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    Spotlight on Imran Nazar

Date: 2004-12-28
Current Project(s): DSemu
Location: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland including the Territories of the Isle of Man and the Islands of the Highlands and Channel.

Today we focus our spotlight on Imran Nazar, developer of DSEmu. Recently Imran has been getting some negative responses to his project from people around the scene because it doesn't meet their expectations for a Nintendo DS emulator. For me personally I think Imran should continue to develop his project the way it is and just ignore those types of feedback. Every project and especially ones that have not been done or documented yet have to start somewhere. If people could support Imran and his Nintendo DS emulator maybe it will have the chance to grow. People just need to keep in mind that some projects take baby steps and that Imran is doing this for his own enjoyment and for expanding his own skills and knowledge. Ok enough rambling on .. onto the Interview with Imran Nazar.


Q : When did you get into emulation either as a coder or just a fan?
A : My first major stab at emulation was grabbing a copy of UltraHLE to play through SM64. (Perfectly legal if I have a copy, and I have a few, believe me.) Immense fun, I must say; digital control of an analogue joypad was particularly weird.

Q : What was your first coding experience for emulation?
A : I know you won't believe me, but I started coding the CPU for my first emulator about 4 months ago. It's called DSemu.

Q : What interested you in DS Emulation?
A : I don't particularly know, actually. Maybe the sheer strangeness of two screens, or that nice little ARM inside. On that track, I think the ARM series is just the best CPU ever.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the emulation scene as a whole?
A : Never seen it more alive. I chat with a few friends who are also coding emulators from time to time, and they agree; there're more releases of emulator code (especially stuff that's open for the public to see) than ever, and more cooperation (at least, amongst us few in the ARM scene) between developers. It's fantastic.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the NextGen scene?
A : To be entirely fair, I don't think it's developed as yet to its full potential. It was sad to hear of the staticifying [that a word?] of Dolphin, but I can see that it's fulfilled its goals, and will inspire the scene to keep moving.

Q : How do you feel about the response you have received so far for your projects?
A : It's been great. There have, of course, been the nay-sayers who tell me that DSemu should be called GBAemu beta (and I tend to agree in principle, so far) or that it'll never play games (which, of course, I disagree with). But on the whole, it's been hugely positive; thanks to the people who've said they like what I do.

Q : What is your best experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : Seeing output for the first time. When DSemu booted into mic's afire, and I actually saw fire instead of scrolling code in the debugger; better than crack, I tell ya (not that I'd know about crack, of _course_). I suppose the next big thing will be the SM64DS title screen, when I get around to emulating 3D.

Q : What was your worst experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : It tends to get rather annoying when you lose a few days' work on the CPU because you haven't backed up. Let's just say that my desk bore the brunt of the violence.

Q : Are you currently working on any other projects besides DSEmu?
A : I started on a framework for a Chip8 emulator, and I have the Windows side mostly done; however, I haven't started on the Chip8 itself yet.

Q : Does the amount of lame request ever make you second guess what you are currently doing?
A : At this early stage, even the requesters realise that the emulator isn't up for taking suggestions, so they mostly leave well enough alone. All the better for me, I suppose.

Q : What is the lamest request you have every received?
A : I don't get too many lame requests, to be fair. Maybe asking when PokemonRuby will be running is a bit much. Nothing against Pokemon, of course, but I can't run some basic demos yet, never mind a game.

Q : What is the nicest complement you have received?
A : I got an email the other day, simply saying "Keep up the good work". People may not realise how that kinda compliment keeps you going.

Q : Could you give us some information regarding the current state of your projects?
A : Not much to know, really. DSemu needs a heck of a lotta work, mostly on the graphics (no sprites, no multiple backgrounds, no blending..); and the Chip8 emulator has kinda stalled after I got the basic interface up.

Q : Do you ever plan on working on another emulation project after DSEmu? If so what would interest you and challenge you?
A : A friend of mine is considering a NeoGeo-pocketcolor emulator; that sounds like great fun, and I was thinking about starting another, to give him some competition and all. Apart from that, I was thinking about finding a job, even though I tried that to no avail for 4 years.

Q : Are you satisfied with the work you have done up to this point and does the progress of your projects surpass all of your expectations so far?
A : Very much satisfied. I didn't think that, when I run my emulator CPU against VBA, I'd get only one error in a thousand. Considering that VBA is a multi-person project spanning years, I'm happy on that side. It's the graphics I'm worried about; they're not exactly fantastic. Maybe never having coded for GBA doesn't help me in that regard.

Q : Who else do you currently work with on your projects?
A : The friends I chat with regarding emulation don't work with me, but rather on their own or, at its worst, in competition. In other words, this is a solo project among many solo projects in this field.

Q : How much have they influenced you and how much have they improved your work and vice versa?
A : In the early design phase, we all borrowed from each other. I got my opcode caching idea from someone, and someone else took my jumptable approach instead of going for a huge control-flow statement. More recently, one of my fellow devs has been detailing the workings of a dynarec; that could be interesting.

Q : After you have moved on from the scene what do you want to be most remembered for?
A : Just that I contributed. In general, I'd like it if people can see that I can take on (and more importantly, keep working on) a major project like this.

Q : Could you provide us with an teasers of things to come for your projects?
A : Things to come... How about "Sound"?

Q : One last thing is there anything you would like to say or anybody you would like to thank?
A : Thanks to my gardener, my sculpturist, my feng shui consultant.. Nah. Just thanks to those who've pushed me forward, people who've shown their appreciation for what I do for my own amusement.

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Related Links:
:: DSemu Official Site
:: DSemu Official Forums

Small Tidbits:
Name: My Name Is Imran Nazar, and I am not an African Swallow.
Favorite Food: Dude. Cheese pizza!
Favorite Movie: Pi
Favorite Music: High-BPM mindless happy hardcore. Yeah!
Favorite Book: Toss-up between "ARM architecture reference" and Feist's "Magician".
Favorite Game: Right now? Zelda:MM.
Your Favorite Hobbies: Staying asleep.
Your Pet Peeves: When someone rudely awakens me at 2pm.


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