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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys. Can I request that Midtown Madness 3 be made compatible with dxbx? A PC version was never released, and no other emulator will run it. Since this one is a WIP, i figured it would be best to ask here. It's a good game, and I know of quite a few people in the Midtown Madness 2 community who would be interested in playing the 3rd one on PC.

Thanks in advance, _DB_ :)
 

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Sorry, but I want to make clear we don't do requests. (Although I can imagine some games still have a large fan base, so if enough people ask for some title, it might motivate us giving it a look-see. No promised though.)

Alas, in this case the title is not going to be supported by us, as it's a title that was compiled with LTCG (link time code generation). Dxbx will not support those titles in the foreseeable future.

We're currently working on a compatibility list that will also show XDK version numbers and (LTCG imposed) 'potentially (un)supported' status for *all* known games. This will help you determine beforehand if a title has any hope of ever going to be supported.

Thanks to the many dumps & reports we're getting, we're now about half-way into this list, but I suspect it will eventually take months if not years before we got really everything covered. So rest assured we won't hold this to ourselves for too long - I suspect we'll publish this list soon(ish).

Oh, and no hard feelings?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I understand. I suppose the game was just never meant to be played on the PC, even with the use of emulators. This is dissapointing, because playing it on the xbox is awkward and not very fun for a PC gamer such as myself. Anyway, good luck with your program. I hope people enjoy it when it's finished.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry for the double post, but a friend and I started a Petition to get MM3 supported. You did say if the game has a large fanbase, it would motivate you. Well, from the Midtown Madness community, 49 people have signed so far. This is just overnight too, and it could get more signitures.
DXBX Midtown Madness 3 Emulation - Signatures

Please keep in mind that 49 is alot for the surviving Midtown Madness community. We have been playing MM2, a 10 year old game, for a long time. Finally getting to play MM3 on the PC, and very likely be able to mod it, would be a huge deal to us. Please take it under consideration. Thank you for your time. :)
 

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from the FAQ

How can I run games that use this problematic link-time optimization (LTCG)?
We know of only one way around this: use a feature-complete LLE. None exists yet, though, so you’re out of luck. Might we suggest you use an actual Xbox1?

LTCG stands for “Link Time Code Generation” – a technique that optimized an executable during the linking phase. A nasty sideeffect (for us) is that the resulting executable doesn’t contain the exact binary code, as was present in the original libraries.

This fact hinders our pattern scanning engine to such a degree, that we probably won’t find enough symbols that should be patched in order to run the game.

Sure, you could reverse engineer each of those titles and manually add symbol locations (like _SF_ did in Xeon to run Halo), but chances are that even then our patches don’t work anymore because of differences in argument-passing and whatnot.

So for now, we state officially that Dxbx won’t support LTCG generated titles. This paints a clear picture to the general public and gives us more focus on other areas. I’m sure you’ll understand this reasoning.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was already aware of this issue from the first reply. However, my hope was that this may also encourage you to find a workaround for this issue, in addition to supporting MM3. I am sorry for not remembering to say this in my last post.
If you ever do find a workaround, could you let me know in this topic?
 

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Finally getting to play MM3 on the PC, and very likely be able to mod it, would be a huge deal to us. Please take it under consideration. Thank you for your time. :)
How would you even mod an emulated console game? It's impossible. Though I don't know if those interested people are actually thinking of manipulating codes inside the Xbox game data before emulating it...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, thank you for the information. I guess we were assuming it would be moddable, but xbox is a totally different platform than PC. The only reason I said that is I remember reading somewhere that the game seems very moddable, said by someone who had examined the files. However, just playing the game would also be great.
 

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Because most people dont want to go out to buy an xbox just to play the game. And there are people whos xboxes have broken, and can no longer play the game. In addition to that, it just isn't as fun to play it on an xbox when we are so used to playing the series on PC.
The reason 2 is alot more popular than 3 today is because 2 is the last one to be released on PC.
 

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Though I don't know if those interested people are actually thinking of manipulating codes inside the Xbox game data before emulating it...
its very possible. Ive had success making small modifications to a game
before running it in cxbx (and i assume I wouldve had success in dxbx too if i tried it there). The real issue is that theres virtually no way for MM3 to work with an HLE emulator
 

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If someone (other than the Dxbx developers) went to the trouble of identifying and correctly mapping the LTCG parts of the game's code you might get it running on cxbx or dxbx... but its a longshot.
 

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The only thing i can do is.. prehaps is to remove the ltcg check for starting xbe files.
But for this i need to ask patrick for more info..

And still then it is probably not possible to play this game.
For the record, we make a xbox emu, and work on emulating the xbox.. we are not working on some code to get some specifik games working.

Thats why we also do not go into requests of games.,. the answer is simple. it works.. or it is not working. simple is that.

LTCG can screw up pattern scanning a lot.. so removing ltcg check will not make it better.
 

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to be honest.. we just ignore it..
petition or not.. we working on xbox emu in general .. on parts we think it in benefit of the greater good... not yust spending effort in 1 game to get it working.

why make a lot of hacks for 1 game.. we you can spend more time on making it correct.. so everthing benefits of it.
 

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Well... it tells us that indeed Midtown Madness 3 is one of those games that still has a significant fanbase. (And I'm sure there are a few more of those.)

But really, we just cannot go and do requests like this!

Sure, we can take a peek at some titles that seem popular, but that doesn't mean anything - either we're in luck and we get something running by just a fix or two (like what happened to Gauntlet) or it just doesn't work. No matter how badly you want it, to just can't be done overnight. And with MM3 using LTCG we also have a show-stopper, no matter how you turn it. Too bad, but that's the truth as it is right now.

Note, that I've been working on Dxbx for about three years now already, and all we run is a few SDK samples, some homebrew and 4 games. So you see, it's been an enormous amount of work to get this far. And let me remind you all that we do this just for fun! (I must be crazy.)

So to be honest we don't really want hundreds of people distracting us from making progress on other parts. But thanks for trusting us though - that IS a big motivation!

Cheers, PatrickvL.
 

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Having thought about it, I'd like to add a bit of detail :

If we ever want to emulate LTCG titles, we have to overcome a few difficulties/challenges:
- Symbol detection : Xbox executables contain data & code. The code is composed from game code and linked-in library code. This library code is what must be patched, but since LTCG changes the code itself (mainly by inlining functions and optimizing argument passing) we cannot find their location anymore. With enough time, it could be possible to manually find the functions (perhaps using IDA Pro and XbeExplorer), but we're looking at about 400-500 functions. Good luck with that.
- Having found all functions, we still aren't finished : The patches themselves must somehow be able to intercept the different methods that arguments are passed. I would probably opt for adding title-specific 'forwarder' patches for this, which is however not really something you'd want in an emulator.

All this will be less work if there where less patches to be placed in the first place. And that's the only good news I can give right now : I'm working on reducing the number of patches(!) I'll write more about this in a few days, but until then I hope this answer is satisfactory.

And of course, anyone wanting to help us out with all this is more than welcome!
 
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