Retro games and emulation - Discuss retro shit in case you're stuck in the past or a hipster

Jinmen

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Apr 16, 2018
So much for the "emotion engine" problem.

Is there a good faming controller for Android phones?
Yes, but its kind of expensive. I swear by the gamesir X2. The only problem is that you need wireless earbuds because it blocks one of the ports when you connect it.

I love the gamesir so much, easily one of the best purchases I've made recently. There's a razor variant (forgot the name) but I don't like how it looks. Make sure to get the gamesir version with a dpad though (there's one without it).
 

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THEY STOLE MY FORESKIN

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No specific emulator, but I keep seeing references to "Zilmar spec plugins." I just wondered what those specs were. Maybe it's an outdated term?
Sorry for the late reply but Zilmar is the creator of Project64 and when it was created it was done in a way where he only had to program the core part of the emulator and pass the processing of graphics, sound and controls to plugin developers. To make it so that plugins would work interchangeably and to facilitate their integration with the PJ64 core he developed specs that plugin developers had to follow, otherwise they wouldn't work with PJ64. This was back when it was not open source yet and when plugins were commonplace for emulators, only very recently has PCSX2 dropped the plugin system and merged everything into master so now you don't have to look up what the best plugin for a certain game is and download 10 different graphics and audio plugins like it is with 64 emulation (and I think Wii U too, but I don't know for sure). Why no developer has bothered to do what PCSX2 did to this day is beyond me since there's no need for plugins to exist anymore.
 
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Maurice Caine

You talkin' to me?
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Nov 14, 2019
Sorry for the late reply but Zilmar is the creator of Project64 and when it was created it was done in a way where he only had to program the core part of the emulator and pass the processing of graphics, sound and controls to plugin developers. To make it so that plugins would work interchangeably and to facilitate their integration with the PJ64 core he developed specs that plugin developers had to follow, otherwise they wouldn't work with PJ64. This was back when it was not open source yet and when plugins were commonplace for emulators, only very recently has PCSX2 dropped the plugin system and merged everything into master so now you don't have to look up what the best plugin for a certain game is and download 10 different graphics and audio plugins like it is with 64 emulation (and I think Wii U too, but I don't know for sure). Why no developer has bothered to do what PCSX2 did to this day is beyond me since there's no need for plugins to exist anymore.
I think Duckstation doesn't need plugins? epsxe fucking sucked back then and finally we have good PS1 emulation.
 

Friendly Primarina

50% more friendly than the average Primarina
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Why no developer has bothered to do what PCSX2 did to this day is beyond me since there's no need for plugins to exist anymore.
Not that I disagree, but this would bring up the issue of "Which plugins to merge?" For instance, the Mupen repository contains subprojects for five video plugins:
mupen64plus-video-arachnoid
mupen64plus-video-glide64
mupen64plus-video-glide64mk2 (for some fucking reason)
mupen64plus-video-rice
mupen64plus-video-z64
The guy that runs Mupen would have to choose one of these to merge. But here's the thing: there is a sixth video plugin that runs objectively better on my machine. I don't know why, but Gonetz's mupen64plus-video-GLideN64 plugin isn't part of the main repository, so if the mupen guy merged one of the above five, the result would run worse on my (admittedly old) machine.

I was just reading this conversation on GitHub by a frontend designer who brings up another issue with plugins: how do you design a UI when plugins not only have different parameters, but don't call them the same thing?

TL:DR, Mupen guy wants to keep a plugin spec to make Mupen as portable as possible, but it just creates headaches for devs and users alike.
 

THEY STOLE MY FORESKIN

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I think Duckstation doesn't need plugins? epsxe fucking sucked back then and finally we have good PS1 emulation.
I think not, but I'm really not familiar with PS1 emulation to be honest.
Not that I disagree, but this would bring up the issue of "Which plugins to merge?" For instance, the Mupen repository contains subprojects for five video plugins:
mupen64plus-video-arachnoid
mupen64plus-video-glide64
mupen64plus-video-glide64mk2 (for some fucking reason)
mupen64plus-video-rice
mupen64plus-video-z64
The guy that runs Mupen would have to choose one of these to merge. But here's the thing: there is a sixth video plugin that runs objectively better on my machine. I don't know why, but Gonetz's mupen64plus-video-GLideN64 plugin isn't part of the main repository, so if the mupen guy merged one of the above five, the result would run worse on my (admittedly old) machine.

I was just reading this conversation on GitHub by a frontend designer who brings up another issue with plugins: how do you design a UI when plugins not only have different parameters, but don't call them the same thing?

TL:DR, Mupen guy wants to keep a plugin spec to make Mupen as portable as possible, but it just creates headaches for devs and users alike.
If I recall correctly Gonetz made Glide64 not much long after the 64 had been released (which is why it's called Glide since that was the most common graphics API back then AFAIK) and many years later he came back and made GlideN64 to address many problems that his old plugin had, it's the only one I know that balances being accurate but not too demanding. It still has some small issues with some obscure games, over the years he fixed a plethora of errors in many titles that had never been corrected with high-level emulation before, for example the specular highlights on the machines in F-Zero X (which are actually rendered using fog, believe it or not :jacewtf:), the shadows in Pilotwings and the "coronas" around torches in OoT/MM not being obscured by geometry. Angrylion's is the most accurate one there is and it's the golden standard for graphics plugin developers, but it runs really badly even on modern hardware because it's low-level emulation (unless you use the fork ParaLLEl which uses Vulkan, however since your computer is old your GPU might not support it). If I recall correctly Rice was the most popular one around a decade ago, before Gonetz started making GlideN64, but it was really, really bad. Of course for something like Super Mario 64 it was acceptable because it uses very few graphical tricks but for Ocarina of Time and 99% of the catalog you had lots of z-fighting, bad fog, broken framebuffers (which is why many people are probably familiar with the equipment screen in OoT and the jumbotron in Luigi's Circuit being a glitched mess) and a lot more (including the well-known black sky in Goldenye). Maybe today it's different, but I think GlideN64 has surpassed it already. I can't comment on the other plugins because I'm not familiar with them, unfortunately.

All emulators I know above surface-level have a hardware renderer, which uses the GPU and runs at acceptable speeds, and a software renderer, which is low-level emulation and are used more oftenly to test glitches with the hardware renderer. To me it seems fitting that Angrylion would be used for the software renderer and the hardware renderer should be the one that uses the least amount of hacks (which is basically how Rice's plugin and 64 emulation in general have been developed until very recently) and tries to follow the console as closely as possible, and I would say GlideN64 is fit for the job. Gonetz has a blog where he talks about his plugin (it's really interesting by the way, I recommend it to anyone interested in learning how the N64 works) and sometimes he goes to crazy lengths to make sure his plugin is accurate, including reverse-engineering the microcode used by certain games like MM and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine to understand what the game is expecting of the graphics processor. Of course the performance in older hardware becomes a concern when accuracy becomes too much, and since the 64 is an oddball that uses 3-point texture filtering it's very easy for it to become too demanding despite being a very old console (see image in spoiler below), but Dolphin got away with it by having a list of each game released for the Wii and GC and upon loading the ISO the graphics setting are automatically adjusted to make sure the player doesn't see any errors. One instance I remember is that Mario Kart Wii uses some very slow function with the extended framebuffer (framebuffer that sits outside the Wii's GPU if I recall corectly) and if you don't emulate it the Miis will have no heads (again, see image in spoiler below), therefore this function is activated for this title but not for others that don't use it for anything like Double Dash. There are a lot of other "tricks" that have to be activated on a per-game basis (specially those involving framebuffers because the CPU and the GPU on the Wii and the GC share the same memory so there's basically no delay when sharing information between the two, but in computers each one has their own memory). I hope my answer is good enough, but honestly I don't really know how feasible for 64 emulation any of what I said would be, but if you're really interested you could try asking Gonetz.
What happens if you don't implement 3-point:
4wwtS6o.png

How it should be:
6z3L7Rh.png

MKW emulation bug I talked about:
mariokartwii-headless.png
 
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Jinmen

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Kind of surprised I was able to get FF12 to run as well as it did last night on damon (I pirated the pro version). I tested FF12 International, Tales Of Destiny Director's Cut and Shadow Hearts. SH has major bugs sadly, ToD: DC won't play the opening song but the rest of the game runs great (Symphonia has the same issue on dolphin).

This is all on what is considered a subpar emulator so I'm pretty excited for aether and yeah I know FF12 and FFX have HD releases but I love portability.

I really need to stick to a particular game to beat though, I run into this problem where I just download and try tons of roms but don't finish them.
 

JamesFargo

Saying "oh cool" as I put the gun in my mouth
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I really need to stick to a particular game to beat though, I run into this problem where I just download and try tons of roms but don't finish them.
Better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them, I guess.

But I share the sentiment. It's more fun to get these games running than to actually complete them.
 

Pissmaster

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I really need to stick to a particular game to beat though, I run into this problem where I just download and try tons of roms but don't finish them.

Romsets are massive collections of very long-form entertainment intended to be individually sold for around $50-80, and enjoyed over the course of a month. It's hard to get a tangible feeling for the magnitude of the games in your selection when they're presented to you like this:
1637782591669.png

instead of this:
1637782432400.png


When it comes to romsets, selection paralysis is very real. There are a ton of games you think you want to play, but you really don't. There are a ton of games we've all heard of for ages that are agreed upon to be must-haves, and you might say "I don't know why I've never gotten around to playing that". The truth is, a whole lot of retro games aged very poorly, and/or only really appeal to kids at the time. Resident Evil 2 is a very good example of one of those. I didn't play it as a kid, and only got to try it as an adult through emulation, but by then, I had already played through the first three Silent Hill games, and many other newer horror games that effectively do what RE2 did, but better. So, it had nothing new or remarkable to show me, as newer games took what was good about it and improved upon its formula. That's a problem with both games and movies, like how The Godfather just came off cheesy to me because I've seen parodies of the horse's-head-in-the-bed scene and "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse" as far back as I can remember.

So here's what I do: Think about what genre you wanna play. What kind of game would really scratch that itch. Then, look up the best games from that genre, on whatever platform you're using, and give some of those a try. That'll narrow your selection way the hell down, and give you a small enough selection to where you could go through everything on that list and at least get an idea as to what's worth playing. There are so many games these days that you never, ever have to concern yourself with anything less than top-tier titles, but if you're curious, there's endless amounts of garbage to dive into.
 

Jinmen

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Apr 16, 2018
This problem is further compounded by the massive volume of quality rom hacks available at your disposal. Seiken Densetsu 3 for example, a game I've beaten so many times I can play it in my sleep. I'm trying out a difficulty mod that rebalanced the gameplay and changes a lot of the core elements, its called Sins of Mana and is amazing.


Do I play some of these awesome saturn rpgs I was never able to enjoy because I couldn't afford them, stuff like Panzer Dragoon Saga, Shining Force III or do I dive further into a game changing hack for an old favorite like xenogears where one of the only flaws I found was lack of difficulty?


Lots of people find them tacky but I'm guilty of swearing by CRT shaders. I absolutely adore royale and its why I put up with RA on pc. Most of my problems with RA come from android though tbh.

I really do love emulation. In the case of a remaster, 90% of the time I find that emulating the title is the best alternative. Its free and you can usually make the game look better plus shit like Legend of Mana remaster added a hideous font and changed one of the character designs to be less of a racial stereotype. I compared both side by side and honestly preferred running it in an emulator. I think SaGa Frontier is the only remaster I've ever preferred to the original.
 

Marissa Moira

True & Honest Fan
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Apr 19, 2019
Man retail game kiosks have surpassed both Arcade Cabinets and Pinball tables in terms of price.

Like holy hell there are so many people looking to relive the glory days of retail chains that they're now redesigning their houses to look like a store interior to display their collection.

A single shelf marquee can run you anywhere from $300-$1,000
 

Smaug's Smokey Hole

Excuse me, I currently have some brain damage.
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@THEY STOLE MY FORESKIN

So what am I looking at here, some texture sheering on the wall and stairs? That's it? At the same time there's a much more noticeable seam in both images.
4wwtS6o.png

6z3L7Rh.png

[/spoiler]
Is this what the N64 emulator nerds are actually fretting about when they tell people they cannot use Emulator1 because it is so inaccurate and it will absolutely ruin the game? Jeez.
 

THEY STOLE MY FORESKIN

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@THEY STOLE MY FORESKIN

So what am I looking at here, some texture sheering on the wall and stairs? That's it? At the same time there's a much more noticeable seam in both images.

Is this what the N64 emulator nerds are actually fretting about when they tell people they cannot use Emulator1 because it is so inaccurate and it will absolutely ruin the game? Jeez.
I'm not sure what emulator you're referring to, but I think what most people mean when they say their games are ruined is because until very recently some games were outright unplayable (Star Wars: Battle for Naboo for example) or had severe graphical issues, unless you used Angrylion's plugin. Some purists will also complain that most plugins don't implement the anti-aliasing and forced blurring which is often not because it's ugly but rather because it's performance expensive. It was quite unpopular even back then since it wasn't something developers could work around, it was forced on every game, and one funny consequence of this is that the developers of Space Station Silicon Valley decided to go with the cartoony artstyle precisely because it wasn't possible to output anything more detailed without it looking blurry as hell. And yeah, I agree, 3-point texture filtering is hardly noticeable and that's why it's only used by the N64 as far as I know. It was created and patented by Nintendo but no graphics card ever adopted it.

106388197-03be7580-6410-11eb-8339-337334f4e1bf.png


I believe GlideN64 allows you to use other filtering methods, but if you want to have a "high-fidelity" experience you can use it. Another use case would be for custom textures since they should take into consideration 3-point which is what the 64 used. Not that it matters much because most texture packs for 64 games are really bad anyway.

Also something I want to share, OoT without texture filtering:
33356719-1956a87a-d48c-11e7-8ce8-9704700609fb.jpg

D08VuHFWkAAdlI6
 

Smaug's Smokey Hole

Excuse me, I currently have some brain damage.
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I'm not sure what emulator you're referring to, but I think what most people mean when they say their games are ruined is because until very recently some games were outright unplayable (Star Wars: Battle for Naboo for example) or had severe graphical issues, unless you used Angrylion's plugin. Some purists will also complain that most plugins don't implement the anti-aliasing and forced blurring which is often not because it's ugly but rather because it's performance expensive. It was quite unpopular even back then since it wasn't something developers could work around, it was forced on every game, and one funny consequence of this is that the developers of Space Station Silicon Valley decided to go with the cartoony artstyle precisely because it wasn't possible to output anything more detailed without it looking blurry as hell. And yeah, I agree, 3-point texture filtering is hardly noticeable and that's why it's only used by the N64 as far as I know. It was created and patented by Nintendo but no graphics card ever adopted it.

106388197-03be7580-6410-11eb-8339-337334f4e1bf.png


I believe GlideN64 allows you to use other filtering methods, but if you want to have a "high-fidelity" experience you can use it. Another use case would be for custom textures since they should take into consideration 3-point which is what the 64 used. Not that it matters much because most texture packs for 64 games are really bad anyway.

Also something I want to share, OoT without texture filtering:
33356719-1956a87a-d48c-11e7-8ce8-9704700609fb.jpg

D08VuHFWkAAdlI6
Oh, I thought the skewed textures were the bugged ones. The side of the stairs fit very well but the rest looks off now that I've stared at the picture.

Over the years I have found that emulator warriors are way worse and more autistic than console warriors. It always bugged me because I never really found anything that bothered me or kept me from playing games in my emulators of choice. Someone in another thread said that people that played FF6 on emulator or PSX and says it's fine never played the cartridge version or else they wouldn't say that. I did play the cartridge, still think it's perfectly fine on an emulator. Does anything sound wrong? Idk, I'm not vidya sound effect Rainman.

EdgeAA "It was quite unpopular even back then since it wasn't something developers could work around, it was forced on every game"

Point-Sampled Z-Buffered Rendering Modes, G_RM_ZB [compared to Antialiased Z-Buffered Rendering Modes, G_RM_AA_ZB]

The point-sampled rendering modes in Table 3 are provided for completeness. They have no significant performance advantage over the antialiased modes. These modes can be mixed and matched with any of the other rendering modes, antialiased or not, and so could be used for “special effects” within an otherwise antialiased scene. Generally speaking, point sampling looks bad, and should be avoided. [to be fair, the N64 didn't have that sharp pixel crawl and pop like the PSX]

Note:
Textures can still be bilerped [bilinearly interpolated, my note], which is the only kind of antialiasing that matters in this case.
Point-sampling refers to the frame buffer in the passage above and not the textures like the Zelda screens. Mixing and matching render modes is interesting.
N64 DevKit docs on edgeAA:
 

Pissmaster

True & Honest Fan
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How do you guys think the steamdeck will perform as an emulation platform?
Penis Tech Tips showed off a prototype running Doom Eternal at medium settings, and it's straight up a PC that can run desktop Windows, so I figure it should be able to handle Xenia and RPCS3.

It probably won't be a super elegant experience, but I'd be surprised if you couldn't get games playable on those on low settings. And of course, everything else should run very well. Retroarch itself is just straight up on Steam, so you should be able to just install that day one and experience all the tumultuous frustrations of Retroarch right away.
 

Marissa Moira

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Apr 19, 2019
Got a mixed lot of CD games and the discs need cleaning to get smudges off.

I have a microfiber cloth and isopropyl alcohol but I was also suggested getting them resurfaced, I'm pretty sure resurfacing still uses grinders which is way worse, unless there's some new gay laser bullshit I'm not away of correct?