RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

seastalker
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:49 pm
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 47 times

RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by seastalker »

Ben Heck recently did an amazing video:

Super Rare RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype Repair:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCFpYHY3VFE

I did not know it is basically a standard laserdisc player, but with a separate little module that sits on top of it. THAT module really IS the RDI Halcyon. Ben Heck really helps demystify the system. Wouldn't it be great if someone could get in touch with Ben and the owner of the rare system to do hi-res scans of the board or lend it to a FPGA genius?

Before people say "but it only had two games for it" [Thayer's Quest and NFL Football], please consider the Mega65 project's dedication to re-creating the Commodore 65's prototype in full hardware form. In FPGA, likely ANY keyboard could be used with a custom printout of the original keyboard overlays. Also in FPGA, perhaps instead of solely relying on Laserdisc player support, it could work with a DVD player or video files. For example, in Ben Heck's video, Thayer's Quest had disc rot. I have the DVD release of the game though and image .ISO file. It might be a fun system for homebrew, or ports of other 'Daphne' type titles.

I've always been fascinated with this odd curiosity of a system that never was.
rhester72
Top Contributor
Posts: 1074
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:31 am
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 166 times

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by rhester72 »

Of course, there's not a thing FPGA can do to recreate a laserdisc, which is kind of the meat-and-potatoes part here. The controller hardly calls for it, as there's a LOT of slop in response time (see: DAPHNE).

I will agree that Ben is a badass. :)
lupin3rd
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:15 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by lupin3rd »

seastalker wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:56 pm For example, in Ben Heck's video, Thayer's Quest had disc rot.
I'm curious, did he mention whether or not it was identical to the arcade laserdisc?
rhester72 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:23 pm Of course, there's not a thing FPGA can do to recreate a laserdisc, which is kind of the meat-and-potatoes part here.
Well, while that's technically a true statement since the FPGA isn't an analog video player, others have done just that by implementing software that interprets the commands output from actual motherboards to control a "laserdisc" player on a SBC. See the Dexter project for more information.

What's cool about the laserdisc replacement options is that in some cases, higher definition versions of the videos have been sourced or upscaled and cleaned up to create better-than-the-original. Of course, if you're using a MiSTer to recreate an experience as authentically as possible, then you're probably also trying to avoid too much enhancement.
ash2fpga
Posts: 237
Joined: Tue May 26, 2020 6:20 pm
Has thanked: 62 times
Been thanked: 28 times

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by ash2fpga »

rhester72 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:23 pm Of course, there's not a thing FPGA can do to recreate a laserdisc, which is kind of the meat-and-potatoes part here.
The Domesday Duplicator / ld-decode projects may beg to differ. :)
rhester72
Top Contributor
Posts: 1074
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:31 am
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 166 times

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by rhester72 »

ash2fpga wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:02 pm
rhester72 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:23 pm Of course, there's not a thing FPGA can do to recreate a laserdisc, which is kind of the meat-and-potatoes part here.
The Domesday Duplicator / ld-decode projects may beg to differ. :)
That neat! Still, it's acting to assist as part of capture, it's not playing the role of laserdisc LOL
SkinnyV
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:07 pm
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by SkinnyV »

rhester72 wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:49 pm That neat! Still, it's acting to assist as part of capture, it's not playing the role of laserdisc LOL
I don’t think that its exactly true, the Domesday Duplicator hardware is responsible for aiding in the capture but the LD-Decode software basicaly act as a kind of software Laserdisc player. The Domesday duplicator hardware capture the raw RF data from the head of the real LD player and create kind of a disc map of all the grooves of the laserdisc. LD-Decode then interpret that capture and read it similarly as a Laserdisc player would. It is essentially the physical property of the laserdisc stored digitally. So I think it would be somewhat possible on the Mister, but I have a feeling that this part of the process (decoding the captured disc) would probably be more suited to be handled in software on the linux side of thing and not necessarilly on the FPGA chip itself.
seastalker
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:49 pm
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 47 times

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by seastalker »

Does anyone know where this prototype is now? I assume Ben Heck sent it back to the contributor.

It's odd that I have such a fascination with this system that has only two games. Thayer's Quest is so fascinating to me. I don't think I ever played it in an arcade. I had the buggy DVD release (I still have my backup .iso and scanned artwork), and the ending never felt complete or without bug issues. The history of the game, how it was also known as Shadoan all stays with me. I'm no NFL fan, but the game looks fun.

The preservation of this system is important to me, like a Commodore 65 is. It could only live on as a Homebrew system maybe, or via porting Daphne titles to it, but I see why no one would make it a priority. Still, if the community has access to one of the rarest systems, now seems like the best time to preserve it.

Has Ben Heck expressed any more interest to do something with this system?
MrX_Cuci
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 7:09 pm

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by MrX_Cuci »

werpu
Posts: 73
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 7:37 pm
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by werpu »

I really wonder why no one has tackled the Laserdisk Arcade Machines seriously yet, what is the biggest problem preventing to do it?
Can anyone shed some light on this.

Daphne is a dying emulator with no 64 bit support whatsoever and Linux phasing out 32 bit libraries entirely.
Laserdisk machines are such a huge legacy which needs to be preserved and the number of titles is not that huge.
User avatar
Newsdee
Top Contributor
Posts: 829
Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 1:07 am
Has thanked: 98 times
Been thanked: 209 times

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by Newsdee »

werpu wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:48 am what is the biggest problem preventing to do it?
Lack of developer interest, most likely...
User avatar
aberu
Core Developer
Posts: 1138
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:34 pm
Location: Longmont, CO
Has thanked: 243 times
Been thanked: 386 times
Contact:

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by aberu »

werpu wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:48 am I really wonder why no one has tackled the Laserdisk Arcade Machines seriously yet, what is the biggest problem preventing to do it?
Can anyone shed some light on this.

Daphne is a dying emulator with no 64 bit support whatsoever and Linux phasing out 32 bit libraries entirely.
Laserdisk machines are such a huge legacy which needs to be preserved and the number of titles is not that huge.
The most feasible way to do this would be high-level emulation, basically a video player, load the video into the DDR3, and have triggers. There's no reason for it to be FPGA then, I think that's probably the reason. There is nothing inherent about the original laserdisc game experience that is being lost with modern remasters of the games, typically, because they weren't drawing sprites or producing sound with analog sound chips, etc... It's just a movie that has some triggers in software to poll the user for directional input, and then skips to another place in the movie given their input.

It would still be cool, but I am explaining why people are lacking motivation to do this. It's not super easy to playback FMV in FPGA, but there are already ways to do it, however they are lower resolution than something like the laserdisc image which is a different video standard than sega cd/pc-engine cd compressed video. If they were to do it "right" (preservation) it would probably require a lot of work.
birdybro~
MrX_Cuci
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon May 25, 2020 7:09 pm

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by MrX_Cuci »

Maybe this can be ported over to Mister in the meantime since it's SDL2? https://github.com/DirtBagXon/hypseus-singe
User avatar
SwedishGojira
Posts: 57
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 7:26 pm
Location: Sweden
Has thanked: 23 times
Been thanked: 27 times
Contact:

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by SwedishGojira »

The guy who did the MSU-1 implementation for the SNES core (Karl Lurman) is already working on this according to his patreon.
seastalker
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:49 pm
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 47 times

Re: RDI Halcyon Laserdisc Game System Prototype

Unread post by seastalker »

Wow! I just revisited this thread and looked over at Karl's Patreon page... looks like he has continued work on this as recently as April of 2023? I'd be happy with a port of Daphne (now 'Hypseus-singe') even on the linux side (like my goto for all things ScummVM). I know the 'singe' part of Daphne supported the Action Max and now American Laser Games titles... just imagine lightgun support one day on Mister for these titles. Anyone know any status update beyond April 2023?

I don't know why I love the idea so much of preserving two RDI Halcyon games to one day be playable in their original experience. :lol: The football title's footage is on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... jrP2VRXTVM

While we wait... I'll throw out a suggestion. I JUST discovered the ability and joy of playing many of these games via a modded PS3 and RetroNAS (playing .iso files off the server via the PS3's DVD/Blu video player). Years ago I bought all the Digital Leisure DVDs and BluRays released, but loathed playing with a dvd remote. Now with a genuine arcade stick on the PS3, all is rocking on a flat screen...however, I'm looking into the GroovyMiSTer project to get these through my MiSTer onto a CRT.

Post Reply