Well this time something big happened, read trough for exclusive revelations about his future in gba emulation community... Thanks a lot Mike.
GBA Hell : A classic question for our interviews, you are famous now, how does it feel to be interviewed?
MikeGBA : Not sure how to answer that. I've been interviewed.. 10 times? I said to myself long ago that I wouldnt do any more so cosider yourself lucky!! ;)
GBA Hell : Have u got a real life work, are you looking for one or just studying?
MikeGBA : I'm an internet development manager at a software publisher. I can pretty much do as I please (my boss leaves me to get on with it and I do) but mainly I maintain websites, all of which are dynamic.
GBA Hell : Which programming languages do you master? Do you consider coders better than the rest?
MikeGBA : What languages do I master? I couldnt say, I've been coding for way too long that any new language that comes along is second nature anyway. I think I've used pretty much everything going, and written a version of tetris for most of them :) I dont consider coders to be any better or worse than any body else, you could ask anybody if they think their trade is "better"
GBA Hell : How hard is gba coding in your opinion, and why did you start coding on GBA and with which tools?
MikeGBA : GBA development is becoming easier and easier. I started off with the ARM SDT (I've had access to the official gba development kit for a long time, but found it annoying) in november 2001. Nowadays If i have time I play with HAM, as it is just so easy to use. Yes you may say I'm lazy, and you might well be right!
GBA Hell : Which classic systems did you own in the past, and which ones did you buy as a grown up?
MikeGBA : I think I've had just about every system going, and still have most of them. As a kid I had the ZX Spectrum series, c+4, c64, amiga, st, the usual list. as far as consoles go I bought most of them as a "grown up" as I was quite poor as a child really, but I've made up for it now by having everything! Ibought a GBA on import on day of release from japan, and another shortly after for my beautiful fianceť who loves GBA as much as I do. I think she's completed more games than me on it actually.
GBA Hell : You have been developing various emulators for GBA, a vcs2600 one and two for arcades (Pac-Man and Space Invaders), how hard is to squish a fully arcade board on the palm of an hand? A hammer would help?
MikeGBA : Not that hard really, memory management is the hardest part as you use 64k of your 256k workspace straight away as the memory of your virtual cpu thats before and variables are used at all! Its all so well documented nowadays though that it just takes a little effort to achieve. I'm currently looking at emulating another arcade machine and another home console, both with 2mhz cpus which should play 60fps on our GBA's without a problem! look out for them soon. Incidentally, I have another GBA EMU author helping me already on the console emulator.
GBA Hell : When did you start coding emulators for GBA and how many hours did you spend on this so called hobby? Are you working on PacMan Emulator only now? Why don't you take some hours out to bring an easily playable release of vcs2600 (i.e. rom attach).
MikeGBA : My problem is that I get bored so easily. I spent 2 hours from scratch getting pitfall running on the GBA. It ran slowly, and to make a speed improvement would require a complete rewrite, and all that work to achieve the same goal seems pointless to me, especially when I know at least 2 other atari2600 emulators that are faster than mine anyway. By releasing the code to those emulators I can give the best of all, because somebody else with more time and patience than me can pick them up and improve them if they wish to do so. Pacman emulator has not been worked on since before christmas. I am working on another arcade emulator right now.. you will soon see :)
GBA Hell : The vcs2600 was the one I was looking at mostly, as probably most classic gamers, though you had to stop it, is there anyway if you stop cleaning, eating and sleeping you'll have plenty of time to start coding it again, will it ever happen?
MikeGBA : I doubt it, I may look at it from time to time but it will never be a 60fps playable emulator, more of an example of what can be done. My work on emulators competes with my home life and work life, along with uncountable other projects, which will probably never ever be completed.
GBA Hell : Did anyone get in charge of the vcs2600 emulator project so far?
MikeGBA : I've had a lot of positive feedback, but nobody has stepped forward and offered to take over.
GBA Hell : What is the vcs2600 emulator, at current status, still missing in your own opinion?
MikeGBA : SPEED!!! Its sooo slow, posibly the slowest atari2600 emulator ever made.
GBA Hell : What percentage of games were running on current vcs2600 build?
MikeGBA : Not sure.. quite high though, certainly all of the 4k and 8k games that I tried were working. I only tried a handful of games.
GBA Hell : Did you implement any sound system on any of your emulators (not that the vcs2600 had great sounds capabilities)?
MikeGBA : Space invaders emulator uses samples, which worked quite well. As for the others, my sound programming knowledge is very small, but one day I will break that barrier and make the mp3 player i've been considering.
GBA Hell : Why did the Gods choose to give us Two NES emulators, Two ZX emulators and still not one single Colecovision, Intelivision or VCS2600 emulators? Did they hate first half of 80s?
MikeGBA : I don't know. The thing about the spectrum, it that is was HUGELY popular in the UK, as was the atari2600. How many of our emulator authors are from the uk? I personally never saw a colecovision, and only ever one intelivision,
maybe this is why?
GBA Hell : Do you know of any other vcs2600 projects that are showing promise or are even more advanced?
MikeGBA : Two Headed and Otaku have atari2600 emulators, both showing great promise. Otaku's may never be released, but the other may be the winner. I've played a beta, its faster than mine already, looking very good, I hope he completes it.
GBA Hell : Which of your emulators was harder and which one are you mostly proud of?
MikeGBA : I'm most proud of pacman, it taught me tile mode :) none of them were "hard" really.
GBA Hell : What should the GBA community expect in the future from a great coder like you? Can you disclose a project you're working on and give us an exclusive?
MikeGBA : Ever heard of a vectrex, c64 or played the hyper sports/track&field arcade games? ;)
GBA Hell : Do you see emulators for Megadrive-Genesis, Snes or even PC Engine running at close full speed on GBA hardware?
MikeGBA : Megadrive - Forget it. Snes.. maybe 50% speed if you scrap sound and map ALL the snes hardware direct to gba hardware.. you might get mario running.. PC engine is the most likely, but I wouldnt like to tackle it.
GBA Hell : Are you looking after someone else's GBA project, who would you consider best homebrew GBA coder around?
MikeGBA : The GBA home development community is huge, and there are many many talented coders. If i had to single one out, I'd say it was the guy that remade puzzle bobble (bustamove) to the GBA. It totally wiped the floor with the commercial one, 10/10 easily. Of course there are many "better" and "worse" demos/games from the homedev scene but I took a liking to that one in particular :) Whoever published the commercial one should be UTTERLY ashamed of themselves.
GBA Hell : Any wider thoughts on GBA homebrew scene? The HiVe feels like it is elitist, what's your thought?
MikeGBA : The HiVe is a talented person, his opinions come highly regarded in my book. I think in the early days it was hard to get any information out of anybody. There are still some people who are stuck up and think they are "l33t". Nowadays there are so many resources, that i think the elitest are possibly few and far between now, or at least I would hope so.
GBA Hell : What do you like to do when you are not coding, of course skipping sex related matters...?
MikeGBA : Sleeeeeep!!! Of course, I get dragged out shopping and suchlike at regular intervals. I am a real games junkie, I have several arcade machines and lots of consoles, so I like to play those. Nothing else really intereset me, and never really has done.
GBA Hell : Which are your favourite Videogames all-time and nowadays?
MikeGBA : Too many to list, favourite game of today is advance wars, but that will soon change. My all time favourites include outrun, bubble bobble, tetris, hyper sports, track&field, space invaders, pacman.. the list goes on and on. I'll play anything, just dont give me an FPS - I cant stand them one tiny bit!
GBA Hell : X-Box, Gamecube, PS2, none or all? Both from a coding point of view and as a gamer?
MikeGBA : No idea abut coding them, but from a gamers point of view, I'll take the gamecube, it is a BEAUTIFUL machine. PS2 doesnt appeal to me at all, as the Dreamcast walks all over it. As for the X-BOX.. well, I havent played one yet.
GBA Hell : Thanks for everything, any final thoughts, some exclusives to offer at the end?
MikeGBA : Thanks for considering me interesting enough to interview :) Look out for my new emulators soon (ish)
The Lost Question
GBA Hell : Damn I hate you, refreshing your site one hundred times a day waiting for a playable release to find out you had no more time... err this is a statement, not a question :)
MikeGBA : Sorry :)
Thanks a lot Mike!
Mike's works Homepage, don't forget to have a look.