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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:52 am    Post subject: N64 / 64DD Development - Manuals/Software Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

My name is Gerry O'Brien.
I'm an Electronics professional and a long time Hobbyist. Shown below are a couple of shots of my home based Electronics/Robotics Lab.
Just to give you an idea of my background.



http://digital-circuitry.com/IMAGES/webpage/MyLAB/Gerrys_LAB_MAR_2012_%20008.jpg

Over the past year I've been researching and messing around with source code programming on the N64, using the NuSystem SDK.
I'm definitely a Novice programmer compared to all you Guru's here at GDR, however, I'm a pretty passionate and determined Hobbyist so I'm optimistic.

I've managed to get some basic 3D graphics working and I'm now diving into generating some basic sound effects. I've been using a 64Drive flash cartridge to test all my code on the real hardware. However it is a painfully slow process without having any form of real-time source code debugging.

With that said, I recently got a hold of a PARTNER-N64 PC development system.



I'm now on the hunt for copies of the official manuals and software...and also other N64 related development hardware if anyone is selling any? So this is why I'm here and decided to reach out to you all, to see if I might be able to locate some of these documents/software CD's.



http://www.digital-circuitry.com/IMAGES/webpage/MyLAB/Nintendo/N64/N64_DEV/PARTNER-N64PC_Manuals_&_Software.jpg

Now I am aware of the already existing N64 Dev. docs/software from sites like [url]Level42.ca[/url], n64.icequake, N64Squid etc. etc.. I've been at this for over a year...so I've already acquired most of what's already out there. What I'm looking for are the official PARTNER-N64 user guides as shown above... to either purchase, or hopefully get .PDF scans of them if someone is willing to provide them for the N64 Dev. community.


Anyhow,
Not too long ago, I posted a video on my YouTube Channel where I give a brief "Show N' Tell" of the PARTNER-N64 PC unit and deliver a request to you the development community. I then give an overview of my source code and my programming process using the 64Drive flash cartridge. I close off with a quick demo of my code running on the N64 console.

Video Link below:
https://youtu.be/d5YO2XMBvvk

Hopefully this will stir some interest, and I'll find what I'm looking for.

Kind Regards,
Gerry O'Brien
My Hobby Website
http://www.digital-circuitry.com
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool. I don't know anyone with practical N64 development experience, so anything you feel like sharing is a plus there.

PoV will probably stop by in a few minutes and dump the entire world in your lap, so hang tight.
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool lab. :)

I have a few pieces of N64 kit as well, but nothing complete. Here's some photos from over a decade ago:





The Intelligient Systems box should be paired with a SCSI card (which I don't have), and I believe the interface box goes with the Partner64.



Frankly though, this stuff is all just relics for collecting. Without an old PC and the software that goes with, it's not useful.

These weren't really good development tools. The were just what we had back-in-the-day.


What doesn't seem to get mentioned enough is how much Piracy gear was used for development. Here's a few more items from a decade ago.



I don't have a better photo of it, but the Green and Red thing was a common N64 flash cart back in the day. You'd plug an existing N64 game in to it for the security chip, and a Parallel cable for transferring data.



These especially. Between my coworkers and I we shipped half a dozen commercial GameBoy games built entirely using these piracy flash carts. We never saw real Nintendo dev kits until the GameBoy Advance (and we only ever owned 1, as piracy flash carts became available very early in the life of the system).


Today you can't get these anymore, but you should be able to find similar hardware for bargain prices with USB connectors or SD card slots on them. Paired with a serial cable for logging to the PC, and you'll have exactly what we used to ship a whole bunch of games.
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Diablo
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to meet you.

Why are the cartridges so tall, the ones in the video and some of PoV's pictures? Is there special hardware in there that does some important translation that isn't necessary when the final cartridge is made?
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully this embeds properly.





Anyway yes, it's special hardware. It could be any number of things inside the cart including:

- SCSI controller chips
- an FPGA
- A freaking PC RAM stick

Modern designs are a bit more compact.


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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of tall.



Portable NES from 15-20 years ago. ;)
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This seems to be the nicest Development Flash Cart available today for N64.

http://64drive.retroactive.be/

http://64drive.retroactive.be/64drive_manual.pdf

It's quite slick. It appears to have a slave mode, where the PC itself serves up the ROM over USB (meaning you can compile, then reset the system to reload the ROM).

http://n64dev.org/

Heck, it even has WiFi built in.


I kinda wish I could justify grabbing one, 'cause eventually people stop making and selling stuff like this.
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Mike Kasprzak
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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick response guys...
Glad to join the group here.

@PoV
Yeah I've connected with a number of other collectors and even some developers that used their own custom gear. So I know what you mean.
Alot of them mentioned it was also the cost of the licensing at the time. Many of them didn't want to fork out the cost until they knew which dev system they would use.

Anyhow,
I'd be very curious to get a hold of the "KuC Interface Box" and also the IS Viewer? that is if you would be interested in parting with it?
PM me if you have a Price that you think is fair. The KuC debugging setups using my PARTNER cartridge is what I'm working towards setting up.
I already have the old Win95/98 PC setup with the ISA/PCI slots, SCSI card, and I actually already have one version of the software for my Partner system.

Regardless, I'm still hoping to find the official PARTNER installation CD's at some point.


I actually own the 64Drive Flashcart you mentioned from Retroactive. I have used all that it has to offer.
And you're right.... it is a really slick device. However, it does not yet support debugging. (In development I think.) :(

As I've shown in my little demo video...
my current process is all "Trial and Error" using the 64Drive flashcart.
It's a slow going process. :P

Anyhow,
Let me know regarding the KuC and IS viewer.

Cheers Folks,
-Gerry
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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I first got into N64 source code programming I was determined to get a hold of an official "N64 Development cartridge".
I would then implement my own programming interface with a CPLD or an FPGA.

Anyhow, I finally managed to get one.
These prototyping carts were used quite a bit apparently, when a Development company would need to send copies of Prototype games to Game magazines for review.

This one here that I have is a Debug version of "Nuclear Strike".







Pretty cool.
-Gerry
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, we used to have official Nintendo DS carts like this around the office (just way tinier). Nintendo and Sony eventually clued in that they were pricing kits way too high. ;)

Cool. Sounds like your a lot more serious about this than I thought (didn't see the vid originally).

I've had this N64 stuff since 2001 (I think). It's been in storage for most of the past 16 years, but I pull it out every so often to admire it. ;)

A few months ago I was checking to see if I could find a USB to SCSI adapter, but I couldn't find anything with the same SCSI port as the IS Viewer (at least not for a reasonable price).


I've never put much thought in to letting them go (I'm a collector myself), but I guess it's been 16 years now. *shrug* Let me see what I have.

Funny story, somebody else tracked me down a while back trying to buy my N64 stuff off me. A long time ago I made the mistake of showing-off on Assembler. ;)
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, you probably need one of these too, don't you?





I didn't see one of these in your video.

From what I've seen of N64 dev kits, they all have modded N64's that go with them (probably something to do with the encryption chip, but I really don't know).
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so I've been through my stuff. It looks like I have:

- 1x Interface Box, ribbon cable, no power supply
- 2x IS Viewer's
- 2x Modified Japanese N64s (one for Partner64, the other for IS Viewer)

I'm pretty sure I had a 3rd modified N64 at one point, but I may have disposed of it during a move.
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Mike Kasprzak
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. Digging through the N64 manuals, I just found out the SCSI port on the IS-VIEWER64 is the same as the one on the SGI INDY. Well, that just made my SGI shopping simpler.
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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:51 am    Post subject: N64 Source code Programming - Video Tutorials Reply with quote

Yeah there are a few versions of Flashcarts to choose from...

there is the "64Drive" and the "Everdrive-64" as well.
I use the 64Drive myself.


My plan is to create a Series of Instructional Video's for my Website and YouTube Channel...

Mainly to help people setup an N64 Development Environment using the NuSystem SDK and a 64Drive Flashcart.
Similar to what I had in my short little demo video.....but it will be more if a "Step By Step" layout of the software installation and Libraries.
And Scripting Batch files for transferring their compiled ROMs to the Flashcart.

Then go through the motions of a simple "Hello World" tutorial...
just to help beginners get something running on the console.

Then from there...they can fly. :))

That's my overall plan anyhow.

-Gerry
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PoV
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool.

Anyway, after "things", I may end up grabbing a 64drive myself now. I fired off an e-mail last night to the guy that makes them, just to ask if they had any sort of PC side logging support. I don't need a debugger, just logging.


To the other folks from Assembler gamers that track me down, I no longer have the KMC Interface Box/spare IS-VIEWER64. Feel free to say hello though. ;)



It's on its way to Gerry. In theory, between him and his expertise, he should have everything he needs now to get it going.


I do still have an IS-VIEWER64 for myself though. If I get SGI O2 I'm looking at, and get it working, then making it do something with the IS-VIEWER64 should be fun to try. :)
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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah my plan is to get a genuine Real-time N64 Debugging platform up and running.

So I should be able to get something going with these new N64 Dev tools.
Thanks again PoV.

I really do hope that MarshallH, the hardware designer and N64 programming NINJA Master, will add some real-time debugging features to his 64Drive Flashcarts.
That is a crazy undertaking I'm sure...but it would be so amazing. I think it could be done using the Wifi chip that he has in his new 64Drive Flashcart model.





We'll have to wait and see.

-Gerry
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Edited by Gerry_MAN on Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:26 am; edited 1 time
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PoV
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well as far as adding support is concerned, if you can make the device act like a COM port (or some other interface supported by GDB), then you basically have a debugger. Just setup and build the client side code in to your binary, and .. maybe?

In theory anyway. I've never been particularly good with GDB myself. It's not the kindest tool to work with, but there are a whole bunch of GUI that build off it.
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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I was actually starting to mess around with some interfacing using an FPGA, and was thinking of implementing something similar to that.

However,
I've been finding that as life gets busier as you get older...finding time to do all this stuff gets harder and harder it seems. *&#$*@#!!!

So many cool ideas....never enough time.

-Gerry
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PoV
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ truth.

That's why I'm liking "buy 64drive if it does what I want". Then I can focus on running code on a real system. End of the day, that's all we really want anyway. ;)
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PoV
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, Gerry is ruining some of the magic for me. ;)

http://level42.ca/projects/ultra64/kmc64-howto/

And here I thought the modded N64's were special. No, it's literally just re-routing a few signals so dev carts can do useful things like reset the system.
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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.....hehe....

\^_^/
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've been finding that as life gets busier as you get older...finding time to do all this stuff gets harder and harder it seems. *&#$*@#!!!


I find myself echoing that sentiment once a week, at least :/

And especially now that Assembly has come back around...
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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:53 pm    Post subject: KuC PARTNER-N64PC Users's Guide Reply with quote

.
.
Anyone up for some light reading.....?



I didn't want to say anything until I actually received this thing in my hand....
Finally got it in tonight with some other deliveries. :))

For now you can check out this "UNBOXING VIDEO" I just posted on my YouTube Channel.
For the N64 Development community!

https://youtu.be/xMCt2RS5LQo

Cheers!
-Gerry
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice :)

I have nothing sexy to show off. A few days ago I was playing around with one of these (PLC 5/25):


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Gerry_MAN
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:26 am    Post subject: PLCs Reply with quote

@Sirocco,

Whooa!!!
That is Sweet!!

I've never had the opportunity to play with that particular model. What's the Brand name?
Looks like a sweet little unit. Thanks for sharing that.
Very cool.


When it comes to PLC's, I mainly mess around with Allen Bradley brands like the "SLC-500" systems.

Here is a Pic of one I found online....
http://icrservices.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/SLC500-min-970x646.jpg

Fun Stuff all around.

-Gerry
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