English Amiga Board


Go Back   English Amiga Board > Main > Retrogaming General Discussion

 
 
Thread Tools
Old 03 April 2004, 14:06   #1
Antiriad
The Sacred Armour Of
Antiriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Sussex, UK
Age: 38
Posts: 1,141
Paying For Emulators Is Just Plain Wrong

This is a thread i started on GP32x, but i feel its just as valid here.

Zodiac is setting a very bad example

Im all for giving credit, help and donations to authors of Emulators but paying for them outright? No no no and no.

Its all very well authors claim that it takes time to do them, but at the end of the day an emulator is only commerically viable because of the software library created for it. Something that the authors have nothing to do with and no right to exploit. And after all, doesnt the author of the emulator benefit from it as much as the others who download it? Surely then, he benefits from the time given to it this way? Emulation is supposed to be about preservation and nostalgia - not making profit.

This only gives emulation a even worse name as it comes across as ripping off commerical companies and is a red rag to corporate lawyers. The most recent and prominent example being CrimsonFire and their GBA emulator for the Zodiac.

It brings up emulation out of the underground and into the open and thereby naked to the scrutiny of the law which as we well know it cannot stand up against.
The Zodiac, therefore with "companies" such as Kalemsoft and CrimsonFire is doing huge damage to the emulation community with its paid for SNES, NES, GBA, SMS, GG and PCE emulators. No other platform has such a high number of these - check the X Box (and of course the GP32) emulation scene by comparison.

And now I see a former GP32 emu developer (who shall remain nameless) canvassing other Zodiac owners on the feasibility of paying for an MSX and SMS emulator as the authors of their sources "want a piece of the action"

Remember, this isnt only damaging to the scene in general it is also hurting the GP32 as emulation coders will abandon it and its free emulation scene for the sake of a fast buck on the Zodiac.
Antiriad is offline  
AdSense AdSense  
Old 03 April 2004, 14:31   #2
CodyJarrett
Global Moderator

CodyJarrett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: UK
Age: 40
Posts: 5,743
Re: Paying For Emulators Is Just Plain Wrong

Quote:
Originally posted by Antiriad
Its all very well authors claim that it takes time to do them, but at the end of the day an emulator is only commerically viable because of the software library created for it. Something that the authors have nothing to do with and no right to exploit.
And software DVD players (for example) are only commercially viable because there are DVDs available to play. The authors of DVD software don't have anything to do with DVDs either.
CodyJarrett is offline  
Old 03 April 2004, 14:46   #3
Antiriad
The Sacred Armour Of
Antiriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Sussex, UK
Age: 38
Posts: 1,141
Thank you Cody. I went on in the GP32 thread to state that i dont charge for my retro related activities!

Neither do you!

Neither does CAPS!

Neither does HOL!

Neither does RCK!

And thats how it should be
Antiriad is offline  
Old 03 April 2004, 16:37   #4
Traquer
 
Posts: n/a
Well then I guess the 'decent' developers will release their emulators free. Who will buy one when an alternative is avaliable free? Like no-one could charge for an emulator on the PC, everyone would just go elsewhere.
 
Old 03 April 2004, 17:41   #5
ant512
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: California
Posts: 942
Um, I think Cody was being sarcastic. We could just as easily extend his metaphor to hardware - why should hardware DVD player manufacturers charge for their equipment, when they don't produce the DVDs themselves? Why should TV manufacturers charge for TV sets when they don't make the programmes? Why should actors be paid when they didn't write the scripts? Why should scriptwriters be paid when they didn't invent the language?

The answer is simple: People don't often give up time and hard work for nothing. If you spent all of your spare time for a couple of years doing nothing but developing an emulator, it might be nice to get something in return.

Zakfab is right that people will go for the free alternative if there is one, but that isn't always an option. How about BleemCast? The only free alternative is the DC port of PCSX, which runs between 2-10 fps. Amiga Forever? It's based on WinUAE, which is free, but people still buy the commercial version.

Also, if the emulator is good enough, people will pay regardless of the free options. The Amiga had two excellent GB emulators, for example: AmiGB and Wzonka-Lad. The former was free; the latter was shareware (sound disabled until you registered). People registered Wzonka-Lad for years despite the free alternative, mainly because Wzonka was so much more advanced than the competition.

Plus, there are reasons why people would want to buy an emulator other than to play illegal ROMs. Palm have written a PalmOS emulator for Windows, which they sell as part of the development kit. No$GBA is a shareware GBA emulator with a purportedly excellent debugger - they charge a fortune for the full version, and it is aimed squarely at commercial GBA developers. You could use something like VisualBoy instead, but you miss out on the debugger.

You can't equate charging for an emulator (your own hard work) with charging for a bunch of ROMs (somebody else's hard work). The two activities are very different.

Companies even endorse emulation these days, at least when it works in their favour. Nintendo have released an NES emulator for the GBA - it's currently available in Japan, and on its way to the US. They're charging about 10 per cartridge, and each cartridge contains one NES game and the emulator. They've also released an Atari VCS emulator, containing all of Activisiion's decent VCS games on one cart. Sega released Genesis emulators (based on KGen by Steve Snake) for the PC, Saturn and DreamCast (the two Sega Smash Packs and Sonic Jam). Amstrad included a Spectrum emulator in their eMailer+ hardware.

Should these companies have released their emulators for free so you can zip around w4r3z sites downloading Genesis games? Would that benefit them?

Last edited by ant512; 03 April 2004 at 17:46.
ant512 is offline  
Old 03 April 2004, 18:58   #6
Unknown_K
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ohio/USA
Age: 49
Posts: 1,379
Send a message via ICQ to Unknown_K
I cant stand how people expect others to donate their skills and time for free. There is a difference in a project when its your part time hobby and when its making you money. I have seen quite a few emulator projects get abandoned when the developer has to spend too much time with a real job or with his familiy, at least if he made a few dollars selling it he would keep developing it.
Unknown_K is offline  
Old 03 April 2004, 19:07   #7
CodyJarrett
Global Moderator

CodyJarrett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: UK
Age: 40
Posts: 5,743
Quote:
Originally posted by ant512
Um, I think Cody was being sarcastic.
I wasn't being sarcastic - only following through on one of Anti's arguments.
CodyJarrett is offline  
Old 03 April 2004, 20:27   #8
Antiriad
The Sacred Armour Of
Antiriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Sussex, UK
Age: 38
Posts: 1,141
I totally disagree with you Ant512 and Unknown_K.

I do expect others to donate their skills and time for free. I do it myself...others do also. Have you no sense of community? Or is it just all $$$ as far as youre concerned? Time shouldnt always be money ffs... Hell if i did an emulator i wouldnt charge for it. Id be satisfied from the achievement and the enjoyment of using it myself.

Oh lets see, this hardware argument of yours. The TV and DVD players are creations of the hardware firm that aren't ripping off something copyrighted. Scripts again are the unique creation of a scriptwriter. Actors are also unique and arent pretending to be another.

Retro related activites such as emulators should not be made for money by individuals. It turns it all into a illegitimate business and attracts unwarranted attention from companies and the law. It will only drive emulation into the ground.

An emulator is mimicking hardware thats the copyright of a commercial firm. So for individuals to sell emulators is as bad as selling illegal copies of the software written for them.

Therefore only the firm behind that hardware have the right to charge for an emulator they've created. So no I dont expect them to release it for free. They have the right to sell emulators and software for it. Unrelated individuals do not.
Antiriad is offline  
Old 03 April 2004, 21:59   #9
Unknown_K
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ohio/USA
Age: 49
Posts: 1,379
Send a message via ICQ to Unknown_K
Quote:
Originally posted by Antiriad
I totally disagree with you Ant512 and Unknown_K.

I do expect others to donate their skills and time for free. I do it myself...others do also. Have you no sense of community? Or is it just all $$$ as far as youre concerned? Time shouldnt always be money ffs... Hell if i did an emulator i wouldnt charge for it. Id be satisfied from the achievement and the enjoyment of using it myself.

Oh lets see, this hardware argument of yours. The TV and DVD players are creations of the hardware firm that aren't ripping off something copyrighted. Scripts again are the unique creation of a scriptwriter. Actors are also unique and arent pretending to be another.

Retro related activites such as emulators should not be made for money by individuals. It turns it all into a illegitimate business and attracts unwarranted attention from companies and the law. It will only drive emulation into the ground.

An emulator is mimicking hardware thats the copyright of a commercial firm. So for individuals to sell emulators is as bad as selling illegal copies of the software written for them.

Therefore only the firm behind that hardware have the right to charge for an emulator they've created. So no I dont expect them to release it for free. They have the right to sell emulators and software for it. Unrelated individuals do not.
Your circumstances afford you the luxury of donating skills to a project you like to do, lots of other people dont have the time to spare on doing something that doesnt bring food to their table. Your argument makes as much sense as a multi millionaire bitching that the rest of the country doesnt all vote republican because he does!

Time is $$$ up to the point you have enough to do what you need and desire then after that its up to you if you want to donate any of your time to programming or whatever else.

Emulators are used by people who cant afford, dont have the space, or want an easier method of running software on their current machines. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing emulation software as long as your not using anybody elses copyrighted code. Just because others will use your emulator to play a downloaded cracked games doesnt make what your doing illegal just like buying a new pc to play a doom 3 cdr isnt illegal either. The act of using software you havnt payed for it the problem, not the emulator itself.

There are no rights in this world that are not covered under the law of the country you are living in. Show me where in the US that there is a law I have to use non GM parts to fix my GM car, I cant play my music cd on my computer, I cant play Gran turismo PSX that I purchased on my dreamcast using bleamcast, I cant code any dam thing I am capable of that isnt under copyright by somebody else? You should be smart enough to figure out that as long as you dont copy somebody elses work (according to local laws) you can make any hardware or software you want. The reason the PC platform took over the world is because IBM was not smart enough to make their PC with proprietary hardware, once compaq cloned (legally of course) the bios everybody could make a PC. Are you trying to tell me that only IBM should have been able to profit from their machine even though it was 99% off the shelf parts?
Unknown_K is offline  
Old 03 April 2004, 22:25   #10
Akira
Registered User

Akira's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 18,304
That's it, I'm going to work for free

I think that if you can do it well, go ahead, but it's not realistical. For most cases you will have to live out of something and if a coder decides that his shitload of work deserves some cash, right so. That's what he does for a living, and if he don't have much income and think his program is "sellworthy", why shouldn't he?
Quote:
Retro related activites such as emulators should not be made for money by individuals. It turns it all into a illegitimate business and attracts unwarranted attention from companies and the law. It will only drive emulation into the ground.
With that train of thought, needed-for-life basics like food-creating activities shouldn't be made for money by individuals, and medical activities shouldn't be made for money by individuals, and many others. I don't see why it is illegitimate to create a business out of "retro activities". Or would you consider the GBA port of Speedball 2 to be an "illegitimate business"? are Disco Music compilation CDs illegitimate business? What about DVD re-releases of Star Wars? I know this wouldn't go with you "unrelated individuals" argument, but after so many years, and so many hands passed on licenses, who is unrelated?

About emulators only mimicking hardware, you shouldn't put it in such a despective way as if the emu creator done nothing. It's real HARD WORK specially when specs are not available and the coder is out to reverse-engineer it from scratch. You know how much I preffer the real thing, and I don't like using emulators because to me they are a much inferior experience, but credit where credit is due, and making an emulator is not an easy task, at all, and needs lots of WORK to be put on it. and if someone decides this whackload of work is worth a few bucks, fine by me.

I do stuff for free and I do stuff for money, but my situation doesn't allow me to do much stuff for free right now, unlike when I lived with me parents and had barely no work. Today I have a house to maintain and a business to take care of. That doesn't mean I'm now charging my friends for the work I done for them for free back then.
Akira is offline  
Old 03 April 2004, 23:02   #11
Antiriad
The Sacred Armour Of
Antiriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Sussex, UK
Age: 38
Posts: 1,141
You two are blowing things out of all proportion...

All im saying is that emulation is legally dodgy enough as it is, charging for it just makes things worse.

Doing things take time and effort whether its right or wrong in the eyes of the law. It doesnt change whether it is or not. Should a thief charge as much as a retailer because it took effort to steal it?

You cant tell me that emulating a system is perfectly legal. Charging or retailing for them denotes credibility - which they cannot claim as their work is replicating that of others.

And not everything someone does should be done for money... if you cant afford to do something - dont do it.

Ah whatever... I shouldnt have started this thread if youre going to cite arguments like Speedball 2 on the GBA and the Star Wars DVD...you know full well these things are legit.

Last edited by Antiriad; 03 April 2004 at 23:09.
Antiriad is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 00:06   #12
Antiriad
The Sacred Armour Of
Antiriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Sussex, UK
Age: 38
Posts: 1,141
Look, the reverse-engineering that has to go on to allow create emulators are in many cases, illegal.

Reverse engineering - is taking someone elses work (usually compiled code or similar) and looking at it to try and work out what it does for the purposes of copying the concepts and process - all be it in a different way.

In reality, its one of those things that companies would probably (and almost always DO) turn a blind eye to when the end product is a homebrew or non-profit making product, unless the free availability of such product is going to infringe heavily on their business interests.

A parallel would be taking a well-known song, working out all the instrumental parts, getting a band together and recording it, then releasing it (free or not) without the original author's permnission. You are still negating the many hours it took to write and originally record that son, even if you ARE putting your time into figuring it out and learning it etc. In reality again, many bands play covers at gigs, which in reality arn't strictly legal without the record companys permission.

The main difference with emulated consoles/computers is the same argument brought up again and again with roms - that most of the time, the system/games are no longer a going business concern, so the companies are not that bothered. It is when the emulated system takes away from the business of a company, and even makes COPIES of it's games playable on a totally different system that the companies get pissed off. And I dont blame them.

Im still of the opinion that emulating current commercially viable systems is wrong, and like charging for emulators only brings in heavy handed corporate lawyers.

A case in point is that of the Playstation emulator for the PC and Dreamcast - Bleem. That started out as freeware, but graduated into a very good, but charged-for product. Sony decided to sue the hell out of the company and shut it down.

What it boils down to is that if the authors decide to charge, they are charging for the research and development of another company. It's up to that company if they want to get pissed about it, but if they do, they're unlikely to lose an argument in court.

Emulators should stay as donationware if the authors want to stay from being pulled through the courts.
Antiriad is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 00:13   #13
Unknown_K
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ohio/USA
Age: 49
Posts: 1,379
Send a message via ICQ to Unknown_K
Emulating a system IS perfectly legal as long as you didnt steal propprietary documentation from the company who made the system your emulating.

Compaq legally cloned the IBM PC bios and so was allowed to make their own line of PC's

Some company legaly cloned the Apple II and made knockoffs of that too.

DOSBOX on the linux platform legally clones dos

Dont confuse having illegal "romz" as making emulating illegal
Dont confuse your moral beliefs with what is legal, and morals are different in every country on the planet.
Unknown_K is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 00:20   #14
Unknown_K
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ohio/USA
Age: 49
Posts: 1,379
Send a message via ICQ to Unknown_K
Quote:
Originally posted by Antiriad
A case in point is that of the Playstation emulator for the PC and Dreamcast - Bleem. That started out as freeware, but graduated into a very good, but charged-for product. Sony decided to sue the hell out of the company and shut it down.

Emulators should stay as donationware if the authors want to stay from being pulled through the courts.
All that proves is companies with billions of dollars and 20 lawers can take a small company to court and bankrupt them without having any legal merit. Happens all the time. Microsoft has lost tons of court cases worth billions of dollars but it doesnt matter because they are so huge that by the time your case gets to court and you win (after a few appeals and a decade later) your company is bankrupt and MS owns your market.

So basically dont ever code anything even remotely simular to whats out or somebody will get their legal stick out and beat the crap out of you. This just stifles creativity, and supporting the dont charge any money so your safe mentality just means nothing will ever come out of the project because of lack of financial support.
Unknown_K is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 02:36   #15
Akira
Registered User

Akira's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 18,304
Quote:
Reverse engineering - is taking someone elses work (usually compiled code or similar) and looking at it to try and work out what it does for the purposes of copying the concepts and process - all be it in a different way.
Code? We're talking machines here. Reverse engineering a machine means taking that thing and figuring out how it works, and how to replace all its functions with software. You are puting NO VALUE into this people's research. Reverse engineering is not an easy task as yu put it, and it takes shitloads of research as well...

How "commercially viable" is the Amiga 500 computer?

With ROMs you take the thing and copy it and have it to yoru heart's contents, there's NO reverse engineering in it. Saying emulators are illegal is like blaming guns for armed robbery.

I wonder where you read/heard that Bleem! started as freeware? It has ALWAYS been a commercial product.



I'm out of here.
Akira is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 04:21   #16
killergorilla
Lesser Talent
killergorilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: UK
Age: 36
Posts: 7,924
I have to understand Anti's point of view, emulators are a fantastic piece of kit and they never get a decent reception when they are sold to the general public. I'm a huge fan of winuae and a lot of other emulators and I've always felt a hell of a lot towards the 'authors' and will always be happy to see an update not just because it makes my experience better, but because it always helps to keep a community together.

To sell an emulator is a very blurry idea because in reality all you've done is create something that mimics similar hardware. I'm not saying that it's easy by any means, but it's a damn bizarre to make money out of someone else's idea when it's long forgotten (until the Gba came along. he he)

I would never pay for an emulator and would always be willing to donate money because I find it much more of a worthwhile cause than demanding it for them to continue.

Feel free to tear my ideals apart, I like chu chu
killergorilla is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 04:37   #17
Unknown_K
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ohio/USA
Age: 49
Posts: 1,379
Send a message via ICQ to Unknown_K
Why do I find it odd people think emulators are so dam easy to design that they are not worth paying for, but everybody in here wants one for their favorite system as long as its free?

I would think its easy to emulate a simple system like an early mac, c64, early console etc; but the newer systems need 10x the work and some cheating borrowing code from the developers kit to get them to work on a very fast PC.

Personally I stick with the real hardware as much as possible, but I do see the advantages of having an emulator (like me playing all the atari 2600 games using an emulator on my dreamcast).

To me somebody making utility software is no different from somebody making an emulator, each makes a product that I find useful and should be compensated for their time if I plan on using the software. Nobody is expecting $50+ for an emulator package, but having a fixed price of $5 would go along way to fund an EMU project and will not break a persons budget. The problem is most people just want everything for free and would not even pay the $5. IF the EMU community realy demands everything for free it will die out when the systems get harder to emulate because of undocumented functions (just like good game shareware died out when games got more complicated to produce).

Anyway I think I expressed my views on this subject.
Unknown_K is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 05:33   #18
Djay
breakpointUK.com

Djay's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Founders System
Age: 41
Posts: 3,089
Send a message via MSN to Djay
now here's a question...

if toni suddenly decided that he should charge $10 as a registration fee... would you pay him...????

the registration would get you unlimited updates

i would, because i have probably used Winuae more than any other program on my HD...
Djay is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 06:27   #19
Unknown_K
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ohio/USA
Age: 49
Posts: 1,379
Send a message via ICQ to Unknown_K
Quote:
Originally posted by Djay
now here's a question...

if toni suddenly decided that he should charge $10 as a registration fee... would you pay him...????

the registration would get you unlimited updates

i would, because i have probably used Winuae more than any other program on my HD...
If I used his program alot I would ( I dont at the moment). Generally I would be more inclined to pay for a useful app made by a small company more then I would pay for a retail package from a huge corperation.
Unknown_K is offline  
Old 04 April 2004, 13:24   #20
killergorilla
Lesser Talent
killergorilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: UK
Age: 36
Posts: 7,924
Quote:
Originally posted by Djay
now here's a question...

if toni suddenly decided that he should charge $10 as a registration fee... would you pay him...????

the registration would get you unlimited updates

i would, because i have probably used Winuae more than any other program on my HD...
Now that's a tricky one... I probably wouldn't because I'm happy with winuae as it is, as all I'm using it for is installing stuff to transfer to my amiga, or something just as useless. To be honest I don't use any emulator enough to warrant paying for it, I use WinUAE, and MAMEoX the most but that's hardly a lot.
killergorilla is offline  
AdSense AdSense  
 


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Barbarian on plain 68000 Gaula92 project.WHDLoad 5 10 February 2013 13:36
Love Emulators? - Dgen & Hatari emulators Paul News 17 19 January 2012 19:28
Plain HD install ? haynor666 HOL data problems 4 05 August 2008 10:44
PC DOS setup - plain english please buckrogers Retrogaming General Discussion 47 03 December 2007 19:34
Plain A600 - want to install HD BrooksieLad support.Hardware 7 12 May 2003 22:45

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 09:45.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Page generated in 0.34109 seconds with 11 queries