Bringing Super NES games to mobile devices

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tepples
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Bringing Super NES games to mobile devices

Post by tepples » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:54 am

Say the publisher of a Super NES game wants to make it available for purchase in Apple App Store and Google Play Store by packaging it with an emulator. bsnes works on even budget PCs using Intel Core i series processors but is reportedly too slow on ARM processors in smartphones, tablets, and single-board computers. The license of Snes9x forbids distribution for a fee. So what should the publisher do, other than rewriting the game line by line as a native application using the native API?

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gauauu
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Re: Bringing Super NES games to mobile devices

Post by gauauu » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:35 am

tepples wrote:So what should the publisher do
Are you asking for business advice or tech advice?
tepples wrote: other than rewriting the game line by line as a native application using the native API?
If you want your game to run quickly, perform well, and have a good user experience for each platform, I think rewriting it is going to be your best bet.

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dougeff
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Re: Bringing Super NES games to mobile devices

Post by dougeff » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:50 am

Would it be possible to distribute a ROM that requires a paid "key" to unlock it?

Let's say that the SNES ROM generates a random number. Then the user types that random number into a website, which you pay a small fee to get a corresponding key, which you then enter, to unlock the game.

Not sure how you would keep it unlocked, and not redistributable...SRAM could be copied.
nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES

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samophlange
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Re: Bringing Super NES games to mobile devices

Post by samophlange » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:35 am

If you're a publisher like Konami with a library of games that you want to re-sell, you could contract somebody to make an emulator that runs your games well and amortize the cost across the sales of all of the titles. I have no idea if the business case works out, but it seems like it could be feasible. This also removes the legal liability of using public code.

I have a hard time believing that modern phones can't run bsnes at 60fps. I've shipped some VR games that run at 60fps on phones that are 3-4 years old. It probably just needs a bit of platform specific optimization. Maybe it won't run well on those garbage $50 Android tablets, but nothing does.

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Re: Bringing Super NES games to mobile devices

Post by byuu » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:13 pm

I am actively developing a new SNES emulator from scratch that aims to be as fast as Snes9X, but commercially licensable. It's not that much work, really. My scanline-based PPU (this is part of why I wrote it) is faster than Snes9X's and multi-threaded (even the cheapest $1 ARM SoCs are multi-core these days), and I donated the APU to Snes9X (and I'll release the DSP code under LGPL v2.1 anyway), so I can just use that. All I need is a new CPU core (which can be derived from my range-testing variant in bsnes-performance), and new glue code that avoids cooperative threading and instead opts for enslavement+state-machines. As for coprocessors: dsp1emu+sdd1-decompress+spc7110-decompress are public domain, OBC1+RTCs are trivial, and if it's the copyright holder for a DSP game, then static recompilation of the firmware is possible. I'll worry about SuperFX and SA-1 later.

I have not decided on whether or not I will open source it. I don't feel the world needs another Snes9X, and I see no reason to make it easy for people to violate my new emulator's license as they have Snes9X's in the past.

The minimum target I am aiming for is an RK3036 dual-core ARMv7 32-bit @ 1.2GHz.

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Memblers
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Re: Bringing Super NES games to mobile devices

Post by Memblers » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:58 pm

In general, probably the way to go is to ask the authors if they'll license it to you under different terms. But SNES9x has been around for so long, it might have too many authors to make that even practical, I wouldn't know. But I would bet dollars to donuts that the non-commercial clause was not intended to prevent what you are asking about doing.

Sounds like byuu's emu could solve that problem.
dougeff wrote: Would it be possible to distribute a ROM that requires a paid "key" to unlock it?

Let's say that the SNES ROM generates a random number. Then the user types that random number into a website, which you pay a small fee to get a corresponding key, which you then enter, to unlock the game.

Not sure how you would keep it unlocked, and not redistributable...SRAM could be copied.
Interesting, kinda goes against the spirit of the license if the game was integrated with the emu though. I suppose if that random generator was tied to a serial # or something from the device that could work, kinda overkill and not very user-friendly if they want to move it to another device though.

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