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Wraggster: 1) Can you tell us where were you born, where you live,etc.?
SuperFro: I'd prefer not to.
Wraggster:: 2) What qualifications do you have?
SuperFro: Well, I have my diploma from high school, and 10 years of development
experience. All self taught. I've written software in pretty much every
language, on many platforms.
Wraggster:: 3) What made you get into computers?
SuperFro Back when I was about 13 I had a friend who I used to hang around
with alot. His father did something with computers, and he was fortunate
to have a Apple II that he neglected to show interest in. And hanging around
him, I used to play with his computer and ... what can I say I was hooked!
A year or 2 later I had a class in school dealing with computers... and
it was on from there.
Wraggster:4) What projects/coding have you done previous to your Xbox Scene
SuperFro I've done development on PS1 (nothing big), Linux, and alot of
Wraggster:: 5) You were the second coder to take on the MameX project,
what have you brought to it and how far can it be took ?
SuperFro After I found out that OpCode was leaving the project, I felt
that this was my calling. I wanted to get into the XBOX scene, I had a XBOX,
and the XBOX being so PC-Like, I felt I was there. OpCode did an exellent
job getting it put-together, figuring out what _needs_ to be done, I started
filling in some gaps starting with beta-5. The basic elements where there,
but the gui needed a splash of color, error messages needed to be mostly
xbox related, not really MAME. Then a new MAME core (.61) was released by
mame.net. Sadly enough it wasn't a easy upgrade, the .diff file was ~ 4.5
megs. They've been doing alot of internal changes. So after a few failed
attempts to merge the .61 update, I started over. Using the foundation that
OpCode provided, I knew what problems I would have by comparing what was
changed in .60.
Starting the port over worked out much better than trying to merge .61 changes
to .60's core. That was beta 6 which I also added a NeoGeo/CPS version that
has all the drivers stripped so more memory is available. Alot of larger
games can be run by using a this version, and switching between the two
is easy. There were bunch of features added, nvram settings, 1st attempt
at the highscore saving, alot of stability adjustments.
Now I've been working on beta 7, with alot of debugging, trying to figure
out why the games that don't work, simply don't work. Mostly it's memory
related but i've been fixing a few of the drivers, pal60 bugs, trimming
code to save memory, vector games like asteroids, and the most major thing
has been partitioning the drivers so that I can de-allocate the unused drivers
from memory when launching a game. So far this part has been a bit slow.
So I've been working on my own Demand Paging system, allowing the XBOX to
utilize the harddrive to swap memory, since the XBOX does not have this
Wraggster:> 6) What limitations on there with regards to ram on the
Xbox and the size of some of the bigger Mame Games.?
SuperFro Well the retail XBOX comes with 64 megs of shared system-videocard
memory. So thats problem #1. Second the XBOX loads the entire executable
into memory before executing it. So MAME being as large as it is, you load
a 12 Meg executable, and between that and the system/videocard overhead,
you're only left with about 44 Megs in ram. Then the MAME code was designed
to load the entire rom into memory before executing (just like the xbox).
So considering you have a rom that is < 44 megs, once it's loaded some
games need to build tilemaps and allocate RAM for their own code execution.
This is definately a challenge for post pacman era games. But i'm loving
Wraggster: 7) What do you have planned for another of your projects fanCbox
SuperFro fanCbox, well pretty much at it's point now, it's used to make
designer-like-bioses. Changing colors and other useful hacks. I have some
more bios hacks lined up, all I can say is keep watching the news boards
for those features. I have been trying to dedicate more time to getting
MAME-X beta 7 out, so thats why I havn't added these parts yet.
Wraggster: 8) What was the Breakthrough in getting emulators or infact
any software working on the Xbox?
SuperFro Breakthrough? Well modification chips that allow homebrew software
to be ran are still fairly new. But I believe MAME was the first thing that
caught people's eyes and gave hope to all the other emulators. I get email
every day telling me they bought the xbox just for MAME. There is however
an older port, say 8 months ago, a guy using a Development box ported MAME
but never gave anyone a way to access it. He has screenshots, but nothing
So the big breakthrough applause goes to the original guys who figured out
how to modify the XBOX allowing homebrew code to be ran. My hats off to
Wraggster: 9) How easy is it to port emulators from Windows DirectX Versions
to the Xbox?
SuperFro It depends on the code. MAME code is somewhat cryptic, Lots of
defines of defines. The main problem with porting code to XBOX is the GUI/Engine
abstraction. Luckily for MAME, it's a commandline version which pretty much
leaves the whole UI up to you, and just setting internal variables like
commandline switches. Other then that, It's easier to port windows code
to XBOX then it would be to say... Linux.
Wraggster: 10) When will we see a fully legal emulator/ application for
SuperFro All eyes on the OpenXDK project. The goal is to provide a SDK
developers can use without using Microsoft's code. I have faith in the OpenXDK
project and have been trying to help out, it's real tough at the moment
because the beginning steps are the toughest, and most people have work/school
to attend to first. OpenXDK needs a devoted project coordinator with plenty
of time on their hands. Time is very valuable, So I understand what the
problem is. Once a bare foundation is released, OpenXDK will skyrocket,
and that is when you will see legal emulators.
Wraggster: 11) However unlikely, will there be a way of using Homebrew
on the Xbox without a Modchip.?
SuperFro Microsoft took alot of measures into their encryption methods,
mod chips will continue to get easier, but having looked for loopholes in
the boot process myself, I almost doubt you will be able with no chip at
Wraggster:>: 12) We have seen some great emulators and software already
come out on the Xbox, Whats your favourite so far?
SuperFro I'm trying not to be biased on this one but MAME is my passion,
I own lots of other consoles, and PC emulation doesn't thrill me, I have
a PC, I have windows, I have linux, I have a dvd/vcd player. MAME is the
one thing I do not have, I don't own 3000 cabnets of games. I would even
purchase the roms lagally if I could without buying warehouses full of old
Wraggster:: 13) What would you like to see ported to the Box and what is
realistically the limit to what can be done?
SuperFro What would I like to see? Tough decision, currently nothing comes
to mind. I'd like to see more non-ported software, original XBOX software
designed to use the networking features that older console's lacked. Network
games, Network appliance usage. But honestly I'm very contempt with the
progress that everyone who has contributed has accomplished. It can only
get better from here.