Difference between revisions of "FM Towns emulators"

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|discontinued = 1997
 
|discontinued = 1997
 
|predecessor = [[Fujitsu FM-7 emulators|FM-7]]
 
|predecessor = [[Fujitsu FM-7 emulators|FM-7]]
|emulated = {{~}}
+
|emulated = {{}}
 
}}
 
}}
'''FM Towns''' system is a Japanese variant of PC, built by Fujitsu from February 1989 to the summer of 1997. It started as a proprietary PC variant intended for multimedia applications and PC games, but later became more compatible with regular PCs. In 1993, the FM Towns Marty was released, a game console compatible with existing FM Towns games.
 
  
The "FM" part of the name means "Fujitsu Micro" like their earlier products, while the "Towns" part is derived from the code name the system was assigned while in development, "Townes". This refers to Charles Townes, one of the winners of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics, following a custom of Fujitsu at the time to code name PC products after Nobel Prize winners. The e in "Townes" was dropped when the system went into production to make it clearer that the term was to be pronounced like the word "towns" rather than the potential "tow-nes".
+
The '''FM Towns''' was a Japanese line of personal computers designed and manufactured by Fujitsu between February 1989 and the summer of 1997. Fujitsu designed it under the codename '''Townes'''<ref group=N>After Charles Townes, the winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics; it was common for Fujitsu to use Nobel Prize winners as product codenames during development.</ref> as their own proprietary variant of [[Intel CPUs|the IBM PC platform]], intended for multimedia applications and video games, but it gradually became interoperable with regular PCs over time. The "FM" part of the name is short for "Fujitsu Micro," which was in line with their earlier products. The e in "Townes" was dropped to help users avoid confusion over a possible mispronunciation of Townes as "tow-nes".
 +
 
 +
The FM Town's sprite handling was well in excess of even 16-bit consoles of the time, which allowed game developers to port early 90s arcade titles much more accurately to the FM Towns than on other systems. Combined with big box packaging, and the ports were eventually highly sought after by collectors later on. With CD-ROM support from the start, it also had a lot of ports of existing PC games, with differing amounts of content expansions to take advantage of the FM Towns' own hardware. Several American DOS games had unique and arguably superior FM Towns ports, especially a few early 2D point-and-click adventures from LucasArts. Some notable examples include ''<abbr title="Which was given CD music, the ability to use the FM Towns' 256-color mode, and uncut dialogue.">LOOM</abbr>'', ''<abbr title="Which was reprogrammed under 32-bit protected mode and would actually run at a consistent speed.">Wing Commander'', and ''<abbr title="Which had Ultima VII-style keywords and a low-budget English dialogue track that didn't exist in the original release.">Ultima VI</abbr>''. The FM Towns version of LucasArts' ''Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders'' is the only version of the game with 256 colors<ref name="YC News">{{cite web|url=https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23269460 |title=“Tsugaru” – FM Towns Emulator Project (in.coocan.jp) |publisher=Y Combinator |accessdate=2020-07-04|date=2020 May 23}}</ref>.
 +
 
 +
In 1993 Fujitsu released the [[wikipedia:FM Towns Marty|FM Towns Marty]], a game console which was compatible with existing FM Towns games.
  
 
==Emulators==
 
==Emulators==
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! scope="col"|Operating System(s)
 
! scope="col"|Operating System(s)
 
! scope="col"|Latest Version
 
! scope="col"|Latest Version
 +
! scope="col"|<abbr title="FM Towns">FMT</abbr>
 +
! scope="col"|<abbr title="FM Towns Marty">Marty</abbr>
 +
! scope="col"|<abbr title="Free/Libre and Open-Source Software">FLOSS</abbr>
 
! scope="col"|Active
 
! scope="col"|Active
 
! scope="col"|[[Recommended Emulators|Recommended]]
 
! scope="col"|[[Recommended Emulators|Recommended]]
 +
|-
 +
! colspan="8"|PC / x86
 
|-
 
|-
 
|UNZ
 
|UNZ
|Windows
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows}}
|[http://townsemu.world.coocan.jp/download.html]
+
|[http://townsemu.world.coocan.jp/download.html V0.5 L30]
 +
|{{✓}}
 +
|{{✓}}
 +
|{{✗}}
 +
|{{✗}}
 +
|{{✓}}
 +
|-
 +
|Tsugaru
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux|macOS}}
 +
|[https://github.com/captainys/TOWNSEMU/releases git]
 +
|{{✓}}
 +
|{{✗}}
 +
|{{✓}}
 
|{{✓}}
 
|{{✓}}
 +
|{{~}}
 +
|-
 +
|Xe
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux}}
 +
|[http://web.archive.org/web/20140212232811/http://www.xe-emulator.com/index.php?m=download 2.16.2]
 +
|{{✗}}
 +
|{{✓}}
 +
|{{✗}}
 +
|{{✗}}
 
|{{~}}
 
|{{~}}
 
|-
 
|-
 
|[[MAME]]
 
|[[MAME]]
|Multi-platform
+
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux|macOS|FreeBSD}}
 
|[http://www.mamedev.org/release.html {{MAMEVer}}]
 
|[http://www.mamedev.org/release.html {{MAMEVer}}]
 +
|{{~}}
 +
|{{~}}
 +
|{{✓}}
 +
|{{✓}}
 +
|{{✗}}
 +
|-
 +
|FM Towns/Bochs
 +
|align=left|{{Icon|Windows|Linux}}
 +
|[http://web.archive.org/web/20070119144846/http://fmbochs.emuvibes.com 1.2.1]
 +
|{{~}}
 +
|{{✗}}
 
|{{✓}}
 
|{{✓}}
 
|{{✗}}
 
|{{✗}}
 +
|{{✗}}
 +
|-
 
|}
 
|}
 +
 +
===Comparisons===
 +
;UNZ
 +
:The only FM Towns/Marty emulator with very high compatibility, last updated in 2010. Despite the website and documentation being in Japanese, the emulator is available in English. It cannot run ISOs directly, instead choosing to read game data from an optical drive that's attached to the host system (thankfully, ISOs can easily be mounted as virtual optical drives on most modern OSes, even Windows 10). Floppy disk images, however, can be loaded directly into the emulator itself. The emulator requires a number of ROM files, which can be found [http://emuz0n3.tripod.com/townsbios.zip here]. The only noteworthy thing UNZ isn’t yet capable to run is Windows 95.
 +
 +
;Tsugaru
 +
:A new FM Towns emulation project, started in January 2020. Within a year of development, over 95% of software achieved [http://ysflight.in.coocan.jp/FM/towns/Tsugaru/e.html compatibility] - check release logs under Revisions far down the main GitHub page. 80386 CPU type is fine; but (WIP) 80486 emulation needs a strong late 2010's PC CPU. Various audio chips/generators still WIP. Early release builds started popping up in [https://github.com/captainys/TOWNSEMU/releases late August 2020].
 +
 +
;Xe
 +
:An old multi-system emulator for Linux (x86 and PowerPC) with decent FM Towns Marty support. Windows port requires [https://sourceforge.net/projects/gladewin32/files/gtk%2B-win32-runtime/ GTK+ Runtime]. It requires a very odd BIOS file to work, obtained by concatenating the two MAME-ready ROMs into a single file named ‘marty.rom’, then placed into a subfolder titled ‘bios’. On Windows, this can be achieved using the command <code>copy /B mrom.m36 + mrom.m37 marty.rom</code>.
 +
 +
;[[MAME]]
 +
:Preliminary driver. It’s not a skeleton anymore, but it’s far from being up to snuff. See this [https://wiki.mamedev.org/index.php/Driver:FMTowns official guide] (Source: [https://wiki.mamedev.org/index.php/System-Specific_Setup_and_Information System-Specific Setup and Information] under MAMEDev Wiki) on installing TownsOS on MAME.
 +
 +
;FM Towns/Bochs
 +
:A patch of [[Bochs]] that makes it somewhat compatible with FM Towns, deemed to be the first working emulator for the system. Just like regular Bochs, its configuration file needs a lot of tweaking to work (rough documentation [https://illusioncity.net/Towns/bochs%20config.txt here]). It has been long abandoned, compatibility is very spotty and emulation is remarkably slow, so don’t hold your breath.
 +
 +
==Emulation issues==
 +
A true and proper open-source FM Towns emulator has been severely lacking all the way up to 2020. Though, by late 2010's, a few modern emulators such as MAME and Tsugaru strove toward this goal.
 +
 +
Sometimes around May 2018, Jon Campbell, the lead author of [[DOSBox#DOSBox-X|DOSBox-X]] has [https://github.com/joncampbell123/dosbox-x/issues/729#issuecomment-391049978 stubbed] the emulator such that other aspiring coders can build an FM-Towns core into their own fork. There have been discussions, but so far, nobody has taken up on that offer yet.
 +
 +
==Notes==
 +
<references group=N />
 +
 +
==References==
 +
{{Reflist}}
 +
 +
==External links==
 +
* [https://illusioncity.net/fujitsu-fm-towns-emulators-lists/ Old emulators + lists guide at illusioncity.net]
  
 
[[Category:Computers]]
 
[[Category:Computers]]
 
[[Category:Consoles]]
 
[[Category:Consoles]]
 +
[[Category:Home consoles]]
 
[[Category:Fourth-generation video game consoles]]
 
[[Category:Fourth-generation video game consoles]]

Revision as of 00:48, 27 August 2021

FM Towns
FMTOWNS 2F.jpg
Developer Fujitsu
Type Home computer
Release date 1989
Discontinued 1997
Predecessor FM-7
Emulated

The FM Towns was a Japanese line of personal computers designed and manufactured by Fujitsu between February 1989 and the summer of 1997. Fujitsu designed it under the codename Townes[N 1] as their own proprietary variant of the IBM PC platform, intended for multimedia applications and video games, but it gradually became interoperable with regular PCs over time. The "FM" part of the name is short for "Fujitsu Micro," which was in line with their earlier products. The e in "Townes" was dropped to help users avoid confusion over a possible mispronunciation of Townes as "tow-nes".

The FM Town's sprite handling was well in excess of even 16-bit consoles of the time, which allowed game developers to port early 90s arcade titles much more accurately to the FM Towns than on other systems. Combined with big box packaging, and the ports were eventually highly sought after by collectors later on. With CD-ROM support from the start, it also had a lot of ports of existing PC games, with differing amounts of content expansions to take advantage of the FM Towns' own hardware. Several American DOS games had unique and arguably superior FM Towns ports, especially a few early 2D point-and-click adventures from LucasArts. Some notable examples include LOOM, Wing Commander, and Ultima VI. The FM Towns version of LucasArts' Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders is the only version of the game with 256 colors[1].

In 1993 Fujitsu released the FM Towns Marty, a game console which was compatible with existing FM Towns games.

Emulators

Name Operating System(s) Latest Version FMT Marty FLOSS Active Recommended
PC / x86
UNZ Windows V0.5 L30
Tsugaru Windows Linux macOS git ~
Xe Windows Linux 2.16.2 ~
MAME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 0.243 ~ ~
FM Towns/Bochs Windows Linux 1.2.1 ~

Comparisons

UNZ
The only FM Towns/Marty emulator with very high compatibility, last updated in 2010. Despite the website and documentation being in Japanese, the emulator is available in English. It cannot run ISOs directly, instead choosing to read game data from an optical drive that's attached to the host system (thankfully, ISOs can easily be mounted as virtual optical drives on most modern OSes, even Windows 10). Floppy disk images, however, can be loaded directly into the emulator itself. The emulator requires a number of ROM files, which can be found here. The only noteworthy thing UNZ isn’t yet capable to run is Windows 95.
Tsugaru
A new FM Towns emulation project, started in January 2020. Within a year of development, over 95% of software achieved compatibility - check release logs under Revisions far down the main GitHub page. 80386 CPU type is fine; but (WIP) 80486 emulation needs a strong late 2010's PC CPU. Various audio chips/generators still WIP. Early release builds started popping up in late August 2020.
Xe
An old multi-system emulator for Linux (x86 and PowerPC) with decent FM Towns Marty support. Windows port requires GTK+ Runtime. It requires a very odd BIOS file to work, obtained by concatenating the two MAME-ready ROMs into a single file named ‘marty.rom’, then placed into a subfolder titled ‘bios’. On Windows, this can be achieved using the command copy /B mrom.m36 + mrom.m37 marty.rom.
MAME
Preliminary driver. It’s not a skeleton anymore, but it’s far from being up to snuff. See this official guide (Source: System-Specific Setup and Information under MAMEDev Wiki) on installing TownsOS on MAME.
FM Towns/Bochs
A patch of Bochs that makes it somewhat compatible with FM Towns, deemed to be the first working emulator for the system. Just like regular Bochs, its configuration file needs a lot of tweaking to work (rough documentation here). It has been long abandoned, compatibility is very spotty and emulation is remarkably slow, so don’t hold your breath.

Emulation issues

A true and proper open-source FM Towns emulator has been severely lacking all the way up to 2020. Though, by late 2010's, a few modern emulators such as MAME and Tsugaru strove toward this goal.

Sometimes around May 2018, Jon Campbell, the lead author of DOSBox-X has stubbed the emulator such that other aspiring coders can build an FM-Towns core into their own fork. There have been discussions, but so far, nobody has taken up on that offer yet.

Notes

  1. After Charles Townes, the winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics; it was common for Fujitsu to use Nobel Prize winners as product codenames during development.

References

External links