Monday, March 8, 2010

Another one bites the dust. Part 1

Well, it hasn't really bitten the dust quite yet. Plus, of course, it's really more like another one un-bites the dust... Still, one could say that when a system comes off our todo list it's list item bites the dust... Come to think of it that might not have been much of a title for this post... Moving on...

The N64 is getting closer and closer to finished. If all continues to go well our fans should see it up and running in the beginning of April. After that we intend to launch the TG-16. We may even have it out by May. So then, what's next you ask? There are several things we are looking at.

Any of the CD systems would be a big winner. The Sega-CD or TG-16 Duo would be great. Playstation goes without saying. Each of these has certain limitations and problems. For the Playstation for instance we haven't found an open-source emulator that we like yet. (If you have a suggestion feel free to make it.) However, there is a more common limitation with these systems.

First, each of the emulators we are looking at requires a BIOS image file from the CD system itself. So, for instance, the Sega-CD requires a BIOS image from an actual Sega-CD system. The TG-16 Duo... well, you get the idea. All of them need a BIOS image. Now this BIOS image is actually copyrighted software just like any of the game software we offer.

So what? Well, that means that for each Sega-CD game we let a customer play we actually have to own a Sega-CD system. If ten Sega-CD games are in play we have to own ten Sega-CD systems, etc. Now, this isn't really a big problem. We will just have to buy enough of them to go around just as we do with the games themselves. It will cost a little more at first, but we would earn that money back over time.

However, we also have to change our file transfer protocol a little. At the moment it is only geared up to dish out one file at a time. Again, this isn't a big deal, it's just something we have to consider. With a small amount of tweaking we could have the server dish out the game image and the BIOS image. In fact, as each game type would use only one BIOS image it would be very easy to pull the right image for each game. We would also have to set the server up to track the number of systems we owned as well as game, but again that's no big deal.

So the BIOS really aren't a problem so much as they are a little more work for me. I don't mind the work so they aren't an issue. There is another issue I have to consider however, and that is the game size. At the top end one of these CD systems can hold around 640 Megs of data. That's a lot to download every time you want to play a game. It's just not realistic.

More soon...

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