N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Emulation of old consoles and arcades.

Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby rgart » 2013-6-11 @ 09:48

Hmm ok ill do some research. I haven't touched Saturn emu for maybe 12 months.

I do remember having difficulty finding a good version of SSF.

It was running on a dual core intel E8500

Im sorry to hijack this thread and turn it to SEGA op. :)

thanks for the link!
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby GPDP » 2013-7-10 @ 01:25

Back on topic, I've been messing around a lot with Project64 2.1 and Mupen64Plus. The former did fix a few games previously broken in 1.6, but for the most part these gains are offset by regressions in other games, mostly due to default game settings that break games that should not be broken, especially pertaining to timing, games running too fast or too slow, etc. The ROM Database it ships with is hilariously outdated, and needs serious work to bring it up to speed to 1.6's latest unofficial RDB.

As for Mupen64Plus, it's coming along quite nicely. It largely does not suffer from Project64 2.1's timing issues, and its core is quite advanced and plays some games better and faster than Project64, but some games are broken on it, and it suffers from some audio sync issues. On the plus side (hehe), it's getting a RetroArch port soon, which will hopefully help with those sync issues thanks to its Dynamic Rate Control, as well as give it a good user interface other than command line.

One other thing I'd like to bring attention to: we're finally getting plugins that are accurate to the N64's actual video output, rather than all the HLE slop we've been putting up with for years. Glide64 is good, mind you, but it's not perfect, and it's also not pixel-accurate, especially when it comes to textures. There's one implementation called SoftGraphic that would be amazing, were it not so slow. But as I understand it, the N64's RDP is a seriously complex beast, so replicating its functions accurately takes a LOT of horsepower. Here's a picture:

Image

Yeah, it looks kinda ugly, but that's how the real console looks like. :cool: I personally find the so-called HD look from current emulators pretty crap, anyway, since models tend to be so low in polygon count and textures are really low-res.

Hopefully the day when you can fire up an emulator, open up any N64 game, and have it work like it should without messing with plugins and settings is not too far off. SNES and PS1 are already there. It's time for the N64 to join the club.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby swaaye » 2013-7-10 @ 03:29

That output plugin is interesting. I like it. I agree that authentic output would be wonderful to have available.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby leileilol » 2013-7-10 @ 03:36

Does it emulate the slanted bilinear filtering too? Does it make use of SSE2? Does it run Battle for Naboo, Mario Tennis and Indiana Jones?
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby swaaye » 2013-7-10 @ 03:41

Yeah I can't live without the authentic artifacts of that 3 point bilinear filtering cheat that SGI used!

I don't think any of the Factor 5 or Boss Game Studios games can be made to run easily. There is a RSP plugin that sort of works for Top Gear Rally...
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby GPDP » 2013-7-10 @ 05:45

leileilol wrote:Does it emulate the slanted bilinear filtering too?


Yep. You can turn off the fullscreen filtering to reveal it.

Image

Code: Select all
Does it make use of SSE2?


The only implementation publicly available in compiled form does not, as far as I know. It does use some multi-threading, though.

Does it run Battle for Naboo, Mario Tennis and Indiana Jones?


Haven't tested Battle for Naboo, but if Rogue Squadron is any indication, the menus probably will not work, but in-game might. Mario Tennis does work IIRC. Indiana Jones does not, but nothing seems to other than z64gl on Mupen64Plus, and even then level geometry is broken unless you use the Interpreter core, and the game locks up if you do before getting control of Indy.

swaaye wrote:Yeah I can't live without the authentic artifacts of that 3 point bilinear filtering cheat that SGI used!

I don't think any of the Factor 5 or Boss Game Studios games can be made to run easily. There is a RSP plugin that sort of works for Top Gear Rally...


z64gl combined with Iconoclast's RSP Interpreter plugin can make Rogue Squadron playable on Mupen64Plus, though it requires a good PC to get full speed. Haven't tested other "difficult" games other than Indiana Jones with this combination, though.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby leileilol » 2013-7-12 @ 13:42

I just tried the SoftGraphic 1.4 PJ64 plugin, and I really like how 2D games (such as Mischief Makers) actually look 2D and sharp instead of a bunch of blurred polygonal pieces glued together)
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby GPDP » 2013-7-12 @ 16:09

leileilol wrote:I just tried the SoftGraphic 1.4 PJ64 plugin, and I really like how 2D games (such as Mischief Makers) actually look 2D and sharp instead of a bunch of blurred polygonal pieces glued together)


That's the beauty of software rendering. 2D looks absolutely gorgeous with it. Nice and pixel-perfect.

That said, 1.4 took out the accurate N64 filtering that was present in 1.3, though I suppose that's not a big deal, since it usually just makes games look blurrier and makes emulation even slower. It's a minor nitpick, however, as now you can use Direct3D to draw the window, which makes it compatible with Fraps for easy screenshots.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby Kerr Avon » 2013-7-12 @ 18:45

GPDP, I too have had disappaointing results with 2.0 of Project 64. Considering how long it's been in the making (nearly nine years), it's all the more amazing how bad the final release is - there should have been no regression in compatability at all. Was there no testing prior to release, or did the programmers just not listen to (or care about) user feedback?

Muppen64 Plus 2.0 was released a week ago (http://code.google.com/p/mupen64plus/), I've not tried it yet, how is that?

What is RetroArch? And it is good that we're getting better plug-ins, but I do long for the day when you can just load a ROM (game) and the emulator makes all necessary setting changes itself, as most emulators of 8 and 16 bit machines do already. Having to mess about selecting and configuring plug-ins (and sometimes having to use a different emulator, if one emulator doesn't support a given game but another does) isn't ideal, though of course it's preferable to not being able to emulate the games at all.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby GPDP » 2013-7-12 @ 20:39

Kerr Avon wrote:GPDP, I too have had disappaointing results with 2.0 of Project 64. Considering how long it's been in the making (nearly nine years), it's all the more amazing how bad the final release is - there should have been no regression in compatability at all. Was there no testing prior to release, or did the programmers just not listen to (or care about) user feedback?


Well, since it was closed source and donationware for so long, only a select few had access to it to test, contribute code and patches, etc. Jabo leaving the project was also a rather big blow, as the "team" behind PJ64 is actually down to one guy. Also, PJ64 is actually something like a 90% rewrite from 1.6, so there's that as well.

Muppen64 Plus 2.0 was released a week ago (http://code.google.com/p/mupen64plus/), I've not tried it yet, how is that?


Better than PJ64 in some respects, a bit worse in others. It's only real problem is that it's rather inaccessible if you don't like messing around with configuration files and command lines. Luckily, it's getting a port for the following:

What is RetroArch?


A core-agnostic frontend for the libretro API. Various emulators and even some game engines and applications have been ported to it, with the benefits being amazing portability and access to RetroArch's huge feature set. Once an emulator's core gets ported to libretro, it can be used on basically any device that RetroArch has been ported to, which includes the major PC operating systems, consoles, various handhelds, and phones, provided they have the power to handle them. In the case of Mupen64Plus, it is in the process of being ported, so it will be possible to use it alongside RetroArch's many features, such as extensive shader support and its dynamic rate control, which provides great audio/video sync.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby leileilol » 2013-7-13 @ 00:26

Yeah, I was testing with 1.6

Battle for Naboo almost runs - can see the logo intro almost, it renders only the distance terrain buffer


I'd try Mupen64Plus, but my big issue with command-line emulation is the lack of interactive input binding :) I also can't remember the last command-line only emulator I used. esnes probably
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby GPDP » 2013-7-13 @ 03:47

There are a few frontends for it, but most of them have issues of some kind. Of course, it'll all be moot once the RetroArch port is done.

And yeah, SoftGraphic has issues with the Factor 5 games. Try z64gl.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby cdoublejj » 2013-8-08 @ 06:14

I check up on PJ 64 a few months ago and apparently it got an update.

http://www.pj64-emu.com/blog/

EDIT: I though Glide was a PC thing? did the N64 use it too?
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby Jorpho » 2013-8-08 @ 15:14

The original UltraHLE (the first practical N64 emulator, long since deprecated) was Glide-only, and for a long time one of the best emulator video plugins was Glide-only. Apparently there's something about the API that makes it a good match for the N64's video capabilities. However, the N64 did not actually use Glide, no.

There was talk once of the Dreamcast using 3dfx, but that is the closest Glide has come to use in a video game console. (Arcade machines are a different matter.)
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby leileilol » 2013-8-08 @ 18:45

or, it's just at the time of UltraHLE's release, the non-3dfx cards still did a lot of things wrong like the TNT's poor trilinear support, ATI and S3's massively buggy drivers, etc. UltraHLE would probably never see release if it were Direct3D only. And then there's the fact that nearly almost everyone who had a 3d card have a 3dfx thanks to Glide-only vendor lock-in for many games between 97-98, combined with performance benchmarks that lead into a market dominance...
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby GPDP » 2013-9-19 @ 11:11

In case no one is keeping up, Cen64, the up-and-coming cycle-accurate N64 emulator, is officially up and running. It's not very compatible at the moment, but it does run some notable commercial games like Zelda OoT. Of course, it's also rather slow, but the guy behind it appears to be the real deal when it comes to coding wizardry, so I have high hopes that he'll get it running at good speed on current high-end hardware. Already he's taking advantage of SSSE3 and SSE4.1 to vectorize instructions and such to squeeze out as much speed as possible. Only thing is, while there are prebuilt binaries floating around, you are highly encouraged to build it yourself so as to optimize it for your particular CPU. It is very barebones in any case, offering zero configuration options and only allowing input through a gamepad with preset key bindings. So I wouldn't ditch your favorite N64 emulator just yet.

Also, Mupen64Plus has been successfully ported to RetroArch... for the most part. It still has quite a few bugs they have yet to fix, most notably the GL wrapper for the Glide64 plugin they are bundling with the core, which they pulled from the Android Edition of M64P. Apparently whoever ported it from the original Glide64 plugin did a shoddy job with said wrapper, resulting in visible texture and geometry issues across many games. So it'll be a while until it's truly ready for general use, though it's technically usable now.

Sure is good to see things progressing in a scene that has remained stagnant for so long, in any case.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby Kerr Avon » 2013-9-20 @ 22:50

GPDP wrote:Sure is good to see things progressing in a scene that has remained stagnant for so long, in any case.


Yes. It will be brilliant when we have totally accurate N64 emulators, and hopefully they won't be too demanding for us to run on current hardware, though even if they are, at least the emulators will still be available when we finally get PCs that are powerful enough. I would think, though, that surely a PC that's powerful enough to emulate PS2 and Gamecube games well would be powerful enough to emulate N64 games too.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby Jorpho » 2013-9-21 @ 03:33

As alluded to earlier, emulation gets slower the more accurate it is required to be, and the multiprocessor architecture of the N64 will require considerable accuracy if done correctly.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby GPDP » 2013-9-21 @ 17:27

Kerr Avon wrote:I would think, though, that surely a PC that's powerful enough to emulate PS2 and Gamecube games well would be powerful enough to emulate N64 games too.


The thing is that even today, PS2 and GC/Wii emulation isn't all that accurate. They use a lot of HLE shenanigans to get them to run at full speed on current systems. They have been getting more accurate lately, but as a result the system requirements have been increasing as well. And N64 emulation isn't a whole lot easier. Only reason it's gotten this far is because N64 emulators and plugins involve a ton of hacks and workarounds, and leave entire portions of the hardware unemulated. Ditching the workarounds and emulating the hardware properly requires a ton of power, more than PS2, GC, and Wii emulation as they currently stand.
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Re: N64 emulation - does anyone else share my dissatisfaction?

Postby mr_bigmouth_502 » 2013-9-22 @ 06:07

All I want is to be able to run the Perfect Dark/Goldeneye-optimized build of 1964 at a consistent speed.

For Perfect Dark, It already has the graphical effects and overall gameplay feel down-pat, but it annoys me just how inconsistant the speed is. Sometimes it runs with a 30fps limit like the real system, which works well for the pace of the gameplay. Other times, it forgets the limit and runs at 60fps which while fun, is inaccurate in terms of replicating the gameplay feel. Then there are the motion blur and cloaking/decloaking effects, which tend to momentarily hang the emulation and sometimes even make it go down to an absolute crawl for several seconds, usually when more than one of these effects happens at once. This is especially annoying in the Combat Simulator, as the Farsight and the tranquilizer gun are some of my favorite weapons to use.

As for Goldeneye, I haven't really tested it yet because while it's a decent enough game, there's almost no point in playing it other than for the story mode, since Perfect Dark does pretty much everything Goldeneye does, but better.
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