ParaJVE : Parabellum's Java Vectrex Emulator   

Official Home of ParaJVE ... A travel through the programming of a freeware Vectrex emulator in java!

Friday, April 13, 2007  

Version 0.5.0 is out!

As promised, the latest release is now available for download. Since its content and changes have already been described in the previous posts, I won't bother writing some release notes here...

Just grab the build of your choice, and have fun with your preferred gamepad! :o)

If you're a Linux or MacOS-X user, please feel free to report any problem, it will help me to make better builds for these platforms in the future.



  • Excellent emulator, however, the colors are a little faint, so it is hard to see where you´re going in the game. How can that be changed?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/12/2007 12:07 PM  

  • Yes, ParaJVE needs some proper way to set the vectors settings (brightness, lines width, and so on...)

    Some of this settings can already be tweaked through the configuration file, though. This file is named "configuration.xml", and is located in the "data/" folder of the emulator.

    Once you edit it, you will see an entry for each game in the '<games>' section (unfortunately, the settings must be changed for each game - there is no way to globally alter them).

    To have brighter vectors, just raise the values for 'normal' in the lines that read: '<shininess normal="2.0" blurred="1.5" />'. Something along the lines of "4.0" should suffice.

    If it's still not enough, you can also set passes="1" in the '<overlay ... passes="2" ... />' lines (it will increase the overall lines brightness, but this will also dim the overlay colors).

    Hopefully it will do the trick! :)

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 5/12/2007 2:40 PM  

  • I tried that, but after opening the config file it won´t let me alter the values ... wonder what I am doing wrong here?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/12/2007 5:58 PM  

  • Hmm I don't quite get it...
    Do you mean your editor doesn't let you type/save text, or something else?

    What Operating System are you using?

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 5/14/2007 10:09 AM  

  • Yes, exactly: the editor doesn't let me type/save text. All I can do is insert the cursor, but when I try to type something, it won´t appear on the screen.

    I´m using Windows 2000.

    Any idea what to do?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/14/2007 2:14 PM  

  • All right, I think you're not opening the file with a true "editor" : Chances are that you double-clicked the configuration file, thus opening it within Internet Explorer (Windows' default editor for XML files).

    What you should do instead is explicitly start notepad.exe (for instance), and open the configuration file with it (through the "File->Open..." menu).

    From there it should work properly...

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 5/14/2007 2:33 PM  

  • Ha, that did the trick! Thanx a lot - I should have come up with that by myself, but anyway ... Now it´s working just fine and the colors are bright enough.

    Thanx again and keep up the good work!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/14/2007 8:52 PM  

  • You're welcome!
    Thanks for your comments, and have fun! :)

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 5/14/2007 9:29 PM  

  • hey your emulator is just INCREDIBLE... i am trying to play it on a MacBook Pro OS X 10.4.9, and i can't get any of the controls to work. i tried doing keyboard mapping, but my poor ship just stands there and gets blasted. anything i can do to fix? thanks! i think it looks amazing. you did a great job.

    By Blogger t. cox, at 6/10/2007 6:54 PM  

  • Problem fixed by email... :)

    For the record :
    It seems that on some Mac platforms (all?), the emulator requires that you click once in the main window area in order to get the focus and intercept the keypresses.

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 6/12/2007 1:18 PM  

  • Super ton émulateur !!
    L'effet de flou sur les objets animés est très bien rendu. On se croirait sur le vrai Vectrex. Merci pour ton travail.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/30/2007 8:43 PM  

  • Merci pour le compliment! :)

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 7/02/2007 10:46 AM  

  • Thanks for this great emulator ! Are you still working on it?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/22/2007 3:37 PM  

  • Yes, although I haven't had much time to work on it, ParaJVE is not dead yet! ;)

    I've done a couple of bug fixes (6809 CPU core, Timer T2 interfering with the rendering), some small improvements (added several command line switches, better page flipping) and some new features (VecVoice emulation (awful result), first changes to allow ParaJVE to be ran online).

    I wanted to wait for the debug features to be ready before building a new release ; but as it looks like I will be running out of time to code this, I might as well release a build sometime this summer.
    Anyway, I'll post some news on this blog when the next version is about to be released.

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 7/23/2007 10:42 AM  

  • Thanks for the news. I tried it on linux (ubuntu Feisty) and I have some sound issues and it runs a bit too fast :o) Could it be related to dual core cpu ?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/24/2007 9:41 PM  

  • Yes, the dual core is likely to cause the speed problem (it does on windows).
    I don't know if it's possible on ubuntu, but forcing the emulator to use only one core should fix it.

    As for the sound issue, I've experienced it too on linux ; but I don't know how to address it yet...

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 7/24/2007 10:58 PM  

  • The excellent emulator!
    Many thanks for the job done by you.
    I very much hope that your emulator will develop further.
    I shall be very glad if will correct a mistake in game Clean Sweep.

    By Blogger breaker, at 8/30/2007 9:37 AM  

  • Excellent emulator! Did the overlays have colors in them, or is that just my imagination?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/14/2007 6:00 AM  

  • great job. it made my day to find this as I spent MANY hours playing my vectrex as a kid.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/15/2007 10:34 PM  

  • Thanks a lot!

    James: you're perfectly right, the overlays did have colors in them.

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 9/16/2007 9:46 PM  

  • hi! i realized only now you released a new version.

    i asked the guy to emu-france to post the news.

    thanks again for your effort!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/24/2007 9:14 AM  

  • Hi Parabellum
    I want to use your Vectrex emulator as part of my vectrex code development. I am using a text editor (Textpad) that allows other programs to be called via a DOS command prompt. I have assinged one hot key to assembling asm source, and I want to assign another hot key to call your emulator.

    I am having partial success by using the string :-
    start "ParaJVE" javaw -Djava.library.path=libs/natives -Dsun.java2d.noddraw=true -cp libs/ParaJVE.jar;libs/jogl.jar;libs/gluegen-rt.jar;libs/jinput.jar ParaJVE -disableLoading -GAME=SELECTED

    to call up ParaJVE without the game selector screen and to load the last opened bin file.

    But is there a way to load up a specific bin file using a similar script and without the Game selector window?



    By Blogger VectrexMad!, at 9/30/2007 2:42 AM  

  • Hi VectrexMad,

    Glad to see that ParaJVE can be of use for developpers too!

    I've reworked the command line for the next version, so I'm not sure if this already works for the last released version (but I think it does) : providing a file path (instead of a game ID) for the -GAME parameter should direct ParaJVE to load the specified binary.

    For instance, a command line ending with -GAME=C:\bin\foo.bin should do the trick.

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 9/30/2007 4:19 PM  

  • hi,

    just stumbled over the emulator page... well i'm started to code a bit on vectrex yesterday and played a bit with emulators...

    have to say yours is a really nice one ;) first i thought hm java dunno if this is fast enough on my comp but i gave it a try and cool ;)
    first i used vecsdl... but very poor gui and hm...

    do you plan to continue that vectrex debugger ? that would be a great help for me esp. when you aren't very into 6809 assembler... sure i know 6502 quite good but 6809 is a bit different...

    really good job... i'll use yours now to code ;)

    thanks for sharing

    VectrexMad... excatly the same environment @textpad and keys...;)

    why don't you leave the emulator running and just call "reload cardridge" ?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/03/2007 12:36 PM  

  • Hello Parabellum
    Thanks for the response to my last message.
    You said you reworked the command line for the next version to include filepath, but in version 0.5.0 its not working. When I put a command line ending with -GAME=C:\bin\game.bin for example, when executed it executed ParaJve with the game selector window and the last game I had loaded. I'm trying to avoid the game selector window.

    Message to Olaf: Yeah, textpad works really good. Also when assembling I make all the output of the assembler go to another textpad window.
    The method I suggested in my previous message for excuting a bin from textpads works fine, but its just that you need to load in the bin first before starting textpad, so that ParaJve knows the last bin. After that I can run ParaJve by pressing a short key on the keypad and it always opens the last executed bin file.
    Also, Olaf I'm like you, I just got into Vectrex, and only in the last couple of weeks I have been dabbling with 6809 code.

    Parabellum its really a nice peice of software you made. Any chance to have window which we can use for debugging. Maybe a watch window that shows the contents of the registers as you step through the code? - wishfull thinking!

    I know the DVE Vectrex emulator had some debugging capability.


    By Blogger VectrexMad!, at 10/03/2007 10:06 PM  

  • VectrexMad: ic @textpad...

    i used a quickkeys script for this... works quite good... but via commandline is of course nicer...

    @6809 slowly i'm getting into the assmbler... quite cool compated to the 6502... ;)
    did you do something with interrupts until now ? somehow i have problems here...
    i'm trying to execute a timer 1 irq... the t1 irq seems to appear... but after an rti
    nothing happens...the emu hangs...

    (dp is set to $d0 before)

    lda irqjmp ;set irq vector
    sta $cbf8
    lda irqjmp+1
    sta $cbf8+1
    lda irqjmp+2
    stb $cbf8+2

    ; ef-i----
    andcc #%11101111 ;enable irqs

    lda via_int_enable ;timer 1 irq enable
    ; e12
    ora #%11000000
    sta via_int_enable
    clr via_int_flags

    ldb #0
    stb via_t1_cnt_hi ;run

    ldb #$40
    bitb via_int_flags ;Wait for T1 to time out
    beq wait
    andcc #%11101111 ;disable irqs

    jsr wait_recal
    lda #0
    ldb #0
    jsr moveto_d

    lda #40
    ldb #40
    jsr draw_line_d
    jmp mainloop

    jmp irq
    ldb #$7F
    stb via_int_enable

    what i expected is... the timer is executed once... then the line should appear...
    but instead the line never appears... surely a problem in my code... i compared
    it to the spike rom dunno can't see a bit difference here...
    i really tried much but until now i couldn't get it run... any ideas what i'm doing wrong here ?
    if i comment andcc #%11101111 ;enable irqs
    out the line appears...

    another problem is somehow... after some time after i did alot reload rom the emu hangs and can be killed
    only via the task manager... ok no big problem...

    also with a rom i did (draws around 200 lines) and the slowdown is that heavy that nothing else happens... means kill with the task manager in the end... this was a test at home... the first thing i tried yesterday at work...

    good tip @dve ... i'll check... i did now a small mini debugger to show registers on the vecscreen...
    that helps a bit ;)...

    well just answer to ... so we do not flood his guestbook ;)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/04/2007 1:59 PM  

  • forget it @irq... works now... seems i was a bit too tired yesterday when i tried it ;))


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/04/2007 3:04 PM  

  • hi,

    good work on the emu. this is the first emu to come close to running my stuff.
    There are still some issues regarding timing of 'flickering'.
    I.e. the stuff flickers a whole lot more on vectrex at times, so when i test something in the emulator, it always needs a whole bunch of tweaking/speeding up before running
    well on a real vectex.

    Something like a 'ticks used between waitrecalls' counter would be nice for us developers.

    also, why is the timing fixed at 60fps instead of 50fps by default? with all vectrexes i tested timing lies more closer to 50fps (all my music plays too fast on the emy. try the performance vx demo for example).

    anyways, once again nice work.

    cheers, martijn

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/06/2007 11:51 AM  

  • Just gave this a spin...and wow very easy to setup & run and looks great.

    I have a request...I'm using your emulator with a front end, and it would be nice to have a setting to have the menu bar hidden upon startup.

    First time running a Java based emulator, and well I think I'll have to give more of these a try after seeing yours in action.

    Thanks again for this wonderful bit of software.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/11/2007 8:28 PM  

  • Many thanks for the comments, I'm glad you gave it a try ... Java is not as slow and cumbersome as it used to be back in its old days. :)

    The current version in development already includes much more command line parameters; amongst them there's a switch to turn the menubar ON/OFF.

    The only problem is that I can't work on ParaJVE at the moment, so I still don't know when the next version will be released.

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 12/14/2007 11:21 AM  

  • Yeah Java mos certainly has improved...just didn't realize this much. Certainly a very pleasant surprise. :)

    I look forward to the next release, that said I'm over all very pleased with the current release. Heh but I welcome any and all improvements. :)

    Out of th Vectrex emu's out there that I have tested, yours is by far the easiest to setup, and does the best job of emulation.

    Again I tip my hat to you sir for producing this excellent emu for all of us to use and enjoy. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/18/2007 3:44 PM  

  • Good day, sir!

    I am old enough (41) to remember the Vectrex when it was sold new in the stores. One of my university roommates had a Vectrex, and I thought it was great - especially the game MineStorm!

    I currently own a Compaq Presario X1000 laptop. I have Sun Java 1.6.0_03 installed for both Windows XP sp2 and for Puppy Linux 3.01 (a Live CD distribution).

    With WinXP, ParaJVE runs perfectly - but only for 10 seconds. The emulator will then lock up the computer. Everything freezes and I have to power-cycle the PC to reboot!

    With Linux, ParaJVE will display the overlay, and I can hear music/sound effects. The game seems to be playing, but the display is 'hidden' or obscured by the overlay. If I turn the 'overlay' off, however, ParaJVE runs *perfectly*. The graphics and sounds are excellent and I can sit and play for hours with no problem.

    I hope you will continue to develop ParaJVE. It is a lot of fun.

    - Bruce in British Columbia, Canada

    PS... I am buying an Asus 'eee' mini-laptop soon ( ) and I hope that I will be able to run ParaJVE on it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/19/2008 10:08 PM  

  • Wow! This is fantastic work! I absolutely love it - well done!
    Keep up the good work!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/28/2008 6:52 PM  

  • Thanks :)

    After a long break, I've recently get back to ParaJVE coding (lightpen emulation, for a start).

    I'll try to find some time to post some W.I.P information soon.

    By Blogger Parabellum, at 3/04/2008 9:42 AM  

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