OpenEmu

Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-02 um 22.15.16

Hip hip hurray!

On the 24th of December a new version of OpenEmu was delivered. As you may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of most emulators out there.

OpenEmu is a beautiful emulator which has huge goals, to deliver many different systems in a userfriendly design.

It all looks nice and shiny and in theory everything is breathtakingly user friendly – I absolutly love it.

Only thing is – I hate it!
(Nah, not hate it, but it has IMHO so many minor flaws,  that I am more annoyed/frustrated by it than I am happy with it. And if I really play an old game now and than – I will not fire up OpenEmu).

Points I am annoyed with:

  • it has virtually no instructions or documentation
  • or when, than hard to find
  • it is supposed to work out of the box – but in many case it doesn’t (for me)
  • to install new roms you drag an drop them on the screen, that would be nice if it was smart enough to know all roms, but it doesn’t or I have roms it does not recognize. Than it either does not take them at all, puts it to the wrong emulators, or does not respond. There is (sometimes) NO feedback at all! (You can manually set them – but that does not work every time either)
  • e.g. Last time I tried playing a ColecoVision game, it told me to “drop coleco.rom” on the screen.
    I did that a hundred times, with 50 different downloaded “coleco.rom”s – nothing worked (and no feedback), than I went to the Game Library and found out, that somehow in the directory a COLECO.ROM was placed. The damn thing did not recognise the big lettered rom, but couldn’t replace it either.
    After manually deleting it – everything worked.
  • That is what I mean, it tries to be enormously user friendly, but in doing so, it restricts you so much and gives you so few information that sometimes you just get stuck and shrug “what the heck”…
  • To see the damn log file you need to know the inner workings of a UNIX-ish logging system for a operating systems.
  • Or would you have guessed that to view loging information you must start a program under “utilities/console.app”? If you start that, you can view whatever all other applications have to say also, so you better start filtering the output (upper right textfield, write “OpenEmu”).
  • Directories
    I hate it if programs are not able to keep to their directory. OpenEmu is spreading in different directions. The emulator wherever you installed it, probably in Applications. Than somewhere on your harddrive another directoy Game Library appears (which if you don’t know by yourself, does not have any identifier that it belongs to OpenEmu). Within that directory all your “dropped” roms go [so it might get huge – better not put it into your 256MB SD].
    Than in your user directory (since if you have a multi user setup, each user certainly needs its own directory) there is under: “…/Library/Application Support/OpenEmu” another directory, where the saved states go.
    I can sort of understand for coding and Apple OS guidelines that the saved states go there, but also all the Cores are installed here! (If you ever compile your own cores, be sure to copy them to “…/Library/Application Support/OpenEmu/Cores” otherwise you won’t see them!)
    (I don’t really want to know what the “org.openemu.OEXPCCAgent.Agents” is for…)
  • In the docs on the GitHub “User pages” the required roms for the emulator are listed with checksums. That is a nice way to enable the emulator to identify ROMs. It would be even nicer if we users were not RESTRICTED to have that exact same rom settings as the authors. IF the ROMS were supplied by them, sure it makes sense.
    But knowing that consoles were spread all over the world in different countries, “homebrew” bugfixes are not uncommon and so on… it would be nice if I could also chose my OWN rom set.
    As it is now, I have to hope that my ROM-Dealer in the internet has exactly that ROM-Set which the authors have.
  • I don’t know if “game-roms” are also checked via checksums. If so, it either sucks even worse or I have a hellOfALot different roms than the OpenEmu team. Many MANY (I mean, really MANY) are not recognized by the emulator and I can’t get them to be recognized for the right system either (but they do play in the apropriate parent of the core).
  • I guess only half of my Roms do actually work, and I don’t think its a core fault.
  • Tried a N64 ROM:Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-02 um 23.41.57
    What do you think the problem is? How can I get more information? Is the rom corrupt? Is emulation not good enough? Is the disk full? Don’t I have enough memory?
    Ah – I see – the communication with a utility program went wrong – wait, what utility program? (Btw. I had to KILL OpenEmu after that)
  • I’m tired… and I don’t want to keep on nitpicking… it just annoys me so much, that despite being such a beautiful piece of software it is still virtually unusable.

Anyway, I still look forward to future updates, since it IS shiny, it IS the best looking emulator out there (especially for Mac). But either the emulator MUST get more user friendly and smarter or for gods sake be more OPEN to my own configuration/information needs!

 

Update 9. January 2016

Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-09 um 17.47.14Another of those beautiful features. I tried adding the vectrex rom “moon.bin”.

There is no way I can “bind” it to vectrex!

The only way I can do it is to change the name of the rom to e.g. “moon.vec” – yeah, sure, that is what I will do to all of my roms!
(… and – that is not even documented)

 

 

 

 

In case you are wondering… some time ago I studied the inner workings of OpenEmu a bit. I tried enhancing the vectrex emulation a bit, here a screenshort of my own vectrex core. Not perfect, but better :-). I also implemented one of the bankswitching methods, used by John. Though I never came around making a proper GitHub-Pull request.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-01-09 um 17.45.59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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