Future DraStic Android port: help needed


Nothing good will ever come of Exophase.
Sep 21, 2006
Cleveland OH
August 7 2013: DraStic is available now. You can get it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dsemu.drastic&hl=en We don't need any more beta testers at this time. Thanks for the support everyone!

You can discuss the emulator more at our forum here: http://www.drastic-ds.com

As some of you know, Lordus and I are currently working on an Android port of DraStic. It's going along pretty well and it's getting to the point where we need to start seriously planning for a future release. Not to say a release is quite ready for testing (and the next Pandora version will definitely be released first) but I figured it'd be better to be asking too early than too late. For those interested, the plan is to charge $8, which might sound like a lot but I can explain my reasoning behind it if anyone cares.

We're looking for just a small number of people who can test and provide feedback at some later point. These are the qualifications in order of importance:

1) Must seem very trustworthy to me. Sorry if this sounds really vague, and if I turn you down over this it's nothing personal - probably only a small percentage of people are going to be eligible.. And that's a big reason why I'm posting it here. So I guess people who have a long forum history and seem helpful and honest to me stand a good chance. I'm mainly looking to avoid anyone leaking the thing, which is something that has happened to other emulators.

2) Needs to be able to communicate regularly with us, preferably on IRC but I can do AIM/MSN/GTalk/etc

3) Should test lots of games thoroughly

4) Access to a variety of Android devices including less common ones is desirable. The emulator requires ARMv7a w/NEON so at least an Android device with that support is necessary (no Tegra 2 support, sorry).

Also, would help a lot to have a website going for this, so please let me know if anyone is interested in helping with that - I can probably give some payment for it (let me know what you think is reasonable too)
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I can test on a S3 if you like.

I have no other Android devices unfortunately.
I'm trust worthy and respect that people don't want their work leaked.

I can do websites too, I've done a few which I can chop/change so that would be no problem.

I have a few android devices;

Sony Xperia Play phone
Sony X10 mini pro phone
Aoson Wopad tablet
Nexus 7 tablet
Archos Gamepad tablet
JXD S7300 tablet

Also have a couple those HDMI Android sticks I use with remotes, MK808 and another Chinese made one.

...probably pick up my HTC One this week too

More than happy to help you out with testing and feedback, and as I said with a website.

Let me know if need me to ok
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I could test on a Samsung Galaxy Note II, but only got 5 games to test
If you need another tester I'll put my name in the hat as well. Getting a shield which I'm sure might be of interest to get it to work on.

Current Devices
Jxd s7300
Samsung Galaxy note 2
Samsung Nexus s 4g
HTC evo 3d
Lg optimus
Asus tf101
Xperia play
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For those interested, the plan is to charge $8

That does sound a little steep based upon the cost of emulators / software in general on the android market. I'd love to hear a little more about your logic / goals here.

I'm sure I'll be 'teaching my grandma to suck eggs' but here are a couple of thoughts on a good way to charge for your endeavours   :

Release a fully functional yet somehow limited demo version (perhaps a 15 minute play time limit, perhaps saves disabled etc.) so people can be 100% certain that Drastic works on their device before paying $8 for an unlock code / premium version.

Release the whole thing as fully functional and unlimited donation-ware : as per gridrunner from llamasoft that way people can check it works for them & also donate whatever they want / can afford. Nobody can come asking for a refund, nobody can complain if it does not work. Doing it this way may well keep you out of sight of those Nintendo Lawyers. I'd be pretty certain that if you intend to sell via the Google play store and you reap the dividends you deserve then you'll see a bit of legal action from Nintendo once Drastic becomes a feature in the 'top grossing' charts.

However you do it, you need to think of how much time you want to spend dealing with people who are not capable of putting the bios in the right place etc. If you plan to make Drastic your 'full time job' then I guess that sort of thing is a part of it, but my guess is that this is not your intention.

Best of luck, hope Drastic is really successful for you, it's an amazing emulator, can't beleive the performance it gets on a 600Mhz Pandora.

PS Would be very happy to test on a Stock Nexus 7 running Android 4.2.2 and also a Nexus 7 running Android 4.1.2 via a custom rom.
Okay, this is why I'm charging $8 where others charge something more like $3-6.

1) Unlike most of the other emulators not a port, that relevance is that paying for it encourages core development and not just porting maintenance.

2) Unlike a lot of other people I'm not selling several emulators, just this one (I used to get money from gpSP but just for Cydia and that doesn't happen anymore)

3) It's a more complex/difficult to optimize system than most that are being emulated on Android

4) It'll be the only one in its class speed-wise, the next best DS emulator is a free port of desmume, so there's not a lot of incentive to buy a bunch to find out what's worth using.

5) The price can go down in time but can't really go up (I mean, it can but that'd be pretty lame), so the initial price can't be that generous. Other emulators have already had time to go down in price.

The two other systems of arguably comparable complexity currently emulated on Android are PS1 and N64 (not counting Dreamcast since that's not officially released). PS1 is split between three emulators, with the free one being very competitive in performance and compatibility. N64 all consists of ports of the same open source emulator. So the situation would be pretty different here.

I think there's a weird mindset when it comes to Android/iOS prices, where it's taboo to go beyond a certain price, like they'll balk at a game that costs $10 even if it's much better than one that costs $1. If you're going around impulse buying tons of things then of course you're going to pass over the more expensive stuff, but if something stands out and gets much of a reputation it can warrant a higher price than stuff in the same class that was less work to develop and is less unique.

Still, I'll have to play it by ear, if I get a lot of negative response from the price it could be lowered to $6-7. I don't think $8 is a lot to ask if the emulator meets people's expectations but it's a lot to spend on a risk, in which case I'll let the rating steer my decisions on this, at least early on. None of the DS emulators on Android currently have very good ratings - best is 3.7 which is alright, I guess. But an emulator that stands out could be worthy of a premium if it can command a substantially higher rating.

I thought about doing a demo but it's a difficult balancing act figuring out what to keep in so that it's enough for people to know what they're getting without giving them too much. Things like time limits can end up being things you can hack around, although I'm not sure that'd be worth the effort. It's still something I'm considering, but I'd go with a pretty full gamut of limitations.. like no/diminished sound, decreased resolution/color depth/modified colors, definitely no savestates or backup emulation. People really need an incentive to buy the real thing. On the other hand, if the demo is too offensive it'll get an awful rating and people will think it's reflective of the full version.

What I'd really like is if Google Play had a configurable refund period, so I could just give people 48 hours instead of the 15 minutes they get. I'm concerned about people who can't get the BIOS and all that, but it'll at least have an in-app setup to help make sure you get it in right. Eventually I hope to HLE out the need for BIOS but I don't have time for that right now. Still would like to be able to give refunds within 48 hours, it'd just be a lot of work to do manually and I don't know how well Google works with you on this.

I don't think people would donate all that much (I remember gpSP back on PSP had hundreds of thousands of downloads but I got maybe a few dozen dollars in donations), and I don't see how that would make a difference to Nintendo. More to the point, it'd be a good way to get my PayPal account frozen, so I'd need something else from the start.
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I'd have thought disabling savestates and not emulating flash saves would be a good enough reason for most people to upgrade. Unlike GBA there aren't so many games on DS that are just rinse and repeat, although there are one or two so maybe you need another solution for an upgrade from demo incentive too.
I have a Motorola Droid X, comparable spec wise to the 1Ghz Pandora.
Considering you pay 8 bucks for a beer in Norway, the prize doesn't seem that high after all :p
I hope it will be 8$ for everyone, not 8€ and 8£.
$8, but I don't know how the pricing works for people using other currencies. I assumed Google Play will convert for you, maybe with a small fee. I didn't plan on taking in other currencies directly..
Hey Exophase many thanks for this, I really don't have a problem with the price especially when you consider it's being built from scratch.

A few questions if I may..

Will the 3D games run as well/fast as the 2D stuff, what graphical enhancements do you plan on implementing & will it have native support for the Sixaxis & other bluetooth pads (can you use touchscreen & pad simultaneously)

I have an HTC Sensation and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
In case you need those devices tested... but I'm not around much, so could only give sporadic feedback. Library of games is also minimal. Only mentioned in the event you specifically need to test compatibility with these devices.