VirtuaNESex source code and some efforts to restore Chinese home computer history

Discuss emulation of the Nintendo Entertainment System and Famicom.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
pengan
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:16 pm

VirtuaNESex source code and some efforts to restore Chinese home computer history

Post by pengan » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:57 pm

In 1997, I got my first computer, a BBK Floppy Drive Model I. It's a NES based machine, however, it was working like PC, It has a IBM compatible 1.44MB diskette drive and it has DOS - at least it's kinds of customized 6502 CP/M, It has macro assembler and supports parallel Laplink cable to mount a MS-DOS as its external hard drive.

However, there are not much information about these machines outside China, even in China it's hidden somewhere in deep net: QQ groups, Baidu Netdisk or online forums you can only register with an invitation.

I have built an online emulator website to share some software on NES based home computers in China
http://www.famicn.com/index.html?menu=learn.json

But at this time only early Subor models are supported, because currently the MAME (Emscripten) still doesn't support that machines, Bang Dr. PC Jr. was recognized almost same to BBKs, but the emulation is still quite incomplete (lack of floppy drive support).

In early 2010s, some Chinese hobbyists(was wrong typo "hobbit" lol) starting to work on emulate YuXing and BBK machines, and most work in done on VirtuaNES, include fanoble's work on floppy drive support and more mappers done by temryu for VirtuaNESex. Unfortunately it seems like all these developers are still manage their code in "copy to different folders" way and when they want share their code, they are just publish RAR packages into QQ group or forum, so there is no easy way to have these code, especially for someone not in China.

I find these codes I was downloaded in past years and I believe they might help you to improve emulators currently you have.

VirtuaNESex: published by temryu around 2016 to 2017
https://github.com/pengan1987/VirtuaNESex

VirtuaNES BBK Emulation fork: published by fanoble in 2016
https://github.com/pengan1987/virtuanes
Last edited by pengan on Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Gilbert
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:27 pm
Location: Hong Kong
Contact:

Re: VirtuaNESex source code and some efforts to restore Chinese home computer history

Post by Gilbert » Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:42 pm

pengan wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:57 pm
...some Chinese hobbits...
I know it's just an innocent typo (should be hobbyists I guess) but I couldn't help laughing while reading this. Sorry about that. :oops:
I am Chinese, so maybe I am also a hobbit. Maybe not. :roll:

This is quite interesting. I never knew people made Famicom/NES based clone computers that advanced. All the Chinese Famiclone "computers" I've seen are quite limited, more like those edutainment learning toys. I guess this was caused by the limitations on importing technologies and related products into the mainland BITD that caused people to have workarounds to duct tape whatever tech they could manage to make some usable products.

I still don't quite get the point why VirtuaNES was so popular in Japan(especially those Japanese who play with Family Basic) and China. There are more modern and better documented open-sourced emulators nowadays (such as Nesticle, Nestopia and FCEUltra and whatever derived from it) for them to work on adding features.
It would also be great if Sour reads this and manages to add some support to MESEN.

NewRisingSun
Posts: 1189
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 11:30 am

Re: VirtuaNESex source code and some efforts to restore Chinese home computer history

Post by NewRisingSun » Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:37 pm

I am trying to add support for all of these models to NintendulatorNRS. What is keeping me back right now is mostly the lack of 1.44 MiB floppy disk images.

pengan
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:16 pm

Re: VirtuaNESex source code and some efforts to restore Chinese home computer history

Post by pengan » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:46 am

NewRisingSun wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:37 pm
I am trying to add support for all of these models to NintendulatorNRS. What is keeping me back right now is mostly the lack of 1.44 MiB floppy disk images.
That disk images are standard MS-DOS FAT image, a regular floppy disk image tool like WinImage can create/operate them.

Here is a pre-compiled package contains VirtuaNESex and several diskette images (one for BBK and three for YuXing)
https://9game.oss-us-west-1.aliyuncs.co ... aNESex.zip

I will try to find more disk images and upload them.

pengan
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:16 pm

Re: VirtuaNESex source code and some efforts to restore Chinese home computer history

Post by pengan » Fri Mar 13, 2020 1:34 am

Gilbert wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:42 pm
This is quite interesting. I never knew people made Famicom/NES based clone computers that advanced. All the Chinese Famiclone "computers" I've seen are quite limited, more like those edutainment learning toys. I guess this was caused by the limitations on importing technologies and related products into the mainland BITD that caused people to have workarounds to duct tape whatever tech they could manage to make some usable products.
The import restriction is already loose in 1990s, but IBM compatible is still expensive for people who live in mainland China. a Wintel PC may spend half year salary of a young professional at that time.

In contrast, NES based 8-bit computers only need 1/8 price of a PC and run some productivity apps. All these machines have Kingsoft WPS compatible word processor as their flagship apps.

1.44MB PC standard diskette and industry standard word processor compatibility let people can bring their documents between PC in office and 8-bit computers at home. It’s a pretty practical scenario.

Around 2000, these concepts are more advanced, the 8-bit computer functionality are built into a VCD players, called “Computer VCD”, the concept looks like Commodore’s CDTV. Some of the higher end Computer VCDs are 16-bit, equipped SEGA-315 chipset and can run SEGA Genesis games.

The reason why Chinese manufactures build their budget computer with NES console rather than other 8-bit computer platforms such as Apple II (also has Chinese clone, the CEC series) I think is the popularity of Famiclones. People can share their game cartridges between famiclones and 8-bit computers, and manufactures can let their software team focus on making educational and productivity software rather than port games to their platform.

Post Reply