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Interview with: James Surine


Date: 2001

The Interview

Wraggster: Can you tell us where you live and where do you come from,and where
you went to school,college etc?
James Surine: I recent moved from San Francisco CA to St. Paul MN (my home town) with
my family. Had enough of the high rents and home prices in SF. With the recent dot com bust I think I made the right decision.

Wraggster: What made you get into computers and what qualifications do you have?
James Surine:I started on the Apple II in high school and I have been programming
ever since.

Wraggster: What made you get into the Dreamcast Homebrew scene?
James SurineI was really impressed with DreamSNES and figured I could do some of
the things I did with the camera on the DC. My first attempt using libdream
was not succesful, Multipac didn't emulate correctly due to complier bugs.
It wasn't until I stumbled onto toodles gcc/kos how to site that I was
able to get a working compiler that could compile the z80 emulator in Multipac.
Ithen started working on porting MAME. The biggest obstacle to developing
on the DC right now is the availbility and ease of tools.

Wraggster: What projects are you working on at the moment?
James Surine:Well MAME for Dreamcast is kind of the main focus right now, it's not
too good an idea to start too many things at once, you end up not finishing
anything. That's a big problem with homebrew stuff.

Wraggster: Do you see an update to your great project?
James Surine: Well I'm still merging stuff in the mame core so it will be a little
while.Maybe a week or two, I don't want to release something too often or I
get compaints about people wasting their CD's. The standard answer is "it's
done when it gets done"

Wraggster: What emulators would you like to either try or see comeout on the
James Surine:I'd like to try and get Handy working on the Dreamcast. One of my
favorite games was Crystal Mines II on the Lynx. But I'll probably get MESSD
working first.

Wraggster:With Bleemcast being released and the great success at getting a
playstation emu on the Dreamcast,what other high end systems do you see being emulated?
James Surine: I have bleem and VGS for the PC and I was very impressed with what was
accomplished. I don't have GT for the playstation so I haven't seen it on the DC but I hear its very impressive. I'll try and buy the next dc release of bleem so I can play MGS on the DC. As for other stuff like the N64 on the DC, who knows.

Wraggster: what is your favourite game for your emulator?

James Surine:I guess Xevious, because I own the actual machine. It ran a little too
slow on the camera but on the DC it really shines. When I get the 68K stuff
working I'll be playing a lot of Outzone, which should run reasonably

Wraggster:How do you see the future as regards to which system will be the
main one for homebrew coders like your self?
James Surine:Hard to predict the future, but currently DC is the place to be.

Wraggster: Mame is one of the biggest emulators out there with support for
thousands of games how far do you see emulation on dreamcast
progressing ,will it see neo geo games and cps1 games be emulated on the
dreamcast through the mamed emulator.?
James Surine:The main problem with these modern games is speed and memory. I think
the MAME neogeo emulation will run at a respectable speed but only 2-3
games will load into RAM. I have some ideas on how to create a system to swap
roms in and out of RAM but it will probably be a while before I could get
anything working. On the camera I swap cpu, sound, & game drivers in
and out of ram so I guess if anyone can figure it out, I might.

Wraggster: With two of you coding emus for mame at the same time does it
help when you run into problems?
James Surine:Well Christophe's code saved me a little time during the intial
release,I hadn't added the input and sound code to MAMED yet when Mamedc was
released.I paid him back by fixing the sound code and a few bugs in KOS. I
haven't heard much from him lately but it doesn't hurt to have someone else
looking at the code. We both kind of took a different approach, I'm trying to
get the whole ball of wax working and Christophe is doing a few at a time.

Wraggster:What is your opinion of the dreamcast emu/dev scene and the many
great sites that support it?

James Surine:Well there seems to be quite a bit of grief in the DC emu/dev scene
flying around at the moment, and the newbies and lamers don't help much either
but I think things will settle down eventually.