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    Spotlight on caustik

Date: 2004-02-09
Current Project(s): Cxbx
Location: United States

The EmuFanatics Spotlight is now focused on caustik, the 22 year old from Toledo, Ohio. Best known for Cxbx, his Xbox emulator for Windows, which was the first Xbox emulator to show any type of commercial game running (Intro for Turok). caustik has been extremely busy lately with a full time job, but still manages to dedicate some time for Cxbx, and this Spotlight Interview. We all appreciate your efforts caustik and thanks for your time and hard work.


Q : When did you get into emulation either as a coder or just a fan?
A : I think nesticle got me started. It blew my mind, I've been intrigued by the concept ever since.

Q : What was your first coding experience for emulation?
A : Wrote (but never released) an NES 6502 core, first an interpreter and then a dynamic recompiler. It wasnt until I had already coded this that I realized I wasn't the first person to use the concept of things like "basic blocks" and register caching.

Q : What interested you in Xbox Emulation?
A : Nobody else was doing it, and it was precisely up my alley. I have had alot of windows and DirectX experience, so it sounded really fun and I had some theories on how I could approach it.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the emulation scene as a whole?
A : Never ceases to amaze me. So many coders out there are writing emulators just for the fun of it. I definately shake my head in disapproval at console emulator authors stealing open source code and releasing a closed-source varient (which is illegal under GPL). I've seen this happen a few times.

Q : What do you think about the current state of the Xbox emulation scene?
A : It seems like everybody at work now has console emulators like MAME, Stella, fceultra, xsnes9x, etc installed on their Xboxes. It's really cool to see lots of people using technology that the scene members have produced for free. People really seem to like being able to play classic games on their Xbox, its great stuff.

Q : How do you feel about the response you have received so far for your projects?
A : I get alot of really weird or ignorant emails and instant messages, but there has been a ton of feedback thanking me for writing the emulator, wishing me luck etc. It's always fun to do a release because people are really glad to see it and I get alot of pats on the back :)

Q : What is your best experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : There are many things to choose from..hrnm.. Probably my first would be booting up Super Mario Bros on nesticle, then later my mind was utterly blown by UltraHLE playing Super Mario 64. Then there was when Cxbx first was displaying simple texture mapped cubes, then when Turok played its intro movie..my jaw dropped :)

Q : What was your worst experience when it comes to Emulation?
A : TLS in Cxbx. It seems like it should have been simple, but man I was stumped for a while and issues kept popping back up. It seems to be stabilized now, though :) (TLS is "Thread Local Storage", a mechanism used by many multithreaded games)

Q : Are you currently working on any other projects besides cxbx?
A : Ooh yea. Well, primarily I have a fulltime job at DivX. I keep busy on my work throughout the day, I fit Cxbx in whenever I have free time. I try not to sit on my PC all day, so I don't get to put as many hours into Cxbx as I wish I could. This is why you'll notice progress relaxed for quite a while. On top of work and Cxbx, I have some lingering projects I get pulled back into from time to time.

Q : Does the amount of lame request ever make you second guess what you are currently doing?
A : Not really. I know the type of people who make these requests, and I'm not really bothered by it. I'm more bothered by the gallons of spam I have to parse through in order to find legitimate emails.

Q : What is the lamest request you have every received?
A : When somebody *demands* that I send them "Xbox ROMs"

Q : What is the nicest complement you have received?
A : The first time somebody called me an "Emulation God" i was pretty flattered.

Q : Could you give us some information regarding the current state of your projects?
A : It is definately chugging along. Kingofc finally has access to some games, and there is definately alot of progress happening. It's unfortunate that I can't speed along at the rate I had been a few months ago..having a fulltime job changes alot.

Q : Is there any plans in the works for ports to other operating systems?
A : In theory, it may eventually be possible to port over to Linux with WINE. This is quite a ways away, and I don't yet have a good enough Linux+WINE development environment setup to do this.

Q : Do you ever plan on working on another emulation project after Cxbx? If so what would interest you and challenge you?
A : Absolutely. Pretty much all emulation interests me, I'm not sure what my next emulation project will be though.

Q : Are you satisfied with the work you have done up to this point?
A : Probably more satisfied than anybody else. When you know how much work the project takes, and how far it has come, it gives a great amount of satisfaction and pride.

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 think I set very high expectations of my projects, and I've been really satisfied with what has become of Cxbx. I am only disappointed that more people have not joined in and helped, and that I have not had much time to work on it lately.

Q : Who else do you currently work with on your projects?
A : Kingofc primarily, koitsu has provided alot of help especially towards the birth of Cxbx. Lately zomby has sent me some fixes and new features that I'm really glad to recieve.

Q : How much have they influenced you and how much have they improved your work and vice versa?
A : Kingofc churns out code really quickly, almost too quickly sometimes. I'm very picky about what goes into CVS and I insist on understanding every line before I integrate. This is why I have taken a long time to add his changes. He's very intelligent and has been quite an asset.

Q : After you have moved on from the scene what do you want to be most remembered for?
A : Ah maybe I havent started the project I wish to be most remembered for.

Q : Could you provide us with an teasers of things to come for your projects?
A : 4627 looks promising :)

Q : One last thing is there anything you would like to say or anybody you would like to thank?
A : Thanks to everybody who supports Cxbx, including donators, thankful emails, and emulation site administrators who have supported me with releases, etc. There are too many people to name but definately I wanna single out xboxhacker (which has since almost disappeared.. :( ), ngemu, xbox-scene, xbins, efx2 :)

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Related Links:
:: Cxbx Official Site


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