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System 7 era emulator with >8MB

Crutch

Well-known member
Probably an easy question but I just recently started pushing the limits (I think??) of Mini vMac and could use some tips.  I'm doing some dev work on an arcade-style game with Symantec C++ and need to emulate a 1990s-era machine running System 7.5.5 with > 8MB RAM.

Mini vMac, as far as I can see, caps out Mac II emulation at 8 MB (maybe because it's emulating a Mac II proper, which can't have more RAM than that, I think).

Anyone have a recommendation for a good emulator that would make it easy to emulate 16 MB IIx, IIfx, Centris, Quadra etc?  Is Basilisk II a good choice?  It looks like it might not have sound support per the README, and I definitely need sound.  Or is SheepShaver still being maintained?

 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
I do a lot of my development in Basilisk.  It works fine for me.  Sound has always worked fine for me.  SheepShaver is very, very similar to Basilisk, just with an emulated PPC CPU instead of a 68k.

Note, though, that BII and SheepShaver don't emulate any specific Mac; they don't emulate much in the way of specific hardware outside of the CPU.  Instead, they patch in extra code "inside" the emulated Mac to kind of upcall into the emulator.  This approach has its upsides and its downsides; personally, I don't mind it, but it's important to bear in mind especially, I'd imagine, doing games.

 

Crutch

Well-known member
Thanks for the instant response!

It sounds like BII is worth a try.  (The README on GitHub lists sound support as a "TODO" but it's really old, maybe sound was added along the way?)

Is there a recommended way to install it?  Should I built it myself from GitHub?  It seems like there are various prebuilt versions floating around but it's not really obvious how to get started.

 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
Yeah, the whole 'where is the source code and how is it built' is ... rather a mess, honestly.  The github repo is kind of ancient.  The people who are keeping working builds going seem to hang around on the emaculation forums, and there's usually a thread there with the latest builds for each OS hanging around.

Is this OS X you want it to work under?  If so, if everything is too chaotic and you can't get it to work, let me know and I'll zip up my installation and send it over to you.

 

Crutch

Well-known member
OK thanks!  Yes I'm running MacOS Big Sur.  I will check around emaculation and give it a whirl.  I appreciate the help!

 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
Ah, the build I use might be a bit old to work well on Big Sur.  Don't know.  I generally nose around emaculation and downloading the builds from there when I need a new one, anyway.  Good luck!

 

Crutch

Well-known member
Thanks to your encouragement, I am now a proud owner of a happy Basilisk II setup running under Big Sur.  Much obliged!

 

joshc

Well-known member
The really sweet thing about Basilisk II/Sheepshaver is the ability to mount your host volume in the emulator, making file transfers easy. Good to hear it's working in Big Sur too.

 

Crutch

Well-known member
Yeah now that I have it working I love it.  Much better than Mini vMac for emulating a decent powered System 7 era machine.  I had the false impression from the README included on GitHub that the code base wasn’t really being maintained anymore and didn’t support sound emulation on modern MacOS - thanks to @cheesestraws for encouraging me to dig around a little.

For anyone else looking top run Basilisk II in Big Sur, the 64 bit version of Basilisk II is the top link on this page:

https://www.emaculation.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7361

And you need the public beta version of the 64 bit Basilisk GUI from the top link on this other page:

https://www.emaculation.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=10454

From there I followed the “setup manual” instructions exactly (they are very clear) and things worked perfectly (I tried some deviations for fun like emulating a 68030 with IIci ROMs ... that utterly failed, the emulator wouldn’t start at all ... best to just follow the instructions!):

https://www.emaculation.com/doku.php/basiliskii_osx_setup

The 64-bit beta version of the Basilisk GUI couldn’t create a blank HFS volume for me (it said it did it, but didn’t), however this handy tool works great:

https://www.emaculation.com/basilisk/HFSUtilsGUI.zip

Also, in this version of the Basilisk GUI, the “Save” button doesn’t work for me (it just beeps).  The “Start” button, however, will save settings, close the GUI, but not start the emulator.  So, to make changes and go, you have to click “Start” then just manually launch the Basilisk II emulator.  From there, everything is perfect.

I am very excited to now be able to do color 68k game development in Symantec C++ 7.0 on my highly portable 2020 MacBook Air instead of on my 550c (which works beautifully ... but of course has no battery so chains me to my desk!).

 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
I had the false impression from the README included on GitHub that the code base wasn’t really being maintained anymore...


Yeah, I mean the maintenance situation isn't great, but it isn't dead, either.  Glad you got it all working :-D

I am very excited to now be able to do color 68k game development in Symantec C++ 7.0 on my highly portable 2020 MacBook Air instead of on my 550c


Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!  It makes a great development tool IME.  Just, as I said, it's worth keeping in mind that it doesn't really emulate much of the mac, the rest being magical driver magic, so how much this will matter for game dev I don't know.  For application stuff, it's fine.

 

Crutch

Well-known member
One more rookie question -- how do you send an NMI (interrupt switch to drop into Macsbug) to Basilisk?  I can't for the life of me find that info anywhere ...   (Would love to know how to force a restart without force quitting the emulator also)

 
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