Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK University Making Universal Game Emulator

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the it's-good-to-have-ego-strength dept.

Education 217

Techradar reports that researchers at the University of Portsmouth in England are working on a project to create a game emulator that will "recognise and play all types of videogames and computer files from the 1970s through to the present day." One of the major goals of the project is to preserve software from early in the computer age. David Anderson of the Humanities Computing Group said, "Early hardware, like games consoles and computers, are already found in museums. But if you can't show visitors what they did, by playing the software on them, it would be much the same as putting musical instruments on display but throwing away all the music. ... Games particularly tend not to be archived because they are seen as disposable, pulp cultural artefacts, but they represent a really important part of our recent cultural history. Games are one of the biggest media formats on the planet and we must preserve them for future generations."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So basically (4, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825531)

It's going to be a GUI that just links dozens of different emulators?

Re:So basically (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825589)

So, are they trying to recreate MAME [mamedev.org] ?

Re:So basically (5, Informative)

damaki (997243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825865)

It's more like Mame and MESS [mess.org] together.

Re:So basically (4, Interesting)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825965)

MESS has really crappy support for a lot of games, it was a great idea but quite a let down from my experience.

Re:So basically (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826015)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average computer user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:So basically (0, Offtopic)

Povno (1460131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826649)

I'll probably get scored off topic for this but I really want to point out that right now as you play around on the internet, trolling about Linux, you are doing so through a Linux server of some kind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux#Servers_and_supercomputers [wikipedia.org] .

Also when you refer to the community as "a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere" it shows how little you understand the topic.

I knew nothing about Linux when I started using it, and because of that I was forced to learn and from learning I gained knowledge and understanding, and continue to do so. And I do so because that community is there to help me instead of putting me on hold and cycling me through a call center, and I am gratefull to them for helping me access that knowledge.

It's about freedom of choice. Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, etc are all choices; use what you like but you don't have to troll about other peoples choices.... Especially when your post has nothing to do with the article in the first place... go to the Linux section. But then again your probably not even a regular user who posted anonymously... just a troll passing through.

I step down from my soap box to get back on topic... I use several emulators, my son is learning to play a lot of the games that I played when I was a kid. It would actually be nice to only need one all encompassing emulator though... as long as it works.

Re:So basically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826713)

DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.

Please, don't. You're as bad as they are, but at least they're occasionally funny!

Re:So basically (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826153)

This troll is insightful?
MESS is the Computer emulator. That it also has support for some game consoles doesn't mean that it was intended for that at all.
It makes quite a decent job to emulate most computer systems that have ever existed. It has bugs and unimplemented features, but if you take into account the sheer number of emulated systems and the time that a random hobby gameboy emulator took until being fully featured, you will realize why MESS doesn't play your pokemanz.

Re:So basically (1)

Stellian (673475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825591)

It's gonna be a refrigerator-shaped device containing the actual hardware.

You will never see, in your lifetime, successful emulation of the latest generation of consoles. The decryption keys, internal architecture and DRM protections are virtually impossible to reverse engineer.

Re:So basically (3, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825653)

Would you care to bet on that? While decryption capability is fascinating, its use for DRM is not its strongest use. The keys are consistently handled quite badly. Witness the failures to protect the keys for DVD's and the very swift cracking of Blu-Ray protection for examples of how quickly such technologies can be cracked.

Re:So basically (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825671)

My quantum computer AI overlord disagrees with you!

Re:So basically (5, Informative)

courseofhumanevents (1168415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825677)

Wrong. [dolphin-emu.com] Dolphin is already playing two or three Wii games perfectly.

Re:So basically (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825919)

Gah. I just checked the compatibility list on that site, and their "green" (perfect) and "yellow" game status icons are virtually indistinguishable to me thanks to my (mild!) form of colour-blindness.

Worse, the site does not even provide the information in any other way: no easy-to-recognise symbols (green checkmarks vs. yellow exclamation marks, say), tooltips for the icons, textual representations - nothing at all.

About the only way for me to find out what a game's status is is to select "View image" from Firefox's context menu and check out the filename in the URL.

You'd think web developers would not commit basic blunders like that anymore in 2009...

Re:So basically (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826133)

So you expect us to give you special treatment? For what? That would be discrimination against all others. Because you are sooo special...

You are not. Get over it. I'm fat, but I do not get something specially done for me, and demanded by the government. And rightfully so.

You get treated like every other human. Not better. Not worse. That's what's called "fair" and "social" (as opposed to "politically correct").

If this means a disadvantage to you, then maybe this is, because you have a disadvantage yourself.
Should we overthrow the whole natural selection because of you? Or me?
No, thank you. I'm not that arrogant.

So help yourself. After all it's just color blindness. Try a Compiz-color-replacement/shifting-filter if you use Linux. Maybe create one. There. Problem solved.

Isn't the world great if you have common sense?

Re:So basically (1, Troll)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826365)

Wow, you're a douche! I'm not color blind, but there's basic accessibility issues addressed there even if you're not. Don't make the same icon two different colors to represent two different things. Its a lot easier at a glance if you do exactly what the GP indicated, even if you can see the colors.

You're probably the same douche who expects everyone in a foreign country to speak to him in English.

Re:So basically (0, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826725)

âoebasic accessibility issuesâ⦠I have a strong feeling, that you donâ(TM)t even know what you mean by that.
Which âoeissuesâ are you talking about? Please. Tell me.

By the way. Have you ever seen a traffic light? The only difference between the red, yellow and even the green light is⦠guess what.
And it is much easier to recognize the color of a light at a glance, that to detect the symbol on it. You can even detect the color when your eyes are focused at something completely different. How great is that?
Try that with a symbol of a walking and one of a standing humanâ¦

By the way. Iâ(TM)m not even English. Itâ(TM)s my third language of four. And I expect people to speak the language of the country. So if you come here, speak German. If you come to my homeland, Luxemburg, speak Luxemburgish. any when we are in your country, expect me to speak your language. If you canâ(TM)t, Iâ(TM)m sure someone will want to help you learn it.

Itâ(TM)s nice, how people rather turn to complete bullshit pseudo-arguments like the âoebasic accessibility issuesâ, than accept that something is basically wrong with their views. Something like knowing what is fair and social.

Re:So basically (3, Insightful)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826379)

Get over yourself. He never said that government ought to mandate anything. Designing websites for accessibility gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Re:So basically (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826577)

A negligible⦠At the cost of not being able to use the money elsewhere for a much more effective advantage.
So in the end, itâ(TM)s actually a loss.

Re:So basically (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826631)

So in the end, itÃ(TM)s actually a loss.

So is giving away an emulator for free. Yet they still do it. Amazing.

Re:So basically (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826781)

No. It is no loss. What do they lose?
A sale? No. Because you canâ(TM)t imply that it would have been bought instead.
Software? No. Because the only give away copies.

You fell for one of the basic FUD arguments of the media industry.

Re:So basically (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826437)

+1 Complete douche...

wow

I hope you never get stuck in an airplane sit fatass.

I expected such reactions⦠(-1, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826641)

I know that for most people, who live in a completely hypocritical world of pseudo-social behavior, it is not accept this basic reality of what really is fair and social.

You insult me (=discrimination), because you think I discriminate (which I, if you really read it, never did), and then post it anonymously, because you do not even have the balls to stand by your opinion. Wow. Way to go! Reallyâ¦

And if you are an US-American, then, compared to your statistically most likely weight, Iâm still thin. So whoâ(TM)s the fatass? :P

Re:So basically (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825941)

The downloads page [dolphin-emu.com] states that you have to register and log in before you can download Dolphin, and the registration page [dolphin-emu.com] states that you have to agree to a non-disclosure agreement [dolphin-emu.com] before you can register. Why is that?

Re:So basically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825977)

I don't know, given the Google Code page has no such requirements.

Re:So basically (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826077)

I don't know, given the Google Code page has no such requirements.

And no binaries either ("See the news on the Dolphin Official Site" [google.com] ), which hinders my ability to evaluate Dolphin. Nor is the build process [google.com] compatible with MinGW or capped Internet connections.

Re:So basically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826043)

Because it's a trap. Nintendo USA is running the entire effort behind the curtain. Clear your browser history and cache, or they will get you too. Run, don't walk.

Re:So basically (4, Insightful)

syntaxglitch (889367) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825737)

DRM still has the awkward flaw of giving the user both the key and the lock and hoping that they won't figure it out.

Modern encryption is computationally intractable for solid, mathematical reasons, but that doesn't really apply to smoke and mirrors DRM schemes. The keys and everything else are in there, and a university probably has better access to stuff like high-end hardware analysis tools vs. your average basement-dwelling w4r3z guy.

Re:So basically (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826149)

They probably also have access to lawyers who will tell them when not to use those hardware analysis tools.

Re:So basically (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826229)

Maybe... or they'd have enough clout to ask a company 'We're trying to preserve your game for future generations in an archive. Can you please hand over the keys?' naturally they probably have some sort of immunity being a public institution and/or library. I think even teh US DMCA laws permit libraries to break DRM for archive purposes.

Re:So basically (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826165)

Not if he has a botnet... Possibly made out of those exact computers. O:-)

Re:So basically (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826281)

DRM ain't the problem.

The problem is encrypted system interfaces.

This is fine for *driving* those interfaces from the emulator (by the Fundamental Theorem of DRM which you allude to above), but it's a complete ballache for *emulating* the system that has that interface.

I doubt these guys are really doing much more than trying to get people to give them ROMs.

Re:So basically (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825831)

Isn't this the line taken by people that think DRM works? I think those people have been proven rather wrong on nearly every occasion. "virtually impossible" ? Now that's the kind of phrase that helped Sony decide a rootkit was a good thing to put on audio CDs. Awesome.

Archiving software and hardware is a concern for more than games, and I think it's a very good effort whether for games or old MS Office formats. Some day they are going to get a call from some government needing 2.7345TB of tape archives translated to whatever the newest format is... or... or... Vger will show up looking for the creator of some Atari game and give Earth 24 solar hours to produce him before destroying the Galaxy.

Re:So basically (1)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825903)

DRM is not all that hard to decrypt, in the great scheme of things.

It has the fatal flaw of giving you the code and the key and saying "Dont put them together." Granted, they hide it and obscure the connection as much as possible, but you still have both and just need to put them together.

Real encryption schemes hide one portion from the individual. It's insanely harder (or practically impossible) to decipher codes if they don't give you the key.

Public key crypto (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826111)

Real encryption schemes hide one portion from the individual.

Which is why the major consoles all use public key crypto. All consoles have the public key, but only the console maker has the private key. This allows console makers to prevent individuals or small companies from developing for the console.

Re:So basically (2, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825953)

You will never see, in your lifetime, successful emulation of the latest generation of consoles. The decryption keys, internal architecture and DRM protections are virtually impossible to reverse engineer.

And yet those consoles already have modchips or other cracks, which kinda implies that someone has managed to reverse engineer said protections.

No, the real problem is that current generation of PCs simply don't have the horsepower to emulate the latest generation consoles. Moore's law will take care of that problem in a decade or so. And even if console X would turn out to have a truly uncrackable security, given enough time it can be emulated at the level of individual transistors, given the chip blueprints; for a machine containing 1 billion transistors that would take about 30 Moore's cycles - or 40 if you want to do it in Python, 39 for a Bash script ;).

Re:So basically (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826225)

And even if console X would turn out to have a truly uncrackable security, given enough time it can be emulated at the level of individual transistors, given the chip blueprints

Which raises the question, where do you plan to get the netlist for the part, which is what you really need to emulate it? And for that matter, are you getting the PCB layout? No? Okay, so how are you planning to get the design of the multi-level circuit board figured out? Since you're not getting the netlists, what electron microscope are you planning to put the chips in? And what technique do you plan to use to convert the imagery into a netlist?

They want to be able to emulate current-generation consoles, so they will fail. Period the end.

Re:So basically (3, Interesting)

s13g3 (110658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826017)

No, I think the point here is not to just recreate MAME, but to create a legitimate system of emulation that can can be used for valid historic archive purposes and with the proper corporate and social legitimacy perhaps be able to obtain licenses to otherwise copywritten, trademarked and DRM'd material - something not just meant to allow gamers and pirates to play old games and validate seemingly obsolete trademarks, but rather to allow museums and the like to preserve these works, and perhaps commercial ventures to place these systems in arcades, Wally-worlds, malls, etc. and perhaps earn some licensing profit from these sorts of ventures off of software that otherwise only costs them money to enforce trademark on, yet has likely not returned any real profit in a long time.

Re:So basically (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826161)

with the proper corporate and social legitimacy perhaps be able to obtain licenses to otherwise copywritten, trademarked and DRM'd material

What is "copywritten"? People keep using that word. I do not think it means [wikipedia.org] what you think it means [wikipedia.org] .

perhaps earn some licensing profit from these sorts of ventures off of software that otherwise only costs them money to enforce trademark on, yet has likely not returned any real profit in a long time.

The profit comes from the fact that the work is out of print and therefore does not compete with the publisher's latest and greatest works. It's the same reason Disney puts movies "back in the vault" after they've been on DVD for six months.

Re:So basically (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826321)

So they are going to polish up the Website and the UI a bit then? And purchase rights to run these games from the game designers if they are still around.

Re:So basically (1)

DrWho42 (558107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826319)

Hmm, I've already done something similar. I wrote a GUI in python using pygame for system/game selection. 47,000 ROMS including MAME, 14 or 15 consoles from the atari 2600 up to the N64, 7 home computers, and 4 handhelds. I haven't created any website for it because it really needs to be an integrated system - making it all run on a different machine/OS would take a lot of work. Almost all of the emulators have been modified to work seamlessly. All of them except one (for the Lynx) is compiled from source. It's all running on Fedora 8, 64-bit. MESS doesn't really cut it for a lot of the systems; see: http://nonmess.retrogames.com/ [retrogames.com] I also lead the mupen64plus project: http://code.google.com/p/mupen64plus/ [google.com]

mess, eh? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825559)

mess is just that for home systems (consoles and computers), while mame is for the arcade machines... so where are the news except that someone just decided to invent the wheel once again?

btw mess and mame are excpetionally well documented... http://mess.org/ [mess.org] for those too lazy to google it up

Re:mess, eh? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825623)

mess is just that for home systems (consoles and computers), while mame is for the arcade machines... so where are the news except that someone just decided to invent the wheel once again?

You've already answered your question right there. The article specifically mentions that they won't focus on certain emulator types. This is FAR more reaching in scope than MESS or MAME are. Also, it's entirely possible that they're getting permission to use MESS and MAME code in their project. The article doesn't go into enough detail. But to pretend that these guys aren't aware of the emus that are already out there (since they mention them in the article) is disingenuous.

Hasn't it been done already? (-1, Redundant)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825561)

MAME. Or are they just trying to claim credit for it?

Already done (0, Redundant)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825565)

Well, to some extent. Check MESS. [mess.org]

Isn't this MAME (the Mutli-Arcade Machine Emulato? (1, Redundant)

nurbles (801091) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825571)

Why would anyone bother to do all that again rather than just enhance/improve/contribute to the existing project, which already does an amazing amount of running old computer games?

Long live the future (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825871)

Obviously because, by putting all of these games into a museum, no one will ever be able to experience the gameplay properly, so they'll compare graphics/audio, and we'll continue to think the future is wholely superior to the past. Isn't that what museums are for, after all? ;)

Re:Isn't this MAME (the Mutli-Arcade Machine Emula (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826517)

I would suspect it has to do with the fact that they want to play nice with the current holders of the copyrights, so if they need help they can at least ask. If they look like they are going to hand out any of the information to the public, the companies who have had a nostalgia revolution with the latest gen consoles through online distribution are going think they are going to lose some profit.

Early computer music (5, Interesting)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825573)

Sometimes, I'm still blown away by the music in early 1990s LucasArts and Sierra games.

Monkey Island 1 and 2
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Leisure Suit Larry 5 ... and so on.

They're making music sound good on a Yamaha OPL3 FM chip.

Re:Early computer music (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825811)

I don't know why you got downmodded for this... There's a lot of really cool music in early games, especially considering the hardware and software restrictions of early devices. Take the C64 SID chip for instance. Composers had to learn some pretty interesting techniques for making music in those days.

Re:Early computer music (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826731)

> I don't know why you got downmodded for this... There's a lot of really cool music in early games, especially considering the hardware and software restrictions of early devices. Take the C64 SID
> chip for instance. Composers had to learn some pretty interesting techniques for making music in those days.

I think it's because only computer nerds like computer game music. It's generally dreadful (largely until CDs became available for in-game soundtracks and they got proper musicians in). Lets face it - there's a good reason why the people who did computer game music in the 70s-90s are only known for doing computer game music.

Re:Early computer music (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826465)

I understand that.

put the copy of Red Alert III that I rented in the Xbox360 and had a big smile when the theme music started. Same song as red alert 1.. that rocks!

too bad EA destroyed the awesome programmers and games at Westwood studios. red alert 3 sucks.

Re:Early computer music (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826543)

It's actually a bit different, but it is very reminiscent of the original. If you buy the Premier Edition the soundtrack has the different versions of the theme music from all three games.

DRM + DirectX (4, Interesting)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825575)

Good luck trying to beat the various forms of DRM through an emulator (without using a crack).
Also DirectX is also a bitch, specially the earlier versions (4-6) have various compatibility issues.

Re:DRM + DirectX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825769)

quite amusing the fact that you can run the lastest games under wine, but you cant run a simple Diablo 1 session

Software bugs are to be archved too (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825837)

The historical archives would be quite one-sided documenting only the neat and legal aspects, without including the surrounging context thrills of the game technology, including fumbling with config.sys, autoexec.bat, system.ini, winecfg [winehq.org] , video drivers, directx, opengl, drm cracking, keygens, patched binares, virtual-to-real money scams [rpgtrader.com] , cheats [consolecheatcodes.com] , hacks [tault.com] , etc.

Re:DRM + DirectX (1)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825929)

Historically speaking, many games have not come with complex DRM schemes. The complex ones are pretty recent development. Up through the 90s, the most common were simple code lookups in the manual.

The game still runs, which is probably all that they're going for. You just need a txt file with the code lookups to get past the initial launching.

Re:DRM + DirectX (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826277)

Historically speaking, many games have not come with complex DRM schemes. The complex ones are pretty recent development.

O RLY? Look up "Spiradisc" here [fadden.com] . You see the beginnings of things like enumerating the components of your computer, which Microsoft rediscovered when designing Windows Product Activation.

Re:DRM + DirectX (3, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826395)

Good luck trying to beat the various forms of DRM through an emulator (without using a crack).

Which leads us to one nice aspect of emulation - You can pre-crack the DRM of the image, and just don't implement it at all in the emulator.


Also DirectX is also a bitch, specially the earlier versions (4-6) have various compatibility issues.

Emulating a known API takes far less work than emulating actual hardware at the per-chip level - Thus the reason it took a decade and numerous speed hacks to get decent SNES emulation, while we had PS1 and N64 emulators fairly stable (if slow) even before the EOL of those consoles.

That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (5, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825595)

What? You guys are just gonna mash up a bunch of emulators? That's so stupid!!
I could just download a bunch of different ones doing a bunch of research and do it that way!!
I hate that you guys are just putting all that together for me, cause I could just do it myself!!

That's why you can't have nice things assholes, you don't appreciate it.

Why do people have a problem with this?

Re:That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825817)

Why do people have a problem with this?

I think their problem is it's a university research group doing this. There is no real scientific value in this, because this is something that already exists, and has existed for like fifteen years.

Re:That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (1)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825893)

These are my taxes these guys are spending on this pointless project. I have to ask why this money is not being spent on serious research projects. There are a whole host of serious research problems out there that need cash which are not getting it. Some young researcher in the UK who has spent a lot of time putting together a serious grant on a serious topic will not get funded because of cash going to these guys. Disclaimer: But that is only my opinion.

Re:That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (1)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825987)

So you're saying that the study of history is a pointless thing to do?

Re:That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825915)

I don't have a problem with the idea, but they are doomed to failure. They will NEVER be able to get up to present day. We still don't have perfect emulation for N64, for example. Saturn emulation is as I understand actually somewhat working now but still highly sketchy. We're talking about systems from the last generation that are poorly documented, and always will be. And I might point out that there are tons of SNES games that don't work right in ANY emulator. We can't get SNES emulation 100% and they want to come up to the modern day? IMPOSSIBLE. Or at least, so improbable (you'll never get the information you NEED out of the manufacturers) that it might as well be impossible.

Re:That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826167)

And I might point out that there are tons of SNES games that don't work right in ANY emulator.

Seriously? Are we talking more than tiny glitches? Name one or two that you'd actually want to play.

Re:That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826247)

Seriously? Are we talking more than tiny glitches? Name one or two that you'd actually want to play.

Hmm, comment not totally stupid, guess I'll reply.

Lots of games won't load at all (so yes, more than tiny glitches) so I don't know if I want to play them or not. They crap themselves at initialization. Genesis is just as bad. Hell, Sega themselves made a Genesis lots of Genesis games won't play on (the Nomad.)

Re:That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (1)

Who Is The Drizzle (1470385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826385)

Lots of games won't load at all

Such as? The GP was asking for you to list specific games that don't load.

Re:That's so easy I could do it! But I didn't. (2, Informative)

Kankraka (936176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826539)

Zsnes took everything I ever threw at it. Every rom I tried to play -worked-, even the StarFox II beta was fully playable, and really, really fun. Snes9x choked on it, but zsnes came through. The only SNES games I've had trouble with were using an emulator on my DS, and I believe it's largely because the emulator is still under development. Kirby's superstar doesn't work at all, Link to the Past is playable but has sprite layering issues. Aerobiz Supersonic works awesome, and I wish Koei would pump out a modern version for the ds; given the hours I've put into it recently because I can now take it with me very easily, they'd have my 40 bucks.

But they're preserving our cultural history! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826701)

They're not making a emulator for playing bootleg and pirated games, they're doing it for museums and archives. It's about preserving our cultural heritage for our kids. It's about our hist...

Wow, I can't even type that with a straight face. Whoever bullshitted their way into a grant for this deserves an award of some sort. Is there an award for bullshit artists, I mean besides political office?

REAS? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825611)

I wonder if the great Brazilian coder Regis Rezende is behind this?

Re:REAS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825793)

reirom am proud.

This counts as valuable university research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825643)

I'm amazed, while somewhere like Cambridge University can come out with Xen [blogspot.com] , Portsmouth can only manage what appears to be a combinatio of MAME and another couple of pieces of open source software? I'd be more impressed if they came up with something like a language for describing and defining game emulators, or even an FPGA card that was dynamically reconfigured to play the given game at full speed. But this?

What a waste of brains, not to mention money.

AG

Re:This counts as valuable university research? (1)

mkavanagh2 (776662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825891)

All research must be of the same intellectual magnitude?

shutup lol

Re:This counts as valuable university research? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826253)

Few things.

(1) Portsmouth, like many "universities" in the UK, is only so by name. It was historically a polytechnic until Thatcher renamed them all to universities in the late '80s. A polytechnic is more for vocational than theoretical activity. The unfortunate thing is that polys and unis both had different non-competing roles in society - now the ex-polys are considered second-rate unis.

(2) Cambridge is probably the most highly regarded university in the country. Of course, Microsoft also managed to build a "research" campus there to suck up graduates, so obviously they're not selecting quite the right candidates. I assert that no-one lacking a passion for a particular subject should be selected at a top university, and that no-one with a passion for computer science will work for the stifling Microsoft. MS opened their campus there around the time I was applying to uni, and for that reason, among others, I applied for Oxford and Imperial. Cambridge seems to commercialise its comp sci efforts too much for my liking - if you're bright and want to make big $, fuck off to America.

(3) Don't overestimate Xen. As with many of today's computing fads, virtualisation's all been done before by IBM at least two decades ago. Xen is not a theoretical or engineering breakthrough (nor is VMware, nor is "cloud computing", ...).

re (-1, Redundant)

freakzp (1475445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825687)

Good idea! Good luck.

The acceptance is important. (3, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825753)

Accepting games as a cultural artifact is very important. This will in the long run open up a legal way of running abandonware, which is a great thing both for history as well as entertainment.

When credible, tax-funded institutions start highlighting the legal problems with running and copying old software the law will eventually adapt.

Not going to help with on-line stuff, is it? (2, Insightful)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825855)

This is cute, but just think about the problem of trying to preserve the gameplay of various MMO games, without the servers. I'm not thinking of a real preservation, but of how you might attempt to reconstruct the graphics and the movement and battle models from captured screen video + synchronized keyboard + mouse inputs.

To be more concrete, say we have as many players as we want playing WoW using a real time KVM-over-IP setup and we record the IP streams. How could we use the information to produce a single-user "game" which would give a cursory impression of what WoW was like, minus all the social interaction?

Now this is a real research-level problem, I think.

Re:Not going to help with on-line stuff, is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826037)

Posting as AC as I cant be bothered to sort my account out yet again............

There already ARE emulators for the WoW servers, also the same can be said for Lineage2

I was running one of each for a while and they were pretty good.

Re:Not going to help with on-line stuff, is it? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826467)

This is cute, but just think about the problem of trying to preserve the gameplay of various MMO games, without the servers

Reproducing the social aspects of them, no. But the actual gameplay part, that just takes a suitable AI player - And in MMOs, lets face it, "suitable AI" means "shout random boasts of your latest kill/find" and "go to dungeon X, clear it out, teleport home if you get hurt too badly, rinse wash repeat".

Preservation (4, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825879)

I'm glad someone is taking preservation seriously. These are a part of our history. I wonder what the government will do about copyright, which is the usual counter-argument. Especially now that copyrights last for 6 billion years or so.

Re:Preservation (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826005)

--Especially now that copyrights last for 6 billion years or so.

Um... the sun will explode in 5 billion years.

Re:Preservation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826089)

Whoosh

Re:Preservation (1)

agnosticanarch (105861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826147)

--Especially now that copyrights last for 6 billion years or so.

Um... the sun will explode in 5 billion years.

And no one will be able to make another one like it... because it was copyrighted!!

One would think that preservation of material in a museum would be beyond copyright law, but I doubt it. So long as there is money to be made...

~AA

Re:Preservation (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826301)

Especially now that copyrights last for 6 billion years or so.

Um... the sun will explode in 5 billion years.

Which is entirely the point of making the copyright term obscenely long: so that the work is worthless by the time the copyright expires, while getting around the constitutional "for limited times" restriction on copyright law in the United States and other countries.

Re:Preservation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826029)

Governments create law. They can simply change it and do what they want.

Entertainment industry owns the news media (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826361)

Governments create law.

Governments do nothing; elected people in government create law. And people aren't going to change the law if it won't help them or their party-mates get elected for another term. It starts with a conflict of interest, where that the movie industry owns all major television news outlets except PBS: Disney owns ABC; General Electric/NBC Universal owns NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC; News Corp/20th Century Fox owns Fox News and several newspapers; Time Warner owns CNN; and CBS, with historic ties to Viacom, owns CBS News. Then the news media can bury a candidate that doesn't scratch the entertainment industry's back.

Re:Preservation (1)

horza (87255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826055)

No reason the government can't just buy a copy of the game and let people experience it in the museums, much as they do with books for libraries. Where there is nobody to pay then assume it's abandonware until an author reclaims it and asks for it to be removed. No retroactive compensation but a fixed small sum that can be paid for future use.

Phillip.

Re:Preservation (2)

Oidhche (1244906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826329)

They might be able to buy a copy of the game, but I'm pretty sure someone's gonna have issues with them allowing people to play it.

And when it's no longer possible to legally obtain a copy, it gets even more problematic. AFAIK, there's no legal concept of abandonware. The developer might have packed his toys and gone home, but that doesn't mean you can "pirate" his software.

Which only shows how asinine the law is.

Re:Preservation (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826101)

Tip: they're not taking it seriously, if this is what they're coming up with.

The ascent of man (1)

fscrubjay (1030738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825887)

There must be a 1x4x9 monolith rising from the earth near Portsmouth.

Loading... (4, Insightful)

PhilJC (928205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825889)

If they really want to emulate systems of old are they going to add the loading screens to the tape loading computers?

The countless hours I lost of life watching the eplieptic fit inducing loading screen of my Spectrum 48k really made you appreciate the game once you did finally start playing (oh and then when you did get them loaded up a speck of dust would land on the power cable or you had the temerity to press a key a little too hard and the whole system would reset)

Archiving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825955)

"Games particularly tend not to be archived because they are seen as disposable, pulp cultural artefacts"

Um, what games were not archived and are now lost to humanity? I could see trivial hobby games written by one person and distributed on a BBS that may have been lost forever, but games still exist from the very dawn of computing. So I'm just curious which games are gone? Also, they seem to be lumping three things together, and really only addressing one issue:
1) Preservation of the sources
2) Preservation of the binaries and content
3) The ability to execute the game

They are only addressing #3, so are they asserting that games will not continue to be archived if they can't be executed? If the games weren't already preserved then wouldn't step #3 be moot?

Ironically, piracy is certainly responsible for the continued existence of some old, more obscure gaming titles ("abandonware"), that otherwise would have been lost when the owner company disbanded decades ago.

Do you people even know about the UK retro scene? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826039)

Oh so you mean MAME and MESS then? OK just so I don't think you Uni types are wasting may taxes, rehashing someone elses hard work!!!

Why don't you lazy sods pick up a copy of Retro Gamer from Imagine publishing some time?!

Does not include console games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26826071)

They are talking about computer games. RTFA guys.

What about business apps and utilities? (3, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826113)

Preserving games is nice and all, but it seems to me to be only part of what should be preserved. I feel it is just as important to be able to look back at old word processors, spreadsheets, desktop shells, disk utilities, programming environments, obscure OSes, and more. They may not be as glamorous as preserving games, but they are just as worthy of preservation.

This is NOT the reinvention of a wheel... (1, Interesting)

RaigetheFury (1000827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826117)

I find it interesting how the only "reasonable" comments about this are responses like "Why do this I could just download a bunch of emulators instead of this!!"... that's the whole point.

Download 1 emulator that is a singular source to play all the older games. instead of having multiple emulators for multiple game system formats etc... such a pain in the arse.

Don't get me wrong, I am concerned that they might just screw up a lot of good parts of many emulators out there (save state etc). I think this is a massive undertaking not only because they are trying to consolidate things but they have a GREAT opportunity to improve upon original design.

Currently the emulators out there are pretty limited simply due to how emulators work. There just isn't anything for ps2 games that's worth a dam. You can argue with me but there is a tremendous need for optimization here. There are a lot of games I'd love to play again that I lost due to a flood, and one of my ex dorm-mates stealing from me. You just can't find them anymore or you have to pay $20-$30 again for them. (screw that noise).

I'm no pirate, but I miss the nostalgia that came with many of the games from my youth. Downloading 15 emulators and finding one that doesn't suck, supports my gamepad... and managing them all when i want to switch games is a pain in the ass. The GUI's are also TERRIBLE (to each their own opinion). I think it's a rule that if you make great emulators they have to look like trash or a clown shit on them.

Controllers (5, Insightful)

EdgeyEdgey (1172665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826205)

How are you going to play the games?
What is pong without the rotary control?
Imagine (in 50 years time) playing Wii bowling without the wiimote.
How are you going to get a light gun to work without a screen that does a full refresh.
etc.

Another Project (1)

fartrader (323244) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826275)

They should do the same thing with beer - I would happily volunteer as a test subject.

Waste of tax money (1)

Randy Savage (1465063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826529)

Okay, we all pay for that, by paying tax, and by paying university fees. Surely those resources could find something equivalently challenging, but that would have a tangible output for those who are paying!!!

dependency oversight (1)

hovercycle (1118435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826575)

Each game is going to have to be classified or examined for exceptions and then made into a package with updates... I've been wanting to make a bootable dos/win95 gaming image since the eee pc came out. I always wanted a little computer just for dos games...Now I got one. BTW The main FPS games I play are old (JKII and RF).
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?