I’ll admit, it’s been rather dead here as of late, and I’ve not even got around to doing the writuep of interesting bits in the last release yet.
Rest assured I’ll cover things eventually, I’ve just been a little overwhelmed with other things, including trying to put together a yearly summary etc.
A couple of cool things have been going on, but mostly in the MESS territory with hap and Sean Riddle working on the emulation of a number of MCU based systems, including several non-video toys / components of toys (including a device that from what I understand of the commit comments came as part of a board game?) I’ve covered progress on some non-video systems here before, and that work follows in similar footsteps, requiring full decap work, and even new CPU cores to emulate the games. I’m not sure they have such a wide appeal as emulation of traditional systems and arcade games but personally I find it really interesting to see things like the classic 1970s Milton Bradley ‘Simon’ toy running in our emulator with the artwork system representing the lights.
I’m also currently working on something that probably isn’t going to have a massive amount of appeal, but has required me to write a new CPU core from scratch, also time consuming work. I’ll write more about that if / when it does something, because for now I’m still working on the disassembler (which is 95% complete) after which I’ll start implementing the opcodes and see where the code goes. I suspect it’s going to be an interesting journey because despite the apparently simplicity of the device involved the CPU actually runs at a relatively high clock and might force me to explore how our recompilers work after I’ve done the interpretor core if I’m going to get it running at a good speed.
One thing that did catch my attention was the recent progress on the ‘Gamate’ handheld, for a long time there had been no dumps available for the system, nor a bios rom, nor was it clear how the cartridges could be dumped. Recently that changed, and a submission that included work from PeT (I thought he’d retired from MESS development years ago) brought the system to a much better state, with a dump of the bios, a software list full of cartridge dumps, and playable emulation for a decent part of the dumped library. It’s an obscure handheld, and in all honesty most of the games aren’t actually very good, but I was very happy to see progress being made with the emulation, a lot of what we do these days is exploring curiosities, and that’s definitely one of them.
The progress etabeta has been making with some disk formats is more important than it would first seem too as it allows further testing and exploration of the software library for a number of Japanese systems using those file formats, often for copy protected disks.
So yes, I’m still here, I’m still alive, and I’m still working on things, but there really isn’t much visible progress to report in either side of the project that is likely to excite the majority, but if you look closely you’ll find a few things!