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    Friday, September 21, 2012
NRage Input v2.3c

The Best N64 Emulation Plugin has been revived, Nrage v2.0 fixes an assortment of bugs in the original 1.8 code, and adds new functions, and features, at the same time.

Here's list of changes for 2.3c:

+ Xinput Rumble and Deadzone fixed (Thanks KrossX)
+ Some potential crash and buffer overruns? fixed by kidkat
+ Some UI changes to improve readability for high dpi setups

Check out plugin sourceforge repository for further information and latest files.

    Monday, September 17, 2012
YAPE 1.0.3

YAPE is a decent no-nonsense plus/4 emulator. It has been developed for 10 years by now and it is available in Windows as well as multiplatform editions, although some of the latter lag several versions behind the former.

Here're release notes for v. 1.0.3:

+ properly implemented printer repeat bit image data (CHR$(26))
+ SHA/SHY/SHX improvement on page boundary crossing (unseen in any programs out in the wild so far)
+ memory dump into text files
+ added 192000 Hz sound frequency
+ carriage return in printer bitmap mode fixed
+ folder drive setting no longer reset when printer emulation gets enabled
+ awkward crash in the monitor fixed
+ bug in the debugger when breakpoint got disabled on ignored CPU crash opcodes
+ minor memory map issue in true 1541/1581 drive emulation
+ memory dump command in external monitor
+ video recording glitch

Visit official homepage for further information and latest version of emulator.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Server optimization continued

This will be a long post. I don't post often but when I do, I post a long rant. Bewarded. ;)

Earlier this year we invested in a new dedicated server: An Intel Core i7-3930k Sandy Bridge (6 cores @ 3.2 Ghz) machine with 64 GB DDR3 RAM and 2 x 3000 GB SATA-III harddrives in RAID 1 (mirrored). A bit over the top for our needs perhaps but I prefer to go with top of the line. We only use about 10-15% of the server's capacity. ;)

Like our previous servers we decided to go with Debian (6.0) and Plesk Control Panel and apart from the general optimizations like PHP opcode cacher (Xcache) and mod_deflate (for compressing the pages), two major changes were made:

1. Varnish Cache

"Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 - 1000x, depending on your architecture. A high level overview of what Varnish does can be seen in the video attached to this web page."

In our case we have installed Varnish in front of Apache and the result has been staggering. I actually started out with Nginx but replaced it with Varnish because of performance. So to recap:

Dynamic content is served with Varnish and static content (images, html pages etc.) is served with Apache.

2. Sphinx Search

"Sphinx is an open source full text search server, designed from the ground up with performance, relevance (aka search quality), and integration simplicity in mind. It's written in C++ and works on Linux (RedHat, Ubuntu, etc), Windows, MacOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, and a few other systems.

Sphinx lets you either batch index and search data stored in an SQL database, NoSQL storage, or just files quickly and easily or index and search data on the fly, working with Sphinx pretty much as with a database server."

We're using Sphinx Search for all the vBulletin forums (including EmuTalk and DCEmu Forums) and normally a search takes about 0.10 seconds instead of a few seconds. Our server is capable of doing thousands of search queries per second.

3. So what's new?

I upgraded to the latest version of Varnish Cache (3.0.3) about a week ago and if it was because of the new version I'm not sure but we've had some issues with it. From time to time it crashed and looking at the syslog yesterday I think I found the culprit. I increased the storage size from 8GB to 16GB and moved it from the file system to RAM along with some other configuration changes. So far it's looking good and even faster.

NeoRaine 1.3.3

NeoRaine is a NeoGeo CD emulator based on the source of the arcade emulator Raine. Emulator is fast, has great compatibility, many NeoCD specific features, and support for extras like savegames.

Here`s changelog for latest version:

+ Rasters improve again : this time we take the numbers found by the
measurements from the mame team, quite different from what the dev docs
tell... With some adjustements, a big boost for the cpu in the vbl to
ensure a stable display and this kind of thing.
+ Now accept cue files where the the data file is not between quotes
+ Add -geometry command line option (same as raine)
+ Inputs updates (same as raine, see raine changelog for details)
+ Add the option to disable the rasters emulation in "neocd option", so that
rasters don't prevent anymore a game to be playable like what happened in
1.3.2. Also useful for those who find rasters make some games too slow.
The option is saved and will return when restarting the emu.
+ Some fixes for the savegames, they should be more reliable now.
+ Show iso files in the file selector when there are no cue files in the
directory, which happens for neocd demos for example.

Visit official homepage for further information and latest version of emulator.

micro64 build 713

micro64 is highly advanced successor of brotkaestchen (fr-051) from BeRo / farbrausch, that aims to become the most accurate C64 Emulator.
Currently micro64 has two different VIC II emulation modes (both are half-cycle exact): single pixel dot clock exact (very accurate, slow) and dynamic pixel block-wise (quite fast, even on slower machines).

Here's list of changes for latest builds:

+ build 713 - Temporary GCR-based write back bug workaround
+ build 712 - Added more joystick settings
+ build 711 - Fixed joystick handling
- Added joystick settings menu
+ build 710 - Added size range limit checks in the NEMO network monitor
- Optimized overall memory size usage of micro64 (from 590MB to 196MB down
memory usage down at me on my computer)

Check out official website for further information and latest version of emulator.

HalfNES 0.050

HalfNES is an open-source emulator for the Nintendo Entertainment System, written in Java. Currently, it only runs as a standalone Java SE application and supports: joystick through DirectInput and xInput, SRAM save, accurate sound core, full screen display and cross-platform portability.

Chere's changelog for latest build:

Lots of minor improvements for this release, and new mapper support as well.
Thanks to Nawrot Kryzystof for many of these fixes.

Added Mappers:
Mapper 10 (Fire Emblem, Famicom Wars)
Mapper 19 (Megami Tensei II, Rolling Thunder (J), etc.) with expansion sound
Mapper 34 (Impossible Mission II)
Mapper 38 (Crime Busters)
Mapper 64 (Klax, Rolling Thunder (U))
Mapper 70 (Kamen Rider Club)
Mapper 89 (Mito Koumon)
Mapper 93 (Fantasy Zone (J))
Mapper 94 (Senjou no Oukami)
Mapper 97 (Kaiketsu Yanchamaru)
Mapper 107 (Magic Dragon)
Mapper 140 (Bio Senshi Dan)
Mapper 152 (Arkanoid 2)
Mapper 180 (Crazy Climber)
Mapper 185 (Spy Vs Spy (J) but NOT Banana)
Mapper 200 (36-in-1 Multicart)
Mapper 203 (35-in-1 Multicart)
Mapper 240, 246 (More Chinese original games)

-Fixed DMC timing (passes DMC basics test and makes Bee 52 work better)
-CPU interrupt is delayed so CLI+SEI only causes 1 interrupt after SEI
(fixes Break Time, Hebereke)
-Fixed APU frame counter reset to within 1 CPU opcode of correct timing
-Fixed APU sweep behavior when clocked then immediately reset
(Super Mario Bros. sound effects, Driar wrong notes in music)
-Updated VRC7 sound to use new patch set from nesdev,
changed the way modulator feedback works, increased envelope attack rate
-Added CRC to options menu to make verifying dumps easier
-Fixed Uchuusen - Cosmo Carrier mirroring
-Fixed bug with file dialog where it wasn't clearing the old name when loading
a ROM by double clicking

Visit project homepage for further information and latest version of emulator.

    Thursday, September 06, 2012
Ootake v2.66

Ootake [pronounced oh - ta - ke] is great PC Engine/TurboGrafx16 emulator, with high compatibility, nice GUI and a lot of settings.

- The shortcut keys was added. [Alt]+[1-4]...The size of the window is switched when playing a game. * If the window size of x4 or x3 is set, the power of PC is necessary to some degree.
- The shortcut keys was added. [Alt]+[Enter]...Full screen and the window mode change.(same [F12])
- Some volume balances when playing a CD-Game have been adjusted. I think that the tone quality of the CD-DA sound improved, too.
- When "PC Engine Mouse" is connected ("Input->Mouse" menu), it corresponded to operation with "Multi-Tap" ("Input->Multi-Tap" menu).
If "Multi-Tap" menu is turned on, it becomes the following. [1P connecter]...Mouse, [2P connecter]...#1Joypad. As a result, in the shooting game of "Tokimeki Memorial", it is possible to play comfortably.
- The speed and timing were brought close to the movement of a real machine. In the stage 3 of "The Kung-Fu (China Warrior)", the problem that the raster scroll occasionally flickered was solved.
- With the setting of "CPU->Perform SpriteLimit" menu, the bug that had not occasionally functioned correctly (generated from v2.63) was corrected.
- Additionally, a detailed part has been improved and corrected.
- The execution file for "Windows 98/Me" was opened to the public. The operation test is not done. Please see "Readme98.txt" in the ZIP file about details and notes, etc.

Check out official website [yeah, it's jap. :] for further information and latest files.

puNES 0.68

puNES (ex Fnes) is an NES emulator under development that works on Linux32/64 and Windows32. It needs of SDL library to run.

Here's changelog for latest versions:

*** 0.68 (bugfix release)
Correct a bug introduced in version 0.66 that in some circumstances, did not allow the filling of the audio buffer in time, producing a sound skipping.

*** 0.67
Correct the support for the D-pad in the Windows version (reported by Alterac).
In the "Standard Pad" setup added a button (1 for Keyboard and 1 for Joystick) to unbind all buttons (suggested by Alterac).
Implemented the support of Drag & Drop of roms directly in the emulator window to load them (suggested by thefox).
Other small bugfixes.

*** 0.66
Fixed some little bugs in the apu engine (sweep and triangle) and implemented the non-linearity and interaction between audio channels. Now (finally) the apu_mixer (http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/Emulator_tests) test roms works well in puNES (I hope).

Check out official thread at nesdev for further information and latest version of emulator.

BGB 1.4.1

BGB is a GameBoy, GameBoy Color, and Super Gameboy emulator/debugger which runs on Windows. Program features accurate emulation of the hardware, powerful debugger, SGB multiplayer with up to 4 gamepads and TCP/IP game link support, graphics with GDI, DirectDraw, Direct3D, OpenGL output, and HQ2X, Scale2x, scanlines, blocky filter, accurate/high quality sound emulation, bandlimited synthesis, GameGenie and GameShark cheat, and more.

fixed time keeping problems (hiccups) on windows 7. fixed inaccuracy in mid-scanline change of LCDC bits (gejmboj). fixed a condition that would cause inaccurate timing of interrupt (final fantasy adventure). added "gameboy or GBC" system mode setting. added "blurry" doubler. fixed searching any opcode with a space giving "IO error 105". added field in IO map to view/edit the "low" bank of multicart emulation. fixed "remotejoy" bring broken. screen window can now init on secondary monitor. fixed failure of GUI elements initing on secondary monitor. fixed wrong field in wav file written.

Check out official website for further information and latest version of emulator.

    Wednesday, September 05, 2012
bsnes v091

bsnes is a Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS emulator that began development on 2004. It focuses on accuracy and clean code above all else. It never uses speed or compatibilty hacks. As a result, the minimum system requirements are greater than with other emulators.

Here're release notes for v09x series :

Most notably, this release adds Nintendo DS emulation. The Nintendo DS module was written entirely by Cydrak, so please give him all of the credit for it. I for one am extremely grateful to be allowed to use his module in bsnes.

The Nintendo DS emulator's standalone name is dasShiny. You will need the Nintendo DS firmware, which I cannot provide, in order to use it. It also cannot (currently?) detect the save type used by NDS games. As such, manifest.xml files must be created manually for this purpose. The long-term plan is to create a database of save types for each game. Also, you will need an analog input device for the touch screen for now (joypad axes work well.)

There have also been a lot of changes from my end: a unified manifest.xml format across all systems, major improvements to SPC7110 emulation, enhancements to RTC emulation, MSU1 enhancements, icons in the file browser list, improvements to SNES coprocessor memory mapping, cleanups and improvements in the libraries used to build bsnes, etc.

I've also included kaijuu (which allows launching game folders directly with bsnes) and purify (which allows opening images that are compressed, have copier headers, and have wrong extensions); both of which are fully GUI-based.

This release only loads game folders, not files. Use purify to load ROM files in bsnes.

Note that this will likely be the last release for a long time, and that I will probably rename the emulator for the next release, due to how many additional systems it now supports.

------A few issues crept up in the last release, this should take care of them.

First, it seems that the 32-bit runtime on 64-bit versions of Windows have 64-bit time functions; whereas true 32-bit Windows does not. This was causing a DLL error when attempting to load bsnes v090.

Second, when there were more than 2,000 files in the same folder on Windows, it was lagging the file browser. With OV2's help, I've fixed that and it'll now load the list instantly.

Lastly, I've included the missing video shaders this time.

Check out project website for latest files and informations.

FB Alpha

FB Alpha (formerly FinalBurn Alpha), based on the original FinalBurn source code, is a multi-arcade (Capcom CPS-1, Capcom CPS-2, Capcom CPS-3, Cave, Neo Geo, Sega System 16 (and similar), System 18, X-Board, Y-Board, Toaplan, Taito, etc) emulator. It includes support for cheating, as well as netplay using Kaillera.

Here`s list of changes for latest version:

- Added two clones of Arkanoid to the Arkanoid driver[Barry, f205v]
- Added Gigaman 2 to the CPS-2 driver, adding ability to disable Q-Sound in the CPS-2 drivers [Barry]
- Added Phoenix clone of Street Fighter Alpha to the CPS-2 driver [JacKc]
- Added Phoenix clone of Super Street Fighter II Turbo to the CPS-2 driver [JacKc]
- Added bootleg of Dragon Ninja to the DEC-0 driver [Barry, f205v]
- Added bootleg of Cobra Command to the DEC-8 driver [Barry, f205v]
- Added clone of Driving Force to the Galaxian driver [Barry, Team Europe]
- Added clone of Moon Cresta to the Galaxian driver [JacKc, Andy Welburn]
- Added clone of F-X to the Kyugo driver [Barry, f205v]
- Added Oxygene's NeoGeo 3D! demo to the Neo Geo driver [Barry]
- Added clone of Guardian Storm to the NMK16 driver [JacKc, B. Ståhl, Smitdogg, The Dumping Union]
- Added clone of Knights of Valour 2 to the PGM driver [JacKc, XingXing]
- Added clones of Flicky (alt graphics roms for 128k sets) to the Sega System 1 driver [Barry, f205v]
- Improvements to Street Fighter 2: Magic Delta Turbo which now works correctly [Barry]
- Fixed missing sounds in games based on Final Crash or Street Fighter 2: Magic Delta Turbo sound [Barry]
- Added support for missing priority mode writes in knightsb, knightsb4, the punipic sets, and wofb [Barry]
- Changed knights and knightsb4 to get the sprite mask values from work RAM [Barry]
- Changed the Daimakai bootleg to use the bootleg Sprite RAM it writes, and get the sprite priority masks from work RAM [Barry]
- Changed the punipic sets to get the scroll layer RAM offsets and sprite priority masks from work RAM [Barry]
- Changed wofb, and other wof sets that don't write the registers to get the sprite priority masks from work RAM [Barry]
- Hooked up the EEPROM in the dino, punipic and wof bootleg sets that don't read dip switches [Barry]
- Updated the EPOS driver, adding sound for Dealer and implementing the watchdog [iq_132]
- Tidied the Phoenix sets in the CPS-2 driver [Barry, based on info from Pythagoras]
- Fixed some unicode titles [JacKc, XingXing]
- Added Hyllian's Data Dependent Triangulation 3X to the softFX blitters [Hyllian, msbhvn]
- Optimised the xBR filters [Hyllian, Barry]
- Sync some sets and titles with latest MAME SVN [JacKc]

Visit official homepage for further information and latest version of emulator.

DeSmuME 0.9.8 for OSX

DeSmuME is a Nintendo DS emulator running homebrew demos and commercial games. The original author of DeSmuME is YopYop156. He has stopped working on it on the beginning of april 2006 and passed the torch to a new team of developers.

Here is release note for latest version:

The OSX version has been updated to support Mountain Lion and fix an occasional crash that was annoying some users.

Visit projects WIKI for further information and official homepage for latest emulator builds.

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