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SNES Performance Tweaks
#1
Hi guys, just completed my build a couple days ago, wanted to test the waters and see what success anyone has had in regards to improving SNES performance on their Freeplay Zero.
Any guidance as to whether or not overclocking(and cooling appropriately), decreasing resolution, switching emulator, changing some other settings etc. will increase performance/is a good idea?
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#2
Are you experiencing slowdowns on specific titles? I would expect most to run well with the exception of a couple games that had specific hardware built-in to the cartridge.

There are some ways to tweak for performance, but you might want to first discuss what specifically you are experiencing issues with.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
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#3
(10-01-2017, 04:40 AM)Flavor Wrote: Are you experiencing slowdowns on specific titles? I would expect most to run well with the exception of a couple games that had specific hardware built-in to the cartridge.  

There are some ways to tweak for performance, but you might want to first discuss what specifically you are experiencing issues with.

I am noticing mostly audio lag and some frame drops on several titles. Some i remember off the top of my head: Super Mario World, NBA Jam, Super Metroid, Donkey Kong Country, and Kirby Super Star, not just Yoshi's Island/Star Fox which i would expect some slowdown.
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#4
I don't want you to think that I've forgotten about this. I'll try to get some testing in this week. This issue surprises me, and I want to see if there are some recent updates that would be causing some slowdown.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#5
(10-03-2017, 01:47 PM)Flavor Wrote: I don't want you to think that I've forgotten about this.  I'll try to get some testing in this week.  This issue surprises me, and I want to see if there are some recent updates that would be causing some slowdown.

I've been getting stuttering problems also. Even on weak systems like Atari 2600, 7800 and Game Gear. I've determined that my Pi Zero is in someway defective, because I tried it using stock retropie and was still getting the stuttering issues. A friend of mine tried the same games on his Pi Zero using stock retropie and the freeplay zero image and everything worked fine for him. 

I just ordered a new Pi Zero and hopefully this one works without issue.
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#6
First of all, I plan to make a new SD image with some tweakable settings, so people can experiment with some parameters if they like. That doesn't have to do with this issue, but I think that some of the tweaks could be interesting to play with a bit.

In the meantime, I did a bit of testing myself. If I ran a SNES game just in attract mode, I didn't notice any slowdown. Then, I logged in over the network to view some things. When I would run 'top' to see the CPU usage of processes, then the game would start to stutter every once in a while. This shows that just the added overhead of networking plus 'top' is enough to slow it down.

The other thing is that lion2 mentioned that he wondered if his Pi Zero was different/defective compared to the one his friend had. That made me wonder if one was a Pi Zero and the other a Pi Zero W. If the slower one was the W, then maybe networking has something to do with it. If you want to experiment with that, you can turn off the networking of the W using these settings in the /boot/config.txt file (and reboot to make them take effect).

========
# turn wifi and bluetooth off
dtoverlay=pi3-disable-wifi
dtoverlay=pi3-disable-bt
========

So, my current thought is that you might be running a Pi Zero W that is connecting to your WiFi and then launching some background processes or something. Anyway, this still requires some more investigation, but I'd be very curious if those lines helped the problem or not.

P.S. Be careful turning off the WiFi if that's how you expect to turn it back on. Once it's off, you can't SSH back in. You'd have to connect a USB networking device or keyboard or pull the SD card and edit the file on your PC.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#7
By the way, NBA Jam and Super Mario World work well for me here.

For me, I do notice slowdown in Kirby Super Star. It's a game that used a Super NES enhancement chip according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Su...ment_chips
so it's not surprising that it requires more CPU to emulate.

I'll keep looking into this.
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#8
I have added a new image file at https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folde...nlPS2M4czg that now includes settings that you can tweak for the LCD (located in /boot/freeplayfbcp.cfg).  If you don't want to start with a new image file, but you do want to try this update, you can do it via SSH.


Code:
cd /home/pi/Freeplay/
mv rpi-fbcp rpi-fbcp_old
git clone https://github.com/TheFlav/rpi-fbcp.git
cd rpi-fbcp
./install
sudo shutdown -h now


Also, since this thread initially talked about overclocking, I had a look at https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Set...erclocking and did some tests.  Note that even in https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Set...eed-Issues they mention that, "Some games, especially SuperFX and SA-1 games, will be slow on a stock speed Pi 1."  Kirby is a SA-1 game.

-----------
I decided to try some FPS measurements with Mario World's and Kirby's intro sequence (with dtoverlay=pi3-disable-wifi and dtoverlay=pi3-disable-bt set and logging in via ethernet to change settings).  I edited /opt/retropie/configs/all/retroarch.cfg and set fps_show = "true" to see the FPS.

These weren't very scientifically measured.

Mario World intro sequence
No mods:
  60FPS

Kirby's intro sequence
No mods:
  36-42FPS
Setting "FREEPLAY_SCALE_TO_VIEWPORT=0" in /boot/freeplayfbcp.cfg and rebooting
  37-42FPS (seemed slightly less stuttery)
Setting the Raspberry Pi Zero overclocks from https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Set...erclocking and rebooting [still with "FREEPLAY_SCALE_TO_VIEWPORT=0"] / We definitely don't condone overclocking, but I figured I'd try it just to see what it did.
  40-46FPS
Both above tweaks plus set the render resolution to the smallest possible (via runcommand launch menu)
  40-47FPS (seemed a bit better)

And, since I was at it, I decided to try it on a prototype Freeplay CM3.  One can imagine that it'd be faster, since it's a faster CPU.
Testing on the Freeplay CM3 (No mods):
  60FPS
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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#9
Thanks for the new image. Always good to have more tweakable settings. Just to give you a little more info on my issue. Both the Pi's that were tested in my case were Pi Zero W's. Mine would stutter and my friends wouldn't. Games that I tested were Super Mario World for SNES, Sonic the Hedgehod for Genesis, Donkey Kong for Atari 7800, Pitfall for Atari 2600. Those would all stutter.  The only systems that I did not get stuttering were on NES, Gameboy and Sega Master System. I don't expect the games with additional chips to run perfectly, but the games I did test I did expect to run well. The issue also happens with stock retropie.

Also here is a video I recorded showing my issue. 
https://1drv.ms/v/s!Ats-PEwhX9ZLg79SoX2V0wD3Oiij8A


I have a new Pi Zero W arriving today, so hopefully that fixes everything.
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#10
(10-06-2017, 02:55 AM)lion2 Wrote: Both the Pi's that were tested in my case were Pi Zero W's. Mine would stutter and my friends wouldn't.
...
The issue also happens with stock retropie.
...
I have a new Pi Zero W arriving today, so hopefully that fixes everything.

Yeah, please keep us updated.  That stuttering is pretty obvious in the video.

When you tested with your friend's Pi, did you just swap over the SD card into his Pi?
Card Fighters' Clash 2 English Translation ( http://cfc2english.blogspot.com/ )
Neo Geo Pocket Flash Cart and Linker Project ( http://www.flashmasta.com/ )
Avatar art thanks to Trev-Mun ( http://trevmun.deviantart.com/ )
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