News Roundup: March 9 - May 10
(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.
Speaking of Dolphin, the Gamecube and Wii emulator is still getting a steady stream of automated development builds. The latest revision at the time of writing is 4.0-1546, with recent changes focused on fixes, maintenance, and cleanup. The newest stable build remains 4.0.2 from nearly five months ago. You can get all of these from the Dolphin download page. And there's a rundown of recent improvements in the March and April 2014 progress report.
Macintosh Plus emulator Mini vMac has a handy new helper tool called MiniUnZp, which is an application you can mount and run within the virtual environment to unzip compressed archives created by OS X. It preserves file type and creator as well as the resource fork, although Mini vMac developer Paul C. Pratt cautions that it’s “extremely preliminary.” You can get it from the Gryphel Project software repository.
Java-based PSP emulator JPCSP remains under active development, with new revisions posted multiple times a week. These are automatically compiled and made available for download via Emu Newz and links on the JPCSP homepage. (Note, though, that the past few published builds have been Windows-only software renderer plugin updates.)
The better choice for PSP emulation is currently PPSSPP, however, and it was updated to version 0.9.8 on March 22. This release improves audio mixing and emulation, software rendering, and a host of smaller things, and it also includes a workaround for the timing issue causing hangs in Crash Tag Team Racing. In lieu of an official Mac build, you can get unofficial stable and test builds from Angelxwind. Windows and Android builds are available straight from the PPSSPP website.
8086tiny, a lightweight PC XT-compatible emulator and virtual machine, has been updated to version 1.25. This includes major CPU, graphics, text, and audio performance improvements, as well as support for DOS Plus and CPM-86. It also fixes some BIOS-related bugs. Get it at the 8086tiny website.
Multi-system emulator Mednafen has received a minor bugfix revision (0.9.33.3). You can grab source code or Windows builds from the Mednafen development forums. There's nobody currently maintaining a Mac build, but Ryan P.C. McQuen wrote a script to set up GNU GCC and all required dependencies for you to compile the emulator yourself. A roadmap details plans for 0.9.34 and beyond. NekoLauncher Mednafen remains at 0.9.33.
Tandy Colour Computer and Dragon 32/64 emulator XRoar has been updated to version 0.32. New features include .os9 extension support and joystick menus on the GTK+ interface. This release also fixes keyboard handling and a number of other issues. See the ChangeLog for all the notes. You can download OS X 10.6+ or 10.4 builds from the XRoar website.
QEMU, the open-source processor emulator, has been updated to version 2.0.0. It's not clear how exactly this differs from the 2.0 release candidates, but you can see the full 2.0 ChangeLog here. Source code downloads for 2.0.0 and 1.7.1 are available at the QEMU download page.
Open-source x86 virtualisation tool VirtualBox has a new maintenance release. Version 4.3.10 fixes a bug with the (experimental) native full-screen support in OS X, fixes some issues with 3D support, and more. It's worthwhile taking a quick squiz (that's a slang word for look) at the Changelog if you use the app.
Apple IIgs emulator Sweet16 is now at version 3.0.3. This update adds an all-new About box, rebuilds the internal utilities bundled into the app, updates a macro that auto-generates a lot of the emulation code (to eliminate warnings and some potential run-time errors), and updates the code "that draws the note in full-screen mode". You can download and read the full Release Notes at the Sweet16 homepage.
MAME and MESS frontend/launcher/catalogue QMC2 has been updated to version 0.43. This brings it in sync with MAME/MESS 0.153 and offers a "fair amount" of improvements aimed at improving performance and reducing memory usage. See the change-log (why is there no standard way to write this?) for details, and head over to the QMC2 download page for binaries.
DOSBox launcher and frontend DBGL has been updated to version 0.78. This release adds Arabic translation, fixes a number of issues, adds support for TheGamesDB.net querying, and more. See the changelog for details, or hop down to the download section of the DBGL homepage for a binary.
OpenMSX has been updated to 0.10.1, fixing bugs introduced by 0.10.0. It also extends MIDI support on Mac, adds support for harddisk images in the OSD menu, and provides more fine-grained control over which slot carts and extensions end up in. Take a gander at the Release Notes for a full rundown. You can download source code or a 64-bit OS X build at the openMSX website.
OpenMSX Launcher has also been updated, with version 1.2 adding options to filter databases according to several criteria, examine game properties via a contextual menu, update game extra data, and select a game in the list by typing the first few letters of its name. Check out the README here, and download via the MSX Launchers website.
Gaming-focused Amiga emulator FS-UAE has reach version 2.5.3dev. This merges code from WinUAE 2800 and fixes some build issues, while other builds in the past two months have made the jump to SDL2 and Python 3.2 as well as adding support for .scp floppy images, 256 KB chip RAM, and loads more. Have a read through the release notes included on the relevant blog entries to see a complete list of changes and fixes.
ZX Spectrum emulator zxsp has been updated to version 0.8.0pre24. This fixes a "severe" crash bug that occurred when a USB joystick was attached, along with a few other things. The pre23 build added emulation of the DivIDE hard disk interface. Note also that the download site for zxsp has moved to k1.spdns.de. Update your bookmarks accordingly.
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