OS/2 eZine

16 June 2000

Author: ShyGuy

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SNES9x for OS/2

SNES9X for OS/2 beta

 Marty Amodeo, the creator of MAME for OS/2 and Retrocade for OS/2 is at it again. This time he has ported the popular Super Nintendo emulator SNES9X to OS/2 using Scitech's MGL. (MultiPlatform Graphics Library)

Getting the goods

Browse to the MAME for OS/2 site and go to the downloads section. download the SNES9X zip file and unzip it to its own folder on your hard drive, like c:\snes9x. You will also need the emx runtime and probably the latest Scitech Video Drivers (more on the video later) Once that is done, it's time to get some ROMS!

Nothing is ever simple is it?

Contra 3 Alien Wars Well I downloaded a couple old SNES favorites to my snes9x for OS/2 folder, read the readme and attempted to play. Hmm they're not working. After beating my head against the proverbial wall for awhile I realized that unlike the roms for MAME and Retrocade, it is necessary to unzip the zip files before trying to execute them. But wait, the games still aren't running, time to install the Scitech video drivers for MGL support.

So I upgraded my IBM Gradd S3 Virge drivers to the latest beta drivers from Scitech this got the SNES games working but the Scitech drivers brought along some bugs, most notably an occasional lockup when switching video modes, like when you exit your SNES9X game to go back to your desktop. I was able to fix this by resetting to VGA and reinstalling my IBM Gradd S3 Virge drivers over top of of Scitech, apparently MGL still had the files it needed to run.

Play the games already

The graphics were displaying, the sound was playing, and no more lockups, so now it was time to adjust things a little bit. First off I edited the s9x.cmd, which read " snes9x -TR -r 7 %1 " I changed it to " snes9x -stretchblit -TR -r 7 %1 " the -stretchblit parameter caused it to strech the display over my full screen.
 Even though SNES9X for OS/2 currently doesn't have a GUI, running your games is still fairly easy just drag the desired ROM icon over top of the s9x.cmd icon and this will start your game without having to go to the command prompt. Isn't an object oriented interface wonderful? Contra 3 and Super Mario World work well on my system.

Good Points, Bad Points

Super Punch Out Once I got past a couple little problems SNES9X for OS/2 played pretty well. My K6-2 300 seems plenty fast enough to run the games at full speed, and the only thing bug I have had is an occasional lockup when starting a new game. (I reported the bug and Marty responded with information about the problem. He has given me great tech support) but haven't had the game itself crash yet with this emulator. Only bad points so far are no joystick support and no GUI, but more features are planned in the next release

What's coming next

Mr. Amodeo was kind enough to give me a sneak peek at the next release, It has a GUI, video and sound configuration, configurable keyboard and screen capture support. Other features planned for future releases are joystick support, system-level pausing, and Glide support which can be used to accelerate the rotations and scaling of some sprites. The main use for it, however, would be for pixel interpolation and system state snapshot saving and loading (so you don't have to wait to get to a savepoint in the game.) Sounds good, I can't wait!