Community The Emulation Thread - When That PC Port Just Ain't Happening

Li Kao

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Here is what it looks like (the upper parts are the direction keys)

 

Alextended

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I've been playing and remembering some funky Sega Saturn games because of a discussion elsewhere. It's hard to find good footage for some of it though.

F-1 Live Information/F1 Challenge came out in 1996 and doesn't often get credit but I think it looks pretty good. The Japanese version's Grand Prix mode apes F-1 TV coverage with commentary and a picture-in-picture view of what is happening elsewhere in the track, that a button sets to always on, always off or to automatically pop up when relevant (iirc). You might have seen videos where it seems to chug at a terrible pace, but it's actually the second view (rear view mirror in the world version and/or other modes) causing it, disabling it allows it to perform pretty great (see prior to the timestamp/elsewhere for the chug):

I found an ok longplay (not the greatest player in dodging or remembering the melee and limited grenades) of Gundam Side Story I: Blue Terror (part I of the short episodic The Blue Destiny trilogy). Its final mission shows how the action doesn't miss a beat even with multiple enemies and destructible structures all over the place, thanks to the flat yet fancy VDP2 terrain. They're very simple action games compared to Gungriffon's faux-sim but they're a joy with such smooth action. Idk why they weren't more popular/enough to localise, they look like a Gundam fan's wet dream. In the other games there's a mission taking place in a simple interior area with corridors and halls and the very last mission of the trilogy is in outer space with asteroids and stuff!

Drift King 97 is an awesome racing game in the Wangan/Initial D mould (actually among the first in the former series and a precursor to Dreamcast's underrated Tokyo Xtreme Racer games). After trying it I love how drifting feels, it's like Sega Rally mud slides though you have to be a bit more precise and in control of your lane so you don't crash in either edge or the traffic you're overtaking as you attempt to beat your rival. The timestamp in the first video is a great introduction with some nice footage and I also found a tribute video (which is all gameplay as the game lacks replays). Sounds change when you're going through tunnels and the time of day changes as you progress in the race. The PlayStation port is available in English as Tokyo Highway Battle (which helps a ton when upgrading your car parts) but I prefer how this version feels/looks despite the lower draw distance, mesh shadows etc., as the 2D backgrounds move smoother and there's no polygon warping or obvious seams as on the PlayStation, it also supports the Saturn 3D Control Pad but not the DualShock or Dual Analog controller.

This first came out near the Saturn's launch and has a style similar to the likes of Gungriffon yet moves fast & smooth (even though this video is PAL with the known 50Hz issues, in the US it's called Thunderstrike 2)! Little old Saturn had so many awesome cockpit sim-esque games. I wish AMOK had a cockpit view.

I can't not post the Gungriffons and Stellar Assault SS again, especially the former are classics worth remembering alongside MechWarrior. I keep going back.

And I never really liked Mass Destruction but that 60fps goodness and the water reflected explosions, both missing from the PS port, are worth mentioning.

I also set up supported racing games for analog instead of my 6 face button Fighting Commander and even ugly Sega Touring Car Championship plays well!

On the PlayStation side I played some G-Police. I wonder if that's the first console game to have graphics settings as you try to balance fov/draw distance/fps. The second video is from the PC port (obviously not as it ran for most back then), I'll probably get that as draw distance aside it looks glorious. I think it looks more like games that released alongside MechWarrior 4 in the 2000s. It might control better too as analog controls on the PlayStation version are too sensitive yet it's much clunkier without it. The PC version should support my (any) flight stick and hopefully have decent configuration. Sadly the sequel was console only.
 
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Alextended

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Those aren't even its best but lesser known good or better than expected stuff (the topic was great Saturn 3D gfx and big ones like Virtua Fighter 2, Last Bronx, Sega Rally, Panzer Dragoon Zwei/Saga, Powerslave, Duke Nukem 3D, Decathlete, Virtua Cop/2, Virtual On, Radiant Silvergun, Thunder Force V, etc. had been mentioned)! Well, for most, to me GG/2 are top. It was also a treasure trove of great 2D games, Capcom's, SNK's, Treasure's & Psikyo's best and more all in one!
 
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Alextended

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Flycast in RetroArch is near perfect (Sega Rally 2 has one long standing bug where texture filtering doesn't apply, that's about it for issues). It does Atomiswave and Naomi (but not Naomi 2, so Virtual On 2 5.66 is a yes, I was just trying it out earlier actually, but the likes of Virtua Fighter 4 no) as well. Then Demul still.
 
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Alextended

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Oh, a note I forgot because I'm so used to it. Based on your chosen RA/core api (vulkan, dx12, whatever) and PC it has funky behavior in recent versions that sort of breaks it if you close/switch content. With some it crashes, with others it seems fine until you try to load another Flycast game. It's best to double Esc quit RetroArch itself when you wanna switch games or cores to ensure it will not have any problems in that session. It's a minor inconvenience. I also discovered a weird bug in SoulCalibur. If you do anything within the Yoshimitsu stage (play vs, watch mode, whatever) then go right back to character select rather than exit to main menu, continue to a next fight or similar, it has a momentary visual corruption and some portraits on the character select screen will be distorted for that session. Anyway, it's updated often so I'm sure it will all be fixed eventually. There's also a stand alone emulator version to try, I guess it could be a bit ahead.

Edit: SoulCalibur is fixed as of now, as far as I can tell, but I discovered one game that essentially is unplayable sadly, Le Mans 24 Hours/Test Drive Le Mans.
 
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Alextended

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What Dreamcast emulator is the recommended nowadays?
I know I already answered but I only just tried this Redream emu, it might be worth checking out. The latest nightly seems to run SEGA Rally 2 without the bugs of Flycast. But it's only free to use with missing functionality. Like it only gives you one save state per game without paying and you also can't alter many of the graphics settings (no resolution bumping or anything). I didn't fiddle a lot with it since for most of my games I saw no real difference and the interface was super limited. I couldn't even find out how to make it use a proper bios (it runs fine without) and all the things I can do on Flycast like set a different VMU per game to be used automatically and what not for normal saves. Maybe it's there, maybe it's there only for the paid users, maybe not, I couldn't tell you. I'm guessing fans of stand alone emulators over RA (weirdos like I was) might dig it but as I said Flycast has such a version as well, more conventionally implemented (and free).
 
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Panda Pedinte

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I know I already answered but I only just tried this Redream emu, it might be worth checking out. The latest nightly seems to run SEGA Rally 2 without the bugs of Flycast. But it's only free to use with missing functionality. Like it only gives you one save state per game without paying and you also can't alter many graphics settings (no resolution bumping or anything). I didn't fiddle a lot with it since for most of my games I saw no real difference and the interface was super limited. I couldn't even find out how to make it use a proper bios (it runs fine without) and all the things I can do on Flycast like set a different VMU per game to be used automatically and what not for normal saves. Maybe it's there, maybe it's there only for the paid users, maybe not, I couldn't tell you. I'm guessing fans of stand alone emulators over RA (weirdos like I was) might dig it but as I said Flycast has such a version as well, more conventionally implemented (and free).
Before setting on Flycast I read about Redream and the restriction in the free version made me pass on it.
 

Cacher

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Unrelated to emulation. I really want a retrotink 5x-Pro. I am so jelly towards the people who have got it.
 
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Alextended

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In other updates it seems the PCSX2 core is no longer marked as "alpha" and has implemented various features like speed hacks and half screen fixes. I still get more issues than in the stand alone emulator like crackling sound (I guess it may be due to fps drops but it seems to occur regardless) and performance issues and how the vibration doesn't stop once anything triggers it at all and what not so I guess it will be a while before it's on par and thus preferable within RA.
 

SkyStarblaze

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Is Yuzu in a state yet where it objectively is a better experience to play a game on Yuzu than on a Switch itself?
 

Panda Pedinte

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I was surprised by how advanced Yuzu is. Even my old ass i5 4440 was able to run Pokémon Sword and Shield though a lot of dips but it is expected, still need to try other games though.
 

Alextended

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PCSX2 core seems to have improved again (idk when exactly, I'm always up to date but since it was't great yet I wasn't using it much). It no longer gets infinite vibration the moment anything triggers it (though I'm not sure if it's fully correct either, dragging bodies in MGS2 seems to get it at full blast and I'm inclined to think Kojima had that subtler originally) and I'm able to progress in MGS2 without noticing major performance issues even in the first corridors as it was before. It probably does get them depending on the situation. Virtua Fighter 4 gets them seemingly based on the map the match is on, some times it's fine. I haven't really used PCSX2 stand alone too recently to ensure it performs better so try it, maybe if you have a better CPU the core works out fine enough to main it. Aero Elite: Combat Academy (sequel to Aero Dancing i on Dreamcast I mentioned earlier) seemed perfect, Silent Hill 2 had minor glitches including a CG video not playing back properly (maybe the rip in that case as the intro was fine), a couple other games seemed 100% fine. Again, no clue if it's all worse than the stand alone.
 
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Alextended

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Damn, had no idea about any of that stuff, sure they may be "relative nobodies" but why wasn't there a big stink in emulation communities? They'd been interviewed by more mainstream sites as well so they were certainly not so completely unknown as for nobody to care a harassing network exists. If people famous in some circles can't scrounge up support to escape the clutches of bullies imagine any random suffering person targeted. Folks need to be in jail for it.
 
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Kvik

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why wasn't there a big stink and backlash in emulation communities?
I think most of the well-known developers are no stranger to harassment and they most likely prefer to work on their projects rather than making a large community post about this stuff. In Near's case, it's really unfortunate that KF started to target the very support system that they need, i.e. the people around them. It's a difficult situation because giving support to another person isn't easy, and dealing with harassment on top of that can make some people give up entirely.
 

Kvik

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Almost at 2.0.0 milestone!



On that note, I've been mucking around with the PCSX2 (alpha) core, and it's working pretty well. Performance-wise, there is no noticeable difference when compared with the standalone PCSX2, at least at this early stages. Of course, with the core still in alpha, it's not without its own blemishes. The "reload content" after changing configuration doesn't work, for example. RetroArch simply becomes unresponsive.

Secondly, RetroArch doesn't exit cleanly when it's terminated from the menu. We need to unload the core, or exit via Steam Overlay. And finally, the automatic graphics driver selection doesn't work. We need to define video_driver="gl" (or d3d11) explicitly in the core configuration if we're running vulkan as a default, otherwise, RetroArch will crash to desktop.

Other than that, it feels pretty good to have per-game settings without the assistance of a third-party program after all these years. .pnach cheat/overrides/no-interlacing code also still works. There's a built-in feature for no-interlacing too, but it won't work for all games, I suspect.

EDIT: Progress update.

 
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Kvik

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Hopefully 2.0 will bring fixes for PCSX2 core's outstanding issues, including save states. Also I noticed the Citra core hasn't been updated for some time too. I wonder what happened there.
 
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Parsnip

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Finland
 
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EdwardTivrusky

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RetroArch is driving me up the wall! I might roll back to 1.9.8 because 1.9.9 is really random. It's now stopped registering my controller even though the controller works in my standalone emulators and when i fire up Retroarch it says it's found a wired 360 controller and nothing. I have to use KB/M for the RA menu where previously i could use the controller to do everything.

I've deleted configs, updated controller profiles, changed input types for the menu etc and nothing. Anyone else having this issue?

edit: Okay, I'd forgotten what a clusterfuck controllers are on windows. for some reason RetroArch only recognises the controller in the menus when i change the controller to DInput. when the 8BitDo Pro 2 is on XInput RetroArch sees it as a 360 controller and doesn't work, when i switch it to DInput RetroArch sees it as a Pro 2 controller and works. My brain hurts. I bet it's because i don't have Steam running...

I'm going to enable verbose logging, find the IDs and copy the config files from DInput to XInput and hang the consequences!
 
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Kvik

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Anyone else having this issue?
Are you using the standalone or the Steam version of RetroArch? I recall that I need to change the Input Device Index in

Input > Input User 1 Binds > User 1 Device Index

Because it didn't recognise my Steam Controller as the first controller for whatever reason.
 

EdwardTivrusky

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The Standalone version and i always have the controller set on XInput and i swear it worked in RetroArch menus before but when i look now there's no XInput in the Menu Input Device options so i'm wondering if it was SteamInput doing some oddness and making it work before because i'm not running Steam today and RetroArch does NOT want to see the controller as a 360 Controller even though it detects it.

XInput = 360 detected but it ignores it in Menus
DInput = 8BitDo Pro 2 detected and i can navigate menus with the controller.

I'll double check that menu option you mention, hopefully that's the simple solution and the upgrade to 1.9.9 borked the configs somewhere.
 
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Kvik

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It's most likely SteamInput because normally the notification will say "SteamInput Virtual Controller" or something along those lines. As a general rule I always added the standalone emulators to Steam because it generally works better than relying on DS4Windows or other controller utilities.
 

EdwardTivrusky

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Unfortunately i can't be bothered to dig out my phone for MFA for Steam unless i really want to play a game on Steam. Yes, i am that lazy.
Also, PSSPP is working perfectly fine with the controller so i thought i'd mess about with RetroArch and then the issue showed it's ugly head.

I've never, ever used DS4Windows either. I always just plug my controllers in with a long USB Cable. Looks like i'll have to use Standalone Emulators like i used to previously because i really don't want to run Steam just to use my controller in RetroArch's menus or i'll just use KB/M for RetroArch Menus. It's no big problem just odd.
 
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Tizoc

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Anyone got a recommendation for 'frames' to use with retroarch?

Having a TV monitor frame is kinda cute but there's bound to be more interesting alternatives

 
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