Phoinix, the free Gameboy emulator for PalmOS

by Bodo Wenzel
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  limits and extensions ==>
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About limits and extensions

On this page: - What Phoinix can't do - What the Gameboy can't do - Known problems

What Phoinix can't do

Well, you need about ten times the power of the emulated machine on an emulating machine! If you compare a real Gameboy and Phoinix (on 16 MHz machines) you'll see that there is only a factor of four. The real Gameboy has hardware support for displaying sprites and playing sounds. The handheld has a totally different screen memory organisation and no sprite hardware. At last its sound capabilities are poor. This leads to the following:

  • Slowdowns at games, mainly action and arcade.
  • Garbled graphics if special programming techniques are used.
  • Demo programs with heavy interrupt usage work very slowly or not at all.
  • Games with special display programming tricks work very slowly or not at all.
  • No sound.
  • No color.
  • No link feature (but I'd like to add this).

What the Gameboy can't do

It is in the nature of emulation that Phoinix can do things the Gameboy can't:

  • Depending on the options of your overclock tool, change the speed of a game. Sorry that it's generally slower than the original...
  • Pause the emulation at any state.
  • Save the state of a game at any point.
  • Load a saved state to restart.
  • Change games without losing your current state.
  • Take snapshots of the screen (any experiences which tools are capable of storing the grey-mode screens are welcome).
  • Select a button mapping you like.

(This list will grow when features are added ;-)

Known problems

Low contrast on non-color displays

The LCD (liquid crystal display) of the non-color devices creates the grey shades by toggling fast between black and white. Because the display is so sluggish your eyes see some level of grey. But some displays have problems to keep a steady level if some columns are mostly black, the effect is called "streaking" - see Till's No Streak Hack documentation. So Palm Inc. introduced a slower pixel clock for newer devices which reduces the contrast a bit if switched into grey mode. You may have to adjust the screen contrast a bit to get a nice appearing of all four levels.

Till did you a favour, and wrote Grayhack, a module for X-Master or HackMaster. This module is used to adjust the grey levels when your handheld switches into the 4-level-grey mode.