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I'm hoping one of you smart fellers in here can help me with this...

So the Famicom "demake" of Pac-Man Championship Edition has been extracted from the Namco Collection by someone and posted on the net, and the ROM plays perfectly fine on my NES emulator on my pc... - BUT - I want to play it on my AV Famicom while sitting on my couch in front of my CRT.  To do this I need to put it onto a compatible Famicom cart.  The game's audio is awesome, but since it uses the Namco 163 sound chip, I want to burn it to a Famicom cart instead of a US NES one to get the proper audio.

Now, I've got most of Namco's Famicom library already, as well as an EPROM burner and the necessary equipment to pull off necessary chips and install new ones in their place.  I can also split a ROM, remove it's header, etc.  All I need is a guide from someone more technically inclined than myself to tell me which game to use as a donor, what type of chips I need to burn the prg and chr ROMS onto, and what random couple of wires need to be re-routed, as seems to be the case with most of these alterations.  I've already patched many Fami carts into English no problem (FF III, Lagrange Point, etc) because step-by-step guides exist on the net that can easily be followed; and since Pac-Man CE is so fun and the sound kicks ass, there will one day be a step-by-step guide on the net for this game too, I just don't want to have to wait five years for one to show up.

So, can anyone help me on this?  I can Paypal some funds if necessary as an incentive, whatever it takes, I just want to be able to play this game on an actual console...

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Any cart that uses the Namco 163 audio features will, by default, use the same NES mapper. This means finding donors will be the easy part. 

Lookup the cartridge list of that audio expansion chip here: https://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/List_of_games_with_expansion_audio#Namco_163

Then buy the cheapest release on the list. 
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Whether you want to choose EEPROM chips or UV EPROM chips is up to you, but just know that their pinouts are not the same and this will dictate how you rewire. 
I personally prefer EPROMS since I'm more used to their pinouts compared to NES Mask Rom pinouts. 

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Rewiring will likely be the hardest part. You want to use a multimeter with a continuity mode to test whether two points are connected (emitting a beep when they are). Use the pinout of your PROM and the pinout of the Namco chip as your map. Match all the address pins (A0, A1, A2, A3....) and the data pins (D0, D1, D2, D3....). 

Namco Pinout here: https://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/Namcot_163_family_pinout 

If you don't see some of them on the namco pinout, it is because they connect directly to the NES via the cart edge connector. Pinout here: https://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/Cartridge_connector

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For the large majority of NES games, the maskrom chips use a common pinout: https://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/Mask_ROM_pinout
They are very close to comercial EPROM pinouts but not 100% the same. Many times it is just a matter of rewring the few pins that differ between the maskrom vs the EPROM

I personally have no idea if Namco games follow those maskrom pinouts. If you beep out a couple of the pins with the namco chip to compare, you could likely narrow it down. 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, JamesRobot said:

I thought you didn't go in for hacks. 😏 

It's not a hack; it's a "port" of a game from a different system done years ago that's finally been released 😛  A hack is someone taking an NES game already released and altering it in some way, like giving Mario an afro or designing new levels and graphics for Castlevania for the umpteenth time...

 

13 hours ago, Rob Bryant said:

Wait... Demake of CE? 'Splain yoself!

Download the ROM and boot it up in your emulator and you'll be having a blast in no time!

 

15 hours ago, TylerBarnes said:

Any cart that uses the Namco 163 audio features will, by default, use the same NES mapper. This means finding donors will be the easy part. 

Lookup the cartridge list of that audio expansion chip here: https://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/List_of_games_with_expansion_audio#Namco_163

Then buy the cheapest release on the list. 

But some of those games have 4 channel sound and some are 8 channel.  Does that matter?

 

15 hours ago, TylerBarnes said:

Whether you want to choose EEPROM chips or UV EPROM chips is up to you, but just know that their pinouts are not the same and this will dictate how you rewire. 
I personally prefer EPROMS since I'm more used to their pinouts compared to NES Mask Rom pinouts. 

-------------------------

Rewiring will likely be the hardest part. You want to use a multimeter with a continuity mode to test whether two points are connected (emitting a beep when they are). Use the pinout of your PROM and the pinout of the Namco chip as your map. Match all the address pins (A0, A1, A2, A3....) and the data pins (D0, D1, D2, D3....).

Okay, since the ROM is 256k, does that mean I need two chips that will hold 128k each?  And if so, would two 27C010 chips suffice?  Because I've used those before and could probably handle the small amount of rewiring.  Or is Pac-Man CE one of those rare NES games that has different size chips for the prg and chr (unlikely)?

Anyway, thanks for the help so far 🙂

 

Edited by Dr. Morbis
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34 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

But some of those games have 4 channel sound and some are 8 channel.  Does that matter?

They only use those channels. the chip itself is capable of more. 

 

34 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

does that mean I need two chips that will hold 128k each? 

That depends entirely on how the rom uses PRG and CHR rom space. the mapper is capable of using 512K PRG and 256K CHR. The rom does not necessarily have to only allocate half/half to each. So when you split the rom with something like TNINES is should hopefully give you the two files separately to read their size and choose the right chips. 

Even if you choose a chip that is double the size, you can simply duplicate the data to fill the entire EPROM. a binary add in DOS will append the files together: 
COPY /B CHR.bin+CHR.bin Output_CHR.bin
So if the CHR rom was 64K, but you only have 128K chips, you could do the above. 

 

34 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

Or is Pac-Man CE one of those rare NES games that has different size chips for the prg and chr (unlikely)

A large amount of titles use different sized chips. NROM is a prime example, only having 32K PRG and 8K CHR. 

Edited by TylerBarnes
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Okay, it turns out it's two 128k files for chr and prg when I split the ROM so I'm going to order two 27C010 chips and throw this all together into whichever of those compatible Namco 163 games has a battery to back-up SRAM.  My hope is that whoever coded Pac-Man CE set it up so that your high scores and unlocked achievements would be backed up to SRAM even after power down.

I'll report back in a couple of weeks (whenever the chips arrive) and let you know how it went.  Thanks again for your help 🙂

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3 hours ago, Dr. Morbis said:

It's not a hack; it's a "port" of a game from a different system done years ago that's finally been released 😛 

Just giving you a hard time.  I agree that it's more a port than anything.  The article states that it's a rom hack but details are vague.  Even if it was built on top of Pac-Man (or maybe Pac-World?), it's a complete overhaul.  

Do you have a PowerPak or Everdrive? You should be able to get the expansion audio on either one and you wouldn't have to go out of your way to wire up a repro.  Though that would be pretty cool.

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I have successfully built a proof of concept cart. this is not an easy repro. see pics here
 

(i've been out of town since shortly after this, so checking my high scores are still intact is my last test when i get home)

 

19 hours ago, TylerBarnes said:

Any cart that uses the Namco 163 audio features will, by default, use the same NES mapper. This means finding donors will be the easy part. 

Lookup the cartridge list of that audio expansion chip here: https://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/List_of_games_with_expansion_audio#Namco_163

Then buy the cheapest release on the list. 
-------------------------
 

No. donors for this game are a huge hurdle. only some of the games using this chip are known to have chips that can be pulled and replaced. i've found none of those that also have ram (required) and the battery circuit (to save high scores, optional), so you're hacking in one or the other. beyond that, basically every possible donor also was produced as globtop boards, and they *far* outnumber the chip versions. I've purchased and checked 15 likely carts and got one usable donor, which is now my test cart. to top it off, bootgod's db site is down so i don't have anything to go back to for reference at the moment.

I've asked a couple repro board makers and nobody has a 163 board available or in the works. your best option right now is a flashcart. the powerpak with loopy's mapper pack plays this very well- the expansion audio sounds don't always stop when they should but it's a very minor issue. i don't have an everdrive but i'm guessing it should be capable as well. 

i have a couple hopefully high chance carts in the mail, which i've earmarked for people already. in the next week or so i'll be doing another bulk buy hoping to get lucky with a donor or 2. i'm out of town until after labor day so i'm not working on anything until at least then. feel free to hit me up with questions.

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1 hour ago, Lincoln said:

No. donors for this game are a huge hurdle. only some of the games using this chip are known to have chips that can be pulled and replaced. i've found none of those that also have ram (required) and the battery circuit (to save high scores, optional), so you're hacking in one or the other. beyond that, basically every possible donor also was produced as globtop boards, and they *far* outnumber the chip versions. I've purchased and checked 15 likely carts and got one usable donor, which is now my test cart. to top it off, bootgod's db site is down so i don't have anything to go back to for reference at the moment.

I've asked a couple repro board makers and nobody has a 163 board available or in the works. your best option right now is a flashcart. the powerpak with loopy's mapper pack plays this very well- the expansion audio sounds don't always stop when they should but it's a very minor issue. i don't have an everdrive but i'm guessing it should be capable as well. 

i have a couple hopefully high chance carts in the mail, which i've earmarked for people already. in the next week or so i'll be doing another bulk buy hoping to get lucky with a donor or 2. i'm out of town until after labor day so i'm not working on anything until at least then. feel free to hit me up with questions.

 

Huge thanks for the info!  I was actually just coming back to this thread to post that I've spent the whole evening opening up ALL my  Namco 163 famicom carts and like 95% are glob tops.  The closest I've got is the same 111F0 donor you have pictured that has the battery but no RAM.  It came from a Kaijuu Monogatari, which is almost always glob tops, but I finally got lucky.

Though, after seeing your pictures, turning my 111F0 cart into what you've developed looks like a massive undertaking.  So, two questions: one, have you tested the Pac-Man CE on your proof of concept cart pictured and come up with positive results?  And two, would you build one of those pcb's for me (assuming Pac-Man CE works) and charge me whatever you feel is fair for your time and effort and research plus whatever profit you want to make?  I can send you my Kaijuu Monogatari cart, if that would help...

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7 hours ago, Dr. Morbis said:

 

Huge thanks for the info!  I was actually just coming back to this thread to post that I've spent the whole evening opening up ALL my  Namco 163 famicom carts and like 95% are glob tops.  The closest I've got is the same 111F0 donor you have pictured that has the battery but no RAM.  It came from a Kaijuu Monogatari, which is almost always glob tops, but I finally got lucky.

Though, after seeing your pictures, turning my 111F0 cart into what you've developed looks like a massive undertaking.  So, two questions: one, have you tested the Pac-Man CE on your proof of concept cart pictured and come up with positive results?  And two, would you build one of those pcb's for me (assuming Pac-Man CE works) and charge me whatever you feel is fair for your time and effort and research plus whatever profit you want to make?  I can send you my Kaijuu Monogatari cart, if that would help...

that is excellent, that is actually the best case donor i settled on and used for my build. 

yes i've tested pacman and it seems solid. i'd be down to build yours. need to do final checks when i get back. i'll shoot you a dm and we can discuss. 

i haven't figured out what to do for shells yet. i'm not sure it'll all go nicely back into the fami cart shell. i was looking at some repro shells + converters from aliexpress but haven't ordered yet. what were you thinking? are you playing on an og nes or an avs or something else? 

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I was hoping to play on an AV Famicom to take advantage of the 163 sound.

As for the pcb size, is it a width problem or length problem for fitting the pcb back in the shell?  I'd have to test, but maybe a Famicom basic cartridge or one of the larger Koei's or, even better, one of the Famitsa games that has the larger Namco case since all those baseball games are dirt cheap.  Anyway, I'll shoot you a message...

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The fitment issue is mostly due to eproms not clearing the mounting posts to keep the board secure. I ignored that for the demo cart and have been testing it bare. 

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