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Tapwave Zodiac is now worthy of a purchase


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A commercial GBA emulator? As soon as Nintendo hears of it, they'll come down on it like a ton of bricks I suspect. I know there are "commercial" emus of the NEs etc, but emulating modern day Nintendo hardware, and asking people to pay for it, is a Bad Idea I suspect...

 

Between all the devs, we have a library of about 30 GBA games that we are legally testing. We are also buying used games just to test. (okay yeah, the screenshots were from a long time ago during the interface design, the rom list pictured is just taken from a master GBA list) As a developer of a commercial emulator, I said from the start that I wanted to protect myself legally, and document everything. This means no copying from open source projects, only using legal roms, etc. Yes, it means more than just starting up the game, it also means comparing it side by side to the actual game running on the GBA.

 

Still might not be enough, mate. Ask Lik Sang.

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Little David is taking on Goliath:

 

As seen on Slashdot, Nintendo has recently been awarded a patent for a "Software Implementation of a Handheld Video Game Hardware Platform" and they are now using this to stop Firestorm gbaZ from being released, as they try to retain their handheld gaming monopoly.

 

We believe that the US Patent No 6,672,963 does not apply to Firestorm gbaZ, as the patent clearly covers optimizing an emulator based on detecting a predetermined video game title. Claims 2, 3, 4, and 9, 10, 11, relate to this. In addition, claim 7 and 14 is about compatability with rom images for different types of handheld systems, which can easily be avoided.

 

But because Nintendo obviously does not want to see a competing handheld system being able to play their games, they will no doubt try to sue Crimson Fire regardless if they can win or not, hoping that increasing legal costs will force us to shut down anyway.

 

Because of this, we have decided that we will release the emulator early next week as a free open source project, covered by the GPL license. We will of course provide a compiled version for you to use, but the full source code will also be available. This will provide us further legal protection, as we will not be profiting from it.

 

To all those that have already shown their support for this project and have pre-ordered it, you can

a) request a full refund

b ) exchange it for any other game

c) donate it to Crimson Fire to help our impending legal costs as well as the development costs

 

I hope you all can understand the importance of this decision, and what Crimson Fire might have to endure for standing up to Nintendo.

 

NOTE: For non-programmers out there, source code is basically the list of instructions and data written in a programming language like C, for example, which can then be compiled into a specific machine code format and run on a targeted computing device - in this case, the Zodiac. Open source allows anyone to use, review, augment and/or learn how the program works, for free. Open source often leads to great strides in further development - i.e. the famous MAME project.

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I must admit that i am a bit disappointed by how slowly the EMUs are being ported over to the Zodiac. It has so much potential.

 

There are several working emus for Zodiac. NES, TG16, and Sega Game Gear are the big ones (commercial products). There are also Atari & Commodore computer emus. Several SNES and genesis projects are in the works but I'm unsure about the status of the Neo Geo projects. There is new talk of a Playstation emulator too...though I'll believe that when I see it.

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