The dev system lives!

Skah T

Former VML engineer
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IMG_3936.jpg

I finally got an afternoon to dig out the NUON dev system and get it working. Somewhat surprisingly, it boot right away.

The Samsung monitor pictured seems to be on its way out so I switched to a USB video capture device. It's actually more convenient that way to not have an extra monitor sitting on my desk.

After some fiddling with the IP address and getting GnuWin32 installed on Windows 10, I was able to compile and download one of the sample programs. This is Same Game running in Streamlabs OBS (my only method for displaying the captured video at the moment).

IMG_3938.jpg



I'm bummed that my HPI Stealth controller doesn't seem to work any more, but I still have my Logitech.

So regarding the dev system. In the past I've said I would donate it to the community. Now I'm wondering if it might be possible to somehow make it accessible on the web such that anyone could connect to it. I would have to stream the video output somehow, which might make it a non-starter.

I'd welcome ideas.
 

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Stephen

NUON Lover!
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Wow - that's good news. Do you think it would be possible to clone this hardware? How does this hook up to the Nuon? I've always said how awesome it would be if there was a way of loading code to the Nuon without having to burn a CD/DVD, similar to how BJL worked on the Jaguar. Even without the ability to debug, it would be a major step forward to doing homebrew.
 

Skah T

Former VML engineer
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The dev system basically *is* a NUON. It's the reference system we would give to OEMs from which they would base their design. It's also what developers used to write their initial software before any retail hardware was on the market. So unfortunately it's not cloneable.

In the past I've wondered if some custom software running off disc on an N501 could use the controller port as a means of downloading homebrew code from a PC. That would require some currently non-existent hardware to convert between, for example, USB on the PC side and the polyface chip on the NUON side.
 

cubanismo

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Now I'm wondering if it might be possible to somehow make it accessible on the web such that anyone could connect to it. I would have to stream the video output somehow, which might make it a non-starter.
That's a great idea. If it could be worked out, that would certainly allow getting the most use out of it in theory. Based on experience bringing up hardware remotely, it shouldn't be *that* complicated, but there's the issue of controllers. With PCs, you use a remote KVM (Remote keyboard/video/mouse) switch that connects to the PC via USB+VGA/DVI/DP and exposes all those devices via some remote desktop app over the network, so you just log in and get "local" access to the machine. Additionally, a remote power switch on the target system really helps for when things are so wedged a soft reset isn't accessible or isn't cutting it.

Here you're halfway there with the USB video capture device, but you'd need a remote-accessible controller emulator to debug anything requiring input. Once the controller stuff gets worked out, that'd be really easy to build from an arduino pico or something with a few GPIOs simulating buttons. If you were willing to sacrifice or at least semi-permanently mod a controller, you could just swap out the switches for GPIO-connected wires/gates.

Still, even without that, you can debug a lot just using the debugger + video output + the dev kit printf/logger functionality. If you had it hooked up to a Linux box with the Linux SDK installed, it'd probably be as simple as giving people ssh access to the Linux machine and permissions to access /dev/videoX so they could stream it through mencoder to a port forward and decode it locally for a very simplistic/non-optimal setup. On a windows 10 setup like it sounds like you have, it probably just means giving people access via RDP so they can use the usual remote desktop app, and bring up the video capture app on the remote desktop.

Both of these are pretty risky security-wise, so you'd probably have to limit it to a pretty trusted group, assume the computer is going to get wiped at any time (maybe even re-image it nightly or something), isolate it from the rest o your network, etc. On the plus side, if it was a small group like that, you could do stuff like time sharing on the honor system rather than setting up some complicated provisioning system.
 

mgarcia

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Very cool of you man! neat :)
Nuon community love!! :D

What's GNUwin32 for? a visual debugger like Tcl gdb?

I wouldn't let it leave you, unless it's to someone that remove chips, de-surface them, and take very hi res images of the circuitry, and not just dump's roms, I think that's the only way to get a perfect game/dev emulator.

Sharing access to it would interesting, but not sure how practical that would be, from the little I played around with NuonDev, my favorite IDE (Eclipse) and Nouance worked fine, especially after the recent updates, in regards to 2D anyway.

TBH, I'd be more interested in a video walk through with it in action and showing it of :)

I think it will be possible to get printf's from Nuon via the controller ports to USB, after the Polyface1 chip and bus has been figured out.
 
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