(Click here for 2004 updates)
12/23/2003: I realize it's not as exciting as a pretty picture, but self tests are important for emulation. This is the self test from NFL Blitz '99. The only two Seattle games remaining MIA are Hyperdrive and Vapor TRX. I have boot ROMs for these two, but no hard disks, so if you have a lead, please point me in the right direction!
12/21/2003: Well, add another lost prototype to the list. This is a screenshot from Midway's Biofreaks. I guess this was actually released as a console game at some point, but this is the original arcade version running on Seattle hardware. It's pretty much unfinished — there's no attract mode, and definitely some bugs in the camera movement, but most of the characters seem playable. Sadly, it's a pretty weak fighter, even in comparison to weak fighters like War Gods. In other news, the update I submitted that includes Biofreaks also includes a fully working California Speed as well. Turns out the hard disk which fails the checksum test in the boot ROM successfully passes the game-specific checksum test in the disk-based selftest code, go figure.
12/19/2003: Wow, that was a tricky bug. Turns out nobody was ever saving the FPU condition codes in the R5000 core, so if you took an interrupt between a compare and a branch on the result of that compare, you would hose the compare. This led to all kinds of nasty. The graphics are still very glitchy (I took a bunch of screen shots and this was the best one), but we're seeing most of the geometry now. However, the glitches in most of the Seattle games are now gone as a result. I also fixed the W-buffering on the 3dfx emulation to be closer to what I think is correct. This fixes some minor glitches in a few of the Seattle games.
12/16/2003: At last, some geometry in a Vegas game. Turns out there must be some bugs in the interpreted R5000 core that aren't in the dynarec core. Once I fixed the very elusive crash in the dynarec, things started showing up. I still need to add backface culling and figure out why the clipping plane is so close, but things are progressing. Road Burners also shows a little geometry. The Gauntlets are still stuck behind some sound problems. Of course, I also need to go back and figure out why the interpreter isn't running the games properly. So much to do, so little time....
12/15/2003: Call off the hounds! I've got everything I need now, thanks! Note that I have been told that San Francisco Rush 2049 uses a Voodoo 3, so no progress on that for quite a while. Let's focus on the Voodoo 2 games first.
12/13/2003: As a follow up to yesterday's posting: I have hard disks for NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC and San Francisco Rush 2049 but no boot ROMs for them. If anyone can help me track those down, I can post more pretty pictures.
12/12/2003: As you can see below, several of the Atari and Midway Vegas games are now booting. These are very early screenshots, but they look pretty. The Voodoo 2 emulation is mostly working for FMV and static screens, but it's falling over when actual geometry is being rendered. In the last shot below, you can see this because none of the world is being drawn, just the overlays on top of a plain blue background. In addition, the games are kind of flaky at the moment, crashing MAME sometimes, and none of them work yet with the dynarec R5000 core. And finally, though Gauntlet: Dark Legacy and War: Final Assault work with the new ADSP-2104-based DCS sound core, the others fall over at the moment unless I help them along. So all in all, some exciting developments, but there's still quite a ways to go to get things stabilized.
12/11/2003: Happy birthday to me. Do you recognize it yet?
12/9/2003: Well, after a frustrating night trying to get this to work, I'm finally getting somewhere with my Voodoo 2 emulation....
12/6/2003: I finally got ahold of a copy of the Armed & Dangerous demo disk, which as I mentioned a while back has a free copy of Sam & Max Hit the Road on it using my new SCUMM engine. Sadly, there seems to have been an error while mastering the disks. Several people have mentioned that sound cuts out when reaching the circus tent, and sure enough it does. A little investigation has shown that the last 16MB or so of the file "MONSTER.SOU" is all zeros on the CD. I haven't heard anything from LucasArts regarding a potential fix for this, but if you have the original DOS CDs, you can take "Sam & Max Hit the Road.exe" from the new CD and copy it to your hard disk, then insert your DOS CD and run the new executable. Alternatively, you should be able to copy the entire SAMNMAX folder from the new CD, along with "Sam & Max Hit the Road.exe" to your hard disk, then copy over the new "MONSTER.SOU" with one from the DOS version. If I hear any news from LucasArts on this matter, I'll keep you posted!
12/5/2003: Turns out that California Speed revealed a few bugs in my 3dfx emulation. Bilinear filtering was adding too much error to allow for chroma keying, which is used a whole bunch. There was also a misunderstanding in how the "a_other" term was computed, which prevented all FMV sequences from displaying anything. And finally, this is the first game to use palettized 8-bit textures, and there was a bug in how the palettes were uploaded. The upshot is the game still crashes, but it looks much prettier along the way! I also spent a little bit of time looking at the Vegas sound system, which has some quirks of its own....
12/2/2003: Well, I finally decided to figure out what the heck was up with California Speed. Turns out there were a few subtle problems in the PCI configuration code when setting up the 3dfx card. With that fixed, I was able to map the proper self-test button, and finally hook up all the controls. Then came some ugly sound synchronization issues. Like Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey, this game won't boot unless the sound is working. After some fiddling, I was able to get it to work. Unlike San Francisco Rush, this one starts up and is playable, though there are some obvious color issues (well, not so obvious here, but it is in other screen shots).
However, it doesn't last too long until we hit a snag. Much like San Francisco Rush, we get some math errors and the game freaks out. I really hope this doesn't mean I have to add full floating point exception support....
11/30/2003: Back from Thanksgiving festivities, and we have a new entry in the Seattle oeuvre. More later when I have more time!
11/21/2003: Well, I think the new CHD format seems to be working okay. It turns out that the hard drives for the Seattle games are often copied onto much larger hard drives, so finding one on the "factory original" hard drive is a bit tricky. It also means that if you compress the hard drive, it will often have garbage data on the end that makes the resulting CHD much larger than it should be. For example, the Mace hard disk I have is a 3.2GB hard disk, but most of the data on there is garbage and irrelevant to the game. I've been looking into ways of reliably "chomping" away the garbage. My current experiments have Mace down to a svelte 130MB, down from 1.2GB.
11/16/2003: Thanks to a bit of ROM tweaking, we now have the original NFL Blitz.
11/16/2003: Well, just in time for Thanksgiving, we have a new CHD format. The next version of MAME will require you to update your CHDs. Now don't worry, you can do it yourself using the chdman utility (formerly known as hdcomp). Why the need for an updated format? Well, the existing format was close but not quite general enough to do everything we wanted to support other things like CD images and whatnot, so I re-engineered the CHD format to be usage-neutral. In fact, the code that actually implements the format doesn't know anything about hard disks, sectors, cylinders, etc. I also beefed up the compression a bit so you can get SmallCHD-like sizes in an officially supported manner. There are a also a bunch of other small tweaks & features in the updated format that make it overall a pretty nice improvement.
11/11/2003: Also updated my MAME Log and MAME Drivers pages.
11/11/2003: Well, vacation time is over, sadly, so my MAME pace will be slowing once again. One last bit I was able to get going was some progress on T-Mek. It turns out that the prototype version we've had sitting there for a long time actually has no protection. What it really needed was a fix for the video side of things, and I think I've managed to get that right. Unfortunately, the sound ROMs for the prototype version are not correct, so although sounds play, they are not the right sounds. In addition, I was able to get the "official" version of the game closer to working, though some of the graphics are incorrect due to unemulated protection. The final upshot of all this is that you will have two options: you can either play the prototype version, which has correct graphics and gameplay, but plays the wrong sound effects. Or you can play the official version, which has bad graphics, but seems to play okay and has the correct sound effects. Neither is perfect, but it's the closest yet to T-Mek emulation, so it will have to do for now!
11/7/2003: Okay, it's time to let the CAGEd bird sing.... The CAGE system is working, and we now have sound in Primal Rage, T-Mek (what little there is to see of that game), and San Francisco Rush. Sounds pretty good, too! I also fixed up the EEPROM saving on the first two games, which has been broken for many moons.
11/5/2003: Finally submitted the Seattle driver last night. Not everything's 100%, but 4 games are playable. Well, playable being a relative term for how much you can stand playing games at 20-30% of full speed on a 3GHz machine. :-) Also, I did manage to improve Offroad Challenge ... the terrain is correct, but there is still a bug that clips out the cars. CAGE is coming along, but sounds horrible at the moment. But at least San Francisco Rush has some music, if you define music as a random sequence of notes coming out of your speaker at various times. :-)
11/2/2003: Since it turns out that San Francisco Rush uses the CAGE audio system (shared by Primal Rage and T-Mek), guess I'll have to try to get that working again as well (I failed the last time I tried!) I'm thinking there is a bug in the TMS32C031 core, and I'm hoping I can find it so that Offroad Challenge might fall into the playable category as a side-effect ... wouldn't that be nice?
11/2/2003: A little more progress. I almost have mipmapping working correctly on the 3dfx emulation. I also updated my MAME To-Do List list to reflect more accurately things I might actually work on and/or care about.
10/31/2003: Now that I have some real time to dedicate to MAME again, progress is happening! I recently submitted an updated DCS sound engine that works 100% for WarGods and several of the Seattle games. I managed to play all the way through CarnEvil (~50-60% full speed on my 3GHz machine — and that's the fastest Seattle game I have). And here, finally, is a screenshot from a new Seattle game I just got up and running (click to enlarge). More to come soon!
10/28/2003: Woohoo, vacation time! And a much-needed one at that. One of the things I'm planning to catch up on is some good old fashioned MAME action. I've already resurrected a certain driver I was working on many months ago with the namesake of the major city I now live near, so with luck, I will finally get around to finishing that, or least beating it into a submissible state. Besides, with the addition of the Namco polygon games, my crown as the owner of the slowest driver is in serious jeopardy!
10/24/2003: Seems to be a bit of controversy over this whole CHD shrinking business. Here's my take, since I designed the CHD format: the CHDs were never designed to work that way. I consider it an abuse of the format, and have asked for the code to be removed from the official hdcomp utility. If you want to crunch your hard disks down because you've got too much warez on your machine and can't afford the less-than-$1/GB price of an extra hard disk, feel free to use an unofficial tool to shrink your hard disks. Just don't come crying to MAME Testers with problems unless you're using a CHD that was produced with the official tools.
10/22/2003: Well, hey, it looks like the preview disk for the new LucasArts game Armed & Dangerous will include a copy of Sam & Max Hit the Road using my updated SCUMM Engine. The only way to get this previously was to import one of the LucasArts Entertainment Packs from Europe. I'm glad to see U.S. adventure gamers will finally get a chance to play this classic on their modern systems.
10/20/2003: In the interest of adding actual content to my site, I would like to unveil the new Atari Game Number List page. There are still a few holes, but it's definitely the most complete list I've ever seen. Oh, and enough with the riddles for now. The answer to the side project riddle is of course the emulated classic Star Wars on the Rebel Strike: Rogue Squadron III bonus disk for the Gamecube. I had to write the emulation from scratch, but luckily I had already done a PowerPC assembly core for the 6809 back in my Mac days, so a big chunk of it was already done. The final release of the game has more than just Star Wars to play with, by the way. The answer to the Hard Drivin' screenshot riddle is that it is a right-hand drive car. Apparently, special versions were made to be sold in Britain. Look for a big pile of Atari polygon game variants sometime in the future (and you thought there were a lot of Gauntlet variants!)
10/18/2003: Ironic that there was an article about Namco releasing Tower of Druaga as a bonus game the same day I linked to the Gamecube site, but no, I have nothing to do with that. Actually, it seems Namco is just following the lead of the project I helped out on, since you can already buy the bonus disk for that one and play an emulated arcade game. The full version should be out this coming week. I've already had one correct guess via private email, but it should be pretty obvious with the new hints. And the riddles keep on coming.... what's wrong with the picture below? (click to enlarge)
10/17/2003: Answer to my previous trivia question regarding Gauntlet: there were 20 officially released versions, including 6 2-player versions, and various Spanish, German, and Japanese versions. Counting 4-player English variants alone, there were 7 releases with various bugfixes (wish I knew what they were!) Regarding the long-overdue side project mentioned a couple days ago, you may be able to find some clues on this site.
10/15/2003: Well, after getting dissed by Mr. Belmont on the MAME Forum, I feel it necessary to update my site again, just to stay ahead of the competition. Anyway, I did want to mention that a project I was doing on the side a year or two ago is finally (and I mean finally — legal stuff's a bitch, ain't it?) going to be released as part of a bigger package in the next few days, so be on the lookout. Since I'm still feeling coy, I will just say that it is MAME-related and doesn't run on a PC, and leave it at that. :-)
10/14/2003: Yes, I'm still here. I need to get back in the habit of updating this thing now and then! I managed to scrape together some time to finally fix the Atari polygon games I broke a few months back with one of my timer changes. Of course, that ended up breaking a few other things in time for MAME 0.75, but I think I've figured it out now, so if you grab 0.75u1 everything should work again. I also took some time to add some clones of various early games, like Food Fight and Cloak & Dagger. There's a lot more clones coming. Quick trivia question: how many official releases of the original Gauntlet do you think there were, including non-English versions? Stay tuned to find out!
9/22/2003: Just as a point of interest, I've added a copy of my original email proposal for the timer system to the bottom of the new MAME Memories entry.
9/22/2003: Well, try not to be too shocked, but I dug up a partially completed page from my MAME Memories work a few months back, polished it up, and voila — a new MAME Memories entry! Who knows what kind of crazy things are likely to happen here next?
9/21/2003: Okay, now three months? That's embarrassing. Still not much new to report. I've picked up a Super Rider PCB, which has three ROMs encased in epoxy. I'm currently in the process of connecting it up to a 68HC11 evaluation board where I can write some code to extract the data. If that doesn't work, I'm taking a dremel to it. Made some more progress on Road Riot 4WD as well; the game is pretty close to playable now, so hopefully there will be an update soon. The dark clouds of too much work in too little time are slowly parting, and some new MAME stuff is coming down the pike, I promise! I also updated my MAME Log and my Computing History pages to reflect what's been happening recently!
6/20/2003: Let's try to make it a little less than another full month without updates.... Work is commanding 100% of my time at the moment, so any MAME projects are on hold for a while. In the meantime, I've made a tiny update to my Slapstic FAQ. With luck I'll be able to eventually lay my hands on one of the European chips to analyze its behavior.
5/22/2003: Yikes! Two months to the day since my last post! Well, honestly, a lot has been going on recently. We've completed our move up to the Seattle area, and I'm really liking it a lot. Between working the new job with lots of new things to learn, trying to get settled into our new house with lots of new furniture to buy, and learning the new area with lots of new restaurants to sample, I've been ... busy! Things are starting to settle down a bit, but I don't anticipate having much MAME time for a little while yet. I have to overhaul the timer system in order to move forward on the Seattle games, and that involves breaking a bunch of stuff and then fixing it again. Fun! (Not really!)
3/22/2003: It was a sad day yesterday ... my last day of work in the Connectix offices in San Mateo. I have to say that my 4 and a half years at Connectix was definitely the high point of my career so far. I had a great time working with a very talented group of people dedicated to bringing very technically complex products to a wide audience. And even as I look forward to working with many of the same people up at Microsoft, I'd like to take this opportunity to say "Thanks!" and "Good luck!" to everyone who made Connectix a great company to be a part of. Next stop: Redmond!
3/8/2003: Nothing much new to report on the Seattle games (kind of ironic that I'm moving to the Seattle area soon, isn't it?) I've fixed up DIP switches and inputs for CarnEvil and Blitz '99, so they are both playable. If I run without the sound chip emulation (which doesn't work in CarnEvil yet), I can get 50-75% of full speed in CarnEvil on my P4/3066, but that's mainly because there's a lot less rendering and 3D math going on in that game. Blitz goes about 20% of full speed on the same machine.
3/2/2003: Well, that didn't take too long! Now to get all the controls, inputs, and DIP switches mapped. I already have boot ROMs for Mace: The Dark Age and California Speed, but they are pretty useless without the hard disks. :-)
3/2/2003: And the hits just keep on coming. Sadly, I only have one more Seattle game to play with before I'm out of hard disks.
2/25/2003: Oooooh, pretty!
2/20/2003: Yes, the story is true: Microsoft has bought Virtual PC from Connectix. Which means that as of this past Tuesday, I am officially a Microsoft employee, so get used to it. If you want more information on the acquisition, contact the two companies for the official word. I won't say anything more about the deal for the moment, except this: turn your paranoia meter down a few hundred notches, all of you. Nobody's going to "kill" any of the Virtual PC products. Most of the engineers who worked on the products over the past few years will continue to do so. And with the greater resources available to us, we will be able to expand the teams and make the products even better and more solid. Personally, I'm really excited about the whole thing!
2/19/2003: Thanks for all the great hosting offers, though I think some of you don't realize the kinds of traffic that "hot off the presses" emulation pics tend to get. (I was concerned about exceeding my 6 GB/month bandwidth cap, if that gives you a better ballpark!) Anyway, here's the full set, thanks to Santeri Saarimaa for finding me some spare bandwidth!
2/19/2003: Well, these should look a little better than before! Figured out a byte swapping issue with the textures (so now the hockey rink looks much nicer!), plus a lot more on how the textures are handled. So far I've implemented perspective correction, depth buffering, alpha blending, alpha testing, chroma keys, stippling, clamping, and dithering (remember the original Voodoo graphics was a 16-bit only system). Still left to do are gouraud lighting, multi-texture (I don't think Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey uses that feature), bilinear filtering, and proper LODs, but as you can see things look pretty nice already. And who knows what the future might bring? :-) (P.S. If anyone wants to host more screenshots, contact me.)
2/17/2003: Decided to toy with something I haven't looked at for a while. Things are looking up in that regard, though obviously I have some texturing and color issues still!
2/11/2003: Been really busy with real life/work and my side project, but I did manage to find some time to optimize the V60/V70 core for the recently-released MAME 0.65. I'm in that unfortunate situation where everything I have left to work on is rather difficult, so there may not be any exciting progress to report for a little while. Keep the faith!
2/4/2003: Seeing as how there are too many losers out there with no virus protection and my "official" MAME email address (agiles@mame.net) in their address books, I am officially discontinuing its use. If you need to contact me, use the form, Luke. It will be a relief not to have to waste my time downloading on the order of 10MB worth of virus crap every day (and no, that is not an exaggeration)!
2/3/2003: Well, I finally (mostly) conquered Ribbit!, so hopefully that will make it into the next MAME. I think I'm going to relax by playing some more Ultimate Tennis.
1/31/2003: Not gonna happen. The MAME Memories update will have to wait a few more days. I tried to rush it and it was turning into an incoherent mess. In the meantime, you can check out a little contribution I made to an excellent site called The Games That Time Forgot. The other reason for the delay is that I've been very distracted with my more recent drivers, all of which are seriously kicking my ass. I've spent some time with Speed Buggy and more recently TX-1 and have made a little bit of progress, but not enough for my liking. At least the schematics for TX-1 are available, so I'm concentrating on that first. Ribbit! is still being problematic in a most annoying way. I'm still on the lookout for a sacrificial Super Rider PCB. And both Driver's Edge and Atari's CAGE audio system are no farther along, in spite of having the TMS32C031 emulated. I need to find more easy stuff to work on!
1/29/2003: Complete and total failure! That's right, it only took me 27 days to break my New Year's resolution #2 — it's been nine days since my previous update. I guess on average, I'm still updating closer to weekly, but that hardly counts. As for resolution #1, well, I still have another 48 hours to pull something together. The good news is I've actually written part of it! In the meantime, I've been busy with a bunch of random games. I added a couple of recent gun games (Lethal Justice and Egg Venture), an old golf game from 1984 (Crowns Golf), and the long-sought Area 51/Maximum Force Duo. I'm currently looking into adding Ribbit! to the Sega System C driver, but it's rather better protected than the other games on the same hardware. I never knew there was a sequel (of sorts) to Frogger!
1/20/2003: As Keanu Reeves would say, "Whoa" — two updates in one day! I've updated my MAME To-Do List, MAME Log, and MAME Drivers pages.
1/20/2003: Big new update over at the Atari GALlery. Seven new games have been added to the list. The selection is kind of arbitrary at the moment, but if you have any specific requests, send me a note.
1/18/2003: Been working nearly non-stop on the Art & Magic games in my spare time. Nicola finally figured out the key to the blitter graphics format (good thing too because I never would have gotten it myself!), and I've finished up most of the rest of the stuff. At last, I think I may be done and ready to move on to more things (hint: there are still some more games that ran on a TMS34010). Also, there's been a minor update to my Slapstic FAQ, with the discovery of two more slapstics in Europe. Unfortunately, I don't know a lot of details yet, but I will continue to investigate.
1/12/2003: Yay MAME 0.63 has been released!
1/10/2003: Back to MAME for a bit. First off, bad news about Super Rider: the questionable ROMs are embedded in an epoxy block on the PCB, so in order to redump them, we will need to sacrifice a board. Unfortunately, the board seems to be pretty rare, but if anyone finds one for a reasonable price, or can track down a dead one, let me know. Secondly, the mystery game from last month is finally revealed: it was Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey, which runs on the Seattle hardware used by both Atari and Midway. For now, those games are on the back burner as I take care of some other stuff, but I'll get back to them eventually.
1/8/2003: Those of you in the U.K. who purchased the LucasArts Entertainment Pack my have noticed my updated versions of Full Throttle and Sam & Max Hit the Road. Based on what people are saying about it, I'm guessing there weren't any extra instructions regarding these games, so I've created a new page with some documentation on some of the not-so-obvious features of the new ports. And if you're interested in seeing these updated games come to the U.S., or if you're interested in seeing more SCUMM games updated, email LucasArts and tell them! Because quite frankly, I'd love to get all the classic SCUMM games up and running on modern systems.
1/7/2003: Well, the happy news is that I've made some progress on a few games. First off, I've got Super Rider up and running with sprites and sound, but unfortunately, I'm pretty sure there's a bad ROM in the current dump, so finishing that one is held up on a fresh dump. Fortunately, I know where to get it, so hopefully it won't be long. And the second bit of news is that I have the Art & Magic games playing now. Unfortunately, the data format for their blitter is not yet understood, so I mostly get colored squares instead of graphics, but you can tell the games are booting and running. The three games I have access to so far are Cheese Chase, Ultimate Tennis, and Stone Ball.
1/2/2003: Happy New Year! New Years Resolution #1: At least one update to my MAME Memories section each month. New Years Resolution #2: At least one update to this page each week. Let's see how long it takes for me to break those! :-)
(Click here for 2002 updates)