Emulators Not Running As Well As They Did In Previews


Still Fresh
Jun 2, 2008
I’m no programmer & I’m not trolling but this has been niggling me since the Pandora’s started shipping, I’ve now plucked up the courage to ask the question.

Why do some emulators now look a lot slower than the demo’s on YouTube from months/years ago?

Why have others not been released when they look perfectly playable.

For example:

Final Burn:




By the looks of these video’s it’s running full speed, sadly not released.



Again looks very playable, no release?




This is what zodttd has to say about his video (the one above) posted October 17, 2008:

Here's Outrun running on Pandora via mame4all!
I had such fun with Franxis' mame4all project for the GP2X, that I decided to give it a port to the Pandora. Pandora is a upcoming high end gaming handheld (homepage: openpandora.org). I did this port in approximately two hours. It uses the Cyclone and DrZ80 assembly cores. It has fully working sound via OSS. Everything I have thrown at it runs fullspeed and requires throttling, and this is all at 500MHz instead of the 600MHz+ the Pandora can handle with ease! Also worth mentioning I am using a very early devkit, so I had to scale the screen as well as rotate it within software, so performance will be even better on newer devkits and the final product! Note that screeching wheels sound is normal Outrun goodness, though a tad annoying! I am using headphones for outputting the sound as well.

The little time it took to port this over from the GP2X to the Pandora and the resulting performance increase is amazing.


This looks to be running at full speed, yet the version most people have played sounds much slower. Can anyone test out Outrun & Mortal Kombat as a comparison?

I know zodttd has many irons in the fire but I'm sure everyone would really appreciate a release of this after seeing how well it runs.

I don't even have a Pandora yet (I have put my name forward for the batch just announced) but I have been following the progress here and have felt a bit deflated after seeing all the video's above plus many more showing stuff full speed then for people to receive their Pandora's and find this is not the case.

I know it's early days and most of the coders will not have their machines, but if they have development kits and the software is running so well why not release them.
This has been answered before (I'm afraid I don't have a link to hand right now, though - sorry about that). The gist of it, basically, is that the OS and what makes it tick has changed a lot since then, and such changes can break or alter things along the way - those same executables may not work on the shipping units, even, due to this.

That's my (very simplified) understanding of it - please do correct me if I'm wrong. :p
More to point -- mame4all is not released, for instance; the MAME port we have right now is SteveM's quick port, of the actual full MAME; MAME4ALL is a very old version of MAME, and MAME has several very noticable fps-droppers over its lifetime as they change the internals around. (ie: For example, back in the day MAME supported 8bpp but newer MAME's do not; I thnjink they've dropped support for 'dirty buffer' checks to reduce complication in the code (!); stuff like that loses performance, so the latest MAME performs poorer than an older MAME, for the same game; hence, we're susing a much newer MAME right now, and its a straight X11 MAME; the MAME4ALL is an older (faster) version, and one tweraked for handhelds (faster still).

I think slaanesh will be working on MAME4ALL for Pandora.

So in terms of MAME, thats 'apples to oranges' sort of.

The others, as you say, are not released.


To wit, there is some small truth to the OS being in the way -- back then, there was _no_ OS running at all per se - just a kernel and a shell and some basics, so that scores you a little bit of performance; but our full OS or minimenu are not too much in the way nowadays (hotfix #3 anyway) -- a couple fps max cost here or there. We'll trim things down more over time.

I can safely say for example that Hatari back in the day versus Hatari now is basicly the same performance wise.


Folks still have the option to ditch the entire OS and run a kernel+shell+app, but a lot of apps won't work in that setup, but apps built for it will; I've had a minimal set up like that nearly ready for distributing a few times, but I just don't have time to work on it right now; I'm sure someone will do something, or I'll get around to it again eventually :)

So the answer is -- it depends; you're comparing wildly different builds of diffewrent emus on different OSes :) You too can switch to those builds (compile them yoursewlf or try to get the ancient builds, likely won't work anymore), and those rudimentary OSes (we can tell you how to get going.)

I know it's early days and most of the coders will not have their machines, but if they have development kits and the software is running so well why not release them.
I understand where your coming from, but a developer also has to consider:
1. Its often better to release a more polished program later than an early buggy release that is only command line based and is non-configurable (and everyone complains about).
2. There's also the fact that once you make an initial release people expect you to continue to develop and update it.
3. There may be a developer from the community that hasn't received there pandora yet, but who had already put in significant effort in porting the app to handhelds(to GP2X, etc) and would like to maintain control of releases.
Thanks for your replies, very helpful, (apart from SomeGuy99, whats that about :blink: )

As I say I'm no coder, I'm a retro nut and to see some of the old classics running on a hand-held is amazing.

I'm sure by the time my Pandora arrives everything will be running much better.
No problem, just threw me a little the massive image (linked too, naughty naughty)

Ian_J said:
No problem, just threw me a little the massive image (linked too, naughty naughty)


Fixed: Because I'm a kind, caring and concerned kind of troll. :wub:
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Ian_J said:


Again looks very playable, no release?

I actually sent Firefox a pm a couple of weeks ago asking about the status of this emulator, and he never responded. :(

-God Ginrai
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My main use for a Pandora would be MAME or Final burn, this is why I'm questioning the speeds shown in video's vs real world at the moment.

If it means I have to run everything through a shell so be it, I was playing games through dos before Win 95 came along so not too much of a problem. Of course this requires coders to release compatible version of the emu's.

That said having a PlayStation emulator running at the quality it is already is very impressive, especially as I have a large box of PSX games in the garage that I've carted to and from every car boot clear out we've done in the last 10 years, those will be getting ripped as soon as I get a Pandora.
Well as far as I know, many of those early videos about emulators were running on overclocked hardware with early versions of the OS.
Give some time to the devs to learn how to use the hardware at his full potential (NEON and SGX) and we will have great emus. (Since the Amiga 500 is fullspeed, my wish is already granted :p)
I mean, there are only a few hundred Pandoras in the wild and they're not all in the hands of devs.