A totally insane idea that just may work...

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Mario
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A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by Mario » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:22 pm

I'll give it to you straight - Put browser software on an N64 cart and add a wireless card and drivers.

I'm sure it's possible... Perhaps with one of those USB wireless cards? I know an enormous amount of electronics knowledge, N64 programming know-how, and probably microcontrollers, etc would be needed, but, is it possible? That'd be insane. :)

A wireless internet browsing cartridge for N64p's. :P

Feel free to laugh at me, though. :lol:
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by jleemero » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:36 pm

Possible to an extremely great extent.
Nearly everything would be in the cart, virtually nothing would need to be done to the N64.

Biggest hurdle? Making a cart that can run on the N64 in the first place :P (I'm lookin at you Marshallh)

Actually, it really is doable, and with not-too-terrible speed.
The most difficult thing would be the N64 stuff.
A microcontroller hooked up to a wifi adapter (no, not USB) that can retrieve web pages from wherever you request isn't that hard.
HTML rendering engine? Not insanely hard, overall. Port something small and very basic.
Putting it all in an N64 cart and making an N64 web browser? Damn.

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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by nitro2k01 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:41 pm

Ok... :lol: :lol: :twisted:

First of,, there's no USB on N64, so that's completely out of question. Any other connection would require massive hacking.
And furthermore, the N64 is pretty underpowered from the perspective of working as a modern computer. For the sake of argument, let's say the DS and N64 are about equally powered. Then look at the DS browser. It works, but it's pretty slow, has no javascript or flash, etc... And even so it's the work of a company specializing in mobile browser technology (Opera ASA) meaning that even with a lot of work, an amateur developer team wouldn't even come close to the speeds the DS browser has.
So what you're expecting is that someone is going to spend in the range 100's-1000's of hours of their life, at a project that very few will benefit from, with no outlook of making money and where the result would still be half-assed. When a DS can do the same thing better.
Just forget this idea.
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by eagle5953 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:40 pm

Nintendo might be able to pull it off, but we cannot (at least not the way you are describing).

You'd be better off hacking something that can already do internet (such as a PDA) and figuring out how to hack the video to the screen. In other words, you'd have two different systems inside the portable, and you'd have to come up with a good way to switch between the two.

Not sure how you would retain the stylus function, however.

In short:
Difficult? Yes. Necessary? Of course not. Doable? Probably. But don't ask me how...

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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by bicostp » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:52 pm

nitro2k01 wrote:First of,, there's no USB on N64, so that's completely out of question.
Who said it would be a connection on the console? The SNES has no Game Boy cart slot but it can play them using the Super Game Boy. I assume the network adapter would be built into the cartridge.
And furthermore, the N64 is pretty underpowered from the perspective of working as a modern computer.
According to Wikipedia, it has a 93.75 MHz NEC VR4300 processor. If you can run a DOS based browser on a 33 mhz 486, this is entirely possible. Yes it would be slow as turd at rendering anything but GIFs, but it could theoretically work.
So what you're expecting is that someone is going to spend in the range 100's-1000's of hours of their life, at a project that very few will benefit from, with no outlook of making money and where the result would still be half-assed. When a DS can do the same thing better.
Just forget this idea.
Yeah, it's pointless. Not impossible, but pointless.

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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by palmertech » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:52 pm

There WAS an N64 web browser cart back in the day, with a keyboard and evrything. I seem to remember it being really, really limited though; I forget exactly what the limitations were.

Do not have time right now to look it up again, but going purely off memory, it would be possible to have the dial up modem connected to a PDA with a dial up modem and a PCMIA wifi card and bridge the connection through that. The Jornada ^90 would probably work, the 720 as well.

Look for that accessory, and you may be able to cobble something together. :D

I have a few other ideas, but I will need to sit on them for a few hours to see if they are workable.
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by HotDog-Cart » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:28 pm

Google has never heard of this n64 web browser?
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by eagle5953 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:39 pm

palmertech wrote:There WAS an N64 web browser cart back in the day, with a keyboard and evrything. I seem to remember it being really, really limited though; I forget exactly what the limitations were.
HotDog-Cart wrote:Google has never heard of this n64 web browser?
I also have never heard of it. Are you sure you weren't thinking of the Dreamcast? That had a keyboard (I've seen it for sale) and a web browser (I have it - unopened, even!).

If it did exist, it's so rare that Google hasn't heard of it; in this case, it'll be irrelevant to this mod (due to scarcity).

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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by Mario » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:55 pm

eagle5953 wrote:
palmertech wrote:There WAS an N64 web browser cart back in the day, with a keyboard and evrything. I seem to remember it being really, really limited though; I forget exactly what the limitations were.
HotDog-Cart wrote:Google has never heard of this n64 web browser?
I also have never heard of it. Are you sure you weren't thinking of the Dreamcast? That had a keyboard (I've seen it for sale) and a web browser (I have it - unopened, even!).

If it did exist, it's so rare that Google hasn't heard of it; in this case, it'll be irrelevant to this mod (due to scarcity).
Or maybe you're thinking of X-Band for SNES? Google has nothing on the N64 browser, so I dunno...

Jlee seems to have it... But the reason I wanted to use a USB one is because USB, in theory, *should* be the easiest to interface to. It's a standard protocol, it's only got 2 data pins, and it'd be a heck of a lot easier than figuring out the pinout for say, a laptop's card and interfacing to that.

Making HTML rendering software would be easy, perhaps add very simply java support. No need to have GIFs animated, just show the first frame. Images would be loaded in 4kb pieces and lined up to form the whole picture. Text would have to be textures, not polygons, or the N64 will be really slow when showing a lot of text. Think of the entire thing as a game; how would each function work?
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by jleemero » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:14 pm

I think the "existing" web browser for the N64 y'all are talking about is the good ol' SharkWire Online.

Keyboard, fancy modem cartridge, etc.

These things, in my opinion, were crap.
Cool idea overall, but really not that great.

Basically you got connected to a very limited network of other N64's, and had the ability to email eachother, share saves, codes, etc.
You couldn't get onto the internet really, just some special websites made just for the thing.

Yeah, I had one.
For about a week.

Check Wikipediaif you want more info.

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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by palmertech » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:23 pm

jleemero wrote:I think the "existing" web browser for the N64 y'all are talking about is the good ol' SharkWire Online.

Keyboard, fancy modem cartridge, etc.

These things, in my opinion, were crap.
Cool idea overall, but really not that great.

Basically you got connected to a very limited network of other N64's, and had the ability to email eachother, share saves, codes, etc.
You couldn't get onto the internet really, just some special websites made just for the thing.

Yeah, I had one.
For about a week.

Check Wikipediaif you want more info.
NOOOOOO!

Darn it, you beat me just as I was typing this! :lol:

Here is one on ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Sharkwire-onlin ... .m20.l1116

There was also the RANDnetDD thing in Japan, but while it did have net access, it did not allow for web browsing.
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by Mario » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:26 pm

Then if we want to do this it'll have to be from scratch. :P Now I just need to set aside 2 years of my life for this and we'll be all good... :lol:
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by 64M320N3 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:12 pm

Mario wrote:Then if we want to do this it'll have to be from scratch. :P Now I just need to set aside 2 years of my life for this and we'll be all good... :lol:
You guys are crazy i would never wast my life with that.
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by marshallh » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:29 pm

Yes, it's possible... No, it wouldn't work well at all.

First look at memory usage. The N64 has a unified memory model, which means that it's shared by everything. So say you start with the standard-issue 4megabytes of RDRAM.

First you'll need a framebuffer. And you'll need two for double-buffering. So, two lo-res 320x240 16bit CFBs will consume 0.3MB. And since you'll never be able to fit anything meaningful in that screen size, let's look at 640x480, which will take up 1.2mb.
Down to 2.8MB for everything else - overhead including buffers, fifos and displaylists will probably take up another 0.5MB.

So you have 2.3MB with which you need to render a website.

And then you'd need to find some way to get the data into the console. Would probably work best to buffer network data and have it fetched over the cart PI interface.

A royal pain.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Seriously though, I've thought about doing some sort of system link between two consoles. They would communicate over a controller port on each, and a MCU between the two. Would only work for my own games, of course.
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Re: A totally insane idea that just may work...

Post by Mario » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:25 pm

Oh, we've got the authority in here now. Looks like this project is toast, just cause he says so. :lol:

2.3mb is way too little, right? If each letter is 0.5kb, that can add up pretty quickly. We can still use the expansion pack, right? Or what if it detects how much memory is there at startup, and sets a "cap" for what websites you can load? Maybe show half of a page and say that if you want to view the full page, please turn off the system and install the expansion pack? :?
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