Interview FollowUp with bleem author... (10/18/98)
Follow-Up Questions Conducted by : Dragon•en through e-mail

I have been getting so much mail, and icq's and irc /msg's about bleem... I feel like I am on their team! Well truthfully I am, as a beta tester, but I can't imagine the mail they are getting, with as much as I am getting. I decided to bug bleem for some more answers, and they were happy to comply... course my questions prolly push development back another day (heh heh just kidding, I hope)

This will be kind of choppy (not nesc. interview style) since the answers came from several emails, and not in chron. order :)

I bring this for you... the doubters :)

--CLEARING DOUBT : SCREEN SHOTS--
bleem put up a challenge in IRC (through me) for anyone to make screen shots as good as theirs in the same amount of time (10 minutes)...

<bleem> There will always be some morons that think they can fake screenshots like that... I take it that nobody's even tried?

Nope... And yet people still complain about the authenticity of the emulator... here are some other common "Fake Screen Shot Questions"...

1.Most PSX games have opening animation how did he get the 3 shots to be the EXACT SAME...
<bleem> This one's talking about Spyro, I take it? Simple: The wings on the Dragon are at slightly different heights -- look closely, you'll see. As with *most* of the "fake screenshot" questions, people can get the answer for themselves if they just look closely at the shots. But, then again, it's easier to have someone else do the work and point out the solution.

2.The Crash Bandicoot 3 Demo says Spyro in the title bar. (this one mainly comes from no one being able to read -- It's a DEMO -- it's on the Spyro CD!)
<bleem> Yes. It's on the Spyro Demo. Press L1 and Triangle at the "Start" screen -- the same one that people think all 3 shots are the same. ;-)

3.PSX uses Triangles.. but lots of the screen shots have rectangles..
<bleem> Simple background: Triangles require 3 points, Quads require 4. Each point has (in general) x,y coordinates on screen and s,t coordinates on texture. If you draw 2 triangles to get a quad, it requires 2x3 points, or 6 points total. If you can draw it as a quad, it only requires 4. Internally, the PSX can convert quads to triangles before rendering, so you only transfer 4 points, but you get the effect of having transferred six. I can render quads instead of triangles and save the time spent splitting things up. The PSX still *transferrs* only the quad information to the GPU, but the GPU itself will resplit the data back into 2 triangles before it starts to rasterize it. Most hardware these days only uses triangles, but software, such as QUAKE, can use what are called "n-gons". n-gons are basically any polygon >= 3 points. My renderers can do n-gons, but the psx only uses tris and quads. Either way, that's why the quads are done -- speed, speed, speed. It saves 2 sets of point data for each one transferred. Four points instead of six. Simple.

4.The Number in the title bar? What is it? 19980414 (# for Gran_Turismo)...
<bleem> It's the internal disc stamping and pressing code information from the particular CD in the drive. There really isn't any other way to uniquely identify each CD. Many of the CDs don't even have Titles!

5.This screen shot shows a car, with the lines... the "mirror's" lines are darker.... why?
<bleem> It's a reflection. The mirror reflection is darker and is done with transparent polygons. They're probably doing the "darkening" polygons after the reflection ones are done. That would explain it. The lines simply outline polygons. The darkening takes place after the lines for the base polygons were drawn. Most shadows and stuff like that on PSX are done by drawing the full polygons at full brightness first -- THEN adding transluscent polygons that simply darken (or in some cases, brighten) the existing image that's already drawn. You'll see it most in shadows and smoke trails.

6.The mountains in the background of Spyro (that have no pink lines) are they 2d for background?
<bleem> I don't believe so. Now, you're probably asking why there's no lines?
<DragonYen> hehe.. sure :)
<bleem> Simple: The lines are only drawn around TEXTURED polygons, not flat-shaded ones. The polygons in the background are all solid colour shaded polygons, and don't have textures on them. As always, simple explanation. I just never bothered to add the code to draw lines around flat-shaded polygons. It was a debugging hack for testing the polygon texture edges and wasn't needed elsewhere.

7.Screen Shots of Configuration screens, Etc? Notice the "new" logo in the corner of the screen shot :)

8.What's left to do?
<bleem> The BIOS stuff is completed... There's a bug left in the Memory Card stuff, and a couple of sound issues. Otherwise it's done.

9.So are there many games that you know DON'T work with bleem yet?
<bleem> None that I know of -- but I don't have nearly enough games to test on.

10.Release time? When?!
<bleem> We'd like to have the public official release of the demo by Oct. 31. It'd be kinda cool to release it on Halloween!

11.You keep saying "WE" but you are the only programer.. why?
<bleem> Simple: Because I'm the only *programmer*. But there's a whole lot more to bleem than just the software! *WE* have a lot of work to do before release. *I* have a lot of coding to do, but others have all sorts of other stuff to handle. I can say that there's a whole legal department working on issues involved with the project. As you can imagine, there's all sorts of other stuff involved when something as large as bleem gets developed. It's not a simple "let's put together a program and send it out on the net"

--RANDOM IMPORTANT QUOTES--
--THINGS THAT DIDN'T ANSWER A QUESTION, BUT I FOUND IMPORTANT--

<bleem> We don't require a BIOS -- it *HAD* to be rewritten from scratch, because we had no choice -- believe me, it was a TREMENDOUS pain and I WISH there were ways around it, but there wasn't. By having our OWN bios, that's perfectly legal. If we required a BIOS, that's also legal, but most people can't get one. If we INCLUDED a BIOS that was Sony's, THAT's illegal.

<bleem> People just haven't been able to come up with ANY reason as to WHY this "hoax" would exist.... Not one reason yet. People are quick to say that it's fake, but no one can say WHY.

<bleem> Give them a couple of days and see if they can do it in a few DAYS, nevermind trying in 10 minutes. Especially the ones with LOTS of lines. I just hit F5 to toggle them on and off and then grab the screen. It's just not feasible to draw those lines! Even on the simple shots, it's just ludicrous to attempt to do it. Besides which, many of the polygons that are outlined are the "effect" polygons, like smoke and flames and stuff that don't really have simple, defined edges. You just don't know where the edge of a transparent square that has a puff of smoke in the middle starts and where it ends! The smoke is somewhere in the middle, but you don't know where the boundaries are! Only the emulator knows that stuff. Well, a real PSX knows it too!

--IN CLOSING--

All in all.. the challenge is still there: replicate the shots from a game that hasn't been screen shot'ed... or take a bleem shot without lines, and draw those lines in! You've got to get ALL the polygons, including the transparent edged smoke trails and dust clouds and laser shots! I'm waiting to see some of them!!! My opinion is, bleem is *REAL* and will be some sort of commercial product.. this has NOT been confirmed, but he has put way to much time in to this to not sell it, I respect that, and hope they make some good money on it :) I don't think he cares about CDR games being played on bleem, but he can't release a commercial product and allow it to play CDR's... Why? "Contributory Negligence" If they release software that enables piracy, they're automatically guilty of "contributory negligence" in the eyes of the law -- it basically means that they failed to prevent something that they could have easily prevented, and in the end that failing hurts another company (Sony). It boils down to not being able to release a software product that enables (and almost encourages) software piracy without MAJOR risk of MASSIVE lawsuits that they would likely lose.

<bleem> I take it that nobody's come up with *any* reason why it would be fake yet?

Have you?

I for one can not WAIT to test the program out... last I checked they were still accepting applications! Get to www.bleem.com NOW and get on the team, before it is too late :)

-Dragon•en