It’s not often that I am genuinely excited about a piece of software. I guess I am jaded. But not today; today I am here to report on something that really makes me say “wow, finally!” And I am betting that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll say the same thing.
Winulator is an Android app that provides a runtime environment for DirectX API Windows programs. So, it’s a type of emulator, but, according to the app’s developer, it’s not an emulator in the classic sense of the word. For a program to run in Winulator, it requires a one-time conversion process, using a PC application called Winulator Converter Helper.
The conversion is required due to the different processor architectures – Windows programs are written for the x86 architecture, while most Android devices (save for a few Intel-atom powered ones, like the Motorola Razr i or the Orange San Diego) run on ARM processors.
WCH will convert the .exe and .dll files of the original Windows 95 or Windows 98 apps and turn them into ARM compatible applications.
The project is Dan Aloni’s brainchild, and so far, he modified one Windows game to run on Android – Caesar III, the seminal city-builder released in October 1998. Aloni got it to work on his Asus Transformer TF-101 and on a Galaxy S, although there still are some kinks to be ironed out (notably, the in-game sound doesn’t work).
Each app needs to be manually converted and modified to run in Winulator, which is a time consuming process. So far, Dan Aloni only got Caesar III to work on Android, but he says he’ll add more games and applications, depending on demand. He eventually plans to release the app on the Play Store. I am not sure about the IP implications, but hopefully, the project won’t face too much legal hassle.
Now, I know what game I’d like to play on my Galaxy S2. It’s the one and only StarCraft Broodwar. If someone manages to port it to Android, it’ll be truly a dream come true for me. What games of yore would you like to play on your Android device?