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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:18 pm 
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1. Yoshi/Koitsu
2. Blargg
3. Byuu
4. No$Cash (???)

Who am I missing?

Who is/was Qwertie?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:27 pm 
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When you say "snesdev/scene", I need to know what timeframe you're talking about. I tend to think of 3 separate scenes that had very limited social overlap (there was some, but it was greatly limited; NES/nesdev was different):

* Pre-emulation (1991-1995)
* Emulation pioneering (1996-2001)
* Post-emulation (2001-present)

Very few in the first scene were in either of the latter, and folks from the latter often don't know anything about the first. I'm one of those oddballs that technically spanned all 3 due to being involved in multiple communities, but I honestly know very little of the post-emulation scene. For example, byuu's name I'd never heard of until probably 2010 or something like that (really!). This kind of thing I think also happened with nesdev too, but with a lot more social overlap; the SNES scenes are kinda unique in that way.

Were you wanting details covering all of the time periods as a lump sum, or just certain timeframes? I have a short write-up covering the former two scenes, specifically mentioning names of people who were important/critical during those times. Some are still around, and I would urge you to try to contact them to get additional names of people that they remember. There's one particular person who spanned both the first two scenes that is often forgotten/overlooked, and that saddens me greatly because he was incredibly pivotal in the same way Blargg has been.

I don't think of myself as a "guru", as there is better information and more in-the-know people today than myself by far. At this point I sincerely feel nobody cares about all of that history, they just want to play "those old pixel games on that old Nuhtendo their dad had!" etc..


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:40 pm 
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bazz wrote some tutorials and documents. I'd consider him a "guru"

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nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:41 pm 
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As for Qwertie (David Piepgrass): he's the author of his own SNES documentation, which came out in roughly 1998 and continued I think until the very early 2000s. He was not part of the first scene I mentioned. His docs came out during the emulation peak, and the first example I encountered of someone adamantly chastising my documentation for inaccuracies etc (something that's continued to this day, always by people who weren't around during the first scene -- funny that). He was also the author of some test ROMs, and the author of a DOS SNES emulator called SNEqr. His home page was here, and his SNES emulators' documentation was here (bottom of the document contains names/etc. of folks, and more chastising of my docs, haha).

I would say his efforts were important, simply because his docs were the "next step" in evolution that brought emulation up several notches. When he describes them as a kind of "drop-in replacement" for mine, he's mostly right. I can't definitively say his documentation helped with homebrew itsef, but that's not his fault -- by the early 2000s people weren't really doing SNES homebrew any more (people stopped roughly after the release of the Sony PlayStation): everyone was interested in newer consoles. But that doesn't change the fact that his efforts on several fronts were important. He deserves big kudos.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:59 pm 
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olddb wrote:
Who am I missing?

Anomie


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:27 pm 
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koitsu wrote:
When you say "snesdev/scene", I need to know what timeframe you're talking about.

Were you wanting details covering all of the time periods as a lump sum, or just certain timeframes? I have a short write-up covering the former two scenes, specifically mentioning names of people who were important/critical during those times.


I was thinking in general.
But now that you give that timetable outline, I would love to hear/read about the "Pre-emulation" days and "Emulation pioneering" days specifically.

Can't believe no journalist have written any book or significant article about this.

Quote:
As for Qwertie (David Piepgrass)

Thank you for the info/link. Even the download links work in there!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:31 pm 
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I never have followed SNESdev stuff all that closely. But I would add for consideration (post-emulation period):
- d4s
- neviksti


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:08 pm 
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I would love to hear move about the timeframe for nesdev an gbdev in general too :) In another thread if this become very detailed. I'm surprised we never had (?) threads on this subject. I love those things!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:33 am 
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olddb wrote:
I was thinking in general. But now that you give that timetable outline, I would love to hear/read about the "Pre-emulation" days and "Emulation pioneering" days specifically.


In general, these would be the folks of the pre-emulation days who I would consider key/critical, in no particular order:

Corsair and Kari -- for their "famitech" doc: this was all we had until my docs
Dax -- for his graphics doc: this was (also) all we had until my docs
Carl Mueller -- responsible for the early 90s famidev mailing list (what I usually call the "snesdev mailing list") at Wayne State University (Michigan) in early 1993. Here's the FAQ, which leads me to...
Charles Doty -- one of the original homebrewers and reverse-engineers I ever interacted with, both directly and on famidev
Christopher Jack (a.k.a. Gau) -- for all sorts of stuff, but mainly his SPC700 docs and Multitap docs, but he also provided some register reverse-engineering details. More on him later...
John Pappas (a.k.a. DiskDude) -- for SNES Kart and other whatnots. (Yes, this is the same DiskDude of the infamous NES file format !DiskDude! header ordeal)
Jeremy Gordon -- for all sorts of things (including his 65816 cross-assembler for PC), but mainly his SPRITE.DOC, which is included in my SNES documentation
Antitrack -- for all sorts of things, but mainly his SOUND.DOC and SID-SPC.SRC (C64 SID emulator for SPC700), both which is included in my SNES documentation
Vic Ricker -- for all sorts of useful info posted to the mailing list (example) over the years
Geggin of Censor -- for the initial SNES mode 20 memory map I used in my docs
JackRippr -- for all sorts of miscellaneous info, as well as giving people little hints/tips along the way. He would be like "you should try setting bit N of $21xx to 1 and then do this. Have fun!"
Pan (and several other members) of Anthrox -- for all sorts of info, mainly about different graphics modes. His vertical split-screen multi-mode demo (MODE7.SMC) still gives emulators problems today
Donald Moore (a.k.a. MindRape) -- for always pushing the boundaries of everything. He was there in the IRC #snes days, and was always a source of inspiration and support. May he rest in peace

I'm 100% sure I'm forgetting other names of folks who were equally as pivotal, and for that I apologise. Refer to my SNES.8 document for other names of people, although who was responsible for what (in detail) and part of the original pioneering effort is hard to say. If I dig through very early SNES emulator READMEs, or random SNES docs (not my own) I find, I'll see a name I recognise here and there (ex. SirJinx, etc.).

As for Gau: four years ago I tweeted pictures of some printouts of personal Emails from him to me back in the day. He was also a guy who had a project which he called, if I remember correctly, the "Romulator" -- which was basically a homebrew development board (hardware) with tons of RAM chips that went into the SNES cart slot, but was also hooked up to a PC, allowing you to load a ROM onto the board and run it that way. I don't know if he ever completed it, but he had worked out all the MMIO control registers and general hardware to do it. I guess today you would liken it to an EPROM emulator. He and I also worked on a SNES homebrew effort -- this was in 1995 I believe (almost 99% certain of the year) -- called Super Kid Icarus (I do not know the person who made this video but I did comment on it in YT), which was intended to be a revamped version of Kid Icarus for the NES but with improved graphics (but would also let you play the original game). A lot of what you see in that demo is his work -- maybe ~25% is mine. It's not much to show, but at least we did something. And no, our Super Kid Icarus had no relation to the Flash game that someone made many years later.

---

For the "emulation pioneering" days (starting roughly mid-1996?), almost all the people during the earlier snesdev days were gone (that I know of), excluding a few (ex. DiskDude, MindRape), but there were equally just as many important people but for different reasons: these were people who help pioneer SNES emulation (thus at the same time, homebrew) -- but as I said, at that time, nobody was really doing homebrew, everyone just wanted emulation of dumped games. Most of the hot stuff going on was in IRC channel #emu on EFNet.

There were 2 key things about the 1996-2001 time period that are easily overlooked (particularly #1):

1. This was when the Web in general was taking off. HTML, websites, etc. was the hot thing. This revolutionised how people got, and shared, information. Why this matters will become clear in a moment,

2. There was a lot of SNES reverse-engineering was going on. My docs simply weren't enough for emulation of a system, as anyone can tell you. But nobody doing the RE was really documenting anything publicly -- it was all effectively tribal knowledge. Emulator authors would hit me up to ask if I happened to have insights into what was busted in their emulators, but that was it. I believe Gary Henderson and Jeremy Koot did a lot of independent reverse-engineering; SNES96/97 was very popular until ZSNES came along. I interacted with Koot several times but don't ever remember talking to Gary.

Anyway, again in no particular order:

SiMKiN -- for his SNES memory map, for both modes 20 and 21. He maintained this for years. I believe he got a lot of crap by younger/later-generation emulator authors citing "mistakes" and other whatnots (sound familiar?)
Chad Kitching (a.k.a. Trepalium) -- for practically everything under the sun. I really can't summarise Trep's contributions to everything, including his own DOS SNES emulator in 1996/1997, but he also did DOS ports of SNES97. He did a lot of 65816 and RE'ing of his own, as well as x86 assembly optimisations in pretty much everything
Chris George (a.k.a. TheBrain) -- for his SNES emulator VSMC that never truly came to fruition (it was commercial), but he did a lot of reverse-engineering on his own, and did chat with me quite a bit
Jeremy Koot (a.k.a. The Teacher) -- original author of SNES96 (now known as SNES9x)
Gary Henderson -- original author of SNES97 (now known as SNES9x). Pretty sure Gary did boatloads of reverse-engineering work, as I said
_Demo_ and zsKnight -- for ZSNES. AFAIK, my docs got them started, the rest they figured it out on their own or talking to other emulator devs
Nobuaki ANDOU -- for Super Pasofami / SPW, a Japanese SNES emulator that became infamous in the US because pirated versions would recursively delete C:\WINDOWS at a random time/moment. AFAIK, most of his reverse-engineering efforts were done by himself or with other members of the Japanese community, at which time nobody in North America even knew was happening. The author passed away last year

Like before -- I'm 100% sure I'm forgetting other names of folks who were equally as pivotal, and for that I apologise. SiMKiN may actually have spanned both pre-emulation and emulation pioneering time frames -- I just can't remember. His doc went through a lot of revisions, so he may have been around in 1994 or so.

I also want to mention several others during this period that deserve mention, given what sites they ran and what they did. As I covered earlier, with the introduction of the Web becoming a huge thing, there were now ways to keep up to date on stuff (for the masses, not just dev-folk):

Sean Whalen (a.k.a. AvatarZ) -- founded Node99, which came *before* Zophar's Domain and Archaic Ruins. This was literally the first emulation news site, but also served as a tech hub for docs/info. I dug pretty hard to find that Node99 link, by the way -- it's an archive *of* an archive, and looks very different than the original Node99 site (I asked others, too)
Jim Pragit -- founded the "EMU News Service", which was a website dedicated to emulation news (releases, etc.)
Brad Levicoff (a.k.a. Zophar) -- founded/ran Zophar's Domain, which was literally *the* place to go for emulation or similarly-related stuff in the late 90s, and remained that way for quite some time (I was a staff member at one point)
Chris Hickman (a.k.a. Typhoon_Z) -- founded Archaic Ruins, a kind of tech/emulation-esque news site, which also did interviews etc. (yeah, there's several with me on there)

---

After all of this came the "post-emulation" time period, which I wasn't really around for outside of the NES. I had other things going on (personal, professional, hosting Parodius, blah blah blah). What kept tied in to both the NES and SNES (generally-speaking) during this time period was also my involvement in romhacking (freelance game translation). I won't go into all of that as it's off-topic.

Edit: folks like byuu and Anomie fall into this time period, I believe. I'm not sure when nocash began working on all of his stuff (it's so vast that I cannot even begin to comprehend how long it took). An important aspect of *this* time period is that I believe this is when real hardware-savvy folks began helping with reverse-engineering and actual answers began to come forth (vs. what others had reverse-engineered, or gotten from, say, official documentation). There was little to none of that in the early-to-late 90s (spanning the first two time periods). Thus, now what people have is substantially more accurate and vast. That's what you get from people who are hardware-savvy -- of which I am not. :-)

olddb wrote:
Can't believe no journalist have written any book or significant article about this.

How funny... there's a reason this is my pinned tweet! :-) I've talked with peers who were part of several scenes (incl. ones I was part of). One of the problem is the sheer vastness of it all -- SNES scene was completely separate from MD/Genesis, separate from NES/Famicom, separate from PC Engine/TG16, etc.. Every scene was different (per console/system) and unique. It's almost like you'd have to have documentaries on each console scene for it to be accurate. It'd turn out to be like an 8-hour documentary, hahaha.

I teared up several times while writing this post. Just remembering and recalling the names of many of the people above, plus looking them up and their old sites/docs/programs... a lot of memories came flooding back to me. Old situations; good, bad, shameful/embarrassing, amazing. I'm a nostalgic, always have been, so this stuff hits me hard. Those were incredible times for snesdev, and later for emulation. Literally revolutionary, but none of us in the early days knew what was to come (re: emulation).

Nobody thought to document those times -- no film, no tape recordings, no diaries. We just lived it... and now 25 years later, try to recall it.

I'll leave you with this: I started my SNES docs sometime in 1993. The final release, v2.30, was a few days after Christmas 1994. I was 17 then. I'll be 42 early next year.

Code:
NOW, SO MUCH TIME HAS ELAPSED AND I'M OLD NOW, I THINK IT'S TIME FOR ME TO
TELL YOU THE WHOLE STORY. I HOPE THIS STORY WILL BE TOLD FOR A LONG TIME...
2010.8.2 -- JOE


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:22 am 
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Encyclopedia Koitsu-nica! :lol:

I have a blast reading all that information, it's true!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:51 am 
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Me too! Thanks for summarizing your memories from this time! :)
It is a poorly documented part of gaming history, so these recollections means a lot.

I remember when I found that Super Kid Icarus in a ROM collection when SNES-emulation was young. I was all over it, it was so beautiful that I first thought it was an official sequel that I somehow didn't know about. Or that was at least what I wanted to believe. When I noticed it wasn't a playable game or even a demo, I was so disappointed and realized that it must have been homemade somehow. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:05 am 
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koitsu wrote:
Antitrack -- for [...] SID-SPC.SRC (C64 SID emulator for SPC700)

Wasn't that Alfatech? Or were they both involved with that in some way?

Either way, thanks for writing up such a comprehensive post about some of the pioneers of the scene. I think I've mentioned this here before, but I'd totally love to see a "where are they now" sort of thing about a lot of the early scene figures who almost seem more like mythological heroes of the past or something like that at this point.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:26 pm 
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Wow. Thank you so much for this :!: :!: :!:

There's a lot to digest here, but here are some of my initial questions, if you don't mind answering:

1. At the very beginning, where there any concerns about the legality of what you were doing?

2. At the beginning, what was the goal for the group?

3. At the beginning, what was the process progress made on other popular retro systems like the NES and/or the 2600?
Did you took inspiration from those scenes?

4. You say your not hardware guy, yet you were one of the first to produce documentation for the SNES. Can you explain?

5. Besides Nobuaki, you don't mention the Japanese scene. Is this because the scene was non-existent, because of cultural or other reasons? Or simply there was a language barrier?
Do you know if Nobuaki's work was a commercial success?

6. When you made Super Kid Icarus game/demo, did you ever made a physical cart? If so, did you ever show to stores / trade show, etc? What were your expectations and goals for this project?

7. What was the first emulator that could boot a commercial game (let's say that could run a complete level of SMW)?

8. Could it be said that for the second half of the 90's there was a race to make a competent working emulator. This race was won by snes9x and zsnes. After those came out, many dropped out. Would you say this is correct?

Thank you.

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Last edited by olddb on Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:42 pm 
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olddb wrote:
4. You say your not hardware guy, yet you were one of the first to produce documentation for the SNES. Can you explain?

As I understand it, koitsu's role in compiling NES and Super NES docs largely involved using technical writing skills to organize the results of others' reverse engineering into coherent documentation.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:14 pm 
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Revenant wrote:
koitsu wrote:
Antitrack -- for [...] SID-SPC.SRC (C64 SID emulator for SPC700)

Wasn't that Alfatech? Or were they both involved with that in some way?

It was Antitrack, but I believe the two may have had some history (possibly *after* my docs). I don't know the history there, would have to track down one of them and ask. I'm sure it was Antitrack because in my READ.ME circa 1994, there was this:

Code:
-=NEW=- sid-spc.src........C64 sound emulator documentation/code by Antitrack

...and in SID-SPC.SRC we have this:
Code:
; The following program is a reassembly of the c64-soundchip emulation routines
; written by Alfatech/Triad ooops I mean Alfatech/Censor. I have tried to make
; this code as readable as possible in order to help people get started with
; snes SPC700 sound programming.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ THANKS TO ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE FOR BEING SUCH A LACK OF A HELP!!!!  (grrrr) ¦
+----------------------------------------------------------------------------+

; especially you guys on #snes, #snes!, famidev; Corsair, Pothead, Sir Jinx,
; and the rest of the Internet!
; or in other words, i had to find out everything myself again.  :(
; And no, I still dont have an assembler for the spc700, just a disassembler :(
; thats why you will notice the big lack of pseudoopcodes, macros etc.   :((

Revenant wrote:
Either way, thanks for writing up such a comprehensive post about some of the pioneers of the scene. I think I've mentioned this here before, but I'd totally love to see a "where are they now" sort of thing about a lot of the early scene figures who almost seem more like mythological heroes of the past or something like that at this point.

As would I! I'm sure many of them are still around, just an issue of finding them and talking to them -- if they would even want to talk. It may come as a surprise, but sometimes old sceners don't like to talk about those times due to "stuff" that was going on in those scenes (e.g. warez distribution, etc.). Literally every person has their own story to tell; another aspect of the era that made it feel almost magical.


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