Quantcast

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 25

Thread: Software vs. Hardware Emulation

  1. #1
    Raging in the Streets KnightWarrior's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    California
    Age
    46
    Posts
    3,663
    Rep Power
    34

    Default Software vs. Hardware Emulation

    People like to praise FPGA for 100% Hardware Emulation, I'm Pretty find playing Emulators on my GameCube/Wii, I also don't see any differnts in my eyes

    Experts will find little details what's wrong with Software Emulation

  2. #2
    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    9,164
    Rep Power
    130

    Default

    Just take a look at all of the AT Games versions of the Colecovision, Atari 2600, Intellivision and Genesis. They've all had some horrible glitches of some kind. I have an At Games Colecovision and the thing freezes up when I play Cosmic Avenger.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



  3. #3
    Death Bringer Raging in the Streets Black_Tiger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Vancouver
    Age
    43
    Posts
    4,969
    Rep Power
    113

    Default

    There's no difference, as they're both emulation.

    FPGA devices also start out with terrible emulation and get better over time. This doesn't mean all or bad, just as not all software based emulation are bad.
    Quote Originally Posted by year2kill06
    everyone knows nintendo is far way cooler than sega just face it nintendo has more better games and originals

  4. #4
    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    9,164
    Rep Power
    130

    Default

    Well one is completely software driven and depends on the hardware that is supporting it to be able to keep up with the code. In the case of the Colecovision hardware used by AT Games, it felt like it was struggling to keep up with what should otherwise be really light hardware to emulate. I'm guessing that the hardware AT Games was using was beyond pitiful. The original remake 2600 hardware was using FPGA and was very compatible with old 2600 hardware. It was said that one could attach a cartridge slot to the thing and it would run 2600 carts. The ver. 9 that I got, won't even support official 2600 paddles, so games like Breakout forced you to use their version of a 2600 controller.


    The only part of FPGA that is program related is that it is recreating the real hardware using the same gateway paths of the real chip. So, where there is an "and" gate, the FPGA will have one to, and if their is an "or" gate, so will the FPGA have one. It's pretty much like reverse engineering the original hardware.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



  5. #5
    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    4,166
    Rep Power
    76

    Default

    As far as hype goes: it's pure hype :​P It's only as good as the implementation.

    Hardware implementations do have the big advantage that it's much easier to get all the tight timing stuff right without performance loss (which is where most of the problems happen with reasonably accurate emulators), which is likely where the hype comes from. This is also why modern software emulators for old systems need powerful hardware: there's a lot of overhead just on lining up everything that's being emulated (and a mistake here means that something can break). FPGA implementations can also be made to work with the real peripherals and cartridge coprocessors if they have the appropriate ports/slots.

    On the flipside, software implemenations have it easier in that the state is a lot more maleable. Savestates are less of a pain to implement, and everything that comes with them (e.g. rewinding, or rollback for netgames). Throwing in more filters is easier since it's just shaders in the GPU instead of needing to make room for them in the limited space offered by the FPGA. Doing weird things that disregard timings (again: see rollback) is easier since state is easily maleable. Oh, and let's not forget the obvious fact that they can be run on a PC, alongside whatever else you have on it (e.g. they're easier to record or stream), and also making them a lot more affordable (most software emulators are free, after all!).

    Considering what most people seem to prefer with old games, honestly software emulators is most likely the way to go. Just saying, people seem to have way more interest on trying weird things with the games they used to play as kids than on accuracy. How many people care about accuracy when you can have a 10MB hack with every character ever and PCM audio and extended resolution beyond what the original hardware can do?


    EDIT: I should add, the bigger downside of FPGA emulation is that it's inherently tied to having accurate timings (as reasonably accurate as possible, anyway). Trying to do all that weird stuff I mentioned in the last paragraph is a lot harder to tack onto those without breaking anything than on a software emulator, since breaking the hardware timing means you'd need to also change how the video output is generated, etc. since there's no OS under the hood handling resources for you (as opposed to e.g. simply taking a larger texture and resizing a window).

  6. #6
    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Belgium
    Age
    30
    Posts
    8,633
    Rep Power
    142

    Default

    FPGAs make it a lot easier to reimplement the behavior of the original hardware to perfection, since there's no OS in the way or anything. It doesn't mean that they are that accurate, just that they can be (especially if you drop emulator features like save states, and just focus on reimplementing the hardware).

    Once we reach the 6th gen is where we'll probably see the biggest difference. Software emulation takes a lot of shortcuts for those machines (by necessity), whereas FPGAs, assuming a sufficiently powerful FPGA shows up, could actually focus a lot more on accuracy.

    Either way, they're important from a hardware preservation standpoint, but not really worth it vs software emulation. Ultimately the point is playing the games, and software emulators give you nice features like shaders, netplay, rewind, recording/streaming, etc.

  7. #7
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingRoad Rasher
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Posts
    358
    Rep Power
    12

    Default

    FPGA definitely allows a level of emulation that's missing with software emulation (simply because the processing power as well as complexity to do the same in software). The devil is always in the details though, so don't just assume just because it's FPGA that it's recreating said chips 1:1 on a transistor level or such. Not that it can't be done like that, but potentially it could require a more expensive FPGA (depending on the system it's emulating). Typically, at least from what I've seen with MisTer, is that the behavior is simply implemented on the FPGA core rather than 1:1 translation (though mostly because most chips are not decapped and RE'd) mixed with some accurate CPU cores. But yeah, if the authors put in the effort, then FPGA based emulation is going to be superior. For PCE, it's already surpassing mednafen on MisTer. But like anything emulation wise, most of the stuff is still a WIP for open source FPGA stuffs.

  8. #8
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    1,277
    Rep Power
    54

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    On the flipside, software implemenations have it easier in that the state is a lot more maleable. Savestates are less of a pain to implement, and everything that comes with them (e.g. rewinding, or rollback for netgames). Throwing in more filters is easier since it's just shaders in the GPU instead of needing to make room for them in the limited space offered by the FPGA. Doing weird things that disregard timings (again: see rollback) is easier since state is easily maleable. Oh, and let's not forget the obvious fact that they can be run on a PC, alongside whatever else you have on it (e.g. they're easier to record or stream), and also making them a lot more affordable (most software emulators are free, after all!).

    Considering what most people seem to prefer with old games, honestly software emulators is most likely the way to go. Just saying, people seem to have way more interest on trying weird things with the games they used to play as kids than on accuracy. How many people care about accuracy when you can have a 10MB hack with every character ever and PCM audio and extended resolution beyond what the original hardware can do?
    Adding to this, software emulators are just going to give the average/advanced user a much more customizable experience.

    Want to use the new Sinden Lightgun? Good luck waiting for that to be supported on an FPGA system.

    But I also agree that this is not the best question - it's better to compare specific emulators/FPGAs than to just lump them into groups, since the specifics are what set them apart (there being plenty of bad emulators out there doesn't mean software emulation isn't good in principle).

  9. #9
    Lord of the Obscure Wildside Expert LordGeo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New Jersey... Central Jersey, that is.
    Age
    34
    Posts
    123
    Rep Power
    11

    Default

    Yeah, this is a subject that's sadly become a victim of hype from both actual companies & the general retro gaming public, in general. Ever since the term "FPGA" became a hot topic, it feels as though many people in the community now just want to act like all of the hard work software emulation developers have put in is now pointless, because of the glory that is the FPGA. Analogue, as much as I respect them, have especially been a big reason for this, as all of their FPGA consoles (Super NT, Mega SG, & the upcoming Pocket & Duo) have been advertised as being "not emulation", which is simply untrue from a pure technical perspective but has done nothing but stoke the fire & prompted even more dog piling on software emulation.

    Playmaji's Polymega, though generally being praised my those who have gotten their hands on it (especially during these most recent beta tests before the release next month), has become an unfortunate victim of people's obsession with FPGAs. Yes, the Polymega did originally promise using an FPGA, but what's done is done (& Playmaji has already indicated that a future Famicom module would use an FPGA, likely to allow Disk System support), and what Playmaji have done instead is partner with developers of various emulation programs, especially mednafen & Kega Fusion, in order to make sure that the end product is as accurate to the Polymega's supported consoles as possible. I mean, they literally brought Steve Snake in to develop the first new update to Kega Fusion in literally years (if not an entire decade), which should be a big deal, I feel, but instead all some people say is "They ain't using an FPGA, so who cares?!", which comes off as simply crapping over everything these emulator developers have done.

    Also, as others have mentioned, there are advantages to software emulation that an FPGA aren't currently capable of doing, not to mention the restrictions in what an FPGA can even do (I believe Kevtris has stated that anything 32-bit & higher is still years away from being ready), so I think there's definitely a market for both something like Analogue's FPGA systems & something like the Polymega. After all, one is essentially like getting a Ferrari in that you're getting a top-of-the-line product that's meant to deliver the best (& most accurate) experience possible, while the other is a bit of a Jack of All Trades by offering a one-stop-shop kind of product, one that even supports consoles (PS1, Saturn, 32X, & theoretically more) that Analogue likely isn't going to offer a product for for a good while still, and is even working with the Sinden Lightgun people to offer an experience that you can only do with Analogue by purchasing a DAC & using a CRT/PVM/BVM.

    I just don't get why there has to be so much hostility about this stuff, honestly. We really shouldn't be having a "Software Emulation vs. Hardware Emulation War".

  10. #10
    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    9,164
    Rep Power
    130

    Default

    Itís not so much the emulators, itís the cheap crap hardware some of these companies use to run the emulation on. Even the Turbo Mini has a couple of games that run like ragged dogs.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



  11. #11
    Death Bringer Raging in the Streets Black_Tiger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Vancouver
    Age
    43
    Posts
    4,969
    Rep Power
    113

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    Itís not so much the emulators, itís the cheap crap hardware some of these companies use to run the emulation on. Even the Turbo Mini has a couple of games that run like ragged dogs.
    Same thing happened with Virtual Console on Wii. Most games ran fine, but some were messed up and obviously hadn't been play tested.
    Quote Originally Posted by year2kill06
    everyone knows nintendo is far way cooler than sega just face it nintendo has more better games and originals

  12. #12
    Lord of the Obscure Wildside Expert LordGeo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New Jersey... Central Jersey, that is.
    Age
    34
    Posts
    123
    Rep Power
    11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gamevet View Post
    Itís not so much the emulators, itís the cheap crap hardware some of these companies use to run the emulation on. Even the Turbo Mini has a couple of games that run like ragged dogs.
    That is a factor in the long term, no doubt about that, but I've generally seen much more dismissal of software emulation, in general, because of FPGA over the past few years, regardless of the quality of the emulators themselves. Personally, FPGA has pretty much become the new Rapsberry Pi, or even the MiSTer, in that people talk about so much as the instant go-to response in this kind of conversation that I've kind of stopped caring about it as an option (except for the Analogue Pocket, which I do hope to be able to get when pre-orders open up again).

  13. #13
    End of line.. Hero of Algol gamevet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    9,164
    Rep Power
    130

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LordGeo View Post
    That is a factor in the long term, no doubt about that, but I've generally seen much more dismissal of software emulation, in general, because of FPGA over the past few years, regardless of the quality of the emulators themselves. Personally, FPGA has pretty much become the new Rapsberry Pi, or even the MiSTer, in that people talk about so much as the instant go-to response in this kind of conversation that I've kind of stopped caring about it as an option (except for the Analogue Pocket, which I do hope to be able to get when pre-orders open up again).
    Yes, reputation tends to overshadow reality. Sony's PlayStation Classic used really good hardware, but their choice to use PAL games for the console was bad. People gobbled it up, when the prices plummeted, because it could run a lot of stuff really well.
    A Black Falcon: no, computer games and video games are NOT the same thing. Video games are on consoles, computer games are on PC. The two kinds of games are different, and have significantly different design styles, distribution methods, and game genre selections. Computer gaming and console (video) gaming are NOT the same thing."



  14. #14
    Mega Driven Raging in the Streets cleeg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Outer Space 2
    Age
    41
    Posts
    3,329
    Rep Power
    69

    Default

    I'm surprised input lag hasn't come up yet; do I have it right that hardware emulation has less of it? Anyway, one point I'd like to make about lag is that many people just can't seem to get into emulation because of it but I wonder how big a deal it really is? It always puts me in mind of those audiophile types who claim they can spot different speaker cables, I'd love to rewire their hifis with the cheapest cables while they're out and and ask them in six months' time how they're enjoying their music: They wouldn't notice a thing!

    You could probably swap a given console's internals for an emulation box and get the same results for these extreme lagger types! Not saying it's not an issue, but in real terms, how much of an issue can it actually be, anyone have any experiences? I personally don't notice the difference on any emulation setup I've tried.

  15. #15
    The Future is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingESWAT Veteran Leynos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    1999
    Posts
    5,180
    Rep Power
    65

    Default

    Not that I have great experience with emulators as I practically never do aside from officiale released on digital shops and such. The one time I noticed emulation with severe lag is on the Turbo mini. Only 2 games I nocticed it. Bonks Adventure and Lords of Thunder. I still found Bonk playable but LoT I just can't.

    Life!? ... What console is that on?



    [PSN] Segata-S //[Switch] FC-SW 3892 5228 2895 //[XBL]Dogi99


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •