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RIP-Felix last won the day on June 24

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  1. It's important to stay grounded to what's real and not to get lost in la-la-land...kind of the moral of RPO actually. But I read and watch Scifi and fantasy all the time and don't have trouble separating fiction from fact. I think every kid learns that cartoon physics isn't the way it really works, just from playing outside. That is a good reason not to allow VR take over reality as our #1 experience from birth, like the matrix. BTW, could the Matrix be in the distant future of the Star Wars universe where Sith Droids had take over? Neo would be the first rediscovered Jedi? Food for thought. The consequences of reality add authenticity and zest to the experience, which VR can't do to the same degree. You have to be genuine because you only get one shot at life. Whereas in VR you can act any way you want. Other people are doing the same and that detracts from interpersonal relationships, because you can't trust anyone. Relationships based on a lie can never be transformed into reality lest the lie be exposed (You might actually be dating a Hairy Guy named Chuck, living in his mom's basement). RPO fleshed this out this fairly well. I'm not going to agree with the "video games make people more violent" hysteria perpetuated by the media in the 90s. The "lets have senate hearings to see if Mortal Kombat it the reason for school shootings." IMO that has nothing to do with video games, and everything to do with people (mental health, agency, morality, guidance and attention, relationships and emotion). I do agree with the outcome of that process, however. Games should have ratings that allow users to tailor their experiance. VR should be the same in that you have the information necessary before entering an area with offensive content. Or perhaps there could be discretionary filters you set, which would "Barbie Dollize" naked NPCs, replace lewd adds/billboards with those commensurate to your selection, mute offensive language, disable blood or change it's color, and etc. The only analog in reality is to avoid offensive places or people as much as possible. But it's naive to think you can completely avoid seeing or hearing something you'd rather not. Developing maturity, then, is a better use of ones time.
  2. We can open this up to the wars universe. I said space travel or VR, not specifically trek. I'm with you Han, wars beats trek any day. Strife, wonder and intrigue. Scarcity and a good old money based economy filled with scoundrels, bounty hunters, force wielding a-holes and heros alike. Actually Star Wars universe may be a better analogy than the trek universe because there is no Holodeck or replicator nonsense. IDK Han, you make a compelling case with the wars universe...but I think I'd have to stick with the RPO fantasy. It's just as convincing as the real thing without the consequences. I may get hit by a stray storm trooper blaster, but at least I won't actually die. And there is even a sector in the OASIS dedicated to the Star Wars Galaxy. It's nestled between the Star Trek and Firefly Sectors (plural)! So when I finally save enough credits to buy my first space faring vessel, I can begin completing quests in "middle earth, vulcan, Pern, Arrkis, Magrathea, Disc-world, Mid-World, Ring-world. Worlds upon worlds." All from the discomfort of my stack. That is if I can avoid my aunt Alice and her perpetually shirtless boyfriend Rick.
  3. These are my specs: A GTX970 should be selling for reasonable by now. It has one HDMI and 3 Display port (which I'm not a fan of). I just use the HDMI out to my HDTV's low latency port. Audio/Video is all passed through the one cable, nothing else needed. No internal cables. No sound card. As for the trigonometry, that was kinda fun to actually put to use. I did skip a few steps in the pictures instead of write out everything, the algebra solving for the angle or distance I wanted. It looks more difficult than it is because of this laziness on my part. My instructor would have marked me down for not showing my steps. Bad Felix...bad! Oh, and I googled to refresh my memory, it's not like I can remember that stuff 6 years after taking the class. LOL.
  4. So I was just messing around in Retroarch and running the Reicast core to check out how far I could push it. I was running sonic adventure in 4K with all the textures and upscaling to the max with Antialising. Of course my Video card doesn't support 4k60 so I was stuck with 4K30, but DA-AMN does that look ridiculous. It's crazy how sharp and delicious these games can look via emulation. Accuracy is all over the place, but the potential to push the graphics is way higher than on OG hardware. Lol...I'm sitting at $1000 in upgrades to my ULTIMATE DREAMCAST when emulation can do better for nothing. I tell myself it's for compatibility, accuracy, and input lag. It is, but that's a hard sell. Of course you don't need to be crazy like me and spend $1000. Like I said, I've been saving for this for years in anticipation of the 20 year anniversary. The DC is my 3rd favorite console, and isn't as well emulated as many others. So I wanted to update it and keep it front and center for the next 20 years. However, $150 DCHDMI + $80 GDEMU will do the trick. And for many, emulation is good enough.
  5. Imagine you were born on a planet in the neutral zone. Periodic mascaras by the Cardassians, general apathy from the Federation to your plight, and limited access to technology can be just a dystopian for you my friend. Only this time there's no escape to the virtual, because I've outlawed Holodecks...Mwhahaha... I like that most Human factions have settled their differences in the Trek universe, but that seems only to be out of necessity, because of wars with Klingons, Cardassians, Ramulans, the Dominion, the Borg and so on. A "replicator economy" has supplanted a "monetary economy" making technology the main currency. And since Star Fleet is the Federation's Military (Err, "Exploratory") arm, technological advances are more easily "acquired" through trade and treaty with alien cultures. So sometimes they'll abandon their own people for their own benefit - after all, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few", said the emotionless Vulcan communist. When the Federation abandons their own people in the Neutral Zone, allowing the Cardassians to massacre and displace them, the Maquis form to protect those settlements. What does the Federation do? Help the Cardassians destroy them. So, you're either a slave to the federation (pervasive propaganda has successfully spun it as volunteering!) or you're free to enjoy subjugation in relative comfort. Albeit veiled, the military state that is the the United Federation of Planets can be just as dystopian as the Ready player One universe. It just depend on where you live and how many people stand to benefit from your misery. Also, there has been no shortage of speculation on how "utopian" a post-scarcity economy would actually be. This was pretty interesting. IMO Star Trek is the "what shall I get bored with next?" reality. The only reason to work in such a society is for prestige, position, personal satisfaction, or to fill a void in one's ego. This bring up an interesting point, People with egotistical personality disorders would become even more rampant than they are today. They'd concentrate in positions of power, a difficult job with unhealthy amounts of stress. The only people who would choose these jobs are those either truly compelled by altruism, trying to fill a void in their personality, or are just plain board. So really, the motivation to do anything unpleasant is to stave off boredom. It will require a good imagination and a shift in priorities (from selfish to selfless) in order to be happy in a truly utopian society. It would require that there be no wicked people, or it would devolve into lawlessness and oppression. Assuming there is no God to remove these wicked people, I question how utopian the Trek universe could actually be. As it is I see an extremely boring, morally bankrupt and political dystopia veiled behind the wonders of a post-scarcity economy. Once that novelty wears off, as it would for anyone actually born into it, they'd be forced to find meaning in a world of plenty. Essentially, this is what happens when you get super rich. Once the novelty wears off, if you weren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it. Your priorities have to change to find meaning, and that's always hard. So, given these alternatives, I would rather live in the RPO universe. All the meaning of a live lived in poverty, with the benefit of escapism to a limitless fantasy! I'm such a good American, aren't I? Please, knock me off my position. I'm eager to hear the rebuttal.
  6. I agree it's more plausible, but is it the future you'd rather live in? Assume that the advanced haptic rigs and immersion "chambers" could convince all your senses that the Virtual is real. Would the fact it's a fantasy detract from the experience? Or would you enjoy the safety and versatility of fantasy over the consequences of reality? On the flip side, would you enjoy meeting alien cultures and exploring the real universe without the fantasy?
  7. A word of warning. There is a hardware flaw that prevents powering from a standard USB charger/port. You have to use the official Pi4 adapter. They will be releasing a hardware revision to address this, but the initial units will be affected. So I wouldn't buy one for a while, to be sure that you don't get one of theses initial run boards.
  8. Which would you rather have? A future like Star Trek, with space travel and alien cultures, but no holo deck. Or a fully immersive VR Fantasy world, like Ready Player One. Which do you think is more likely to be possible?
  9. If emulation starts gaining traction on major 1st party platforms and allows you to play a Switch game on PS4, then you better believe Nintendo is going to try and bury the attempt in legal fees, just like SONY did with Bleemcast. Even though Bleemcast won, they couldn't continue to conduct business because of the legal fees. It was awesome to Play Metal Gear Solid with upgraded graphics on the Dreamcast, but SONY didn't think so. Mainly because backwards compatibility with the PS2 was a major selling point and it didn't improve graphics. Bleamcast was superior, but didn't sell PS2's, it sold Dreamcast's instead. Right now 1st parties are not going after fans, they're going after egregious infringers. So don't go selling hacked SNES classics with 1000's of games on e-bay. That's the kind of thing for profit companies tend to dislike. I just want to keep playing my old games in new and exciting ways (filters, shaders, pretty fronts ends, run ahead latency reduction, save states, rewind/FF, rom hacks, netplay, Retro Achievments and etc). Whether that comes free from the enthusiast emulation scene or sold by 1st parties, I think there's room for both to exist. As long as enthusiast emulation stays in the background creating, and doesn't threaten to undercut profits, like SONY vs Bleemcast, then there's no incentive for 1st parties to get involved.
  10. He destroys more powerful hardware to install a parasite Pi? Just hack it! WAY LESS WORK, no modding crime! I died inside watching that horror film.
  11. Roku Ultimate + Hulu w/ Live TV and no ads + Netflix suits my needs. However, it's getting expensive on it's own right. Include internet access and it's creeping up on basic cable rates. Leave it to capitalism to ruin the fun just when it was getting good. This is the one good thing about monopoly, it's a one stop shop for everything. It's just that they can then start hiking the price having captured the market. Competition might be annoying, but it should keep prices competitive. And if they have that one show you just have to subscribe to see, you can grab a month and cancel after the binge. I did that with HBO for Game of Thrones and John Oliver.
  12. PART 3: GOING HI-DEF (Dreamcast HDMI) The problem I was having with Dreamcast on my setup before the DCHDMI was that I could only get VGA to pass-through the OSSC to my TV at 480p DTV. The Dreamcast has a 480p DTV video signal, which is misinterpreted by my TV. This is a complicated issue, but to put it simply, the screen will look narrower than it should. The OSSC has a DTV option that fixes this. Line doubling 480p --> 960p would work, but my TV won't accept that resolution. I really wish I had gone with an LG OLED at this point instead of this evil VIZIO! So 480p DTV was the best I could do! The mCable was able to take that 480p and upscale to 1080p with anti aliasing, but it stretches to 16:9 and my VIZIO refuses to let me change the aspect back to 4:3 (LG and TCL do) . Even If it did, that wouldn't be the correct aspect ratio for DC. It would be close enough to not bother me though. If I had another TV, one that was more forgiving of input resolutions and Aspect ratio changes, the OSSC might be all I Need. But I don't, and it's still a compromise. Besides, I'm trying to make the Ultimate Dreamcast here, which mean no comprimizes! Moreover, there was some interference I couldn't clean up with the Low pass filter on the OSSC. A rolling bar of static plagued me. From a distance, it mostly disappeared, but If I looked for it on dark screens I could spot it. I want more than 480p DTV through the OSSC! And this project demands it! Enter the DCHDMI: After 2 months of waiting I received my DCHDMI yesterday! The install went well, though I had some trouble with the tiny resistors on the motherboard. There are some very small resistors you have to solder to for the controller to access the OSD, but the moment my iron touched them they desoldered. I was just trying to attach a wire to one end, but the whole resistor moved! So I had to reposition it with some fine forceps and solder it back into place, which is difficult see, non-the-less solder back into place (they are that minuscule). This is certainly not an install for beginners! You NEED a temperature controlled solder station, flux, and confidence going in. Otherwise this install could go south pretty quick. The flex cable install went smooth. It's quite a bit more complicate than the UltraHDMI flex install for the N64, but not so much so that I wasn't prepared. Here's the install video I followed: The actual flex cable I received from a Round 6 kit was different from the one in the video. It doesn't have the jumper to bridge. He must have removed it. Cool, less work for me! My first impression after turning it on was, "Um...where's the picture?" I had a bunch of trouble getting it to output to my TV. I thought it might be my TV, so I tried it on another TV, but it had the same issue. I thought I might have installed it incorrectly, but I finally was able to get it to display by pressing the button combo for resetting back to VGA mode "L+R+Y+B+START". Then I had issues getting it to stay on after reset. I eventually worked out that I needed to "Force VGA". And in order for that to work I needed to have a VGA cable plugged into the Dreamcast as well as the HDMI cable. In "Cable Detect" mode it's supposed to choose the correct output based on the mode the Dreamcast is in, which is affected by which cable is plugged into the video out port. Sometimes I could get it to display, get into the OSD and change settings, and other times I couldn't - which required me to reset back to VGA mode to get the screen back. I kinda wish it would just work, like the UltraHDMI for the N64 does. However, I guess the DC having various display modes makes that not as easy. I still haven't figured out all the quarks yet, but I'm happy with the "force VGA" method. I did find the mCable was able to accept more resolutions and upscale them to 1080p, which actually made things a bit easier to deal with while finding the best resolution to output. The real reason the DCHDMI is king is it's 1080p output option. It places 960p image inside a black 1080p border, which it outputs to the TV. This is a perfect integer scaled, DTV aspect correct, upscaled 1080p signal any TV will accept. I did have to manually set the output color space to Full range, to match my TV setting, but then it was perfect. AND I MEAN PERFECT. This is a really good looking pure picture. There is Zero lag, zero interference, and the upscaled picture is very crisp! It looks like an emulator, but it's not. This is a Digital image coming strait from the digital source on the motherboard. No analog conversion process for information to get lost in. Because the aspect is correct and resolution so close to 4K, the picture is as clear as possible. Smoothing is only applied by the TV's upconvert from 1080p to native 4K, but if I had a 1080p screen there would be none. If I had a capture card, I'd take some screenshots to show you the difference this makes vs the OSSC. But it's a serious upgrade. This is a good review that shows similar results to what I'm seeing: EDIT: Because I installed my GDEMU before the DCHDMI I didn't initially update the firmware. The reason is that the GDEMU is unshielded and can interfere with the wireless module on the DCHDMI during the firmware download, potentially corrupting the firmware flash. I was afraid of bricking, so heeded the warning. I soldered the 12v rail's voltage regulator back in and replaced the GDROM, then downloaded the firmware update. I then desoldered the regulator and replaced the GDEMU, but now with the latest firmware. I'll have to do this each time there is a significant firmware update, but it's not that difficult (if you have the right tools). I might be able to shield the GDEMU, but I'll have to think about that. Firmware updates have added HQ2X filtering to the video output. This was mentioned in the video above and it's a nice improvement. While it does soften the edge slightly, it's more about guessing geometry and inserting pixel data that's not there. So at times it gives an antialiasing like effect, but mostly it fills the corner of jaggy's with a triangle of the same color. This goes a long way to reducing sawtooth edges. It doesn't look to my eye to soften the entire image like AA usually does. Just the edge between high contrast colors seem to be the most affected (in a positive way). Anyway, the result looks from a normal viewing distance to be coming from a PS3, not a Dreamcast! It's kinda mind blowing that the DC can look this good without emulation. And because it's original hardware, I don't have to worry about the accuracy of emulation, which is something that plagues the DC. There is supposed to be Antialiasing coming in a future Firmware release, so that may be an interesting feature to try out. HQ2X is very impressive as it is.
  13. Anyone besides me feel like Nintendo ripped off the the Dreamcast's design? I've never read anywhere that the designs were derivative, but just looking at them side-by-side makes me wonder. That controller port rectangle is very suspicious to me. I can't help but feel there's a story there.
  14. PART 2: GOING WIRELESS (ONLY THE BEST FOR MY DREAMCAST) Thanks to Chris Daioglou there exists a way to bring the Dreamcast into the wireless Bluetooth era. It is not a cheap endeavor I have embarked on, but I don't care at this point. I want only the best for my Dreamcast. Enter the DreamConn+ and LigntConn Controllers: These controllers are brand new in box PAL controllers that Chris bought up in bulk and modifies to be wireless with his Bluetooth mod boards. He does the install and ships the units out worldwide. It is quite expensive, but that's his prerogative. They are completely wireless and functional replacements for the original wired controllers. This means they interface with the VMU and peripheral devices exactly as you would expect. Unlike the original controller however, the DreamConn+ controller also has 2 full VMU's worth of memory onboard, without a VMU inserted. So you don't need one to save games. Moreover, both come with a 9 hour battery life with USB charging and a custom overlay that displays the battery level on the VMU! In game reset is selectiable using the VMU menu as well. There is software you can install on your computer to manage the VMU memory and dump/manage saves. This is a useful feature for emulators. I don't think it can yet be used as a Bluetooth PC controller. It would be awesome if they are all you need for both the OG Dreamcast or PC emulation, complete with VMU saves. However, I'm not sure how/if emulators support saving, loading, and displaying VMU information on it. Imagine if that worked though, holy hell would that be awesome. As for the lightgun, it connects to the VGA out to get the sync signal. This will still work if using the DCHDMI mod to display video and that doesn't affect the original output of the console. It comes with a Wii style IR LED bar that the Light Conn uses for reference on the screen. This way it can be used on a modern TV. You just need to calibrate the sensor and it will be good to go. It also has been modded to allow auto reload, so you don't have to point off screen to do it. I'm not sure if that was a workaround or something I can turn off in settings. I kinda feel like it's cheating, but if it's needed to get it to work then I guess I can live with it. What about the Power supply? The OG power supply was great because it allowed you to use a common non-proprietary cord to plug the Dreamcast in. However, that puts all the heat producing electronics inside the console. One of the issues of the GDEMU mod I performed is that the power supply might get hotter and make the system more prone to overheating, reducing the power supply's lifespan. I removed the 12v rail voltage regulator to solve that problem, but there is another solution - Replace it entirely. Enter the DreamPort: The DreamPort is a drop in replacement for the power supply. It will allow the system to be powered by a 12v laptop charger instead. That offloads the heat producing electronics to the power brick on the charger outside the console, so the console itself will run much cooler. That should extend the life of the console! That's not all, it also has 4 Bluetooth DreamConn+ dongle boards built in. This mean you don't need to plugin the controller port dongles into the front of the DC in order to pair 4 Bluetooth controllers. This frees the other ports for peripherals, like extra controllers, light guns, and the keyboard. The original ports will continue to function as normal. The best feature IMO is that you can power the console on/off with your wireless controller, just like a modern console! Chris also makes a wireless keyboard for the few games that use it, KeyConn controller, but I'm fine plugging in a PS2 keyboard into this adapter and using an extension cord to reach my seat. He also sells Backlit VMU's, which are kinda cool, but a luxury I don't need. I purchased these a month ago and they just shipped. I will edit back when I have a chance to fully test them... *** EDIT: Okay I received an exotic looking package from Greece the other day, complete with a bunch of interesting looking stamps. Even the USPS delivery guy who made me sign for it was admiring the stamps. It looks like it took a trip across Europe! Anyway, inside were the Lightconn light gun and DreamConn controller. The Dreamport power supply will be in another package and hasn't shipped yet (I bought it after these shipped). After testing them a for a day I have some initial impressions. LightConn light gun controller: In a word, Disappointing! The issue is that I can't get far enough back to calibrate the gun in my gameroom. I made the picture on the right to illustrate what I'm talking about. Think of the lightgun's sensor as a flashlight. If you point at a corner of the screen, the sensor needs to still be able to see both the the LEDs on the sensor bar. If you're too close then the cone of sight is too narrow. Step back a few feet and then it'll work. It's probably partly my fault for not realizing the limitations of a wii style IR sensor bar setup in my gameroom. The minimum distance I calculated I could be from my 55" TV is 8.5 feet, and I'm just a bit closer. There's no room to move back, so it just won't work for me unless I can increase the field of view of the sensor in the gun. The third bullet point below goes into detail on this. The calibration "procedure" itself is easy. Pressing Start+B on the light gun brings up a calibration menu on the VMU. There are 2 options. Test calibration allows you to shoot around at your TV and see if the Light gun sensor can pick up the IR sensor bar. One beep means it picked it up, 2 means it didn't. This allows you to figure out how far back you need to be from the TV. The second option is the calibration. You just point at the upper left corner of the screen and fire. Then the lower right. Calibration is easy, if you are far enough away from the TV. Then you just need to calibrate again inside the game as you normally would. Read the following in the geekiest voice you can imagine (I hear Bentley from Sly Cooper in my mind): I've only had it a day, so we'll see if it's worth the expense (which is hard to justify in the best case scenario). Right now I'm feeling like the Lightconn IR tech is so fiddly that there is no way to justify the $205 premium unless it can measure up to the light gun experience on a CRT. Even then, it's a luxury price! I'm blushing for having spent that much for this. I need to play with it in a best case scenario to test accuracy, lag, and etc. So I'll move over to a larger room and smaller TV. I'm holding out hope it'll be what I expected after I accept the minimum distance issue. Right now I'm having buyers remorse. I can't recommend it at this moment, but maybe I can after I get a chance to get over the disappointment of this limitation and test it in it's element. DreamConn Bluetooth controller: Awesome! It's really cool how he was able to seamlessly integrate the VMU interface wireless. It works as expected, with its animations, but has a battery indicator added in the corner. Everything works as expected. The X+Y+B+A+Start button combo still works to reset the game to the start screen, then to the GDEMU if pressed on the start screen. The only difference I can tell from a wired controller, besides the battery indicator on the VMU, lack of a cord, and the blue PAL logo, is that there's some lag... I noticed it's more difficult to pull off moves in Soulcalibur than a wired controller. I have been playing a lot of Soulcalibur in testing DC mods over the last few weeks and getting used to Cervantes' special attacks again (He's my go to). The lag is not egregious or anything. It's just noticeable when you're used to the feel of a wired controller. This is a real con, I don't mean to downplay this. I HATE lag! One of my main goals with this project was to reduce it as much as possible. However, you don't lose the ability to plug a corded controller in and lag is a given for wireless controllers. From what I've read about how demanding the timing for the Maple Buss is, I doubt this can be improved at all. In other words, this may be the best we can hope for. So how much lag is there? It adds 53-55ms, just over 3 frames. I shot 240FPS footage of sonic jumping after a button press and averaged 10 jumps. I compared the wired time (122+/-13ms) to the Dreamconn+ time (176+/-12ms). The +/- is one standard deviation. The fact it is basically the same tells me that my methodology was consistent (about the same amount of imprecision between measurements). Note, these times are for my VIZIO P55-F1 TV over HDMI input 5 (low latency port, which adds 15.3ms for 1080p60 content) via the DCHDMI mod. The Dreamconn is expensive, but exactly what I expected when I paid the premium for it. It's not like I've really put it through the grind yet though.
  15. Want to feel old? Sega has been out of the console business for longer than it was in it. SG-1000 to Dreamcast was 18 years. It's been over 18 since since they bowed out.
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