This editorial originally appeared on the main page of the EmulationZone the day after UltraHLE was released.
I feel someone must mention the statement below in the mists of the hoopla generated by the release of the first complete N64 emulator, UltraHLE.
Dear UltraHLE Team
You idiots, you just killed the last exciting area left for all us console emulator buffs to follow. By releasing a complete N64 emulator without providing the public with “beta” releases for us to follow your progress, how do you expect the public to gain a feel and respect for the work you were doing? Where do you think the enthusiasm would come from for people to actually read technical documents and the technological “read me” documents explaining all the programming issues you are trying to resolve? Let me explain my views from the beginning....
The console emulator projects from earlier years (1996) to the present were an amazing thing to watch. Everyone got to know the emulator, got to know its ups and downs, and even got to know the authors! If a game didn’t work, you tried to figure out why and actually learned a little about the unit in the process, like “no Mode 7 support.” (The rotation and scaling effects handled by the SNES unit.)
These communications between people sparked a community that we know as today as the “Emulation Scene.” With the help of the internet, this scene became a global event and spread around the globe like wild fire.
Instead of following the mold that everyone in the emulation scene was expecting, you (the UltraHLE team) worked on a N64 emulator as a “hush hush” project and released it to the public when it was “perfect.” Now the project is killed because of its “unseen” impact by ROM pirating rings. I’m not going to go in detail explaining my side on this issue and I’m not going to flame or promote the ROM distribution scene, but I’ll say one thing: people who are only interested in the “games” and not in the work made by the emulator authors themselves have been plaguing the “emulating scene” since late 1996. In fact, Rom pirates have been around long before an emulation scene was established by illegally trading NES, Genesis and SNES games via ROM copiers. I find it hard to believe that no one though that a “perfect” N64 emulator that came right out of the blue that no one ever heard of was not going to have an impact on those people.
True, we all want to see a complete N64 Emu, and heck, being able to run a game designed to run at 320x240 resolution at 800x600 is really amazing, but deep inside, I feel you just robbed us off of the one thing that all the emulator buffs were looking for: a N64 project to follow to the end. That’s what made SNES9X and VGB-DOS fun to watch: monitoring the progress of something that hasn’t been done go the distance. With a complete N64 emulator is out, these nothing to watch, nothing to follow, nothing to read about. In essence, the party is over.
So what am I saying? I think UltraHLE is one hell of an impressive piece of work, and anyone who calls themselves an emulator nut really must give this emulator a shot, but I only wished that we arrived to the day of the perfect N64 emulator in a different manor then what was done. I would rather of saw monthly or bi-monthy postings of their progress then an "all at once" emulator release. I now fear that the IDSA has the ammo needed to cause considerable damage to the emulation scene that we all know and love.