Exodus 2.1 is now available in the downloads area. Note that you'll need to install the Visual C++ 2017 x64 runtime too if you don't have it, which is available there too. There's quite an impressive list of bugfixes in this release. Job EX-303 in particular fixes a crash that could occur if you had a joystick or gamepad connected, which affected a fair number of people in the previous release. There's also pretty good performance improvements. I measure around a 30% speed improvement overall from Exodus 2.0.1, which is pretty substantial. I've made the VDP plane viewer a but nicer by making the window resizable and making the plane region zoomable, which is nice, but I'm particularly proud of this little nugget:
It's a pixel info dialog you can turn on via "Debug->Mega Drive->VDP->Debug Settings". Just float your cursor over any pixel, and it'll tell you exactly what caused it to appear there. This plays nice with layer removal, so you can peel off a layer at a time and see what's behind it if you want to, and where that pixel came from. It even works for CRAM writes during active scan. Being able to reverse the VDP render pipeline like this was relatively easy in Exodus because of how much info the VDP core holds on to, but it still took a bit of work to pull this off. Give it a spin and let me know what you think. It's great for diagnosing those mystery single line or pixel errors you can get while making something.
Here's the full list of user-facing changes in this release:
This runtime must be installed on your computer in order to run Exodus 2.1 and later. Please download and install the runtime using the link provided here, or download it directly from Microsoft at the following address: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2019667
This is the official 2.1 release of Exodus. Note that the Visual C++ 2017 x64 runtimes need to be installed in order to run Exodus.
After a long hiatus (over 3 years!), I'm finally returning to give this project some love. At the end of the day, this is just a hobby, and it has to move aside when real life issues require more of my time. Although I can't promise that won't happen again in the future, circumstances have changed, and I do find myself with the time to work on this project again. At this stage I believe this will continue to be the case, and I'll be able to consistently move this emulator forward.
I'm keeping things low key for now, but I'll be putting out a new release very soon, possibly in less than 24 hours. This release will include performance and usability enhancements, a few new features, and various assorted bugfixes. This is mainly a housekeeping release, to clear the decks for bigger work to come.
I've been pondering what I should be focusing on for new development over the last few days, and I feel to stay true to the goals of this project, that has to be accuracy. Although there are a lot of new cool features and enhancements I want to build, Exodus currently falls well short of where it should be in terms of accuracy, and this is primarily down to a lack of sub-opcode level external bus timing accuracy in the 68000 core. While no other Mega Drive emulator does this correctly either, they bend the timings of other system events to work around this limitation and make mainstream games run. I have deliberately avoided doing that in Exodus, and as a result there are numerous games I know of that don't function correctly as a result. This is where I'll be focusing the next development stages, aiming to get 100% cycle accurate M68000 and VDP interaction as a priority. You need to be able to measure accuracy though, so this process will involve hardware testing, and producing test ROMs. By the end of this process, I'll deliver some ROMs which can act as a regression test and a measuring stick, to compare timing accuracy between emulators and the real hardware. I already know roughly how it's going to work, and it's going to be pretty well impossible to bodge, so it'll be interesting to see the results. If you thought OverDrive 2 was brutal on emulators, just wait for this one.....
Contributions to Exodus are welcomed! Please ensure that the code you're contributing fits with the Design Philosophy of Exodus. If you're making a significant modification or addition, it might be worthwhile making contact on the forums first to check if your changes might overlap or be affected by other upcoming changes. The basic steps for making a code submission are as follows:
Any code contributions to the Exodus project are greatly appreciated. This project can only meet its intended goals of supporting a wide variety of platforms through the contributions of others.
The easiest way to contribute code changes to Exodus is to "fork" the Exodus repository, and make the changes you want to make in that fork. When you're happy with the changes you've made, and you'd like them to be merged into the official repository, you submit a "pull request", and your changes can then be reviewed, and merged in once they pass the review. When you hear the word "fork", you may think that implies that you're breaking away from the Exodus project and starting your own independent project that will run forever into the future. This actually isn't how forks are intended to be used with hosted source repositories. The purpose of forks is to keep a relationship between the source repository and your fork of it, so that you can eventually merge the two together again through a pull request. Forks can be thought of as essentially being the same as "branches", but branches designed to work better with independent and disconnected programmers or programming groups.
Here are a few guidelines on how to make working with forks easier, and for your changes to have a better chance of being merged:
A Contributor License Agreement is something that's vital for open source development, and there is an increasing awareness of its importance today. A Contributor License Agreement, or CLA, is designed to protect open source projects, and the contributors to those projects, from possible legal consequences and dilemmas that can and do arise. Without a CLA in place, there are very real liabilities that can have major consequences for contributors and open source projects themselves. Many of these issues are rare, and require malicious intent from someone deliberately trying to harm a project, but there are real life examples of many of these issues arising.
When someone submits code to an open source project without a CLA, the code they submit remains their personal responsibility. When the code is shared or distributed in source or binary form, they remain personally responsible for their contribution. If the code is distributed under some form of license agreement, every contributor of code to that project is entering into a direct and individual agreement with every user of that code. This also means they are personally responsible for any legal ramifications of that code. If the code they have written infringes on any patents, or if any individual alleges that it has infringed on any patents, or if there is a dispute about breach of copyright, or any other form of legal claim of damage or misuse, a legal dispute can be directed at the licensor (the author) by the licensee (the user). This means if an organization or individual had cause to file a legal dispute, they could, and in fact must by law, direct that dispute to individual code contributors to that project. In the event those contributors lost a legal challenge, they would be personally responsible for any damages awarded as a result.
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There is another liability for open source projects without a CLA, and that is, as described above, when the code is distributed in source or binary form, without a CLA it is actually each author entering an individual license agreement with each user. This also means that if there is a breach of the license agreement, it is the responsibility of each individual author to pursue legal action to enforce the license. Nobody else has the right to do this. Most contributors would not be willing to do this individually, and in the case of authors that are no longer involved in a project, or no longer contactable, this effectively gives anyone the ability to violate the license agreement for any code those authors have submitted without consequence, because nobody except the original authors can enforce the license.
The fundamental issue here is one of copyright law. Copyright law gives the original author of a work the rights to decide who is allowed to copy or alter their work, and the original author has the exclusive right to make those decisions. The original author also has the exclusive responsibility to ensure his work is used within the rights that he has granted to others. This works well where there is only single author for a work, but where an author is contributing their work as part of a larger work that is formed from the contributions of many others, it is essential that the group overseeing that larger work be granted some rights under copyright law. A Contributor License Agreement is the means by which a contributor to a project grants some rights and responsibilities for their contribution to the group managing that project. In any other place where authors publish their own work through some form of formal journal, paper, book, or similar media, they must agree to assign or grant some irrevocable rights to the publisher, or their submission will not be accepted. Open source software projects must have the same requirements if they are to protect themselves and their contributors legally.
The Contributor License Agreement that the Exodus project has adopted is the same license used by Apache and Google to govern contributions to their open source projects. It is unmodified except to reference the Exodus project where appropriate. This agreement in no way affects your rights to do whatever you want with the code you have written. What it does is ensure that once you've submitted code to this project, you can't change your mind about it later, nor are you legally responsible for what the project does with your code afterwards. It also ensures that the project is free to release your contributed code to other people as source and binary releases. Basically, it's formalizing exactly what you probably thought was already implied by submitting code changes to this project.
In order to clarify the intellectual property license granted with Contributions from any person or entity, the Exodus Open Source Project (the "Project") must have a Contributor License Grant ("Grant") on file that has been signed by each Contributor, indicating agreement to the license terms below. This license is for your protection as a Contributor as well as the protection of the Project and the Exodus Open Source Project Leads (the "Project Leads"); it does not change your rights to use your own Contributions for any other purpose.
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This is the official 2.0.1 release of Exodus. Note that the Visual C++ 2013 x64 runtimes need to be installed in order to run Exodus. The system is pre-configured to load a Mega Drive system on startup, without a TMSS system bios loaded.
I'm pretty happy with the release of Exodus 2.0 overall, but as expected with only me testing the build prior to release, there were a few bugs in some areas I hadn't tested for awhile. There have been enough issues fixed to justify a patch release, so Exodus 2.0.1 is now available for download! Considering it was 2 years between the first two releases, I think 18 hours between these last two is a bit of an improvement. :)
Exodus 2.0 has now been released! You can download the new version now on the current releases page. I'm dedicating this release to my beautiful wife Judi, and my two boisterous little boys Justin and Aiden.
As promised, Exodus is now also open source. Check out the Source Code section for instructions on how to obtain and compile the source, and information on how you can contribute code changes to the project.
This is the second official public release of Exodus, and the first since going open source. Note that the Visual C++ 2013 x64 runtimes need to be installed in order to run Exodus. The system is pre-configured to load a Mega Drive system on startup, without a TMSS system bios loaded.