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Tekken 3 playable? Lets talk PSEmu! - May 27, '98 by JoseQ
One thing that most of the time goes hand by hand with Emulation, is Nostalgia and old games. Some exceptional people tend to think, that shouldn't be the case. They have showed us that Emulation is taking one CPU where it has never gone before. In this case, two special people, Tratax and Duddie, decided they could make an Intel Processor do the work of this popular console ...ahh, whats it's name... Oh yeah! Playstation. A console that is still selling and that every now and then makes the headlines with great new games. For this and many other reasons, we decided we really wanted to InterView them, and we got the chance. Thanks to them for allowing me this InterView. Without further ado... Here is the InterView.

1. For introduction purposes, can you introduce yourselves, and state your responsabilities in the team?

First of all: Here (at opposite side) comes Tratax! He is genius coder, Corvette fan and my really good friend! Huh, I'm lamer. Or maybe I should say leader of lamers called Vision Thing. I'm not responsible in any way! Nor responsible for other lamers. :) Recently, we used to be lazy and we did not take care about anything else than doing nothing. About myself: I'm 26, Male, 172cm, some kg (but light one!). Living in Poland (communistic country in Central Europe! - for all morons over there). Having: 1 wife, 1 cat, 0 kids, 1 car, 1 PC, 1 Amiga, 2 PSX. Missing: Free time!

Hmmm .. some information about myself. Duddie already told you I am a genius coder, but he forgot to say that I am a little bit too lazy to do programming. Maybe it is because I am driving in my Corvette too much? As iD software proves, the faster the car, the faster the code ;) I'm 21 years old, Fulltime UNIX programmer, and I live in Holland near to Amsterdam.

2. How long have you been working on the PSemu?

A lot of... soon there will be one year. In early stages of PSEmu, work on it got about 8-10 hours daily... now it gets 8-10 hours monthly.
I've been thinking of playstation emulation for over a year now, especially about a clever way of emulating the CPU. Actually *working* on it, hmmm I gave duddie a little bit of help in the beginning of PSEmu and have been working (slowly) on a recompiling R3000 core since then.

3. How long have you been working on Software Projects in general?

Hmmm... for about... 15 years.
Aside from the little hobby projects, which never got finished, about 3 or 4 years now.

4. Has this been the more challenging ever?

Yeah... However it is much easier than AI. :) But this was mainly hacking... and w/o PlayStation and documentation (any!) it was really hard... Now... I have PSX with PAR and also there is a lot of documents on the net... so... Next time I start such job... I will wait for others... No reason to bother.
I have never seen such weird bugs as with the recompiling R3000 core, but it is mostly just as difficult as you want it to be. Easier programming comes with a speed penalty. But I would say .. yes this is the most challenging software project ever.

Now, emulating a PSX can be no easy task. Even when the hardware layout was always described as simple, it is very powerful, and you have to do everything with vitually one chip and a non-customized OS.

5a. What got you into emulating the PSX?

Hmmmm... brain? :)
Amiga emulation was already taken .. ;) I wanted to know how the R3000 worked, and when I found out it was quite simple I started to think that PSX emulation would be possible, so why not try that ?

5b. Why now and not wait till more powerful PCs are available? Do you think today's PCs equipped with good 3D Hardware acceleration can do what the PSX does?

Now PCs are enuff... Just my code is lame!!!
I consider my P2-333 with Monster 3D-2 and Riva128 to be the 'target system'. This means .. this setup should be able to run games on a playable speed (this does not include MDEC (movie) emulation speed !) PSEmu DOS is using VERY slow routines. But it was the first PSX emulator, so getting it to work was more important than speed.

5c. What speeds have been achieved with the Windows version of PSEmu?

Acceptable... If over 100% is acceptable of course! :) ... but this happens on PII/3dfx systems... :)
I am currently working on a 3dfx emulation for the GPU, and if the raiden project menu is any indication, I would say 100% speed is definately possible for some games. It all depends on the kind of things games do with the hardware though. Some things could run too fast, while others would still be slow.

5d. What have been the bigger difficulties faced while working on the PSEmu?

Before: Lack of info.... unability to hack (without hardware it is really hard). Now: Lack of time... making money or my wife will throw me and my comp.
I am a fulltime programmer. This means I spend all day in front of a computer screen. Now, when I get home from a days work I dont feel like sitting in front of a computer all night too. So lack of time/lazyness/motivation (its just how you want to call it)

5e. Will the Professional version be free as well?

Probably Yes... but we are waiting for offers :)
I think Duddie has already answered the question.

5f: What are the following steps before the release?

Sleep, vodka, girls, food, work, music.... etc. Something else but not working on PSEmu.
And for me .. get the 3dfx GPU to run correctly in PSEmu Pro. Then do a Direct3D and OpenGL version of the GPU. Add the improved CD-ROM routines from PSEmu DOS 3.0+++, and we have a release candidate.

6. Is there some kind of schedule for your next releases or do you also restrict the public from knowing whats happening?

Hmmmm... we do not know exact time. We would like to know... I will tell You: "Ask Tratax!" and Tratax will tell: "Ask Duddie!" .... So then I will simply put question into trashcan.
Unfortunately software programming is not like a bus schedule where you can say 'the next one comes in one hour/week/month'.
Instead of releasing a version each month with 'bugs' or a version that runs slower but runs this and this game, we like to release a version without too much trouble. We are getting to a stage where fixing one game breaks another. Now, not being flooded with e-mails telling us this and this doesnt work, helps too :)
If we could be working on this fulltime, development would speed up tremendously, and we would have nearly perfect PSX emulation with X-Mas.

7. Can you give us a sneak peek at exciting features we should expect to see in the Windows PSEmu?

Speed!!!!!!!!!! Bleh... No more VESA 2.0 problems (or I should say.... "No more lame dudos vesa routines!!!").And compatibilty of course....
Speed, ease of use, compatibility, support for your 3D accelerator and more correct looking games due to a fixed GPU. All those games like CROC, Hardcore4x4 with those ugly looking Grey areas will be properly texturemapped.

8. Do you think you will be able to emulate the PSX 100% faithfully?

For those days... yes... but not 100%... I have not even seen 100% emulator... Just we will be happy to have it 99%....
No, we cannot emulate the PSX 100%, there will always be things that wont be working. But if you can play Final Fantasy 7, Gran Turismo, Tekken3, Soul Edge .. etc .. on your PC, it is OK . right ? :) [Damn Right!]

Changing subjects and moving to Emulation in general...

9. How do you feel about the legal issues surrounding emulation?

Emulation is kind of pirating (there is legal disclaimer at every console: "Do not disassemble, etc... bleh"). But I suppose that we are better for Sony when we make it. They do not make money out of selling consoles. They make money selling licenses for software!!! And emulator is not a pirating tool! So if someone pirates software there is no matter what he will use for playing this: console or emulator?
Emulating a computer is no problem. It will never be as easy to use and as good as the original. The reason why emulation is connected to piracy is because of the SOFTWARE. Most (older) consoles use ROMS, which cannot be plugged into the PC. This means you need a console copier to get an image. And people owning those copiers do not care about piracy and spread those images.
The PSX is different. With PSEmu you can use the ORIGINAL CD's, there is no need to 'copy' any software.

10. PSX is a farely recent machine which still sells a lot, have you been contacted by Sony about buying / destroying your software?

Nope... but they really do not care. They know that PSX^2 is almost ready... so we are not real competition... and todays PCs are too weak for handling machines like N64/Katana/PSX^2
If Sony would be selling our emulator, they would effectively say 'The PSX is dead, buy a PC', so they wont do that. In a way, they are already 'emulating' the PSX, by porting a lot of successfull PSX titles to the PC. There will be a PSX emulator anyway, Sony cannot stop it. We've had mails from people who said: 'I liked your emulator soo much I bought a few PSX CDs and also a PSX (in case the emulator doesnt run all games)'. I think Sony will officially 'ignore' PSX emulation, and enjoy the extra games sold due to emulation.

11. If you were to do it all over again, would you choose PSX again? Why?

Yeah... It is similiar to Amiga! I love this machine... normal CPU (not Intel based: however Intel's are fast!!!). And I love Soul Edge! I will do everything to emulate this game!
What else is there left to emulate besides the PSX ? Saturn is technically very ugly. N64, cool hardware, unfortunately a GoldenEye and Super Mario 64 emulator would be as usefull as a full emulator..

12. Whats next? DreamCast? What is your next project after you think you're done with PSEmu?

Vodka!!! TA DA! And then? Hmmm... I suppose it will be time to write hard-coded PSX game!
I dont think I will be working on another emulator. I have been thinking of maybe trying a PSX emulator on the N64 using the CD64 CDROM unit. And, it would be nice to have time for other things again.

Thanks a lot for offering again!

You are always warmly welcome... and pliz, tell all ppl to not bother... reading 100 mails daily begging about new version only slows down development.
Take care, and hope to read soon from you :)
No problem, good luck with your site!

Now to all of you that send letters about when this and that new version is coming out, DO NOT DO IT!. It only SLOWS DOWN DEVELOPMENT. Get it? This is true for all emulators, please stop the asking. If they don't say a date it is because they don't know. The only time they now is when its coming out, and by then, you know that they know what you wanted to know. So go play some MAME or something. And of course come back later for some more neat stuff at EV :)

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