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byuu v0.10 released2020-02-14 08:39:56

Another beta before a v1 release ...

If folks could please test this and let me know of any serious issues, I'd like to get those addressed before releasing a final v1 release build. Thanks!

Changelog:

Known issues with v0.10:

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byuu v0.8 released2020-02-11 00:03:17

byuu icon

I'm releasing the first official beta for the new byuu emulator today.

This is a new multi-system emulator, which shares emulation cores with higan.

Like higan, byuu is focused on accuracy foremost. Unlike higan, byuu aims to be much more user friendly. Think of byuu as easy mode, and higan as advanced mode, but they are fundamentally the same emulator under the hood. One is not a superset of the other; they are sibling projects.

The goal of byuu is to carry forward the breakout success of bsnes for all of higan's emulation cores, and not just for the SNES alone. bsnes, by being much easier to use, led to a resurgence in support that resulted in several new features, speed optimizations, bug reports, and emulator accuracy improvements. I hope to rekindle the same interest in all 25 of my supported emulation cores with this new emulator.

And frankly, higan's future depends on this project being a success. I am aiming to retire around the end of this year (though it's not set in stone), and I am looking for a new lead developer willing to take over byuu.org, github.com/byuu, and its emulation projects. I would still contribute to the projects on GitHub for as long as I were able to.

I am changing my personal name to Near, and calling my new emulator byuu, for many reasons. You can read the complete rationale here: byuu.org/articles/names. But essentially, these emulators are not only mine: they are the work of dozens of volunteers spanning 15+ years of development. It is perhaps too late, but I wish to separate my personal identity from these projects. I want these emulators to become group projects with multiple developers, and I want them to outlast me if at all possible. With 15+ years and 230,000+ backlinks to byuu.org, I could not see a way to move these emulators to a new domain. And based on it taking 2+ years for higan to become even partially known to the general public, I did not see a viable method of establishing this new emulator in less than a year without using an established name, and the only such name I have at my disposal is byuu. Ideally, I would have kept my emulators on a separate website from day one, but I cannot change the past to correct for this mistake. I mulled over this decision for the past few weeks, and this is the best choice I could come up with. I hope you'll understand. I will also understand if folks continue to call me personally by byuu. I understand it's not easy to change names after 22+ years, and that this will invariably cause some level of confusion. But it can't be helped.

The byuu_san Twitter account, as well as most social media accounts using the name byuu, will be used only for official software development news and updates going forward. Some accounts will be harder than others to migrate, and will take more time and planning.

I have spun off my personal Twitter account and set up a new personal website. Over the coming months, I will be migrating personal content from byuu.org and elsewhere over to my personal website.

I make no secret of the mistakes I've made in the past as byuu (nor will the internet ever let us forget them), and that I'll likely continue to make more mistakes as Near. But for the past two years, I have been doing my best to change and improve myself. I am who I am however, and though I am to be more friendly and cooperative, I won't hide my identity nor unwavering support for my friends. But game preservation transcends politics and ideologies, and I've now separated my work from my personality, so at this point, it is up to you if you want to follow me as Near or not. It's no longer directly tied to byuu.

In any case, byuu is still brand-new, and it is missing several major features including gamepad support, multi-player support, cheat codes, and more. These features will be added in due-time. Sans enhancements like HD mode 7, I am for feature-parity with bsnes, including run-ahead support and much more. The speed is rather limited as well, but I hope to implement scanline renderers and roughly double the performance of each emulator core in the coming year. I am releasing this now for feedback and to try to gauge interest in this new idea of mine.

I hope it will be a success! Thank you everyone!

Planned roadmap:

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New Article: Names2020-02-02 16:28:34

After 22 years of going by byuu, I am changing my name online to Near as of today.

I've written about the rationale here, if you're interested.

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New Emulator: byuu2020-01-31 00:08:04

Okay, so this'll be a large announcement. For now, I'm asking that you keep the news to my own circles and not submit it to news aggregators, please. I want to have something tangible to show people first.

I've started on a new emulator project. Well, specifically a new user interface.

byuu emulator preview

The goal is to share the emulation cores from higan, but create a new UI that focuses on ease-of-use in the same way bsnes does. bsnes was highly successful, and resulted in literally dozens of important bug reports and subsequent fixes to my SNES emulation core, which benefited higan very much as well. Already, bsnes contributions have surpassed higan by ~40% and it has grown to be my predominant project in spite of being only one emulator core.

If higan's other cores are to have a future, they need community support and interest from other developers to help out. There's simply no way I can devote ten years of my life to all 23 other cores in higan the way I have with the SNES core. I'm only one person and no one lives long enough for that. I desperately need help with my Sega CD emulation, for instance, but higan's UI is getting in the way of that.

As I've explained in the past, I want higan to emulate everything possible. Yet every additional edge-case feature higan adds complicates the creation of an easy-to-use UI. Try and create a recursive Tower of Power stack with any other Sega Genesis emulator, for instance. Or try connecting two Super Scopes, a mouse, and another Multitap to a base Multitap in any other SNES emulator. Crazy edge cases? Definitely. Worth preserving? To me, yes.

But for 99% of use cases (just loading and playing a game), it complicates the emulator too much. So I'm creating a new emulator that will exclude the most extreme cases, and in return produce an emulator that's as easy to use as bsnes.

From the start, it will be a standard desktop-style UI, but in the long-term, my hope is to create a hybrid UI that can be used on the desktop with a keyboard and mouse or on a TV with just a gamepad. But perhaps I'm getting too ambitious here.

higan and bsnes development will continue as normal. This will just serve as something of an intermediary between the two. bsnes still needs to exist as a hard-fork emulator, in order to add speed-hacks and enhancements beyond what the original hardware was capable of, things that are contradictory to the goals of higan. I will however likely use this opportunity to renew interest in trying to speed up higan cores without sacrificing accuracy. bsnes has helped me come up with many new tricks for that, which I believe I can apply to the upstream higan emulation projects now.

Of course, a new emulator needs a new name. As per my previous post, I've recently started on my final attempt at a Bahamut Lagoon fan translation. Starting on this project for the first time in 1998 is where my pseudonym byuu originally came from. I kept the name for 22 years since to symbolize its meaning, "(to make a) mistake", as a reminder that no one is perfect, including me, and that we grow from our mistakes. With the looming completion of my final dream from childhood, I've simply outgrown the name.

If you consider higan is named after one of my favorite SNES JRPG protagonists (from Tengai Makyou Zero), and considering the established connection between my name and accuracy, byuu seems the most fitting name I could think of. And I already have the perfect name recognition, domain, logo, and even company registration ready for it to boot!

Of course that leaves open the question of what to call myself. Once the project is launched, I'll start going under my own name. Although you can always keep calling me byuu if you want.

If you'd like to track the progress, I've set up a new Twitter account where I'll post periodic status updates.

Expect a release some time in 2020.

Thanks everyone! Here's hoping byuu will be as much of a success as bsnes was!

Links

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New Project: Bahamut Lagoon2020-01-21 16:59:58

2020 seems like the ideal year. It's time to finish what I started all those years ago.

For now, a brief backstory and explanation. More to come in the near future as the pieces fall into place.

Bahamut Lagoon project page

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New Article: The Edge of Emulation2020-01-20 18:04:53

I've written a new article covering the final significant issue preventing near-perfect emulation of the SNES: exact cycle-timing of the SNES PPUs (video generators.) I've also proposed some potential solutions that are beyond my abilities, so this article is also a call for help.

You can read the article here: The Edge of Emulation

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bsnes v114 released2020-01-08 10:23:58

In celebration of Max completing his testing of the entire SNES library in both bsnes' fast and accurate PPU rendering modes, and all bugs reported now corrected, today I'm releasing bsnes v114.

Unfortunately, I'm no longer able to host binaries here, and so I'm now currently hosting my Windows binaries at byuu.itch.io instead. For webmasters, I would ask that you please link directly to the bsnes page instead: this gives access to other important links, and allows me to repoint download links in the future as needed.

bsnes v114 © byuu

Changelog:

Update

In case you think I'm being paranoid or histrionic about hosting downloads offsite now:

/images/posts/bsnes-v114/warning.png

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New Article: Safe Browsing2020-01-04 15:47:51

I've written up a proper article explanation for my site explaining my reasoning and concerns for removing binary downloads from byuu.org.

You can read the article here: Safe Browsing

The good news is that I've set up several really great alternatives, so binaries are still very easy to obtain via the following services:

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Windows Downloads Removed2019-12-29 11:22:48

Regrettably, I have no choice but to remove Windows binary downloads from my website.

They are being flagged and blocked in spite of being absolutely clean, on the sole basis that they are uncommonly downloaded. Which by definition is going to keep happening every time I release new software.

I've written more on this subject, which you can read here:

Google's Monopoly is Stifling Free Software

But essentially, I believe I need a Windows EV code signing certificate, and I am unable to get one. The BBB has not responded to repeated attempts requesting to register my business with them, which is a pre-requisite for obtaining the certificate. In fact, I don't even know if EV code signing will be enough, Google does not specify how to prevent this warning in the future, but right now it's the only thing I know to try and resolve this issue.

I will try to come up with something, but for the time being, I am afraid that downloads are only available as source code or Cirrus CI buildbot results. I apologize for the inconvenience, but my hands are tied here.

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higan v107 user interface demonstration video2019-12-23 17:41:52

I've posted a YouTube video demonstrating how to use the recent higan v107 release.

Hopefully this will be beneficial for folks who prefer a narrated video demonstration to a text post.

You can view the new video here, thanks!

Update: I've also created a higan v107 changelog page to track the user interface enhancements implemented through the higan v107 line. This won't be something I do for every release, but since the goal is to drive v107 development based on user feedback, it seemed particularly important to have this time around.

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higan v107 released2019-12-21 16:02:42

It has been over two years and *235* WIP releases since higan v106 was released.

And today, finally, I'm posting higan v107 publicly.

There's just no way I'm going to be able to create a full changelog here, but I will summarize the most important parts:

higan v113 - Neo Geo Pocket Color emulation © byuu

Please note that the user interface rewrite is extremely substantial, and I can't stress how absolutely critical it is that you read the user guide before attempting to use this new release.

The truth is, the new user interface is not ready, and without a release to gather feedback, it never will be. The old higan v106 user interface was unable to scale up to the complexity of emulating 25 systems and counting. I spent many months working from the ground up on a brand new paradigm so that I could emulate any system of any complexity using a single unified user interface. I believe a tree view to be the best way of expressing infinite flexibility, but this design is unlike any other emulator out there. And I know very well from experience how much we all (myself included) dislike change.

I believe that it's possible to refine this concept and strike a balance between familiarity and intuitiveness. I am not there yet, but with your help, I believe I can get there. Short of stagnation with v106, this was the only path forward.

If you're willing to give this release a try, I'd welcome your feedback. Please understand that right now, it's very rough around the edges with lots of small bugs and no polish. The v107 line will include many public point-releases as I incorporate feedback and rewrite components to make the emulator easier to use.

If you're not onboard with that, please stick with higan v106 and wait this release cycle out until things are finalized in a future release. Or perhaps skip over higan and check out the newly revived bsnes instead: bsnes is what I'm known best for, solid SNES emulation, in a performant, feature-filled, traditional, easy-to-use package.

As before and as always, higan is my personal research project. I know that it's not for everyone, but if you're like me, then I do hope you'll enjoy this release. It's the culmination of literally thousands of hours of work since v106.

Windows Download
macOS Download
Source Code
User Guide
Feedback

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bsnes v113.1 released2019-12-15 17:16:14

I've posted a quick hotfix release for an issue that was causing save states to sometimes fail to restore the state correctly.

I haven't yet identified why the small change I made in the v112 WIPs caused this issue, but reverting it has of course corrected the issue, so for now, I'm posting v113.1:

Windows Download
macOS Download
Source Code

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SNES Preservation Project Update2019-12-12 09:57:29

I'll be partnering with the Game Preservation Society and lending them my complete 1,450-game Japanese SNES collection for the next 2-3 years to perform the difficult task of scanning and cataloguing all of the game boxes. I will still be handling the game cartridges as I have been before. We are looking for information from anyone with first-hand experience on the best method to go about shipping these games from the United States to Japan safely, so if you have any ideas, please let us know, thank you!

More information is available here.

(side-tangent: apparently Reddit has a setting for whether you want your user profile indexed or not. Seems it's set to false by default. Worth checking if you post there and care about that sort of thing.)

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bsnes v113 released2019-12-11 13:46:24

bsnes v113 has been released. The full changelog is below.

Windows Download
macOS Download
Source Code

bsnes v113 by byuu
bsnes v113 by byuu

bsnes v113 is the seventh in the new line of bsnes releases. At the time of release, all known issues are once again resolved. As always, please report any issues to the bsnes GitHub issue tracker, or feel free to drop me a line on the contact page. Thank you!

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About Page Refresh2019-12-06 15:17:41

I've rewritten my about page to be more of a short auto-biography, rather than two or three sentences. If you're interested in that sort of thing, feel free to take a look, thanks!

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Company Icon and Logo2019-12-05 07:01:48

Here is the official company icon I'll be using:

byuu icon
byuu icon

And here's the official logo:

byuu logo
byuu logo

These were designed courtesy of fracturehill on Twitter, and are inspired by Ange Albertini's bsnes and higan logos.

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Iridescent2019-12-05 07:01:12

I recently purchased a MIDI keyboard and have been learning how to start making music using FL Studio.

Obviously I have a long way to go, but it's impressive that even a total beginner can make something (arguably) listenable after such a short amount of time. I've set up a Bandcamp page for posting songs to. Hopefully with time I'll get better.

If you're interested, I've posted an updated version of my first song, Iridescent, here.

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bsnes v112 released2019-12-05 07:00:45

bsnes v112 was released on October 20th, 2019. The full changelog is below.

Download
Source Code

bsnes v112 by byuu

(reposting due to the CMS update.)

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Announcement: Business Launch2019-12-05 06:59:56

The exciting news is that today I'm announcing my new software development business.

For the 15th anniversary since starting on bsnes, I formed "byuu" as a limited liability company on October 14th, 2019. The name just makes sense given my domain. It took a while to finalize all the paperwork and register everything, hence the announcement delay. But everything's live now.

In the past, I've sold a few commercial licenses to my emulator software as an individual, which was not an ideal way to do things from a legal standpoint. Around March of 2018, I began working on developing more performant emulation, which led to both the revival of bsnes and a failed licensing effort, csnes. As a result of the latter, I am no longer interested in licensing my emulators for cartridge players.

Instead, I want to focus more on individual uses such as game publishers wishing to re-release titles from their back catalogs on modern platforms. I am also open to consulting and contractual work in this capacity, so long as there is 100% respect for software licensing throughout any projects I'm involved with. My rates will be much lower if this work can be open-sourced.

If you're interested, feel free to contact me here, or on one of my social media accounts.

So what does this mean for bsnes and higan? Nothing, really. I've already mostly re-developed byuu.org to be more professional, so nothing will be changing. My software licensing remains the same, and I will not be commercializing any contributed work that I do not own copyrights to. I also do not require a CLA for contributing to bsnes and higan, of course.

This move is really just a way to formalize the unofficial licensing of the past, and an aim to be more professional. I can now create a business bank account, consider hiring in the future, etc. An all-around win.

Also unrelated to this, I've extended the registration of byuu.org for the next ten years, so I won't be going anywhere!

Thank you for reading.

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New image gallery2019-12-05 06:58:53

I've rewritten the old image gallery with a more modern design that supports grouping images into categories.

This time, I'll leave the real-life photography to my Instagram account for now, because I'm not really keen on writing in-browser rotation + zoom + cropping functionality. It is a long-term goal however for my webserver to be 100% self-sustaining, so that I'm not reliant on any third-party websites for anything I do, but I'm not there yet.

Image Gallery

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