Nearly a year ago I announced I was going to work on porting the RealityBoy emulator to bring Virtual Boy games to be playable on the Wii. At the time, RealityBoy was the best Virtual Boy emulator as well as being the simplest to port in my opinion. It wasn't going to be easy; RealityBoy was based on the ALLEGRO library and it wasn't written with PowerPC nor big endian architecture in mind. For the most part it was going to have to be completely rewritten. In order to make my work better benefit the Wii homebrew development community I was able to (with the help of "DarkNation") bang out a simple port of ALLEGRO to Wii. Coupled with this and a lot of reworking on RealityBoy I was able to get emulation going but I was unable to receive any sort of sound or video output. I assumed this was because the ALLEGRO port was still rather incomplete. A lot of work lied ahead of me. And with school, work, and other personal pressures building up I had very little spare time to work on this.
Around this time, the mednafen emulator released a beta build which included virtual boy support. Mednafen contains arguably the most powerful, optimized emulators for each of the platforms it supports. Furthermore, mednafen is based upon SDL and OpenGL, the former of which we have a port for on the Wii and the latter of which can be easily rewritten as GX (the Wii's video hardware API). Ryphecha, the lead developer behind mednafen, actually contacted me personally to let me know. She really wanted me to drop my RealityBoy port and turn to mednafen (which had previously never even been looked at as a possibility to be ported to the Wii by anyone ever). I played with mednafen for a little bit. At the time I was so distracted by so many different things I didn't get very far beyond compiling the emulator on Linux and playing with the source to see how it works and what could be cut out for a port of only the VirtualBoy component to Wii.
Then a month ago, during my last week of finals, a developer named "raz0red" contacted me. Apparently I wasn't the one who had taken an interest in mednafen. raz0red had done what I had sought out to do by using mednafen to get Virtual Boy games running on the Wii. I accepted his offer to join forces and do a proper Virtual Boy emulator for the Wii. My work was mainly done in optimizing the emulated hardware (which, by the way, Ryphecha was infinitely helpful for by answering all my questions and even going so far as to send me some snippets of code). I really think the emulator turned out pretty well. It's not perfect, but it's about as close as we can possibly get.
Take a look:
Working on this emulator was a great experience and it taught me a lot. After a rather long hiatus it was great to finally start making progress with Wii homebrew software development again. This reminds me that I need to thank everyone for putting up with my "off and on" sprees of development and for supporting me through all of it.
If you haven't yet already, you can grab Wiirtual Boy here.
I've got more plans for this summer. I've had an infinitely popular shooter ported and running on Wii since October that I need to finally finish. I've also been toying with the idea of porting another part or all of mednafen to Wii (for fun, I have emulation of something else in it mostly working). Not to mention I have several old projects that need to be cleaned up and finished. As always, I'll keep my blog updated to the latest.