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The History of PCSX2

Some forum members had shown quite an interest in the history of the emulator, so i thought, why not? I'll write a history of the emulator to the best of my knowledge for everybody to look at! Hopefully those who have been here longer (like bositman) can fill you in a bit more on what happened. My apologies for any inaccuracies, I didn't join the team until version 0.8.0 (January 2005)! So, here goes.....


Around the middle of 2001 (Roughly) the PCSX2 project started with just 2 people, Linuzappz and Shadow, who formally coded the PS1 emulator named PCSX.  Having finished that project to a point they deemed successful, they decided to embark on a new project which at the time, was completely unheard of, a Playstation 2 emulator, so PCSX2 was born.

They were later followed by other coders such as auMatt, Loser, florin and Saqib, who at the time was known as asadr. This small band of coders with a big dream, little documentation and lackluster hardware (at the time, it was good gear!) managed to forge something together which vaguely simulated a playstation 2, but only to the lengths of running simple homebrew software, which had its doors opened by this small achievement.  Not content with the fact they had developed a homebrew emulator, the guys wanted some genuine PS2 software to run, so they picked a few simple games (such as Bust-a-move) and got to work.

Many revisions later and lots of plugin development, they managed to get some games to show loading screens and some even ingame footage, this was a massive achievement for the group, proving to the world that this proof of concept emulator was a reality, showing the world that it was possible.

To show a true emulation image of a system such as the PS2, there is one behemoth which must be conquered to give it that feel which the playstation 2 has, the PS2's own BIOS file.  This was an extremely complex, tricky bit of software to emulate.  From what i've been told, this took days of solid coding, hacking and debugging and reading of Assembly language to achieve, however when they did eventually get it to run it was extremely distorted, graphically incorrect and extremely slow. Being a feat such as this, it didn't matter how it looked, they'd done it! With the BIOS in place, it allowed the developers to open the doors on PS2 gaming, providing correct BIOS functionality, system configuration and setup provided by the BIOS, some of which is imperative for PS2 games to run.

From this point on, the team spent a lot of time implementing missing parts of the emulator and replacing hacks with correct emulation once those areas were understood, slowly improving the compatibility and speed of the emulator, including the implementation of the first Recompiler into PCSX2 (may have been earlier, but it was before me!) which was coded and developed by Goldfinger, this provided a huge leap in speed from the age old Interpreter which is slow by design.

Through time several developers have come and gone. I (Refraction) joined the team around version 0.8.0 (January 2005) after submitting some MFIFO fixes which helped improve the emulation of Final Fantasy X.  Later we had Zerofrog join the team, who is responsible for ZeroGS, ZeroSPU2 and the rewrite of the last incarnation of the VU and EE Recompilers which gave us the huge speed boost many will remember in v0.9.1 (June 2006).

During the summer of 2007, GiGaHeRz finally managed to crack one area of the emulator nobody had dare attempt before, he managed to get Netplay to happen! Myself, GiGaHeRz, CKemu, Saqib and Falcon4ever found ourselves logging in to Monster Hunter for a general meet up and drinking session in the virtual world. This was an amazing event for us,  it was also very fun talking to other players with the conversation generally going like "Hey, I'm playing this on my PS3 Smile That's cool, we are playing this on our PC's using PCSX2" "oooh! that's awesome! can we tag along with you guys?", it was very pant wetting for us and other players alike. Unfortunately, almost by sheer coincidence, many online servers shut down merely weeks after we announced we had netplay, I see no conspiracies, really Razz

By 2008, Zerofrog had left the team to further his real life career at bigger companies and didn't have any more time for the team, myself and asadr (Saqib) were the only remaining developers and with such big pressures upon the two remaining developers, moral and willingness to code the emulator dropped off significantly, leaving myself and saqib just committing small changes to the emulator to keep things afloat, we we're not going to let it die on us now!

After the release of 0.9.4, GSDX went under major improvements from our very own Gabest to improve the overall speed of the popular GS plugin GSDX. He added support for DirectX 10, which solved the issue of clipping surfaces (Due to limitations with DirectX 9) and improved the caching methods of the plugin itself to bring the performance up.  Additionally, he rewrote the entire software renderer to be faster overall, but also to allow extra threads, so running the graphics plugin in software mode on an i7, across several threads, showed little difference in performance to hardware mode! The graphics plugin continues to grow in strength with a lot of support from the other team members and the community providing information on current issues to be resolved.

In February 2009, we enlisted the help of a group of enthusiastic coders who had been hosting the project PCSX2 Playground, we recognized the big potential for these guys to be on the team in recognition of the amazing work they were doing. This expanded the team greatly, bringing in developers such as Jake.Stine (Air), arcum, cottonvibes and rama, ever since the emulator has been booming with improvements and advanced the state of the emulator immensely! Since then we have had developers such as pseudonym and gregory.hainaut join the team, both of whom have provided an excellent amount of work in their fields of expertise.

Here we are today, potentially months away from the release of PCSX2 0.9.8, which is showing the highest compatibility the emulator has ever shown, with nearly 59% of games being playable on the emulator (regardless of speed) and a further 22% of games getting to the ingame content, this is a whopping 81% compatibility! which is a huge feat when you look back to how the emulator was in the early days. We are ever closer to releasing what can be consider the near-on perfect Playstation 2 emulator, but before we can get there, many big challenges await us.  Only time will tell.......

Of course a mention is needed for the many beta testers and plugin developers who have done their part to improve device emulation and root out the errors and problems for the devs to look into: Bositman, Prafull, CKemu, Falcon4ever, ChaosCode, Nachbrenner (Patch hacker extraordinaire), Crushtest, Neeve (VU/EE floating point accuracy improvements), RPGWizard, Chickenliver (Lilypad), Rebel_X (Twinpad), Luigi__(Megapad) and many many more, we appreciate everything you have done for the emulator, if i forgot your name, it's due to memory laps! we appreciate what you have done too!

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