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ColEm Emulator for Windows, Android, and Linux

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Posted (edited)

Seconded. A configurable global default palette would be useful.

 

Love this stuff. I remember playing with COLEMDOS.EXE back in the 1990's. Setting up Andrew Bond's Console Menu. Dicking'round with CWSDPMI. Downloading shit from freeflight.com and Dave's Videogame Classics. Making separate boot disks (or multiple configurations) to get the most memory - though emulators never seemed to need that much fussing over. And going back through the readme.txt files is quite amusing. Good times..

 

In retrospect I now, today, think of the time from the mid-1990's to about 2001 as the first phase of all emulator development. The need to get classic games preserved and emulated in whatever form possible was the driving factor. It was a novelty to be able to play 10 and 20 year old consoles on a PC. New fresh hardware. A novelty to bring the actual arcade game code home and run it.

 

The second phase from 2002 to about 2015 was all about improving accuracy and expanding emulator capability to run everything. Most of the logic and program flow had been figured out already. Compatibility was the name of the game. It was also the beginning of interfacing real controllers to the emulator via adapters and hacks.

 

This third phase we're in right now seems focused on modernizing the user interface and experience. Adding controls and options to the U.I. to fine-tune the emulation experience. Things like video/TV effects and shaders. Polishing menu presentation. Increasing CRT representation with accurate dot sizes and aspect ratios. Cross-platform development. Things like that.

 

I wonder what happens in the 4th phase?

 

(I was thinking of making the above mini-rant a separate discussion elsewhere but I was too lazy.)

Edited by Keatah

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17 minutes ago, Keatah said:

I wonder what happens in the 4th phase?

That's the artificial intelligence phase.  Emulators will play you instead of the other way around.  😁

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No, phase 4 wil be the age of cheap FPGA "systems on a chip" with 100% compatibility at the hardware level. Emulators will become completely obsolete when this happens.

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2 hours ago, zyzzle said:

No, phase 4 wil be the age of cheap FPGA "systems on a chip" with 100% compatibility at the hardware level. Emulators will become completely obsolete when this happens.

It is both excessive and near impossible to get right, given that FPGAs have their own timing limitations.

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Some advantages of software emulators are that they can benefit from developer teams and commonplace hardware. Seems every household that gets into this hobby has more than enough computing power. An i7 idles along at just a couple percent when running things like emulator Stella for the VCS. And on the later chips there are 7 4GHz cores sitting around doing nothing. A lot of untapped potential for more complex systems and increased accuracy.

 

Not sure I see the same headroom with FPGA chips unless you get into the uber-expensive varieties. There are chips costing upwards of $35,000.

 

And most FPGA projects are solitary endeavors on specialized pieces of hardware. To me that's limiting. But who knows what will be in 5 years from now.

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I was talking about 10 to 20 years into future, but of course for now emulation provides much more configurability, user base, and programmers (!) at vastly reduced cost compared to FPGA. What costs $35,000 now in FPGA might cost $35 twenty years from now.

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1 hour ago, zyzzle said:

I was talking about 10 to 20 years into future, but of course for now emulation provides much more configurability, user base, and programmers (!) at vastly reduced cost compared to FPGA. What costs $35,000 now in FPGA might cost $35 twenty years from now.

Yes, but why? While I fully understand emulating something like PlayStation GPU in FPGA, what is the point emulating a Z80 or TMS9918 there? They are simple, well defined hardware designs which you can run at 10x speed using 10-year old mobile ARM CPUs. FPGA exists for accelerating things your CPU cannot run well enough. 8bit stuff is not one of these things, mostly.

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Hello, All!
 
I have released ColEm 5.0 for Android, a new version of my Coleco emulator:
 
 
This release is based on the latest Windows/Linux ColEm 5.0, released last week. It finally adds complete Coleco Adam home computer emulation, with keyboard, disk drives, and tapes. Both disk (.DSK) and tape (.DDP) image files are now supported and can be run from the File Selector. The "Settings | Emulation" screen adds options for Adam emulation and virtual keyboard. Since Adam emulation is still very new, please, let me know if you experience any issues with it. Hopefully, these should be gone in the next few months.
 
Additionally, the "Change Folder" dialog now contains buttons for all your storage devices, such as SD cards and USB flash drives. To select a storage device, simply select "Change Folder" from the File Selector menu, click on your storage device, then click on "Ok". As you remember, I had to disable cheat features to avoid Google staff banning ColEm from the store. You can easily reenable cheats though by downloading this file to your Downloads folder:
 
ALL CHANGES:
* Based on the latest ColEm 5.0 sources.
* Coleco Adam emulation is now fully operational.
* Added support for Adam disk (.DSK) and tape (.DDP) files.
* Added "Settings | Emulation | Coleco Adam" option.
* Added "Settings | Emulation | Coleco Adam Keyboard" option.
* Added "Settings | Emulation | ColecoVision Keypads" option.
* Added list of available storage devices to "Change Folder" dialog.
* Added available storage devices to the top row in AndroidTV UI.
* Changed message indicating that Android denied a directory listing.
 
PS: ColEm Deluxe is currently on $2.99 sale for the next few days:
 
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fms.colem.deluxe
 
Enjoy!

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Hello, All!

 
I've just released the free ColEm 5.1 for Windows and Linux, with the source code for those interested in porting ColEm to other platforms:
 
    http://fms.komkon.org/ColEm/ -- homepage
    http://fms.komkon.org/ColEm/ColEm51-Source.zip -- portable source code
 
This release adds configurable global color palette (via ColEm.pal file) and fixes state saving, loading, and rewind for Adam software. I have also added support for more Adam-specific keys. Please note that since Coleco Adam emulation is very new, it may have bugs. If you encounter any problems, or any Adam software that does not run, please, report it here:
 
 
ALL CHANGES:
* Added Coleco Adam state saving, loading, and rewinding.
* Added support for more Coleco Adam keys (see documentation).
* Disabled loading disks or tapes with no Adam firmware ROMs.
* Added support for default palette file named ColEm.pal.
* Now able to supply .PAL filename to -palette parameter.
* Changing palette in Windows no longer resets emulation.
 
Enjoy!
 
PS: AlmostTI, my Texas Instruments programmable calculator emulator for Android, is currently on $2.99 sale:
 

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On 6/8/2020 at 1:25 PM, Ikrananka said:

I found that one has to open the .pal file AFTER loading a game rom.  Loading it beforehand doesn't work.  Also, when doing a CV system hardware reset the new palette is unloaded and you have to again reload the .pal file.  This is rather annoying.  It would be better, in my opinion, to allow the user to specify a custom palette file to use (via the Hardware > Color Palette menu) and that this custom palette is used every time the emulator is started and stays even with a "hardware reset".

In ColEm 5.1, I implemented global ColEm.pal palette file support, extended -palette parameter with ability to supply a file name (like "ColEm.pal") rather than a number, and also made sure the palette is not reset when resetting the hardware.

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16 hours ago, GarageResearch said:

In ColEm 5.1, I implemented global ColEm.pal palette file support, extended -palette parameter with ability to supply a file name (like "ColEm.pal") rather than a number, and also made sure the palette is not reset when resetting the hardware.

Thank you - that's working great.  I really do appreciate you making that change.

 

My only other suggestion would be to somehow indicate that a custom palette file is in use.  At the moment if I use a custom palette file, ColEm still shows in the Hardware > Color Palette menu one of the three internal palettes as being selected.

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Hello, All!
 
I have published ColEm 5.1 for Android, a new version of my Coleco emulator:
 
 
This release is based on the latest Windows/Linux ColEm 5.1, released last week. This release fixes a bunch of cloud-based features, such as State Exchange, Network Play, and Box Art Downloader. I have also fixed a crash on some AndroidTV devices when getting the list of storage locations.As you remember, I had to disable cheat features to avoid Google staff banning ColEm from the store. You can easily reenable cheats though by downloading this file to your Downloads folder:
 
ALL CHANGES:
* Based on the latest ColEm 5.1 for Windows and Linux.
* Fixed stray crash on AndroidTV when obtaining the list of storage devices.
* Fixed State Exchange feature.
* Fixed Network Play feature.
* Fixed box art downloader.
 
PS: Speccy Deluxe, the complete version of my Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Sam Coupe emulator, is on $2.99 sale this week:
 
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fms.speccy.deluxe
 
Have fun!

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