RSS Feed
  0 users browsing Emulation. | 1 guest  
Main » Emulation » Revamping my Genesis/MD emulation workbench
Pages: First Previous 1 2
Posted on 19-03-02, 01:14

Post: #44 of 88
Since: 11-04-18

Last post: 185 days
Last view: 185 days
Posted by Kawa
Posted by DonJon
your website is probably the most retro, "old internet" thing I've ever seen, no joke
Have you seen some of the rest of this server?


oh yes, but even something like this page doesn't feel quite as retro as something like this for whatever reason, I feel.Just going by design alone that is, regardless of which page is older
Posted on 19-03-02, 01:43 (revision 1)
Not from my cellphone

Post: #182 of 660
Since: 10-30-18

Last post: 1 day
Last view: 4 hours
Posted by sureanem
Do you really want for people to put themselves through the pain of writing software for Android, let alone iOS?

As much as I hate to say it, assuming you're writing for PC only, writing Windows-only software is perfectly sufficient. Windows-targeting code runs with native performance on all major platforms, while code targeting OS X or Linux only runs on their respective operating systems.


So we non-Windows users have to suck it up and either buy/pirate Windows just for ONE piece of software, or even worse, deal with another pile of bugs (Wine) that few developers are willing to support (most of them will tell you "why you just don't install Windows?! CLOSED WONTFIX NOTABUG NOLONGERWELCOMEHERE"). Got it.

Look, I get that dealing with UIs and console-specific abstractions are hard to develop (I know, I've been there, there is no silver bullet which will magically make everyone happy). But telling your users "you will use Windows or ELSE!" is a very bad way to keep users... how do hipsters say nowadays, ah, "engaged" to your product. Maybe it works for you since you don't game on Linux, maybe you gave up, or maybe you're willing to support hackishy ways to run your Windows-only emulators under Mac/*nix, but certainly (and I speak from personal experience: for example, running Fusion under Wine was a very VERY hit-or-miss experience, often with a severe performance hit when it worked) I don't.

If anything that means I'll simply ignore Windows-only products and not recommend them to anyone that asks for me to advice, no matter how good is the product. And believe me, there are plenty of developers willing to endure the pains of multiplatform development (there are quite a few on this very board), because we believe that offering choices is worth the efforts. Telling me "Wine offers near-native performance" sounds a lot like those defending Electron "apps" ("hey, it's native!" Except that it isn't).

Anyway, that's not exactly the point of this thread, so I'm not interested into pursuing a discussion regarding the topic.

Back to topic: the Sega Retro wiki claims HazeMD does support the 32X, but said emulator eventually merged into MESS... and that merged into MAME! Cool, another emulator I can add to the list. But on the other side, it's MAME, the least user-friendly emulator ever made :/

Posted by DonJon
Posted by tomman
Now that I have a new 32X emulator (PicoDrive), I feel the need to update this "thing" I did well over a decade ago:

http://mi.tsdx.net.ve/32Xbench/32XCRAShTEST_en.htm


your website is probably the most retro, "old internet" thing I've ever seen, no joke

Simpler times, indeed!

Another fun fact: those test result pages were generated with Excel 2002, which pollutes the resulting HTML with a lot of proprietary garbage, really bloating up those simple tables, because MS considered it was nice for everybody to preserve the original workbook contents, including formulas so you can edit back on Excel, because that's totally what users wanted when exporting anything to HTML to publish on a website. (OpenOffice/LibreOffice doesn't fare much better: you lose document edition capabilities, yet you end with hundreds of kilobytes of highly redundant CSS rules)

But hey, no multimegabyte Javascript frameworks involved!

Licensed Pirate® since 2006, 100% Buttcoin™-free
Posted on 19-03-02, 01:55
Has a random title and you don't

Post: #152 of 479
Since: 10-29-18

Last post: 3 days
Last view: 5 hours
Posted by DonJon
oh yes, but even something like this page doesn't feel quite as retro as something like this for whatever reason, I feel.Just going by design alone that is, regardless of which page is older
you just had to pick the example that was tested on NCSA Mosaic, didn't you? 😸
Posted on 19-03-02, 16:09
Stirrer of Shit
Post: #62 of 717
Since: 01-26-19

Last post: 67 days
Last view: 65 days
Posted by tomman

So we non-Windows users have to suck it up and either buy/pirate Windows just for ONE piece of software, or even worse, deal with another pile of bugs (Wine) that few developers are willing to support (most of them will tell you "why you just don't install Windows?! CLOSED WONTFIX NOTABUG NOLONGERWELCOMEHERE"). Got it.

No. The reasonable approach is to either develop using cross-platform frameworks, in which case it doesn't make much of a difference to port it (e.g. just a straight recompile), or to write for Windows but to test your software on Wine.
If you write code targeting Windows XP/Windows 7, and don't use too exotic features, it usually works quite well.
For instance, rumor has it that Blizzard, while not officially wanting to support Linux due to unclear PR reasons, went out of their way to make sure their games ran smoothly on Wine. It might be true, it might be false, but it's a matter of fact that the latest version of World of Warcraft runs with a "platinum" rating on Wine.
Anecdotal evidence: most Windows-only games I play nowadays work fine on Wine.
Posted by tomman

Maybe it works for you since you don't game on Linux, maybe you gave up, or maybe you're willing to support hackishy ways to run your Windows-only emulators under Mac/*nix, but certainly (and I speak from personal experience: for example, running Fusion under Wine was a very VERY hit-or-miss experience, often with a severe performance hit when it worked) I don't.
...
Telling me "Wine offers near-native performance" sounds a lot like those defending Electron "apps" ("hey, it's native!" Except that it isn't).

How, do you mean?
I downloaded Kega Fusion 3.64 (Windows) just now and ran Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with Wine 3.20 (32-bit). It ran stably at 60 FPS, when I enabled "Fast Forward" it shot up to "999" FPS. I don't have too much experience with Kega Fusion or the Sega Genesis, but I couldn't see any performance issues.
Do you have a specific game in mind that didn't work when you tried it?
It's true that Wine was utter garbage only a few years ago, but nowaday it tends to work quite well. The only issue I could find with Fusion was that the GUI looked ugly as hell like with any other Wine application (that black text without anti-aliasing on the gray background).

As for Wine being native, it really is. It's a shim between the Windows and the Linux APIs. In the way if functions, it's closer to chroot than VirtualBox.
Posted by tomman

Anyway, that's not exactly the point of this thread, so I'm not interested into pursuing a discussion regarding the topic.

Fair enough.

Posted by tomman

Another fun fact: those test result pages were generated with Excel 2002, which pollutes the resulting HTML with a lot of proprietary garbage, really bloating up those simple tables, because MS considered it was nice for everybody to preserve the original workbook contents, including formulas so you can edit back on Excel, because that's totally what users wanted when exporting anything to HTML to publish on a website. (OpenOffice/LibreOffice doesn't fare much better: you lose document edition capabilities, yet you end with hundreds of kilobytes of highly redundant CSS rules)

But hey, no multimegabyte Javascript frameworks involved!

Try using "save" instead of "export". It still uses inline CSS, but there isn't any bloat more than that.
Sample, where I randomly colored some of them blue:

Alternatively, if you're okay with having to edit in the colors yourself, try exporting to CSV and then converting to HTML.

There was a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination. You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It was a photograph something like this.
Posted on 19-03-04, 16:58
Not from my cellphone

Post: #186 of 660
Since: 10-30-18

Last post: 1 day
Last view: 4 hours
Heh, I thought I had a complete 32X set.

I even spent the entire week downloading the 32X CD library over this pathetic excuse of DSL connection (seriously, a 6-hour download became a week-long nightmare)... all seven gigabytes (4.4GB compressed) of pure, stinky, rotten garbage straight out from 1994! Six terrible games spread along eleven discs: four of them belonging to Slam City (so a single game has like a third of all discs released!), and the odd case of Fahrenheit where the game was the sole combo pack release ever made, containing both the vanilla SCD and the 32X-enhanced version on the same box, yet both discs are required as a crude form of DRM (the SCD disc acting as a key disc for the 32X version; you can't boot it otherwise). The things I do because I seem to have a weird fixation with the ill-fated mushroom...

And then, turns out there IS an undumped retail game: the Euro version of Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 (released there simply as Motherbase). The existing dump is only for the NTSC version - for some reason the PAL release have eluded dumpers for over two decades. The game was officially released in Europe in mid '95, the cart does indeed exist in places nowhere near from cart dumpers (and reportedly it fetches high prices when sold online), and the ROM is unique as the NTSC version is region locked. So much for game preservation efforts there...

PicoDrive doesn't stop surprising me about the quality of its 32X emulation (on which there have been no code commits in over a year), but the last surprise wasn't exactly a good one: the infamous Mars Check Program (often believed to not be compatible with the final retail hardware as it was believed that the program was targeting pre-release hardware, which now looks like it wasn't the case) does a flawless run on it... and then, during one of the SH2 DMA tests (#123 for those curious), the emulator just aborts. For reference, Fusion aces the entire test suite, and there are reports that the ROM indeed also works fine on retail consoles. Every other emulator -including Gens- fails miserably this check.

I was also gladly surprised of finding quite a few pieces of 32X homebrew out there: from your basic "let's draw some bitmaps and spin some figures" demos to full game ports, including Wolfenstein 3D/Spear of Destiny (complete with audio, savegames, and very respectable performance!), Rick Dangerous (through a port of xrick), JPEG/PNG decoders, and music players of all kinds - NSF, SID, YM, and of course, Chilly Willy's MOD players that will put your PWM emulation to shame. There is even a CD32X enabled version of the latter, being a world first as the only homebrew for The Expensive Cable Monster™. Sounds like the mushroom is a interesting target for porting old DOS games, if you can get them to work with the limited RAM storage and slow ROM access times.

Soooo... bMars fucking when, byuu? Shit games deserve to be preserved too!

Licensed Pirate® since 2006, 100% Buttcoin™-free
Posted on 19-03-04, 22:50
Post: #11 of 32
Since: 12-21-18

Last post: 26 days
Last view: 26 days
Posted by tomman

And then, turns out there IS an undumped retail game: the Euro version of Zaxxon's Motherbase 2000 (released there simply as Motherbase). The existing dump is only for the NTSC version - for some reason the PAL release have eluded dumpers for over two decades. The game was officially released in Europe in mid '95, the cart does indeed exist in places nowhere near from cart dumpers (and reportedly it fetches high prices when sold online), and the ROM is unique as the NTSC version is region locked. So much for game preservation efforts there...

Hey, sometimes stuff gets missed. Especially from consoles prior to GBA when the warez scene was buying everything to stretch their e-pen releasing it onto the Internet ASAP after release (and begging to give them even bigger e-dicks with pre-releases).
I know in like Game Boy and Game Gear, English games would just get dumped and be automatically labeled as "US/EU" (assuming that both regions got identical releases, or even released at all in both regions).
Or another possiblity that was that they were dumped, without documenting the cart origin, and they spread online to ROM datters like Cowering who probably didn't really have the time to thoroughly research the origins of each of the bajillion games they datted.
I'm sure there's still GB games on No-Intro listed as US/EU which haven't been verified identical with documented redumps from both regions (cart label IDs, photos, etc.)
I know at least on GG, there was thankfully some huge fans like SMS Power willing to sort out mislabeled releases in more recent years.

You know the Japanese Mega Drive version of Marble Madness was apparently undumped until at least 2014 when suddenly THREE people bought the game to dump and submit to No-Intro? (they probably just saw the western EA version and assumed it was the same game)
Hardly the only example of a missed game. And that missed game happened to turn into an expensive game, that could be a reason. Not everyone can just fork out for a pricey game to dump it.
Posted on 19-03-05, 00:02 (revision 1)
Not from my cellphone

Post: #187 of 660
Since: 10-30-18

Last post: 1 day
Last view: 4 hours
> Hardly the only example of a missed game. And that missed game happened to turn into an expensive game, that could be a reason. Not everyone can just fork out for a pricey game to dump it.

And there you have a new problem: scalpers and collectors have a big reason for such games to stay undumped, because having a ROM dump in the wild supposedly devalues their prize. While bit rot is not a problem (yet?) for mask ROMs, eventually all copies of the game will disappear, and it will be lost forever. I've seen this happen quite a few times with protos, but I guess that it's just matter of time for retail games to be hit too, given the current insanity around the retrogaming market.

Then there is the case of Surgical Strike, where the current rip comes from a reproduction released in Brazil a couple years ago, from what I was able to read around some sources...

Oh, and notaz just replied me to my bug report on the Mars Check Program: he gave a reasonable technical explanation of why the program crashes (he says the ROM has a bug, it only works on real hardware by sheer chance due to caching, and even a bugfix for the ROM), why this test ROM is useless for most emudevs (it tests for features not used on retail games), and properly fixing this would be one of those cases of "too much for nothing" (in terms of performance and development costs). So there is it - a very reasonable answer from a emudev that know that people downloads his emulator to play videogames, not to mess with obscure corner cases that no commercial game would even exploit. Not great news for accuracy enthusiasts, but no gamer (outside PokéRAWMz hunters) would ever bother running said test ROM in first place (the audio tests are particularly ear-grating)

Licensed Pirate® since 2006, 100% Buttcoin™-free
Posted on 19-03-05, 23:15
Not from my cellphone

Post: #191 of 660
Since: 10-30-18

Last post: 1 day
Last view: 4 hours
The rumours were real: MAME does indeed run 32X ROMs.

I managed to install MAME 0.182 from Debian Stable, as I can't build anything newer in the meanwhile for as long as I experience those connection woes (Testing/Sid do have the newest 0.206, but I'm not moving there yet this time, mostly for the same reasons). But then, there is no big loss: apparently there have been no improvements to the Genesis/SCD/32X cores since then - apparently Vtech kids junk and weirdass East European computers from the Iron Curtain era have far more followers and curious hackers working on those than the unlovely black mushroom everybody loves to hate :/ Anyway, just added the emulator to my 32X testbench.

MAME also claims support for the SCD32X abomination, except that I didn't managed to get any ISO running under such a setup: it just hangs at the Planet Earth background splash from the SCD BIOS. Regular SCD games do work fine (tested with Sonic 1 Megamix, as this is the only plain SCD game I have at hand right now). Same for 32X games, but don't expect to get homebrew running on this thing anytime soon (most demos and ports I tried didn't went past a black screen), plus performance sometimes takes a nosedive... even on my Sandy Bridge i5, but I guess that's expected from a (supposedly) accuracy-focused emulator.

Also... oh god, MAME. Its reputation as the least user-friendly emulator is still there after all those years! (Last time I used it was like 15 years ago or something). It now comes with a GUI, except that it's a complete clusterfuck of pure unusability! The docs are hardly useful:
3.3 MAME Menus
If you started MAME without any command line parameters, you’ll be shown the game selection menu immediately.
While the keys listed above will let you navigate the menus, you can also use a mouse.
[todo: This needs SERIOUS expansion. Waiting on answer to a few questions..]

Yes, I'm not making this up! The UI shows a list of systems, but all you get is a lovely "you're missing required BIOS/CHD files" every time you try to do something. Soooo... fuck the GUI, I'm walking the CLI path as it seems to be far more useful.

Crash course on how to run Genesis/32X/SCD games on MAME:
0) Figure out what's the name of the system you want to emulate (look here, or run "mame -ll"). Every region is a separate system. Every addon combination is a separate system. Remember, an Euro 32X (32xe) won't run Japanese (32xj) ROMs!
1) Look for the firmware/BIOS files information you're going to need - either run "mame -lx <system>" or, again take a look here.
2) Most likely you already have the required firmware, but not packed as The Gospel According to MAMEdev preaches. Take the XML you generated in the previous step, copy&rename the firmware files (ensure the hashes match!), and zip them to the expected system names (i.e. 32x.zip => 32x_m_bios.bin+32x_s_bios.bin+32x_g_bios.bin). Place that zip file at your MAME ROMs path (which will be $HOME/mame/roms if you're using the stock Debian packages)
3) Now you can play your sucky games: mame 32x -w -video opengl -cart junk.bin
(Or for CDROM games: mame segacd -w -video opengl -cdrm someFMVshit.cue)
4) Use TAB to figure out the key mappings among other things

What a MESS, yo.

Licensed Pirate® since 2006, 100% Buttcoin™-free
Posted on 19-12-07, 18:12 (revision 1)
Not from my cellphone

Post: #603 of 660
Since: 10-30-18

Last post: 1 day
Last view: 4 hours
I've pretty much switched to BlastEm as my main Genesis/MegaDrive emulator - it works nicely, can run the AWESOME Overdrive demos, and performance is great.

There are still a few gotchas present that keep me away from ditching Fusion/PicoDrive for good:

- No SCD/32X support yet.
- BlastEm can be very picky with ROMs doing unsupported/nasty stuff - instead of the emulated console simply hanging, the emulator will abort/crash (!!!). From trying to read some VDP registers at the wrong moment to executing multibyte Z80 opcodes, all you get is an error message and a dead emulator.
- For whatever reason, RESET is somewhat unreliable - you have to reset the emulated console TWICE in order to actually reset your game (note that BlastEm only seems to support soft reset)
- The custom "Nuklear" UI is awkward, particularly for setting up unsupported gamepads (if your gamepad is not recognized as a supported model, forget about it. Yes, I do have a X360 gamepad. No, I won't be using for Genesis games, as it layout SUCKS for those)

If you can live with those limitations, switching to BlastEm is a wise move you won't regret. Plus you get proper support for Overdrive 2 (I want a Sonic hack using that supasekret blending mode AKA "who said the Genny can't do transparency?!").

Licensed Pirate® since 2006, 100% Buttcoin™-free
Pages: First Previous 1 2
Main » Emulation » Revamping my Genesis/MD emulation workbench
Yes, it's an ad.