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llabnip

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About llabnip

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    Chopper Commander

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    ATARI 2600

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  1. I tend to take criticism from posters newer than me on this site with a grain of salt, but your opinion is noted!
  2. Love seeing these!! Sadly, due to some unfortunate events, I don't have many surviving pics of that era. The best I could do is a photo of me opening my Atari VCS and maybe... Video Olympics. But that day shaped my future - here is a before and after
  3. I just released XEGS-DS 1.5 and A5200DS 2.7 both with frameskip implemented for older DS-LITE and DS-PHAT hardware. This will render thousands of 8-bit games fully playable with all the speed/sounds needed to make them fun. This new Frameskip option is defaulted to ON for older DS hardware and OFF for DSi or above. There are a few glitches after playing about 100 of the more popular games - Buried Bucks won't run properly with Frameskip ON (the dollar signs $$$ sink through the background) and there was a very occasional glitch I saw playing Caverns of Mars though I'm not convinced I have a good dump on that one - need to experiment more.
  4. I know on my A7800DS emulator it's one of the "taller" games - utilizing a bit more of the upper and lower screen than most. I had to scale it down slightly to make it all fit.
  5. It's hand-tuned C code. The main issue is that there's so much to emulate - the CPU (6502), the TIA, the RIOT (6532) and then all the different bank-switching for various carts which is not trivial compared to direct memory reads. And on top of that, the sound and video all need to be converted to run in the native DS space (and the sound is tricky on the DS - they have a co-processor which needs to be coordinated with to get the sound output). Add it all up and the original DS hardware running at 67MHz is barely keeping up. The DSi fares much better at twice the CPU speed. The last Intel-based PC that ran at 67 MHz was the venerable x486 which was introduced in 1990 (ish). And I'm sure that might struggle to run some of these emulators too
  6. All 4 of the emulators I've worked on will run in a normal DS (LITE or PHAT) - however, they will, obviously, run with the slower CPU speed (they also have 4MB of memory vs 16MB but that's not an issue for any of these emulators... it starts to become a problem for larger cart systems like the Megadrive/Genesis). The CPU speed on the DS is definitely a problem. The 5200 and Atari 8-bit will run some of the more common games fairly well... close to full speed. The Atari 2600 is hit-or-miss... games like Spider Fighter, Phoenix, Adventure work fine while many other games just come up short (running at about 80% of the full frame rate and sometimes much less). I have a special build of the A7800DS-LITE that is optimized for the older DS hardware and does NOT support bank switching or some of the more "expensive" video modes. It will let you play some great games - but still only a subset of the full library. However, the DSi is the main target for these - with 90+% of all games (2600, 5200, 7800 and 8-bit computer) running properly.
  7. And to add to the lineup... the XEGS-DS has launched. This emulates an XEGS with RAM upgrade to 128KB (so, really the equivalent of a 130XE). It supports .XEX and .ATR formats only so that the user just has to pick and run... no worrying about cart type, banking setup, chip types, etc. This renders about 95% of the 8-bit Atari gaming library playable at full speed, sound, etc.
  8. I agree - so few things took advantage of the DSi extra memory and speed. I think you can count the released cart games that supported it on one hand (and ALL of them ran fine on a stock DS-LITE/PHAT with just a bit of reduced speed/graphics that most people wouldn't even notice). The DSi does have a nice library of DSIWare games that an only be run on a DSi (not the older models) - and all of those games are now playable from SD Card if you install custom firmware (UNLAUNCH is what I use). The Atari 2600 was a beast to emulate properly on the DS. I only ended up getting about 25 or 30 of the simple 4K games running full speed... but on the DSi things are much better with more than 500 games running full speed and most of the rest are close enough to be playable. A few holdouts are some of the Starpath Supercharger games which run in the low 50FPS and Pitfall II with the DPC cart that will only run in upper 40FPS and without proper music support. But the worst offender? Elevators Amiss Yeah, for some reason it's taken me months of tweaks just to get it up near 40FPS (and it's playable at that speed... just barely). It just hits all of the emulation code in exactly the wrong way and it's chewing up a silly amount of DS CPU time. The best part about these emulators on the DSi is not that the DSi's extra speed/memory is being taken advantage of but rather that a really well engineered handheld makes for a really enjoyable play experience. I've tried and seen some other handhelds for the Atari and they are just not as well built. The DSi can take a pounding and still remains responsive and looks great.
  9. llabnip

    Popeye 7800

    This is looking and playing better than ever! As my old mentor would say, "Good software is only late once. Bad software sucks forever!" [not to imply that what you had before sucked... but you get the point - take your time and you're doing great!]
  10. On the Arcade version it happens if you insert coin and start the game before the attract screen gets to the demo of the main maze. I'm guessing Bob made it arcade accurate in that respect?
  11. As I near completion of the 3 Atari emulators for the DS/DSi, I'd like to take a minute to say what an amazing little handheld this is for classic gaming. With full speed and reasonably high compatibility for Atari 2600, 5200, 7800 plus SMS, Colecovision, NES and TurboGrafx, this handheld is a powerhouse of classic gaming. It's about US$40 for a used DSi XL/LL and about 30 minutes of time to put the right software onto any old SD card to get it unlocked to play all sorts of great games. Here's a few screenshots of the emulators I've worked on.
  12. Not that my humble opinion matters much here, but I'm hopeful we avoid dual-Pokey here. My DS emulator can barely handle one pokey - (plus TIA for a total of six channels of sound) Making the port require dual-Pokeys will make an already niche group of enthusiasts slightly smaller as they might not have the ability to play it properly. Unless the game will automagically handle both Pokey and Dual-Pokey ... in which case go for it
  13. Hey Bob - coming along great! The .a78 doesn’t have either bit set for Pokey so my a7800DS emulator won’t enable the support. I’d expect the PK value in this image to be either 1 or 2 depending on where you want the Pokey to live (4000 vs 450).
  14. It's really fun! However, being that Galaxian (acarde and NES) are both in my constant rotation this is much easier than the arcade version. I know it's early and lots of stuff needs adding - but the attack waves come less frequently and it feels like the ship fires faster than I was expecting. But damn does it look nice and it's an amazing start for 2 days of effort!!
  15. Finally... got it. It was fast timing vs sub-instruction timing. The only real difference is that the cycles are added all at once in fast timing (with the exception of a few page-boundary crossings where an additional cycle is added) vs. tracking the cycles as the instruction is processed. Almost no games are bothered by the difference... and Stella has long since abandoned fast timing for the more accurate timing. I will probably do the same... maybe. In my case, I've made it my mission statement with StellaDS (as well as A5200DS and A7800DS) to make it as playable as possible - games first, accuracy second. For a decade, the vast majority of games wouldn't run at any playable speed on the DS. I've reversed that trend - and now most games are playable at full speed and look good - though not always pixel perfect nor, as witnessed here, with perfect timing. Stella has the good fortune of generally running on hardware that is always advancing and so being more accurate is a laudable goal when the hardware is outpacing the software. In my case, the 64MHz workhorse that is the DS isn't getting any faster and so some trade-offs are necessary. Still... it wasn't a huge step back in performance. About a 10% drop in frame rate (Venture Reloaded still runs at 60FPS and actually will run at 64FPS even with "flicker free" mode turned on which blends the last 2 frames to eliminate the flicker). I'm exhausted. I'm going to go play some Venture!
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