RPCEmu author mulls future featuresBy Nick Brown. Published: 27th Jul 2007, 01:09:43 | Permalink | Printable
Developer polls punters for ideas for emulator"Where do I go from here?" That's what Tom Walker, the author of the RPCEmu emulator, effectively asked this week. After two years of hard work it seems Thomas is stuck, and with numerous features planned but limited spare time, he asked users on the RPCEmu list what they would most like to see in the next version of his popular program.
He said: "I'm trying to decide where to take RPCemu from here. I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions about things I haven't thought of."
The options suggested are improved video support, a better Linux version, a port for Mac OS X, IDE card emulation, direct floppy access, updates to the DOS port, better sound, improved mouse support and MIDI emulation. On the topic of supporting networking, arguably a critical feature, Tom admitted he is, "clueless about networking in general," although he will consider it if there is enough interest.
Tom also mentions supporting operating systems other than RISC OS, such as ARM Linux and NetBSD's Acorn ports. He said: "Debian nearly works. It starts up fine, but BusyBox crashes - I think it's trying to access a library that isn't there. NetBSD doesn't work at all. ARMedslack used to crash early in startup, but in recent builds of RPCemu I can't even get past the boot menu."
He is currently working on improving the dynamic recompiler, a feature of many commercial emulators although not until now ever included in a free to download RISC OS hardware emulator. By dynamically recompiling ARM code, the emulation speed is significantly brought up to that of a StrongARM RiscPC and allows games such Quake, pictured above, to more or less run as expected.
It is clear that there is plenty of work ahead, especially if RPCEmu will prove to be a real competitor to the likes of VirtualAcorn's products. However, unlike other maintained RISC OS-platform emulators, the open source RPCEmu is available for Unix powered computers - up till now a platform ignored by the rest of the serious competition.
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