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CD-i Bits (News about CD-i Emulator)

Latest news about update CD-i Emulator and DVC support

>> Monday, November 12, 2007

Let's have a chat about the new developments CD-i Emulator has gone through in the last year. While we all know the latest available public release is still version 0.52, author cdifan will be busy with his project for a long time. As some CD-i members sound desperate for new updates, cdifan can be sure about the popularity of his emulator of this obscure system! Although I don't think we were ever under much of an illusion about CD-i Emulator. It was going to serve a die-hard core contingent of CD-i fanatics anyway. Yet, I look forward to the day when CD-i Emulator offers increased compatibility and additional features, hopefully expanding the emulators user base. The demo offered by cdifan allows users to trial whatever CD-i software they have before purchasing the unlimited product. So I hope they know what the emulator offers! Recently the author of CD-i Emulator, cdifan, opened the gate a little and talked about what happened so far. Question: How about the current situation around emulation of the Digital Video Cartridge?

cdifan: "I have basic register and data decoding working for two of the three DVC models out there (GMPEG, VMPEG, IMPEG) and am getting the MPEG data streams from the drivers. But they need to be decoded and properly merged with the standard audio/video streams of the CD-i player. Video decoding is difficult because the hardware uses a "push" model instead of the "pull" model used by most existing codecs. This can be solved but it requires some pre-decoding and buffering trickery. Video merging is likewise difficult because the drivers expect to control the frame buffering directly, using a hardware frame fifo (in YUV format) with over half a dozen registers per stage, not all of which I understand yet. And let's not even speak about all the slow motion, jumping, seeking and synchronisation issues that also need to be solved eventually. Audio is much easier to handle but somewhat pointless without the video counterpart. I know of only a single game that would benefit from MPEG audio without MPEG video (can anyone guess?)."

Question: How about the implementation of keyboard support in CD-i Emulator? cdifan: "Believe me, I am aware that keyboard support is the most wanted feature for CD-i Emulator. But it's not as easy as you might think, especially since the original structure of that piece of code has turned out to be a bad design in view of the differences in pointing device handling between the various player models. I did some work on the Goldstar and CD-i 370 players recently and that has uncovered yet another set of misfeatures in that design..."

Update: "I have already explained that this particular bit of code has indeed become badly structured by too many adaptations to specification changes. It needs refactoring and I don't feel like investing feature time until that is done. And even then it certainly wouldn't take 10 minutes, a whole evening looks more like it, considering the number of configurations and test scenarios."

Pushing the boundaries CD-i member Nitrosoxide knows what he would like to see in the new CD-i Emulator version, additionally to the known CD-i Emulator wannahaves:
1. A more advanced Mouse Cursor Interface
"While the mouse interface of CD-i Emulator is useable, there are definitely major glitches. When the emulator is active with a game the computer mouse is only able to function within the emulator. By this I mean that you often can’t use your computer mouse to click outside the emulation screen, it's “trapped”. Nor can you click the emulator menus (File, Emulate, Decode, Window, Options, Help)."
2. Better Full Screen Support
"While Full Screen Support is definitely implemented, it doesn’t make the Windows Taskbar disappear. Nor can you have an experience (even by pulling down the taskbar) where the entire screen is 100% CD-i since the CD-i Emulator does have a button toolbar which I don’t think you can get rid of."
3. Different Display Support
"After hearing the CD-i supported SCART and so and so, I’d really like to see how much the platform can be pushed to get the best display possible. Currently with CD-i Emulator I hook it up to my widescreen HDTV through the computers' VGA port. Nintendo’s virtual console and xbox live seems to do a good job of displaying older games in 480p."
4. Emulation directly from CD
"Honestly the main reason for this, is that there are plenty of CD-i games, that are notoriously difficult to make a playable image out of. I Indeed spent about a year working on trying to get a suitable copy of The Apprentice, which is unfortunate since its probably one of the best games on the system."

cdifan elaborates on this last issue: "On a PC, getting data from a CD-i disc requires "raw" read techniques which differ greatly accross drives and drivers (read: Windows versions); I could never spend the amount of time on this that the authors of e.g. IsoBustor or CloneCD have. Some CD drives don't support reading CD-i or CD Ready discs at all, anyway; there is just no way that CD-i Emulator could fix this. And there are also emulation timing issues that can only be fixed by using "read-ahead" which quite possibly requires making CD-i Emulator multithreaded..."

Cdifan's update: "Mundane (to me) tasks like keyboard support will tend to get postponed until they are the only thing holding up a shiny new release. And that needs one or more somewhat major features or bugfixes; several of them are in the works but none are even near being finished. Of course, I also tend to somewhat underrate the importance of this particular feature: most games are much much nicer to play with either a joystick (which CD-i Emulator does support, albeit somewhat clumsily) or the mouse (which it supports quite well, I think). Open sourcing the emulator might fix part of the problem, but it certainly wouldn't help with the core emulation issues as nobody that I've had contact with seems to have the required in-depth technical knowledge of the CD-i system or even the drive to get it. That would tend to limit the contributions to the outer fringes of the project and thereby put more constraints on the core work."



More when it develops. Thanks to cdifan, devin, nitrosoxide

1 reacties:

Bas November 14, 2007 at 7:05 PM  

This post has been updated with the latest news!

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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