Online / 6 & 7 February 2021


Emulation 101: How anyone can do it

Ever wanted to write an emulator? Or understand how they work? In this talk you learn how to start writing your own emulator from the ground up. You'll see the basic methods used to emulate CPUs, memory, and graphics cards. For the keen, we'll also cover advanced emulation techniques, licensing issues, and history.

There are a lot of old machines in the world, many are literally falling apart, and out of the consciousness of the programmers who once built them. But all deserved to be remembered. That's why we need more emulators developed in the open, so the knowledge isn't lost to history. By showing how easy it is, we hope to encourage others to do the same, regardless of their language of choice or which old computer they want to resurrect.

With worked examples, live demos, and new games, there is a lot of easily accessible code to see, and advice on how (and where) to start writing emulators.

The speaker is prolific developer Steven Goodwin who created the EMF emulator framework, and wrote 9 emulators during 2020. He is also a computer historian and part of the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England.


Photo of Steven Goodwin Steven Goodwin