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What's New at the CD-i Emulator Home?

>> Monday, September 19, 2011

CDifan added a CDI180/37 picture to the Hardware section of the CD-i Emulator homepage and he added CD-i 180 emulation screenshots here

[Thanks, Cdifan]


Alien Gate plays best with the CD-i mouse, because it was developed on one

>> Sunday, September 18, 2011

The fact that Alien Gate plays so good with the mouse is because it was developed on one, I think the touchpad / gamepad didn't exist yet and SPC certainly didn't have one. They did have a roller ball controller though, which is reportedly the best pointing device for playing Steel Machine.

[Thanks, Cdifan]


One reason why touchpad/gamepad control is often so flakey

These devices don't send simple "left/right/up/down" information but they encode it as relative cursor movements (3 pixels to the left, etc) which the ROMs translate to absolute cursor positions and the game then has to translate back into directions, occasionally having to reposition the cursor to take account of screen boundaries.

These information packets are sent serially at 1200 baud, which gives a polling rate of at most 1200 / 30 = 40 Hz as each packet is three bytes long. That is already slower than the usual frame rate of 50 or 60 Hz and as real-time processing of this information is expensive cpu-wise it is often polled at the frame rate or a whole divisor thereof which adds to the complexity and unresponsiveness. There are ways around this but they are complicated and probably used seldomly (it requires driver call interception at the system level).

[Thanks, Cdifan]


CD-i 180 emulation now possible

>> Saturday, September 17, 2011

For the first time in CD-i Emulator; No pointing device or disc accesses yet, though. Cdifan: "It's running, yeah, but I can't do much with the physical thing. I haven't got a working pointing device (yet) and without that I cannot click "CD-I" to get a disc playing. There's also no serial port. I've thought of ways to remedy both, though. "
Cdifan has posted his 'adventures' with his CD-i 180 set on his blog, here. "Over the last week I have been playing with the CD-i 180 player set. There’s lots to tell about, so this will be a series of blog posts, this being the first installment. The CD-i 180 is the original CD-i player, manufactured jointly by Philips and Sony/Matsushita, and for a score of years it was the development and “reference” player. The newer CD-i 605 player provided a more modern development option but it did not become the “reference” player for quite some years after its introduction."
[Thanks, Cdifan]


A unique gaming experience with the CD-i Mouse

>> Friday, September 16, 2011

Austin made a very interesting about the CD-i Mouse and how you can control CD-i games with it. With CD-i, all controllers, including the peacekeeper gun and the trackball, are compatible with all CD-i titles. I'm impressed to see how accurate controlling CD-i is while playing games like Alien Gate or Tetris. You can't do that on other consoles! Austin: "[After posting the video,] I was expecting it to be trolled pretty well, as a lot of videos are there. Interestingly, it has been getting some positive feedback in relation to the CD-i itself:
"Wow a CD-i related video that didn't talk about how much it failed. Nice."
"Nicely done review. Never knew how good that mouse was."
"that mouse isn't half-bad looking, and i'm impressed by philips's mandate to require all software to be compatible with all peripherals, thanks for this educational review"

[Thanks, Austin]


Whack A Bubble and Thunder in Paradise reviewed by Video Game Critic

>> Sunday, September 11, 2011

Almost a year ago Video Game Critic posted a new CD-i review and yesterday they published another two: Whack A Bubble and Thunder in Paradise are reviewed this time. They say about Whack A Bubble:
"There's enough variety but the controls leave much to be desired. Your paddle moves slowly and the collision detection is unforgiving. The graphics are cheesy but it also has a few interesting elements like a two-player mode, a high score screen and a handy continue bottom."

About Thunder in Paradise they say: "The video quality is excellent, the gun is pretty accurate, the shooting is shallow, replay value is questionable but it is a surprisingly entertaining trip back in time."

[Thanks, Trev (for the tip), Videogamecritic]


CD-i Emulator progress: MPEG decoding, save/restore points, ROM-less emulation

>> Thursday, September 8, 2011

A lot of work has been done on CD-i Emulator in the last month. Cdifan recently posted a very detailed report of his progress, which you can find on his cdibits blog. I've filtered the interesting parts for the blog. Be sure to read the Cdibits blog for the details: It's a tough job to shrink the text into a small size!
Cdifan: "Last January an annoying date-checking bug was found which forced me to release beta2 somewhat earlier than anticipated. After that I did no further work on CD-i Emulator. I resumed CD-i related work in early August. First I spent a few days on Walter Hunt's OS-9 port of gcc, what could be useful for homebrew activities: it's a much more usable C compiler and I intend to use this for ROM-less emulation validation some day.
After that I had another go at the Digital Video cartridge emulation. At the point where I left off last year the major stumbling block was the presumed picture / frame buffering logic of the MPEG video driver. I decided to once again attempt to get "CD-i Full Motion Video Technical Aspects" working. I had previously tried to run this disc on CD-i Emulator, but it always crashed for an unknown reason that I attributed to MPEG device emulation problems. Now that it's fixed some other titles have probably started working but I haven't tested that.
You might think that all of the difficulties are with the MPEG video decoding and that is indeed mostly true. There is currently just one known problem with the MPEG audio decoding: the audio isn't properly attenuated as specified by the driver. This causes little audio distortions at some stream transitions and when buffers run out. During testing, I often have to do the same exact sequence of mouse actions to get a CD-i application to a problem point and this is starting to be annoying. The obvious solution is a full emulation state save/restore feature, which I've given some thought and started implementing. It's nowhere near finished, though. During the MESS collaboration I spent some time investigating the MESS save/restore mechanism. If at all possible I would love to be compatible for CD-i emulation states, but it turns out to be quite hard to do.
I also made some progress on the ROM-less emulation front. First I spent some time reading up on the internals of OS-9 file managers. I need to implement cross-module calling first. It's not really hard in principle, the design has been done but there are a lot of little details to get right. When cross-module calling is working, I have to find some way of integrating it in the user experience. You could always start over without any NVRAM files, but I'd like to have some way of migrating files between the two possible locations without having to run CD-i Emulator with weird options.
I did some work on saving CD-i IFF image files for each emulated video frame. The motivation for this was to bring full-resolution real-time frame saving into the realm of the possible. The data is written out fine, but it's still too slow. That being so, I am not really very motivated to extend the CD-i IFF decoding. So there is still a lot of work to be done, but it's all quite interesting and will provide for some entertaining evenings and weekends in the coming weeks or possibly months."

[Thanks, cdifan, CDIBITS]


Zelda's Adventure - A complete game or a failed project?

>> Saturday, September 3, 2011

Seb has a great story about Zelda's Adventure. He started to rip the music of the game. Now there is barely any music, but Seb decided to take a look anyway. "I haven't ripped the files yet, but I did take a look at the voices too. This proved to be very interesting. There are A LOT (like 30%) of audio clips that I'm sure are not present in the game itself. Now I'm sure some that I have never heard are found in the game by talking to some NPC's again for example, but there are a couple that suggest that there were more features planned for the game and were taken out.

For instance, there are some sound clips of NPC's that get angry at Zelda for striking at them with her wand. You can also hear references to items that I've never found in the game. For instance, Irene gives you the flute in the game, in different audio clips she also offers you a different instrument and says you can only take one and later trade for the other if you want. Speaking of instruments, there is also talk about a trumpet and one NPC asks 20 rupees for it and it's supposed to make something happen somewhere in the world.

There are also references to training sessions with Sir Bazel where Zelda has to strike him as he raises his sword. There is also a training session with the bow with some female NPC. Another training session seems to be held by Shumac in the art of magic. She explains about attack magic, which is stored in a book, and also about defense items, which defend again certain magical attacks. Finally, it seems bosses also had more dialog and dungeons were supposed to be more involved. For instance, you can hear Lort, the boss of the first dungeon, talk more about jewels. In the game he says you took his jewels, but you never do. I believe that initially you had to take them or something. There is a soundclip where he goes counting them.

Overall I thought this was really interesting and it opens up the question, was this really a finished game? Or was this just a failed project due to hardware limitations and quickly fixed into something that is playable? I've always found that the game is really poorly paced. Items seem to be placed at random, dungeons are pretty much always a straight path to the end and there is barely any consistency in the story line and what NPC's say. It gave me the impression of a very sloppy rush job. Hearing the soundclips now, I'm starting to believe that they did have some great ideas on what to do with the game, but that hardware limitations they ran into, destroyed the initial design ideas.

I'll be sure to rip all the soundclips soon, so everyone can listen to them themselves. For now though, I'm curious about what you guys think and believe. What is your opinion of the game in general and do you think it's a complete game? Or do you also think that it's a weak result of destroyed design dreams?"

I think Viridis was set up by a couple of young inexperienced guys, made a plan about about a Zelda game, sent it to Philips. Philips granted them money, and they started to code. I believe in their mind the game got bigger and bigger, and they had to cut it somewhere.

Interesting that at the same day today Briana Dawson posted on Interactive Dreams: "Chris and Lee were total mess-ups. They ran Viridis into the ground. I was there. I remember Randy very well, so damn hard headed. I remember Janet the office manager, Leticia, wow everyone. I remember the nights we spent in the rooms playing Doom beta on the network. But Chris and Lee, lol they spent so much time eating lunches at nice places and blind as to what they really could have been doing with Viridis, instead of thinking employees were embezzling because of a silly budget printout for a game for a Major studio Producer, non CDi, viridis related. Ya..and i never was thanked for being the first to the office at 3am after a Major Quake to secure the place. Those guys were awful and too concerned about their hair and polo sweaters. "

[Thanks, Seb, Briana Dawson. Pictures thanks to Quebec Gamers]


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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