Interviews:Scherzo

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This interview with Scherzo was taken by Maturion on May 13, 2008.

Do you have any (active) Dreamcast projects or are you focusing on other projects/systems?

No, sorry to say that I don't have any side projects going on right now. The effort I give at work really drains my desire to program. I'm not ruling out coming back and doing something. If I did I would probably clean up some loose ends with NesterDC SE. I would also like to make a game completely from scratch.

Why did you create NesterDC SE?

There are many reasons I decided to improve upon NesterDC. First, there is so much stuff I love about the NES beyond the games; the music, the art, the gigantic cartridges themselves. And while I have a good collection of NES hardware I wanted to create a virtual museum of NES goodness. Second, there were compatibility issues with the last version of NesterDC and I saw it as a good challenge to fix them. I had never really worked on an emulator before and saw this as a chance to see how one functions.

How long have you spent working on this project and what difficulties did you have?

I'd say it took me a good year to put it all together. Lots of time was spent outside of coding, collecting and organizing the media of the various features of the project. Debugging the CPU core was tricky. To figure it out, I ended up building a windows version of Nester that used the DC optimized CPU code. I would run the modifed one along side an untouched NesterJ, with each of them logging the CPU state to files. I would then compared logs and try to pinpoint which combination of register values and opcodes that caused them to diverge. It was very rewarding to pull off.

Another feature I'm particularly proud of is the stereo separation of the NES sound channels. I had heard this done in the NotSoFatso Winamp plugin and was amazed at how much cooler my favorite NES jams were. I didn't think that I was going to have enough free CPU to work with. But it all came together.

How was feedback of the community to NesterDC SE?

Aside from a few things that I simply did not have the energy or time to complete, I achieved everything I wanted, and people in the community really seemed to appreciate my work. There was other great work going on at the time. So I was rather surprised to win Favorite DC Emulator in 2006, especially since it was a derived work.

Why and when did you start with Dreamcast programming?

I first started coding for the Dreamcast because not enough was being done at the time in terms of SNES emulation. I wanted to see if I could have success optimizing Snes9x ported freshly to Dreamcast. It didn't go as well as I hoped and DreamSNES was still faster. But I tried.

What do you think about the future of the Dreamcast-Scene and the Dreamcast-Scene now?

The Dreamcast remains a very powerful system and capable of hosting just about anything that anyone can conjure in their imagination. I think there will always be a handful of developers actively working on Dreamcast related projects. They are just going to come and go. If people are still making things for NES and the Atari 2600, why not the DC? There's never been a video game console that makes it so easy to develop.

Thank you for your time.

Thanks.