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Emulator article

#21Omegachaos87Posted 12/9/2013 11:45:39 PM
Emulation isn't just about hardware, but has a lot to do with the architecture of the hardware. Both PS4 and the Xbone are x86 based architecture, which is what PCs use. PS3 uses a cell processor, which is a nightmare for anyone trying to code a PS3 emulator. I was told that in order to "brute force" emulate a cell processor, you'd need a PC at least 20x more powerful. So we're basically going to have to wait for the first gen of Quantum CPUs before there is any chance at emulating a PS3.

Another example comes to mind, PCSX2 is more demanding than Dolphin at least for GC games, even though the GC is technically a more powerful system. And most Wii games can be run with comparable hardware as is required to run most PS2 games. Required specs for Wii games on Dolphin vary greatly. A game like Muramasa can run on incredibly low specs, even a 2.2ghz dual core laptop, whereas a game like Xenoblade or Last story would be unplayable.
#22Relentless639Posted 12/10/2013 3:56:55 AM
1337toothbrush posted...
Loshadt posted...
daemon_dan posted...
The small crew that were interested in it lost interest after figuring out it was ridiculously hard to do


That only reinforces my point.


To be fair, the payback for emulating/virtualizing the original Xbox is just a few exclusives.


Again, reinforcing his point.

I really don't care that much outside a few exclusives. These last consoles are meh anyways. I am much eager to get a 3DS emulator and hoping PS2, PSP, DS, GC/Wii emulators get even better accuracy and optimization.
#23-CJF-Posted 12/10/2013 4:20:42 AM
Unfortunately many people share your opinion on Xbox emulation. A lot of people feel that the majority of games for the original Xbox are available as ports on the PC. However, emulation is more about preservation than anything else. As consoles get more and more complex, the failure rate of the hardware increases. Add to this issues such as disc and bit rot and generally poor care of systems and hardware, it's sometimes hard to imagine if consoles such as the original Xbox will be available far into the future.
#24viserdesPosted 12/10/2013 5:10:34 AM
Requiem posted...
Considering that most AAA titles on consoles will be ported to PC anyways...


This.
#25Game-XpertPosted 12/10/2013 5:20:37 AM
viserdes posted...
Requiem posted...
Considering that most AAA titles on consoles will be ported to PC anyways...


This.


Not unless its some exclusive like The Last of Us.
#26Kerr AvonPosted 12/10/2013 7:22:07 AM(edited)
Loshadt posted...
daemon_dan posted...
There's no working Xbox emulator still, and it used PC architecture. So you tell me, is it easier?


If you ask me I don't think anyone really cared enough to make an Xbox emulator.


No, there have been multiple attempts, but none ever really got anywhere (eighteen are listed at http://ngemu.com/threads/overview-of-xbox1-chihiro-emulators.155472/ , though that probably includes emulators that were never more than vapourware and wishful thinking.)

It is true though that there's less 'need' for an XBox emulator than for say a PS2 or Gamecube emulator, as though the XBox has a lot of superb games, most of them are either also on the PC, or/and on the PS2 or Gamecube. The XBox does have some first class exclusives (I'd cite Unreal Championship 2, and Breakdown as being two games that any real FPS fan should play), but overall the quality and/or number of exclusives on the PS2 or Gamecube does beat the XBox, and I say that as a real Xbox fan.




daemon_dan posted...
luigi33 posted...
PS4/X1 theoretically should be FAR easier to 'emulate' than PS3/360 since PC and the next gen consoles use the same Architecture. Can't you just bypass the harder parts of emulation and simply run games from the its' native OS?


There's no working Xbox emulator still, and it used PC architecture. So you tell me, is it easier?


There's a very good explanation at

http://ngemu.com/threads/why-is-xbox-emulation-premature.132032/

as to why the XBox is difficult to emulate. I'll copy and paste it here - everything that follows is from that page;




"Xbox is just like a PC, it's easy to emulate!"

Yes, we've all heard this silly and pointless argument a million times and it usually ends in the same, and rather ignorant conclusion (or should I say assumption) that just because the Xbox is PC similar, it's hardware should be relatively easy to emulate. That's a very wrong frame of mind. How hard can it be? Very. Xbox's hardware is very complex and still poorly documented to this day. This requires some explanation.

1. Is a PC easy to emulate? Well, I wouldn't say so myself. Take a look at the source code from bochs. A lot of source code/work isn't it?

2. Emulating an x86 CPU is a lot harder than it sounds. I don't know where this mindless assumption comes from. Yes, there's loads of documentation on how the x86 processor works, but that doesn't exactly make it easy. First of all, the x86 instruction set is M-A-S-S-I-V-E! There can be at least 20 different versions of one instruction (i.e. There are many different versions of the MOV instruction, as well as INC, DEC, ADD, SUB, SHR, SHL, AND, OR, XOR etc.) and it takes time to implement them all. Of course, that's not exactly difficult. The real problem is that any modern x86 processor including the Pentium III can execute multiple instructions at once. So it's not like emulating a Z80 doing one instruction at a time. The actual algorithm and how x86 does this is undocumented and still unknown. In short, the Xbox's CPU can be emulated, but not accurately.


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I'm a PC and console gamer - I love good games, regardless of their host system.
For all things N64: http://z9.invisionfree.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/
#27Kerr AvonPosted 12/10/2013 7:16:58 AM(edited)
[Continued from last post]


3. Emulating any hardware by NVIDIA is not a walk in the park! The Xbox's GPU, the NV2A is often assumed just a GeForce 3. It's not! It's similar but not identical. It has some GeForce 4 capabilities too, so it's more of a cross between an NV20 and NV25. This is by no means easy to emulate either. NVIDIA's GPUs have very large register sets and afaik not even half of them have been discovered, and a large portion of known registers have unknown purposes. There is little to no documentation on how NVIDIA GPUs work. The best thing to do is to look at similar GPUs such as RIVA, TNT, and older GeForce cards. Some registers are similar, but not identical. The best place to look for information is in open source drivers available on the net. Adding to the dificulty is that no one has ever discovered how pixel shaders work on NV2x cards, vertex shaders yes though. The Xbox GPU also has exclusive registers that are not found in other GeForce cards. Information on the NV2A's GPU registers are just now beginning to be discovered a few months ago. And yet, there's still a long way to go. The GeForce 3 series is the most mysterious of all NVIDIA GPUs (G7x and G8x aside) and the NV2A is alot worse. "But can't you just directly execute the NV2A instructions on another NVIDIA card?". No, I get alot of questions concerning this, and it is impossible. It's MMIO addresses are different and the exclusive registers must be emulated. Plus, in windows, we don't have ring 0 access anyway, so you all can scratch that idea now. Then comes the NForce 2 chipset. This is where it get easier. The NVIDIA MCPX is the control center for things such as audio, USB for input, Network adapters, PCI, AGP, etc. These things are not really that difficult to emulate IMO except for the audio.

4. The Audio system is rather complex. Xbox's audio consists of at least 4 DSPs, and audio codec (AC '97) and an NVIDIA SoundStorm APU. The DSPs shouldn't be a problem (just figuring out what they all are is) nor should the AC '97 but the NVIDIA SoundStorm APU is the really difficult part. So far I haven't found any information on this thing, but right now, it's relevance is low.

5. The Xbox BIOS isn't fully understood. The basic execution process of the BIOS is understood, but details on the process are at a loss. What we do know gives us hints, but before the BIOS can be emulated, we'll need a better understanding of the Xbox hardware layout because the BIOS does some unknown hardware initialization at boot time and writes to the hardware directly without using any XDK stuff. It will take some time, and effort, but I'll eventually get it working.

6. Video Encoder "Hell". Instead of using a RAMDAC for video output, the Xbox uses a Video Encoder. What makes this suck a pain? Microsoft sought the need to change the video encoder every other Xbox version (there are seven in all, 1.0 - 1.6). Why, I dunno, it's a Microsoft thing, they always tend to try to "fix" things that aren't broken >.> AFAIK, there are at least 3 different Video Encoders used: Conexant CX25871, Focus FS454, and Xcalibur. For more information in Xbox video encoders, click here. Emulating all three video encoders is only less than half the battle, the real problem is that BIOSes can be specifically tied to a specific encoder depending on it's version (don't quote me on this though). Like PS2, every Xbox model revision has a updated BIOS and has different expectations. This is a potential problem, but not exactly major.

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[Continued in next post]
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I'm a PC and console gamer - I love good games, regardless of their host system.
For all things N64: http://z9.invisionfree.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/
#28Kerr AvonPosted 12/10/2013 7:17:46 AM
[Continued from last post]

Basically, I'm trying to get this "Xbox should be easy to emulate because it's just like a PC" crap out of your heads. I'm sure that most of you will disagree with me on this, but for these reasons and more, on a low level, Xbox is harder to emulate than PS2.

^ The exception to that above is that the NV2A is much better documented now, but not fully. There's an open source library for the OpenXDK called pbKit. It interfaces directly with the hardware to fully expose it's potential. This is what Microsoft should have done all along (or at least wrote a low-level OpenGL implementation)

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I'm a PC and console gamer - I love good games, regardless of their host system.
For all things N64: http://z9.invisionfree.com/Nintendo_64_Forever/
#29Fade2black001Posted 12/10/2013 7:18:01 AM
As I said the guy is an idiot
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We're Americans! We don't quit just because we're wrong.
We just keep doing the wrong thing until it turns out right.
#30Hi CPosted 12/10/2013 7:23:11 AM
"Microsoft sought the need to change the video encoder every other Xbox version (there are seven in all, 1.0 - 1.6).

This is so Microsoft.
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You'll be my John G.