April 26, 2004

Return of the Prodigal

Yes, I am not dead …yet :p And I had to think long and hard about where to post this one since my main blog at The Developer’s Corner has been inactive as well for the longest of times. I finally decided that the post should go here since this post has nothing at all to do with development but the original dilemma arose from the fact that I did have a lot to say about why I haven’t done any development work in a while :p Ah well, guess there are always going to be such cases where you can’t figure out which blog gets the post when you have multiple blogs. Maybe I should go back to a combined blog? This might actually make sense when I combine Blog and BlogMan (whoops, that sounds like a development related statement … see what I mean?)

Anyway, the situation has been like this – my routine has changed so much that I really haven’t had much time for blog entries .. there is always just too much to do. So I kinda stopped making SM entries and then The Developer’s Corner went into neglect as well since I didn’t have time to code any longer either. I’ve been working on two different fronts – one is my regular job and the other is a separate project that I got involved in as part of my job. This second project has gradually taken up more and more of my time until during the the last month I was even working weekends to get things ready for the Sri Lankan elections which were to be held at the beginning of April. The elections have come and gone and things have calmed down a bit now but I still don’t seem to find the time to update my blog or to do any coding since the two jobs continue to go on. I have decided to try and make more regular updates though since otherwise my two blogs that I seemed to be so religious about updating would just die a natural death. However, I think I really must think about combining The Developer’s Corner and SM. This actually would allow me to make more frequent updates and still try to somewhat keep things on topic since the topic can once again be anything at all :p

So what have I actually been doing? Well just last week, my friend Robin and I were discussing old DOS games – games that we both used to enjoy but hadn’t played in ages. The nostalgic trip down memory lane got me thinking about some of the games I really loved and suddenly, I had a hankering to play some of them. I’d already tried to play a few them, like Gods, on Windows XP but had found the game to be slow and I didn’t really feel like going through that again. However, I suddenly realized that there might be a virtual machine or an emulator around for DOS which might allow me to play the games as they were meant to! My search resulted in me finding DOSBox – an emulator for DOS on Windows (as well as a host of other platforms actually …) – just what I was looking for! My tests with DOSBox were less than satisfactory though since Gods still seemed to run much slower than I remembered. However, I did bag a whole bunch of old DOS games from the Web since there were a lot of abandonware sites which had all my old favourites for download :)

Somewhere along the way, I stumbled across an Amiga emulator – WinUAE. I have no clear recollection as to how that happened now. I realized after some reading that all I needed to run Amiga games was this emulator, an Amiga ROM image and some other little bits and pieces which I was able to get together fairly quickly. I found that there was a whole slew of Amiga games available for download and that all of my old DOS favourites were there in Amiga format too :) Unfortunately, my first attempts at getting an Amiga game running on WinUAE weren’t very successful but this was mostly due to my total lack of knowledge of both Amigas and WinUAE. I finally stumbled upon the correct way to set things up in WinUAE so that I can run a game and my first game was Deliverance. I was so hooked by the game (yes, even though it was ancient :p) that I played it till about midnight on Friday!

Over the weekend, I perfected my configuration of WinUAE for playing Amiga games and was able to get a few of my old favourites like Gods, Lemmings, The Lost Vikings and Chaos Engine working just fine on it. The game play is as good as ever, there is no speed difference and the best thing of all, the games take only a few megs on my hard disk! What more can one ask for? :p

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