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                           The Emulation Rambler
                            By:  Jason Compton 
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Ah, it's good to ramble once more!

As of late, I've been playing lots of games on Kevin Kralian's Apple2000
emulator--long out of development, but still a very stable piece of work.
Right now I'm building a career as an Allied Intelligence Agent in Beyond
Castle Wolfenstein.

But that hasn't taken up so much of my time that I haven't had a chance to
check out some other offerings in the emulation world.  A wealth of new
8-bit machine emulators are out there just dying for a mention.

TRS-80 Model 3 emulator by John Fehr
------------------------------------

Like all good emulators, this was a study in nostalgia for the author.

The TRS-80 Model 3, a favorite of hardware hackers, is one of those
machines just on the edge of the computer explosion in the early 80's.  In
this day and age, however, it is implemented as a "virtual screen" on an
NTSC High Res screen, where you are free to assign up to four disk drives
(virtual, of course) to load up DOS and various programs.

Like most 8-bit machines out there, the support on the net is growing and
if you do a little digging, you'll be sure to find a treasure trove of
software just waiting for you on an FTP site.

The emulator also has the interesting distinction of being the first
emulation ever implemented on a BeBox.

John Fehr can be reached at efw492@freenet.mb.ca, and model3.lha can be
found on any Aminet site in misc/emu.
ftp://ftp.netnet.net/pub/aminet/misc/emu/model3.lha

Atari800 by David Firth
-----------------------

Actually a port from the Unix version with some minor changes, Atari800 is
a fairly complete, but very resource hungry emulator of the Atari 800
computer, long hailed as an early work of Jay Miner's genius.

Unfortunately for Amiga users, the translation from high-power Unix
workstation to Amiga desktop computer leaves the Amiga starving for more
horsepower to keep up with the C-compiled program.  Even though it seems to
properly promote to CyberGraphX modes (providing some speed improvement),
on the 030/25 A3000 it is so slow as to be unusable.  An 040/25 under AGA
is little improvement.  There was the signs of potential when we tried it
out on a Draco, however.

The 800 is such a neat machine I picked up one for my very own recently,
for a blowout price.  It never got the widespread support of the Commodore
64, but has a lot going for it, including being the platform that spawned
Alternate Reality.

I have made some inquiries with the author as to the possibility of
integrating an assembly 6502 emulation into the emulation to provide a
speed burst, but to date nothing has come of it.  The entire source is
available in the package, however, and I welcome anyone who will take it
upon themselves to either further encourage Mr. Firth to enhance the Amiga
version, or to make the changes themselves.

David Firth can be reached at david@signus.demon.co.uk.  The Atari800
emulator can be found in:

ftp://ftp.demon.co.uk/pub/emulators/atari/

Note--this site has notoriously poor connections outside of the UK.  Don't
feel bad if you don't get in first try.

A-CPC by Kevin Thacker
AmiCPC by Ludovic Deplanque
---------------------------

The Amstrad CPC line was quite popular, apparently, in the UK.  Being an
American, I've never physically laid eyes on it...which makes it all that
much more appealing to have it as an emulator, since it's a machine I may
never get to touch but through the magic of software, it lies at my
disposal.

Both programs set out to emulate this machine.  A-CPC allows for the 464,
664, and 6128 configurations (with enhanced model support in the registered
version), and AmiCPC emulates a 6128.

Seeing that I am at a disadvantage when it comes to information about this
machine, I instantly prefer to use Mr. Thacker's program, as it is far
better documented in English.  Only minimal documentation in English is
provided with AmiCPC, although more comprehensive (or at least longer)
information is provided in French.

Both authors advise the use of at least an 030 processor, although A-CPC
allows for 68000 users at their own risk.  

My experience on an 030/25 tells me that while I would be more comfortable
with a faster processor, I'm not too badly off.  However, mode promotion is
not very healthy for either emulator.

A surprisingly large collection of software is out there on the net for
these machines.  Definitely worth a look.

A-CPC can be found on any Aminet site in misc/emu.
ftp://ftp.netnet.net/pub/aminet/misc/emu/acpc_dem.lha
Author: K.E.W.Thacker@cs.cf.ac.uk

AmiCPC is a bit harder to come by.  Try the ftp site ftp.ibp.fr, in
pub/amstrad.
ftp://ftp.ibp.fr/pub/amstrad/
(No net address)

Amoric by Jean-Francois Fabre
-----------------------------

When I started to get interested in emulators, one of the appeals was the
ability to run new software for current platforms, such as the Mac.
Another was to recapture lost youth through C-64 and Apple II emulators.
But when I came upon the Sinclair Spectrum emulator, I realized there was a
very important third appeal--using machines I might never have a chance to
use elsewhere.

I briefly commented on this in the CPC section, I know.  But with the
Spectrum and the CPC, I had at least remotely heard of the machines in one
passing form or another.  But I had never in my whole life heard of the
ORIC Atmos, the machine emulated in Amoric.

From what I've gathered from Mr. Fabre's testimonial and my own experience,
the Oric is roughly analagous to a middle ground between a Vic-20 and a
Spectrum.

The Oric is a fun little machine, in the Z80/AY-3-8912 vein like its
contemporaries, the Spectrum and Amstrad.  

(As an aside, does anyone have any theories or explanations as to why
European 8-bit computing seems to have revolved around the Z80 while
American 8-bit computing revolved around the 6502/6510?)

Amoric includes a method to pull Oric software off of the original tapes.
In addition, a large archive is floating around out there for the picking.

The Oric is an interesting cultural study if nothing else, as it was a very
French phenomenon.  Personally, I don't associate the nation of France with
computer gaming much, but here you have it.

The emulator itself seems quite stable on a number of programs.  I find the
interface a little uncomfortable and am disappointed in the lack of
promotability, but you can't have everything, I suppose.

Amoric is available on any Aminet site, misc/emu.
ftp://ftp.netnet.net/pub/aminet/misc/emu/AmoricV1_4.lha

The author can be reached at fabre@cert.fr.  An Oric web site can be found
at http://arlesienne.ensica.fr/LOCAL/ORIC/

Ah, there you have it.  Four new 8-bit machines to emulate away on.  I know
they'll keep me busy for quite some time.  Into the Eagle's Nest, anyone?
How about some Cabal?  Or I could just go back to Hitler's bunker one more
time...