New GBA & PSX Emulation Developments for the Dreamcast

 The Dreamcast is an extremely versatile machine – there’s no denying that. As if the commercial developers didn’t push the limits of the console enough, there are many homebrew and emulator developers out there that are trying to squeeze every last ounce of processing power out of the Dreamcast in order to bring more playable games to the Dreamcast’s arsenal.

The latest entries into this movement are gpspDC (a Gameboy Advance emulator) and PSX4All (a new Playstation emulator). Both the GBA and Playstation have had emulation attempts on the Dreamcast before. While the GBA has been quite a challenge for the Dreamcast, the commercially-released and later hacked Bleemcast ran a handful of Playstation games surprisingly well.

As you can see from the video clips provided by dcemu.co.uk (see links above) both emulators run commercial games relatively accurately, but do so very slowly.

This newest GBA emulator can run ROMs up to 32MB in size which is essentially a new record for the Dreamcast (keep in mind the Dreamcast has 16MB of RAM), so it is slowly making progress towards its goal of high compatibility.

While it is slower than Bleemcast!, PSX4All has the potential to surpass the reigning Playstation emulator in a couple areas. First of all, it looks like PSX4All has much better playback of FMV cut-scenes. Bleemcast hardly is able to play videos on any games. Bleemcast also suffers from the lack of game save support (at least for hacked games). So far, PSX4All isn’t able to save to the VMU, but it can save to RAM and hopes to transition the functionality to the VMU down the line.

A couple of years ago, almost any Dreamcast expert would have never thought that decent emulation for these “newer” systems would be possible. But those same people thought that running most any Neo-Geo or Neo-Geo CD game on the Dreamcast would be impossible as well. The very playable Neo4All proved them all wrong. Now just about any older system (except the highly-complex Saturn) seems to be fair game for the Dreamcast.

The only criticism I currently have about the Dreamcast emulation scene is that with all these newer discoveries made in how to efficiently emulate these more difficult systems, I’m a bit disappointed that most developers have given up on making a more accurate and playable SNES and Genesis emulator. While the current emulators are playable for some games, there is still much room for improvement. I personally would want to get these emulators perfected a bit more before moving onto these bigger challenges. Am I the only one that feels this way?

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6 Comments

  1. ThePoetEmrys says:

    You show some ignorance there in your article. You mention three projects by Chui: PSX4ALL, AES4ALL and NEO4ALL yet you come to the conclusion that no one is working on SNES and Genesis. Chui himself has made great progress on SNES4ALL and has almost approached the level of DreamSNES with the idea of leaving it far behind. ON the Genesis side of things, BlackAura has been working on GenPlusDC for the last two years and in the last two months there has been a flurry of progress, as can be seen on the message boards at DCEmulation.com, check it out.

  2. racketboy says:

    I guess I never saw SNES4All.
    I will be checking it out soon — thanks!

    I am aware of GenPlusDC, but probably should take a look at it.

    Maybe I did word things a bit harsh. But it seems like emus like the GBA and PSX ones get all the attention even though they are a ways off of being practical.

    And as much as I love Neo4All, I would be great to see more teamwork and collaboration done on the SNES and Genny projects to push the most out of the Dreamcast.

    Again, I do need to do more research — I was just a bit on a rant today — my appologies 🙂

  3. Rayek says:

    The attention being paid is much similar to the GP2X dev scene, inasmuch as the PSX project will almost never see completion to my satisfaction, yet both everyone oohs and ahs over it, while we still don’t have a competent, fullspeed SNES emulator. It doesn’t bother me, because devs will do what they will and I shouldn’t be telling everyone to focus on what I think is important.

  4. racketboy says:

    ok — I looked up some stuff on DCEmulation.com and I’m still not seeing anything in comments and such that tells me the SNES or Genny emus are much better than they were a couple years ago.

    Think about how quickly Neo4All got off the ground and got VERY playable. Now think about how long SNES and Genny emus have been in developement. There’s a bit of a difference there.

    I mean no disrespect to the developers. I’m a programmer myself (although not that hardcore) so I know what goes into this type of effort. I also realize they devs behind the project have done a great job re-building the projects from scratch. But I just think more could get done if some of the more experienced DC devs worked together to get the important and more practical projects polished.

  5. Anonymous says:

    ThePoetEmrys: calling racketboy ignorant was totally uncalled for. This guy works his ass off for these articles, I think you should show some consideration and a better choice of words.

  6. horsegon1 says:

    whoo hoo psx on dreamcast!