Analogue Pocket uses AnalogueOS to get saved status, screenshots, etc.

Analogue is a manufacturer of boutique retro game consoles, and its tradition is to make an announcement today on October 16. The first is the company’s FPGA-based Super Nintendo clone Super NT in 2017; then the Sega Genesis clone Mega SG in 2018; Analogue Pocket, which has not yet been released in 2019; and the TurboGrafx 16 clone product Duo, which is also unreleased, will be launched in 2020. Launch, which allows us to see that this year’s announcement is not hardware for the first time.

The company said that AnalogueOS is the underlying software that runs the upcoming Pocket and Duo and other “future” game consoles. (No, we were told that the existing Analogue console “is not currently going to be updated with AnalogueOS.”) In addition to the very popular visual refresh, this should better align the company’s excellent hardware design with its software experience. There are some very important improvements, the most notable being the “preserved state”.

The save state is the main content of the software simulator, allowing players to give up any built-in save functions in the game, and record their progress immediately at any time, which can be restored immediately. Anyone familiar with traditional solutions (leave your game console on indefinitely) appreciates this emulation function. Except for a few MiSTer cores, it is also a function that is basically not available in FPGA-based hardware simulation.

“Thanks to Kevin Horton,” Analogue’s Christopher Taber told Polygon, referring to its FPGA development director Kevin Horton. “To do this reliably is not only complicated but also twofold difficult, let alone on the physical cartridge. As far as I know, we are the first to develop a technology that captures and loads the saved state immediately when playing a game on a physical cartridge. .”

These saved states can also be shared with other Pocket users. It can also be shared with other Pocket users: screenshots and playlists. The screenshots are self-explanatory, but the playlist is new. “When you create a playlist, it generates a file on your SD card, and you can share the file with other users,” Taber said. “Just unplug it from your SD card and put it on another Pocket user’s SD card, and they can immediately access your playlist on Pocket.”

Display the “library” of AnalogueOS in full screen, read the tape

Powering the playlist function is a new database that simulates calling the library. “It is built on a new level of standardization, in terms of game name standardization, franchising, publisher and developer organization, revision depth, etc.,” Taber said. “It is carefully planned by experts and researchers, together with collectors who have access to the complete collection of games. The ultimate goal of the library is to become the ultimate academic database of all video game history.

“The library will make full use of the proprietary technology developed by simulation to read the physical game cartridge and detect all possible information on the game cartridge until its revised version (such as The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening There are 18 different versions, Area and revision within each). Many of these versions/revisions differ from game art and graphics, text changes, bug fixes, and other quirks. You can walk into a game store, insert the game into the Pocket to read the cassette and find out exactly its version and all its details. “

In addition to the new features of AnalogueOS, Taber also shared some information about Pocket’s additional FPGAs for developers. “Pocket is built to optimize hardware so that development and porting are pre-existing [FPGA] The core is easy. Off-the-shelf development boards are naturally not built for this purpose. They are expensive, require a large number of additional components, technical setup is difficult for most users, and limitations that cannot be solved perfectly without building something for this purpose from scratch (i.e. different types of RAM),” Taber pointed out. Clarify the DIY method and huge kernel library for the MiSTer platform. “You can expect to see almost every third-party FPGA kernel on Pocket.

AnalogueOS not only allows you to take screenshots, but you can also view them

“For non-development end users, it’s as easy as putting the FPGA core on the Pocket, and our libraries and databases will serve it and provide an unparalleled experience.” This experience obviously applies to handheld Pocket displays, but It is also suitable for HDTV monitors with optional Dock, and CRTs using Analogue’s existing DAC products.

Although AnalogueOS sounds exciting, Pocket was released two years ago and has now been postponed to December. There are still many frustrated potential buyers who have missed the pre-order window for units that have not yet shipped.

“More Pockets will be restocked and shipped after pre-orders and shipments,” Taber said. “Trust me, we are doing everything we can to maintain these stocks. COVID has not brought any benefit to anyone, but we have done our best to produce as many products as possible and continue to do so.”