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Author Topic: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!  (Read 14732 times)

RHDNBot

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Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« on: September 25, 2013, 04:42:52 pm »

Update By: AnS

The recent release of the most powerful NES emulator has brought some new features useful for romhacking.

First, the built-in Hex Editor got a new feature called "Highlight Activity", which helps monitoring memory changes (e.g. when you're comparing two savestates, searching for a certain discrepancy).

Also, remember that annoying quirk of all known NES Debuggers, where you couldn't scroll the disassembly up by whole instruction? That's because 6502 instructions have variable len... ok, forget it.

More importantly, Symbolic Debugging finally works like it should have been working all these years since FCEUXDSP. Basically, you right-click any address and label it with a name. From this point FCEUX will substitute the address with the name everywhere: in disassembly listings, in trace logs, in Hex Editor window caption. This immensely helps reverse-engineering games.

Usually, when beginning a new hacking project, you stumble upon walls of incomprehensible assembly, and you start searching for certain memory addresses which could lead you to the necessary part of the code. Sometimes it's enough to set a breakpoint onto a visual variable (like sprite coordinates/tiles map/etc), but more often you have to dig through the game, documenting data structures (in a text file) and figuring out the code control flow. Well, now you can forget Notepad and use Symbolic Debugging. Even when you barely understand why e.g. this certain code branches over there, right-click the address and call it something semi-definite, like "GotoHereIfVerticalCoord=1F", then keep reading and doing the same to the following lines - soon you'll notice you understand the situation better and better. Because you're actually restoring a part of the source code of the game, without diving deeper than necessary, only looking at things relevant to your current needs.

For more info, see updated docs on FCEUX Debugger here.

Other debugging tools (Trace Logger, PPU Viewer, Code/Data Logger) were also improved in this new version. Read the whole changelog here.

RHDN Project Page

Relevant Link: (http://fceux.com)

Lenophis

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 04:57:12 pm »
If the emulation core of this still hasn't been updated, it's just more bloat and not really any better than it's been the last 4 years.


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Pennywise

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 05:05:02 pm »
This emulator's a hackers dream in my opinion, especially compared to all the other debuggers I've used. I'd prefer a powerful debugger and full set of hacking tools over the better emulators like Nestopia, Higan etc.

Lenophis

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 05:10:17 pm »
The tools are nice, granted. However, I would have a hard time in believing in them if the system they are attached to doesn't function as well as it could...or should. There's just no excuse for not fixing some lingering problems. As the Mythbusters have managed to prove, shit that is shiny is still shit. :p


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AnS

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2013, 06:46:32 pm »
Unfortunately, every single person, who is able to write better emulation core, prefers to write their own emulator from scratch (see puNES, Bizhawk, Nintendulator - those ones are actually more accurate than Nestopia and Higan: http://tasvideos.org/EmulatorResources/NESAccuracyTests.html). That's why it's unlikely that FCEUX emulation core will be rewritten. But if someone would ever consider posting those "lingering problems" in the bugtracker, there would be a chance to see them fixed.

Writing emulation cores and designing tools are two different activities, requiring completely different skillsets. You just can't have both.
A cooperation could solve the problem, but we are all too egoistical to ever listen to each other, especially since no one pays us for the amount of patience necessary for proper communication.
Personally, I would encourage different emulator authors to use the open source code of FCEUX to port the functionality into their own emulators, but I'm afraid the NIH Syndrome is too strong.

So, we have what we can have: different emulators for different purposes. For development and debugging use FCEUX. For testing - use puNES/other emus, and, even better, use flashcarts to test on a real console. Do not ever believe in emulator accuracy, even byuu's production has flaws, e.g. http://board.byuu.org/viewtopic.php?f=16&p=88200

By the way, I would recommend against blindly comparing FCEUX to e.g. ZSNES while Higan/BNES to BSNES. The difference between FCEUX and Nestopia is more like the difference between performance core and accuracy core of BSNES - minor. I've yet to find a game that works on Nestopia and doesn't work on FCEUX. NES hardware emulation is so much simpler than SNES. And compatibility of a NES emulator depends more on mappers it supports; fortunately this is where FCEUX is still leading.


All that said, I'm still sure many NES romhackers will find a lot of use for new features of 2.2.2. Those are not just bells and whistles. I remember I dreamt of something like these while I was actually involved in some romhacking/fantranslation stuff, but all I had was FCEUXD, which made me drop many projects I could have finished having better tools and more motivation.


Lenophis

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2013, 02:50:17 am »
Quote
For development and debugging use FCEUX.
And this is my only response. Here's what I'm talking about:

The left screenshot is of a more accurate emulator, Nestopia. The right screenshot is from FCEUX 2.2.2. I've never used Nintendulator, but I've followed the development of it enough to know it's supposed to be the most accurate emulator in existence for the NES. Chances are, it'll show what Nestopia does on the left.

Having said that, I love the tools. It's something I wish SNES emulators had, badly. The only thing is, I can't trust the results the tools give me if I see stuff like this. I only wish that issues would get fixed, not polished up. I've spent the better part of 6 years cleaning up Squaresoft's code in FF6 to know what is polish, and what is functionality. The tools with this emulator give it so much potential to literally be the best emulator ever.


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AnS

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2013, 11:14:18 am »
Quote
The only thing is, I can't trust the results the tools give me if I see stuff like this.
As I mentioned before, you should never trust an emulator. Even BSNES is not 100% accurate. Some emulators pass more tests than others, but chances are, your code is going to meet some extreme case which isn't properly emulated by those better emulation cores.

For example, Nestopia doesn't emulate bus conflicts, while FCEUX does. Thus if you were to completely trust Nestopia, you'd produce an incompatible code when working with certain mappers. Nah, I won't dive into hardware stuff, because my knowledge on the matter is limited (after all, I'm not an emu author, just an ex-romhacker who learned C++ to improve his tools of choice). But my point is, no single emulator can ensure your code will work on a real console. If you wish to improve the chances, you should test the program on several different emulators. This will give you much higher chances of success than you'd get by using a single best emulator. And I will repeat this statement even if FCEUX gets better core (which would be kinda cool, but not really revolutionary or anything).
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 11:29:12 am by AnS »

Rodimus Primal

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2013, 01:27:53 am »
For NES, I use Nestopia with FCEUX's pallete and I use FCEUX for hacks that won't play on Nestopia for some strange reason (eg. happens if I hard patch a Contra translation but not if soft patched). I also hacked into the language file for Nestopia so that it doesn't display text when loading a ROM.

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 04:51:44 pm »
I love FCEUX, it's such a great complement to Nestopia: UE and with those two you will have all your NES emulation needs covered. My only grip with FCEUX as an emulator is that it squeals like a pig when you turbo (and I don't consider muting that an viable option) and there is no way to throttle the turbo speed to some sort of user defined cap, it's either you go light speed at 2600+ fps or no turboing at all, I'd love to be able to use turbo at more reasonable speeds like 300% or 600% for slow RPG grinding. If those two issues ever get remedied (especially the latter one) I'd consider FCEUX as the definitive NES emulator.

Zynk

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 09:35:20 pm »
I mostly use FCEUX b/c of 8-bit pixels are better displayed unlike VirtuaNES. However, one of my complaints w/ FCEUX is that whenever I lose net connection & turn on/off the router the game slows down & stutters, then if that didn't go away I have to restart my pc.  >:(

Gideon Zhi

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 11:07:26 pm »
Speaking as someone who's just upgraded from XDSP to X, is it just me or does the emulator grind to a stop for about half a second(ish) when I hit the fast forward button? It's really, really distracting.

ckain

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2013, 04:14:25 pm »
Hmm, maybe with this tool I could remove "vanishing weapons" feature from Double Dragon 2. Something that I've dreamt since I was kid that weapons would stay in that game.... Or has someone already made such patch?

KingMike

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2013, 08:34:14 pm »
Speaking as someone who's just upgraded from XDSP to X, is it just me or does the emulator grind to a stop for about half a second(ish) when I hit the fast forward button? It's really, really distracting.
I think it might just be you.
I've never noticed such a delay. (not unless it's this VERY latest version, haven't upgraded yet)
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AnS

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2013, 05:19:38 pm »
Speaking as someone who's just upgraded from XDSP to X, is it just me or does the emulator grind to a stop for about half a second(ish) when I hit the fast forward button? It's really, really distracting.
Sorry I didn't notice the post before.
To get rid of this small delay, uncheck "Mote Turbo" in Config->Sound.


lexluthermiester

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2013, 02:48:36 am »
This emulator's a hackers dream in my opinion, especially compared to all the other debuggers I've used. I'd prefer a powerful debugger and full set of hacking tools over the better emulators like Nestopia, Higan etc.

And in that respect 2.2.2 is a very useful tool for hackers/coders. However, those of us who want to PLAY games and have them look their best, Nestopia offers the best experience, and for one main reason; Bilinear filtering. The other filter methods simply don't look right. FCEUX would be a near perfect emulator if it included that one simple feature. It's deal-breaker for a lot of us....

snarfblam

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2013, 10:44:39 am »
Bilinear filtering

From what I've seen, a lot of people don't care for bilinear filtering, and some loathe it (as far as emulation goes). I think FCEUX uses the graphic card's default interpolation mode, because it does use bilinear filtering for me. I'm personally not a very big fan of it. I prefer Blargg's NTSC filter, but sadly, for some reason, FCEUX crashes when I use it, so for non-hacking purposes, I stick with Nestopia. For hacking, though, FCEUX is indispensable.

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2013, 10:57:58 am »
Yeah, I don't like using plain bilinear filtering anywhere. If this would be purely about optics on a LCD, I'd probably go for something like Retroarch. There's flexible shader support in there. If you download the Windows "Megapack" you get all the cores, which include Nestopia, an FCEU variant, and Quicknes.

Gideon Zhi

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2013, 12:18:55 am »
Sorry I didn't notice the post before.
To get rid of this small delay, uncheck "Mute Turbo" in Config->Sound.

This indeed fixed it, though I can see why it's checked by default. Still, I'd rather put up with the occasional screech (especially since I usually have emulators muted entirely when hacking, which is when I do most of my fastforwarding) than the delay. Cheers!

lexluthermiester

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Re: Utilities: FCEUX 2.2.2 released!
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2013, 08:41:27 pm »
From what I've seen, a lot of people don't care for bilinear filtering, and some loathe it (as far as emulation goes). I think FCEUX uses the graphic card's default interpolation mode, because it does use bilinear filtering for me. I'm personally not a very big fan of it. I prefer Blargg's NTSC filter, but sadly, for some reason, FCEUX crashes when I use it, so for non-hacking purposes, I stick with Nestopia. For hacking, though, FCEUX is indispensable.

Why is that? Everyone I have ever talked to or helped choose and set up an NES emulator prefers Nestopia for said bilinear filtering because it looks "less blocky/pixelated". The cheat code support is better as well. But then again, most of the said audience is only playing games, not hacking or debugging and in that capacity I totally agree; FCEUX seems an invaluable NES hacking/coding app for those who have interest.