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15.Jan.2022



Web emulator: vAmigaWeb
For quite some time we have been reporting about vAmiga, an Amiga emulator for MacOS that emulates the classic Amigas 500, 1000 and 2000. Based on this code, two web ports have been developed in the last months: vAmigaWeb and vAmiga (online). We had already mentioned both in our article Emulation: vAmiga as web port and tested the latter in more detail.

The subject of today's article is the web implementation vAmigaWeb by the developer 'mithrendal'. As the author explains to us, it had already become apparent during the development and design of his predecessor project VirtualC64 Web that a desktop app must have different characteristics than one that wants to cover all device classes. These are as follows:
  • adapts to devices with different sizes (keyword responsive design)
  • virtual touch joystick
  • virtual touch mouse
  • virtual keyboard
  • custom action buttons that let you build your own onscreen buttons
  • these can be stored with user-defined scripts for controlling e.g. continuous fire. You can even design your own 'bot controls', which is made possible by querying and processing the enemy sprite positions in your own custom script. A corresponding script editor with syntax highlighting and intelligent code completion is built in.
  • runs on all browsers of the last 4 years including on iPhone/iPad-Safari
vAmiga (online) by Christian Corti, on the other hand, aims at a 1:1 adaptation of the Mac desktop version of Dirk Hoffmann's vAmiga, i.e. porting the elegant desktopUI of the Mac to the web. Due to its design, it does not support mobile device classes or not to the full extent. According to Corti, the purpose of vAmiga (online) is to be used on a real desktop with keyboard and mouse connected. vAmigaWeb, on the other hand, is also very usable on the go on a cell phone or with a tablet (on the couch).

vAmiga (online) on the other hand will still get quite a few features of the Mac version, such as various inspectors for CPU, blitter, etc…. Both versions support the saving of snapshots, i.e. game states: At any point in a game, you can save the game state using 'take snapshot' and thus conveniently bypass loading times. This is especially useful at a very difficult part of a game, where you try tirelessly to defeat the 'final enemy'. Having saved the score shortly beforehand, you can always try your luck from there. Taking snapshots can also be assigned to keys, e.g. the key 's' can be used to save the game state and the key 'r' (reload) to restore it. These key assignments can be created using the action buttons, the '+' icon in the menu bar.

Having reached this point, one or the other is surely eager to simply test the web emulator. Therefore, we do without screenshots and recommend two different variants instead:
Those (experts) who would like to take a closer look at the emulator and test their favorite game are advised to use the direct start. All others who first want to get an idea and comfortably see the emulator in action are recommended to visit the website especially created for vAmigaWeb:

Here you get the pleasure of seeing another feature live in action: The emulator embedded, i.e. integrated, in a website. Here done and ready configured for a demo, three games - brandnew here the Knightmare Amiga port, which was released just four days ago - and SysInfo.

Our test showed that we could basically run all games smoothly with our Samsung laptop with Intel Core i3-2330M processor, but we experienced sound jitters during the demo and when we additionally moved the mouse during the Celtic Heart game. Presumably, two cores are not sufficient here. The author would be happy to receive more empirical values in this regard.

Having asked the author how he actually came up with this project idea, he said:
"I participated in the iAmiga project in 2016, which is a native Amiga emulator for iOS. But since it is only based on an outdated version of WinUAE, it has many compatibility issues, some of which I was able to fix (by patching back current WINUAE source code) but overall it was difficult. Then there was the possibility to take completely the current WinUAE code (like FS-UAE by Frode Solheim) but the source code is so complex and "grown" over decades. In 2019, Prof. Dirk Hoffmann started writing this completely rewritten, highly efficient vAmigaCore. He bought some real Amigas (I still had an old A1000) to have test candidates to benchmark the emulation against, if it is really accurate.

I was bothered by the fact that Apple does not allow emulators in the Appstore and the 'free provisioning certificates' for developers only work for 7 days, so I came to PWAs, the ProgressiveWebApp standard from Google, with which you can build quasi native apps in HTML5. So the step to compile the source code from Dirk into a WebAssembly (binary code) was obvious.

The so installed PWA on Android or iOS is executed many times faster than for example Rupert Hausberger's Scripted Amiga Emulator. First, however, the VirtualC64 Web was created in 2019. You can also integrate it into your own web pages as well as a Youtube player." (dr)

[News message: 15. Jan. 2022, 09:42] [Comments: 0]
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