Emulation of most, if not all Atari machines has now progressed to being something which is holding it’s own rather well. From the early, slightly stuttering, days of PacifiST back in the mid to late nineties to what is around today, with the likes of Steem and Hatari being the major forces for emulation of STe (in the case of Steem) and a partially emulated Falcon in the case of Hatari (though Hatari also emulates the ST and STe to just about 100%) / this makes both programs a force to be reckoned with.
Emulation of the ST is now not something to look down upon, unlike in earlier years. Even the kings of the Falcon demo scene, Dead Hackers Society, have been spotted using Hatari under emulation on the Mac to develop new stuff for the scene; this was considered by sceners such as themselves to be lame not so many years ago.
Those of us who travel to coding parties in Europe have always felt constrained by the inability to transport ageing hardware. Therefore, we have tended to be reduced to travelling with laptops amongst other gear required for coding parties, most notably a sleeping bag, pillow, enough underwear and socks so that ppl don’t start complaining about bad smells along with some nightwear also.
It is difficult to justify travelling with a laptop as your own means of computer hardware; particularly when having access to a car for transport means that you could, if you wish, bring older hardware with you. I personally have tried to do this certainly for visiting Outline parties in the past but whether this continues I have no clue.
Version 1.3.1, the latest release of Hatari that was released to the public at the time of writing this article, now features some rather intriguing emulation of the Falcon. Whilst I am of the belief that DSP emulation is still at the early stage,it is interesting to see what actually does run under Falcon emulation using Hatari.
For instance, whilst the classic Avena demo, Dementia, does in fact run, it does go out of synch and eventually crashes. This is in no way any fault of the demo or Avena; it runs perfectly well on a stock Falcon. I personally haven’t tested it with the CT60 though will at some point now I have one (yes, I have to fit it as well but there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon that it will happen 😉 )
Through personal observation, possibly more so at the Alternative Party over the last couple of years, whilst it has been good to see the old hardware still being used for development work, I have noticed a general switch to laptop based crossdevelopment, along with emulation to ensure that what is developed works properly, before porting it to the target hardware. I think this is how a lot of the software houses used to operate back in the eighties with the Sinclair Spectrum and Amstrad computers, back in the day, using the now ancient Apple IIe machines for development, before porting the resulting code to the target home computer.
To the present day for a few moments and we have just arrived at Outline 2010. It is interesting, looking around, that while we still have a few stalwarts who insist (and indeed prefer) to bring the real kit with them, but they are few and far between compared to those of us using laptops, whether we have arrived by car or not.
I honestly don’t think that we need to worry about emulation. In a way, it makes us more creative, for example, being able to take a laptop to work & code on it during your own time, whether that be at lunch or while your workproject is compiling, like it is believed how Mr Pink/RG has been known to work at times. Whilst he was the first coder I noticed working in that way, I have noticed others, such as Evl and Baggio, working in what looks like a very similar way.
As this article was in the process of being written, the new version (v1.4) of Hatari was released. From early tests I have carried out just this afternoon, timing in demos seems to be quite a bit better than before. The slower CPU option seems to put paid to the compatibility though; turn that off and things should be OK. That option was already selected on my setup but may not be as standard; it might be something peculiar to my machine’s setup here.