Forums  /  Speedrunning  /  Opinion thread: MiSTer FPGA for speedrunning
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As we all know, nothing lasts forever, and our classic consoles are bound to fail at one point or another. Plus, the costs of repair and/or modding is a factor to keep in mind.

Enter MiSTer: basically a FPGA platform used to replicate (not emulate) consoles on a hardware level. There are already a lot of popular console cores released for the platform. The fact that it is an FPGA platform means, in layman's terms, that the console is replicated based on its physical/electronical properties rather than interpretation of its software tech. This results in the same type of accuracy you see with consoles released by Analogue (NT, Super NT, Mega Sg, etc), as these are FPGA-based as well.

With that said, I was wondering what was the general opinion of the community on this emerging platform. Are there concerns about the platform? Experiences? Speedrunning experiences, perhaps?



Originally posted by Marth.SRFPGA platform used to replicate (not emulate) consoles on a hardware level.

Call it what you like, but it's effectively hardware emulation. If it's accurate to the real console, great, you can now have emulators directly compared to console runs (if the game isn't already doing that). I don't really see much more to it than that, as far as leaderboards/speedrunning are concerned it's just a new kind of emulator.


Yeah, a lot of communities view it as a form of emulation, and for the most part they run slower than actual consoles too (I think the Super NT runs slower than the SNES’s FPS) so whole they are generally accepted, you’re often times better off using an emulator on your computer.

However, as always, the view of whether it’s emulation or not is always up to the community.


Timmiluvs, your Super NT comment is misleading. Super NT can run at the original clock speed in two different ways: 1) by using the Analogue DAC 2) by setting the original clock speed in the system menu which will cause a screen tear every 10 seconds or so.

Also your comment about being "better off using an emulator on your computer" is grossly inaccurate. Input lag on a PC is subject not only input lag caused by the input processing in your OS, but the lag varies by several frames depending on what is happening in the background. You are much, much better off with dedicated hardware emulation solely focused on replicating the original hardware down to the transistor level.

There are a handful of high-profile retro games accepting Super NT runs in particular as hardware runs, as it makes absolutely no sense to consider SNES Classic runs "hardware" when its performance is significantly more inaccurate than FPGA hardware. I suspect there will be a general trend in the future towards accepting these platforms as either hardware or under a separate designation; FPGA in superscript in the same way as EMU, for example.

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Originally posted by windcaskunder a separate designation; FPGA in superscript in the same way as EMU, for example

This isn't a bad idea, actually. I wouldn't want to use the term FPGA since it's a bit too specific (and not really applicable to newer platforms), but having some way to differentiate software-level emulation from hardware-level emulation could be worthwhile.

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