A call to arms: a new 3do emulator

4DO & Freedo, we have tried playing some 200 games on them - if you have a question we might be able to help!

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JohnnyDude
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A call to arms: a new 3do emulator

Post by JohnnyDude » Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:21 am

Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum. However, I have a mission...

I'm as disappointed with the fragile nature of the 3do hardware as I am with the available emulator. I would really like to try to get development of another 3do emulator underway, preferably an emulator that is open source.

Please let me know if you have time or resources to spare. I would need a lot of information to even get started. However, I'm determined to at least try to coordinate an effort; I have a lot of spare time on my hands for this winter! I'm going to be very cautious about making promises or getting anyone's hopes up, so I'll make it known that I'm fully aware that this may never get off the ground.

I'll make my non-forum contact information available to people interested in offering some assistence.

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Some current needs...

Post by JohnnyDude » Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:41 am

Off the top of my head, here's a quick list of my immediate needs. You'd be a great help to me if you can help in any of these areas.

1. I need someone familiar with open source
I haven't done an open source project before. I've done several projects on my own and at work, but I don't know how these are typically structured. I think sourceforge is the best resource, but I'd like to get the input from someone with experience on this.

I don't necessarily believe this would be a project in which anybody at all could update the code of the project, but I at least want the source code to be available in case the development dies out. Nothing irritates me more than a stagnating project.

2. I need help choosing a source code repository
Going to need a way for more than just one developer to work on the code. I hear CVS (is this correct) is the top choice on free source code repositories. Again, I've never used it, and I'd like to know if there's something better.

3. I need help gathering and consolidating information on the 3do hardware.
I don't believe there is a good central source for information on all of the 3do hardware. The information needed here has to be incredibly detailed. I imagine that the Freedo team probably has quite a bit of this information. The forums on the Freedo page lead me to understand that they will never reveal the source code, but they may be agreeable to providing information on the 3do hardware that they've accumulated.

4. I need help recruiting
Maybe I'll get a lot of responses from this forum post, but I kind of doubt I'll be able to assemble an entire team immediately. This seemed like the most likely forum for me to find people interested in the longevity of 3do, so I gave it a go. I may need some people to help me do some headhunting.

5. I need someone with experience developing for multiple OS's
Every respectable emulator I know of has cross-platform support. I need someone with some experience on this to provide some direction as to how to structure the project so that it can be deployed to at least windows, linux, and mac. Unfortunately, most of my programming experience comes from work, and I'm a hopeless Microsoft junkie.

6. I need some developers
I'm not sure how many people I might need to help me on the coding. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what kind of experience I'll need out of potential developers until I know more of how to structure the project. Currently, I anticipate that the project will be done in C++. Naturally, anybody with experience writing emulators would be of great benefit. I imagine, also, that someone with experience writing home-brew 3do games would be of help.

Please let me know if you're interested in helping out in these areas

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Slight recruiting progress

Post by JohnnyDude » Fri Nov 16, 2007 5:31 pm

Great news. So far, I've gotten two people interested in helping with development. This makes three total. Although, I'm a privacy nut, so I'm not going to tell you anything about them unless I'm sure it's okay with them.

We undoubtedly still need more help, especially in R&D. Again, please contact me if you have any interest. The 3DO fan community is pretty small, so I would also appreciate any help with getting the word out.

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Post by JohnnyDude » Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:23 am

Well, no news on my recruitment efforts. However, I'm going to update this thread anyway, since the information will be relevant to anybody that's interested in helping.

I'm using C#. I was hoping to do C++. Unfortunately so far I only have one helping me with R&D and the other has offered to help small fragment of coding, so to speed development up I'm taking advantage of the time-saving developement features of C#. Project Mono intends to support version 2.0 of the .NET runtimes eventually, so my cross-platform goals should not be affected.

I'm calling the project 4DO. I've submitted an application for a sourceforge site and it will probably be made available to us next week. As I always reiterate, if you have any interest in helping out, please contact me. R&D is our biggest bottleneck at the moment.

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3DOpen

Post by JohnnyDude » Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:27 am

There was a previous attempt at an open source 3DO emulator about 6 years ago called 3DOpen. Would anybody here have any idea how I could contact the person that attempted this? I've only found one old forum post that shows that his nickname at the time was "invictus".

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Post by Vance » Sun Nov 18, 2007 8:31 am

Well I can't help in the slightest, but I thought I'd ask a couple of questions.

Why not throw in with the FreeDO people? They haven't actually died, just bogged down to the point of near-total inactivity. The emulator is written in C++, in addition to C and Assembly, so it's kind of what you're talking about. Not open source, but oh well.

The problem is that you're talking about another who knows how many years until you're at the point they are now. I think time could be spent more productively getting the existing emulator up to speed on optimization, since the compatibility is pretty impressive for an emulator built on a system that about five people ever owned.

If you're going to go this route, maybe you could ask them for information. An emulator built from the ground up will need resources. Do you have a dev kit or schematics? You'll have to build your program around something.

Another idea is to talk to the sourceforge team working on the Star Control 2 port. It started out being retro-engineered from the 3DO version, so they might know something.

Whoever the 3dopen guy was, the page vanished completely by 2001. That's about 200 years in internet time. No idea if he can be found.

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Post by BryWI » Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:17 pm

Vance wrote:
Why not throw in with the FreeDO people?
For reasons im not about to go into detail here in public, I'd advise against that.

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Post by JohnnyDude » Sun Nov 18, 2007 7:34 pm

Vance wrote:Why not throw in with the FreeDO people?
Well, I've attempted this about 50%. I have been asking the FreeDO members if they have any help to offer. Although, I don't want to simply add to their project, even though it's a decent emulator that has accomplished a huge amount. I have two main reasons for not wanting to just add to their team.

The first is that it is not open source, and as a result, I feel a nagging sensation in the back of my brain that there is a void in the global pool of knowledge regarding the emulation of 3DO. I am very much an advocate of emulating old systems, since otherwise the software for them simply ceases to exist. I imagine that one day we will have a large uber-emulator (like MESS) that will emulate all known systems. This prospect excites me. Unless we have an emulator or freely available source of information that adequately documents the behavior of this system, 3DO games will be simply paperweights as soon as all the hardware is dead and the lack of maintenence on FreeDO drives it into the ground.

The second reason is that I have my suspicions that the FreeDO project is more geared to profit and personal recognition than it is to adhering to my ambitions of saving the system from extinction. The talks of agreements with larger companies to sell ports of 3DO games on other systems strikes me as odd. In my opinion, FreeDO stands on very shaky legal grounds, and the idea that it could be used in a profitable way is irritating to me. I believe most people involved in emulators simply see no profit and essentially no recognition in the real world, and I think that's preferrable and admirable. Clearly, I could be misunderstanding their intentions, but it seems to me that the goals of FreeDO differ from mine.
Vance wrote:Another idea is to talk to the sourceforge team working on the Star Control 2 port.
This is an awesome idea. I will do this immediately! I knew about this project, but didn't think about that. Are there any other projects like this?
Whoever the 3dopen guy was, the page vanished completely by 2001.
Seems that way. I've emailed the webmaster of the site that previously hosted the project's webpage. I imagine I'll never see a response.

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Post by Devin » Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:13 pm

Very cool project JohnnyDude.

If I can be of any assistance just yelp. Maybe a little web space or sub-forum on 3DO Zone... as long as you're well behaved of course :D

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Post by JohnnyDude » Sun Nov 18, 2007 11:06 pm

Devin wrote:If I can be of any assistance just yelp. Maybe a little web space or sub-forum on 3DO Zone... as long as you're well behaved of course
I appreciate the interest! I'll be bothering you shortly. :)

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Post by Vance » Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:10 am

I think the attempts at commercializing FreeDO were a natural step. If you look at the donations page, they've listed everything they've spent money on and what they've received (another good tool to let you know what you might be getting into here) and the result is a claimed -$3,107 balance.

Really, I'd probably go the same route if I thought the legality was open. And hell, if they were that bad they'd be charging people for a non-working pos like that CD-I dude.

Anyway, best of luck on the project.

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Post by JohnnyDude » Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:02 am

I can somewhat sympathize with the choice to commericalize FreeDO. No doubt, there was quite a bit of effort involved. I'm unsure, though, that everyone involved in the product was considering it as a goal. I imagine the actual "tangible" work was done with enthusiasm fueled by the developers' interests in keeping the system alive. I'm also guessing that the development team came to a halt partly in irritation at the use of their hard work. I saw one post from a developer declaring he was finished due being uninterested in involvement with "empty promises". Anyway, I'm not sure where I got the mentality from, but in my technical ways of thinking I consider working on emulation a nearly thankless task that only grants reward in the accomplishment and gratitude of the community.

Come to think of it... ultimately I think this type of service to the gaming community is necessary because interests in profit slowly drag games we once loved away from our grasp. If all currently held intellectual property on the 3DO system were publicly released, I doubt this would a problem for long. I would also doubt that this property really has much value anyway, but it seems to me that a stubborn interest in profit keeps it from happening. Like with the "Ur-Quan Masters" project, I'm sure that the Toys for Bob team were fully aware that they were sacrificing some potential profits by releasing the code. I wish this were done more often.

It's possible I'm simply ignorant on the subject, and I hope I don't seem angry about it. This is just my opinion on it.

But anyway, just to fill you in, there currently is no assumed budget, I have a broken 3DO, hopefully a new one off Ebay in a couple days, and no 3DO development machine. I also only have two people helping out right now, and I'm the only active developer. So all skepticisms are well placed! :P

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Post by Vance » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:40 am

As far as commerical interests go, I don't think anybody has a problem with this. Toys for Bob donated what information they had to the Ur-Quan Masters project, I believe (which would be impossible under Activision, I had to run interview questions past somebody at Activision to be allowed to speak to the TfB guys). But otherwise, looking at trade-in values in anticipation of opening my own store in a couple of weeks, previous generation games are dropping faster than any previous generation at this point, period. Most Xbox games trade in at one whole dollar. That's kind of nuts, this time five years ago I was shelling out decent money for Playstation 1 games.

Hell, I just heard Gamestop is planning on destroying all their Xbox games that are worth two bucks or less. Bye bye old sports titles.

P.S. if I'm skeptical, I'm at least trying to be constructive. I honestly wish you the best of luck, just be aware that your main adversary is going to be momentum. Even the question of developer units... I don't know, maybe you can find a manual with enough effort that would tell you what you need to know.

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Post by JohnnyDude » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:44 pm

I agree with you on the previous generation of consoles. I think it represents an era where graphics carried the interest. 3D in particular, even though it looked like a forest of warped, wobbly, dirty ham slices with fingerpaint all over them in the PSX days. I'm somewhat ashamed of the shallow interests I had around it, although drooling over Star Fox was a blast at the time.

I'm definitely feeling the hurt with the 4DO project here... there's very little interest! I'm lucky with the help I've been given so far, though, which I'm sure has saved me countless aimless hours.

I'm excited for you and your new store, by the way. What's the name of it? By the way, if you happen to acquire any 3DO hardware, I'd be an eager customer.

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Post by NikeX » Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm

Although it is interesting, we should never forget, that there were
people who send in things (for the M2 emulator and stuff) to an old
former project and never got their things back or heard again of the recipients. So, hopefully history won't repeat itself again.

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Post by Vance » Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:38 pm

JohnnyDude wrote:I agree with you on the previous generation of consoles. I think it represents an era where graphics carried the interest. 3D in particular, even though it looked like a forest of warped, wobbly, dirty ham slices with fingerpaint all over them in the PSX days. I'm somewhat ashamed of the shallow interests I had around it, although drooling over Star Fox was a blast at the time.
I'm actually still quite fond of the Playstation for historical reasons, but I won't start lecturing outside of class.
I'm definitely feeling the hurt with the 4DO project here... there's very little interest!
I think the problem isn't lack of interest, rather it's people like me who would otherwise donate a few hours a week but have zero technical capability. Last programming I did was in BASIC on my father's factory computer with an 8" floppy. Yeah... you don't see those anymore.[/quote]
I'm excited for you and your new store, by the way. What's the name of it? By the way, if you happen to acquire any 3DO hardware, I'd be an eager customer.
Thanks! It's called Reflex Gamer, and I actually do occasionally get in 3DO stuff. Nothing major, sadly, but the old store amassed about a dozen controllers of various types and a single game gun (sadly useless on the store's tv, as I had tried it).

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Small update

Post by JohnnyDude » Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:29 pm

Here's a small progress update to hopefully aid in convicing people that this is a serious attempt at the project:

I've been discussing the project and been given quite a bit of good advice from the main person that's assisting me. I imagine he'd be okay with me telling you who he is, but due to possible translation problems, I don't think he understood my question. Anyway, I'll call him Agent Z for conciseness until I'm certain he's okay with it.

I have recieved an offer of help from a friend in real life, bringing the total potential team size to four. Since I'm so cautious to make promises, I'll stress that this isn't to say that four people will always be working on it, but it at least improves the probability of the project staying alive.

The ARM60 datasheet (easily found on google, if you're curious) documents everything necessary to emulate it. Not all components will be this easy to find. If someone happens to have these for any of the obscure components, I would be grateful if you pointed me to them. Things might have to be painstakingly reverse-engineered like I'm sure they were on the FreeDO development.

Agent Z has strongly recommended using C++ instead of C#, since a quick test of the ARM60 emulation in C# proved to be too slow, in his opinion. So, if you're a C++ developer that was daunted by the choice on C#, it's being switched to C++.

Sorry to use this forum as a development journal. I'll be documenting things in the sourceforge page instead when it's available.

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Post by bonefish » Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:14 pm

I've heard programmers talk about if you use the original bios file it makes emulation much easier with less to work backwards from. I would say this is the way to go due to the unknown nature of the hardware and it could be safely deemed dead with an unmarked grave...

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SourceForge page up

Post by JohnnyDude » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:39 pm

SourceForge page is up!

http://sourceforge.net/projects/fourdo/

Hopefully I can just start yammering on in the 4DO forum there instead. Their forum system seems pretty crappy, though.

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Post by JohnnyDude » Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:21 am

It looks like sourceforge offers webspace to its projects. At some point, I could use someone that's interested in web development to take over the website for us. I would prefer a friendlier face than the ad-soaked sourceforge site. If this sounds like fun to anybody, please let me know.

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Post by freedoadmin » Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:33 pm

First of all -- good luck with the project. Should you need any tech info on Opera -- feel free to contact me.

As for the following:
NikeX wrote:Although it is interesting, we should never forget, that there were
people who send in things (for the M2 emulator and stuff) to an old
former project and never got their things back or heard again of the recipients. So, hopefully history won't repeat itself again.
Everyone who sent anything to us (the only thing was sent is M2 spec books) has got everything back, so if i'm missing something -- please update me on freedo forums to prevent the flood

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Post by JohnnyDude » Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:38 pm

Hey everyone. I didn't sleep at all last night, but I did do something fun while I was tinkering around. Keep in mind that this is not actually the emulator, I'm simply reading the file and figuring things out. Check it out:

https://sourceforge.net/project/screens ... _id=210531

Kudos to whoever can correctly guess the game.

I promise not to tease you with misleading screenshots. This was just a nice step in having some visible progress.

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Post by Trev » Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:47 pm

I think the problem isn't lack of interest, rather it's people like me who would otherwise donate a few hours a week but have zero technical capability.
Boy if that doesn't describe me ...

I'll just have to keep supporting in spirit only.

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Post by bonefish » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:43 pm

Alone in the Dark? Keep up the good work!

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Post by JohnnyDude » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:19 pm

bonefish wrote:Alone in the Dark?
Bingo!

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Mild progress

Post by JohnnyDude » Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:46 pm

Hi fellas.

A mild amount of progress on the 3DO emulator. There's a skeleton interface in place, and my friend (code name "hankystyles") has written code to traverse the 3DO file system. We've thrown together a preliminary ISO browser with the even more preliminary CEL viewer. Many of the games include images of size 150kb (or 76 "blocks") that you can view with what's written. Feel free to try it out.

Obscure image for guessing fun!
https://sourceforge.net/project/screens ... ssid=74121

Also, I have uploaded an even more obscure screenshot, to test this 3DO fan base! :D

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Here is a little help

Post by alienfromuranus » Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:54 pm

First the list of all that is inside a 3DO

http://www.pstc.panasonic.com/Epartr/Pa ... Choice.asp

type in FZ-1 and yes you can still get these parts and last but not least

http://www.infinitydev.net/3DO/SDK/

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Post by bonefish » Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:35 pm

That list from panasonic got my hopes up then let me down :( after verifying availability.

DFJA0041ZAKK AC CORD $9.91 $9.91
DFJL0009ZA-0 CONTROLLER $56.67 $56.67 Back-ordered
DFQS3015ZD INSTRUCTION BOOK $5.35 $5.35 Replaces part DFQS3015ZA
Back-ordered
DFSE9004ZA RF CABLE $13.37 $13.37 Back-ordered
DFQS3015ZD INSTRUCTION BOOK $5.35 $5.35 Replaces part IB-FZ10
Back-ordered

2SA1576RT107 TRANSISTOR,SI 0.2W $2.04 $2.04
2SB1132QT100 TRANSISTOR $3.03 $3.03 Back-ordered
2SC4081RT107 TRANSISTOR,SI 0.2W $2.04 $2.04
2SD1302STTA TRANSISTOR,SI 200MH 0.625 $1.66 $1.66 Replaces part 2SD1302
Back-ordered
AN1431T IC, LINEAR $12.70 $12.70
DA58257AM1TS IC $30.17 $30.17 Replaces part DA58257AM2TS
Back-ordered
DA623854PVJ IC, CMOS GATE ARRAYS $14.74 $14.74 Back-ordered
DA8182517JTJ IC, 2M V RAM $53.50 $53.50 Back-ordered
DA86C06020XV IC, 32 BIT MICROPRO $39.63 $39.63 Back-ordered
DA98000KV26V IC, PERIPHERAL MCU $52.51 $52.51 Back-ordered
DECL50000P2W OSCILLATOR $11.61 $11.61 Back-ordered
DECX25048H1U OSCILLATOR $6.21 $6.21 Back-ordered
DEDAP202UT7 DIODE $3.03 $3.03 Back-ordered
DEDDTZ8R2CTT ZENER DIODE $2.69 $2.69 Back-ordered
DEDSFPM52V DIODE $2.38 $2.38 Back-ordered
DFJE18A050AV FLAT CABLE $5.06 $5.06 Back-ordered
DFJF0A003ZAH CONNECTOR $6.24 $6.24 Back-ordered
DFWV03A0018 FIELD EFFECT TRANSISTOR $7.44 $7.44 Back-ordered
DFWV10D0119 CER CAP 1000PF 250V $3.68 $3.68 Back-ordered
DFWV19B0014 THERMISTOR $6.61 $6.61 Back-ordered
EF0EN3385T4 OSCILLATOR $5.39 $5.39 Back-ordered
ELESN3R3JA INDUCTOR $2.36 $2.36
ELESN470KA COIL 47UH $0.90 $0.90
ELEV101KA PEAKING COIL $1.51 $1.51
ENC36402 IC RF MODULATOR $17.24 $17.24 Back-ordered
ERDS2FJ222 RESISTOR $0.95 $0.95 Replaces part ERDS2TJ222
ETB28AD155AC POWER XFORMER $55.73 $55.73 Back-ordered
LMAE0101 OPTICAL PICKUP ASSEMBLY $108.78 $108.78
ERJ3GEYJ561V RESISTOR $0.97 $0.97 Replaces part MCR03PZHJ561
MN1882410FZB IC - CPU CD-ROM DRIVER $40.12 $40.12 Replaces part MN1882410FZA
Back-ordered
MN1882410FZB IC - CPU CD-ROM DRIVER $40.12 $40.12 Back-ordered
MN414270SJ8T IC, 4M D RAM,C $89.64 $89.64 Back-ordered
MN662710RA IC, LOGIC (OTHER) $58.94 $58.94 Back-ordered
MN7A035ADC IC $127.48 $127.48 Back-ordered
MN7A036ADD IC $108.78 $108.78 Back-ordered


DAMN, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 sku is discontinued!!! NOOOOOO! But I guess there is still plenty of hard to find stuff to fix your 3do available. Like the CD-Rom crap. If the stuff really is still around...

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Post by JohnnyDude » Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:17 pm

Hey, thanks for the links.

And gee whiz, we already have the SDK, naturally. What kind of emulator effort do you think we have going here? ;)

Thanks also for the parts list. I happen to have a 3do's in which only the CD rom is broken. This just may fix it!

Isn't anybody going to attempt to guess that last image I posted? :(

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Post by Hound » Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:10 am

Well, it looks like that chick from Star Control 2. Name starts with a T I think. It's probably not her, but I did give it a go. If it is though, that is one heck of an extreme close up.

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