I would really like to thanks Strags, he was extremelly fast and polite and further more he is Foon coder! I honestly think we had a good interview with him, altough it was trough email and not a dynamic one in IRC, I guess Strags is a pretty interesting person out there.
GBA HELL: You are famous now, how does it feel to be interviewed?
Strags: Hmmm... well, I wouldn't quite go that far :) Of course, I'm pleased that people are downloading FooN, and enjoying it - otherwise there would have been no point.
GBA HELL: Have u got a real life work, are you looking for one or just studying?
Strags: I currently write networking code for a company developing peer-to-peer video broadcasting software. Before that, I worked for Left Field
Productions doing N64 games (NBA Courtside and ExciteBike64).
GBA HELL: Which programming languages do you master?
Strags: C/C++ for about 11 years now, also a fair bit of Java, and of course, plenty of various different assembly languages (starting with Z80 on the Spectrum, of course).
GBA HELL: How hard is gba coding compared to nice old Borland IDE, and what tools are you using?
Strags: You know, I've never used Borland. I used to use Watcom extensively, but now I use Visual C++ for almost everything. For GBA development, I'm using VC++ as an editor, and building using gcc. (Thanks to Jeff Frohwein's excellent www.devrs.com site for the development tool links).
GBA HELL: Why is it called "foon"?
Strags: That's a good question :)
GBA HELL: In the old times, you were a Spectrum one or a C-64 fellow?
Strags: Oh please :)
GBA HELL: Now, let's get to the real thing, Foon, how long have you been coding it and when/why did you choose to emulate a Speccie?
Strags: Let's see... in terms of actual coding, probably about two months now, although it's been very off-and-on lately. Most of the emulator was up and running in about a month - I'm just making small tweaks/optimisations nowadays. I chose to emulate a Spectrum because it's the machine I grew up with, and therefore I know how it works. It's also a very simple machine, with very little extra hardware, which makes it nice and easy to emulate.
GBA HELL: How fast is Foon compared to real Hardware, what is missing still in your own opinion?
Strags: It varies from game to game. Many games will run at full speed, and the ones that don't are generally playable if you turn the frameskip up a bit. What's currently missing are the OTIR and INIR instructions (because I'm lazy), proper R-register emulation (because it would cause a lot of slowdown), and contended memory emulation (again, lots of slowdown).
GBA HELL: What percentage of games are running on current build? Is 100% your target?
Strags: I don't really know what percentage of games are running - I rely on bug reports from users. I don't think 100% will ever be attainable, mainly due to the R-register stuff.
GBA HELL: Do you see emulators for Megadrive-Genesis, Snes or even PC Engine running at close full speed on GBA hardware now that you have been tweaking with every single bit of GBA?
Strags: It's going to be impossible without dynamic recompilation, and even then, it's questionable.
GBA HELL: How long will you keep tweaking the wonderfull Foon? Will you move to something else, maybe still for GBA and still emulation related...?
Strags: Once I'm done with FooN I suspect that I'll release the source, and let others play around with it. I don't know when this will be, however. A lot of people have been asking about 128K support, which is something I don't want to do myself, so perhaps someone else will step up to the plate. I'm currently working on other GBA stuff, but it's all under wraps for now.
GBA HELL: Are you looking after someone else GBA project, who would you consider best homebrew GBA coder around?
Strags: I don't follow the homebrew scene too closely, I'm afraid. In terms of emulators, Loopy's PocketNES impresses me quite a bit! I've also chatted to "The Hive" (author of ZX-Advance) who's a very bright chap.
GBA HELL: Any wider thoughts on GBA homebrew scene?
Strags: As mentioned, I don't follow it too closely. It's nice to see people cooperating by releasing source/tutorials though.
GBA HELL: What do you like to do when you are not coding, of course skipping sex related matters...?
Strags: Heh... skiing/snowboarding, guitar, Simpsons, cooking, walking the dog - how depressingly domesticated.
GBA HELL: Which are your favorite Videogames all-time and nowadays?
Strags: All time: Doom - no question. When Doom came out I was at university, and I played the first episode all the way through in one evening on my 386/33 with the lights off, and the speakers turned up really loud. After graduating, I went to work at Psygnosis where we deathmatched for several hours each evening. Nowadays, I don't play as many games as I used to. The most recent games I've really got into have been Crazy Taxi and Half Life (+Team Fortress).
GBA HELL: X-Box, Gamecube, PS2, none or all? Both from a coding point of view and as a gamer?
Strags: As a developer, Gamecube would probably be my first choice. As a gamer, I think it's a little too early to say.
GBA HELL: Thanks for everything, have you got anything else to say?
Strags: Thanks for your interest in FooN - it's good to know that people are still enjoying the Speccy after all these years.
Interview is over, now go check his website and be certainly that there will be another release soon, since Strags never sleeps, 18 releases in 2 months, enough said!
See you tomorrow for another interview!