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Important Notice: I have moved to a new domain. This site is no longer being updated. Read more here.

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New Beginnings2020-06-01 15:37:27

byuu.org has been my personal home on the web for the past fifteen years.

Throughout this time, the emulation projects I started in my youth have continued to grow and become more well known. Over time, more and more individuals have contributed to help make these emulators the successes they are today.

Both bsnes and higan have grown beyond my personal projects, and into true preservation of our gaming heritage. As such, they deserve a proper community-driven development process.

Last year, I opened up development of these emulators to GitHub. And this year, I have handed the reins over to a trusted team of developers who now maintain these emulation projects in my stead. Development is open to anyone who wishes to contribute.

You can find the bsnes GitHub project here, and the higan GitHub project here.

The problem is, up until now I have hosted these emulation projects myself on this website. And throughout the years, we've amassed hundreds of thousands of backlinks across the web here. But I cannot see a way to maintain byuu.org as both my personal website, and as home to these emulators.

I accept the responsibility for not separating bsnes and higan from byuu.org sooner, but it's better late than never. As such, I feel the best course of action is to retire this domain, yet due to the existing backlinks, leave it online for as long as I am able to do so.

To this aim, I have registered new domains for pointing at the bsnes and higan emulator projects: they are bsnes.dev and higan.dev. For the immediate future, they point at byuu.org, but once the emulators have their own standalone project sites, I will repoint the links at their new home instead.

What about my personal website?

To help break the association between byuu.org, myself, and bsnes + higan, I have opted to change my online pseudonym after 22 years to Near. If you're willing to help me with this effort, I would be grateful if you could please call me Near going forward.

After months of reflection, I've come to the conclusion that I neither need nor desire an online presence. As such, I've retired my personal-use social media accounts, and now, this website as well. Regrettably, the last few years have not been kind, and a combination of work, RSI, and anxiety have reduced my capacity to work on open source collaborative emulation projects.

And the truth is, I work best alone and always have. I am still an emulator developer at heart and do wish to continue working on emulators in my own personal space. And so to that aim, I have begun development on a fork of higan, which I am calling ares. I have created a new website for this project as well: ares.dev.

ares is still in the early planning stages, but so far has gained PC Engine CD and Nintendo 64 emulation support. I have still not worked out how higan and ares will co-exist together, but I am sure the pieces will come together over time.

In the long-term, until and unless things improve in my life, I do not expect to be as active in developing ares as I have been in developing higan. However, I do appreciate having my own personal fork to work on whenever I am in the mood and have the time. So please feel free to check out ares.dev from time to time if you wish to follow my progress. You can also follow its progress via @ares_emu on Twitter if you prefer.

Thank you all again!

It's been absolutely wonderful and I couldn't have asked for more loyal and supportive fans and colleagues over the years. This isn't a dramatic goodbye: I will still around as always, but going forward, I'll mostly be sticking to just my personal emulator development online.

Thanks for reading; I wish you all the very best!

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Farewell2020-04-10 12:00:00

I'll be taking a leave from the internet for the foreseeable future. I am not sure for how long. I'll still check in from time to time, though.

As I will be inactive, I have indefinitely paused my Patreon account.

Thank you again to everyone for all your support and encouragement over the past 22 years. It's meant the world to me!

Emulator Succession2020-03-20 12:00:00

MerryMage has set up new GitHub organization groups, where future higan and bsnes development will occur. As the byuu emulator is merely an alternative user interface for higan, both of these emulators will be maintained inside the higan repository going forward. As the current sole copyright owner, I have relicensed both emulator projects from "GPLv3 only" to "GPLv3 or later", in order to ensure they remain compatible with future free and open source software code.

I have also handed control of the @higan_emu, @bsnes_emu, and @byuu_emu Twitter accounts to MerryMage and co. They may be used in the future for release announcements.

Tool Succession2020-04-10 12:00:00

amethyst, bass, and beat have been discontinued. amethyst has no replacement, but you might prefer Sublime Text or Visual Studio Code instead. ARM9 has agreed to take over the bass project going forward. Alcaro's Flips is a worthy alternative to beat.

libco is now officially maintained as a Git submodule in the higan-emu project.

Fan Translation2020-04-10 12:00:00

My Bahamut Lagoon fan re-translation project has been canceled.

SNES Preservation Project2020-04-10 12:00:00

The SNES preservation project has been suspended.

As for my complete Super Famicom collection, it is still my intention to provide the boxes and manuals to the Game Preservation Society in Japan if at all possible for proper preservation, but this is entirely dependent upon finding a method of shipping such a large collection internationally, and at this time, neither myself nor the GPS have any ideas on this front.

My collection does not contain a single unreleased game or revision, and I simply do not have the energy to invest 1,500 more hours into providing additional verifications for each game in the library. All the same, maybe one day I will resume the project, but no promises.

In the end, I was able to re-verify 1,200 games.

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Ars Technica article2020-04-01 12:41:55

I've written an article for Ars Technica covering the history of what we were able to accomplish during my time in SNES emulation, as well as the last major piece that remains to be finished. Thanks to Kyle Orland for the amazing opportunity here!

You can read the article here.

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byuu v4 + higan v110 released2020-03-20 08:53:25

This release substantially improves PC Engine emulation, fixing 80% of known issues.

Regretfully, this will be my final release. I will be stepping down, and my emulators will be maintained going forward as a team project. I'll have more to say on this in the near future in a separate post.

Changelog:

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byuu v3 + higan v109 released2020-03-12 19:18:35

I've posted new versions of byuu and higan today.

Changelog:

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byuu v2 + higan v108 + bsnes v115 released2020-03-03 12:06:40

I'm refreshing all of my emulators today, in preparation for scaling back a bit.

byuu v2 brings massive performance improvements, run-ahead and rewind support, and Famicom Disk System + Mega CD emulation.

higan v108 brings various user-interface refinements and emulation accuracy improvements.

bsnes v115 brings bugfixes for several titles and run-ahead improvements.

These will be the last major releases for a while; however I will continue to post hotfixes and improvements to the GitHub repositories. I also welcome any and all pull requests, especially for emulation core bugfixes. Most notably, I would greatly appreciate any assistance in improving my Mega CD emulation, if possible.

Thank you everyone for your continued support!

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byuu v1.4 released2020-02-29 11:01:24

I would like to release new major versions of all three of my emulators in the near future.

To help facilitate this, I've posted a beta build of byuu v1.4 for testing.

This release adds rewind support to all cores, and run-ahead support to all but the GBA and MSX cores.

Testing and bug reporting would be highly appreciated, thank you!

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byuu v1 released2020-02-24 18:03:29

Update: I posted v1.1 to address some rendering issues affecting key Super Nintendo games. Apologies, it will be a touch rocky at the start while I iron out all the kinks in the new renderers. Things should stabilize in the coming months as they did with the bsnes relaunch. Thank you!

I'm excited to release the first official version of my magnum opus software project, byuu version 1.0!

byuu is a multi-system emulator that aims to combine the accuracy of higan with the simplicity and performance of bsnes. Essentially, what bsnes did for higan's SNES emulation, I want byuu to do for all 25 of higan's emulated systems.

byuu currently emulates the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, SG-1000, Master System + Game Gear, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16 + SuperGrafx, MSX + MSX2, Game Boy + Color, Game Boy Advance, WonderSwan + Color, Pocket Challenge V2, and Neo Geo Pocket + Color.

I poured my soul into this, and even for a first release, there has been substantial development. As compared to higan v107, byuu v1 features a brand-new, easy-to-use user interface in the general style of bsnes, that loads traditional game ROM images directly, supports native file dialogs, more than doubles the performance of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis emulation, quadruples the performance of TurboGrafx-16 emulation, and provides a 20% boost to Game Boy Advance emulation. A Ryzen 5 2600 CPU should be able to run any supported system at 150fps or more. As with my other emulators, features like adaptive sync and dynamic rate control come standard.

Future plans for byuu v2+ are ambitious: I hope to add support for rewind, run-ahead, a save state manager, a cheat code editor, frame advance, screenshot capture, and much more. Possibly even a hybrid desktop + couch-mode user interface! I also want to expose my Famicom Disk System, Sega CD, and future PC Engine CD emulation to byuu. Furthermore, I hope to expand byuu beyond my own collection of emulators: specifically, I would like to offer Nintendo DS, Nintendo N64, Sony PlayStation, and Sega Saturn emulation in future releases by relying on other leading emulation projects; although I may need help in achieving those goals.

And now a heartfelt plea: I'm putting everything I have into this project, and my future in the emulation scene depends upon this project's success. Essentially, I'm getting older, and I have too many emulation cores to maintain as just one person. bsnes brought a revival to higan's SNES emulation, and I am hoping that byuu can do the same for higan's other cores.

I am looking for other developers to join on as equal contributors to this project. If this proves highly successful, I'll stick around to guide the project forward. But if not, then I will be looking for a new lead to take over the project. In that case, I would continue to periodically submit patches, time permitting, but would hope for someone else to guide byuu, higan, and bsnes forward. If neither of these two things happen by the end of this year, then my current intention is to regrettably step down from the projects, although I haven't decided on an exact date of when yet. Effectively, I've gone about as far as I could as a sole developer.

Essentially, I am hoping for this project to be what I'm remembered by after I'm gone one day, and so I want it to be as much of a success as possible. I also want these emulation cores to live on beyond me, and not just be tied to me as a person. Already bsnes and higan benefited massively thanks to 15+ years of contributions from well over a hundred volunteers. These emulators are so much more than just me. I hope to accelerate that trend, so that one day I can pass on the torch.

I hate to ask this, but anything you all can do to help promote this project would be greatly appreciated! Getting the word out about it, creating user guides and video tutorials, writing an article about it, posting about it on a forum, adding it to an existing emulation website, ... anything would help. I am hoping that in naming the project eponymously, that I can short-step some of the time-consuming struggle of establishing a new emulator project, but word of mouth is still vital for people to know that this project exists.

Thank you all so much! I hope you'll enjoy this new software as much as I've enjoyed making it.

~ Near

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byuu v0.14 released2020-02-24 07:17:06

The v1 development phase is basically completed. I'm posting a final beta to catch any last-minute critical issues. Please give it a small test run and report any serious issues that would harm the reputation if they shipped in a v1 release. Thank you!

No need to post news about this elsewhere, if all goes well, v1 will be released very soon.

The big news in this WIP is that I've spent time greatly increasing performance of the most demanding cores in byuu:

Every system should run at 150+ fps on a $100 desktop CPU now, although of course your mileage may vary.

There are other niceties such as a native file open dialog, auto-saving of memory, support for save games in the Neo Geo Pocket core, a fix for PAL region detection in the Super Nintendo core, and more.

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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

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. 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 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:

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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:

Neo Geo Pocket screenshot

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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