VT02+ CHR-ROM Bankswitching
In OneBus mode, VT02+ consoles combine the Famicom cartridge connector's CPU and PPU address lines into one 32 MiB address space, with separate CPU and PPU bankswitch registers pointing to appropriately-placed code and picture data. The bankswitching scheme is based on, and indeed backwards-compatible to, the Nintendo MMC3's. The PPU address range reserved for CHR pattern data ($0000-$1FFF) is divided into 2x2 KiB and 4x1 KiB banks (2x4 KiB and 4x2 KiB in 4bpp modes), with the bank numbers always specified with 1 KiB granularity (2 KiB granularity in 4bpp modes). The final bank number is made up of five components:
- an Extended Video Address (EVA) if Address Extension is active,
- an Inner Bank that resembles the MMC3's bank registers,
- a Middle Bank that can replace zero to eight bits of the lower bank number,
- an Intermediate Bank if Address Extension if not active,
- an Outer Bank that extend the address range up to 32 MiB,
Extended Video Address
If either Background or Sprite Address Extension is active while the respective pattern data are fetched, or either is active while data is read or written via $2007, the Extended Video Address (EVA) provides the lowest three bits of the CHR bank number. Please refer to the VT02+ Video Modes article for information on the way that the three bits of the Extended Video Address are derived.
Inner CHR Bank number
The lower bits bits of the 8 KiB PRG-ROM bank number, constituting the Inner Bank number, are normally the main ones that are manipulated by individual games.
PPU $0000-$03FF: Selected by register $2016 (RV4) AND $FE, akin to MMC3 register 0. PPU $0400-$07FF: Selected by register $2016 (RV5) OR $01, akin to MMC3 register 0. PPU $0800-$0BFF: Selected by register $2017 (RV5) AND $FE, akin to MMC3 register 1. PPU $0C00-$0FFF: Selected by register $2017 (RV5) OR $01, akin to MMC3 register 1 PPU $1000-$13FF: Selected by register $2012 (RV0), akin to MMC3 register 2. PPU $1400-$17FF: Selected by register $2013 (RV1), akin to MMC3 register 3. PPU $1800-$1BFF: Selected by register $2014 (RV2), akin to MMC3 register 4. PPU $1C00-$1FFF: Selected by register $2015 (RV3), akin to MMC3 register 5.
If $4105 bit 7 (COMR7) is 1, then the sources of the $0000-$0FFF bank numbers are swapped with the $1000-$1FFF banks', just as on the MMC3, or in other words, PPU A12 is inverted.
Middle CHR Bank number
The Middle Bank is normally only used on multicarts. It allows masking off and replacing bits of the Inner Bank number, so that several games may be put into one Outer Bank. Bits 0-2 of register $201A (VB0S) select the AND mask that is applied to the Inner Bank number. Only the bits that have been masked off that way are then replaced with the respective bits from register $201A bits 3-7 (RV6):
$201A Inner Bank Middle Bank Effective bits 0-2 AND Mask AND Mask Inner Bank Size -------- ---------- -------- --------------- 0 FF 00 256 KiB 1 7F 80 128 KiB 2 3F C0 64 KiB 3 invalid 4 1F E0 32 KiB 5 0F F0 16 KiB 6 07 F8 8 KiB 7 invalid
A second use of the Middle CHR Bank number is to eschew 1 KiB CHR-ROM granularity and switch 8 KiB of CHR-ROM at once in a CNROM-like fashion, by setting the Inner Bank AND Mask to zero and then using the Middle CHR Bank number as an 8 KiB bank number. A few multicarts use this technique to include CNROM games with minimal modification.
Intermediate CHR Bank number
The Intermediate CHR Bank is only used if Background or Sprite Address Extension is not active while the respective pattern data are fetched, or neither is active while data is read or written via $2007. It provides three bits that go between the Middle and Outer CHR Bank number. A single Intermediate Bank number applies to all six CHR banks.
PPU $0000-$1FFF: Selected by register $2018 bits 4-6 (VA18-20).
Outer CHR Bank number
The Outer Bank number is used mostly by multicarts, but also by semi-large games for which the maximum Inner Bank size of 256 KiB is insufficient. A single Outer CHR Bank number applies to all six CHR banks.
PPU $0000-$1FFF: Selected by register $4100 bits 0-3 (VA21-24).
Final CHR Bank Number
The final 1 KiB (2 KiB in 4bpp modes) CHR Bank number therefore is:
If Address Extension not active:
BankNumber = ((InnerBank &InnerBankMask) | (MiddleBank &~InnerBankMask) | (IntermediateBank <<8)) | (OuterBank <<11);
If Address Extension is active:
BankNumber = ExtendedVideoAddress | ( ((InnerBank &InnerBankMask) | (MiddleBank &~InnerBankMask) ) <<3) | (OuterBank <<11);
This scheme implies that when Address Extension is active, the Inner and Middle Bank number registers must be loaded with values SHR 3 compared to the values they would have if Address Extension were inactive. It also shows that using only Background or Sprite Address Extension, but not both, becomes difficult to use if the Middle Bank is to be used. The Outer Bank is not affected by Address Extension.
Final CHR Address per Tile
The actual CHR-ROM address being accessed depends on the number of bits per pixel and the data bus width:
Address = (BankNumber <<10) + ((TableAddress <<12) | (TileNumber <<4) | (BitPlaneNumber <<3) | Row);
With 4bpp, 8 bit data bus:
Address = (BankNumber <<11) + ((TableAddress <<13) | (TileNumber <<5) | (BitPlaneNumber <<3) | Row);
With 4bpp, 16 bit data bus:
Address = (BankNumber <<11) + ((TableAddress <<13) | (TileNumber <<5) | (BitPlaneNumber.bit0 <<4) | (Row <<1) | PlaneNumber.bit1);
This scheme implies that when 4bpp are used, all bank register numbers must be loaded with values SHR 1 compared to the values they would have if 2bpp were used. It also becomes clear that choosing bank numbers properly when using 4bpp only for background or sprites, but not both, becomes quite difficult and requires careful planning of one's CHR-ROM layout.
Mapping into 16-bit PPU address space
When addressing CHR space using $2006/$2007 in 4bpp modes, the addressing scheme becomes complex, as a single CHR bank holding 256 background and 256 sprite tiles grows from 8 KiB to 16 KiB, which are spread across two address ranges from the PPU's point of view:
PPU $0000-$1FFF: CHR pattern data, bit planes 0 and 1 PPU $4000-$5FFF: CHR pattern data, bit planes 2 and 3
In other words, PPU A14 becomes bit 1 of the bit plane number. The only known game to read data from CHR-ROM to verify its authenticity is Samuri Star Angel, and maybe as a result of this complexity, it switches to 2bpp mode during those reads.