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    Spotlight on Urchin

Date: 2005-11-01
Current Project(s): c64psp
Location: Originally from the north of England. Now living in the south though because it's sunnier :)

Today we focus our spotlight on the talented PSP developer Urchin who is best known for his Commodore 64 emulator for the PSP known as c64psp.


Q : When did you get into emulation either as a coder or just a fan?
A : I'm a big C64 fan - at one point I owned 3. Despite moving onto other systems (Amiga and now Mac) the C64 remains my favourite. The games are simple but playable and it still amazes me what the SID chip is capable of.

Q : What was your first coding experience for emulation?
A : c64psp!

Q : What interested you in PSP Emulation Development?
A : One of the reasons for buying my PSP was to learn how to program it, having done a small amount of PS2 homebrew in the past. After getting the PSP "hello world" sample program to run, I wanted a simple project to tackle. At the same time, I was looking to see what emulators were available and found that there was no C64 emulator yet for the PSP. So I started poking around the Frodo source code and managed to get it running on the PSP within a couple of days.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the emulation scene as a whole?
A : I'm amazed how enthusiastic the whole scene is. It's great to see people still get enjoyment out of older technology.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the NextGen scene?
A : I've only heard rumours, but until I can get my hands on a machine, I'm not that interested. I'm not entirely convinced that the claimed awesome super powers of these new machines will bring us better games - probably just shinier and more expensive rehashes of what is currently available.

Q : How do you feel about the response you have received so far for your projects?
A : I'm overwhelmed. I released v0.1 because I thought it was quite cool to see C64 games running on the PSP. I never thought there'd be such a response. I wasn't even aware there was such a large emulator community - I followed referrer information from hits on my website and have discovered many sites I wasn't aware of.

Q : What is your best experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : The first time c64psp booted and the lovely blue c64 start screen was displayed was a nice moment.

Q : What was your worst experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : I wouldn't say I've really had any bad moments. Even getting stuck on a particular problem for days on end is a valuable learning experience.

Q : Are you currently working on any other projects besides c64psp?
A : I have many minor projects and ideas. Many of them will never see the light of day as I don't have enough time to do them all, but I'm hoping to work on a few of them over the next few weeks.

Q : Does the amount of lame requests ever make you second guess what you are currently doing?
A : No, they make me laugh! Sometimes it is tempting to post an angry reply, but at the end of the day, what will that achieve?

Q : What is the lamest request you have every received?
A : I won't give any particular examples, but I find it amazing that people can get so angry that a free product doesn't support their favourite feature at a particular moment in time. These people usually have no clue about how to program anyway, so it's not worth getting stressed.

Q : What is the nicest complement you have received?
A : I've seen posts from people saying that they love me! :) And another saying that the guy's PSP had just doubled in value since the release of c64psp. Comments like that make me want to continue and make the next version even better.

Q : Could you give us some information regarding the current state of your projects?
A : I have some ideas for a couple of utilities and also a side project for c64psp. I don't want to give too much away at the moment, but it will be very cool if it works out.

Q : Do you ever plan on working on another emulation project after c64psp? If so what would interest you and challenge you?
A : The C64 is my favourite computer, so it's unlikely I'd attempt another emulation project. Making c64psp the most usable C64 PSP emulator is my main goal now.

Q : Are you satisfied with the work you have done up to this point?
A : Considering that I only set out to create c64psp to learn how to program the PSP, I'm very satisfied. That's not to say that development won't continue though. My living room wall is covered with post-it notes of improvements and features to add to future versions.

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 : I was surprised how quickly I was able to get the emulator running, but as with anything, it is the final 10% that takes the longest. I am very happy with progress, but it will take time to achieve a polished product. We'll get there one day though!

Q : Who else do you currently work with on your projects?
A : c64psp started as a solo project, but I have been helped greatly by my beta testers, Magicruss and Nige.

Q : How much have they influenced you and how much have they improved your work and vice versa?
A : When you stare at the same program and code for many hours at a time, it is easy to lose track of your goal. A simple comment from someone else can be so helpful to refocus your thoughts. They are also great for bouncing ideas off too. A simple "what do you think of this idea?" can turn that idea into so much more.

Q : After you have moved on from the scene what do you want to be most remembered for?
A : Simply for producing the finest (and first ;) C64 emulator for the PSP.

Q : Could you provide us with a teaser of things to come for your projects?
A : Hmmm. The c64psp side project, if it turns out as intended, will bring C64 retro freaks great joy ;)

Q : One last thing is there anything you would like to say or anybody you would like to thank?
A : Yeah, firstly to mrs. urchin for putting up with me when my brain has been wedged in thinking mode (doesn't happen often ;). Magicruss and Nige for thoroughly breaking what I thought was a releasable version of c64psp :) And of course, the whole C64/PSP emulation community for being so enthusiastic and grateful.

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Related Links:
:: c64psp Official Site

Small Tidbits:
Name: urchin!
Age: Rapidly approaching 30 :)
Favorite Food: Steak, pizza, curry (though not all at the same time)
Favorite Movie: Currently, Office Space
Favorite Music: Ooo lots. BT, Hybrid, Nubreed, Teenage Fanclub, The Wedding Present
Favorite Book: Anything by Douglas Adams
Favorite Game: Katamari Damacy (PS2), Wipeout Pure (PSP), way too many C64 games


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