Neogeo Emulator running on LeapFrog LeapsterGS

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner

I've been working on a custom linux kernel for these inexpensive handhelds over the last few weeks. With that I've been testing emulation targets since it's a gaming handheld. It got featured on hack-a-day http://hackaday.com/2013/11/08/linux-on-a-leapster-for-classic-video-game-emulation/ so I figured I'd mention it here.

I don't have sound working yet for the Neogeo emu but I plan on giving that some attention this weekend. It should be mentioned that other emulators I've ported have full working sound. The ARM9 SOC used in this device favor's 32khz vs 44.1 audio so configuring that as such will improve sound quality on all emu's tested.

It's rumored that these will go on-sale at Toys-R-Us for $30 on Black Friday in the US however I've been picking them up for next to nothing on Ebay.

My full write up including firmware and emulator downloads can be found here:

http://www.epromfoundry.com/home/?page_id=974
 
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mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Interesting, but 2 buttons?

Actually 5 so far. I mapped A/B/C/Start and COIN. I haven't decided what to do with D yet (luckily no need for that in Metal Slug :) ), perhaps the the right shoulder button but I currently have that mapped to the ESCAPE key and that's sort of required for a lot of the emulators.
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Leap Pad 2 support?

Touch Screen Puzzle Bobble for the kiddos!

This will also work on the Leappad2 but it has far less buttons. The touchscreen driver I'm using treats the screen like a one-button mouse so it really doesn't add much value to this particular emulator.
 

city41

Genam's Azami Sharpener
Great job, that's really awesome!

How's the d-pad on it? If it's pretty decent I might grab one for NES and GB emulation.
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Great job, that's really awesome!

How's the d-pad on it? If it's pretty decent I might grab one for NES and GB emulation.

The DPAD works well. I've got sound working for the Neogeo emulator and it's nothing short of amazing. I'll post a new video soon.

NES and GB emulator are working well too. NES emulation is in Mess in X11 only for now but the GB/GB color emulator is a standalone app and has a nice fullscreen gui. It's actually better looking than a real GB when you resize it to 320x240.
 

Asure

Captain Dick,
If you run out of buttons, i would suggest some button combinations, like start +A = coin1 , start+button = escape.. :)
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Here's my Leapfrog LeapsterGS based Neogeo Emulator now with working sound. In this video I've captured the load times for various games including the load time from power off to bringing up the emulation menu. It's proven to be very playable however I still need to map the 'D' and 'SELECT' buttons. I'll likely stick 'D' on the right shoulder since 'C' is already on the left shoulder button may need to use one of the volume control buttons for SELECT or perhaps even START/SELECT. I'm really not sure yet but I'm trying to avoid using combinations of buttons if possible. Whatever I decide will require kernel keymap changes so I'll test a few layouts before releasing a final kernel. All the buttons can be remapped within the emulator if the kernel exposes them as a keyboard key and the volume buttons are not currently mapped to any keys.


The games I chose were not arbitrary, they are a combination of games I like to play and games which can actually fit in the unit's available physical ram. This ram limitation will prevent very large roms from ever being able to load.
 

famicommander

Neo-Geo Village Idiot
Have you considered selling premodded units? This looks awesome but the process seems fairly involved (what with the making a serial cable and all). I'd pay for one that already had the firmware and the emulators installed and configured, though (just leaving the end user to provide their own ROMs).
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Have you considered selling premodded units? This looks awesome but the process seems fairly involved (what with the making a serial cable and all). I'd pay for one that already had the firmware and the emulators installed and configured, though (just leaving the end user to provide their own ROMs).

Sure, I could do that. I'll charge for the modding service and you can consider the emulator free. I'll PM you this evening.
 

Xian Xi

JammaNationX,
Actually 5 so far. I mapped A/B/C/Start and COIN. I haven't decided what to do with D yet (luckily no need for that in Metal Slug :) ), perhaps the the right shoulder button but I currently have that mapped to the ESCAPE key and that's sort of required for a lot of the emulators.

Maybe get rid of coin and make it freeplay.
 
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famicommander

Neo-Geo Village Idiot
I would suggest it being a button combination for escape instead of dedicating a single button. It has dual benefits in that it makes it harder to accidentally hit escape and that it frees up another button for gameplay.
 

HMG

H = Heinously, M = Massive, G = Gonad,
How is the speed on the LeapsterGS? What's the largest game size that can be loaded? Are there any other emulators available?

I wonder if the LeapsterGS is actually better at emulation than most of the usual cheapo emulator handhelds.
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
How is the speed on the LeapsterGS? What's the largest game size that can be loaded? Are there any other emulators available?

I wonder if the LeapsterGS is actually better at emulation than most of the usual cheapo emulator handhelds.

The LeapsterGS is fast enough for the Neo and many other emulators, check the links I provided in this thread and I also have a lot of videos on youtube showing different systems under emulation, youtube userid = mikewolak .
 

amplibax

Neo Bubble Buster
Thank God someone finally found a use for these shitty things. I might actually pick one up the next time I see one for $5.
 

vincewy

Loyal Neo-Disciple,
Bump for great product/service received.

As for speed, so far everything runs fine. I just hope it was able to fit more games in it.
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Bump for great product/service received.

As for speed, so far everything runs fine. I just hope it was able to fit more games in it.

My bad here, I had filled up the flash with a group of games I had been testing and proved working 100%. Certainly more could be added, nearly all but the largest games as the unit has nearly 2G of space after OS/emulator binaries are installed.
 

rcantor77

Belnar Institute Student
Very cool... just a shame that it probably isn't the best device to be seen playing on the train to work... :lolz:

So maybe i'll just get my daughter one for christmas and hack it for her. :D
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
It does make a very good GB emulator and that was the first emu I ported. I have some videos on youtube showing that on a Leapfrog Didj:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPyy44ktOAU

and Leapfrog Explorer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBpDmLkD7lU

That hardware is older but runs games at full speed and the same can be expected on the GS.

I don't have a video of NES playing but it works in mess, the only issue is that you need to use X windows for the port I did and that's a little cumbersome for a handheld. I made a menu system to launch it and it games are selected via menus on the touchscreen. Not only does mess work but Mame does as well as seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIv8ZlwknBc

That particular game is configured for vertical orientation so its not ideal, horizontal 2 button games work much better. At the end of the day I just stopped messing with the other emu's when I saw how well Neogeo emulation worked despite using C+D on the shoulder buttons. It hasn't been an issue for me but I understand a lot of people have very specific preferences when it comes to button placement.
 

Mendel

Vanessa's Drinking Buddy
The spec might be better than NGX, but that button placement just leaves something to be desired.

I dunno. for some games it could be very intuitive, for example if you shoot and jump on face buttons and throw a grenade from shoulder button in metal slug, it ought to work very well indeed. You see with these smart portable devices I find that with one finger it is intuitive to press no more than two buttons, I can do that without moving my finger. middle of the finger can press one button and the tip can press another (for shooting and jumping). Then another finger can use shoulder button.

If its cheap, works well and is easy to use then the only reason Im not getting one is that basically for me this is the whatfrog whatster. I´ve never seen one. I reckon they are US of A only.
 
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SNKorSWM

King of Spammers
I dunno. for some games it could be very intuitive, for example if you shoot and jump on face buttons and throw a grenade from shoulder button in metal slug, it ought to work very well indeed. You see with these smart portable devices I find that with one finger it is intuitive to press no more than two buttons, I can do that without moving my finger. middle of the finger can press one button and the tip can press another (for shooting and jumping). Then another finger can use shoulder button.

If its cheap, works well and is easy to use then the only reason Im not getting one is that basically for me this is the whatfrog whatster. I´ve never seen one. I reckon they are US of A only.

Imagine trying to do a Fatal Fury Special type desperation move where you have to press the L and B together after a complex d-pad input. After all, half of the neo library is fighting games.
 

cdoty

Neo Bubble Buster
Do you think it would be possible to get a homebrew game working on the Leapster or LeapsterGS, without a custom version of Linix?

I did a port of a game to the Didj using the default system (http://rastersoft.net/?p=97), and would like to move it over to the Leapster. The only issue I ran into was getting access to the audio device, which was already in use.

It appears as if OpenLFConnect could do it, and Leap Pad Manager (http://spiffyhacks.com/thread-212.html) recognizes the Leapster. I'm just not sure if the default paths are the same as they are on the Didj. And, unlike the Didj, the filesystem does not appear to get mapped into the windows filesystem.
 
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Gonzo

Twinkle Star Sprite
Pretty cool MikeW. I think my kids have a GS and 2 somewhere in the garage just gathering dust. Am not a pro at this but do enjoy installing Emulators on my systems. Is there a step by step write up for this? By what I've seen so far, it looks like i should be able to root this with a "Mac" computer correct? Looks like I might have a project for the weekend.:)
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Do you think it would be possible to get a homebrew game working on the Leapster or LeapsterGS, without a custom version of Linix?

I did a port of a game to the Didj using the default system (http://rastersoft.net/?p=97), and would like to move it over to the Leapster. The only issue I ran into was getting access to the audio device, which was already in use.

It appears as if OpenLFConnect could do it, and Leap Pad Manager (http://spiffyhacks.com/thread-212.html) recognizes the Leapster. I'm just not sure if the default paths are the same as they are on the Didj. And, unlike the Didj, the filesystem does not appear to get mapped into the windows filesystem.

On my build the entire operating system is replaced. This custom kernel frees most of the reserved ram and allows open access to all hardware without the possibility of other services accessing the audio/video driver since none of the factory applications are installed. SDL, X11, framebuffer, and touch screen support are all available as well. It's very much like a typical Linux environment. I don't support it for dev work however, I sell them as a Neogeo emulator appliance but if you're familiar with Linux development environments it shouldn't be hard to get going.
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Pretty cool MikeW. I think my kids have a GS and 2 somewhere in the garage just gathering dust. Am not a pro at this but do enjoy installing Emulators on my systems. Is there a step by step write up for this? By what I've seen so far, it looks like i should be able to root this with a "Mac" computer correct? Looks like I might have a project for the weekend.:)


Hi Gonzo,

Sorry, I've never written any real documentation for this and don't support it as a downloadable/user installable OS replacement. I'm not sure if you could use a Mac for this. It might work but it's not tested. This stems from it being a Linux system. You would need to be able to cross-compile an entire Linux distribution on the Mac if you were to build one of these from scratch. The issue is there's just too much GNU stuff missing in MacOSX to make that practical.
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
I realized I never answered your 1st question-

I think you could if you could get a good version of SDL or some other display technology working. You have to 1st build an environment that mimics the existing one and build the correct libraries to link against. I found it easier to replace the entire system since their kernel reserves too much ram for the video drivers.

Do you think it would be possible to get a homebrew game working on the Leapster or LeapsterGS, without a custom version of Linix?
 

Gonzo

Twinkle Star Sprite
Yeah, I think I know what you mean. Looking closer at the links you posted, it looks like its a bit out of my computer skills. I think it will be easier to send you the Leapster and let you do the hard work for me, then I could just load games that my kids can play.
 

mikew

Krauser's Shoe Shiner
Yeah, I think I know what you mean. Looking closer at the links you posted, it looks like its a bit out of my computer skills. I think it will be easier to send you the Leapster and let you do the hard work for me, then I could just load games that my kids can play.

When I mod these I actually load quite a bit of roms with it. There's almost 2G of space and I fill about 1/2 of that. It's pretty much all of the roms which will run in the ~90MB of free ram available after the OS loads. To get a better understanding of what that means, games Like Metal Slug 1-3, Last Blade 2, and most of the KOF series can be loaded and play 100% but SVC Chaos won't.
 

Diggerman

Zero's Tailor
Jeeze... some guy can do this by himself with a Leapster kid's toy, and Tommo couldn't even get the NGX right.
 
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