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RavingFanta

Exodus: A Cycles-Accurate Genesis Emulator

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Note: This is NOT marketing! I am not paid to post this here or such -- I just want to spread the word about how Sonic The Hedgehog and other retro titles can be kept alive. I thought I'd post this here since this is a Sonic forum after all, and many might be interested in this kind of news.

What is Exodus?

Exodus is a cycle-accurate software emulator. What does that mean, you ask? Its goal is to emulate every machine/opcode and function that the real piece of console hardware does -- but does it using software running on another host computer. 

Why bother?

Good point. We have tons of Sega Genesis/Master System emulators, but you know what? Virtually none of them are accurate enough to replace the real hardware. There will be a handful of games still failing to run or do something correctly because they aren't mimicking the console hardware accurately enough. Exodus has the goal of emulating everything perfectly, from the exact timing it takes to implement a machine instruction on the Sega hardware to the correct timing of how pixels are filled on to the display. Exodus, in theory, can be indistinguishable between real hardware or otherwise. As such, Exodus can replace the need for the console when the time comes that such do not exist or cannot exist. When you don't have the the correct implementation, you're stuck with potentially tons of games but cannot play them because the console does not exist, and no emulator is accurate enough to run everything correctly anyways. This is where Exodus shines.

Here's just a simple video showcasing how Exodus can run a freshly dumped Sonic The Hedgehog ROM from the cartridge itself and do so perfectly. Exodus is still a WIP, but its goal is to preserve the hardware in software forever, effectively allowing Genesis/Master System gameplay to never fade away, because as long as some implementation of a perfect, cycle-accurate emulator exists, it can always be replicated on a newer, host computer system throughout the future when consoles do not exist anymore:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xJaXTim0UA

Please consider supporting Exodus in any way you can, even if it's just acknowledging it! Thanks.

Edited by Tornado

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Video example is really piss poor, banicam, frame drops...I could go on. But besides that this seems like a really good cause!

Also I must ask...Is sonic 1 SUPPOSED to have a blue border around it? I always accociated that with being a thing with bad emulators...am I wrong on that?! : /

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56 minutes ago, Alienrun said:

Also I must ask...Is sonic 1 SUPPOSED to have a blue border around it? I always accociated that with being a thing with bad emulators...am I wrong on that?! : /

That's just what the game dumps in the overscan area of a period television.

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3 hours ago, RavingFanta said:

Go on?

May I?

For 99.9% of people, this doesn't look any different to KEGA, Gens or the multitude of other Megadrive emulators out there. It doesn't show people why they should care. What do the other emulators get so wrong that Exodus does so much better? I'm not learning anything from the video. If anything at all, it looks worse because of all the lag and frame drops. Shut down the other programs first so that we can see the emulator running at its best.

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Cycle accurate emulators are a great thing indeed, but for the standard user they have little use. It's great that an accurate emulator exists for the Genesis, but the Sonic trilogy doesn't need one.

As long as the physics don't get bugged up like in the Retroarch cores then it's all good. I'd suggest using Kega Fusion.

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I saw that this was in the VG forum instead of the Green Hill Zone forum, where Sonic discussion typically goes.  I was going to move it, but after reading, I figured this could probably serve as a discussion about Mega Drive emulation in general.  With that said, we may wish to adjust the topic title accordingly.  So I'm not sure!

Also, just want to reiterate our policy on piracy.  You're allowed to talk about emulation, but please don't link to it or make it available on the site.  Take it to private quarters if need be.  SSMB does not endorse theft unless it's theft of one's heart with a kiss.  Even then we're kind of iffy on it.

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I honestly thought by reading the topic title that it would be strategies to keep Sonic running as long as it can, not talking about an emulator.

Oh I know about Exodus, done by Nemesis who is an old school Sonic scener rather like Taxman (he came up with the common Sega decompression routine and I think got SegaSonic the Hedgehog to work on MAME). I remember reading his goal for cycle accurate emulation and that was before the likes of the bsnes and other projects for other consoles, it's a good thing in terms of preservation. The problem is because the man has been so busy with life and managing the Laseractive preservation that another emulator has surpassed in terms of accuracy and that is BlastEm. BlastEm despite being a recent emulator is already more accurate due to that it can run the Titan Overdrive tech demos that use obscure functions on the console that no commerical games used.  So far in terms of emulators only BlastEm can run the two real hardware demos with only a couple of issues, the others have more problems from don't work to massive glitches and GenesisPlusGX only runs the first one perfectly. Another thing is the Sonic & Knuckles lock on that only a few emulators have (so you can lock on S&K to nearly anything). Exodus is also rather slow perhaps more slower than Higan and hasn't had any work for 2 years however does have an intense debugger and more suitable to development work while BlastEm is faster and near Kega Fusion fast as well as having nightly builds but at the moment not as development minded and perhaps not the most user friendly (the entire menu system is running off a ROM). Ironically Exodus despite its goals actually has some games that don't work while on other emulators they do.

For accurate Mega Drive emulation, I wouldn't have shown off Sonic considering that it was mostly working at least from the late 90s with KGen (early Kega) and Genecyst. Maybe a quick look but not an entire video. Personally I would have chosen one of the harder games or the more problematic games to be shown such as Mickey Mania (the Moose chase level in particular), Kawasaki Superbikes, Adventures of Batman & Robin or even Thunder Force IV (crashes on some emulators). Virtua Racing is another considering some consoles don't work with the game and most emulators including BlastEm (I know Fusion and Picodrive work with this game, the latter was the first emulator that could do it) however there is also the Deluxe version on the 32X that is better so maybe not as a priority but rather as a preservation thing. Sound would be Comix Zone due to the GEMS sound engine (bad sound emulation hurts your ears), Hellfire (both Model 1 and 2 consoles, it sounds different) and Asterix and the Great Rescue due to the obscure SSG-EG function that sounds different on most emulators, they have sound tests but not sure about Hellfire though.

Even then with those projects people will still choose Kega Fusion because they don't have Mega CD emulation, 32X emulation or either or use GenesisPlusGX on RetroArch that is slightly more accurate with no 32X emulation (it was originally designed for the Wii that wasn't powerful enough to run it) but accessible if you use that emulation front end. Mainly because of ease and most of the games do work without any issue or some minor issues. Unless you go for the Chinese made games that often had copy protection or different mappers however most are curiousity at best and usually have hacked versions or workarounds. Kega is getting harder to work on more modern machines though (and even has a MSN messenger feature and MSN messenger was a long time ago).

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You're allowed to talk about emulation, but please don't link to it or make it available on the site

Actually, the emulator itself is not illegal or related in any way to piracy. Exodus is a complete software-implementation of a hardware console, and is therefore not the same thing as downloading games themselves/copying them/etc., which is what generally falls under "piracy laws." Exodus can be linked to, but you mean that the game ROMs shouldn't be, such as the Sonic The Hedgehog binary itself.

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For 99.9% of people, this doesn't look any different to KEGA, Gens or the multitude of other Megadrive emulators out there. It doesn't show people why they should care.

KEGA or Gens do not accurately emulate the Genesis/Master System hardware. Well, to an extent they do, but it's not solely about how something looks -- it's about whether it can accurately mimic hardware that we want to keep for generations and generations in to the future. We won't preserve Genesis with KEGA or Gens -- both are limited and unable to emulate every game anyways.

Those are the reasons why people should care. Looks and upscaling/etc. do not replace proper emulation and console preserving.

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On 7/20/2017 at 11:56 PM, RavingFanta said:

Actually, the emulator itself is not illegal or related in any way to piracy. Exodus is a complete software-implementation of a hardware console, and is therefore not the same thing as downloading games themselves/copying them/etc., which is what generally falls under "piracy laws." Exodus can be linked to, but you mean that the game ROMs shouldn't be, such as the Sonic The Hedgehog binary itself.

I think Akito has a better idea of what she meant than you do.

 

21 hours ago, RavingFanta said:

KEGA or Gens do not accurately emulate the Genesis/Master System hardware. Well, to an extent they do, but it's not solely about how something looks -- it's about whether it can accurately mimic hardware that we want to keep for generations and generations in to the future. We won't preserve Genesis with KEGA or Gens -- both are limited and unable to emulate every game anyways.

Those are the reasons why people should care. Looks and upscaling/etc. do not replace proper emulation and console preserving.

That's not actually explaining why 99.9% of the people should care, who are usually fine with Genesis emulation so long as it isn't Smash Pack Volume 1 bad. I'm not 99.9% of the people by any means, and I think Kega is fine for the times when I don't just use my Mega Everdrive on my X'Eye. Kega also looks a hell of a lot closer to what my 240p-capable TV shows with my X'Eye through SCART than the thing you linked in the OP full of frame drops, sound glitches and slowdown.

 

 

Which was Blue Blood's point. You're saying this is important, and certainly some people would understand why just because of the phrase "cycles-accurate". Making a video that looks like it plays Sonic 1 far worse than versions of Gens people were using in 2003 doesn't do much to actually justify your argument to the people who don't know what cycle accuracy is.

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