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Thread: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

  1. #1

    Exclamation Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Now, I don't mean this as an insult nor do I want to come off as smug or anything like that, but of all the emulation forums I've joined, this one seems to be the least informed on the Xbox front! Now, I don't mean to get your guys' hopes up too high just yet, but since everybody is unaware of what's been going on, I think it's about time I started sharing this stuff with you guys because there are some of you under the impression that Xbox emu authors are extinct.

    1. Cxbx

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. This one has been around for almost 10 years, still has a compat list of less than 80 games and STILL doesn't have proper x86-64 support, but inspite of that, it's not dead. Me and a few occasional contributors still work on it from time to time because it's so easy to add quick fixes to it. While it doesn't get the attention it deserves, it does get updated a handful of times or two every year. On my blog (http://shogun3d-cxbx.blogspot.com/), I've been posting the progress I've been making as it surfaces. In fact, I just updated it on Christmas day (albeit with a mediocre progress). Before that, I finally managed to prove that Cxbx is capable of playing games that use the Blitz engine (i.e. Zapper, Taz: Wanted, etc.) and even Outrun 2 (which keeps crashing due to an issue with Direct3D's runtime).

    Now tbh, there were a few times where I did forget to update the blog and certain progress ends up going unnoticed, like the update involving Crazy Taxi, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness and a few others I forgot about. But the biggest update I had made in a while, one that actually shocked quite a few people that didn't believe it was possible, is the fact that Cxbx can now run the Xbox Dashboard! And just in case you don't believe me:



    Keep in mind that Cxbx only runs the 3944 dashboard, or at least that's the only one that's been confirmed to work. Majority of it's functionality appears to be there, although you can't view the system information section.

    Also, before I forget I wanted to mention that since this emu uses HLE and user mode WinNT level functions directly, it becomes highly sensitive to the OS it's running on, which is a major drawback. So far, as much as I R-E-A-L-L-Y hate to admit to this, Cxbx works best on Windows Vista. A prime example of this is Panzer Dragoon ORTA, as I, and many others haven't been able to get it running in any other OS. There is one exception to this. A friend of mine did a handful of fixes to Cxbx and managed to get it working on XP and others, but his work never made it to the SVN. I need to get in touch with him and ask him again about his work.

    So please, don't count out Cxbx just yet. And if you haven't already, please take a look at the compatibility list on the blog to see what really works and how well it works. I upload my progress to the Cxbx SVN, so it can be compiled and built by anyone who wants to use it.

    2. Xenoborg

    This is my LLE Xbox emu I started ages ago. So far, it only runs OpenXDK stuff because there's not enough hardware emulated for commercial games to run yet. The goal was to have hardware level emulation and gfx via OpenGL instead of Direct3D. It supports mostly framebuffer drawing, basic ISO support, mid-level kernel emulation with thread support (running in time slices, not parallel) and does have some preliminary but untested sound support. I ended up removing the static-rec stuff in favour of a more reputable interpreter that's easier to debug. The tradeoff was speed, and the gain was portability.

    Haven't touched it in a few months. Should pick it back up once I'm not as busy.

    3. XQEMU

    Now THIS is where things get interesting! There's a guy in Australia somewhere, known as espes, who's been working on the QEMU source and managed to successfully boot both the Xbox Linux and the retail BIOS with a modified build of QEMU, and it's also the first Xbox emu to support MacOSX (which is a bonus for me since I'm a big fan of MacOSX). Considering that QEMU has emulation support for some devices and a few rare chipsets that are on the Xbox mobo (Conexant video encoder for 1.1 boxes, USB, AC'97, VGA, PCI, AGP, a few interrupt controllers, etc.), the development process was speeded up a bit. It's not as easy as making a few changes to the source code as Xbox1 is a far more complex machine than that since there's much more hardware that needs to be emulated.

    We've both learned alot from this and each other, so I'm looking forward to seeing more progress on this endeavour.

    Link: https://github.com/espes/xqemu



    Even though I said that XQEMU boots the retail BIOS, keep these details in mind. So far, it only boots the original 3944 BIOS w/ the original MCPX Rom (v1.0) and initializes the hardware components, but doesn't show gfx because the NV2A hasn't been emulated properly yet. This is major progress and it's coming along nicely. Keep your eyes on this for more updates.

    4. XbeNext

    This is an emu that my friend LoveMhz started sometime ago, and he's finally unveiled it this week. It's another HLE emu (one that does support 64-bit OSes) using OpenGL for gfx. While using OpenGL is key, I explicitly told him that HLE is going to be more trouble than it's worth. Either way, I still support him and offered to help when necessary.

    http://forums.ngemu.com/showthread.php?t=154342

    So as you can see, Xbox emulation is not dead or inactive. In fact, it's more active than it ever was before! I know all you people care about is playing a few of your favourite games on PC without having to worry about your Xbox crapping out on you, but you still have to appreciate what little progress is coming forth. The biggest issue in the Xbox emu scene is not the lack of people working on them, it's the lack of consistent contributions! Too many people coming and going but the fact that there are people still coming is better than nothing.

    So please, stop telling everyone that there isn't anyone working on these emulators!!!

    Shogun.

  2. #2
    Big fan of Mupen64 Mupen64 Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Hey, thanks for the schooling! I for one had no idea that Xbox emulation was still alive, so this has been some pleasant news!

  3. #3
    Forum Administrator Lefteris_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Any idea where we can get binaries (I can't do any compiles atm) since github stopped providing compiled code some time ago?
    ...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Quote Originally Posted by Lefteris_D View Post
    Any idea where we can get binaries (I can't do any compiles atm) since github stopped providing compiled code some time ago?
    Any project in particular? Sorry if your question was intended to be more obvious. \/_\/

  5. #5
    Controller Man ulaoulao's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Granted all of this is great info and I do agree it belongs on an emu forum. The thing is this forum has became a gate way for the common. Now guy's like us ( the ones that commented thus far ) are not common in this meaning. By common I mean tom dick an harry that all want a full blown emulator. They kind that dont read anything but headlines. The kind that this topic attracts. This is the reason you dont see much talk about the beginnings of emulation here. It does happen, dont get me wrong but its not idea for the traffic we see. This board is well known for helping with working emulators and its what we have all became about here. So that why we dont talk much about the beginnings of te would be emulator. Maybe its time to make a category for that purpose? "Emulators in development (not ready for game play) " I dont know...
    Last edited by ulaoulao; January 12th, 2013 at 18:40.
    Original, the only way to play.

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    Emulation King testmachine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Quote Originally Posted by ulaoulao View Post
    Granted all of this is great info and I do agree it belongs on an emu forum. The thing is this forum has became a gate way for the common. Now guy's like us ( the ones that commented thus far ) are not common in this meaning. By common I mean tom dick an harry that all want a full blown emulator. They kind that dont read anything but headlines. The kind that this topic attracts. This is the reason you dont see much talk about the beginnings of emulation here. It does happen, dont get me wrong but its not idea for the traffic we see. This board is well known for helping with working emulators and its what we have all became about here. So that why we dont talk much about the beginnings of te would be emulator. Maybe its time to make a category for that purpose? "Emulators in development (not ready for game play) " I dont know...
    I agree!
    Download The DuoS Emu on this site
    DS DuoS emulator website

  7. #7
    Member Robert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Good to see xbox emulation is actually happening, like most people i thought it was dead.

  8. #8
    Forum Newbie Fhyzyckel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Thank you for the enlightenment, and I'd like to add that as soon as I learn how to develop emulators (what programming language is required and stuff) and finish a small one (as a learning priority) I'd love to try and help with developing an XBox emulator! Why? Because I'm a huge fan of emulators and I strongly believe that it provides opportunities to those who can't afford a console, prefer the computer, or anything of the sort. (All my XBox controllers were also snagged by someone who I invited to a party, so that's another reason.) ^^
    Last edited by Fhyzyckel; January 15th, 2013 at 17:20.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    Quote Originally Posted by ulaoulao View Post
    Granted all of this is great info and I do agree it belongs on an emu forum. The thing is this forum has became a gate way for the common. Now guy's like us ( the ones that commented thus far ) are not common in this meaning. By common I mean tom dick an harry that all want a full blown emulator. They kind that dont read anything but headlines. The kind that this topic attracts. This is the reason you dont see much talk about the beginnings of emulation here. It does happen, dont get me wrong but its not idea for the traffic we see. This board is well known for helping with working emulators and its what we have all became about here. So that why we dont talk much about the beginnings of te would be emulator. Maybe its time to make a category for that purpose? "Emulators in development (not ready for game play) " I dont know...
    Yeah, that makes sense. I haven't been very active here (off and on every few years since 2004, if anyone noticed), and I initially signed up here with the initial purpose with getting help running Metal Slug 4. Also, I noticed how mainly members that have been here a while are the ones replying, so yeah, what you said does make alot of sense. Never really thought of it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhyzyckel View Post
    Thank you for the enlightenment, and I'd like to add that as soon as I learn how to develop emulators (what programming language is required and stuff) and finish a small one (as a learning priority) I'd love to try and help with developing an XBox emulator! Why? Because I'm a huge fan of emulators and I strongly believe that it provides opportunities to those who can't afford a console, prefer the computer, or anything of the sort. (All my XBox controllers were also snagged by someone who I invited to a party, so that's another reason.) ^^
    No problem!

    I get people asking what's required to work on an xbox emu all the time. Unlike most other people, you have a more realistic perspective. Most noobs want to jump into it right away after learning the basics of C++ thinking that's all it takes. I recommend writing more than one emu before jumping into Xbox though. Xbox is a highly complex console (and emulating it IS harder than PS2, inspite of what people think because it has some PC-like hardware), and many aspects of the hardware haven't emulated, and on top of that, most people have absolutely no idea how horrifficlly complex the sound hardware is beyond the AC'97 codec.

    When I was a n00b, I went to a random forum asking how to write an Xbox emulator because I couldn't get Cxbx to work. lol. Now that I do know, sometimes even I don't feel confident enough to finish the job.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Current (and Active) Xbox Emulation Projects

    XQEMU booting the retail BIOS:


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