Mr. Spiv's Interview
P.S. All you mac user's out there look at the bottom of the page, there's a special little bonus to make things a little easier on you.
Hooka: When did you get your GP32?
Mr. Spiv: Around March-April 2002.
Hooka: What convinced you to get one?
Mr. Spiv: Flav0r (active NGPC & GP32 developer) told me GP32 is *insert your favorite praising words here* and to get one. And I tend to believe what he says...
Hooka: The first thing that you did for the GP32 Mac community was making arm-elf targeted gcc v3.0.4 and b2fxe v1.1, why did you start with a dev environment and fxe compressor?
Mr. Spiv: b2fxe is by Jeff F. (www.devrs.com), b2fxec is the compressor by me... Anyways... at that time there was no tools chain for Mac OSX. So to get started I needed a compiler. And what comes to b2fxec I have a slight obsession towards "exe packers" - I did those for Amiga etc. Actually the first thing I checked from GP32 (programming wise) was how GXBs/FXEs get loaded and if it would be possible to make a exe packer
Hooka: What dev environment do you use now?
Mr. Spiv: I'm using a Mac OSX as a host for crosscompiling. The gcc3.3.2 (afair) tools chain & everything I use is pretty much self made or ported.
Hooka: Was a fxe aware disassembler hard to create?
Mr. Spiv: No. It was a quick hack and uses portions of gcc's objdump. By the way.. writing a disassembler is a great way to learn some CPU architecture :P
Hooka: Do you think that adding c++ support for GP32 programming was an essential?
Mr. Spiv: Sure. A lot of people seemed to demand C++.
Hooka: After making b2fxe was it easy to make UnFxe or were there any complications?
Mr. Spiv: Well UnFxe was again pretty straight forward utility to do, except that the b2fxe uses a nice NULL encryption key, which is legal but different from what Gamepark thought FXEs should be constructed. It took few trials and errors to discover that..
Hooka: Doing a dump of the GP32 firmware and then adding support for 32 Megs, were there any hardships in doing this?
Mr. Spiv: At that time when the 32M mod was done I was pretty familiar with the BIOS code - sweat and tears phase was already bypassed. So I knew what to change and what not. Big thanks belong to Rob Brown who contributed correct RAM controller settings for the 32M (and did the actual hardware mod - cheers)!!! I just added some stuff to extend MMU tables at boot time and fool the rest of the system so that other programs won't overwrite extended MMU tables etc minor details.
Hooka: Being the first innovator of Multifirmwares for the GP32 how do you feel about the other multifirmwares appearing now?
Mr. Spiv: It is not rocket science ;) I'm pretty surprised that it took this long before others started to do the same. But (inhales) original multifw did fix a lot of things as well as provided several alternative menus (exhales). And that will be the way to go next time also.. if I release a new multifw someday.
Hooka: In your news around 26-Jan-2003 you listed 5 projects for yourself, and now you are done them, how does it feel?
Mr. Spiv: So empty :P Seriously I just like to finish what I start.. even if it takes time... and it is always a great feeling when you reach your goals.
Hooka: Maclink was an important step in allowing mac users to transfer stuff to their GP32 without a card reader, do you feel that this was necessary?
Mr. Spiv: Definitely..! Development & testing on hardware was (and would be) pain with that SMC swapping all the time. Unfortunately the "GUI" is not so user friendly (command line tool) and a lot of Mac users find it cumbersome to use. I don't blame them...
Hooka: You've done some demo's on the GP32 that just access the LCD directly, would this be a suggestible way for some coders to implement certain graphical features?
Mr. Spiv: You can do a lot of weird C64 and Amiga like "raster" effects with GP32. For me it was just a challenge to beat as the GP32 LCD hardware is not really designed for such things (does not even have vblank & hblank interrupts). The usefulness of those can always be questioned but certain effects e.g. from LCDBlaster could be usable to some extent <_<
Hooka: How did you fix/patch Karthur's Wind-ups to load crunched fxe's, did you just hex edit it?
Mr. Spiv: Yes.
Hooka: Does Sinner, the sinus table generator have any other use than to create sinus tables for demo's?
Mr. Spiv: No.
Hooka: Have you made any new lists of projects you wish to do for the gamepark?
Mr. Spiv: I do have it in my head at the moment - occupying one of my three brain cells.. Maybe I should write it down somewhere.
Hooka: Are you still working on the Mac version of Geepee32?
Mr. Spiv: In theory yes..
Hooka: What is your opinion of Mithris' GDB-Stub?
Mr. Spiv: *waves* and *bows*
Hooka: The Chatboard and drivers are a nice addition to the GP32, do any programs work with it?
Mr. Spiv: I have no idea.. It shouldn't be that hard to use it though. Maybe the low number of actual chatboards is holding implementations back?
Hooka: What use does the serial cable have?
Mr. Spiv: Debugging and pclink replacement to start with. I have also been thinking about attaching a GSM phone via the serial cable.
Hooka: Why did you decide to stop reflashing GP32 with dead firmwares?
Mr. Spiv: Sigh... Well the whole thing was first meant to help a couple of my friends and unfortunate users who screwed up when they tried to flash my multifw. Suddenly the whole reflashing thing got pretty popular and some thought I do it as real service (getting demands & progress queries..) Nowadays people don't really flash my fw anymore etc. So I thought I actually have better things to do than reflash dozens of broken GP32s. The good thing is that after seeing & testing like 20 GP32s with FLU it convinced me to purchase one too :P
Hooka: The last news on your site was: Quote of the month (from #GP32dev @ EfNet) -
2:10:38:<RobBrown> I believe that mr_spiv is actually 1000 monkeys
2:10:54:<RobBrown> every now and then one of them types something sensible
So true.. :D
My question is How come that many monkeys can program and I can't?
Mr. Spiv: lol, Probably you should ask it from Rob.. Maybe it has something to do with the mystery of Twelve Monkeys.. ;)
Thank you for your time and thanks for your projects! You are definitely an important part of the community! ;)
Gruntfuggly from gp32x has sent me a link to his Tools page where you can find a pc-link style mac-link frontend, enjoy!
*Interview finished 02/03/04*