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01-10-2018 at 10:40 PM
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Petition to fold JROK scores into Arcade

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JROK boards are a thing of beauty. They are a technological marvel. They are fully supported here at Twin Galaxies as a separate platform.

My understanding is that when that platform was created, the community had not fully embraced the hardware and were leery of treating performances on them as equal to those on original hardware.

If you are not familiar with JROK, I urge you to investigate as I and others have done. Field Gate Programmable Array is a technology used by the JROK boards to perform a type of hardware emulation. The logic and circuitry is configured on the fly by a set of instructions. The board contains an authentic Z80 processor that executes the ROMS, just like the original hardware.

This is not software emulations as in most multi-boards. There may be some sound emulation that does not affect game play in anyway. The creator of these boards is a purist, and wants to preserve these incredible games for decades to come.

There is not an expert in the world that can tell the difference between a 200,000 point frenzy game on JROK vs original arcade PCB.

John McAllister has submitted a score for Frenzy that was performed on a JROK board. It was submitted to the ARCADE platform however. At first I thought it was an easy reject, but after a lengthy discussion with the live adjudication team lead by @Ninglendo I was torn. I am abstaining for now.


Petition Statement:
I believe the JROK platform should be folded into the ARCADE platform. All future submissions using the JROK boards would be fully acceptable for their corresponding original hardware tracks.

Yes I agree, combine all the scores for both platforms.
No I disagree. JROK should be separate.
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  1. kernzyp's Avatar
    Technology has left me behind, so I know nothing of the J-Rock.
    But when I read that it uses the Z80 chip, I immediately thought it was OK, as every arcade game I ever loved used it.
    But then again, even though it "emulates" the original motherboard, it isn't the same.
    It is not the original arcade board. So, it must be different, right?
    If I was to choose, I'd be all for it. It means that one day, I can compete on the arcade platform in an easy manner. I remember the debates of yesteryear, where I wanted MAME combined with arcade for the same reasons.
    I'm all for it, but it kinda feels like emulation, somewhat. But I really don't know...
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  2. Ninglendo's Avatar
    My suggestion is that if the tracks are eventually combined that future submissions state in the evidence whether it was done on the original board or JROK. That way if by any chance there is a provable difference we could go back and correct the mistake.
  3. Ninglendo's Avatar
    I am also going to be adjudicating the rest of the run @redelf submitted tonight when I do live adjudications. If anyone wants to join in and discuss you are all more than welcome to.
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  4. EVN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninglendo
    My suggestion is that if the tracks are eventually combined that future submissions state in the evidence whether it was done on the original board or JROK. That way if by any chance there is a provable difference we could go back and correct the mistake.
    This information should be 100% self evident under TGSAP no matter what. Same goes for people saying we need a column on the scoreboard. Every TGSAP submission should always have the original evidence or it's removed.
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  5. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kernzyp
    Technology has left me behind, so I know nothing of the J-Rock.
    But when I read that it uses the Z80 chip, I immediately thought it was OK, as every arcade game I ever loved used it.
    But then again, even though it "emulates" the original motherboard, it isn't the same.
    It is not the original arcade board. So, it must be different, right?
    If I was to choose, I'd be all for it. It means that one day, I can compete on the arcade platform in an easy manner. I remember the debates of yesteryear, where I wanted MAME combined with arcade for the same reasons.
    I'm all for it, but it kinda feels like emulation, somewhat. But I really don't know...
    Thank you for your input. The FPGA world is a bit difficult to grasp. Thankfully I have a friend who works with them daily and he explained a lot of how they work to me.

    Emulators are programs running on one type of hardware, that turn around and pretend to be another, then rum programs in that pretend environment.

    FPGA is actual circuitry that is configured at run time to actually BE the hardware. It is like a shape shifter. Not the same, but in the case of JROK the behaviour is IDENTICAL. Not close, but exactly the same. ROMS are read, code is executed on a real authentic Z-80 chip. Bells and whistles and graphics are generated by the FPGA circuits.
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  6. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by EVN
    This information should be 100% self evident under TGSAP no matter what. Same goes for people saying we need a column on the scoreboard. Every TGSAP submission should always have the original evidence or it's removed.
    This is a great point. The video package would show the JROK board.
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  7. GibGirl's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflake
    Thats a good counter @GibGirl, and so then I would have to agree, a mistake made on one system doesnt justify a mistake made on anther system. However we still have the initial argument that jrok plays identical. I think you've done a good job of destroying the argument that uses consoles as a precedent, since that precedent is in error. Jrok though has undergone testing (at least so i'm told, again, i cant personally run and confrim those tests) to show the similiartiy and i believe not a single critical has been able to find any difference that are vaguely alleged to exist.
    It's interesting that you view this as a counter-argument, when I mean it in support of combining the platforms. It's an indication that we're already decided we're good with some amount of minor differences being acceptable to a TG platform. We don't distinguish between chip revisions, even though they can cause differences. We don't separate out Famicon/NES or other platforms that require adapters to use games between the various versions.

    In the end, I think the biggest issue is that there's no clear philosophy behind how TG decides what is separate and what is combined. Xbox 360 and Live Arcade, PSN and PS3/PS4. Wii and WiiWare. Jag and Jad CD. All separated. But Famicom/NES. Atari 400/800. Colecovision/Adam. Game Boy/Game Boy Color. All combined.

    And we haven't even discussed Xbox One/Xbox One X and PS4/PS4 Pro. They aren't like previous console revisions, as the X and Pro are both significantly more powerful. Many games play better, and some are deliberately enhanced. Right now, developers aren't allowed to make games for just the upgraded systems, but there's no guarantee that will remain policy. And don't we think someone has an advantage playing a game on a system where it's always 60fps versus one that's at 30 and might dip below that?

    I guess in the end, what I want is for TG to put together a clear set of guidelines for when systems should be treated as the same, and when they should be separate. And then update the systems in the DB to match, as any set of consistent rules will require changes.
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  8. Snowflake's Avatar
    my apolgies for misinterperting you then @GibGirl . I will agree with you with its simliar then, where i disagree is that its a good thing. I think the old TG cared way more about arcades than consoles and so handled consoles rather hapharzardly.
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  9. kernzyp's Avatar
    So, with this Jrok thingy. Do I need to just plug it into my pc? Or do I need some sort of cabinet?
  10. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kernzyp
    So, with this Jrok thingy. Do I need to just plug it into my pc? Or do I need some sort of cabinet?
    It is a JAMMA PCB. You have an arcade cabinet with a JAMMA harness? Plug and play. Otherwise you have to fiddle a bit.
  11. datagod's Avatar
    For those interested in performance of JROK vs original hardware, here are some Berzerk hardware benchmark results.

    From the page:



    Benchmarking Berzerk
    Background
    To validate that the FPGA board hardware it was necessary to write some test code to benchmark the performance of the board compared to the original.


    What is does
    The code runs a series of tests on the berzerk hardware accessing memory and counting the number of op-codes which can be executed in a given 1/2 video frame.


    Actual values are not as significant as the results are only used for comparison to the FPGA based hardware.


    Using the internal 1/2 frame interrupts as a fixed time references and the Z80's R register as the counter (R is incremented after each op-code ), the number of instructions executed during each frame are recorded. The R register is only 7 bits in length so ends up overflowing and restarting at zero.


    The second part of the test is a count of instructions executing between each NMI ( non maskable interrupt ), this happens every 32 video lines.


    Results
    The z80 must execute the same number of instructions between the interrupt intervals, also the interval of the interrupt must happen at precisely the same time for each iteration of the test loop.


    To be an accurate hardware reproduction of the original hardware no variation in results is possible.


    Both the original and FPGA board posted the same numbers in each set the tests.


    Summary
    Don't take my word for it the source and the binaries are available and anyone can modify, edit, adjust, eat and/or run their own code to check for themselves.


    So... at this point I'm calling the FPGA board demonstratably identical.


    In addition while running the tests 1,000,000 opcodes were captured and compared to the a capture made on the original hardware, no variance was recorded there either.
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  12. John73's Avatar
    I vote no.

    I really don't see any reason to combine them. They might play the same, but they are not the same as the original hardware. Just as MAME is and should always be kept separate, so should this and other boards such as the 60-in-1 should have their own category.

    JMO

    :)
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  13. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by John73
    I vote no.

    I really don't see any reason to combine them. They might play the same, but they are not the same as the original hardware. Just as MAME is and should always be kept separate, so should this and other boards such as the 60-in-1 should have their own category.

    JMO

    :)
    My question is: Are we tracking high scores for games, or are we preserving history of hardware? Maybe a little bit of both?

    If somebody can play Berzerk on JROK I would like to see their scores compared to somebody who plays on an original PCB. JROK is does not emulate. It runs the original roms on an actual Z80 CPU. Mame is completely different, and I am happy keeping that separate.

    However, if I was given access to the database I could write some beautiful views that would combine scores from all platforms so we could see who is truly the champion of game X, and on what platform they achieved it.
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  14. JDW's Avatar
    I am not well-versed nor comfortable navigating forums. William McEvoy, I do not like debating, believe that or not. I must, however, try to answer reasonable questions, or to clear up mis-taken words.
    I have seen great smoothness and dependability in JROK in both Frenzy and BerZerk Slow Bullets. I really have never played BerZerk Fast Bullets with JROK. As soon as I recover from my hand injury, I plan to do so. There is a glitch in Arcade BerZerk that is in MAME that slows the motion in the game down, when so much RAM is used to draw characters on the screen. This usually happens after 10k points in BerZerk Fast Bullets or after 90 men in Frenzy. It seems to always happen when a LOT of bullets are onscreen. That happening, would be one sign to me of play being "identical" on games that I have spent thousands of hours.

    It seems the key word the "Mergers" use, especially the originator of this post, is "Identical" relating to play. I agree the two platforms (Arcade and JROK) seem VERY similar. However. I do know that Grant Thienneman, who did the BerZerk JROK beta test, did a test on certain circuitry (you'd have to ask him specifically which one). He found a higher output on at least one key JROK circuit than the Arcade version. THAT could make some difference, I can't technically explain it. Even if Grant's find is irrelevant, each type JROK board should be examined by more than the "feel test" which can create and cloud emotion.

    While they may appear to be identical, their internal working shows SOME difference, kinda like twins would can have the same fingerprints but DIFFERENT blood types. The odds of identical twins having different blood types are in the billions against, but not impossible. The odds of fraternal twins having different blood types is much more reasonably attained. Possibly, Arcade and JROK boards are more like fraternal twins than identical twins. A good and reasonable scientist, in this case: a game adjudicator, would not issue a change until ALL evidence is examined, time trials are made, and there is no "shadow of technical doubt" ... just because the popular opinion now is based on "feel" and "sensory observation".

    What really is driving this? Suspicions? Yes. Anytime someone wants to change a near-sacred icon or status then I am curious. Is it just because of boredom, need of something to do, something else? There are many who will not give much thought and go with the majority and vote "yes". I think those of us who have seen the pastime evolve over the years have more knowledge than any newbie who can just type a word. That sounds harsh, maybe arrogant ... but would you trust skilled surgery more to an "experienced" surgeon who has been around for years, OR someone still in medical school? By your answer, shows your true value of this pastime.

    I still vote respectfully, historically and possibly technically Arcade and JROK scores should remain separate and never the twain shall meet. If that is not good enough for you, I ask WHY the need for this?
  15. lexmark's Avatar
    I vote yes. Combine JROK with arcade.


    john

    .
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  16. timhett's Avatar
    The only way to get 100% EXACT same boards and game play would be for everyone to use the same board and machine. Maybe an official TG Machine is in order? Isn't that how pinball works?
    Power supply could give ever so slightly different voltage, heat or cold in the room could have an effect on the circuitry, different stiffness of joystick means a different playing field, a cap kit could disqualify as it could change the electrical resistance which could effect things. Right now the only fair thing would be for everyone to use 40 year old capacitors to make sure we are ALL using 40 year old capacitors. What if a new pokey chip gives a different RNG value after 30,000 cycles? Could a JAMMA adapter change the response by .00000001 second, wouldn't that be a difference? Really the only way to be sure is for everyone to play on the same exact hardware.
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  17. Snowflake's Avatar
    I think what you've said @JDW actually is a reason to merge even though you may not realize thats where logic leads.
    Quote Originally Posted by JDW
    A good and reasonable scientist, in this case: a game adjudicator, would not issue a change until ALL evidence is examined, time trials are made, and there is no "shadow of technical doubt" ... just because the popular opinion now is based on "feel" and "sensory observation".
    Its my understanding tests were done, so in fact popular opinion is based on technical testing, and those voting no are basing just on feelings and 'sincerely held beliefs". If you're value testing over feelings than that gives an advantage to the mege

    Quote Originally Posted by JDW
    but would you trust skilled surgery more to an "experienced" surgeon who has been around for years, OR someone still in medical school? By your answer, shows your true value of this pastime.
    this also would imply jrok should be used, as the experts have found them to be the same


    Now, while asking for experts and testing actually is an arugment in favor of the merge, I do think there are counters against it still. The problem with trusting experts, is how doi know how the experts are? Who judges the judges? I'm not sure its wise to put blind faith in the experts if we ourselves dont know enough to determine if someone truly is an expert.

    Which of course brings me back to the added column. If any difference is ever found, things can be easily split (without the hassle of examing every submision video). If anyone cares they can ignore the jrok boards much like many of us use the verification column to ignore pre-tgsap records when determing the true champions.
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  18. Marcade's Avatar
    Lets use an analogy... I am playing Blackjack at a casino, and there is a 6 deck shoe... (52 cards in a deck x 6 decks = 312 cards...

    Now pick a deck among these identical decks...Now pick a card... Is an "Ace of Spades" on one deck, still an "Ace of Spades" on the another five decks?

    How about that "9 of hearts". Are all 6 of those card still Identical?


    If the answer is yes, I stand by my guns... JROK should be merged with Arcade.
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  19. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JDW
    There is a glitch in Arcade BerZerk that is in MAME that slows the motion in the game down, when so much RAM is used to draw characters on the screen. This usually happens after 10k points in BerZerk Fast Bullets or after 90 men in Frenzy. It seems to always happen when a LOT of bullets are onscreen. That happening, would be one sign to me of play being "identical" on games that I have spent thousands of hours.
    That would be a great test of whether or not these machines play IDENTICALLY or not to the original counterparts. I fully expect bugs to appear in both. If not, then no merger case closed.


    Quote Originally Posted by JDW
    It seems the key word the "Mergers" use, especially the originator of this post, is "Identical" relating to play. I agree the two platforms (Arcade and JROK) seem VERY similar.
    Joel, have you yourself seen any difference at all? As a world expert at this game, can you give us one single difference you have witnessed during your own game play? You are one of the first people I know of to use a JROK board, I was there when you received one from Mark Hoff. You have first hand experience that I lack.

    Quote Originally Posted by JDW
    While they may appear to be identical, their internal working shows SOME difference, kinda like twins would can have the same fingerprints but DIFFERENT blood types.
    My brother are monozygotic twins (identical), and have identical DNA. Their blood type is the same but their fingerprints are not. Fingerprints are influenced by environmental factors.

    Quote Originally Posted by JDW
    What really is driving this? Suspicions? Yes. Anytime someone wants to change a near-sacred icon or status then I am curious. Is it just because of boredom, need of something to do, something else?
    John McAllister @redelf submitted a score for Berzerk JROK, but the submission was on the Arcade platform. This caused a discussion the other night, when led into my petition.

    Quote Originally Posted by JDW
    I still vote respectfully, historically and possibly technically Arcade and JROK scores should remain separate and never the twain shall meet. If that is not good enough for you, I ask WHY the need for this?
    It is NOT good enough for me. Keeping them separate for the sake of history is not enough. Twin Galaxies is a scoreboard and a community. The community wants to compete on the same tracks where possible. JROK and Arcade versions of the games are IDENTICAL.
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  20. redelf's Avatar
    I'd love to see a merge, less clutter on the scoreboard for the exact same game. Putting in a column for it being played on arcade or jrok is fine with me but it's not needed. I'm not a purist and more interested in just being able to play the game and seeing where I stack up.
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