News Roundup: July 11 - August 24

mossy_11 on Wednesday, 27 August 2014. Posted in News

PlayStation Portable emulator PPSSPP has been updated to version 0.9.9.1. This fixes a few issues discovered in the 0.9.9 release, which added support for the mp3 and aac codecs and PMP video format, fixed a number of graphical issues by adding CLUT/paletted texturing from framebuffers, improved vrot CPU instruction emulation, and much more. Mac builds are still not officially supported, and the angelXwind site that normally hosts unofficial builds seems to be down, but PPSSPP forum-goer slavezeo put together a script that can be used to compile the emulator with only a little modification.


Nintendo Wii and Gamecube emulator Dolphin apparently received hundreds of code optimisations in July, resulting in big performance improvements, fixes to long-standing bugs, and even a few new features. Read the typically-fascinating Progress Report for a rundown of the most notable changes. They've also got a review up on the Dolphin blog for the Mayflash DolphinBar, which is a USB sensor bar designed to work with Dolphin and as a mouse replacement. If you're after new builds, there's a steady flow of automated development versions appearing every day.


It's been a long time coming, but ScummVM 1.7.0 was released in July. Five new games are supported, including 1996 claymation The Neverhood. Changes include "many" improvements to the UI, an OpenGL backend and enhanced AGOS engine, and updated MT-32 emulation. You can read a full breakdown of the changes in the release notes. Get it from the ScummVM download page.

Continue reading for more updates, including GBA on Bizhawk, loads of FS-UAE development builds, new Hatari, and more.

News Roundup: June 15 - July 10

mossy_11 on Saturday, 12 July 2014. Posted in News

Emulicious, a Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Master System, and Sega Game Gear emulator written in Java 1.6, is now available. The current version has built-in IPS patching, palette and tilemap viewers, a memory tracer, a debugger, and more. The developer also built an Alex Kidd in Miracle World editor, which looks pretty handy for would-be ROM hackers.


Atari 2600 VCS emulator Stella has a major update available. The 4.0 release ports Stella to SDL2, allowing native hardware acceleration. Other changes and additions include preliminary support for the DASH bankswitching scheme, a hidecursor command-line option, an updated PNG library, and more. Head over to Stella's news page for the full list.


GSport, an Apple IIgs emulator, has been updated to version 0.31. This build introduces AppleTalk networking emulation with bridging to EtherTalk (online multiplayer!), allows pasting of (text) clipboard contents from OS X, and fixes a few bugs, among other things. You can see the full breakdown here.

Continue reading for more updates, including Dolphin progress, new versions of Mednafen and Shoebill, and more.

News Roundup: May 11 - June 14

mossy_11 on Sunday, 15 June 2014. Posted in News

Sixtyforce lives! After many years of development and a trickle of releases, Gerrit Goossen's Nintendo 64 emulator has hit the big 1.0 milestone. Additions include improved controller configuration and support, a new timing mode, new low-level graphics processing, and more, while there are also a bunch of bugfixes. See the release notes for full details. And remember to pay for a licence if you'd like to see better Nintendo 64 emulation on the Mac.


Nintendo Wii and Gamecube emulator Dolphin has shed its 32-bit support — although that shouldn't have much of an impact on us Mac users. Development highlights from May include a wide-reaching fix for indirect texture coordinate computation, fixed external frame buffer width/height handling, improved DVD seek timing, and a change to frsqrte and fres calculations (they were too precise) that fixes scores of problems. The latest dev build at the time of writing is 4.0-1859, with the most recent stable release dating back to 4.0.2 from the start of the year.


Macintosh II A/UX emulator Shoebill has been updated to version 0.0.3. This release adds support for PRAM and full-screen mode, plus you can now restart/shutdown the virtual machine without it crashing, and Shoebill uses less CPU when A/UX's scheduler idles. Get it from the Shoebill GitHub page, and follow the discussion on E-Maculation.


Game Boy emulator DMGBoy got a major update in May. Version 2.0 adds Game Boy Color compatibility and a GUI debugger, as well as a nifty 3D model of the original Game Boy that you can play your games on (see video below). You can also now resize the window in real time, with no change in aspect ratio. On my Mac it was throwing up wxWidgets errors on run, but it seems to work just fine if you suppress these. Get it from the DMGBoy Google Code page.

Continue reading for more a series of minor emulator updates, including new Mednafen, Bizhawk, and Bochs builds.

News Roundup: March 9 - May 10

mossy_11 on Saturday, 10 May 2014. Posted in News

(I had this one half-done three weeks ago, and only just now got a chance to wrap it up. Hopefully we'll be back to a monthly schedule on these from here on out.)


Arcade emulator MAME has been updated to version 0.153. This release brings big changes under the hood, with major revisions made to modernise the core, user interface, OSD layers, drivers, and devices. Be sure to read through the What’s New document for a detailed rundown if you’re at all interested in the project and/or its goals. As always, you can get more general information and source code from the MAMEDev website, and there’s a Mac-specific binary on the SDLMAME site.


Multiple system emulator MESS has also been bumped up to version 0.153, with the most notable additions being support for 1979 console Bandai Super Vision 8000, the UK Apple IIe models, Serbian computer Pecom 32, and two systems I’ve never heard of: the Samsung Gam*Boy I and AIWA MegaCD CSD-GIM. See here for the full list of changes, and here for 32-bit and 64-bit SDLMESS binaries.


Macintosh II A/UX emulator Shoebill is making great progress. Developer Peter Rutenbar is reporting that A/UX 3.0.0 now runs, although there are still some issues. 0.0.2 boasts modest speed improvements and bug fixes, and it removes the need to supply your own kernel. You can download it or grab the latest source code at GitHub. Keep an eye on the E-Maculation Shoebill thread if you're interested in the project. Next up will be A/UX 3.0.1 support (maybe).


Recommended reading this month comes in the form of an article on the challenges of pixel-perfect Gamecube and Wii emulation, with specific examples of how Dolphin has tackled these in the past and present.


Continue reading for more emulator updates, including 8086tiny, PPSSPP, QEMU, openMSX, FS-UAE, and more, plus a helpful app for opening OS X archives in Mini vMac.

News Roundup: December 28 - March 8

mossy_11 on Sunday, 09 March 2014. Posted in News

My apologies on another late roundup. I’ve been busy. It was worth the wait, though, as we’ve got a huge one this time round, including a few new emulators.


There’s a new Macintosh emulator under development! Shoebill currently emulates a Mac II running A/UX (versions 1.x.x through 2.0.0), which was Apple’s implementation of Unix some 20+ years ago, although it will eventually support booting Mac OS. It’s early days yet, with the 0.0.1 release dropping just last week, but this is the first emulator that supports A/UX and it also emulates the MMU (which other Mac emulators don’t, so we could finally have some leaps forward if somebody manages to decouple the MMU code from Shoebill). See this E-Maculation thread for discussion, or head to GitHub for a download link and screenshots. (Thanks WatchSmart!)


Shoebill isn’t the only new emulator for us to play with; 8086tiny holds claim to the title of “the world’s smallest portable, highly-functional PC emulator.” True or not, at 28K (with comments) the source code is at least tiny. It emulates an 8086 CPU plus all standard PC peripherals, and its disk images should mount out of the box in OS X. I haven’t had a chance to test it myself yet, but this looks like a great choice for running DOS or early versions of Windows. You can learn more about 8086tiny and download the source code from its official website.


Multi-system emulator BizHawk has been updated to version 1.6.0. This release adds Sega Genesis and CD support and OpenGL video output, and it also fixes some issues with stability, audio throttling, and opening NES games. Check out Sappharad’s forum thread for more details and a download link.


WatchSmart pointed out this very cool browser-based Mac Plus emulator, RetroWeb, which comes with a number of built-in games and apps and seems to run at a decent frame rate in most current browsers. You can load your own disk images, too, but that’s not really the point here — this is an easy way to reminisce or to show other people what Macs were like 25 years ago without going to the hassle of setting up Mini vMac. (It uses PCE for its core, in case you were wondering.)


Continue reading for more updates, including a full complement of Mac-on-Mac news, a new way to play a classic, progress on a NeXT emulator, and more.

News Roundup: November 2 - December 27

mossy_11 on Monday, 30 December 2013. Posted in News

After years of development, OpenEmu, the frontend to rule them all, is finally out in an official capacity. Combining Apple-like skeuomorphic design and polish with iTunes-style ROM organisation, support for a plethora of gamepads, and a plugin system that integrates individual emulator engines as “cores”, OpenEmu mostly (it has its flaws, I’d argue) lives up to expectations as the emulator for the rest of us. The official release (available here) comes in two flavours: a 1.0 build with around a dozen 8-bit and 16-bit consoles supported, and an experimental build that adds a bunch more systems and cores (including PSP, Saturn, and N64) that aren’t quite stable enough for the prime time. Congrats to Mucx and company on the overwhelmingly positive reception it’s had so far.


Nintendo 64 emulator Sixtyforce has been updated to version 0.9.8. This release brings Retina support, PAL video timing, a new full screen mode, loads of bug fixes, and “several” major optimisations. Download it from the official Sixtyforce website, and remember to register to encourage Gerrit to take more time out of his acting career to work on it.


After yet another lengthy delay, Sega Saturn emulator Yabause is back with a big release obscured by an incremental version number. Yabause 0.9.13 adds support for mdf/mds dumps, CD+G, and the Saturn mouse and 3D control pad. It also improves the user interface and emulation, gets Netlink up and running, adds SH2 debugging features, and fixes CD audio emulation. The devs are actively recruiting translators and technical writers to help out, too. Learn about all this, and more, at the Yabause website.

Continue reading for Mac floppy emulator hardware and more updates, including new PPSSPP, Sweet16, Mednafen, Mini vMac, and more.

News Roundup: September 23 - November 1

mossy_11 on Wednesday, 06 November 2013. Posted in News

PlayStation Portable emulator PPSSPP turned one this week, and to celebrate the developers released version 0.9.5. This adds post-processing shaders and fixes loads of bugs and emulation issues. Head over to the PPSSPP news page for more details, and download an unofficial Mac binary here (requires SDL).


Open-source virtualisation tool VirtualBox got both a major and a minor update in October. Version 4.3.0 added USB touch device emulation, SCSI CD-ROM emulation, and loads of other things, while 4.3.2 fixed bugs in the virtual machine, GUI, and more. See the changelog for more details.


Sappharad was on the forums recently updating us on the progress of his Mac port of multi-system tool-assisted-speedruns-focused emulator Bizhawk. The latest build is 1.5.2, with recent additions including TI-83 support and loads of bug fixes. There’s still no native user interface, but the main Bizhawk team is refactoring the code to make it easier for someone to do this (if anyone’s up for the task). See the MacScene forum thread here, grab the download here, or check out the Bizhawk Google Code page for more details.


ScummVM celebrated its 12th birthday in style with a super cool visualisation (embedded below) of the history of its codebase. Even if you don’t understand the slightest thing about coding and classes, this will give you a great feel for the scale of the project and the 58,000+ commits made by hundreds of coders. If you’re looking for a more narrative-based history, head over to Ars Technica for my big feature on the project from last year.

Continue reading for more updates, including OS X PPC guest support in QEMU and new versions of RPCEmu, zxsp, CocoaMSX, Mednafen, and more.

Happy 20th Birthday Myst

Niemann on Tuesday, 24 September 2013. Posted in News

I was really confused. I'd just woken up on a dock, next to a boat with no sails, after a crazy sound and a video of a guy falling into a book. What the heck was going on? I had no idea at the time, but I was witnessing the crowning achievement in an otherwise dying genre.
I was lucky enough to grow up with a Macintosh with a reasonably good CD-ROM drive (not sure if it was just me, but I always had the worst luck with those things). My Dad told me he'd gotten this adventure game that a bunch of guys at work had been talking about and I should try it out. Everyone was playing Myst. If you were a nerd, geek, computer programmer, computer programmers son or daughter; if you were walking around a CompUSA or your local comic book store, you were playing or talking about Myst.
Myst was a pretty basic adventure game, filled with riddles and constant running back and forth trying to discover what that last switch you hit changed. It was beautiful and you were driven by a desire to discover what was behind the next door than racking up points or killing something. This was truly a game of exploration, it was simple, it was beautiful, it was the last game like it.
A few months later in 1993 everyone would be playing Doom, and suddenly video games would never be the same. Myst feels like the end of an era, but twenty years ago I was a happy kid sitting in front of a small computer screen forgetting the dangers of the world and wondering why there was a dentist's chair in the middle of a deserted island.