> I'd like so much use MESS for C64 emulation that you have no idea. I'm thinking at
> the possibility to use OpenGL shaders and so on.... but when I launch a cracked game
> and see how MESSY is the intro of the cracker group, I start to cry and close all
> immediately. VIC-II video chip features are so well documented since at least 15
> years. The firsts accurate C64 emulators appeared around 1999-2000 if not before, so
> I find quite absurd to see that video bugs in MESS today. Probably is better add
> support for XBOX in MESS than try to emulate a 30 years old computer. Probably.
Sorry in advance about changing the tone of the thread, but some things were said that I'd like to address in a broad fashion. Much of the core emulation has been in the MAME source for a long time. I look at the failure of many desired drivers in MAME and MESS and it boils down to a few major issues in my eyes (and in my own view):
(1) Developers. All good machines emulated by MAME/MESS need an active developer behind them. Along with that, the same developer or another one knowledgeable in a certain system or systems should also be available to keep track of and adjust machine-specific code when the MAME core changes. This would include adjusting for more accurate CPU emulation, addition of new devices or machines, or other changes in core behavior.
(2) Licensing. There is probably the biggest thing MAME is working to improve on right now. Right now, our project's license is not compatible with very much outside of some early projects. Many of the single machine emulators have a valid predetermined license which is most cases is incompatible with MAME's current license. This means that we cannot simply copy/paste parts of code from other projects to suit our needs. We can use source that is available as reference points, but things need to be completely rewritten once it appears in our source. This falls back to Devs and time which are in short supply these days. It is hoped that the license efforts now will result in better code availability in the future for all systems from other projects' source code.
(3) Documentation. This includes as above other sources to examine as well as original datasheets, manuals, schematics reference audio/video recordings, artwork and other pieces to help construct the larger puzzle that is accurate documentation/emulation. In some cases there is ample documentation for a Developer to be able to make a solid "as good as" driver in the MAME core to compete with the more popular single machine emulators. Even in a perfect world where everything needed can be found, you need a capable Developer able to take this information and code it into a driver. Very few people are able to do that and can express that interest (as I mentioned above) to do it and maintain it for others to enjoy.
(4) Appreciation. A large portion of the gaming public view MAME as not a documentation project (which is its primary goal), but as simply and free machine emulator. Each person coming in has their own expectation, for sure, and most of them expect perfection right off the bat. Whenever that is not possible and such issues are obvious, MAME will instruct the users through 'flags' which bring up a screen informing them of the machines' shortcomings which they usually must acknowledge (OK). MAME tries to inform them of what to expect but large numbers of users not only find this annoying, but patch out this behavior in "no nag" patches. The fact that so many people patch out this one screen and other informational popups (loading, initializing and so forth) sort of disappoints me as a developer and a tester. To me, it feels like a lack of appreciation for the efforts and goals of the project. In the end, though, I understand the reasoning behind making your cabinet/setup play just like the arcade and use fancy graphical front-ends that display movies, allow selection of your desired game(s) and that each user has the right to use the program how they feel like using it. Would you continue to work on something if you don't at least sense some appreciation from the people that enjoy, benefit and in some cases profit from your hard work?
That's about all I have to say for now.