Re: [stella] Newbie question emulation

Subject: Re: [stella] Newbie question emulation
From: Thomas Boutell <boutell@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2005 17:54:10 -0500
On Mon, 28 Feb 2005, nadeem wrote:

> Hello all,
> Just joined the list, so bare with my newbness
> I'm new to doing emulators I understand the principles but this is my first
> attempt.
> Just want opinions on this...Is a 2600 a good platform to attempt to emulate
> ? how would it compare to a Master sytem?

You probably realize the 2600 has already been emulated successfully
(stella and z26 among other programs). I assume your interest is in
doing it for the sake of your own amusement and education.

The 2600 platform is very interesting to emulate because virtually *every*
cartridge relies on things that would be considered "unusual dirty tricks"
on other platforms. The machine is very simple, but deceptively so. You
must *exactly* match the behavior of the real hardware, especially with
regard to the timing of the display output, or games just won't work.

You would need to write (or reuse) a 6502 emulator, including all
undocumented instructions, but that would be the easy part. The hard
part is emulating the video hardware. But you can find 
documentation sufficient to build a working emulator in the 
"stella programmer's guide" document in many places, including here:

I once wrote a 2600 emulator, got quite far (it ran Adventure, for
instance), and gave up because it was so slow and I didn't grasp how
much faster computers would be in just a few years. Today's PCs will
have no trouble running your emulator as long as you are prepared to
write good C code.

Good luck!

Thomas Boutell
Boutell.Com, Inc.

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