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SNEeSe InterViewed! - June 24, '99 by JoseQ
Well, with all these talk about SNEeSe, don't you think it was about time I got a new InterView going? Well, this time the microphone is placed in front of Charles Bilyue', the author who adopted SNEeSe and brought it back to life. In this InterView we talk about the new SNEeSe and some Nintendo issues related to emulation and their recent legal events. More InterViews are coming soon.

1. Please introduce yourself, and briefly explain how you got connected to emulation?

I'm Charles Bilyue', 17 years of age, now more commonly known as TRAC. I first discovered emulation when, wandering on the web, I found a C64 emulator (can't remember which one :-( ) and a NES emulator (Pasofami), and shortly after a SNES emulator (Super Pasofami) back in ... early '96, I believe it was. I had heard rumors of SNES emulators before that, and heard they didn't work at all, and paid no more than a passing interest to them.

2. What was the first project you worked on, and how can you describe the learning curve compared to other programming experiences that you may have had?

My first projects aren't really worth mentioning... my first major project was a x86 disassembler, which I wrote in, while learning, C (a time after I'd learned x86 assembly). Writing the disassembler while learning C allowed me to learn C very well, and the language itself really gave me no problems.
SNEeSe has been the most complex project I've worked on, to date, containing C, C++, and x86 assembly code, and included my first experience with AT&T assembly, and my first serious experience with C++. AT&T assembly was not hard to get used to, C++ was a bit of a bumpy ride, but learning about the SNES hardware has been difficult, to say the least.

3. How did you get started working on SNEeSe?

I believe Savoury SnaX mentioned in one of the major news webpages that someone who had been helping him left the project... I needed some serious and public programming experience, and loved the idea of working on an emulator, especially for the SNES. I mailed him about it before the 0.13 release, and my first code contributions were in SNEeSe 0.14.

4. What were the main reason SNEeSe was quiet for this long?

Well... SNEeSe, as you probably know, is not the 'best' SNES emulator out there. It's not the fastest (but was much slower), it's missing a lot of features, etc... I've just been trying to bring it to a more reasonable level before I dropped it back onto the public. Also I wanted to get two ROMs that had serious problems to work or be near working (Super Metroid and F-Zero)... Super Metroid still has problems with the SPC/skipper, though it has less gfx corruption problems, however F-Zero works... That, and hardware problems (CPU and hard disk trouble) slowed progress down.

5. Can you mention the major improvements, and/or major barriers that happened between the last release and this one?

Improvements. It's faster, it's not as prone to crashing, and more ROMs work, and of those that work, some work better (less gfx corruption etc)... including some I broke earlier on when I first implemented IRQ (Legend of the Mystical Ninja, for example).
Barriers. well, I still haven't done much with the sound DSP or sound generation, and I've managed to put off implementing windowing due to its complexity... but I wouldn't say any new barriers have shown up.

6. Has it being an open source helped with development in any way?

Not really... though it hasn't been completely open source since the discontinuation. Source has been available on request, but was rarely offered and never advertised. I do intend to keep up with SNEeSe tradition, however, and release the source with every binary update.

7. What should we expect to be included in the next release?
Don't expect too much, and you shan't be disappointed.

8. What do you think about the recent shutdown of freeroms.com when Nintendo sent them an actual handed letter, asking them to take them out? (They sold CDs with Nintendo ROMs).
Selling ROM CDs? Sorry, but it sounds like they were asking for it.

9. How about Nintendo 64 emulation? Do you feel it is too soon, or do you think the time is right?

N64 emulation... as much as I like the idea that people are trying to do it (and in some cases, succeeding), from the response it got, I really have to say it IS too soon. Lamers do seem to ruin everything....

10. How do you feel about the emulation scene as a whole, compared to a year ago? Is it better? More exciting?

Definitely not as exciting, as many platforms have been emulated to a point of stability, reliability, and functionality, that doesn't need much more improvement.
Lamers never help... and there seems to be more every day. Classic arcade and console emulation does seem to have calmed down a bit, and I'd say that IS better.

Much thanks go to Charles for taking the time to answer these questions and helping me with an InterViews comeback. I hope you have enjoyed this one as much as I did. If you wish to contact Charles Bilyue', you may do so at esaelon@aol.com. Thanks for reading!

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