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What's missing in RockNES?
Poll ended at Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:28 pm
A Windows style interface, with menus. 53%  53%  [ 9 ]
Allegro sucks. 6%  6%  [ 1 ]
Your emulator sucks at all. 6%  6%  [ 1 ]
Gimme da sources n0w. 24%  24%  [ 4 ]
Your emulator rocks, but I prefer another one. 12%  12%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 17
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:28 pm 
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I wonder what's missing in my emulator, as if someone is spreading "it's inaccurate", or "it's not for Windows". How so? There's a huge table of compatibility at TAS site, but using a very outdated version (5.00 I believe), and it's at 5.24.

I hear Nestopia, not much of Nintendulator, a lot of puNES... and... the rainbow-happiness of FCEUx.
Mine has almost 20 years of development, so what's up? Yeah, I really need to know.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:05 pm 
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I use FCEUX constantly because it has a good debugger, nice native Windows interface, and easy to use AVI and screenshot capture capabilities.

I sometimes use Nestopia to play games. It has no debugger, but it does vsync better than FCEUX (so it's better for fullscreen, no debuggin; i.e. when I just want to play).

Less frequently I use Nintendulator for very specific debugging purposes that FCEUX is inadequate for (e.g. very accurate render timing, OAM inspection).

I've tried puNES, and I mostly like its interface, but I think it still feels "unfinished".


Probably the big reason I don't switch to other emulators is that the main two (FCEUX/Nestopia) both do the job really well already. I don't even know why I'd want to try other ones, because I don't know of any need to. They're both old and well known and pretty robust.


I've given you feedback in the past about it, but I'll give it another try right now and take notes...

Okay, here's some honest suggestions based on my experience the last few minutes:
  • No drag and drop, so I have to go hunting through directories with a non-native file dialog.
  • File dialog does not hide files that are not NES ROMs.
  • Alt + Enter does not switch to fullscreen.
  • No obvious option for fullscreen in the menu. "Misc > Video resolution > Fullscreen options..." is greyed out?
  • When to "Video resolution > Set..." and it gave me a pre-emptive warning, and then after choosing a fullscreen option it crashed badly.
  • No debugger, not even something like nametable or PPU tile viewer. Just a couple of minimal memory dumpers?
  • Doesn't remember last used directory when I close. Gotta navigate to my ROMs again with terrible allegro dialogs...
  • Went to "C:\Users\rainwarrior\My Documents" and no contents appeared, not even a "..\" to back out- dialog is now stuck here. Have to cancel and start again.
  • Most of my ROMs are under "My Documents" so this is a problem.
  • NSF player has a visualizer but doesn't tell me the track number, or any information (title/artist/copyright) from the NSF.
  • Found setting "Save last accessed folder as main." This should be on by default.
  • Allegro GUI is very small and hard to read. Blue background colour scheme is uncomfortable to my eyes.
  • Small allegro GUI is also hard to click on, smaller than normal Windows fonts.
  • Accidentally pressed number keys looking for the default inputs, ended up changing a bunch of graphical settings and now it looks terrible and I don't know how to revert my settings.
  • Had to delete my INI file to get back normal looking graphics.

So... it seems to run games fine. I don't have any initial thoughts about accuracy, and really that's not part of my decision not to use it. Here's my top two reasons for not using RockNES:

1. No debugger. This is one of the most common things I want to do with an NES emulator.

2. No fullscreen. If I'm not debugging, I want to play in fullscreen. If I can't do this, the emulator is useless. (Maybe just ditch Allegro if its fullscreen doesn't work?)

Until one of those two things changes, I wouldn't have any desire to use your emulator except to just to test it. Even if it could do one of those two things, though, the other nitpicks make it an unappealing choice compared to other emulators. Sorry if this is harsh, but it seemed like an honest question, and like you wanted an honest answer.

Open source is another reason that I completely left out, here, cause it's not exactly a "usability" issue, and probably a lot of people don't care about it, but I do very much appreciate open source programs, and it's one of the reasons I use FCEUX. I actually modify FCEUX sometimes, and contribute to the project.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:33 pm 
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I've got to agree with rainwarrior. I haven't tried your emulator, but if there's no debugger I won't use it for development, and if no fullscreen, I won't use it on my gaming setup.

I had just started another thread about comparing debug capabilities from different emulators. If you focus on an amazing and streamlined debug experience, you'd interest me enough to make me try it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:58 pm 
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I native user interface would make a big difference. 20 years ago it may have been common but this is not the case anymore.

Since your emulator is made in c if my memory is good there should be some framework that can be used like wxWidgets that could make multiplatform capable at the same time. I don't know if it would mix well with allegro though since I just tested it a little bit and liked it, planning to use it in future projects.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:08 pm 
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My opinion would basically echo what rainwarrior said.

If I'm using an emulator I'm using it for

1. Developing/debugging. FCUEX does more than any other emulator for my debugging needs.

2. Playing people via netplay. Nestopia with kailerra p2p is still pretty much the only game in town that even
works somewhat reasonably after all these years. At least that I know of. I'm pretty sure there isn't a
better NES netplay option.

I think you to think about it the other way....


What is the REASON someone should try it. What does it offer that other emulators don't


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:24 pm 
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Banshaku wrote:
I native user interface would make a big difference. 20 years ago it may have been common but this is not the case anymore.

This.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:05 pm 
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I'm fine with a non-native interface as long as it's good, but this isn't that. I've seen nice emulator launcher programs, or media centre programs like XBMC, etc. There's lots of ways to make nice, usable UI without it being native.

This UI, though, is just Allegro's GUI. It's a super-dated love letter to Atari ST's GEM (which was fine, in 1985). I'm surprised it still looks the exactly the same as it did the last time I used it (~1998). Everything about it is worse than native OS interfaces, so just replacing it with native ones would be a huge improvement.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:09 pm 
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I agree with a lot of what has been said already. The outdated interface (which kinda reminds me of Nesticle actually, being blue and having that menu on the corner) is a big turn off. It flickers as it redraws, everything is too small and hard to interact with, you can't move the windows out of the way... it's just not pleasant to use. I also found the "screen size" dialog pretty confusing, with the different options arranged in a huge list of pre-combined settings instead of proper controls for the individual aspects for me to combine as I see fit. The lack of full screen, correct aspect ratio (your stretched modes are too stretched) and NTSC filter are deal breakers for me when I'm playing games. The lack of useful debugging features is a deal breaker when I'm developing. Having to pause the emulator to debug is also very undesirable, since I want to see how the games affect everything in real-time.

Please note that native windows and controls don't automatically make the interface good. FCEUX, for example, has a great interface, where you can freely arrange and resize the windows to your liking when debugging... Nintendulator, on the other hand, is much more stiff, so you can't customize your workspace as neatly.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:00 am 
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I use FCEUxd and Nintendulator for development/debuging. I use Nestopia and VirtuaNES for gaming. I don't need any other emulators.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:04 am 
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It's for Windows.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:22 am 
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I don't know because I have not used RockNES. But, I intend using a accurate emulator with debugging capability that uses command-line option and is compatible with Linux and free-software/open-source.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:43 am 
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1. It's closed source.
2. It's Windows-only.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:27 am 
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Some of the comments are... pretty good. Others are just... sh*t.
My apologies for my harsh words and language barrier. I respect the opinions when there's something constructive after the left-criticism.

1. Open source thing. Other than portability, give me reasons for it. If you want to compile & fix yourself, why not joining the project?

2. Windows only. Well, how many of you are using Unix/Linux? MacOS? Ouch, that incident with Mr. Bannister wasn't nice.

3. User interface. It's old, and what's wrong with it? What's the problem of being that way? "Modern" people will never enjoy the oldies, like only playing PS4 instead of good Atari 2600 games, as example? Stella has no Windows interface, and it's still a great emulator! Well, about the GUI as it is, how could it be better for you? Care to do a diagram for improvement? After all, do you wanna play the games or enjoy the interface? Just tell me what could be improved.

4. After reading a few other comments, people are very sensitive and really are "attactted" for things that everyone repeats as "the most accurate" or "the best one", an essence of advertising more and more.

5. Debugger. Wait a second. In fact, you can't add breakpoints or view a memory region, but the emulator brings a disassembler and points to the current instruction once you open it. All the flags and CPU memory are exposed. So, what's up?

6. FCEUx. The guy of various nicknames (Ben P., Xodnizel) had resumed the works in that abandoned emulator ages ago, like I did with xNES. It was very nice to share code and ideas with him (mIRC). Later, he changed to a Windows-style, and a few years later, made it open source. It was never 100% accurate, but the number of tools and junks available made it SO popular that accuracy wasn't all.

7. Accuracy. RockNES is an accurate emulator. It has flaws like any other. Even the mighty Nestopia has/had bugs that none of them (most of) were present in my emulator.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:11 am 
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Zepper wrote:
After all, do you wanna play the games or enjoy the interface?


Why not both? Serious question.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:14 am 
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You seem fairly defensive after asking why we don't use it. I don't think anyone here is attacking you, just answering your question honestly.

Zepper wrote:
1. Open source thing. Other than portability, give me reasons for it. If you want to compile & fix yourself, why not joining the project?

It's not a show-stopper, but I prefer using open source. I just like the idea of sharing. I understand if you don't want your emulator to be open, but if everything else were equal (which is rarely the case), I'd use an open source program before a closed one. If you have killer features that aren't available in an open-source alternative, I'd use your program.

Quote:
2. Windows only. Well, how many of you are using Unix/Linux?

I am -- I do all my development on linux, and it drives me crazy that I haven't found an emulator with a good debugger without resorting to WINE. This isn't just directed at you -- it kills me that fceux on linux doesn't include the debugger. If you had a native linux version with a reasonably good debugger, I'd be interested.

Quote:
5. Debugger. Wait a second. In fact, you can't add breakpoints or view a memory region, but the emulator brings a disassembler and points to the current instruction once you open it. All the flags and CPU memory are exposed. So, what's up?

I find that breakpoints and viewing memory regions are important parts of the debugger, and I use them quite frequently.


You also mention Stella's interface. I find the UI of Stella to be quite ugly, but the command-line debugger interface is amazing, letting me do many of my debugging tasks without a lot of clicking around. I'll take an ugly but efficient interface like that any day.

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