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Interview with: Regex


Date: 2001

The Interview

Wraggster: Can you tell us about yourself and where your from and job,school etc?

Regex: I'm 22 years old, and I've been living in Calgary, Alberta Canada my whole life. I'm a Mechanical Engineer, and I graduated from the University of Calgary last year with a BSc.. I'm currently working on my Master's degree in Design Engineering. I am currently writing a conference paper, and my thesis. I help teach a couple courses at the university (mechanical simulation and artificial intelligence).

Wraggster: How long have you been into computers and more specifically coding? [Beware... long answer]

Regex: I started programming around the mid 80's when I was a little kid. I'd always been interested in robots and spaceships and stuff from the movies, and my Dad told me all about computers and that, because he's a Mechanical Engineer (and an accomplished programmer) as well. My Dad gave me some books on how to program, and some of those old books with code listings you could type out to get these little BASIC games to play. I did that up until I was about 12 and lost interest in it (I was much happier to play my NES). I stayed out of serious programming until around 1994 (although I did a bunch of little projects along the way), because there was a resurgance of interest for me when I got into the Demo Scene. I took Computer Science in High School (with a great teacher, Helen Koch) and learned Turbo Pascal. Between getting into demos and learning compsci, I joined a local demo group called Skyfire, and we started doing intros and stuff for our BBS. When I graduated High School, our group broke up and I focused on school. I got really good summer work (from the best boss I could have had, Doug Slack) at an oil company doing some little apps for Windows, and I cleaned up my C/C++/Win32 skills there. I also read Michael Abrash's books at that time, which are really good if you're interested in learning how to code hardware level graphics (at least in a pre-accelerator context). I also worked for a commercial software company, Objectworks, for a summer. Now I am developing software to accompany my thesis, and of course my DC projects.

Wraggster: What made you choose the Nes and the PcEngine To Emulate?

Regex: I really love both the systems... perhaps the NES a little more than the TG/PCE. I actually wanted to do the port of Hu-Go first (because I want to play Blazing Lazers on my DC), and have *technically* been working on it since November. I wanted to do the NES, because the system is really cool, and also that progress on the port of Hu-Go was going *so* slowly... mostly because of my own inexperience with embedded hardware.

Wraggster: What problems have you had and how did you overcome then?

Regex: Sound was *really* hard to do for FrNES. It was funny that NesterDC 3.0 released like the day after I got sound working, after I'd put all that work into doing it myself. To get through it, I just sat down for 2 weeks, warmed up the ol' coder's cable and debugged for 4-5 hours a night. Add some Slinky + Ninja Tune CDs to the mix and you have the recipe for success.

Wraggster: With 2 more emus being written for the Nintendo Entertainment System and up to 3 being written for the PcEngine has that made you more determined to complete your project and also have you teamed up to overcome problems that have been halting your progress?

Regex: Determination is in short supply over here :D My work requires me to use most of my quality brain-time there, so it's rare that when I come home, I'm all psyched to code. I would like to see my projects all be finished well, before too long (it would be nice before the end of 2001) but I'm not promising anything. Other emu's are somewhat of a concern, admittedly, but most of the projects I do are for my own enjoyment first, so I don't care *that* much if someone releases before I do. There has been a fair amount of code sharing going on between myself and other devvers in #dcdev.

Wraggster: When youve reached the end for this project, do you have any new projects in mind?

Regex: Well, when I'm done both FrNES and the TG/PCE emu, I might like to help out on some other project... I'd like to help out on something like crt0's OpenGL stuff... My brother and I have a top secret homebrew game in development, but it's not ready to be talked about yet.

Wraggster: What is your favourite Dreamcast emulator?

Regex: I'd have to say Bleem GT2, because I've logged more hours with that than I probably should have (took a week away from FrNES 0.50 :D)... I really like DreamSNES. I use FrNES a lot (even though I'm a little biased).

Wraggster: What is your favourite game for The Nes and also the PcEngine?

Regex: I'd have to say Contra on the NES, and Blazing Lazers on the PCE.

Wraggster: What is your opinion of the Dreamcast Scene, and what would you do to improve it to make it more accessible?

Regex: I think the DC scene may have shrunk recently, but I don't really mind. Some of that shrinking might be due to Selfbootbuddy (and that everyone is burning their selfboots on the first try.. and not bothering people in the forums...but that's just my theory :D). I think Dan Potter and his group are doing fantastic work (without which I wouldn't have been able to do mine), and they are keeping things alive. Their work is indispensible and really superior. Wraggster is a good gateway, and I always go there to check for news and stuff... I think improving updates on a daily basis would definitely help bring more people in on a regular basis. I like the idea of tournaments and stuff with DCE... I haven't played Q3A in a while :D

Wraggster: What is your view on the other new super consoles and the possibilitys of hobbyist development on them ie gba etc

Regex: GBA is cool... I have one myself, and would love to do some coding on it. (Check out Loopy's version of his NES emu for GBA.. it's super sweet!). Gamecube looks cool,. but I'll suspend judgement until someone figures out a programming backdoor. PS2 is a maybe (until there's a way of stably getting one modded for development, I wouldn't consider it).

Wraggster: May i say thank you for your time and good luck with your project on behalf of DCEmulation and the rest of the emulation scene.

Regex: Thanks Wraggster, always a pleasure.