First of all a little bit of background. Aranym is an Atari machine emulator. In a world of tons of Atari emulators, Aranym is quite a bit different in a very refreshing way. This article will compare Aranym to the other emulators available out there and show you just why it is better.
Pacifist, steem, stonx and the likes are all great emulators. They have a specific purpose in mind. Emulate Atari computers perfectly to the point where all of the hardware specifically written atari software (games and demos) work perfectly. This allows stuff to work very well but also presents certain limitations. Ste sound is not the greatest thing in the world. Atari ST and even Falcon standard resolutions are pretty low quality by today’s standards. Atari ethernet support is less than prominent and easily available so of course it wouldn’t pass right through in an emulator, allowing you to use your broadband connection inside the Atari “virtual machine”. What can we do about this?
Well MagiCPC and MagiCMac especially were a start to change this. First of all, MagiCMac and MagiCPC allow you to use the highest resolutions your emulation host machine could normally attain. This gives you an Atari system in say 1280x1024bit true color. A refreshing change from ST-Mono! On the Mac there’s XBIOS compatible sound allowing you to use recent audio applications like Aniplayer and others. You can even watch videos under Aniplayer without a DSP to assist. On MagiCMac specifically there is a MacTCP networking passthrough, allowing you to use your Mac broadband connection and ethernet hardware under MagiCMac, giving your ASH Internet applications great network speed.
What’s the problem with this? Well a lot of people have Macs. A lot MORE people have PC’s, and MagiCPC is pretty lacking with no network support and otherwise lack of features. MagiCMac/PC is commercial, it’s expensive. A lot of people can’t justify spending that kind of money for something they might not even like using. Lastly MagiCPC especially isn’t seeing much development anymore, and it’s far from finished. You can’t really blame ASH, the Atari isn’t a big market and they are a business. They must make money.
Enter Aranym, our savior. Aranym supports nifty “additions” like MagiCMac and MagiCPC and MUCH MORE. Aranym fully emulates the videl chip. You have a near perfect emulation of a Falcon, Xbios sound, special video drivers, etc. Aranym will eventually also have pass-through networking support for linux and maybe even windows allowing you to use your PC’s ethernet with your Atari virtual machine. What else does Aranym have to offer?
Aranym stands for Atari Running on Any Machine. Another great thing about this is that it’s open source. It’s free, costs no money.. 0, nada.. zip.. People who just want to experiment can do so, and possibly get hooked on Atari ;-). Aranym will compile on a lot of different unix systems with some work and even works on windows so people can use Aranym on their operating system of CHOICE. Not just Windows or MacOS (I despise windows, but linux is great!). Because Aranym is open source it is under constant development currently by a great group of Atari supporters and probably will eternally be in development, because the source code will always be available. Aranym is also emulating a real Falcon mostly, so stuff like MiNT can run on Aranym unlike under MagiCPC or MagiCMac giving all of the MiNT zealots even more reason to love it, and already available is a prebuilt easymint disk image for Aranym. Wow!
The best thing about Aranym is that it is going to give people an opportunity to use Atari software like it should be used, under a wonderful multitasking system like MiNT, on high speed hardware (even under emulation), with high resolution and bit depth, and good sound. All of this is done at a fraction of the cost of even a standard Atari Falcon. Aranym is an effort everyone involved should be proud of. For me at least and probably a lot of other people, it is filling a HUGE void in the world of Atari emulators and software. It’s a really great thing.