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Author Topic: Emulation Questions: Visual Boy Advance / Visual Boy Advance-M  (Read 1607 times)

FreightMan71

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Sorry if this is in the wrong section...figured emulation falls under General Gaming.
If so, my apologies mods, please move to where appropriate.

On to my question....

I am a big emulator fan and for my Game Boy / Game Boy Color / Game Boy Advance needs, I have always used Visual Boy Advance version 1.8.

Very nice, very stable emulator, that is perhaps lacking in the department of overall features, filters and apparently, no OpenGL support.

Enter Visual Boy Advance-M (M=Merged).
It appears the whole Visual Boy Advance project has been splintered off into various pockets were different hackers/developers are making their own version.

Visual Boy Advance attempts to merge all these different 'forks' under one, solid, stable umberella.  Good in theory, however, because there are so many VBA projects to merge out there, a bunch of different 'merged projects have apparently cropped up as well!

I want to move on from VBA 1.8 (this is the original VBA advance that had an update as recent as 2014) to one of the merged versions because they are supposed to offer more features, including better filter and plug in support, better performance, and OpenGL support.

However, I have tried a few, and I get varying degrees of performance on my Windows 10 system...even on versions of VBA that are supposedly optimized for 64 bit systems.

My main question (googling has yielded very little enlightenment), does ANYONE know what the differences are between the current VBA-M versions available?

There is a VBA-M GTK version, a VBA-M WX version, a VBA-m SDL version (see what I mean?? lol...) and then, of course, the plain ol VBA-M (1022 version was the last one, updated in 2009, I used before going back to the regular VBA version 1.8.

Googling acknowledges these all exist, but no one can seem to be able to explain to me what the different versions do, what they are for, and what systems are best suited for them....and yes, all the versions I listed are all Windows versions, and yes, I do understand the differences between a 32bit version vs a 64 bit versions, but these variants are more convoluted than that. Even the VBA website does precious little to help me out...unless they DO explain it, but speak in such over-my-head language (as some programmers tend to do because they assume their reading audience knows what they are talking about), that I missed it.

Any enlightenment in this area in layman's terms would be greatly appreciated.
Till then, I will continue to use the 1.8 older version as it's performance is fantastic on my Win10 system.
But man, it just bugs me that something better could be out there on this emu that I may be missing out on....

Thanks guys n gals

FM71

FAST6191

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Re: Emulation Questions: Visual Boy Advance / Visual Boy Advance-M
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2016, 06:25:56 am »
GTK = Gnome Took Kit which is (was?) a popular linux/bsd desktop environment/library setup. Not much use for windows, if the version was even backported to windows to use the windows ports of gnome.
WX likely = wx widgets, one of the alternatives to gnome (ish) for UI building. However for Linux users it would allow you to dodge having GTK libs installed which can clock a couple of hundred megs.
SDL I have never heard of, in original VBA the VBA-SDL builds were for homebrew development and hacker/cheat uses (those VBA-SDL-h was the one most hackers would have gone in for).
I could probably cover most of the builds that went into VBA-m as well (VBA-link, VBA-link real, VBA smooth, kode54's VBA builds, VBA rerecording, the SDL stuff I mentioned a moment ago and so forth) but that would serve little purpose here, I should say though the splintering happened both after Forgotten packed in development of it and also because he was opposed to certain features (most notably linking) and the dev/hacker versions were a bit slower. Frankly though the only thing VBA-m really ever did for me was improve VBA's less than stellar save support (if you ever had to select a type of flash to play pokemon or something then this was why, it was trivial to detect properly but it did not get in there) and the only reasons I ever really fired up another version of VBA was if it had better cheat finding/hacker support or that was the directory I first clicked on when I needed it, or VBA link when I wanted to play link games. You might get a slightly better video recording option as well.
opengl matters if you are doing a playstation or N64 or DS or something with actual 3d hardware but for the GBA which was very much a 2d affair (give or take a mode7 a like option which is still 2d for all intents and purposes) it does not make a lot of odds.

Also have you ever tried no$gba? It is a great little emulator, it lacks some of the filters VBA has (I do like VBA's x super sai). I should also say you might want to look at something else for your GB/GBC needs -- VBA will certainly do it but BGB is great.

Lilinda

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Re: Emulation Questions: Visual Boy Advance / Visual Boy Advance-M
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2016, 02:42:13 pm »
If you just want pure GBA emulation, try mGBA. It's pretty decent. Kind of early in development, but mostly more compatible and accurate than any VBA-M.
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FreightMan71

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Re: Emulation Questions: Visual Boy Advance / Visual Boy Advance-M
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2016, 03:34:53 pm »
@FAST6191

Wow, thanks.
Your post provided me quite a bit of info along with some more digging around on the matter I did too.

Seems to me, based on the scraps I have found and what you posted, that the differences seem to be on the usages of the various builds.

The WX version for instance, runs on my Windows 10 PC, but no matter how I put the settings, the frame rate seems 'jittery' for lack of a better term (and my pc is no weakling!).

I have yet to put the GTK and SDL versions completely through their paces though.

Like I said, in the meantime, I will stick with the plain ol VBA 1.8 updated last in 2014 I have been using till I can find a better alternative.
It DOES run pretty damned well, its just I wish it had more in the way of filter/plugin features.

I will also look into alternative GBA emus and see how they run on my pc.

Thanks again!

Isao Kronos

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Re: Emulation Questions: Visual Boy Advance / Visual Boy Advance-M
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2016, 08:41:26 pm »
mGBA + BGB until mGBA's GB/GBC stuff is more fleshed out is what I use now