mGBA Turns Ten
Time sure does fly, huh? It’s been 10 years now since the very first commit to the mGBA git repository. And while you can read all about the early history of mGBA on the timeline page, I can assure you I had no expectation I’d still be working on this ten years later. But here we are, a decade later, and I’m still working on it.
I can say for sure that things have changed a lot since I started mGBA. Back in 2013, I had only been out of college for a year and change, had just started my career, and this was a hobby I’d had on my mind since before I’d graduated. The intended scope was much smaller, and I wasn’t originally even planning to port it to Windows! Obviously what happened as I got further along was completely different. The scope grew immensely, and that’s why the m doesn’t stand for “micro” or “mini”. (Actually, it doesn’t stand for anything, but originally it was going to stand for mini.)
So what’s coming in the next ten years? Well, I’m inexorably approaching 1.0, and hopefully that’ll be out the door in less than half that decade. And after 1.0? I’ll probably spend more time focusing on medusa, and maybe taking a bit of a break for a while. We’ll see.
By the way, you might notice I keep using first person pronouns in this article. I did this, I planned that, etc. Did you know that this whole time this has been primarily a single person project? I’m not the only contributor by a wide margin, but I’m the only person who regularly commits code, and I’m the only person who’s written major features. It’s been my passion project this whole time, but when I started this I’d hoped I’d get more people helping out as the years went on. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that very few people have joined the project. Only one other person has a Developer role on the Discord, and it’s actually someone I’ve known since before I started working on mGBA.
I’m definitely still looking for more developers who are looking to help me pick up the pace a bit; it’s definitely been slowing down in the latter half of this decade. Don’t worry, I’m still planning to work on this for the foreseeable future, but I keep having to extend the intended timeline since, well, it keeps taking longer than I had hoped. I’ve updated the timeline page to hopefully be a bit more realistic going forwards, since a lot more people seem to be expecting it to be realistic these days than when I first made it.
Working on mGBA has consumed thousands of my own hours, and I’ve purchased a significant amount of hardware and games for testing. mGBA has also gained a lot of traction in the past few years, increasing the amount of time I’ve had to provide in support too. I’d love to onboard some more people to help work on the project, be it for coding, translating, or just providing support. I know there are a lot of streamers out there that use it for their videos too, and while there’s obviously no obligation to do so, for the streamers out there that make money off of streaming GBA games using mGBA it’d be a nice gesture to give back by pledging to mGBA’s Patreon. The basic level is only US$1, which is less than a single Tier 1 Twitch subscription, and for US$5 you can get a fancy role on the Discord too.
In the meantime, I’m going keep churning out code. I still have a release or six I want to get out the door in the next abstract span of time. Oh yeah, and I did buy a cake for my GBA to take that photo. GBAs can’t eat of course, but the cake was delicious regardless.