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Thread: Blast16: an emulator frontend inspired by Mega Drive

  1. #1
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    Genesis Blast16: Mega Drive Mini emulator frontend for Raspberry Pi

    MAY 27th UPDATE: Blast16 has just been released! Download it here.






    I opened this thread a few months ago, but had to delete it on November because I reached M2's CEO Naoki Horii, to offer the frontend for the Mega Drive Mini. There was no official word that M2 were behind the Mega Drive Mini, but I knew it could only be them, so I found a way to contact them.

    Horii-san was excited to show the menu to Sega (so I had to hide all about Blast16 on Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, here and some other forums), but it took a long time to do it, and Sega finally declined the offer a few weeks ago due to time and human resources constraints (they needed someone in Japan that knew my code from beginning to end, which is reasonable).

    It's been a bit hard, because I started working on this on November 2017, then I offered it to AtGames on May2018, then I switched to M2 (when Sega said AtGames wasn't making the Mega Drive Mini), and it looked the menu was making it to the console, but finally it won't. I only hope the official menu will be cool enough It's also been tough not to tell everyone here that I knew M2 was making the Mega Drive Mini, but that would be eventually unveiled, so it wasn't that important XD

    So now it's time to make Blast16 available for free to anyone who wants to build a custom Mega Drive Mini on a Raspberry Pi. I have a Raspberry Pi image with the menu and Retroarch built with Genesis Plus GX core only. However, before making it available for download, I want to check with Retroarch developers if I can do it (I'm not charging any money for that). Once they confirm if I can, I'll start the open beta.


    KEY FEATURES
    -Play Mega Drive/Genesis (.bin, .smd, .gen, and .md), Sega CD/Mega CD (.chd, .img, .bin + .cue, .iso), Master System (.sms) and Game Gear (.gg) games.
    -Powered by Retroarch and Genesis Plus GX core (read license here).
    -Do everything from the frontend with a controller.
    -Create your favourite games list.
    -Bluetooth controllers support.
    -Multitap support.
    -Delete games from the frontend.
    -Load/delete save states (limited to four slots).

    OTHER FEATURES
    -Background music written by Loop & Pixel.
    -Compatible with MEGAPi caseĎs reset and shutdown scripts.
    -Easily copy all your games from an USB drive on boot.
    -Easy to update.
    -Display boxarts. If a gameís boxart isnít found, a generic one based on the selected logo will be displayed instead.
    -Localization.
    -Select different console logos.
    -Backup and restore system.
    -Exit to command line, reboot and shutdown options.


    Video:


    More info: website and Twitter.
    Last edited by molul; 05-27-2019 at 01:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingWCPO Agent Gryson's Avatar
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    Looks excellent!

  3. #3
    Genesis Knight's Avatar
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    Very cool. What did you write it in, and do you plan on selling it or going open-source?

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    Thanks It's made with the L÷VE framework (http://love2d.org).

    I'd actually like it to be in the Mega Drive mini (I've been trying to reach Sega for a couple of weeks now, no luck so far), but if it's not possible I'll make it available for free, so anyone can have their own Mega Drive mini on a Raspberry pi. Not sure if I'll make the code available yet.

  5. #5
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    I opened this thread a few months ago, but had to delete it on November because I reached M2's CEO Naoki Horii, to offer the frontend for the Mega Drive Mini. There was no official word that M2 were behind the Mega Drive Mini, but I knew it could only be them, so I found a way to contact them and I confirmed it on November.

    Horii-san was excited to show the menu to Sega (so I had to hide all about Blast16 on Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, here and some other forums), but it took a long time to do it, and Sega finally declined the offer a few weeks ago due to time and human resources constraints (they needed someone in Japan that knew my code from beginning to end, which is reasonable).

    It's been a bit hard, because I started working on this on November 2017, then I offered it to AtGames on May2018, then I switched to M2 (when Sega said AtGames wasn't making the Mega Drive Mini), and it looked the menu was making it to the console, but finally it won't. I only hope the official menu will be cool enough It's also been tough not to tell everyone here that I knew M2 was making the Mega Drive Mini, but that would be eventually unveiled, so it wasn't that important XD

    So now it's time to make Blast16 available for free to anyone who wants to build a custom Mega Drive Mini on a Raspberry Pi. I have a Raspberry Pi image with the menu and Retroarch built with Genesis Plus GX core only. However, before making it available for download, I want to check with Retroarch developers if I can do it (I'm not charging any money for that). Once they confirm if I can, I'll start the open beta.

    If anyone knows how to reach Retroarch/Libretro team, please let me know, as I haven't found a way yet XD

  6. #6
    Genesis Knight's Avatar
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    Wow. That is really impressive that your work was considered for an official product. That's something to be proud of. I'm sorry it didn't work out.

  7. #7
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    Thank you. Very kind of you

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    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    RetroArch is open source, there is nothing they can do to stop you from distributing Blast16.

    That said, there are specific rules that you must follow, please read this: https://tldrlegal.com/license/gnu-ge...nse-v3-(gpl-3)

    TL;DR Put your code up on github or such.

    Note that on top of this, Genesis Plus GX adds a non-commercial restriction.

    Here is info on all the licenses related to libretro and its cores: http://docs.libretro.com/development/licenses/
    Last edited by Kamahl; 04-19-2019 at 05:27 PM.
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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    Thanks, Kamahl. I'm a bit confused, as some tell me to publish my source code and some tell me it's not necessary. I'd rather not publish my frontend's code, as I might like to sell a customizable version to some retro console manufacturer in the future (no real plan as of now, but it's an option to monetize this project someday).

  10. #10
    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    It depends on how your launcher works with RetroArch. If your launcher simply has the ability to configure and launch a separately installed retroarch, then you don't need to share your code. In fact, you can even sell your launcher commercially.

    If you touched any of retroarch's code, you need to release all your source code too if your launcher depends on that modified code and you distribute it.

    If you bundle retroarch with your launcher, things get a bit iffy and legally grey. Depending on who you ask your launcher may be considered a derivative work. This is where asking someone from retroarch might be worth it.
    Last edited by Kamahl; 04-20-2019 at 05:18 AM.
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  11. #11
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    If you bundle retroarch with your launcher, things get a bit iffy and legally grey. Depending on who you ask your launcher may be considered a derivative work. This is where asking someone from retroarch might be worth it.
    That's the case, yes. I just downloaded and built Retroarch, then configured it to use Genesis Plus GX and to set the CRT pi shader for scanline effect. When you turn the Raspberry Pi on, my launcher starts, and when you select a game, the launcher closes and Retroarch is launched, loading the selected game (and maybe a save state).

    My current plan is to release a SD card image for Raspberry Pi with the frontend and Retroarch, everything ready to add your games and play. I include Retroarch because there's no official Retroarch build for Raspberry Pi.

    Man, I wish Retroarch website had a simple contact form or email. I'll try to reach the devs through the forum again :-/

  12. #12
    Smith's Minister of War Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    If you can provide evidence that your launcher can work fine without retroarch, i.e. it can launch other emulators if the user wishes, then it is very unlikely a court would consider it a derivative work. You must still follow the rules of the GPL since you are distributing retroarch, you need to be able to provide the source code to retroarch if anyone requests it from you, but you don't have to release your own code.

    Note that I'm not qualified to give legal advice, this is just me talking from experience of dealing with the GPL at work.
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  13. #13
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    Note that I'm not qualified to give legal advice, this is just me talking from experience of dealing with the GPL at work.
    Hehe, thanks very much anyway. It really helps

    I wonder if I can build another emulator for Rasbperry Pi, but maybe providing the frontend binary on a separate download link could prove that it can be launched on a Raspberry Pi without Retroarch (except that you wouldn't be able to play a game when you select it).

    A guy at Reddit just replied to my inquiry. Hope he clears my doubts.

  14. #14
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    Well I seemed to forget to come back after my last post ^_^U I was told that everything was fine with the way I want to publish Blast16, so I started the beta stage, and many cool features have come from the people who have tested it:

    -Bluetooth controllers support.
    -Bluetooth controllers auto-connect system.
    -Settings menu rearranged.
    -New "TV filter" (from Genesis Plus GX) option in Settings-General.
    -New "Delete games" option in Settings-Tools.
    -New backup and restore system.
    -You can copy all your games from a pendrive. Just plug it to your Raspberry Pi and boot it.
    -New update system (from USB and on boot as well).

    Here's a video with the new features:


    Release is getting closer!

  15. #15
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingWildside Expert molul's Avatar
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    Well, the day arrived, and Blast16 has just been released! You can download it here.

    I started a public beta during May, and many new functionalities were added. Here are the current features:

    -Play Mega Drive/Genesis (.bin, .smd, .gen, and .md), Sega CD/Mega CD (.chd, .img, .bin + .cue, .iso), Master System (.sms) and Game Gear (.gg) games.
    -Powered by Retroarch and Genesis Plus GX core.
    -Do everything from the frontend with a controller.
    -Create your favourite games list.
    -Bluetooth controllers support.
    -Multitap support.
    -Delete games from the frontend.
    -Load/delete save states (limited to four slots).Background music written by Loop & Pixel.
    -Compatible with MEGAPi caseĎs reset and shutdown scripts.
    -Easily copy all your games from an USB drive on boot.
    -Easy to update.
    -Display boxarts. If a gameís boxart isnít found, a generic one based on the selected logo will be displayed instead.
    -Localization.
    -Select different console logos.
    -Backup and restore system.
    -Exit to command line, reboot and shutdown options.

    I know it's not very elegant to say, but I'm really proud of the final result I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed developing it!

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