Zx-81 Interviewed

by Mike Bendel July 31, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

Another week, another interview. And this time, I’ve had the honour of interviewing one of the most prolific developers of the homebrew scene, zx-81. It’s impossible to not notice his contributions in the homebrew scene.

His major work has been in the emulation scene where he has released emulators for almost all retro platforms. It’s great to enjoy those old games which we used to play with our siblings or our friends, brings back a lot of great memories. He has also successfully created/ported several immensely useful networking-related applications like a VNC client, an SSH client, an FTP server/client and the newly released IRC client. His blog has information on all of his work.

Anyways, I had the pleasure of doing an email interview with him a couple of days ago, and without further ado, here is the interview in its entirety!

exophase.com: What is your real name and how old are you?
zx-81: My real name is Ludovic Jacomme and i’m 36.

exophase.com: Where do you work presently?
zx-81: I’m working for an EDA (Electronic Design Automation) company in France, close to Paris.

exophase.com: I’ve read about your extensive education from a previous interview with QJ.NET. Have you added any more accolades to that big list?
zx-81: I’ve left my university for 8 years ago now :), and as a consequence I have not any new diploma to add to that list :)

exophase.com: You have been probably the most prolific homebrew developer since a long time now. What motivates you everyday to write/port such a large variety of homebrew in your spare time?
zx-81: First of all, I like to develop and to port applications to the PSP. In my real job for many reasons, I don’t take a real pleasure to code, and that might explain why I’m coding so much in my spare time. Then because the PSP is a very good portable hardware, and unfortunately Sony uses only 50% the real PSP capabilities. It is then really pleasant to exploit this hardware at 100% with wifi / network stuff, IR keyboards, microphones, web cams etc … And finally because the PSP scene is a pleasant place with nice people.

exophase.com: Since your interview a little over a year ago, has your motivation for creating homebrew for the PSP increased/decreased?
zx-81: It is always the same, it is stable. I have left the PSP scene during few weeks for the GP2X scene, and then I came back (mainly because GP2X hardware is less powerfull than PSP). I have to say that I am a bit bored with emulators, but there are so many remaining projects in network, office and games domain.

exophase.com: While working on homebrew, what’s your time-table like?
zx-81: I’m working on homebrew development 2 or 3 hours a day, and a bit more during weekend. I don’t watch TV, so it let me a lot of spare time. But it happens sometimes, during a week or two, i don’t touch a keyboard to edit a source code file ;)

exophase.com: While the homebrew applications that you’ve created are immensely useful in everyday life (I simply love PSPSSH and PSPVNC and expect great things in PSPIRC), do you still play games on all the emulators you’ve created/ported?
zx-81: I don’t play often with my emulators, I haven’t too much time for that.

exophase.com: Since I’m personally very interested in PSPIRC, could you tell us a bit about what you plan to do with PSPIRC in the future?
zx-81: A new release should come very soon, with multiple channel support, private discussion, and many other useful features.

exophase.com: What is your favorite homebrew on the PSP?
zx-81: There are too many in fact, I would say gpsp, pspradio, bookr, pikey for IR keyboard, ir-shell … but there are many others.

exophase.com: You’ve said before that you bought your PSP for homebrew only and had GTA:LCS because you needed it to run/check your WIP homebrew. Have you found any other games which you think redeem the PSP as a gaming handheld?
zx-81: Burnout series, the best games on PSP, in multiplayer mode it is really fun! I would say also Ace combat and Tekken (in multiplayer it’s cool as well).

exophase.com: After the PSP having been out for over 2 years now, do you feel that Sony and other developers/publishers have failed their audience by releasing very few blockbusters and mostly low-quality ports of PS2 games?
zx-81: Yes, I think sony failed to provide really NEW and good games for the PSP. Compared to DS the PSP is a market failure …

exophase.com: Where do you see the PSP 1 year from now with respect to official games and homebrew?
zx-81: I really don’t know, may be Sony will provide good and really new games ? They will open their firmware and let people developing homebrew? I’m just kidding … I think they will do all the contrary… For the homebrew scene, many things have been done already, but many left to be… I hope the scene won’t die.

exophase.com: And do you see yourself still as a part of the homebrew scene then?
zx-81: I really don’t know, I will change my job soon and I will have less spare time :(

exophase.com: Do you own any other next-gen console?
zx-81: Only a PS1, a PS2 and a GP2X that can’t be considered as next-gen consoles :D

exophase.com: Which console, in your opinion, has the best gaming library?
zx-81: I prefer to play games on a PC, so i know very few about console gaming library… Xbox and Wii seem to have a huge panel of games.

exophase.com: Consequently, would you like to own any of them in the future?
zx-81: If I had to buy a new console, I would buy a wii (xbox seems to have big hardware issue ;) )

exophase.com: Apart from homebrew, what else do you like to do in your free time?
zx-81: To play multiplayer video games with my son on PSP or PC.

exophase.com: Any parting words for fans of your homebrew?
zx-81: I thanks them all for their support, constructive comments and feedback. Without them I am sure I would have given up from a long time.


All of us at exophase.com like to thank Ludovic ‘zx-81’ Jacomme for this great interview, and for his huge contribution to the homebrew scene. You can visit his blog here.

I’ll also take this opportunity to plug our IRC network which has been running fine since some time now, and I’d like to invite all of you to visit it (using a dedicated IRC client like mIRC) at irc.exophase.com / irc.espeon.org. I will be on the server regularly to ask for opinions on whom to interview next, so if you’d like someone interviewed, just join the #psp channel and give us your opinion!

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