23

I think we should discuss whether emulation is on-topic, and in particular these three cases are substantially different and probably deserve different treatments:

  • Usage or recommendations of emulation software (e.g. "how do I do X on MESS?" or "Is there a clock-accurate emulator for Y?")

  • Retro-knowledge related to the implementation of emulators ("How many sound chips did Z have?", "What did the Q instruction do on the 6502?")

  • Questions about implementing emulators ("How can I make my Y emulator clock-accurate?")

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30

Usage of emulation software should only be on-topic to the extent that it's related to retrocomputing.

For example, "I can't get SimCity to play sound in DosBox" is on-topic because it has a corresponding non-emulated question: "I can't get SimCity to play sound on my IBM-compatible". However, "I can't get DosBox to play sound on Windows 10" is off-topic, because it's about Windows 10, not about DosBox as a "hardware" platform.

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  • 1
    The first sentence could be a little bolder, imo, but agree. – cat Apr 19 '16 at 23:11
  • I like this answer. Emulation definitely fits in with the broader theme of the site in some ways: For example, I do all my Atari development in an emulator and then test on hardware. – Matt Lacey Apr 20 '16 at 0:35
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    The one part of the question this doesn't address is emulator recommendations. Should we take the "no software recommendations" stance of SO/SU? Or given that the pool of emulation software is somewhat limited, can we assume that there will be a limited number of "correct" answers? I'm leaning towards the latter. – felixphew Apr 20 '16 at 1:28
  • @felixphew good point. I'm inclined to accept good Q&A that talks about the one or two choices someone would have when emulating particualr equipment. – user12 Apr 20 '16 at 16:51
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    I agree with this; discussion about what goes on inside the emulator -- or perhaps about the implementation of emulators -- is totally on-topic. Discussion about how emulators interact with the host operating system, not so much (unless perhaps it's directly related to something happening inside the emulator, but that's a tricky gray area, perhaps). I know that as an emulator developer myself, I'll look forward to any discussion that comes up! – Eric Shepherd Apr 20 '16 at 20:36
  • @felixphew - Agree - there is a software recommendations part of stackexchange, but for such a niche piece of software, expertise might be better here. – nsandersen Apr 21 '16 at 6:55
  • Emulation also matters in communicating with real hardware, for example running Netatalk in a virtual environment in order to setup an AppleTalk network for older Macs and the IIgs. – Michael Shopsin May 3 '16 at 19:28
2

The implementation of a platform shouldn't matter. After all, there's little to no difference between a real Amiga 500 and some FPGA implementation, and a software implementation shouldn't be treated any differently. Viewed in that light, questions about the use of an emulator is also on-topic if it's about the emulator itself.

For example:

  • I had this exotic real hardware configuration, and I want to recreate it with simh, but I can't figure out how to configure this or that detail.

  • Is there a way in VICE to profile a running assembly language program?

  • I want to play these old VIC-20 games I wrote but don't own the BASIC ROM. Is there an open source implementation of the KERNAL and Commodore BASIC 2.0 I can use instead?

  • How can I import labels into the VICE debugger?

  • Questions about CC65

  • Questions about the Minimig

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