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Arcade Culture Magazine

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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Comments

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  1. John73's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by datagod
    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.
    I would much prefer this rather than combining.
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  2. lexmark's Avatar
    Joel does bring up a good point, that being that the ROMS might be executing identically, but the RAM might be causing a nuance during gameplay. A novice will never notice it, an expert wouldn't notice it from watching a video, however the expert can FEEL the difference whilst they are playing. True story!

    Very subtle differences ONLY make a competitive difference at the very, very, very, very highest standard of play/score!




    john
    .
  3. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lexmark
    Joel does bring up a good point, that being that the ROMS might be executing identically, but the RAM might be causing a nuance during gameplay. A novice will never notice it, an expert wouldn't notice it from watching a video, however the expert can FEEL the difference whilst they are playing. True story!

    Very subtle differences ONLY make a competitive difference at the very, very, very, very highest standard of play/score!
    john
    .
    Yet to this date none of the experts have revealed any differences.
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  4. lexmark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by datagod
    Yet to this date none of the experts have revealed any differences.
    I'll let you know if there is a difference, Bill, when I test the JROK zookeeper board. If the board produces the very subtle "cycling moods", then it's identical! See here......

    http://www.classicarcadegaming.com/f...?topic=846.570


    john

    .
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  5. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lexmark
    I'll let you know if there is a difference, Bill, when I test the JROK zookeeper board. If the board produces the very subtle "cycling moods", then it's identical! See here......
    http://www.classicarcadegaming.com/f...?topic=846.570
    john
    .
    You should blog your experiences too! I will completely change my stance if the boards do not provide identical play.
  6. lexmark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by datagod
    You should blog your experiences too! I will completely change my stance if the boards do not provide identical play.
    In a nut shell, Bill...there's NO chance that the boards will play "identically" !!! My point though is that the difference would be so minuscule that it just doesn't matter.

    For example...there's no way that a 40 million point ZK player will ALL of a sudden score 80 million points if the board plays easier, and likewise there isn't a chance in hell that an 80 mill player will all of a sudden only manage 60 mill !

    I'll be interested what Joel answers as per your question to him!


    john

    .
  7. Snowflake's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lexmark
    In a nut shell, Bill...there's NO chance that the boards will play "identically" !!! My point though is that the difference would be so minuscule that it just doesn't matter.

    For example...there's no way that a 40 million point ZK player will ALL of a sudden score 80 million points if the board plays easier, and likewise there isn't a chance in hell that an 80 mill player will all of a sudden only manage 60 mill !

    I'll be interested what Joel answers as per your question to him!


    john

    .
    i wont ;) lol
  8. lexmark's Avatar
    I posted this thread over at CAGDC. Lets see what they think.

    http://www.classicarcadegaming.com/f...ic,7048.0.html


    john

    .
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  9. lexmark's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflake
    i wont ;) lol
    You "won't" what?

    john

    .
  10. datagod's Avatar
    We could arrange a blind test. Get the top 5 experts in the world for a particular game, say Berzerk. Have them play on a variety of machines with a mixture of original and JROK boards. They would not know which is which, but if there is some sort of different "feel" they whould be able to determine which games were using JROK.

    This wont happen of course because people are too spread out across the globe.
  11. Snowflake's Avatar
    I think the blind test is really important. Some people have said it felt different, but they couldnt put into the words the exact difference. This sometimes gets mocked as the person being wrong and just not being able to admit it, but i think thats unfair, something we really can feel without quite describing. A blind test though would deal with that. If someone can idenitfy the jrok by play alone, then even if they cant put into words how they identified, the fact that they did identify is good enough. Of coures, guessing will get you right 50% of the time, so there would need to be multiple tests.
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  12. Dave Hawksett's Avatar
    Folks, this is a very useful discussion. We are watching.
    Thanks Snowflake, redelf, datagod, HAN thanked this post
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  13. EVN's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflake
    I think the blind test is really important. Some people have said it felt different, but they couldnt put into the words the exact difference. This sometimes gets mocked as the person being wrong and just not being able to admit it, but i think thats unfair, something we really can feel without quite describing..
    We need to be careful that a tester does not have an emotional response to confirm a firmly held belief though, aka: confirmation bias. Let's face it, there are a lot of people who are deeply passionate about original hardware.

    While these tests are useful I would only trust them in situations where a lot of data is available. One individuals opinion vs a whole tournament scene for example.

    Anecdotally, I have many SF2:Champion Edition boards and I swear that one of them has it in for me. If some RnG element can go against me or if the CPU is going to do something random, it will always happen on that board. Every. Single. Time. If I am reaching for a board to play on, I don't go for that board. Now I know that all my boards are actually the same. But if you game me a board and told me it was an FPGA and it did all those things to me then I would probably swear till I'm blue in the face that there is a difference even when there is not.
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  14. redelf's Avatar
    Let's say that my Robotron has micro switch bat joysticks in it, hmmm that's not original. But I bet if you played on Ken's machine I bet you get a better score than you used to. I'd even say these are the best control panel that I have ever played on. What I'm saying is that controls can have as much affect on game play and cause you to say something just isn't right, but you might not be able to figure it out right away. For lots of people just being able to play the game is good enough that they will never know or care that it isn't the original board. They probably would never be able to tell the difference between a real and jrok. Did you know that they have remade some of the Quantum and other boardsets, should those be allowed, could you tell a difference. The are using newer modern chips of the equivalent part number and such. On many Pole Position, Galaga, many of the Atari Vector games are now using replacement parts for the AVG chip, custom chips and what not. These are not original but using modern programmable chips to do the specified stuff that you can't get any more because these custom chips are not made anymore. Too much blah blah by me.

    It's time that we move forward on 30-40 year old equipment that we are not always able to get replacement parts for. Move on and embrace new tech that is replacing the old.
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  15. 1500points's Avatar
    Since I was the one who asked Jace to make the JROK platform, I'll remind folks that it should actually be called the FPGA platform. I've mentioned that before but it went ignored, apparently.

    Also, is it accurate to assume that John Mc knew there was a jrok platform yet put the frenzy score in the arcade area just to push boundaries.


    Good luck! ;)
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  16. 1500points's Avatar
    Also, I'll add some counter-point.
    An FPGA is only as good as the technical competence of the designer to read the schematics and implement the solution, then do a BUNCH of rework and fine-tuning, along with extensive beta testing by a competent play tester.

    Much like MAME, just because a game technically works and plays doesn't ensure it plays accurately.

    I have been beta tester for Sean Riddle's MAME work, JROK MWS and Zoo Keeper pcbs, an ArcadeSD update, the BitKit FPGA.

    The hobby is embracing an explosion of FPGA projects coming onto the scene, most are just hobby fun that isn't fully vetted and tested. A very few are commercial based productions that are fully vetted.

    So you are into a case by case situation right off the bat. JROK has many years of play testing by top players, he is likely the best designer on the planet for arcade fpga implementations and the gold standard.

    But as far at TG goes, anything pre-TGSAP is suspect. I personally wouldn't want FPGA stuff thrown into that old mess. Let it be fresh and new and quality via TGSAP with new tracks.
    John is talking about Robotron....that old arcade marathon track can't be integrated unless you throw everything out of it from 82-84 anyway.

    as I say, good luck and at the end of the day does it even matter.... players are gonna play and they are gonna have fun regardless of what you think here at TG.
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  17. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by 1500points
    as I say, good luck and at the end of the day does it even matter.... players are gonna play and they are gonna have fun regardless of what you think here at TG.
    Thank you for your input Mark, much appreciated.

    Of course people are going to play no matter what. But we are trying to get a consensus of what THIS community would like done with the tracks.

    There are many problematic scores from the old era of TG. We now have the ability to challenge them and have them removed, however that is a daunting task. Maybe you are right and every old score should just have a * put beside it.

    On the other hand TGSAP is working wonderfully. Looking at a score list and seeing TGSAP beside the scores give a whole new level of legitimacy to the scores. Maybe filtering out all non-TGSAP scores is all we really need.
  18. datagod's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by 1500points
    I have been beta tester for Sean Riddle's MAME work, JROK MWS and Zoo Keeper pcbs, an ArcadeSD update, the BitKit FPGA.

    The hobby is embracing an explosion of FPGA projects coming onto the scene, most are just hobby fun that isn't fully vetted and tested. A very few are commercial based productions that are fully vetted.
    Perhaps you could write a blog post detailing the various projects. The first time I heard of FPGA was when you showed me the board that you were giving to Joel West, in Ottumwa.

    I find the technology fascinating and am greatly pleased to learn other projects in the retro world are embracing it. Games are about having fun after all.
  19. 1500points's Avatar
    To help you understand just how vast this topic really is in the world of retro arcade gaming

    The coin-op community has long since been using FPGA you just didn't realize it.

    --Team Play did a licensed cabinet for Robotron/Joust, and Defender/Defender II. Early FPGA and a a rare game to play but you'll find them around the Disney resorts. I have no idea how well they play in comparison to real.
    --NAMCO did the Pacman 25th Anniversary machine which is FPGA
    --NAMCO did the Ms Pac/Galaga reunion machine which is FPGA. Spot on recreation of the original gameplay experience with some added code for a continue option, and some other perks.

    Pinball has a P-ROC pcb to replace internal hardware.
    Stern took a proprietary version of that concept and puts it in their machines starting with The Walking Dead, just a single little board to replace all the traditional pcbs.

    If you want to build the Computer Space FPGA you'll have to load the program yourself using one of these- https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail...gaAlNEEALw_wcB

    Then you'll have to build a little control panel circuit board with some resistors and connection points.
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  20. Barthax's Avatar
    There's no harm in keeping the scores separate logically. Merging them into the same track causes a bunch of assumptions to be made that (if found to be incorrect) would only cause an horrendous job of pulling them back apart. In the current structure, I suggest separate tracks are merged into the same platform and the JROK tracks be prefixed - similar to NTSC/PAL in consoles. The gamers get to find the separate tracks in the same place, people creating the tracks can create a derivative for free covering the "other" possibility ("arcade original" / "JROK").
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