Author Topic: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs  (Read 29914 times)

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Offline YesAffinity

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Re: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs
« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2015, 10:49:11 AM »
Methinks as long as the PCB clock is not being bypassed, there should be no difference in the gameplay.
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Offline YesAffinity

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Re: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs
« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2017, 08:29:49 PM »
Hey all, I just got a Braze HSS kit - no remix, deranged or any of that other stuff - just the simple HSS w/ free play and attract mode sound.  It seemed to be running slightly faster than I'm used to, and with a bit more difficulty.  Now, this kit is running the rom code off the daughterboard, from my understanding.  And, it seemed to be running slightly faster, and with a bit more gameplay difficulty.

So, I pulled an excerpt of captured L5-1 start, and compared this to L5-1 start from 2 days ago, before putting this kit it, when my board was running a remix kit (which is supposed to be running from original roms).  Now, I don't believe the difference that I felt and then documented via video excerpts is due to the kits in any way.  I am speculating that it has more to do with the TKG4-** version of the code.

I would love to hear from the experts and other enthusiasts who have ever done any comparative gameplay between the board sets.  Below is what we know, and some additional "what I believe"

What we know
TKG2 and TKG-3-6 (prior to patching) - original code with ladder cheat
TKG-3-7 (and any patched earlier sets) - "speed up" patch.  We know it removed the ladder cheat.  We joke that it sped up the transition of quarters from players' pockets to ops' coffers.
TKG4-11 - first 2-board revision, jumpman has "flat" running and climbing sounds
TKG4-12 thru -14 - "flat" running and climbing sounds are corrected, and again "warble" like they did on TKG-2/3 sets

What I know
Comparing L5-1 of TKG4-11 to L5-1 of Braze HSS kit, from jumpman's appearance on the screen to ascending the first short ladder and the first frame of standing on girder 2, the Braze HSS kit is 6 frames faster.
-I will provide video, but now want to put more samples together from other levels, to make a video that is more than 6 seconds.  :P

What I believe
The "speed up" patch did not only fix the ladder cheat, but also provided a slight speed increase.  I notice it when going from my blue cab (TKG4-11 native code) to my red cab (unpatched TKG3-6).  The unpatched TKG3-6 is a hair slower.
Subsequent releases of the TKG4 code introduced additional gameplay modifications.  Other things I noticed, playing the Braze HSS kit:
-L3 wild barrels are actually hard.  I never knew what the hoopla was all about.  I hardly ever experience any anomalous wild barrels on TKG4-11 L3-1
-Riviot levels are more difficult.  Firefoxes spawn on the left side, from the start, more frequently.  The firefoxes are noticeably more aggressive/less friendly (there is a distinction).

So, again, I would love to hear from the rest of you, who would be able to detect these very minor differential nuances.  Or, tell me I'm crazy...it's okay, I can take it.  BibleThump
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs
« Reply #47 on: July 12, 2017, 06:34:05 AM »
It would be a pretty big upheaval if we suddenly found out that there are ROM and gameplay differences between TKG4-11 and TKG4-14 board sets.

I'm not the best player, but I do have both a TKG4-11 and a TKG4-14 board set and I could at some point try reading out the EPROMs and see if there are any content differences in the ROMs between these boards.   My TKG4-11 doesn't have the original stickers on the EPROMs, but looking closely it still has the glue residue where the stickers would have been so it appears that it has it's original chips.

The Remix kit indeed runs the game from the main PCB ROMs.  If you plugged the kit in your TKG3-6 board, it would play the original code with the ladder cheat.   (If you plugged it into a Japanese PCB, it would play it's original code with ladder cheat, long high score names, Japanese level order.   etc..)

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Offline up2ng

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Re: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs
« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2017, 09:27:53 AM »
I haven't reread this entire thread so I'm not sure if I'm just repeating information here but I just skimmed through your recent post about getting to the second girder on the barrel screen being slightly faster (6 frames?) from one version to another.

If you play some of the DK hacks that are out there (Big Kong, etc) you will notice that on some Kong games, it takes Mario significantly longer to climb up and down ladders than on DK US Set 1.  It makes rivet screens slightly harder on those games, for example.

I wonder if you can do some additional testing on the two versions where you noticed the 6 frames of difference and see if you can isolate whether or not the speed differences are only happening when climbing up and down ladders or not?

Is the whole game speeding up or just Mario?  Perhaps compare the position of the leading brown barrel (automatically steers down all ladders until the blue barrel hits the oil can and so they should be taking the same path in both games) or the blue barrel if it's still in play?

Also, when comparing these two paths, was there any difference in how you negotiated the jump over the blue barrel on the first girder?  Most of us pause slightly for some unknown number of frames before jumping over this barrel.  Or, if you are someone that performs a single horizontal jump over nothing as a method of slowing yourself down then this aspect could be consistent between the two runs.  Another factor could be simply how precise was your "cornering" from the first girder to climbing up the ladder?  This can affect how many frames your overall path was slightly.

Keep us posted on this!
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Offline YesAffinity

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Re: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs
« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2017, 09:52:11 AM »
Are you able to dump the game roms from your TKG4-14 board set?  I've got a set of spare roms, I think it's worth burning the TKG4-14 set and doing some further testing without the HSS kit in place, but with the "final revision".

Then again, that might not be empirical, because there could also be some logic level changes that affect speed, gameplay, etc.  But, I think it's worth a look.

I suggest that, regardless of the outcome, TKG4-** is still the standard, whether it's -11 or -14.  There is the lore within the community that the Fun Spot (I think it's Fun Spot?) board is harder, and the wild barrels are wilder, but plenty of the experts here have done well on that board.  I don't think this should change anything in that regard, and my intent isn't to stir the pot, just to satisfy a curiosity.
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs
« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2017, 12:02:57 PM »
The hardware that I have isn't able to directly read 24 pin EPROMs (it supports 28 pin EPROMs) but with a bit of MacGyvering I could build a 24 to 28 pin adapter and then read out the EPROMs.  I'll try to find time to do that in the next week and read out the contents of the roms from both my TKG4-11 and TKG4-14.  From there it wouldn't be too much trouble to compare them to see if any bytes are different from each other or send the files them to you.

If there is an actual visible difference in gameplay - that something takes X frames to happen with one ROM set and Y frames to happen with another ROM using the *same* PCB.. then there's definitely something worth investigating going on.

Different PCBs have a *tiny* bit of variation in speed because the clock crystals vary from batch to batch.  But this would not account for something huge like 6 frames of difference to reach a ladder... well, actually it shouldn't make a difference in frames at all - it'd be the frames themselves that are slightly shorter or longer from PCB to PCB.

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Offline YesAffinity

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Re: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs
« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2017, 12:45:44 PM »
If you could send the TKG4-14 dumps, that would be great!

This was just a single comparison based on a hunch and a feel, I don't want to draw conclusions just yet.  I am going to try to extract more comparisons, and eliminate any potential for human influence on the results, this weekend, using the two sources I have (TKG4-11 native and Braze HSS kit).
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Offline YesAffinity

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Re: All About DK ROM sets and PCBs
« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2017, 08:02:20 PM »
I created a new thread for the video documentation I'm putting together: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?board=15.0

Didn't want to over-muddy the waters on this thread.
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