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[Q] Anyone working on a Gameboy Advance emulator?

OP ErikWithNoC

22nd April 2012, 05:39 PM   |  #1  
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Let me preface this by saying I already suggested this idea in the DEV POOL sticky of software development. Unfortunately that thread receives very little attention and my question would be better placed here.

Anyways: Currently WP7 has two emulators (at least that I know of) and they are for the NES and classic Gameboy. Unfortunately, we are missing some really great ones like Gameboy Advance (I still have all my Pokemon games from it), SNES, and N64. You may not be aware, but the Zune HD actually had a partially working Gameboy Advance emulator. The Zune HD possess far lower specs then new WP7 devices, even the first generation devices. The original iPhone 3GS can also emulate Gameboy Advance games and its specs are also a lot lower then current WP7 devices.

I'm curious as to why this hasn't been worked on (at least talked about). I understand that code could be a problem, but the Zune HD I'm sure had similar problems on a far lesser known platform with even less developers and still had some form of Gameboy Advance emulator. Also, native code of some kind is achievable now, correct?

Anyways, I'm just curious if anyone else would like to see this/know if something is in the works. If it is of any help, here is the link to the Zune HD Gameboy Advance emualtor; they even have the source code listed: http://code.google.com/p/visual-boy-zune/
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23rd April 2012, 02:25 AM   |  #2  
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Currently there are several issues with emulation on WP7.

1) The lack of hardware access (XNA)
2) Managed languages and the inability to remove excessive runtime safety checks (like bounds checking) makes it very hard to have efficient rendering and sound generation.
3) The lack of native code access and not allowing for unsafe code in managed languages

While technically you can run native code through COM, it would be a huge amount of work porting an existing emulator over that way and it would be limited to fully unlocked devices.

I do know a few people that has been toying with SNES or even GBA emulation for WP7, but in the end they've given up, because of the inability to have it running at any reasonable speed. Which is very understandable considering how slow it is to run an interpreted emulator inside an VM when u have no way remove safety checks or compile code on the fly.

I honestly don't see any of these things changing for WP7, considering how little to none extra API access that we've been given since the Mango SDK.

But looking at Windows 8 and the Metro style API's, Microsoft would be complete idiots to not bring the same set of languages (native/managed) c++/c# (with unsafe code!)/js to WP8 and native access to directx etc. So none of the WP7 issues would be present.

N64/PSX...that would require a whole set of even lower level hardware access.

So in short; The lack of native or unsafe code access is why u don't have a gba/snes emulator on wp7
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23rd April 2012, 04:00 AM   |  #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nudua

Currently there are several issues with emulation on WP7.

1) The lack of hardware access (XNA)
2) Managed languages and the inability to remove excessive runtime safety checks (like bounds checking) makes it very hard to have efficient rendering and sound generation.
3) The lack of native code access and not allowing for unsafe code in managed languages

While technically you can run native code through COM, it would be a huge amount of work porting an existing emulator over that way and it would be limited to fully unlocked devices.

I do know a few people that has been toying with SNES or even GBA emulation for WP7, but in the end they've given up, because of the inability to have it running at any reasonable speed. Which is very understandable considering how slow it is to run an interpreted emulator inside an VM when u have no way remove safety checks or compile code on the fly.

I honestly don't see any of these things changing for WP7, considering how little to none extra API access that we've been given since the Mango SDK.

But looking at Windows 8 and the Metro style API's, Microsoft would be complete idiots to not bring the same set of languages (native/managed) c++/c# (with unsafe code!)/js to WP8 and native access to directx etc. So none of the WP7 issues would be present.

N64/PSX...that would require a whole set of even lower level hardware access.

So in short; The lack of native or unsafe code access is why u don't have a gba/snes emulator on wp7

Well that is mighty unfortunate. I'm assuming the current emulators work because they don't need much power to run? Also is it XNA that allowed for the Zune HD to emulate the Gameboy Advance?

I thank you for your time in answering my question, hopefully Windows 8 will change this current situation.
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23rd April 2012, 04:35 AM   |  #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikWithNoC

Well that is mighty unfortunate. I'm assuming the current emulators work because they don't need much power to run? Also is it XNA that allowed for the Zune HD to emulate the Gameboy Advance?

I thank you for your time in answering my question, hopefully Windows 8 will change this current situation.

I don't know much about the Zune HD, but from looking at the GBA project, it's using native code (OpenZDK?) and not XNA.

Current emulators work because most run at 20/30fps and the emulation of 8bit consoles is less demanding. Also most emulators are written in native languages, making it much harder to port over to WP7.

If WP8 is anything like W8 and Microsoft continues to allow emulators, I'm sure we'll see a lot of emulators for WP8.
26th June 2012, 10:03 PM   |  #5  
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The ZuneHD was never hacked at all. If I remember correctly (and I was big on the Zune scene), the Zune devices had far superior security software that was never cracked. Not saying it wouldn't have been possible if more people cared about development for the Zune (it had nowhere near as much following as iPhone and iPod).
Microsoft never gave out a full SDK for the Zune, only access to limited functions in XDA. There wasn't even support for 3D games...
But Zune fanatics were able to find a more "back door" method to hacking the Zune. They created OpenZDK, which allowed for more access to what the Zune can really do. It was almost like a partial hack (which you'd be used to if you're in the PSP hacking scene).
Through OpenZDK, you were able to develop software that better used the Zune's potential (that MS never tapped into). Developers could make 3D games, and even make an emulator. Now my ZuneHD crapped out on me before I could try the GBA emulator, but I used the crap out of it when it was just GB/GBC. I still prefer it over anything I've used on iOS and Android. The only downfalls were that you had to save the normal way, no fast forward, and no sound.
If Microsoft had given more freedom for developers in XNA, then they would have used that to make VBZ and it'd probably be easier to port to Windows Phone.

Microsoft just really messed up with the Zune.
3rd July 2012, 08:59 PM   |  #6  
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whats the best open source GBA emulator? it would be interesting to use NFC and the Local Wireless to emulate Link functionality. I tried to port a GBA emulator to WP7 XNA but it failed, now with native code, i want to try it in metro.
10th July 2012, 01:42 PM   |  #7  
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No$GBA, but I'm not sure

Please try it to make a gba emulator for windowsphone
Last edited by MaryJane420; 10th July 2012 at 01:49 PM.
20th September 2012, 07:26 PM   |  #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryJane420

No$GBA, but I'm not sure

Please try it to make a gba emulator for windowsphone

I'm going to make one for windows 8 metro, then I can attempt to port it over.

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