VSU: Video playback

by rigues on 01-11-2009, 21:28
Topic: Hardware
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While people are discussing new FPGA video chip implementations and other people are discussing what defines an MSX in the first place, the development of the VSU (Video and Sound Unit) continues. At the MSX Jau 2009 user meeting in Jau, Brazil, Ricardo Oazem showed a new feature of his VSU hardware expansion: it's now possible to play back full screen video (AVI files). A seven minute demo of this new feature has been uploaded to YouTube. Now, if Pixar would be so kind to create intro cut scenes for our MSX games.. but we'll get there.. some day!

Relevant link: VSU video playback

Comments (26)

By iamweasel2

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02-11-2009, 06:43

It is really amazing, VSU is getting better and better. Smile

What I don't get it yet is how it is playing mp3 and avi videos with full screen. I believe Z80 can't handle those tasks by himself, right? So is there a co-processor or a special hardware in VSU that aids the z80 to handle those tasks?

By SLotman

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02-11-2009, 15:34

Yes, there is a decoder chip, that process the mp3s and videos Smile
And the better: you tell it to "play that file" and "forget about it". You don't need to waste precious Z80 cycles doing streaming Smile

By wolf_

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02-11-2009, 15:39

And where is that mp3 file located? If it's being streamed from a HD, SD, CF, CD etc. then I guess the file system still has stuff to do. If so: is the file system usage constant per int? If not, it may be tricky to use an MP3 as background music for an action game as it requires constant availability of resources.

By RobertVroemisse

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02-11-2009, 16:28

I haven't seen the video yet but what is the resolution, colordepth, framerate and sound quality of these videos? Maybe a stupid question, but like I said, haven't been able to watch the video.

By iamweasel2

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02-11-2009, 16:36

That's cool, having a decoder chip opens endless possibilities to new games as well as allow us to enhance old classic games. Smile
Can this decoder chip be used to other tasks as well (as a co-processor) or it is dedicated to the video and mp3 playing?

By SLotman

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02-11-2009, 19:41

the chip can only process mp3/video, afaik and cannot be used for other tasks. The mp3s were stored on a internal CF card (or SD? I don't know), which the chips reads from without needing any resource from MSX. I guess the video part (which Oazem was still finishing on MSX Rio) works the same way.

What the video doesn't show, but Oazem told me he wanted to do is to have the other chips from VSU to be able to overlap with the video chip. Don't know if he actually implemented that or not, but would be *very* nice to have. (maybe "porting" LD games?)

By RobertVroemisse

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02-11-2009, 19:53

DAMN! That looks good! I see endless gaming possibilities. Great work! LOL!

By JohnHassink

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03-11-2009, 16:47

I'm speechless. Incredible.

By jujuba

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03-11-2009, 16:59

Toma, gringaiada!!!

By spl

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03-11-2009, 22:43

Amazing!!! Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By muffie

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03-11-2009, 22:59

Hmmmmmm, looks appropriate to discuss that along with the Poll...
I'm really excited to see the VSU results, but, as long as does not fit into a cartridge, with a game also burned inside the cart and using MSX original video output... It's not MSX! Big smile

By RobertVroemisse

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04-11-2009, 07:47

@Slotman: Have you checked your mail yet?

By Randam

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04-11-2009, 19:36

Now if only it had internet access too, it'd be the 'ultimate' upgrade.

By iamweasel2

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04-11-2009, 21:07

Well, to me it is already the ultimate upgrade. You must remember that it started as a video display unit with 9958 and 9990 mixed, and now it has an OPL4 chip and a mp3/avi decoder chip. Oazem made it far better than I could imagine it. I can only imagine all the classic games that can now be enhanced with mp3 music and new backgrounds and sprites with this hardware when it is available. Smile

By iamweasel2

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05-11-2009, 11:25

btw, is there any hardware modification that we need to do in our computers to install VSU? What about the original msx video out, is it connected to the VSU? In the video we couldn't see that...

By muffie

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06-11-2009, 14:01

AFAIK, it's a huge external case with a cable that you connect to a cartridge slot.
It have its own power and video output.
www.gagagames.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/msxrio-VSU.jpg
Somehow reminds me one of my old wishes: Use my old (and dead) Sharp Hotbit as a PC keyboard.

By iamweasel2

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08-11-2009, 03:13

Yes, it has its own video output since the msx slot doesn't have a video signal... But I wonder if it is wired directly to the msx motherboard or if it is getting the vdp signal from the video (or rgb) output...

By Sd-Snatcher

Hero (574)

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08-11-2009, 12:00

Why connect it to the internal vdp?, the vsu owns 2xv9958.

By iamweasel2

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08-11-2009, 12:44

Well, AFAIK to new apps/games in fact there's no need. But if the idea is to improve old games, by adding new backgrounds and enhancing graphics, it would be nice to have the internal vdp signal mixed with the new ones, this way you wouldn't have to patch each old game you want to improve to use the new vdp instead of the original (internal one). You could leave the original game as it is and only change the code to add the new features.

By syn

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22-07-2015, 19:38

I am really curious about what happened to this marvelous project. I assume its cancelled, what were the reasons? technical problems? costs? lack of interest?

By tvalenca

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23-07-2015, 17:12

We simply know it was cancelled, but there wasn't an official note about that. Maybe you should ask @tecnobytes.

One thing is clear: they're using VSU parts to make Shockwave and Powergraph carts.

By darkschneider666

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31-07-2015, 13:46

syn
As you can check here: http://www.msx.org/forum/msx-talk/trading-and-collecting/new...
They are working in this new project and they're having money issues

In my humble opinion VSU is an amazing project, a new MSX is even better, But remember theses IC (V9990, V9958 and OPL4) aren't so easy to find, they are expensive, so 4x V9990, 2x V9958, 1xOPL4. I guess a new MSX it's more easier to achieve.

tvalenca
Shockwave and Powergraph they are carts that only uses OPL4 and V9990 isn't nothing like VSU

By syn

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31-07-2015, 14:22

Yeah I read that about the new msx, I just assumed this VSU was cancelled BEFORE that so I wonder what the reasons behind that.

But what you are saying makes perfectly sense.

By tvalenca

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31-07-2015, 17:53

darkschneider666 wrote:

tvalenca
Shockwave and Powergraph they are carts that only uses OPL4 and V9990 isn't nothing like VSU

I only said they may be using all the YMF278B (OPL4) and V9990 chips they bought to the VSU assembly line to assemble Shockwave and Powergraph carts instead. I'm not comparing anything! I can tell the difference!

And those chips may be hard to find nowadays, but we're talking about an almost 10-year old project. They had those chips back in the day, be sure of it. I wasn't paying attention to the scene back then, but what I heard about is they were very close to release the VSU. And they are talking about a new MSX, with embedded V9990 and OPL4... so I'm convinced they still have plenty of chips.

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5256)

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12-08-2015, 11:05

What I *think* was the case with VSU is that you had to disconnect or disable the original VDP and plug in VSU to cartridge port instead... At least I would start from this kind of approach on this kind of project.

By iamweasel2

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15-08-2015, 04:29

I remember some modification to the original machine was needed (with the VDP).

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