Interviews:DreamSNES team

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This is an interview with Marcus Comstedt, Peter Bortas and Per Hedbor, the creators of DreamSNES. It was taken by Wraggster in 2001. Hi, Can you please Introduce yourself?

Peter: Hi, I'm Peter Bortas. I work together with Marcus and Per on an Internet Software company called Roxen.

Marcus: Hi, I'm Marcus Comstedt. I work together with Peter and Per on an Internet Software company called Roxen (is this getting silly now?)

Per: Hi, I'm Per Hedbor. I work together with Peter and Marcus on an Internet Software company called Roxen (is this getting silly now?) What is your background experience with emulators, which ones do u use?

Peter: As all ComputerSience students I've written a few emulators in and out of class. None other than DreamSNES that are released though. I rarely use emulators but when I do it's either Snes9X to play some old cRPG, or VICE to check out old and new Demos for the C64.

Marcus: Well, I've also written a few emulators in my day. For the Amiga I wrote a TI-99/4A emulator and an ABC80 (Swedish computer) emulator. I've been involved in writing an Amiga emulator that runs on Sun SPARC. The most bizarre emulator I've made was a C64 emulator implemented entirely in LISP(!). The only emulator I've released previously though is the multiplatform Visual Memory emulator (SoftVMS). As for using emulators, I sometimes use the Fusion Macintosh emulator on my Amiga, and I use VGB for doing GameBoy development.

Per: Well, I have written an 6808 emulator (purely CPU emulation, way back, in '91 or so), and started a few others, but nothing really useful. I only use emulators to play some FFII now and then. When did you start to get involved with DreamSnes, How exactly are you involved with this wonderful emulator For the DC?

Peter: Let's see, according to CVS I made my first changes to the Snes9X source on June 30th. As for involvement, I poke around in all parts of the code except the mpeg player.

Marcus: Well, I tend to work on the low level hardware support stuff, like controllers and memory cards and what have you. I'm also doing the assembler optimized CPU assembly core (whenever I get finished with that...)

Per: I got involved at July the 28th 2000, according to CVS. I optimized the options to gcc, and messed around some with the code to get the binary size down. After that, I have been working on most part of the code, but mostly the menu system and the mpeg player. Have you helped any other emu authors that are porting to the Dc. I know of one person that is working on a genesis emu for the DC. Maybe you can assist him?

Peter: People ask me questions about making emulators (and other programs) now and then, and I usually answer them if they are well thought out. I'm not involved directly in any other emulator though.

Marcus: I've been helping Chuck Mason a little with his Gleam!, when he asked for it. Other than that, I can't say I've had much questions from people actually working on an emulator.

Per: Not really, except for answering the odd question on the DCDev mlist. Where did you meet Marcus Comstedt, Per Hedbor & Kathy Choi? (Please Tell Kathy that I love her art its the best)

Peter: Per, Marcus and I met at the Lysator Academic Computer Society ([]). We were all taking classes at the same University. Kathy has a display of her pictures at a web gallery called Elfwood ([]) that I help administer, and when we asked to use one of her pictures as a background for DreamSNES she agreed and even made us the DreamSNES logo. I've said it before, but I really love Kathy for letting us use her pictures. Why did you choose Snes9x to be the Super Nintendo emu you port to the DC?

Peter: Well, it wasn't even an issue of choosing between emulators. Marcus was at that time giving out all sorts of information to the public about how the Dreamcast works internally as he found it out and documented it himself. I thought it would be fun to do something other than pure tests like printing some text to the screen. It should be something that gave quick results, was fun to play with and used as many parts of what Marcus had digged out about the Dreamcast as possible. Snes9X came to my mind because

  • 1. You can play Final Fantasy on it. That's loads of fun.
  • 2. You don't have to do any nice looking graphics, it's already in the game. Makes for quicker results. (We hadn't recruited Cathy yet.)
  • 3. It has potential to use controllers, mice, light guns, display, 3D-hardware, Puru-Puru packs and lots more.
  • 4. I had looked at Snes9X source before and know it to be well written and easily understood. What is the Future of DreamSnes, what might be added to improve it?

Peter: I will have my Puru-Puru support. The original SNES didn't have one you say? Bah, one shouldn't be stopped by such trivialities.

Marcus: What really needs improvement is the burning procedure. My aim is to have an automated tool (platform independant of course) to handle the procedure. What do you do in your spare time when your not online?

Peter: Sleep, socialize with friends, read books.

Marcus: Spare time? Not online? What do you mean?

Per: Sleep and read books, mostly. Do you think you will try to Port over any other emus to the DC for Ex: Mame, System32, Turbo graphic16, Callus or UltraHLE etc.?

Peter: Maybe, I've been playing with another emulator, but it's all vapor right now.

Marcus: I'll probably take a shot at porting over my old TI-99/4A emulator when DreamSNES 1.0 is finished. Do you or anyone you know have any plans to port anything to the PS2?

Peter: Yes, I have some vague plans, but I haven't been playing with my PS2 for a while. Do you think that the Dreamcast is the best console to port Emulators to because it's Windows CE compatible and will it be dificult to port to the PS2?

Peter: It's the best console to port emulators to at the moment because

  • a) the amount of publicly available information about how to code for it is only rivaled by the GameBoy, and
  • b) it's the first console to be fast enough to emulate the SNES generation of game machines.

WindowsCE has very little to do with it. It wouldn't be that hard to port to the PS2 for someone who knows how the basic hardware works.

Per: WindowsCE has nothing to do with how easy it is to port emulators to it, really, since it's not possible to release emulators using it. On the other hand, the hardware in the DC is really easy to code for, that's more important than the existence or non-existence of devkits that cannot be used. If there was anything you wanted to say to the people that use your Emulator or fans of the Dreamcast what would that be?

Peter: Save cities from certain annihilation! Find the hidden game in the DreamSNES X-mas release!