News: N-Xplorer, a file manager inspired by VitaShell, released for the Switch & a look at Cxbx-Reloaded’s (original XBOX emulator) December 2019 progress report now with 59 playable games
With the PSVita having a surprisingly large library of homebrew, the Switch scene took some inspiration from it with some developers even moving on to that platform instead. In this article, we’ll be looking at a VitaShell-inspired file explorer for the Switch and the latest developments regarding original XBOX emulation!
Switch Release: N-Xplorer gets official release after major rewrite
Like the PSVita, the Nintendo Switch already has a pretty fully-fledged file manager which goes by the name NX-Shell.
However, its developer Joel16 has admitted to ‘losing interest in the project’ even though he promises to get back to maintaining it at some time even though it won’t ‘be anytime soon’.
Now, another file manager has been released for the Nintendo Switch by the name N-Xplorer and it’s inspired by TheFlow’s famous VitaShell, the de facto file manager on the PSVita. Its developer CompSciOrBust has been working on the file manager for quite a while having released an NRO file for version 0.5 around 17 days without much fanfare but 2 days ago, version 0.6, which is a complete rewrite, was released together with a GBATemp post for the project to gain some popularity.
Currently, the file manager isn’t as fully featured as other offerings for the Switch like NX-Shell and Apollo (which only saw one pre-release in July) but version 0.6.1 [current version] still has a couple of features including:
- Basic file management capabilities like being able to copy, move, rename, create and delete files/folders
- A text editor
- A basic image viewer which doesn’t have zooming/rotation code yet
CompSciOrBust has some pretty big plans for the file manager which include a music player, theming, an FTP server, the ability to sort directory contents, touch screen support, a video player, hex editor and much more. If these plans do indeed materialise, N-Xplorer will probably become a supported contender to NX-Shell and the de facto file manager situation may change on the Switch but only time will tell!
Emulation News: A quick look at Cxbx-Reloaded’s December 2019 progress report
Unlike the GameCube and PlayStation 2 which have been pretty well-emulated for years, the original XBOX didn’t get much love when it came to emulating until Luke Usher’s Cxbx-Reloaded came along with a version 0.1 release in June 2018 with development having started quite some time before that.
Now, the emulator has matured quite a bit and monthly progress reports published on Patreon are a testament to that with December 2019’s report being shared on Monday. In a nutshell, the report which is a rather long and interesting read comes with the following main points:
- As of right now, there are 59 titles considered playable and 184 others are In-Game
- HLSL (High Level Shader Language) vertex shaders are now used which replace older vertex shader conversion code
- This change results in increased accuracy and improved rendering although it might result in slower performance while shaders are being compiled. However, HLSL shaders seem to provide slightly better performance after being fully compiled!
- A fix relating to large vertex shaders which allows DoA 3 to work again together with other internal improvements spanning from trampoline optimisation, an improvement to the emulated kernel and a fix relating to Half-Life 2
- Improvements in numerous games including:
- Rayman Arena is now playable
- Totaled is playable
- Ghost Recon Island Thunder is playable
- Backyard Wrestling 2 is now in-game
- Mortal Kombat Deception is in-game
- Robocop is in-game
- Soldier Of Fortune II – Double Helix is in-game
- Hot Wheels Stunt Track Challenge is in-game
- Many other titles, including Crash N Burn, are now in-game or playable. You can check these out by following the link below
To read the full progress report and see what games improved with developments in December, follow this link which also allows you to donate towards the emulator’s development. An Excel spreadsheet is available at the bottom of the list detailing game compatibility status.