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    Spotlight on Refraction

Date: 2006-06-18
Current Project(s): PCXS2
Location: Sheffield, England

Today we focus our spotlight on the talented developer Refraction who is part of the great PCSX2 development team. Refraction is not only a developer but a fan of emulation. Refraction is also one of the few developers that I have ever met who makes himself publicly accessible and takes an active role in the community forums and support forums. Keep up the great work Refraction and we (the fans) appreciate all that you have done for Playstation 2 emulation.


Q : When did you get into emulation either as a coder or just a fan?
A : I first got into emulation in the mid 90's playing SNES, NES and Megadrive (Genesis) games on my poor 100Mhz PC, back then it was the biggest innovation in technology for me, had me totally gobsmacked!

Q : What was your first coding experience for emulation?
A : My first experience must have been a Chip8 emulator, it seems to be the norm for new starters these days as it covers all the basics of emulation without being too taxing.

Q : What interested you in PS2 Emulation Development?
A : Well out of all the emulation projects going on, PS2 emulation seemed to be the biggest struggle. Saturn emulation wasnt really about much, but i never had a saturn so i didnt really know what many of the games were like apart from Daytona and Virtual Fighter, the Dreamcast i loved but i didnt feel i would be able to do it on my own and i wasnt in contact with anybody who was working on one, plus like many others i was waiting for the legendary Icarus to come around. I had been using PCSX2 for a while and i figured i would like to give something back for their hard work, so i started looking at the sources, getting to grips with it, then providing Linuzappz and Saqib (aka asadr) with fixes.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the emulation scene as a whole?
A : I think the scene is great! Pretty much every single console/handheld out there has its own emulator available on the internet, which shows the emulation scene is strong and we have some very tallented people working on emulators.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the NextGen scene?
A : Next Gen is proving to be very tough, maybe not in such a literal sense but due to the fact it requires a lot of coding to make a PC do what a next gen console does, people need to be working in teams unlike the old days when you could code a 16bit console emu on your own and i feel the teams are going to need to get larger as time goes on. But that aside power seems to be a restriction, altho consoles are becomming more and more like PC's they are still different and require a lot of processing power to emulate, the unfortunate part is while consoles are getting more powerful, PC's have pretty much hit a wall.

Q : How do you feel about the response you have received so far for your projects?
A : Well i havent made many emulators so far, PCSX2 is the first real public one i have worked on, but the response we get of a majority of people is fantastic!

Q : What is your best experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : Just seeing things working! Be it at full speed or just a frame or two per second, to see a console game working on a platform that it shouldn't still amazes me to this very day.

Q : What was your worst experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : The newbies that follow it :P ok they aren't all bad! some are very genuine fanatics, but it's the ones who think its just a quick way of getting out of buying the console, missing the whole point in emulation that really bring the scene down.

Q : Are you currently working on any other projects besides PCSX2?
A : Not at the moment.

Q : Does the amount of lame request ever make you second guess what you are currently doing?
A : Sometimes, but it soon wears off! i just remember to the 10,000 people who want to make lame requests, there are another 400,000 people who are quite happy ;)

Q : What is the lamest request you have every received?
A : "zomg where can i download teh bios", classic stuff, but i cant think of any others at the moment.

Q : What is the nicest complement you have received?
A : "Ref you are a GOD!!" i think one of the beta testers said that haha.

Q : Could you give us some information regarding the current state of your projects?
A : well PCSX2 is going well, we have started to focus a bit more on speed as quite a few games are now working in comparison to older versions, but we are still bug finding, slowly trying to get in the bits we have missed and rewriting parts that are completely bugged :P

Q : Do you ever plan on working on another emulation project after PCSX2? If so what would interest you and challenge you?
A : Well we joked about maybe doing PCSX3 in the future, this soon came round to a serious idea, but then again we will see, its going to be quite a challenge...

Q : Are you satisfied with the work you have done up to this point?
A : Yes and no, im satisfied in a way because ive contributed constantly since mid 2005 and its paid off, but on the other hand i feel i could have maybe done more, but i like to set my goals higher than i can achieve.

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 : Its certainly surpassed my expectations, we have some excellent workers on the team and we have made a lot of progress between us.

Q : Who else do you currently work with on your projects?
A : Zerofrog, Saqib, AuMatt, Florin mainly and of course the beta testers, they do a very valuable job for us, we would be lost without them!

Q : How much have they influenced you and how much have they improved your work and vice versa?
A : The other team members have been awsome in supporting/helping me and the work they have done, it certainly raises my determination to work on the project.

Q : After you have moved on from the scene what do you want to be most remembered for?
A : My work on PCSX2 would be good :) i certainly hope it will be a well remmebered emulator and team.

Q : Could you provide us with teasers of things to come for your projects?
A : Hmm let me think... The next release, expect things to go ALOT faster ;)

Q : One last thing is there anything you would like to say or anybody you would like to thank?
A : I would like to thank firstly you for the interview, my team mates, all the beta testers for all your hard work, you guys have been fantastic. And linuz if you read this, come back! we all miss you!

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Related Links:
:: PCSX2 Official Site
:: PCSX2 Official Forums

Small Tidbits:
Name: Alex Brown
Age: 24
Favorite Food: Beans On Toast!
Favorite Movie: Lilo & Stitch
Favorite Music: Punk/Trance, quite a mixture!
Favorite Book: Dont really read books.
Favorite Game: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Your Favorite Hobbies: Programming, Clubbing
Your Pet Peeves: Lorries that overtake uphill!!


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