Flashjacks firmware updated to Ver. 1.8

by Pac on 04-10-2020, 12:39
Topic: Software
Languages:

The Flashjacks cartridge by MRC user Aquijacks received a firmware update:

V1.8 (4/10/2020).

  • Added SFG-01/05 audio chip implementation. Now the Flashjacks has a new built-in audio chip. Core sound JT51 (Jotego's Patreon).
  • Improved SN76489 chip compatibility. Now the VGM V1.3 detects it perfectly.
  • The SN76489 engine is replaced by a more improved one. Now it is true to the original. Core sound JT89 (Jotego's Patreon).
  • Added dual PSG writing detection through ports 11h and 12h (PSG registers 00-17 can be read through these ports interchangeably).
  • The PSG core is debugged. Popping sounds that you made under certain conditions are gone.
  • Improved sum of channel on the audio bus.
  • Fixed some bugs during the insertion sequence in virtual slots/subslots in CONFIG.CFG file. There is a more exhaustive filtering to avoid errors.
  • Nextor is updated to 2.1.1 Alpha2. File management is speed up considerably. Since it is Alpha version, in case of faults, copy the FLASHIDE.ROM from version 1.7 again.
  • VGMPlay is updated to version 1.3.

Relevant link: video tutorial

Comments (28)

By Pencioner

Scribe (1198)

Pencioner's picture

04-10-2020, 15:55

Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By knm1983

Champion (510)

knm1983's picture

04-10-2020, 17:35

Thanks Aquijacks for this update.
The sound is great, SFG sound very well in combination with PCM and SN76489 on Megadrive musics with VGMplay.
PSG sound work very well now on all musics.
Great work Wink Wink

By raulsantacruz

Hero (577)

raulsantacruz's picture

04-10-2020, 19:37

Excellent work Aquijacks! You release in each firmware update new features that could be a new cartridge itself

By hamlet

Scribe (3260)

hamlet's picture

04-10-2020, 21:52

Great news! Thanks Aqui for maintaining!

By karloch

Prophet (2096)

karloch's picture

05-10-2020, 00:06

Just tried the Sorcerian VGM for Sharp X1 that uses OPM and it sounds really good, way better than the OPLL version.

Thanks for this great update!

By ToriHino

Hero (601)

ToriHino's picture

05-10-2020, 17:25

And another demonstration video

By sdsnatcher73

Paragon (1205)

sdsnatcher73's picture

06-10-2020, 11:38

Wow! If you can add JT12 we would have support for YM2612/YM3438 (Megadrive), YM2610 (NeoGeo) and YM2203 (PC88, arcades), basically NeoTron, Makoto and more!!!

And I know VGMPLAY can use SFG to play some of these when combined with other chips but still...

By Aquijacks

Champion (288)

Aquijacks's picture

06-10-2020, 18:16

The JT10-12 is already in the Flashjacks. It is in the testing phase and there is still a version that supports it to come out. In fact, the JT51 and JT89 partially come off the JT10.
The FM part is easy but the ADPCM has a large memory that would have to adapt to the RAM of the Flashjacks, as it was done with the JacksBoy.

By -Neo-

Champion (384)

-Neo-'s picture

06-10-2020, 18:30

Any plans for production of this cart? Would like to obtain one if possible.

By Alexey

Guardian (2896)

Alexey's picture

07-10-2020, 14:42

Nice! Will update my cartridge ASAP. Adding support for SFG was awesome! The combination of almost all known music chips makes this cartridge the top one for listening the MSX music and watching demos.

By toughkid

Rookie (25)

toughkid's picture

08-10-2020, 08:27

If the FPGA update process, such as GR8NET and Flashjacks, is software-friendly, I think I can count on more possibilities for Carnivore2.

By Alexey

Guardian (2896)

Alexey's picture

08-10-2020, 10:15

toughkid wrote:

If the FPGA update process, such as GR8NET and Flashjacks, is software-friendly, I think I can count on more possibilities for Carnivore2.

Sadly, this can't be done with the original cartridge board. Maybe in a new revision...

By sdsnatcher73

Paragon (1205)

sdsnatcher73's picture

08-10-2020, 18:39

Aquijacks wrote:

The JT10-12 is already in the Flashjacks. It is in the testing phase and there is still a version that supports it to come out. In fact, the JT51 and JT89 partially come off the JT10.
The FM part is easy but the ADPCM has a large memory that would have to adapt to the RAM of the Flashjacks, as it was done with the JacksBoy.

Cool stuff! I am not sure if it is just me but I listened to some SFG tracks today and I observed some clicks on my system. I did some tests. If you configure FJ to MONO on the SOUND tab you get these clicks (e.g. when playing Contra Arcade version), in STEREO mode these don't happen so I guess it is the mixer that introduces them somehow.

By Sander

Ambassador (1854)

Sander's picture

09-10-2020, 00:30

sdsnatcher73 wrote:

Wow! If you can add JT12 we would have support for YM2612/YM3438 (Megadrive), YM2610 (NeoGeo) and YM2203 (PC88, arcades), basically NeoTron, Makoto and more!!!

And I know VGMPLAY can use SFG to play some of these when combined with other chips but still...

I understand that this is convenient but Makoto is just heading to a public release and Neotron is just available for a few months. That means pcb development, testing, stock building up... Vs a big FPGA with ready to eat cores. Maybe I'm too old school but I don't like where this going. But my opinion is colored of course. We need to sell our products to get the money back from investment so we can develop new products. Doing what others are already doing ( old school or not) in this tiny market is well maybe a bit unethical. What's the fun in having one fpga cartridge that can do all and only one hardware developer left? For me it will end everything.

By sdsnatcher73

Paragon (1205)

sdsnatcher73's picture

09-10-2020, 03:32

Sander wrote:
sdsnatcher73 wrote:

Wow! If you can add JT12 we would have support for YM2612/YM3438 (Megadrive), YM2610 (NeoGeo) and YM2203 (PC88, arcades), basically NeoTron, Makoto and more!!!

And I know VGMPLAY can use SFG to play some of these when combined with other chips but still...

I understand that this is convenient but Makoto is just heading to a public release and Neotron is just available for a few months. That means pcb development, testing, stock building up... Vs a big FPGA with ready to eat cores. Maybe I'm too old school but I don't like where this going. But my opinion is colored of course. We need to sell our products to get the money back from investment so we can develop new products. Doing what others are already doing ( old school or not) in this tiny market is well maybe a bit unethical. What's the fun in having one fpga cartridge that can do all and only one hardware developer left? For me it will end everything.

Hey in my opinion both options are equally interesting. I have NeoTron, SFG (real and clone), DalSoRi R2 and WozBlaster. I will definitely get Makoto as well. Side by side comparison of FPGA and real chip, real chip always comes out on top, same here with SFG on FlashJacks and the real or clone SFG (which of course uses a real Yamaha chip). The sound of the FJ is very good but I can definitely hear the JT51 core “making mistakes”. Which is of course understandable and totally fine because it’s a result of reverse engineering. Also whilst not trying to dish FJ here, but it in itself is of course not an plug and play all in one solution. I mean if you want SFG you have to sacrifice a sub slot, you can’t have it all at once. That is not FJ’s fault, it’s in the MSX DNA.

So keep up the good work (both in FPGA and real chip sound hardware) and send me the pre-order link for Makoto!

By Meits

Scribe (6044)

Meits's picture

09-10-2020, 10:27

To clear things up. How can people outside of Spain actually have a Flashjacks? The producer is/used to be fiercely against selling it abroad. Did something change lately?

By DrWh0

Paladin (794)

DrWh0's picture

09-10-2020, 12:20

I would like to clarify why Aquijacks is so reluctant to sell FJ not directly (is not only a problem of international users).

He made his "FlashJacks" as a personal hobby, not for gaining profit or breaking line of business of other people, and each unit is handcrafted by him so his production rate is limited.

The reasons why he is reluctant to sell abroad (even national shipments are denied) confirmed by himself are:

- He doesn´t have time for a fast response technical support in international forums (see MFRSD+SD thread as example).

- He doesn´t have enough economical margin nor time for managing the costs an international warranty.

- He doesn´t have time for shipments (he sells directly only).

- He has limited quantities of his FPGA chip at a reasonable cost (the included chip in fact cost more, but he bought a big lot).

He is not against non spanish users, you can buy from him directly at MSX BCN meetings, that´s the reason why the firmware has dual language support (english/spanish).

And @Meits, yes, international users can have this device, even some japanese users got this device.

How you can get it:

- You can buy from second hand market (ask always for an unit with firmware above 1.5 or you will need a special cable to update it, from 1.6 onwards you can flash using the menu without additional equipment, from the SD card) but this option usually is more expensive.

- Ask to a person who wants to go to MSX RU at Barcelona and ask Aquijacks to reserve one unit for you and go there (usually he has enough units but he usually sells all available), he only accepts effective.

I got my unit through a friend who bought a little lot of units for some people from my MSX group here at Seville without reservation but I would reserve one for caution.

Hope been helpful Smile

By Pablibiris

Paragon (1794)

Pablibiris's picture

09-10-2020, 13:57

Nobody has the exclusive right to do things. And everything is welcome to the user.
If it were not like that, after the MegaflashRom, we would not have been able to enjoy Carnivore or Flashjacks. After Moonsound we couldn't have had Wozblaster, DaiSoRi ... After the GFX9000 we couldn't have had PowerGraph, Kraken ... etc. It is not the end of anything, it is simply the best for the user. He can choose.
There are more than 2000 hours of work in the Flashjacks...if Aquijacks had to charge that time ...

By Aquijacks

Champion (288)

Aquijacks's picture

09-10-2020, 17:51

Do you want to suggest that in order for you to recoup your investment, not release updates?
Searching for a line of business in such a small field is very risky.
Furthermore, the MSX is a community of users that, thanks to projects like this, are strengthened. We are living in a time when retro speculation has made our MSX have a unicorn price. Games and computers from our childhood are being taken from us by collectors to simply speculate or leave it in a showcase.
That is why there are free distribution projects such as Omega, Zemmix and even Mister and the like, they make us give back the power to have our system again.
I'm going to explain my situation to you. I am a person who since childhood has wanted to do something great for MSX. Since 2014 I started with the dream of having a cartridge with everything and that it is as close to reality as possible. 6 years of research and between 2000 and 3000 hours (the same as it took me to get my university studies) have resulted in what you see.
A cartridge with an all-in-one philosophy, created by a single person and with the simple intention of contributing to the community something that does not exist. I have suffered a lot too. I do not share with you that of a large FPGA with ready-to-consume cores.
The cartridge comes from a non-profit person who sooner or later will release all the code, schematics, hardware, etc ... to the community completely free. At the moment it is private for the simple fact of maintaining control in the course of FJ updates. But when that route ends, it is very likely that everything will be free. And I know they will take advantage. And I know other people will get money for it. Money that I have not wanted to exploit since, as I said before, I feel settled knowing that I have fulfilled my dream and that is priceless. (In the instruction manual, this philosophy comes from day one. It's no secret).
And to say goodbye, tell you that no FPGA synthesis will ever match a real chip. They will keep buying devices from you. Do not hesitate.

Regards.

Antonio.

By Sebbeug

Champion (293)

Sebbeug's picture

09-10-2020, 20:17

Nice update, but we can't no longer order a Flashjack ?

Edit: Sorry, i didn't read all answers.

By sdsnatcher73

Paragon (1205)

sdsnatcher73's picture

09-10-2020, 20:17

Well said Antonio! Respect.

By sdsnatcher73

Paragon (1205)

sdsnatcher73's picture

09-10-2020, 20:21

And we will buy not just because real chips are better, we at least for me it is also about showing appreciation to the developers and with that drive enthusiasm for the next big (or small) thing. I love all these developments for MSX and don’t want them to stop.

By Sander

Ambassador (1854)

Sander's picture

10-10-2020, 00:27

Of course everybody is free to do and develop what they want. But why spend 2000 hours on something that's already there albeit in loose cartridges? If you are this talented why not create something completely new? The gameboy functionality was a good direction. Not that it hasn't been done on MSX yet, but alas it 's something different. Palibris: in my opinion there's a difference between something that you can still buy and obtain and things that can not be bought new anymore. For the latter I cherish all efforts. I can produce sd-card readers, Carnivores even multichip fpga. Somethings are even developed partly. But in the end we decided not to make stuff other people are already busy with. And this is just my opinion. Of course you can develop what you want, follow your dreams. If I listened to other people what to do there certainly wasn't a msx.org or Supersoniqs hardware for that matter. My wife says MSX is kids toys. And maybe that is what it is. Kids playing with toys. It's true, I like real silicon. The old chips with their cracks and flaws. Things that make noise and aren't perfect. Constraints in a small box. Grumpy old stuff like me Smile For me a future with hardware emulation ( or software emulation ) only just isn't the same thing.

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1374)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

10-10-2020, 00:55

i think its the sexiest hardware i own

By Randam

Paragon (1037)

Randam's picture

10-10-2020, 04:01

And Sander do know that we appreciate all your efforts, from all your current projects to all kinds of possible projects you might think up like a PlayMaryo or other things. There is future for both. I would also want to be able to stuff on real hardware.

By gdx

Prophet (3823)

gdx's picture

10-10-2020, 09:59

Thank you very much for this cartridge Aquijacks.
I would very much like to acquire one. I look forward to an accessible version (not too expensive) and with golden contacts to avoid damaging the contacts of my MSXs. I hope it will be possible one day. I really like its original side. A bit like the MMM.

By Randam

Paragon (1037)

Randam's picture

10-10-2020, 13:42

Like gdx I would also be interested to acquire one and hope to get one one day. I like the gameboy functionality and such. If someone would go to a RU MSX meeting and would pick one up like DrWH0 said I would be eternally grateful.

By Aquijacks

Champion (288)

Aquijacks's picture

11-10-2020, 20:55

It has always been difficult to arrange units for sale. Now with COVID it is more difficult. The postal service in Spain has restricted hours that make it difficult to send shipments at acceptable times (closed Saturdays and parcel restrictions in some offices).
User meetings in Barcelona facilitated this work but are also prohibited.
Remember that I am a private seller and that I am not professionally dedicated to it. That is the weak point of the Flashjacks.