"The emu-scene is about having fun, and recalling old memories. Emulate this and that moaners should go and play outside."

Hans de Goede, maintainer of the 

<Satch>: Hello Hans, can you tell us something about yourself?
<Shalem>: I am Hans de Goede, 24 years old, part time lecturer in programming and microcontrollers at the Technical High School in the Hague.
 

When did you first come into contact with the emu-happening?

It was about 6-7 years ago with C64S, the first useable c64 emulator, which was on a 386dx-40. After this there was Dave Spicer's emulator; I can't remember what it was called, but it was very good on a 486. One disadvantage was that it would not work in a win95 dos box. Then I came across the Arcade Repository. In that time I exchanged ideas with Allard van der Bas who studied at the same university as I did. When he had no time any more, I ran The Arcade Repository for a while, but by that time MAME had its own page, and that was where it was all happening. By the way, I should like to put one thing straight - Allard van der Bas had a big hand in MAME in the early days. Unfortunately hardly any one knows this.

 

Yes!! his name is still mentioned in the read-me file, and I shall make him an honourable member of the Dutch MAME page ;-)

That's true, but many MAME pages have stories of the creation of MAME which make no mention of his name. (see DavesClassics for example)
 
I'm proud to be dutch ;-)

He he. Yup, we are doing some good things here.

 
Could you call the Arcade Repository a careful forerunner of MAME?

It's MAME's place of birth; the first versions of MAME were brought out there. They had a number of separate emu's for different pacman variants and galaxian and frogger. Then came the day when Allard combined all of the pacman clones into a multipac emu. Later on Nicola added frogger and galaxian, and then it became MAME.

 

Did you work with Nicola as well?

Yes, I had discussions with him about that irritant "choose your soundcard" screen. You see, there is also an autodetect feature in Seal. But according to him, that created problems for some people. Nowadays you can simple configure your sound card in the config file, which we did not have in those days.

 

In conclusion: MAME's cradle was in the Netherlands??

Yes, but even then it was an international project.

 

Are there still Dutch emu-developers?

snes9x is also of origin Dutch: made by Jeremy Koots: www.snes9x.com . It is THE snes emu, open source, the only way to go baby!

 
When did you start to get interested in MAME?

Ehm, from the first day, really, because it was able to play the few games which really interested me in a dos-box. Then I started to compile it myself to get rid of all those iritant extra screens and the soundcard choice. In the meantime I don't do that any more (removing the extra screens). Then the time came when I deserted windows and started to use Linux. Under *nix the sound was pretty bad, and so I spent a summer holiday fixing it. After the holiday it turned out that Juan Antonio Marmnez had no time for it, and so I became the unix port maintainer. This costs an amazing amount of time - 8 -16 hours a week.

 

Have you made further improvements?

Yes, and by now there are so many modules in it that I am making a library so that I can use them in other projects.

 

Aha, other projecsts?? Tell us!!

Well now, do you know the ccs64 (THE c64 emulator (no doubt about that))? This has a worthless Unix port. I have now got the outhor to agree to let me make a new port. First of all the interesting code in xmame has to be split of in a library so that I can reuse it. That was on the programme for today, and then the b16 release arrived ;-)Apart from this I'm trying some library tricks in order to get VGB and other Marat fullscreen emulators to run under linux, (Marat only has a "windowed" version).

 

This is going to be a technical story..........

Technical? It would become technical if I tried to explain the tricks. The first ccs64 (although unfortunately not open source) is the emulator because it emulates the c64 at chip level, and not at functional level, so that the most bizaar programmes still run.

 

You mean that what is now impossible will then be possible?

Exactly; what I do is:

-grab the emulator from Marat (this runs in a window (think of a postage stamp on 1024*768))

-fiddle around a bit without changing the emu (otherwise I shall have problems with Marat; anyway, I have no source, and binary hacking is not handy)

- HaHa! full screen, speed throtteled + other extras.

This project is called AAP not having found a beter name and it has been working for about 6 months. However, I still have to write the docs;-|

Who is marat??

Marat is Marat with the difficult surname Fayzullin ;), the author of vgb,fmsx, ines, colem and others.

 

And what is the meaning of these terms, such as vgb,fmsz etc....

vgb= the first gameboy emulator (and still one of the best), fmsx = one of the first msx emulators, ines = the first non-japanese ines emulator.

 

Has he any connection with MAME??

Yes, mame has long been using his z80 and m6502 cpu cores and also some soundchip emulation code.

 
 Is he a member of the MAMEdev?

I don't think so; he is a little introvert. He is only interested in the technical side of emulation, and has turned his back on the emu-scene because they are only teenagers in their puberty who want to play cheap games. Unfortunately there is something in this, but fortunately the retrogamer's community is something different. But there are some adolescents among the snes and nes fans. 

 
You think differently about this?? (deep question.......)

I think that there are good people there, but unfortunately many of the type that has turned Marat off. Mind you, I like playing games as well - there is nothing wrong in that. But begging for roms, and sending threatening e-mail when you don't get them - that shows little gratitude to the emu authors.

 

OK. enough over Marat (and adolescents) lets talk X-MAME!

Ah, cool x-mame, - let loose!
 

Can you explain briefly for the amateur (that will say me), exactly what X-MAME is??

X- mame is the uniX mame port. To give an idea, x-mame runs on:

i386/linux/svgalib                        Hans <hans@highrise.nl>

i386/linux/x11                             Hans <hans@highrise.nl>

i386/linux/xf86_dga                   Hans <hans@highrise.nl>

i386/linux/ggi                             Christian <cpg@aladdin.de>

alpha/linux/x11                           Christian <cpg@aladdin.de>

alpha/digital unix/x11                 Leandro <ldardini@usl4.toscana.it>

powerpc/linux/x11                     Andreas <sid@skater.htu.tuwien.ac.

powerpc/linux/svgalib                Andreas <sid@skater.htu.tuwien.ac.

i386/netbsd/x11                        Dave <dave@dtsp.co.nz>

alpha/netbsd/x11                       Christian <cpg@aladdin.de>

Sparc/Solaris/x11                     Mathis <rosenhau@mailserv.sm.go.dl

i386/Unixware7/x11                  Richard <xmame@frogface.ddns.org>

i386/openstep                           Pete French <pete@toybox.twisted.o

Sparc/SunOs                            Saga <jolletx@cybercable.fr>

and also on:

SGI/irix/x11, Ix86/FreeBSD(4), Ix86/Solaris, IBM/AIX , HP-9000/hpux, ISC/Ultrix.    

These are all uniX variants: uniX is an operating system family. As the word family suggests, they are all different operating systems, but with many common features. I use linux myself, and have also played with some other unix variants:sun/solaris x86/solaris i386/freebsd.  

 

Who are jantonio@dit.upm.es and prian@bingo-ev of the x-mame page?

Jantonio is a Spanish university administrator who maintained x-mame after Allard van de Bas, and before me. Prian is a German who maintained the German web page and x-mame docs, and who designed the new mainpage.

 

The whole x-mame project consists of (only) three people??

No, not really. Jantonio is not active any more, althought Prian still is. Apart form these there are many people who maintain x-mame on specific platforms (cpu/os combi) because I do not have access to all of the combinations, the e-mail addresses behind the list of supporting platforms.

 

Are you in regular contact with them?

Yes, we contact each other through the xmame mailing list. That is where subjects like radical changes and general xmame related subjects are discussed.

 

Is x-mame popular ( going on the number of downloads, for instance)?

I am not too sure - we have no download counter, and apart from this, xmame is a standard part of a number of linux distributions (debian, redhat, suse). The mailing list is usually reasonably busy, but when I leave a serious bug in a release, then I suddenly get a suspiciously large amount of mail. It is difficult to estimate, because Unix users are generally fairly self-supporting. It is different with dos users, as I know from the time that I maintained the vgb-dos: I still get a lot of mail from them!

 

So you can play xmame with redhat? that's neat!! You don't read that in PCM (a Dutch computer magazine) !!

Hehe, that's right. Playing xmame on redhat is really the reason I got into xmame. It was there already, but wasn't really working well. Most Unix users find their way to in, and xmame is linked from www.mame.net, so I don't really need any more publicity. Apart from that, I think that very few Unix users read PCM: ever seen anything on Unix in PCM? (apart from the linux Hype of the past 12 months).

 

You run parallel with the dos-releases of MAME?

A little behind. Sometimes if I am too busy I jump a beta, but in general we run parallel. Sometimes that is tricky as Nicola keeps changing the core between the mame-core and the unix/dos/win32 code. At the moment I am busy completely rewriting the sound code as a result of the last changes. That's why there is no xmame -0.36b16 (it's on my hard disk, but not yet public ;-). Nicola is not doing it intentionally to boycot the mac/unix/win port, but because the core needs improvement from time to time. Necessary evil, you might say - just think of the record-player to cd change-over.

 

Why did you start with x-mame??

It was summer holiday, and I hadn't much on my hands and I was fed-up with windows, and wanted to step over completely to linux. Then I started to look to see what I missed in order to play games under linux. One of the things was a good xmame port. So there you are - my itch to have a good xmame was the main reason, and apart from that it's just good fun. That itch bit is typical Unix/opensource. someone wants what there isn't, and gets on and makes it. That is the opensource way. But promoting opensource is outside the scope of this interview. Although it must be said that opensource is the reason for the success of mame: look at other multi arcade emu's like retrocode.

 

What do you see as the future of mame and xmame ( how long can you keep going ;-))

At the moment I am busy more or less completely rewriting xmame. Once I have done that, maintaining it should be a lot less work, and I hope to keep going with that for a long time to come. I see the future of mame largely as a question of rewriting. I think that mame should become more modular, as it will otherwise become too large to comprehend. A complex problem becomes manageable once it is broken up into a number of simpler problems.

 

Don't you think that 2000 + games is not a bit too much of a good thing?

Yes and no, as long as the quality doesn't suffer. The problem is more where do you place the border between which are worth emulating and which not? That's a personal thing.

 
Emulate this and that game!!!!

This is that complaining adolescent behaviour which the old-school emu-scene people so hate. The emu-scene is about having fun, and recalling old memories. Emulate this and that moaners should go and play outside. Talking of emulate this and that, there are possibilities for people who would really like it, and ask nicely. They can get help such as schemes, rom dumps or physical access to a real arcade machine.

 

Is there anything you want to say that I have forgotten to ask?

Yes, I should like part of humanity, and in particular the emu-scene, to stop complaining and get on and do with their lives. I think that the partial loss of the "spirit" in the emu scene upsets me, and that's why I can now rarely be found on the IRC.

 

Last question: who would you like to see interviewed next??

Nicola, or as alternative, Brad Oliver, the author of the mac port. I think he well understands my porting pains. And I should like to hear Nicola talking about mame. I have the deepest respect for him. When you look at the mountain of work he has moved, then I wonder if he has any time to live. Programmers together, hey!

 

Back to the previous interview (Atila of Retrogames.com)

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