In Re: CD-i and Emulation

CD-i Emulator is the first fully evolving windows compatible emulator project of the Philips CD-i system. Discuss the emulator, compatibility issues, seek help and support to get the program operating and post what you'd like to see in future revisions of the program. CD-i players ROM (BIOS) requests, begging and links will not be tolerated. Otherwise feel free to post your thoughts on this amazing new piece of software.
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In Re: CD-i and Emulation

Post by Capt_Trips » Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:44 pm

First off, let me say thanks and congratulations for all your work and involvement with the CD-i. What products were you involved in developing for the CD-i in its heyday? Do you have a particular interest in emulating those titles first?

Second, my experience with the CD-i is limited to gameplay. I enjoyed very few actual games, especially "Escape from Cyber City" and "Lords of the Rising Sun." My CD-i did not survive a house fire, but my Kirby vacuum did: The Kirby was only barely more expensive. I believe the system, especially my CD-i was under utilized and died before its time.

Last, how compliant/compatable is Phillips 68000-like cpu compared to the Motorolla 68000 in the Sega Genesis? Besides being 6 or 7 kHz faster? Does it have the same instructions? or more?

I enjoy Wii Homebrew, and I believe the Wii is a proper system for official re releases of CD-i titles because of the Input output systems (and the controller.) Call me a dreamer, call me a sucker: I just want to be able to buy one universal console--a machine & not just a toy.

Regarding the Wii, is it powerful enough to run your code? And how easy is it to port a CD-i title to another system? Are they any contractual conflicts in porting CD-i titles to other systems?

I can't do anything with technical data, so I should not ask such questions; But the answers sure are fascinating.

So again, Thanks and Congratulations on the CD-i and your involvement with it.

What was corporate development like? Grandpa says, "When you invent for a pay check you didn't invent anything." I applaud the emulator remaining quasi closed source, Because you did that. And congratulations.

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Post by cdifan » Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:34 pm

I'm glad you're appreciating the work done on CD-i Emulator; it seems to be somewhat out of fashion :?

I was involved in two main types of CD-i products: games and educational/professional titles.

For several games I did some finish-up programming, but it was never really my area; my involvement was usually on the tech support side for these products (video playback, sound mixing, real-time process scheduling, reclaiming system memory, minimizing system calls, etc).
I did more or less the same for "Frog Feast", again :-)

On the educational/professional titles I did most of the CD-i programming for a number of titles, some of which I'm quite proud of for their technical achievements. There are also numerous products for which I performed the tech support role.

I could list some names, but that would be telling...

I did use some of the above titles as principal testcases for CD-i Emulator; in the early phases of emulation it helped a lot to have a good knowledge of the inner workings of the title being emulated, because it would allow informed guesses as to where the problems where when something hung.

Alas, some of "my" titles still don't work, mostly because of the somewhat missing cartridge support (my dev version has a skeleton emulation, but it's not enough yet for these titles).

I could never get the right moves for "Escape from Cyber City" into my fingers, but I like the game. I found the Don Bluth games (Space Ace, Dragons Lair, etc) easier in this regard; essentially the same type of game.

I don't know anything about the Sega Genesis, but I do know the the Philips 68070 CPU is almost a vanilla Motorola 68000, except in a few very dark corners (which the documentation warns against; the system is specified to have "a Motorola 68000 compatible CPU"). It has the same instructions except for a few housekeeping ones.

Regarding the Wii, interesting that you should mention that. Some time ago I've had some talks with a publisher that was interested in porting CD-i Emulator to the several game platforms, including the Wii, but it didn't work out for various reasons. I think the Wii is powerful enough but it would have to be tested to know for sure.

Porting a CD-i title to another system can be very easy or very hard; it depends highly on the technical details of the title. CD-i video hardware does some exotic things that even modern graphics hardware doesn't, but it can all be emulated in software (as I've proved). The video emulation is actually the most cpu-intensive task of the emulation.

There are contractual conflicts; I believe the distribution rights for most CD-i titles are now owned by Infogrames / Atari. I have no idea what their current thoughts are on ports, whether authorized or even unauthorized.

I don't exactly understand what you mean by "corporate development"; I did all of my CD-i development work except CD-i Emulator while being paid for it as a regular employee, and it felt "normal", like any other multimedia software development (of which I've done quite a lot since). It works best when you have a small team and a good customer (which for most of the CD-i titles was Philips); the definition of "good customer" is complex but any software developer will understand.

Regarding "inventing" anything, I don't think any of my CD-i work can be classified as such. It was "just" programming (which is kind of creative, to be sure, but not in the realm that I would call "inventing").

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Post by Capt_Trips » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:49 pm

Wow. Thanks for a very prompt and complete response. I'm sorry I have not read it until just now.

I have one last question.

If one were to approach emulation from the pure hardware side of things, What would it take to make a DVD player Green Book compliant? Or is this just not possible?

Thanks again.

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