News Roundup: November 2 - December 27

mossy_11 on Monday, 30 December 2013. Posted in News

After years of development, OpenEmu, the frontend to rule them all, is finally out in an official capacity. Combining Apple-like skeuomorphic design and polish with iTunes-style ROM organisation, support for a plethora of gamepads, and a plugin system that integrates individual emulator engines as “cores”, OpenEmu mostly (it has its flaws, I’d argue) lives up to expectations as the emulator for the rest of us. The official release (available here) comes in two flavours: a 1.0 build with around a dozen 8-bit and 16-bit consoles supported, and an experimental build that adds a bunch more systems and cores (including PSP, Saturn, and N64) that aren’t quite stable enough for the prime time. Congrats to Mucx and company on the overwhelmingly positive reception it’s had so far.

Nintendo 64 emulator Sixtyforce has been updated to version 0.9.8. This release brings Retina support, PAL video timing, a new full screen mode, loads of bug fixes, and “several” major optimisations. Download it from the official Sixtyforce website, and remember to register to encourage Gerrit to take more time out of his acting career to work on it.

After yet another lengthy delay, Sega Saturn emulator Yabause is back with a big release obscured by an incremental version number. Yabause 0.9.13 adds support for mdf/mds dumps, CD+G, and the Saturn mouse and 3D control pad. It also improves the user interface and emulation, gets Netlink up and running, adds SH2 debugging features, and fixes CD audio emulation. The devs are actively recruiting translators and technical writers to help out, too. Learn about all this, and more, at the Yabause website.

Continue reading for Mac floppy emulator hardware and more updates, including new PPSSPP, Sweet16, Mednafen, Mini vMac, and more.

Virtual ][, a long-running Apple II emulator, has been updated to version 7.4.1. This fixes some issues with the SCSI card emulation introduced in 7.4, which also added a new AppleScript command and fixed a number of other problems. Head to the bottom of the Virtual ][ homepage for details and download links.

Meanwhile the Apple II’s younger brother, the Apple IIgs, is now slightly better on OS X thanks to Sweet16 reaching its 3.0.2 milestone. This release fixes the disk eject sound effect, a crash on quit bug, and a few other things, and it adds a “Clear All Breakpoints” button to the debugger. Head over to the Sweet16 website for more information and your choice of download link.

PlayStation Portable emulator PPSSPP’s latest release adds rudimentary support for ad-hoc online play, plus automatic install of games from zip files and a host of improvements to speed, timing, rendering, and more. You can get more details, and find download links, on the PPSSPP website.

DeSmuME, a Nintendo DS emulator, has been updated to version 0.9.10, with little in the way of additions but some great under-the-hood work to improve performance and user experience. Head over to the DeSMuME website for a download link.

Keeping with the Nintendo theme, Dolphin, a Wii and Gamecube emulator, got a maintenance release at the end of November. Version 4.0.2 fixes a number of regressions introduced by 4.0, although these seem to have been more a problem for Windows users. It has no official Mac binary, but the development versions (of which there are a few every day) do. You can grab binaries for any version of Dolphin, or pick up the source code, at the Dolphin download page.

Multi-system emulator Mednafen is now at version The latest build adds Atari Lynx II stereo support and improves DualShock rumble support, amongst other things. See here for more details. The Mac binary is available from the Mednafen forum, courtesy once again of idyll — who looks set to take a break from compiling duties.

Oricutron (formerly Oriculator), an emulator for the Oric series of computers, has been updated to version 1.1. See the Oricutron Google Code page for details, and grab the source code (or an older Mac build) here.

Wine-based Windows wrapper tool CrossOver got its latest major update in November. CrossOver 13 focuses on improving graphical performance in games, with the announcement post citing dramatic frame-rate improvements on in-house testing. The update also fixes a number of annoying bugs and adds a bunch of other features, all of which are detailed here. You can download a trial or buy CrossOver from the Codeweavers website.

Game Boy Color emulator Gambatte has reached release 550. This version includes six months of bug fixes and additions, although you’ll have to go digging through the commit logs to see exactly what’s changed. You can learn more about the emulator, or grab a download link, at the Gambatte SourceForge page.

Arcade emulator MAME has been updated to version 0.152. See here for the typically long changelog, and head over to the MAMEdev site for source code. The SDLMAME website has been down for at least the past few days (at the time of writing), so I don’t know whether there’s a Mac binary available.

Everything emulator MESS has also been updated to version 0.152, likewise with a plethora of changes. The SDLMAME folks were building SDLMESS, too, so once that website’s back up you should be able to get a command-line Mac build.

If you’re in need of a frontend for your MAME or MESS binary, there’s always QMC2 — which was updated to version 0.42 on Christmas day. This release includes “a number of major performance improvements” and stability fixes. See here for the changelog, and here for more information and a download link.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the customary VirtualBox maintenance release. Version 4.3.6 of the open-source x86 virtualisation tool fixes 16 bugs and adds a few more MSRs (what are they?) to the whitelist required by certain guests. The full changelog is available here.

Machine emulator and virtualiser QEMU is now at both version 1.6.2 and version 1.7.0. The former no doubt fixes some outstanding bugs with the 1.6 release, although it’s not specified in the changelog, while 1.7 brings a host of improvements and additions across the board. You can download source code for both from the QEMU wiki.

Java-based PSP emulator JPCSP has hit revision 3426. This build makes minor improvements to the external renderer for multi-threading. There have been heaps of builds since the last news roundup, though, so if you’re on an old version there may be significant changes. Start looking at the JPCSP website.

Early Macintosh (Mac Plus and Mac II, primarily,) emulator Mini vMac has been updated to version 3.3.3 beta. Compared to the prior development snapshot, this version fixes a number of bugs in 68020 (Mac II) emulation, while there are a lot of changes compared to the stable 3.2.3 release. Head to the Mini vMac website to get it, and to check out the special variant builds.

In related news, you can now buy Steve Chamberlin’s Mac Floppy Emu for transferring software between current and vintage Macs. It is compatible with everything pre-Intel, by the sounds of it, and supports emulated disk images in all standard sizes that ran on early Macs. All via an SD card. I wish I still had a Mac Plus to link this baby up to. If you’re so inclined (and skilled), there are instructions for building your own.

Dragon and Tandy Colour Computer emulator XRoar has been updated to version 0.31.1 hot on the heels of 0.31. This fixes a potential deadlock in the new SDL and CoreAudio code, while 0.31 adds support for the Dragon 200-E and some other things. See here for the changelog, and here for more information about the emulator.

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