VARCEM VS 86Box

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daemonspudguy
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VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by daemonspudguy »

What are the differences, which is better, and why?
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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Battler »

86Box is better because VARCem lacks most bugfixes and additions from the last several months.
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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Darkstar »

Your opinion might be a bit biased, Battler ;-)

VARCem development is slow atm, but it focuses on only having things that are proven to work, and on making development easier. For example it has also lots of non-working and badly-implemented stuff removed.
VARcem emulates less machines and hardware than PCem, but what it emulates is confirmed to be as accurate to real hardware as possible. So if you're a new user that just wants to emulate a certain older system without fiddling with the config until you have it working, use VARCem. If you want feature overload and tons of devices, at the cost of it probably not working correctly, use 86box.

Oh, and also VARcem includes the ROMs for what it emulates. They were cleared by the original copyright holders for distribution with VARcem. One of the perks of having a dev with lots of contacts in the industry ;-)
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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by AlphaBeta »

Darkstar wrote:Your opinion might be a bit biased, Battler ;-)
That's a quite hypocritical statement.
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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Battler »

Darkstar wrote:VARCem development is slow atm, but it focuses on only having things that are proven to work, and on making development easier. For example it has also lots of non-working and badly-implemented stuff removed.
So does 86Box - anything that's not working is maybe not removed, but in the Dev branch, but it's still not in the main branch at all. And actually, I can easily show you stuff that was partially implemented in 86Box, that VARCem's main developer went and ported to VARCem anyway, before I even finished it.
As for ease of development - PCem is itself easy to begin developing for, as is 86Box, which aims to make it even easier by gradually cleaning up the code and rewriting individual components one by one. VARCem kind of has the same goal, but it prefers doing more at once rather than gradually one by one.
VARcem emulates less machines and hardware than PCem, but what it emulates is confirmed to be as accurate to real hardware as possible.
And a lot of the accuracy originates in 86Box. See the 808x emulation for example, or the floppy emulation.
So if you're a new user that just wants to emulate a certain older system without fiddling with the config until you have it working, use VARCem.
86Box is just as good as well, and its UI is essentially identical to VARCem's, except it's less rough. For example, there's some things such as the ISA memory carts for which VARCem requires you to save the settings, hard reset the emulator, then go to Settings again and configure, while 86Box allows you to configure them right away.
Also, VARCem is very difficult to set up without the installer, and 86Box also has a VM manager (Overdoze's 86Box Manager) that VARCem does not.
If you want feature overload and tons of devices, at the cost of it probably not working correctly, use 86box.
Please show me one example of feature overload in 86Box, and I mean in in the main branch. I'm fully open to the possibility there is a case.

Though, you seem to be conflating 86Box with PCem. PCem indeed has a lot of non-working stuff in it and feature overload, but 86Box does not. Let's take adding machines for example - PCem will often add machines with skeleton chipsets and missing components, whereas in 86Box, I require that the machine has BIOS and documentation of all chips available, and it does not get into the main branch until it is confirmed fully and correctly working. Of course though, bugs can still slip through.
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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Hyoenmadan86 »

To be fair with all the projects... 86Box, VARCem and PCEm btw are useless a bit useless for anything serious that isn't gaming since all them lack both parallel and serial i/o. A lot of older applications (that aren't games again) require these to print or do any communication, or even debug. Right now only DosBox for DOS apps (using a hacked/patched distro), and Bochs for old OSs which don't run in VirtualBox are the only alternatives for these scenarios.

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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by AlphaBeta »

Hyoenmadan86 wrote:To be fair with all the projects... 86Box, VARCem and PCEm btw are useless a bit useless for anything serious that isn't gaming since all them lack both parallel and serial i/o. A lot of older applications (that aren't games again) require these to print or do any communication, or even debug. Right now only DosBox for DOS apps (using a hacked/patched distro), and Bochs for old OSs which don't run in VirtualBox are the only alternatives for these scenarios.
A lot of older applications don't require any such communication. Not to mention, parallel I/O is supported by both 86Box and VARCem, and in fact, they both emulate a generic text printer and an Epson ESC/P compatible printer. However, I agree that these emulators are quite lacking in these areas. It would be interesting to see the LPT/COM ports accessible either via pass through to a real device, or via pipes or similar to applications running on the host.
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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Battler »

Serial passthrough is planned eventually, I think I still have waltje's old code for it, I just didn't bother with it because the serial port emulation needed fixing first. Now that the serial port emulation is correct, we could even take the dust off that old code and hook it up.
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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Exemptus »

Battler wrote:86Box is better because VARCem lacks most bugfixes and additions from the last several months.
Which one is "better" might be a matter of opinion, but it is a fact that 86box has a lot of bug fixes that other similar projects lack to this date. That is a demonstrable fact - Battler is not being biased on that specific point. I myself reported a few of them and they got fixed.

In the last three months 86box has made a qualitative jump which (for me at least) tipped the scales in its favour. VARCem has a much novice-friendly install and better documentation, but that is just about it. Certain graphic cards are only emulated correctly in 86box of all the projects I have tried. It is still a long way from being perfect and lots of functionality could be added, but it is getting better by bounds - if some time has passed since you looked at it I suggest you give a look to the latest builds and judge for yourself.

I wouldn't mind others trying to surpass 86box in accuracy and functionality, although I understand other emulators have slightly different philosophies. Competition is good, and the emulation scene will be better off for it, but one always wonders if these different philosophies are really all that different.

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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Battler »

How much is it competition, though, when we all for the most part port each other's code to our respective emulators?
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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Hyoenmadan86 »

Battler wrote:Serial passthrough is planned eventually, I think I still have waltje's old code for it, I just didn't bother with it because the serial port emulation needed fixing first. Now that the serial port emulation is correct, we could even take the dust off that old code and hook it up.
Is good to know it. No serial i/o, no real fun.

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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by Exemptus »

Battler wrote:How much is it competition, though, when we all for the most part port each other's code to our respective emulators?
I guess you're right. One could think maybe a new development team might try a diifferent approach to PC emulation and start a fresh codebase from scratch, but this does not seem to be the case. The NES emulation scene has always been extremely fragmented - not so the PC scene. I wonder why; it cannot be for lack of interest. But this is a digression on the original topic.

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Re: VARCEM VS 86Box

Post by ToMi1 »

86Box is better than VARcem for a ton of reasons. :D
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