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/// The Emulation Rambler
    By Jason Compton

Off I go again, this week with an IBM C-64 emulator and some ensuing 
questions of legality...

The C-64 Emulator Demo, while not very cleverly named, does what it 
says for a sufficiently fast IBM with a SoundBlaster compatible card. It 
emulates a C-64. I haven't had time or the resources to extensively test its 
emulation (which I'll explain in a minute), but from the demo programs 
included with the package, this emulator does pretty much exactly what it 

Since it's a demo version, SOMETHING has to be disabled.  In this case, 
you can't access any drives, only the 10-15 programs the author has 
placed in the package, selectable by an internal menu and then loaded 
using just plain old "load", like a tape.  It's a LOT faster, though.
so.  Admittedly, my test machine is a 486/66, but the emulator is alleged to 
work to 100% capacity on a 386/40 or 486/33.  Obviously, these are machines 
considerably more expensive than the $60 you can get a refurbished 64 for 
these days, (or even a new C-65!) but, as I always say, it's the emulation 
that counts.

The author includes about 10 games and a demo or two.  A couple of 
them didn't run, but the ones that did ran flawlessly, albeit a bit too 
fast, and the internal speed controls didn't seem to do a whole lot to help, 
except to speed it up more.  Joystick emulation is provided using the arrow 
keys (another drawback).  The music from the SoundBlaster Pro sounds like 
SID music to me.  All in all, it's a considerably more faithful emulation of 
a 64 than A64 for the Amiga.  At this point, however, there just MIGHT be a 
slight bit of doubt about the authenticity of the emulation.  For all we 
know, it JUST MIGHT be an elaborate farce, and the programs have been 
specially modified to run from what looks for all the world like a C-64. I 
truly believe that it's the real thing however.

How real? Here's where the legality comes from. From what I've read of 
the sparse documentation (it's a 64, how much could you possibly need?), 
all it says is that 6510 code is emulated faithfully.  It does NOT mention 
what sort of kernal is interpreting the code once it's emulated, but I am 
inclined to believe that it's the original 64 kernal and BASIC ROM being 
used in the program, unlike A64, whose programmer wrote his OWN kernal and 
BASIC. Anyone who would successfully attempt such a feat would (and deserves 
to) take credit for it, and the C-64 Emulator author does not.  Plus, the 
games on the demo are all games which were commercial.  Is all of this 
illegal?  Yep.  But I am forced to question just HOW illegal it is: after 
all, it would be rather difficult to legitimately buy a copy of Spy Vs. 
Spy, since the game is no longer in circulation.  The same case can be made 
for the 64 ROMs.  Another interesting parallel is the proliferation of 
Kickstart files in the Amiga world...we all know that developer copies of 
KS 2.0 and above have spread around boards, providing semi-workable 
alternatives to buying a new ROM (I have legitimate 2.1 and feel it was 
worth the money).  At the same time, due to machines which have come out 
with KS 2.04, 2.05, and now 3.0, which have zero compatibility with some 
of the picky 1.3 and below programs, kick files for 1.3 have been published 
in PD disk magazines (a legal faux pas), and I myself have downloaded a copy 
of Kickstart 1.1 (yes, 1.1), back when title bars had the thinnest possible 
horizontal lines running through them, presumably to look like a Macintosh.  
The distribution of 1.3 and 1.1 would still be illegal, since Commodore-Amiga 
holds the copyright...and 1.3 IS still sold in ROM form in some places.  But 
v1.1 is something Commodore hasn't sold in years, and somehow I doubt it is 
practical to come knocking on my door asking for payment.  I got a companion 
copy of Workbench 1.1, and still get a kick out of the three graphics demos 
they included, and the ability to TURN OFF CLI in Preferences.

I was actually glad I didn't submit an article for AR129, as Jim Drew's 
conference was much more informative. I figured I'd do a little responding 
to it, however...

First, in answer to the question "...why anyone would want other platform 
emulation" answer is threefold-first, if there's ANY software for that 
computer you need to run, you can just pop it into your Amiga and run 
it-second, you can use it to impress the hell out of other computer 
users-and third, it's just incredibly neat to be able to take another 
computer's screen, multitask it, and still do silly things like click on the
title bar and fling it up and down.  Not to mention the fact that as software 
becomes sparse for the Amiga in business/application areas, Emplant (or 
other emulators) provide often cheaper solutions than going out and 
buying a new computer-not to mention the fact that in getting an emulator 
or Emplant, you keep as much money as possible out of the rival company's 
hands.  I am curious to see just how well 386/486 emulaton will work without 
a true 386/486 on the board... and that Utilities Unlimited would give away 
all 8-bit emulators is enough to set me to drool...not to mention make me 
think VERY seriously about getting an Emplant.  Money and practicality have 
prevented me up until now...but if I can get a 64, Apple II, and Atari 
emulator free, I think they've got another customer.

A side note: I realize I have been somewhat lax in reporting on Amiga 
emulators lately, and I apologize. With school and the lack of any new 
Amiga emulators that I've actually gotten in my hands, my range of 
knowledge has been a bit depleted. I'm working on getting a set of 
benchmark comparisons between PC-Task and SoftPC, but I need someone with a 
faster Amiga than my 020/14 to run the tests.  For now, I'll close.  Until 
next week, remember: Tell a friend about what the Amiga can do. Tell your 
neighbors what the Amiga can do. Tell ANYBODY with ANY remote interest about
the Amiga. Make them get one. I'm not kidding.