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Interview with: Crto


Date: 2001

The Interview

Wraggster:Where was you born,live and family details etc?
Crto: I was born, raised, and still live in MA, USA. As for
family details, I've got 2 brothers (one twin, and one
~8 years older). Finishing my senior year of high
school at the moment. Jobless and lazier than you can
imagine :P.

Wraggster:What qualifications do you have?
Crto:None :P. Self taught everything. Only real computer
training I've had is an A+ certification course that
I'm currently taking to fill space in my class

Wraggster: What made you get into computers?
Crto:I remember way back when, I used to really like
playing games the old PC we had (one of those ones
with 640kb RAM 16 colors etc). Then we got a new one,
a 486, 8mb of RAM, etc, and this was when I first
started getting into the technical aspects of it. Got
Doom and was really interested in how it worked, then
I started my first coding (with QBasic).

Wraggster:What projects/coding have you done previous to any
Dreamcast programming?
Crto: I coded a gfx and sound library for Nintendo64 (the
gfx part I ported over to DC, more info on that
later). I did a lot of small, basic programs for PC
(DOS using DJGPP and Allegro), such as a little
wrestling game for my brother, uh... some little
shooters... a platform adventure game engine that i
never finished... and a lot (a LOT) of unfinished
stuff... an NES emu and an N64 debugger in there...
lots of stuff :P.

Consolesoft: What made you choose to do a Dreamcast port of the
game Doom?
Crto:Doom was the first computer game I ever bought and
played (well, Doom 2). It's also one of my favorites
(I don't think I've bought or played a new computer
game since I got it). I remember about a year after
source code was released, I started on an ill-fated
port to the N64 (never got my custom ROM file system
working so nothing ever happened with it...). I used
to follow the N64 and PSX dev scenes quite avidly, so
I was especially intrigued when I saw the first
homebrew DC software/hardware get released (that DDH
stuff). Later on (much later on I guess), compilers
and lowlevel hardware specs were released, and
libdream etc came about. I was very intrigued and
started a basic port of Doom on my own, not knowing
that tom61 was also working on one (and having found
the original Doomdev site about a month after I
started on my port). We talked, he saw that my code
was further along than his, and agreed to transfer the
site/project over to me. From then on was history :P.
For months the project dragged on, then DCGrendel
offered a bit of help. Very quickly he ported it over
to KOS, and within 24 hours got it up and running. He
moved it to his custom window system based on JAM,
which became the prerelease version. He's since ported
it back to regular KOS, and uh... well... the second
version hasn't come out yet, from what I know.

Wraggster: How did you start and what programs did you use to
start coding?
Crto:(Assuming you mean DC dev) I started by following the
guide on Jules DC Dev site to setup Cygwin (downloaded
the whole thing on my 56k :P ) and the compilers
(using the SH4/ARM tools precompiled package) (and
with a lot of help from Akira, who some people may
remember from months past). Then I looked through the
libdream examples to get a good grasp on how it
worked, and hacked away to code my own example
programs. It was all quite simple.

Wraggster: Tell us about your Demo Group called Katharsys and
if you have any news for us?
Crto: Uh... not much to say at the moment... things have
really slowed down on that front... although... I know
for a fact that Turrican2k is working on a lot of
stuff, he's always researching things and asking
questions in #dcdev so he's gotta be up to something
:P ... If I ever get the time (I'm back in classes
now), I'll look into finishing my wave pool demo so it
runs nice and fast and TA-accelerated..

Wraggster:Any information on your Bomberman clone and a
status update on it?
Crto: The Bomberman clone. We've been working a little more
on it recently. It's still far from release, although
I did see some screenshots of it and it looked nice.
Right now I'm porting the small code base we have to
use libdream, so I can continue to add features to the
game. The only part of the game that is dependent on a
development library (libdream/kos) is the video
display and the input, so it's relatively easy for me
to add features without breaking compatibility with
Turrican2k's original code. No idea when it'll be done

Wraggster: what programs have helped you on the dreamcast and
how significant is a hardware opengl driver and to wha tprograms emus would be made accessible,also you were the first person to get a software opengl working on
the dreamcast,do you have any plans to update your work in that field too?
Crto:Programs that have helped me on the DC... uh... I
think the GhettoPlay example was a help (for having
simple controller code that worked well)... the
libdream examples were good for showing how to draw to
screen etc. ... A hardware OpenGL driver on the DC
would be like a present from the gods if it had all
features and was up to spec :P. It would make good 3d
programming easy, and very nice looking programs could
be made with minimal effort. As for updating in the
field of a software driver, I've not found myself very
interested in it anymore, but I may move the old site
I had for it into my Wraggster space, along with
some new demo programs.

Wraggster: Are you working on any projects at the moment?
Crto: I'm working on a few. The only one I'll talk about at
the moment is the graphics library I mentioned
earlier. It's quite nice. I've tested it and it works
well. Feature-wise it's comparable to the graphics
stuff provided by Allegro (most of it works the same
way). Should be released by the time this interview is
posted. The other projects I'm working on include
random test/theory programs (like the wave demo),
Bomberman, and an untitled project which I don't dare
to announce but if I ever get back around to working
on it, it will own :P

Wraggster: Whats your opinion of the new super consoles like
X-box,Gamecube,Game Boy Advance and the Playstation 2?

Crto: Hmm... gotta love GBA (Mario Advance 1+2, Mario Kart,
Doom, Sonic, and it's not even been out for a year)...
Gamecube is excellent (I'm gonna get one just for Wave
Race), and much more powerful than most system-biased
freaks would lead you to believe (real-world specs 0wn
theoretical specs any day). Playstation 2... I've
stayed away from that for a while, but I may pick one
up if the price drops (Linux kit for development +
Parappa The Rapper 2 0wnz me :P). That leaves X-Box...
this one is my least favorite out of the bunch, by
far. That's all I'll say.

Wraggster: Which console looks the best for devving on and
also what are the limitations as to what can be
emulated/ported over to the dreamcast etc?

Crto: At the moment, I feel Dreamcast is still the best
(read 'easiest') for dev'ing on, although I can see
Gameboy Advance coming up soon, especially as it's
quite simple to code for. As for limitations for what
can be emulated on Dreamcast, if the original system
has more RAM than the DC, forget about it. If it's a
cartridge based system, and all the ROMS needed at one
time are larger in size than the DC's RAM minus the
size of the DC binary, forget about it. If the
emulated system's CPU is faster than the DC's, forget
about it. As for porting, anything written in C with
little or no assembly code (regardless of what
processor it's written for), and that uses few
resources (uses 8-12mb of RAM, only needs a low end
Pentium, etc), should be fine (Doom, Descent, etc).

Wraggster: What are your favourite games for every system you
have owned?

Crto: Err...
Fairchild F something or another... had these banana
yellow carts and these big joysticks... some hockey
game is the only one i remember so must have been
favorite :P...
Atari 2600/VCS... there was some Fishing Derby game I
liked... and Pitfall... beyond that I dont remember
too many (was young :P)
Sega Master System... only had 2 cart games (Enduro
Racer + some hockey game), one card game (Transbot I
think), and the builtin... I like Rampage the best
though (played it a lot when I borrowed it)...
NES... hands down my favorites are SMB3 and Yoshi... I
still play Yoshi on my oldschool front loading NES to
this day... although I play it with NesterDC now...
but that's another story :P
Sega Genesis... favorite was Sonic 3...
32x... favorite is Doom (but would be Knuckles Chaotix
if I could ever get a copy of it for cheap)...
PSX... favorites are Parappa the Rapper and Umjammer
N64... favorites are Super Mario 64 and Star Fox 64
DC... favorites include Sonic Adventure, Soul Calibur,
and Unreal Tournament... dont have too many games to
pick from...

Wraggster:Your thoughts on the Dreamcast
Emulation/Development Scene and also on the damaging
trend where peoples work like your selfs becomes the
target of wannabee hackers and how can it be improved?

Crto:I like the scene for the most part. Some people are
very friendly (Cyrus64 from Boob, the whole crew at
Wraggster/DCVision, and most of the old group from
DCEmu). Some are also very helpful (if anyone has
talked to Sayten, he's a library of useful information
at the disposal of the few who frequent #dcdev; then
there are all the people who've helped me test betas
before etc). As for the hackers... those were a
pathetic bunch of incidents... back in the day with
Killakow (we are on good terms now, no probs with him
or what happened)... recently with HyperGamer...
etc... it's a pathetic trend that I hope doesn't
continue. It's a shame people gave up on good
projects, but it's a shame the attacks happen in the
first place. An even more disturbing trend is
prejudice and racism, but I don't even want to get
into that.

Thank you for your time it has been a honour for the scene. Wraggster