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PS4 emulator Spine gets a new demo release

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Spine is an upcoming PlayStation 4 emulator that's currently closed-source while it's under heavy development. It's also currently only available for Linux. Well-known PlayStation "scener" Nagatoro announced the new demo on Twitter along with a download link.

What's interesting is that the PS4 was the generation to come back to x86 CPUs, instead of the Cell style found in the PS3. This makes the emulator a bit more like the Wine compatibility layer and less like a full emulator, the developers even announced it originally as it being "Wine-like".

The readme doesn't contain much right now:

spine version 2021/09/01
 
made by spinedev
compatibility list (rudimentar, please improve it) in compatibility.xlsx
please include firmware dependencies in firmware folder
for linux only. for ubuntu it's required to install libsdl2-dev, rest of libs are available in lib folder
chmod a+x both lib folder contents and spine executable, then you can place these contents in your game folder and type
./spine eboot.bin
fself eboots are supported
 
arrow keys to move (dpad)  
zxcvb etc keys should be for triangle, square, circle, cross, options, etc
undertale works really well as well as we are doomed, others ingame may experience some graphical glitches and artifacts

Compatibility has come on massively though with many titles now able to actually get in-game. The included compatibilty list has 996 titles listed with 345 mentioning the go in-game and 207 that don't work at all yet.

It's not a particularly easy project to follow since the developer keeps to themselves. They are on Reddit occasionally, and they seem to have no plans to bring Spine to Windows. When asked why it was Linux exclusive the developer replied to say:

It makes some things a bit easier but the primary reason is that's the system I use. It could be made to work with some effort (I had a limited macOS version for a while for example) but frankly I don't really care. Especially with the direction Windows seems to be going, I probably won't even be upgrading to 11.

They also confirmed they still plan to open source it eventually and it's at a point now where they can make new releases "fairly easily".

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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23 comments
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vipor29 10 Sep
a linux exclusive nice :)
Spyker 10 Sep
A bit too shady for me to test it now.
I'll wait until it's properly open-sourced.
elmapul 10 Sep
"Spine is an upcoming PlayStation 4 emulator that's currently closed-source while it's under heavy development. It's also currently only available for Linux. "


that is what im talking about an nice linux exclusive.
the ironic part is that sony is porting their games, so we kinda dont need this anyway...
and the sad part for me is, even if thirdy parties make games exclusively for ps4 because most of their audience is on it, the games that i care about the most are anime games and i dont want to play the censorstation version.

that aside, the best part of it being closed source is that its unlikely that someone will port it to windows and the windows version receive more contributions due to windows having an bigger marketshare.

on an side note, looks like there are already other emulators avaliable, i found one open source but its just for windows and mac.
i hope this one is better to keep gamers interested in linux, then they open source it increase our marketshare...
but i find it unlikely, the open source one tend to evolve faster =p


Last edited by elmapul on 10 September 2021 at 11:24 am UTC
DerpFox 10 Sep
Exclusives are always bad.

We can't make a fuss about interoperability. And things not coming to Linux all the time. And as the same time cheer up when some important project like this one is exclusive to Linux because the devs "don't care". It's the exact same attitude a lot of Windows game-dev are giving us. I truly believe we are better than that.
ObsidianBlk 10 Sep
Quoting: DerpFoxExclusives are always bad.

We can't make a fuss about interoperability. And things not coming to Linux all the time. And as the same time cheer up when some important project like this one is exclusive to Linux because the devs "don't care". It's the exact same attitude a lot of Windows game-dev are giving us. I truly believe we are better than that.

I have to agree. As much as I kinda get a smile seeing "Linux Exclusive" and a developer saying they "don't care" about Windows, this would just anger the "other side", potentially driving developers in the Windows camp away from even giving Linux a thought. I get that the developer for this project is Linux focused, and that's fine, but that's more of a reason for them to open source the project and get more developers in on it! If he doesn't want to worry about Windows (or even Mac for that matter), then another dev would, and the whole project could potentially just speed on ahead.
saturnoyo 10 Sep
Quoting: DerpFoxI truly believe we are better than that.

That's one of the problems of Linux people. We are not better than them, we are just different.

Of course I also think that a Linux exclusive is as bad as a Windows exclusive but I write all my code on Linux and for Linux so I can't really say anything to this developer.

Quoting: elmapulthe ironic part is that sony is porting their games, so we kinda dont need this anyway...

There are many many games on PS4 that are exclusive to that console and are not developed by Sony, so an emulator is very needed. And even from Sony themselves we still can't play Bloodborne or GoW on PC so... I'll be really happy once the emulator is working.
mirv 10 Sep
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Intentional exclusives are bad, but this is not that. This is a case of a developer using the tools at their disposal, which does not include Windows. If & when it's open sourced, then I'm sure someone will step in.

I see this more in recognition that not everybody runs or has access to Windows, and it's not mandatory to be developing for it.
BielFPs 10 Sep
I actually think it's a good move to keep it closed source for now until this "emulator"(?) becomes more mature. Open source it right now would probably result in more feature requests than contributing code, so it's good for the devs to focus on the basic needs right now, without external interference.

About being Linux "exclusive", once it becomes open source someone else will probably port it to windows too and I think we should respect the developer's desire to not work in a port if he doesn't want to.
Cyril 10 Sep
Ahah, I love his answer!
Just imagine: this will be the only PS4 emulator that works fine for some time, Windows users have to install Linux just for it...

Sorry guys, I agree with you, but it's just so funny, you can't take me that.


Last edited by Cyril on 10 September 2021 at 3:43 pm UTC
scratchi 10 Sep
Quoting: vipor29a linux exclusive nice :)

Yea, prepare to see more of this, especially as the developer mentioned that they don't plan to update to Win 11. I have a Skylake and a nice Kaby Lake system with DDR4 memory, NVMe drive and a nice GPU...they both run any game/workload I throw at them; I'm not about to get a new PC and stop using these just because I can't run Win11 on them. A lot of developers on a tight budget will definitely be retooling on Linux/BSD and using that as their main development platform. I'm sure MS knows this, but I really hope the hit to their bottom line will be more then they anticipate with this.

Even with some of these older gen mobos (Skylake/Kaby Lake) having ability to toggle TPM2 in BIOS and vendors release BIOS updates to enable it, it might be more work then it's worth for some non-technical folks who don't want to mess with BIOS settings. Also, I have lots of Ivy Bridge systems that still work really well which all run Linux/BSD. So yea, hopefully (probably) Linux exclusive and/or Linux 1st becomes trend :D
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