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Interview with Thierry Lescot - May 07,1998 by JoseQ
Thanks go to Thierry Lescot of System 16 fame for granting this,the very first InterView at EmuViews. Read on and you will find whywas this emulator initially conceived, some info on the next versionof the Emulator and information on the Sega System 16 Emulator as seen from Thierry'spoint of View. On with the interview:

1. Is the System 16 comprised only by the two ofyou (Thierry and Nao)? If yes, how did you find each other? Are youlooking for new additions to the team?

Nao found me :). Sometime after I released the sourcecode, he contacted me with a patch to add zoom support to Altered Beast andmake Golden Axe playable. I proposed to him to join me in the developmentof System 16, he accepted! Right now some other people are working indirectlywith us for some parts like the sound and the CPU emulation.As far as additional personnel I'm searching for right now it's a good Windowsprogrammer to port the emulator to Win 95/98/NT. I have a lot ofcandidates right now.

2. Do you have beta testers? Do you look for certainqualities in them, or just people being at the right place at the right time?

Yes, I have about 20 beta testers, It includes mostly friend users, ROMproviders, and Emulator pages Webmasters.

3. Sega has always been huge in the arcades. Is this why you choseto emulate Sega games or did you have previous experience with similarHardware? Was it a challenge, or you just wanted to play Sega games?

I'm a Sega fan and I always wanted to play a good Shinobi convertion onmy home computer!When I discovered that emulating arcade games is possible (Sparcade), Itried to find someone to emulate my favorite game, Shinobi!I found nobody, so i did it by myself :)

4. What in your personal opinion / experience are the best skills to haveto go into emulator authoring? (I bet patience is one of them)

I learned a lot of stuff, how to program in C and Assembly, how some CPUworks (68000 & Z80), how it's hard to figure out the internal of theemulated graphics hardware without any documentation, and how to ignore lamer's e-mails (veryimportant! :).

5. Which part of getting a certain game to work would you rate the hardest?Which one do you enjoy the most? How long is it usually the time betweendeciding on emulating a ROM and seeing the first sign of life?

To get Shinobi working (I mean to see something on screen), it toke me aboutone week to set up the 68000 emulator and figure the memory map, how to loadthe roms, how to decode the gfx roms, how the emulated hardware used them andhow the interrupts works.My prefered part was to get a perfect video output in Shinobi.

6. Which has been the hardest game to get working 100% and why? Which onehas been the easiest?

The easiest was Alien Syndrome because it was just plug and play with theShinobi hardware emulator. It fullu worked in 5 minutes! :)The hardest in the released driver is Out Run, Nao did this driver and it'snot yet 100% working (missing sound). Why? He will answer you (I hope) :)

7. Do you guys like to re-use code available to emulate certain hardwareor do you always go from scratch?

Yep! Because I don't want to lose my time to write a code that has alreadybeen written by someone else.There are 3 parts not from the US in the System 16 emulator, the 68000 emulator(Neill's Starscream 68000 emulator), the Z80 emulator (Ishmair version) andthe YM2151 emulator (from MAME, writed by Jarek).

8. What are your priorities when you get a game working? Select from(Sound, speed, faithfulness, palette, controls, next game to emulate)

In the order, Palette, Controls, Speed, Sound and Next game.
When we emulate a new game, sometimes the new game uses some features notused by previous games and we need to implement them. These new featuresare the big priority of course.For example:

Altered Beast introduces sprites zooms and tiles page selection.
Time Scanner introduces the vertical display and the pre-System 16hardware.
Shadow Dancer introduces the System 18 hardware.
Space Harrier introduces the second 68000, the road/ground layer andanalog controls.
S.D.I introduces the track ball support.

9. Can you share a little about yourselves? How much time is devoted toS16 on a % basis? What are your all time favorite games? Any outdoorhobbies? Ages? Family?

When I left school in 96, I was jobless and got a lot of free time. Inthat period I started the System 16 emulator 100% of my free time for theemu, later I found a job in the beginning of 97 and got very few timefor the emulator, I planned to drop it but Nao joined me around April 97. Nowthe most parts are done by Nao.
My favorite game is Shinobi!
My hobbies are movies (I go each week to the theater (<-cinema)), listeningmusics and playing with emulators (Mame, Rage, Raine, ...)
I'm living with my parents in Quievrain, a little city from Belgium. (justnear France), I'm single and I have one very nice cat called Minnie :)

10. Next version is coming around Mid May right? Can you list the bestfeatures of this new version here?

  • Speed Up!
  • Nao will rewrite the gfx engine emulator.
  • There is also a new and faster YM2151 emulator and maybe faster Z80.
  • There are 7 new games ready, one is not yet playable. (maybe 8 new games)
  • I also added scanlines support, leds support, mouse support and a screen toselect the game to play when you start the emulator (you can't imagine thenumber of mail I received from people that don't know how to play withanother game than Shinobi) [Ugh! Lamers!]

11. What is happening next? What are you shooting for?

Wait and see ... :)

12. Long term goals on System 16? or will it be "Done" soon?

I think that "done" and "perfect" doesn't exists in the emulation scene :)

Thanks you much for your time on answering these questions. I hope it hasntbeen much of a burden. I will be publishing them in about a week or two, sothe earliest you reply the more time I have to put it together nicely, sendyou beta so you can approve. Thanks again!

Ok, thanks a lot for the interView!

There you have it folks, our very first interview. Hope you liked it. SendComments if any to JoseQ orThierry.

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