Old Mac Emulation
Posted By: Durandal_1707Date: 3/1/21 4:29 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox Video (VikingBoyBilly)

: Let me try and give a perspective from the other side of the fence. It wasn't
: as great as you think; at least, it didn't feel that way at the time. Only
: in hindsight do I fully appreciate how special Mac OS 9 and below were in
: the 20th century. The problem was that it was the 20th century.

: This might be a foreign concept for the younger babies of the new millenium
: to grasp, but back in the 90s, we didn't have much to do, and web 2.0
: wasn't realized yet (this forum is a living fossil of early web 2.0), and
: emulation of different environments was very young and virtually
: unplayable. I had a feeling of FOMO because it looked like a majority of
: state-of-the-art games were heavily focused on windows and there was a
: stigma about macs being no good for gaming. I think part of this stigma
: came from most school computer labs being filled with macs for some
: reason, and of course you wouldn't see games like Marathon in the school
: mac lab unless the staff were incompetent and there were some smart,
: sneaky kids. The TL;DR was there were a lot of edu-tainment games that are
: mostly forgotten now, but I can say they were more fun than the CD-i and
: Mario's handful of attempts at teaching typing and making you do homework.

: The Mac versions of Prince of Persia and Lemmings and Odell Down Under are
: the way I remember them, and seeing the DOS variants (and hearing the
: General MIDI) feels weird to me. It was a lot like the SNES vs SEGA
: situation; one was legitimately better hardware in almost every way, but
: the other had BLAST PROCESSING, and despite all our obsessing over
: realistic graphics, you need a good processor to play an action-focused
: game and enjoy it. It took some years into the second half of the 90s to
: get some mac ports of Quake, Descent, and whatever else you want to name,
: but before then, the iconic game that came from Mac's exclusive library
: was Myst (and the other broderbund/cyan games nobody talks about like
: spelunx, riven, cosmic osmo, and the manhole, which I played a lot more of
: because I couldn't get anywhere in Myst). And it capitalized on Mac's
: strengths and weaknesses: an Extremely good looking adventure game that
: didn't even attempt to pretend to have fast-action gameplay. In the
: Microsoft corner, on the opposite end of the spectrum, was Doom.

: I think Marathon and Pathways into darkness did a good job at finding a
: balance between those extremes, and you all already played them so I won't
: explain how they do it.

: Once upon a time, my dad got a new G3 and a ZIP drive, and they had a few
: games on them; two of these were demos of Marathon and Pathways into
: Darkness.

: And having been exposed to them at a time "before they were cool"
: (right around the summer of '95 when I begged dad to buy this new game
: called Earthbound), I can agree that "ahead of their time" is an
: apt description. I mean that in a good way, but also, I was too young for
: these games. I would spend a lot of time wandering around and getting
: lost, and for some reason that fabled "15 aliens" closing screen
: never got me to beg my dad to buy it, and it wasn't because of the $70
: price tag because I had no concept of dollar value back then.

: It's not that I didn't like it; I would spend many bored afternoons wandering
: around the vents in Arrival and my cousin would attempt to scare me to
: break my concentration by immitating the aliens' sounds or repeating
: "they're everywhere." Did you know there was a BOB on arrival? I
: remember that and I was so confused that I didn't see any of them until
: The Rose when I finally got the full version. It might sound stupid now,
: but it was hard for me to figure out how to finish those levels. A major
: roadblock was that platform bridge thing on Blaspheme Quarantine, which
: they made Map 3 for some reason because I guess they wanted Durandal to
: make an appearance, but that was a huge difficulty spike. I think I
: finished it eventually, and I think the ending was just the same
: "order the full version" screen. PID's demo was another beast
: that took me until, humorously, 2012 I think.

: Several years later in highschool, I was at a friend's house playing halo,
: and he pointed at this mi=agnifying-glass-looking symbol and say
: "that's a marathon thing," and I was like "oh, Marathon. I
: remember that." The next weekend I let him play that marathon demo
: and he didn't seem impressed by it.

: Years later Aleph One would come out and I'd get to play it for free, and
: dosbox existed so I could play a lot of the dos games I missed out on. And
: Man, Marathon was way more than I was expecting, and I can confidently say
: I needed time and adult-level intelligence to appreciate the narrative
: (and 5-D space) bungie crafted in it.

: So it was ahead of its time (as was Earthbound), but there's a happy twist;
: it's getting better with age. And as much as I'd want to be an purism
: elitist and rant at all the newbies about how it was in the old days, I
: really think aleph one making it more accessible and attracting new fans
: is a good thing.

: And DOSBOX introduced me to stuff like Commander Keen! But the mac os 9
: emulators aren't as on-the-money as dosbox, understandably because the
: environment is a lot different from DOS, and while you can play the games
: archived on macintosh garden on basilisk II or sheepshaver, it has
: problems. More than I even know about, but one that I think I can wrap my
: finger around is the sound. The quicktime midi player had a neat feature
: of letting the software have their own samples for each instrument, but it
: doesn't really work well on the emulators. There is a noticeable
: difference between the .oggs on aleph one and how you hear the midis
: playing marathon in sheepshaver. It just doesn't sound the way it's
: supposed to. Lemmings, confusingly, will have music playing in some levels
: and not others, and hexen fails to play any tracks at all. A guy trying to
: recreate a hexen soundfont based on the mac music is having a lot of
: trouble working with those sample files and recreating them. I really wish
: the classic OS environment and its games could be perfectly preserved, but
: apple doesn't seem to want to support their legacy content and are pushing
: for new technology (and to empty our wallets). Fun fact: I took my old,
: dead CRT imac to a FIRST robotics group hoping one of the mentors and I
: could fix it, but they ended up throwing it away thinking it was garbage,
: so apple is doing a good job pushing this mindset on the populace.

: So in TL;DR, I appreciate the immense amount of love and work that went into
: making aleph one, and the PID OS X port. There was another game called
: realmz that got ported to OS X, but I never got the .mod music to work on
: it and now it won't start at all thanks to outdated X11 and I don't think
: the author is going to update it. So this, and a lot of other games, are
: lost to time for the time being.

: Thank you for putting up with my long ramblings, and now I need to go to bed.

I'm pretty sure the reason Basilisk and SheepShaver both suck in that way is that neither are full emulators; they both do a lot of "cheating" under the hood for better performance, and a lot of those "cheats" are actually common between the two (Basilisk and SheepShaver are largely based on the same code, and the last time I tried to build SheepShaver, you had to have Basilisk's source in the same directory in order for it to build). In particular, it has its own reimplementation of the Time Manager, which I'm fairly convinced is part of the problem that a lot of the sync issues you tend to get with music in old Mac games. The result is that it's a bit of a Frankenstein's Monster; part of it is running emulated code on emulated hardware, part of it is running native code to try to simulate what the emulated code would do, and hoping the timings will line up.

If you ever look at Mini vMac, which uses the opposite approach and just does a cycle-exact emulation of the original Mac 128k/512k/Plus hardware, running almost all of the original Mac OS code pretty much as is, it's pretty much spot on. Unfortunately, Mini vMac still pretty much has the early black-and-white stuff fully implemented, though. MESS also has a pretty faithful 68020 emulator for the early color stuff (it can, for instance, get the music right in Prince of Persia 2, which Basilisk and/or SS definitely can't do), although its interface is a bit of a... mess.

There is one thing that seems promising for emulating the later PowerPC stuff; the guys on this forum have managed to get QEMU working to emulate a Power Mac. The last time I had time to play around with it, it didn't quite seem fully baked yet, but that was several years ago, and from a cursory glance around the forum, it looks like they've managed to get sound working. If/when this emulator is mature, it's probably the best shot we've got at an accurate emulator for late Mac OS Classic.

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Pre-2004 Posts


Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox Video *LINK*Tim "Mordeir" Branin 2/23/21 6:48 p.m.
     Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoSharkie Lino 2/23/21 7:01 p.m.
           Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoGodot 2/23/21 9:52 p.m.
                 Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoSharkie Lino 2/24/21 3:29 p.m.
           Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoVikingBoyBilly 2/24/21 4:40 a.m.
                 Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoSharkie Lino 2/24/21 3:32 p.m.
                       Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoGodot 2/24/21 10:01 p.m.
                             Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoLion O Cyborg 2/25/21 7:20 a.m.
                             Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoSharkie Lino 2/25/21 12:09 p.m.
     Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoGeneral-RADIX 2/24/21 2:30 p.m.
           Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoVikingBoyBilly 2/25/21 2:34 a.m.
                 Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoGeneral-RADIX 2/25/21 2:57 a.m.
                       Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoLion O Cyborg 2/25/21 7:44 a.m.
                             Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoVikingBoyBilly 2/25/21 6:12 p.m.
                                   Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoLion O Cyborg 2/26/21 9:40 a.m.
                                   Old Mac EmulationDurandal_1707 3/1/21 4:29 p.m.
                                         Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 3/21/21 2:23 p.m.
                                               Re: Old Mac EmulationDurandal_1707 3/21/21 6:36 p.m.
                                                     Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 3/22/21 4:36 a.m.
                                                           Re: Old Mac EmulationDurandal_1707 3/22/21 3:11 p.m.
                                                                 Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 3/23/21 7:42 a.m.
                                                                       Re: Old Mac EmulationDurandal_1707 3/23/21 8:11 a.m.
                                                                             Re: Old Mac EmulationDurandal_1707 3/23/21 8:12 a.m.
                                                                                   Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 3/23/21 3:31 p.m.
                                                                                         Re: Old Mac EmulationDurandal_1707 3/23/21 4:59 p.m.
                                         Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 9/24/23 4:58 a.m.
                                               Re: Old Mac EmulationBob-B-Q 9/24/23 5:45 a.m.
                                                     Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 9/24/23 7:02 a.m.
                                                           Re: Old Mac EmulationBob-B-Q 9/25/23 7:12 a.m.
                                                                 Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 9/26/23 4:33 a.m.
                                                                       Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 10/1/23 3:24 a.m.
                                                                             Re: Old Mac EmulationIritscen 10/2/23 8:03 a.m.
                                                                             Re: Old Mac EmulationVikingBoyBilly 11/8/23 6:09 a.m.
                                                                                   Re: Old Mac EmulationDurandal_1707 11/8/23 3:13 p.m.
                       Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoSharkie Lino 2/25/21 12:14 p.m.
                             Re: Marathon mentioned in Outside Xbox VideoGeneral-RADIX 2/26/21 4:40 a.m.
                                   Most "failed" media......Durandal_1707 3/1/21 4:30 p.m.
                                         Re: Most "failed" media......General-RADIX 3/3/21 9:00 a.m.
                                               Re: Most "failed" media......Bob-B-Q 3/4/21 7:53 a.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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