Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How to install Xe Multi-System Emulator in Ubuntu/Kubuntu

After slogging through pages of someone else's experience to extract the info I needed, I figured I'd copy a condensed version for others. My instructions are based on Kubuntu/Ubuntu, so if you are using another distro, you'll have to find out what libraries it wants -- but the rest probably is the same.

Let me first explain that Xe emulates a number of rare/unusual old systems. The exciting one for me is that it brings the FM-Towns Marty in English to Linux and Windows. This means that after years of waiting, I can play the massively enhanced copies of the Ultima Series, including Ultima 6 with full speech, often by the very Origin people that the characters like Lord British were based on.

Anyway, you first go to and download Xe. I saved it to downloads and then expanded it so all the files went into xetemp to make it easy. Open up another window pointing to your home directory, and tell it to show you all files, but don't do anything more yet.

Now open up a terminal session, and "cd" to where you unpacked all the files, like
cd /home/YOURLOGIN/downloads/xetemp
Now tell the terminal:
sudo -i
so you stay logged in as root and don't have to type "sudo" every line. (Wish I'd learned that a few months ago, instead of tonight!)

Copy these names (highlight, hit ctrl-c), because they're the libraries Xe will require in order for you to set it up:
build-essential libgtk2.0-dev libasound2-dev libxv-dev libxxf86vm1 libxxf86vm-dev

Type in the terminal:
apt-get install
then hit shift-insert to paste the library list, then enter.
Sit back or go get a soda/beer/milk/whatever you like, while the terminal scrolls lines past too quickly for most people to read as it (hopefully) installs everything you asked for.
Instruct the terminal (you should still be in xe's temporary directory):
If it says you're missing something, go search the web or Ubuntu forums for what library it's in. Otherwise, it's probably going to give you a bizarre error claiming you're not really logged in as root (even though you are) which means you have everything it needs!

Now, the simple part. Bring up those two file windows, one aimed at xetemp, the other your home (with hidden files showing). Your home should now have a folder called .xe -- find it (or create it, if it's not there), and go inside.

Copy everything from xetemp to the .xe folder; if it asks whether you want to over-write newer files, choose No.

Make sure that bios, modules, the rc in both windows have the same files. If the xe version is missing anything, copy it over from xetemp. Once you're sure you have everything in sync, you can probably safely delete the xetemp folder, especially if you still have the original file you downloaded.

Finally, go to the Games area in your main menu (or wherever you prefer; I used the desktop), and create a new shortcut for Xe. You'll have to find an icon you like on your own, but that's it -- the basic emulator is installed. I think we have to find BIOS files for each system we want to emulate, but at least the emulator is there and just need games! (HINT: One good place to start is finding SNESOrama on the web, and going into their forums.)

Now to figure out how to use the emulator...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've always wanted a fan page...

The last couple of weeks with Linux have been unpleasant -- Compiz was muting out all sound in KDE so I had to disable it, I couldn't figure out how to make any emulators aside from Infocom play games (with Infocom I failed to create a desktop shortcut at that), and finally, despite trying several sites, I could not manage to upload a few large files. Finally did it in XP Friday morning after starting to cry from sheer frustration. :-p

Enough grumbling... A little bit ago, I mentally signed myself up for a little project: I'm going to figure out how to best emulate the first seven Ultimas in Linux, then post a guide for newbies so they aren't stuck with weeks of trial-and-error. Eventually I'll have guides up for every emulator platform (Apple, C64, FM Towns, etc.) and if I'm really really lucky, the best music hardware for each. One of the Ultima Dragons has a page up with .ogg music files demonstrating the difference between each song being played on the most pricy cards versus the standard, and it really is shocking.

Also found another person that is evidently trying to live with the Virtues as I've done for the last 20 years, and signed up for his forum. I'm hoping to convince myself that it's "safe" to communicate there, because anyone else that has been on the same path I am is very unlikely to ever get nasty like many people do. We shall see...