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Old 25 September 2001, 05:52   #1
Exodus
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WinUAE Rant #1

The trouble with WinUAE

WinUAE could be the greatest Amiga Emulator ever to hit the internet, if only it was 100% stable. Now Amiga fans have to switch to WinFellow to achieve the best Amiga emulation. But before I gripe on about WinUAE, I'd like to talk about emulation.

Emulation started back in 1995 as the popularity of the internet was growing at a rapid rate. Emulation is a term used to mimic the exact hardware of a computer, handheld, or console. This means that you can play a game that used to be on a machine that you owned (eg: Nintendo) again and again. I can remember playing Boulderdash on my Commodore 64, and with the aid of an emulator called CCS64, I still can.

Dozens of games for many systems come in one or more files called "rom images" or "disk images". The only difference between the two is that "rom images" are files containing the memory from cartridges that you put into consoles like the Genesis/MegaDrive, the Super NES, and the Atari 2600, while "disk images" are memory from actual disks that you used to insert in your C64, Amiga, Apple IIe, or the Amstrad).

Since these images are illegal to download from the internet unless you own the actual game, today, the software cops known as the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) attempts to destroy your memories, and will shut down any web sites that allows you to have access to the memories. Amiga images, on the other hand are completely legal to download, as web site administrators ask game companies for permission to distribute their games on the internet free of charge. The necessary operating system and bios the Amiga requires to boot up, KickStart and Workbench, are still copyrighted by Amiga, Inc. and can only be obtained if you order Cloanto's wonderful Amiga Forever CD-ROM. These also come in the form of one or more files making up the images.

A year later after the introduction to emulation, the emulation of the Amiga got started with the release of DosUAE, and later, Fellow. These emulators were capable of mimicing the Amiga's basic hardware, including the OCS/ECS chipsets, the 68000 CPU, the input/output devices, and the Paula sound chipsets. Later, more CPUs were added to both emulators, and hard disk emulation was introduced.

Several ports to different operating systems were made with UAE, including the Solaris, Unix, MS-DOS, Windows, and Amiga (an Amiga emulator for the Amiga. If you still own an Amiga, this would be most useful if you want to compare the speed of the Amiga emulator and your Amiga. I would very much like to see a PC emulator running on my PII-400).

Programmers of both emulators dropped their DOS ports, continuing to work with their Windows ports. Both emulators were stable at the time and Fellow maintained its stability up until the last release. WinUAE last stable release was 0.8.8R8 (0.8.8 R8) and now the latest version of WinUAE is 0.8.17R1. 0.8.8R8 was much stable for me - no choppy sound, no graphic corruption, add to that a smoother frame rate). In 0.8.8R8, you had two options to output the sound: WaveOut Looping and DirectSound Looping. WaveOut Looping was the one I used since using DirectSound Looping produces more choppy sound, and there was no option of changing the sound buffering. There were also options that let you change the sound's frequency, stereo mode, sample type, and whether you want sound or not.

After this release, versions got out of control. Since 0.8.14R1, there was more choppy sound than there ever was as CodePoet removed WaveOut Looping, leaving us with no choice than to use DirectSound Looping. What the hell was wrong with WaveOut Looping? Then we have to fiddle with the "sound buffering" option that was added in this release so sound lags didn't occur. WinUAE's sound was alright until CodePoet removed WaveOut Looping. Bad move.

In 0.8.8R8, setting WinUAE to refresh the graphics "every 2nd frame" caused no problems with the frame rate, as "every 1st frame" produced choppy sound. In 0.8.14R1, I had to use "every 3rd frame" if I wanted no choppy sound but this produced a much choppier frame rate than before. And at that time, WinUAE didn't support AGA chipsets properly or did it have support for save states like many emulators did.

As I said, 0.8.17R1 is the latest version of WinUAE and this version has worse problems than before. To not experience choppy sound, I had to set WinUAE to refresh the graphics "every 4th frame", then I got the worst frame rate ever. Not only that, I had to change my screen resolution to 800x600 16-bit because it stated in the known issues section of the README file: Centering modes will crash this release of WinUAE, if the window-size is. Since I had my resolution set to 640x400 16-bit just to view the graphics in a full screen, it did exactly that. While the game is loading, I had found that doing this dumped me back to Windows, without any message whatsoever. Whether or not I used screen centering in 800x600 16-bit, I keep looking at a large rectangle on the top-right hand side of my monitor. Also a new feature "Synchronize emulation with audio" did not have any effect, whether it is turned on or off.

Some people have also complained that as new versions were released, the graphics in some games got worse (eg: Kid Chaos).

So in conclusion, instead of WinUAE getting better every new release, it is exactly the opposite - worse and worse. Either new bugs are discovered in every release, or bugs that were found in the previous releases were not fixed in later ones. It almost seems that my PII-400 doesn't fit the bill anymore. More people, besides me, have complained about WinUAE's problems up to this release. It sometimes makes me want to learn C++ and write a much stable Amiga emulator to complete with both WinUAE or Fellow.

A word to CodePoet: If you decide to bring out new releases is to test the new release out first and eliminate any bugs found, then release them. Don't bring out a new release if there are bugs that you need to get rid off. Until you guys get it right, it looks like me and other users either have to use the stable 0.8.8R8 or switch to WinFellow. Sure it doesn't support save states yet or proper AGA emulation, but at least it can run many games out there.

Disagree with me or not, that's my logical conclusion.

Exodus.
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Old 25 September 2001, 06:25   #2
birdy-scc
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Did you get that nickname the last time you were so long-winded, and everyone just left?

That's not to say you aren't right, in general.

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Old 25 September 2001, 07:47   #3
RetroMan
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@Exodus

Well, I completely disagree with you. For me WinUAE 0.8.17R1 is THE version with the best sound. Itīs far the fastest Version (thx to JIT) and even plays more games then 0.8.8R8 or 0.8.14R1-3 together, even KAISER now works..... keep up the good work guys and ALLWAYS release betas
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Old 25 September 2001, 10:57   #4
Twistin'Ghost
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Well, I found just as many bugs in that rant. Emulation started in 1995?!?! Where the hell did that crazy figure come from. That may have been the time they started releasing UAE, but emulation (as far as I remember) dates back to the mid to late 80's on the Amiga with GO-64!

Furthermore, the first of the Amiga did NOT begin with DOSUAE! UAE was originally written for UNIX. UAE (arguably) means UNIX Amiga Emulator with its license under the GNU General Public License. Which is why it is cross-ported to so many platforms.

Considering such a long-winded, opinionated rant, one would expect at least enough research behind the editorial to read the docs for the program (which contains all of the info I have just rehashed...)

Visit this url for more 'old school' UAE factoids:
http://www.freiburg.linux.de/~uae
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Old 25 September 2001, 11:08   #5
CodyJarrett
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Cool Rant

"Amiga images, on the other hand are completely legal to download, as web site administrators ask game companies for permission to distribute their games on the internet free of charge."

This is a very general statement, as most websites don't ask for permission from companies.
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Old 25 September 2001, 11:47   #6
RCK
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Post two precision

@Exodus:
Quote:
0.8.8R8 was much stable for me - no choppy sound, no graphic corruption, add to that a smoother frame rate
Nice post, but don't forget the lost winuae 0.8.8R9, I can post it again if you want.

@TG:
In fact, on the first stage of the UAE dev, this aconym meant : "Unusable Amiga Emulator"
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Old 25 September 2001, 11:51   #7
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R9? This is new to me....I'd like to see if you're in the mood for uploading it
 
Old 25 September 2001, 12:05   #8
Twistin'Ghost
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Re: two precision

Quote:
Originally posted by RCK
@TG:
In fact, on the first stage of the UAE dev, this aconym meant : "Unusable Amiga Emulator" [/B]
And let's not forget the ever popular, Ubiquitous Amiga Emulator! (for you fact fans...)
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Old 25 September 2001, 12:13   #9
RCK
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Quote:
Originally posted by Amigaboy
R9? This is new to me....I'd like to see if you're in the mood for uploading it
I'll do it tonight if anyone have done it before
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Old 25 September 2001, 15:20   #10
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Eek 0.8.17 Rocks

It's the best version yet. Exodus you probably can't configure it right. I upgraded my OS to Windows 2000 last night from 98 (spit) and found that WinUAE runs A LOT better. Sound is pretty much perfect in most games. Though I've noticed a bit of sprite flickering on SWOS sometimes when the ball goes out of play. The thing you have to keep in mind though is just what an immense achievement WinUAE and all other UAE ports are. The Amiga is an incredibly complicated machine to emulate. I say machine but UAE is actually emulating the whole range of Amiga machines from the A1000 right up to the A4000. It's about 10 different machines (roughly) to try and emulate and it does a darn good job of it. Considering all this I'd say it's one of the most impressive emulators that has possibly ever been made. The fact that it runs so much software almost perfectly is just amazing. The only other emulator I'd consider in the same class as UAE would probably be MAME as that has a hell of a lot of different types of hardware to deal with just like UAE. The latest release is the fastest yet by a long way and WinUAE just keeps getting better with every release. Long live (Win)UAE.
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Old 25 September 2001, 15:24   #11
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Considering all this I'd say it's one of the most impressive emulators that has possibly ever been made
http://mess.emuverse.com/
 
Old 25 September 2001, 15:37   #12
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Do that, then do that other thing, then remove that bug, then add this other feature, then...

Considering how much you paid for it, I guess you can't complain too much.
 
Old 25 September 2001, 15:40   #13
Steve
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Eek Oh My God

I've never heard of Mess. They can't be serious? You can't emulate everything at once??? What does it run/run like?? I think emulation may have started even earlier than the 80s. I'm pretty sure I saw something on TV where they mentioned emulation in the 70s of old calculators and things. One things for sure, emulation is nothing new. Although in the 90s emulation came to the masses thanks to fast computers!!
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Old 25 September 2001, 15:48   #14
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On my old Mess version the Amiga is classified as "not working"...
 
Old 25 September 2001, 15:49   #15
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I took a quick look at the emulated machines in MESS, and it looks like they took out Amiga emulation...
 
Old 25 September 2001, 15:57   #16
Fred the Fop
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I onc had MacMess..can't remember if i worked, the Amiga side of it. MacUAE is woefully behind the times
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Old 25 September 2001, 16:18   #17
Ian
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Quote:
Originally posted by Amigaboy
R9? This is new to me....I'd like to see if you're in the mood for uploading it
Click THIS to download r9 Amigaboy

Rebutal to Rant#1:

WinUAE is a FREE peice of software, which is currently in beta status hence the 0.8.17 instead of 1.8.17, if you find an earlier version better for your needs, fine use that version.

I think you are missing the bigger picture, the ultimate goal of WinUAE, to emulate all Amiga's perfectly. So the coders add stuff that on occasion (Quite often with recent release) causes more problems than it solves, but if they don't add them WinUAE wouldn't progress with such features such as JIT, better disk emulation, better AGA support and countless new stuff.

WinFellow will go through the same thing as soon as they try to add more complex features.

I am as disappointed as the next man when the release of WinUAE has loads of bugs or has no visable improvements, but I get over it, it is a fine piece of FREE software that allows me to play most of my favourite Amiga games.

If you have to pay for the emulator, you would have grounds to complain, but seeing as you haven't I don't see what the problem is.

@Twistin'

As far as I know, emulation has been around as long as computers have

But the first one I remember is a z80 emulator for C64, I might be wrong, but I think there was one.

Last edited by Ian; 25 September 2001 at 16:37.
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Old 25 September 2001, 16:22   #18
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Swoit!

Thanks for that Ian
 
Old 25 September 2001, 16:54   #19
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colecovision > atari 2600

As far as gaming systems go I think one of the first was
when Colecovision emulated atari 2600 directly on there machine
to run the carts etc..
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Old 25 September 2001, 17:03   #20
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second post!

Erm considering its free & considering 90% of the time things run fine ,dont complain.
codepoet chaps is doing a great job. Believe it or not the core is based on 8.17 c unix source so each version does fix bugs in previous versions in the core engine .The problems brian has is the bells & whistles he adds to it to run under directX/win95. People who dont understand what it takes to actually code these things blame codepoet & then brian will get pissed off & well never see another version again!.
I too recently changed from 98 to 2000k & Winuae has not crashed or bombed out once yet! ,I can use the virtual hardrive with no problems of crashing out now.(dpaint 4 & stuff is cool to use etc..) ,Maybe you should upgrade your os at some point.
I say the more versions the better.!!!!
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