serial port on the back of the console… and done. You play ISOs from an SD card.

I personally wasn’t going to do this because the PSX emulators are… everywhere and work pretty well. In fact I would state that most of them improve on the hardware. But once I got my OSSC and started connecting my consoles to it I started getting the hardware nostalgia that many people had from CRTs, but… from other specifications on consoles that you can only notice with this level of sharpness.

One thing as an example, the DC… I’ve only noticed after having VGA and connecting to the OSSX and a 4k TV… that almost always the image has dithering. Takashi explained this to me as being part of the console’s 16bit or 15bit video output.

The same goes for the Gamecube, and you can notice that on the pictures I’ve posted. But on the cube I actually think it is a colour rendering thing and not video output. Cause those transparencies actively use dithering to create the illusion of transparency.

Which brings me back to the PSX. I played a few years ago Silent Hill on a CRT, using a PS2.
Wonderful thing on that game is the fog and the darkness. The CRT was really sharp stuff and I was outputting RGB. Both fog and darkness were created with progressive levels of dithering, depending on factors as polygon depth and light. It is till this day (imho) a precious and incredible piece of software visual effects. But that’s the thing… after some research I learned it is not only software but software and hardware. Which is why you don’t see that in emulators cause they simply use actually 32bit or 16bit transparent textures.

In fact there is a graphics plugin for a software, 100% faithful, graphics hardware emulation for PSX. It does the fog and darkness right =P. Still… the console had such a huge impact on the home gaming that… well, just had to pay the respects.

Still I tried to sent them a message asking if they could send me a PSIO without a few parts soldered, because I wanted to place it inside the console itself, and have the SD put inside the disc cover (and completely take out the reader D=). But they never gave me an answer.

Also, it really takes it’s time to get the PSIO at home. Already ordered it about a couple of months ago and it is still not assembled. They accept pre-orders, but their production line is small, which is the main reason for the time it takes.


#38

seems like this is place to put this here.

Wow the Dreamcast does not look great at 1080p.


#39

It’s clealry 480p upscaled. If you want to play Dreamcast games at higher than native resolution you’re going to be looking into emulation.


#40

Yep, that’s pretty much how it looks like. However I have my suspicions about that 1080p. Seems like people just want 1080p no matter what, when you think about it the native resolution is 480p, and there is no integer multiplier that will get a 1080p. So… I dunno… smooth scale?

Nah… those are the real pixels. I know, you get the 960p within the 1080p, with those borders on both top and bottom, so you don’t get weird TV scaling. That’s a nice touch.
Also it seems to eliminate the dithering colours that you get from VGA output.

For you Rudie that would be good. But I really like those pixels in there. Specially on the DC that doesn’t get weird interlaced resolutions, so you get those clean sharp pixels in there.
I’ve played emulators for a long time, and I like every so often the higher output resolution. But even the PSX I like that 240p huge pixels, even on a 4K TV.

These kind of mods, and mine as a matter of fact, are for getting that sharp pure look of the machine. You hardly need a machine to run the games now a days, so this is only useful for people who actually enjoy playing those games that way.

You can also see on my photos that the pixels are pretty sharp, and big. Call me pixel purist but even in games developed now a days, specially indie, when I get huge pixels being rendered in higher resolutions than they are supposed, and then you get a huge amount of different pixel sizes… I just get mad. More than mad it kinda disgusts me except for very few cases. Having 240p pixel art rendered on a 1080p surface with rotations and scaling and what not, just seems ugly to me. Rather have heavy aliasing, confusion and total pixel caos on the screen than having pixels smaller than the pixel art resolution.

Just like @dementia said, you are probably looking for an emulator if you can’t stand the huge pixels. You will also have the advantage of avoiding playing with the horrendous DC pad.

(I am terribly sleepy, so I probably sound weird, with worst english than usual, and ranting like a little bitch… oh well… welcome back to SB)