PS2 Emulation - dev's art set free?

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  • adz 5 Feb 2013 22:06:48 15 posts
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    So I've been playing Ni no Kuni and loving it - the mix of old school jrpg and ghibli magic just hits all the right note for me. Got me remembering my times with dragon quest iix and how much fun I had with that. Anyway, I was looking at forum posts when I came across a screenshot of DQ8 running on pc... and I was shocked and amazed. I've heard of ps2 emulation but my understanding was that it was slow and for curiosity only - but that screenshot made me curious for sure.

    Long story short, I finally installed pcsx2 and played around with it, and got an iso of DQ8... and sure enough, it looks stunning. I get a solid 50fps rendering at 1680x1050. But the thing that really got to me was how the original art shone through. Gone were the jaggies that I hated so much. Everything is crisp, smooth, and utterly spellbinding.

    I remember giving up on ff12 within half an hour because the graphic were such a mess. Under emulation its a completely different story. Sharp and crisp and quite excellent.

    It seems to me that we are now in a position where our fond memories of the past can be relieved without disappointment, perhaps even improved upon.

    There were a couple of older threads on ps2 emulation, but not everyone seems to be that impressed? Is it just me or are there legions of fans out there reliving past loves as the devs could only dreamed of for their games?
  • silentbob 5 Feb 2013 22:28:53 29,026 posts
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    Yar! Now go and grab Dolphin and see how Skyward Sword should have looked.

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  • adz 6 Feb 2013 01:10:17 15 posts
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    Dolphin is definitely on my next to do. Monster Hunter / Skyward Sword / Xenoblade. Awesomeness.
  • Deleted user 6 February 2013 01:35:50
    I find pcsx2 a bit hit and miss. FFX runs beautifully but katamari runs like arse. My PC is a little long in the tooth, maybe a bit more brute force would be handy.
  • Puppaz 6 Feb 2013 03:59:32 337 posts
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    I'd like to give this a whirl, does it run from ISO's only, or could I use my old ps2 discs?
  • onestepfromlost 6 Feb 2013 04:04:59 2,117 posts
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    This has me thinking as i was actually thinking about digging out the old ps2 and playing FF XII and getting a copy of DQ8 this may be a much better option
  • Dirtbox 6 Feb 2013 06:20:01 79,192 posts
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    Boab wrote:
    I find pcsx2 a bit hit and miss. FFX runs beautifully but katamari runs like arse. My PC is a little long in the tooth, maybe a bit more brute force would be handy.
    It's very CPU heavy, I wouldn't bother with anything less than a midrange i5.

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  • adz 6 Feb 2013 08:21:00 15 posts
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    For the record, I have a i5 3500K, 8gb ram, and a 560 OC Ti. But I think that's not particularly special these days. I built it two years ago for under 1K (AUD). pcsx2 Seems rock solid so far.
  • Cannon_Fodder 6 Feb 2013 08:38:21 222 posts
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    This has me interested. I tried PS2 emulation a long time ago (7 or 8 years if I recall) but I wasn't in a position to build a machine capable of doing it being in college.

    Now I've got a decent gaming rig (i7 3770k, GTX 670) it may be worth investigating once more. I've got a stack of PS2 games I've kept over the years but can't be bothered to dig out a console and even with the component cable I was a little disappointed with the quality.

    Fancy posting up some screenshots?

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  • Aretak 6 Feb 2013 08:48:17 10,376 posts
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    Puppaz wrote:
    I'd like to give this a whirl, does it run from ISO's only, or could I use my old ps2 discs?
    It does run games directly from disc if you want, but it's slower. You can just rip your own discs easily enough anyway.


    Dirtbox wrote:
    Boab wrote:
    I find pcsx2 a bit hit and miss. FFX runs beautifully but katamari runs like arse. My PC is a little long in the tooth, maybe a bit more brute force would be handy.
    It's very CPU heavy, I wouldn't bother with anything less than a midrange i5.
    Most games run pretty well on my creaking Phenom II X3/4870 combo with some of the speed hacks turned on. I played through the whole of FFXII for the first time on it a couple of years ago and it looked pretty amazing for a PS2 game. Also got a fair way into Tales of the Abyss before giving up on it for some reason. Some others like Xenosaga and SotC were pretty much unplayable though.

    Edited by Aretak at 08:48:25 06-02-2013
  • Dirtbox 6 Feb 2013 09:14:54 79,192 posts
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    Yeah, I'm not saying you can't play, a great number of games do just fine on a low-midrange CPU, but if you want an enjoyable experience then that's what I'd use.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 09:15:33 06-02-2013

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  • adz 6 Feb 2013 09:58:21 15 posts
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    I took some screenshots but I guess I have to upload them somewhere before I can add them in a post - any quick tips?

    Another couple of cool things:
    - You can use your own controller, which, in my case, is an xbox controller...
    - You can load straight into games, rather than waiting for the normal ps2 cycle of loading the operating system.
    - Accessing memory is soooo much faster than the old memory cards.

    On an aside, I'm about to load up an iso of xenoblade for wii on dolphin and see what that's like. I love my wii games - one of the reason I haven't sold off my wii and xenoblade/zelda etc... but damn I hate jaggies.
  • Dirtbox 6 Feb 2013 10:05:07 79,192 posts
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    You're sort of teaching the egg suckers how to suck eggs a bit here, mate.

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  • Deleted user 6 February 2013 10:18:18
    I have a semi-decent laptop with i5 and GeForce graphics 2GB, and many games run like ass. I mean, as long as there is not much 'moving objects' on screen it's ok, but once the action gets going it starts to stutter and drops the frame rate significantly.
    Some games look much better than they did on the PS2 though - FF XII is a shining example of this, and it also runs ok most of the time - I don't know why.
    Same problems with Dolphin.
    In my layman's opinion/experience, it's always good to have the fastest possible CPU and graphics card, and EVEN THEN it rarely compares to playing the game on the original hardware.
    Still, amazing they could achieve this.
  • adz 6 Feb 2013 10:25:45 15 posts
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    @Dirtbox Yeah sorry - was actually replying to cannon fodder for that last one.
  • Dirtbox 6 Feb 2013 10:51:07 79,192 posts
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    imgur.com if you want an easy, free picture host.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 10:52:59 06-02-2013

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  • Deleted user 6 February 2013 11:54:09
    Cosmopolitan wrote:
    I have a semi-decent laptop with i5 and GeForce graphics 2GB, and many games run like ass. I mean, as long as there is not much 'moving objects' on screen it's ok, but once the action gets going it starts to stutter and drops the frame rate significantly.
    Some games look much better than they did on the PS2 though - FF XII is a shining example of this, and it also runs ok most of the time - I don't know why.
    Same problems with Dolphin.
    In my layman's opinion/experience, it's always good to have the fastest possible CPU and graphics card, and EVEN THEN it rarely compares to playing the game on the original hardware.
    Still, amazing they could achieve this.
    Your problem is that you are using a laptop.
  • onestepfromlost 6 Feb 2013 12:04:06 2,117 posts
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    to get a bios for it, i assume i just go to my normal place i get such shady things?
  • Deleted user 6 February 2013 12:07:27
    spudsbuckley wrote:
    Your problem is that you are using a laptop.
    No shit, Sherlock.
  • onestepfromlost 6 Feb 2013 12:55:26 2,117 posts
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    bah i cant get it to detect my 360 controller or let me map my ps3 controller buttons
  • adz 6 Feb 2013 20:42:04 15 posts
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    @onestepfromlost - When I did it mapping was a pretty manual thing - you click on the button on the pad dialogue, then press the button on your controller. Should come up. No autodetect as far as I can tell unless it's in a separate plugin?

    and yeah - unless you can dump a bios from an actual ps2, you can find them online.
  • onestepfromlost 6 Feb 2013 20:49:39 2,117 posts
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    yeah finally got it sorted, my 360 pad wasnt being detected as it wont work with the play and charge kit, and finally got it to detect my ps3 controller after a lot of messing about. (ie downloading motionjoy)

    got a BIOS pack so i can play games from any region. Just waiting on a couple of games to download but now ive thought about it i have them as hardcopies so i could be using them :p

    EDIT: Tried FF XII and just wow, makes me wonder why arent these games being rereleased on ps3 looking like this, if it can be done with pc emulator and the original material surely it can be done on the ps3?

    Edited by onestepfromlost at 22:17:08 06-02-2013
  • Puppaz 7 Feb 2013 00:56:48 337 posts
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    This is pretty amazing, tried FFXII too, it's so much better. I always thought the game on the PS2 looked like it had too much going on for the resolution it ran at (a bit like FFIX on the PS) but now I can't wait to play it again.
    I was saddened when PS3's lost the backwards compatability, but this is much much better.

    Random shot using original scaling:
    http://imgur.com/uDW36oP

    Then scaled by original x4
    http://imgur.com/09V6VrM

    Have only just started playing around with it, but seems to run fine without issue (Only problem was with FFXII FMVs, for some reason need to switch to software version to see them in european version, but can do this with F9)
  • adz 7 Feb 2013 00:59:12 15 posts
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    I think the biggest thing I'm taking away from playing with these emulators is that the original games are somewhat incredible, and had so much in them that we never really got to appreciate. The idea that you could take the original game, without mods, and simply re-render it with a few more modern/sophisticated tricks and make them look this good blows me away.

    There's always been this question, for me, of what updating an old classic does to the original vision. I've bought a lot of remakes/updates of old games, ICO/SoTC (and the ratchet and clank collection now I think of it) being the best, but you really are putting a lot of trust in the publishers not to screw with your memories (see the recent Silent Hill releases). And they are really only going to update things that make commercial sense.

    I think that we all see our favorite games from the past through rose tint glasses, but I have to say, the emulators are letting me experience and perhaps finish off old loves in the best way possible - the only thing that has changed is that they look so much better than I remember!

    Oh - and I got Dolphin up and running and it's a similar deal. Interestingly, it really does point out how low powered the wii is/was, as the difference graphics wise between a PS2 emu game and a Wii emu game, once you have the resolution cranked, and some filtering thrown in, doesn't appear to be that much...
  • Aretak 7 Feb 2013 01:14:24 10,376 posts
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    adz wrote:
    I think the biggest thing I'm taking away from playing with these emulators is that the original games are somewhat incredible, and had so much in them that we never really got to appreciate. The idea that you could take the original game, without mods, and simply re-render it with a few more modern/sophisticated tricks and make them look this good blows me away.
    Even some PS1 games scrub up pretty nicely with all the tweaks and resolution improvements emulators can offer.
  • Deleted user 7 February 2013 01:19:57
    I think PS1 emulation has come into its own a bit now with shaders. Final Fantasy 7 cell shaded looks awesome. Shame it ballses up the 2D elements a bit, though.
  • richardiox 7 Feb 2013 01:24:16 5,734 posts
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    Play Mario galaxy 2 at 1080P then try to say it isn't a step up from the Wii ! 360 pad maps to it perfectly by the way. Playing it earlier, mostly getting 60fps and that's just with a 'lowly' 3.1ghz i3.

    Agree with OP though, DQ8 looks awesome in crisp HD resolutions. It just goes to show how crucial the HD leap that consoles took was, the artwork is so much easier to appreciate. I imagine that in the development environment this is how they would have seen these games anyway, doing most of their work on monitors as opposed to the consumers who got a watered down TV resolution version.

    After finding out Twin Snakes doesnt run too well through emulation, I'm going to try and get the PSX version of MGS running at a decent res with lots of AA and AF. Not sure how I'll get past psycho mantis though (swapping controller ports)

    Edited by richardiox at 01:25:21 07-02-2013
  • Deleted user 7 February 2013 01:27:16
    You can swap controllers in ePSXe easily. I think it even has an in-built cheat for that section which auto-swaps.
  • onestepfromlost 7 Feb 2013 01:32:59 2,117 posts
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    i think DQ8 is next on the list once i finish FF XII, just need to find a "perfectly legitimate" copy. I'm quite impressed with those ps1 graphics too. All this may make my month, been having a "bored with gaming" phase, this is reeling me in though :)

    Might also try dolphin for Monster hunter and xenoblade, im guessing these are easier games to emu sincet they use the classic controller, (although MH uses the wii mote to record monsters IIRC)
  • adz 7 Feb 2013 09:11:41 15 posts
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    If you have bluetooth, and a heat bar (you can get wireless bars for the wii - the cable between the wii and the bar is just for power), you can pair your actual wii controller if you have one and it works exactly the same way - down to being able to point at the screen in the dolphin wii menus and see the little hand moving around. I was pretty happy with that. I don't think you need the heat bar though - unless the game has some actual pointing required, like aiming in Zelda for example.
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