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InterView with Neil Bradley - February 19,1999 by JoseQ
Two times InterViewed already and certainly not shy to answeringquestions, Neil Bradley is once again put under the EV spotlight asI asked him a few questions about his latest doings and undoings.If you want to know the latest and greatest details about Retrocade,Windows Retrocade and what's next for Retrocade, take a look at thisInterView to find the answers your looking for. Once again, anInterView with Neil Bradley.

1. So what have you been up to in the recent months?

Working on a debugger for Retrocade in the last month or so to make itmuch easier on the other developers. That, and infrastructurerearrangement and usual bug fixes and game additions.

2. What have been the major highlights in the latestRetrocade developments?

Unfortunately, they aren't that visible to the general public. (Gee, Ihave a feeling this is going to be a BORING interview) We have terifficsound in Space Invaders, Space Wars, and Star Castle thanks to Jason Merloand Peter Hirschberg. We've added 8039 support for sound in the DK seriesof games, and optimized all games to be about 5-10% faster - some as muchas 60% (the Z80 games in particular). Galaga runs full speed with sound ona 486/66 with 64K of cache and a crappy ISA card. We've added Toobin', andwe've got 2151 support now.
Oh, and I'm selling my soul to the devil to get the missing samples forthe Cinematronics games. I'd really like to see those completed. Gettingsamples for them is VERY difficult since a lot of the games are extremelyrare.

That looks like a really lame list. Did I mention the debugger? ;-)

3. Would you expect further releases to come along closerthan previously?

Yes. That was precisely the reason I added in the debugger.

4. When should we expect an actual 1.2 release to be madeto the public? How has the acceptance been for the latestprivate beta?

I'd say it's still 3-4 weeks away. The acceptance has been reasonably goodfor the latest private beta, sans a few stupid bugs I've induced in theprocess of recarchitecting and optimizing. But it's all for the better.

5. What other games are on the to-be-added list for the nearfuture?

For me after Toobin' is 100%, I'm on to Marble Madness. I know Brian Sternis working on 1942. After that, I'm not sure what I'll be up to. Maybe the34010 games again. I know that Brian is threatening to do an ASM T11 andthe Atari System 2 games.

6. Has any of the latest UltraHLE/Nintendo/IDSA happeningsaffected the development of Retrocade?

Not at all. The only way I'd stop doing Retrocade development is if anarcade game company serves me with a court summons.
Nintendo is a bully. The only reason they're "protecting" their preciousMario Kart 14, Kong this, and Zelda that, is because they can't come upwith any original ideas. They're the IBM of the game industry. Overrun bycorporate morons. Any time a game has gone to 7 versions or a companyreuses the same concept or characters (or make sequels) then you knowthey're on the way out.
Yes, Nintendo, get bent. Get *REALLY* bent. Take your jerky performingand flickery behind-the-times console and cram it. I'll stick to my PCwith a decent 3D card.

Oh - did I say I have a vile distaste for Nintendo? ;-)

7. Are there any plans to add games like MK, SmashTV and familyto Retrocade?

SmashTV most definitely, but it will still be a while. I'm leaning towardnot putting in MK. I don't like the game, and also don't care much for thecrowd that it attracts. I've seen the abuse that Alex and Zsolt (from MAMEfame) has taken for "slow performing" 34010 based games from this crowdwho just don't have a flying concept that emulating two 50MHZ 32 bit CPUsand a ton of custom blitter hardware is a real nightmare at best. So goingto that much trouble to get reasonably better performance for a game thatstinks only to be berated by unappreciative ingrates that whine thatMortal Kombat doesn't run full speed on their Pentium 60 doesn't exactlymotivate me to run out and make sure that Mortal Kombat makes its way intoRetrocade. ;-)
I'll probably catch major hell for this, but hey, I'm being honest. I'mnot saying I won't add MK, but I can say the chances of it getting addedare slim.

8. Should we expect major speed improvements over MAME ingames like that like we've experienced in the past?

It depends upon the game. Don't expect miracles out of the 34010 stuff.That's just a hog to emulate at a decent speed, so at best you may see a70% speed increase over MAME. But don't count on it. Alex and Zsolt havesqueezed the blood out of the lemon rind quite well.

9. So when is the Windows version going to be available?

I'll put "soon" in quotes, at least soon for the beta testers. Most of thegames play perfectly. The UI works. Sounds still sucks, but the good newsis that the games all perform as well as the DOS Version. At least on mymachine here. ;-)

10. How much longer are you going to be doing this?

For a while at least, but it's starting to get to the point where all thegames that I want emulated efficiently are emulated efficiently. Once thathappens, I'll drop back to being a back-seat developer and let Brian take it over. ;-) Then I can free up time to goback to doing music and some other projects that have been shelved foryears. I might even do an original game like I've been threatening to do.I started in on it once, but the vortex that is emulation just sucked meright back again. Lots of ideas. No time to do them. ;-(

11. So what other emulation projects would you like to do if you hadinfinite time to do them?

Dynamic recompilation for starters. That's a good unexplored territorywith massive benefits for everyone. I've already prototyped a scriptlanguage cover that will effectively translate a given processor to 32 bitx86 code. It doesn't do anything yet, but I may whip it out in the future.I'd also like to get into doing sound circuit simulation and audioemulation. That's a fascinating topic to me, as it directly applies toemulation/sound generation and to electronic synthesis. I'd also like towrite more vector games. I have always loved the sharpness of the vectorgames.
Oh, and also making an arcade cabinet that's PC (emulation) based. I'mplanning on having a 12" subwoofer in the bottom driven by a 50 watt amp,and of course stereo speakers hooked to the sound card (for full basseffect) My wife has been bugging me to get rid of my uprights. ;-)

I thank Neil for his time in answering thesequestions in a very prompt manner. I am also looking very forward toseeing that Windows port of Retrocade which should amaze all of us,and probably be easy enough to use for my dad back home. Soon is theword we got, let's just wait to see what the future unfolds.

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