NLMSX 0.48

by MSX Resource Center on 21-04-2005, 00:00

NLMSX was one of the first emulators to offer turboR and Moonsound emulation and its straight-forward GUI have made it the first choice in MSX emulation to many. Essentially, NLMSX offers all features a normal gamer needs, but little more. A simple menu allows the user to select ROM or DSK images to run. On the bottom of the screen basic information on the emulation status can be found, like which screen mode(s) the MSX is running, which refresh rate it uses and at what speed the CPU is emulated.  

 

The configuration menu gets quite technical, but as each configuration is well pre-configured those extra options can remain untouched in most situations. The is one default setting that causes some trouble, though. During the first set of tests we noticed the turboR emulation of NLMSX was a lot less accurate than could be expected from the MSX2 test results. Illusion City and Seed of Dragon would not even boot, for instance. We soon figured out this was caused by a default setting of NLMSX, booting the turboR in MSX-View mode all the time. With this option turned off, running Illusion City and Seed of Dragon was no longer impossible.  

 

Another interesting thing we noticed during our tests is the fact that, even when manually selecting the V9938 emulation core, NLMSX always seems to be (partly) emulating the V9958 VDP, supporting SCREEN 10, 11 and 12 and hardware scrolling.  

 

NLMSX comes with two different methods of emulating the MSX-MUSIC. One developed by Mitsutaka Okazaki, the other developed by Jarek Burczynski. Both offer decent MSX-MUSIC emulation. Jarek's core sounds a bit warmer and sharper than the Mitsutaka core, yet seems to use a bit more CPU-load. This is probably the reason why the Mitsutaka core is set as the default core.  

 

Accuracy

 

Only 3 of the MSX2 tests we ran worked completely as they should: Aleste 2, Bombaman and FAC Demo 5. All other tests showed some minor glitches, mostly related to unstable screensplits. There were a few tests that really gave the emulator some trouble. Apart from the megademos Almost Real, Metal Limit and Unknown Reality, which pull a lot of tricks that require exact timing for correct emulation there are two surprising tests that scored low as well: Avaakkus, which showed a lot of garbage instead of graphics on-screen and Sphere, which only revealed the Infinite logo.  

 

After solving the boot-problems of Illusion City and Seed of Dragon, as mentioned above, the turboR emulation proved to be about as good as the MSX2 emulation. NLMSX lacks one major feature, though: it does not emulate the PCM. This makes products like No Waste, Seed of Dragon and Zone Terra a lot less entertaining. In Seed of Dragon some of the cutscene animations ran a lot faster than on the real thing. Multiplex runs but somehow the first level isn't half as hard as on a real turboR and the SWISS Demo showed quite some glitches as well. Illusion City suffered from a few glitches in the 'Project I animation' and unstable splits in the dialog boxes.  

 

Music

 

NLMSX supports all the essential MSX sound chips out there: PSG, SCC, MSX-MUSIC, MSX-AUDIO and even OPL4. The PSG emulation of the emulator is very good, it closely resembles the real thing. MSX-MUSIC and MSX-AUDIO sound quite good as well. SCC emulation is good enough to capture the atmosphere of most songs, but it could use some attention as it doesn't sound as sharp or full as the real thing. OPL4 emulation could do with quite a lot of improvement. In some cases songs were way off-tune and voices sounded completely different from the real thing, or OPL4 emulation in other emulators for that matter.  

 

Conclusion

 

NLMSX is a decent, user-friendly MSX emulator which will run most games and demos for MSX1 and MSX2 correctly. There's one feature lacking in NLMSX gaming fanatics might miss: NLMSX does not support save-states. For the rest, only when you start emulating the turboR, OPL4 or run really timing-critical software the emulators shows its imperfections, most of which can be lived with. NLMSX has lost the lead in the MRC Emulation chart, but it certainly remains an emulator to look out for. A new release could change everything.  

 

Information chart

MSX2 CPU Benchmark:         996
MSX2 VDP Benchmark:         1069
turboR CPU Benchmark:       1531
turboR VDP Benchmark:       1679
MSX1/2 accuracy score:      61.25%
turboR accuracy score:      72.00%
Music quality score:        73.33%
Usability & Features score: 47.06%
CPU load MSX2 idle:         ~ 95.00%
CPU load turboR idle:       ~ 95.00%
MRC EmuRank:                63.84%
Emulator interface:         GUI
Save-states:                no
Screenshots:                yes
Joystick support:           yes
Mouse support:              yes
Printer support:            no
Real disk support:          no
Multi-disk support:         no
Change disk:                yes
Dir as disk:                no
MSX1 palette:               no
Image enhancements:         no
Fullscreen:                 yes

NLMSX website: http://nlmsx.generation-msx.nl/

 

To see how NLMSX compares to other emulators, check out the MRC EmuRank chart.

Comments (3)

By Manuel

Ascended (15369)

Manuel's picture

23-04-2005, 15:52

Note that on my real turboR, Illusion City also shows unstable screenspits at the dialogs. Mostly above the images (of e.g. Tien Ren) though.

By Manuel

Ascended (15369)

Manuel's picture

30-04-2005, 20:30

Ehm, mostly at the top left of the dialogs left to the pictures, I mean. But, also at the first line of the picture there is some flashing going on.

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

01-05-2005, 14:53

Why is that anyhow? You'd think they would be able to time a split rather nicely on a ~ 20+ MHz Z80...