While I think Rand definitely deserves credit for hacking Bleem! together, I've got mixed feelings onthe demise of Bleem!'s corporate structure (if it is indeed gone): on one hand, they were fighting Sony's legal BS, but on the other hand they overhyped the product and in doing so trivialized the work of *many* emulator authors (calling traditional emulators a "software copy of the hardware" phrased as though this is something absolutely trivial to achieve) while acting like Bleem! was the first emulator ever to do substantial emulation by emulating software constructs (Ardi's Executor Mac emulator clearly predates bleem!).
Edit: just in case anyone wanted to see for themselves, I pulled a copy of the FAQ text from a google cache:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is bleem!?
bleem! is a program that lets you play HUNDREDS of PlayStation games on your PC, with no additional hardware required. You?ll get great PlayStation games, with PlayStation-level graphics, from most any Pentium PC. And if you have a recent 3D accelerator card, bleem! delivers even more: bleem! uses your 3D hardware to make many games "D3D Enhanced!" Instead of 320x200 PlayStation resolution, many games can run at 640x480 ? 800x600 ? or even higher ? resolutions, with richer color and more detail than ever before. It?s like getting a next-generation console TODAY! (and best of all, it works with the games you ALREADY have!)
How does bleem! work?
It?s easy. Just insert the bleem! CD into your CD-ROM drive, launch the bleem! program, and bleem! will ask you to insert a game CD. Drop in a compatible PlayStation game and you?re off!
No, really, how does bleem! play PlayStation games on a totally different machine?
Very well, thank you. Seriously, though? Most folks think of bleem! as an "emulator" ? but bleem! is so different from traditional emulation, it?s more like a gaming platform for the PC that just happens to run PlayStation games, too.
How so? Most "emulators" are designed "to the metal," meaning that the developers actually dissect the hardware of the original device and pick apart its inner workings, then try to replicate every circuit in software on your PC. So when a game sends a command to this "virtual" machine, it reacts just like the original hardware, sending the same commands through the same paths as the hardware would, to (hopefully) produce the same results.
Trouble is, this method is horribly inefficient, and oftentimes requires using the original hardware in ways that courts tend to? well? frown upon.
Bleem! is different. Instead of looking at the PlayStation?s hardware, the bleem! team approached the problem from a SOFTWARE perspective wherever possible. They carefully observed how games interact with the PlayStation ? which commands are sent to which memory addresses, and what result is expected.
Then, instead of relying on a "virtual circuit" ? essentially, a software copy of the hardware ? to produce that result, they simply asked, "What FUNCTION is performed here?," and designed their OWN code to execute that function, specifically for the PC?s processor. They realized the important part was delivering the right answer, not duplicating the process used to get there.
Is bleem! a replacement for a PlayStation?
Not at all! Bleem! is neither a replacement for, nor an alternative to, the PlayStation console. But it is a pretty nifty accessory! Bleem! customers fall into two basic categories: PlayStation owners and PC Gamers.
For people who already own PlayStations, bleem! is a great way to get more from their favorite games. They?ll have the freedom to "cut the cord" and take their games with them (it?s hard to carry a TV and PlayStation around with you). At work, at school, on a plane with a laptop, they can play anywhere there?s a PC. And if they have a recent 3D accelerator, they?ll see their games like never before ? with higher resolutions and greater detail than they knew existed.
And for PC Gamers, bleem! opens the door to hundreds of best-selling titles they?ve never had access to ? only a handful of PlayStation titles have ever been "ported" to the PC. Now, even folks who would never dream of buying a console can still enjoy great PlayStation games, and take adavantage of their 3D hardware to play with the high-res graphics they?re used to.
Can bleem! play all PlayStation games?
No, but it can play a whole lot of them! Because bleem! is based on clean reverse-engineering, we can only run what we?ve seen (which is further proof that we didn?t copy the PlayStation ? if we did, wouldn?t bleem! run ALL games?). If a game uses a particular command we?ve never seen, or uses it in a way we?ve never seen before, bleem! won?t know what to do with it.
How many games? Over 400, at last count. We?ve had some amazing reports from our users ? as high as 80% compatibility, running in Software Mode. A lesser number of games also offer D3D Enhanced performance, but both totals are growing all the time. We?re currently re-testing every title we can get our hands on with the latest version of bleem!, to provide the most accurate compatibility list we can.
Can bleem! play imported games and CD-backups?
Yep. We originally planned to "regionalize" bleem! to play only certain games with certain versions, but our users demanded the freedom to play any game they owned, regardless of where they lived. You can buy imported games most anywhere now, and it seemed silly to restrict users? choice, especially when there?s no real reason (legal or otherwise) to do so.
As for CD backups ? this was a tough one. While we worked very hard to detect the errors on the PlayStation games that separate originals from backups, it?s just not possible with today?s technology. It?s not that CD-ROM drives are behind-the-times; quite the opposite is true. The protection scheme in PlayStation games was designed 5 years ago for older 2X drives, and is simply outdated. Today?s high speed drives and error-correction methods just don?t see the errors Sony uses, and there?s no way around it.
What bleem! will NOT do is play games from your hard drive. Like the PlayStation itself, Bleem! requires a CD to operate.
Well, doesn?t that make bleem! illegal? Isn?t that piracy or something?
Hardly. You?re allowed by law to make a backup "archival" copy of any software you own. But the PlayStation hardware isn?t designed to play anything but their specially-mastered CDs. So even if you make a backup, you can?t use it. And since you only get a 30-day warranty, if your original CD is ever damaged, you?re out of luck.
For these reasons (and others that are not-so-legal), you can buy "mod chips" and "game enhancers" just about anywhere -? some require soldering 4 wires, others just plug right into the back of the console. For as little as $4.00, your PlayStation can play CD-Rs and imports, too.
So if Sony can?t stop people from playing CD-backups on the PlayStation HARDWARE, how can we do it in SOFTWARE? Bleem! is designed to play legitimately-owned PlayStation games, and we detest piracy in all its forms.
It?s ridiculous to blame the makers of a program that simply PLAYS recorded media. It would make more sense to go after the devices that make the copies in the first place ? the company that created the CD format (Sony), makes the recorders (Sony), and sells the media (you guessed it, Sony).
It doesn?t make any more sense than this: Say some criminal uses a Sony VCR to make bootleg copies of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (a Sony release) on hundreds of Sony-manufactured videocassettes. He then sells one of these tapes to another fellow who takes it home to play on his RCA player.
Sony gets wind of this activity ? what do they do? If their response to bleem! is any indication, Sony would sue RCA for "contributing to piracy!" Doesn?t make any sense, does it?
What are the future plans for bleem!?
We never stop improving and enhancing bleem !. We will continue to add more games to the compatibility list and include more features and performance for our users. New features currently being investigated include support for alternate game controllers like steering wheels and light guns, force-feedback support, and even the possibility of LAN play.
Aren?t products like bleem! illegal?
Not at all. If you have a IBM-compatible PC that isn?t from IBM, you?re using a product of the same kind of clean reverse-engineering that created bleem!. Way back in the early ?80s, the only IBM-compatible you could buy was from IBM. That is, until an enterprising company called the Phoenix Group decided to reverse-engineer the IBM BIOS to design their own unique BIOS, and open the market to competition.
Without that development, what do you think the chances are that we?d have $600 Pentium IIIs, computers in half of the homes in America, and the countless new companies, jobs and products the PC explosion has created?
I heard that Connectix lost their Preliminary Injunction with Sony. What makes you different?
Everything. Bleem! is a different product in every way from the Connectix Virtual Game Station. Aside from the obvious ? the VGS was for the Macintosh and bleem! is for the PC, the development and operation of the two products is very different.
First, bleem! never copied or distributed the Sony ROM BIOS in development . Instead, they pursued a completely different path. They focussed on replicating the FUNCTIONALITY of the PlayStation, not the circuitry. (see "how does it work?" above)
And in operation, bleem! has never claimed to be a PlayStation replacement, but rather an accessory. And instead of simply playing PlayStation games as they appear on a TV, bleem! offers enhanced resolutions and graphics quality for many titles.
Has Sony filed a lawsuit against you? What are their claims?
Unfortunately, yes. The lawsuit against bleem! is almost exactly the same as their filing against Connectix. They accuse bleem! of a number of wrongdoings including copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. But since that filing, Sony?s Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs has admitted that the bleem! case involves "very different facts."
What is the status of the lawsuit?
Since the original filing, Sony has attempted to gain two Temporary Restraining Orders to prohibit sales of bleem! and has failed in both. The next step is the Preliminary Injunction hearing, which is an expedited request that the court prohibit sales of bleem! This "expedited" hearing is currently scheduled for August 6, after a third delay at Sony?s request while they continue to search for evidence to support their claims.
How did the idea for bleem! come about?
About a year and a half ago, programmer Randy Linden started thinking about the PlayStation. He realized that after four years, it was nearing the natural end of its product life-cycle. If other consoles were any indication, that would mean its library of games would pass away, too. He also saw that the PlayStation is different from all the game consoles that have come and gone before. First, instead of a hundred or so games, there are thousands available for the PlayStation. Second, the PlayStation uses CD-ROMs for games, instead of "cartridges", the, which can be read on most any PC.
A basic tenet among programmers is "keep the code alive" ? platforms may come and go, but good programming is worth saving. And Randy thought he had the ability to do it ? to bring PlayStation games to the PC platform and to millions of new users; to "keep the code alive" long after the PlayStation had passed away.
The less lofty answer is, it seemed like a cool idea, and one that he could make work.
How did you guys get started?
Late last summer, David Herpolsheimer was contacted by a friend in the software industry, who asked if he could do a favor for a small startup and design a logo for something called bleem! ? with no further information about this "top secret" project. He provided the logo, and didn?t think about bleem! again until early 1999, when he received a call from programmer Randy Linden, who was looking for someone to help with packaging and launching a new product. A few marathon phone calls later, they met in person and the bleem! team was born.
Who the heck are you?
Who wants to know? I hate talking about me. Or Randy. Or the plot lines of "My So-Called Show" or "902-bad-show".
The GT one is quite good... looks and sound excellent. The MGS.. well I tried it for some minutes, haven-t had much time.. but was GREATLY dissapointed by audio... will try it again next week that I have some time.. (being a Kojima fan had to have that)
And Tekken, I got it but do not have tekken.. sigh will have to wait...
Anyway, the "All your base are belong to us" in the copyrights was great =)
I just bought the MGS bleemcast pack today, I had never even thought about the audio quality till it was mentioned here. I havn't got to try it out yet due to me not being able to find my MGS disks, arrrrg . I hope Im not dissapointed by the sound when I do find the disks, I have realy been looking forward to playing MGS on my DC.