|This will be the last Pretendo news bit for a long time. Contained within the context of the following, are issues that some Pretendo followers probably do not want me to adress. Unfortunately, my procrastination in doing so just allows me to further delay the inevitable. I'll throw the main point of this update onto the table now. I have a feeling this update will be rather long, so in the event that you don't feel like reading the rest of it, Pretendo is "dead", and I am leaving the NES emulation scene. For those who wish to read on, please allow me to better explain myself, before you jump to erratic conclusions. I am going to be touching on a lot fo points and issues, but first I would like to talk about the history of Pretendo. When I was in the tenth grade, a friend of mine had showed me (the now infamous) NESticle. He explained to me all about emulation, and I simply thought to myself "I need to make one of those!" Pretendo was born. Sort of. It was just a name (that another friend of mine suggested) and a vision. At the time, I had been programming in VB for about one and a half years. Although feasible, I knew that writing a Nintendo emulator in VB would prove to be difficult, and impractical. So I took some time to learn C. The first version of Pretendo was born sometime in the later part of that year. In fact, Pretendo started out merely as a win32 port of Mr. Bero's FCE, which at the time, I recall, was one of the only NES emulators with sources available. Note that at this time, there were hardly any NES emulators for win32. The idea behind this early version, was just to see whether or not I learned enough C/Win32/DirectX nonsense, and apply it to a NES emulator. I am not deeming myself a saint. The first few versions of Pretendo (even publicly available) were based on FCE, and I recall noting that in the readme. Sometime around public version 0.02 I invited PrOxY to work on the project with me, and things started moving nicely. We soon agreed it was time to rewrite the emulator. In June of 1999 (I think) we started the rewrite, which I don't think we would have "finished" as early as we did if it hadn't been for the generous help of the people in #nesdev, especially nyef (of DarcNES fame). I would like to take this time out to thank Alastair for his generous help, and for being a good friend. If you're reading this, lunch was great that day! I would also like to thank Neil Bradley for his tremendous help with anything and everything 6502 related. After the "WIP" release of Pretendo (first public version with new codebase), PrOxY and I kept working very hard to deliver a good NES emulator for win32. I soon noticed that the number of new NES emulators was increasing more rapidly as time went by, which eventually led to a reason as to why Pretendo's status is as it is now. I will discuss that later, though. Sometime in June, I started using BeOS lots more than I used to, and decided to port Pretendo, and I did just that. Later that month. I had experienced an array of personal problems, and decided to leave the "scene" for awhile. I did just that, and watched it slowly become lame, and eventually turn into the mess it currently is right now. In late September, I started a final rewrite of Pretendo, which I probably would not have ever started unless my circumstances were not as they were. I had just started college, and found things very difficult after coming out of a bad depression. Things got to a point where I stopped going to class, or doing much of anything, short of sleeping during the day, and coding at night. I wrote a very solid codebase in about a week, though, and it has been sitting on my hard drive, virtually untouched until recently. That is pretty much the boring story of Pretendo. Now I will explain everything about my leaving the scene, and closing the doors on Pretendo. Take a moment, and visit your favourite emulation site. Find their NES section, and count the emulators. There must be over fifty known NES emulators. Does anyone see a problem here? Each OS has a few good NES emulators to choose from, which is fine. A user needs some selection, so he or she can choose what works for him or her. Fifty is a large number. Too large for any emulation newbie to decide on something. To be honest, I don't care which emulator someone uses, because I know that there are maybe ten or so that are actually worth using. I really think that we don't need anymore new NES emulators, especially worthless ones. Essentially, I am sick of seeing a new, and often worthless NES emulator released nearly every day. I am probably exaggerating, but the number seems to be exponentially increasing. The reasons for which these emulators annoy me are probably silly, but I must share them. My first concern is the lack of knowledge some authors posess. Plain and simple. To write a NES emulator, you need to know, and understand NES architecture to some high degree. Writing an emulator is not a game, nor a popularity contest, nor an excuse to own an overly large ROM collection. It is not about being a 14 year old warez kiddie who wants attention, and it is certainly not a valid excuse to rip sources from varous places, and not credit original authors. Unfortunately, this is what is happening in the NES emulator scene, and it makes me sick. It really is too bad for those of us who actually know what we are doing. I'm sorry if what I'm about to say offends anyone (and you'll see why) but I have to put it out in the open, because all of what is within this text is to explain my decisions. This is not an attempt to flame anyone, but some people just need to get a clue. Two weeks ago, or so, I came home from work, and did my usual roundabout the internet, emulation sites included. I learned that a new NES "emulator" (you'll understand the quotes soon) was released, called HyNES. Now, again, I'm sorry, but this "emulator" nearly embodies all the lameness in the scene. First of all, it's not even an emulator. It's a silly attempt of capturing the attention of innocent emu-fans, like myself. Sorry, but I must expose HyNES in order to further explain myself. So, we have a bunch of 14, 15, and 16 year olds (I don't know exaclty, there's like 32987 people working on this thing) who create a GUI in VB, and decide to release it as a NES emulator beta release, or something like that. I like trying out new NES emulators, so I booted in to windows, and was quite disappointed, and annoyed to find out it was nothing more than a (poorly coded and overly fancy) GUI. Thank you for wasting my time. Being the curious person that I am, I just needed to pay a visit to their site. And this is what I gathered. It's a bunch of adolescents bitching about everyday life (which is okay, becuase I rant too) who seek credibility, and acceptance into the NES scene in having posted to message boards many times, having collected myriads of ROMs (I'm _sure_ you own 3500 carts buddy), having been in the emu scene for X amount of time, and the usual childish humour that we find on most websites. I'm sorry guys, but it is clearly evident that not one of you has any inkling of knowledge or understanding of NES architecture. Please stop wasting everyone's time. Go ahdead and prove me wrong. Learn your NES, and release a real emulator. Moving on, I recently learned that a CyberBry character has ripped a bunch of source code from one of the better NES emulators, nester, and has created a workoff of it, called Famicommunist. Neat name. Nothing wrong with consulting, and/or borrowing sources, I've done it myself. But seriously, if one borrows sources, he or she should make sure to credit the original author(s), and try not to violate liscence argreements, like GPL. This was pretty much what happened in this case. Okay, bottom line here. Emulation is about fun and nostalgia, not creating a lame scene infested with warez kiddies. There are too many lacking NES emulators, and they are spoiling the nostalgia and fun. Essentially, what we have is a thick, cold, grey soup of NES emulators, with just a few that stand out and bring flavour and warmth to our soup. I am sick of soup. Notwithstanding all of that madness, there is even more to the story. Perhaps this had less of an impact on my decision, but I still feel it hold importance, and has aided my decisions. IRC is very counterproductive. Sure it's nice for chatting with the people you enjoy chatting with, or whatever else you use it for, but it is still time wasting, in my case. I'm sure I've probably spent countless hours in #nesdev, but short of meeting a bunch of nice (and helpful) fellows that I actually like to chat with on a regular basis, it's completely ridiculous. I am upset with the way things are run in that channel. This only applies to a select few, but basically, stop trying to run the show, stop thinking you are all that, and stop thinking that everyone else is your bitch. Obviously this channel is not the place to be for discussing NES related jabber, but a place where people (most of whom know their NES very well) can flaunt their sixpack of ego. You (might) know who you are... (Dead_Body: you know who I'm talking about ^_^) it makes me sick. Now I'm sure I could touch on a few more points, but I realised this is become some sort of epic story, so I'll try and wrap things up somewhat. Basically, I currently lack the necessary motivation to be a member of a scene that I dislike. I lack all motivation pertinent to my continuing of Pretendo on a public level, especially after the two or so years I have worked hard with PrOxY on Pretendo and received barely any gratitude. I would now like to take the time out to thank anyone and everyone who has helped us out in any way whatsoever. Thank you to all who have helped me in learning NES architecture. Thanks to all who have extended their knowledge and help, so that I was enable to get certain things working, fix bugs, or embed new ideas into Pretendo. Thank you to all the fans, friends and supporters. It means a lot to me, and I don't want anyone to think that all of this went un-appreciated. I need not name names, as I am pretty sure that these people know exactly who they are. Again, thanks a lot guys. So where do I go from here? Well, here's the deal. I am by no means parting with my NES. I am in the process of building a prototype of a devkit/rom dumper (shout outs to Kevin Horton, he knows what for). Things are going along quite nicely, and I hope to have it working right in a week or two. I will now be devoting most of my free time towards NES development, and reverse engineering, instead of working on things like Pretendo, and nescience. NES development and RE are much more interesting NES related facets to me than emulation. Does this mean Pretendo is completely dead? No. It does not. PrOxY and I will be continuing it on a private level, releasing betas and other suchwhat to friends and family, supporters, people we like, and trust, etc. This means you will not see a new version of Pretendo for download any time soon. If we decide any release to be public, it won't be for a long time. We do not intend to add more broth to the grey soup unless it's for flavour. I'm sorry if that doesn't float anyone's boat. It floats mine, and I'm satisfied with the decision. Wondering if you can help out with Pretendo? Yes, you can. Helping out will do two things. One, it will earn you private beta releases, and two, it will speed up any possible public release. This is the deal. I have about 50 or so publicly available NES ROM images. I have about 75 US, and about 20 or so JPN carts that are waiting to be dumped by myself. I will be testing Pretendo _only_ with the publicly available ROMs, and anything I own, and can therefore dump. You can help out by donating carts for Pretendo's cause. This will earn you beta releases, and a spot in the credits. Note, the more people that help out, the more motivated I will be to continue development of Pretendo. As for nescience (NSF player for BeOS) I will continue developing it on a "when I feel like it" basis. It will still be open sourced, and it will be publicly released. So I guess this is it. I hope that wasn't too boring, but I think I said what I needed to say, and I can now do what I need to do. I can still be contacted via the usual email (firstname.lastname@example.org), ICQ (26295185), IRC (scanty (EfNet)), and AIM. Feel free to drop me a line. As per usual, ROM requests will be ignored ;). Keep the nostalgia, and long live NES!