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    Spotlight on Hacktarux

Date: 2005-08-28
Current Project(s): Mupen64
Location: I'm from France... in the Champagne region :P

Today we focus our spotlight on the talented developer Hacktarux. Hacktarux is best know for his wonderful work on the multi platform Nintendo 64 emulator Mupen64 and other various projects. I know a lot of Linux users are greatful to Hacktarux for bringing Nintendo 64 emulation to their systems and keeping N64 emulation alive. :)


Q : When did you get into emulation either as a coder or just a fan?
A : The first emulator i've ever used was a CPC emulator. The Amstrad CPC was the first computer i owned and i was quite happy to discover that such programs exist. At the time, i was only a beginner programmer and i read the lengthy semi technical documentation provided with the emulator, i was already really impressed and fascinated by the difficulty and the challenge involved in writting an emulator.

Q : What was your first coding experience for emulation?
A : Actually, it was Mupen64. I started it on my own, long before releasing anything. I rewrote it quite a few times because i was learning how things work at the same time.

Q : What interested you in Nintendo 64 Emulation?
A : It was the latest console out at the time i started the emulator, there was zelda and goldeneye. I wanted to do an emulator and i was searching which machine to emulate. When UltraHLE came out, i was like everybody shocked, and i thought, ok nintendo64 emulation is possible but i believe they sacrificed too much accuracy to get it working as fast as possible with a few games. So, let's try to do something really accurate and compatible.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the emulation scene as a whole?
A : It has slowed down quite a bit because of course most machines are emulated now. But it's still progressing. I like to follow genesis emulation scene and there's no perfect emulator yet although it's constantly progressing. Actually, i don't have much time to play games on emulator currently.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the NextGen emulation scene?
A : It's hanging... ready to restart as soon as we get faster processors. The problem with starting those emulators is that there's no hope that it can run fullspeed on current processors and manufacturers are having many troubles finding new technologies that would help designing faster processors. By the way, there's no hope that multi-core cpu can really help emulating a PS2 or a GCN. Maybe it'll help with next consoles that'll have multicore cpus too but there will be even more speed problem. Well, to sum it up, the NextGen emulation scene needs the help of Intel and AMD :P

Q : How do you feel about the response you have received so far for your projects?
A : Everything has been positive so far. Many people have helped me on this project: it's really nice to see users doing all they can to give good and usefull feedback and collaborating with me to find the source of the bugs.

Q : What is your best experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : Probably seeing mupen64 emulating its first game ;)

Q : What was your worst experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : I hate reading posts on the message boards acting as if they were customers with full rights... I don't see it that much on mupen64 board but it still upset me.

Q : Are you currently working on any other projects besides Mupen64?
A : Mupen64 is the only project i do during my free time. I have enough other projects at work and don't really have the time to start something else from scratch right now.

Q : Does the amount of lame request ever make you second guess what you are currently doing?
A : No, positive feedback outweighs lame request by far :)

Q : What is the lamest request you have every received?
A : Let see what i can find if i open the latest 10 mails i received... Oh a good one (rom site censured of course):

"why dont gaunlet lengends rom work on mupen 64 where i got it form whould be XXX.com i want to know if gaunlet well work on this mupen 64"

Not really the lamest request but certainly one of the most frequent requests i'm receiving. Lamest request is probably a very lengthy mail insulting me because i don't host roms on mupen64 site and i'm wasting his time because he couldn't play anything after downloading the emulator...

Q : What is the nicest complement you have received?
A : The nicest complement is when i see people suggesting someone to use on of my softwares. It really proves some people are actually enjoying what i do :)

Q : Could you give us some information regarding the current state of your projects?
A : Well, there's not much to say there, because i've released mupen64 0.5 two days before answering your questions.

Q : Do you ever plan on working on another emulation project after Mupen64? If so what would interest you and challenge you?
A : Not right now, i have no time to start another project, or it would mean stopping mupen64 and i believe i still have quite a few things to do before stopping it.

Q : Are you satisfied with the work you have done up to this point?
A : Yea, i think the main goals are reached : compatibility and portability. I will probably try to go a bit further on the portability side.

Q : Does the progress of your projects surpass all of your expectations so far? Or do you think you would have been further along in development?
A : When i started, i didn't think i would have gone that far. I didn't even think i would ever see a commercial game working on it. I'm still a bit disapointed to not have full lle option but i'm trying to work on it.

Q : Who else do you currently work with on your projects?
A : Currently, i'm mainly working with Olivieryuyu and Gonetz. I'm also collaborating with all people who want to port Mupen64 on other platforms. In the past i've also worked with ShadowPrince for windows GUI and Blight for Linux GUI and various linux plugins. I'm giving here their main task in the project but they have done much more, like giving their much appreciated support... Other emulators' authors should also be mentioned. Although i haven't directly worked with them on Mupen64, i've talked with and sometimes it was really helpful.

Q : How much have they influenced you and how much have they improved your work and vice versa?
A : It has influenced our work quite a lot although it's hard to quantify that. For example, the new framebuffer functions we have in Glide64 when used with Mupen64 : it's something that wouldn't have been possible without this collaboration.

Q : After you have moved on from the scene what do you want to be most remembered for?
A : I'd like to be remembered as someone who have developped a quality software that can easily be ported on hardware i have never owned :P

Q : Could you provide us with an teasers of things to come for your projects?
A : It's only some possibilities as i've not started working on next version (as mentioned above, latest mupen64 has been released only two days before answering this interview). I'm thinking about adding a cheat engine and maybe AMD64 support in 64 bits mode. I will probably try to optimize a bit more my dynamic recompiler.

Q : One last thing is there anything you would like to say or anybody you would like to thank?
A : I'd like to thank anyone who have helped me and everyone who has ever worked on an emulator, on an emulation site or who have dedicated their time helping people on the message boards : they have all helped creating the great community who all like ;)

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Related Links:
:: Mupen64 Official Site
:: Mupen64 Official Forums

Small Tidbits:
Age: 24
Favorite Movie: The green mile, Pulp Fiction, A clockwork Orange...
Favorite Music: Green Day, Evanescence, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers...
Favorite Book: Dune
Favorite Game: Conker, All zeldas, Tales of Symphonia...


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