DB's guide to Emulation on the PC.

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  • Dirtbox 9 Apr 2006 19:45:28 80,652 posts
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    el_pollo_diablo's EG Emulation Group for MOAR.

    Big subject this, but I'm not one to shy away from anything much, so armed with balls of steel and a tentative grip on the English language I bring you another in my series of shonky guides for beginners.


    Emulation for the PC in 3 easy steps *

    The PC is easily the best piece of kit for emulation, through sheer number crunching brute force and a dash of slick coding it can disguise itself as anything from a teeny weeny Pokemon Mini to the slightly less diminutive Xbox. the Emulation scene is vast, with everything imaginable and more on offer. Obviously this is me that's writing this, and I can't be arsed to create myself more work than I have to, so I'll just cover the basics and try and show you some of the odder sights along the way. Okay? Okay.

    Before I lead you by the hand through the finer points of playing games you haven't paid for, I'll slap a disclaimer in to appease Lutz: Emulators are perfectly legal piece of software, it's the games you'll be playing on them that aren't so I'll avoid all reference to the thousands of ROM and bittorrent sites that pepper the net and yap about the ways to play instead. They're all out there with a mere tinkle of google after all.


    The Basics

    Emulators come in various types, the simplest of which is an executable file and a rom directory, put a rom in the directory, select it in the exe and play. No problem. Where it begins to get complicated is for the more recent systems such as the PSone or the N64. You'll find you have plugins which cover everything from controllers, graphics, sounds, image mounters, etc. I'll try to cover each of these as I cover the emulator in question. Suffice it to say, it's normally down to a little effort tweaking different options for 10 minutes and once it's done, you needn't bother messing about with it anymore. Emulators that use plugins are not really the best solution, they bottleneck the emulation process where a complete program should ideally run games as they were intended.

    Another big boon to accurate emulation is the speed of your computers processor. Take into account that console X should run at speed Y, you'd need to have a computer at least triple the speed of the consoles to get close. With more recent consoles, this poses an obvious problem that only time will solve.

    Another necessary evil are bios. As with your PC, your console needs a basic operating instruction to start loading a game. These bios aren't normally included when you download an emulator, so need to be leeched from the original hardware. Some scallywags are said to have put them up on the net though. Disgusting.


    Arcade Emulation

    Only one way to start this, really. The daddy of all emulators, it's practically a household name up there with the likes of Hoover and Sellotape. MAME, Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, started life 10 years ago when a young programmer named Nicola Salmoria began working on single hardware emulators. Eventually merging them together to create what has to be the best emulator of all time.

    Now with a vast team of coders, MAME boasts support for 6147 games spanning dozens of arcade systems, has up to 5 incremental updates per month and comes in more shapes, flavours and forms than any other emulator. Admittedly not all of those games are supported, but it's only a scant matter of time and the list grows with each of those frequent updates. At this time, the official version stands at 0.105b.

    Of course, the best version is the original, but for those of you not so comfortable piddling about with command line operation, there's always MAME Plus! which is updated just as frequently (although usually a week behind) and has all the usual options available with a click of a mouse.

    Some of the games such as the require a BIOS to successfully emulate hardware such as ST-V and NeoGeo, they can all be found here should you need them.


    Nintendo

    The most loved set of consoles have a big following on the emulation circuit and unsurprisingly are some of the best emulated around. They are many and varied, but I'm not about to start from the bottom up, I'll just give you the ones that are essential instead.

    -SNES
    Only two spring instantly to mind, [link=">ZSNES and Project64 and Gens and Cassini which is considered by most to be a complete rip off of Giri Giri, not even bothering to change the file icons. In fact the only difference I can see between the two is a few filename changes and the "programmers" responsible have been ripped appart from every angle. Their forum is still awash with fans of the original Giri Giri trolling about, looking for a fight. Anyway, the war wages on. I've actually found the easiest version of Cassini to use isn't the one on the site (which is frankly complete shit), but the Chankast is about the best one at the moment, sadly the project has been on "hold" for about 18 months (dead as a coffin nail to you and I), but it's very playable if you've got the power to throw at it. You'll need to sap the dc_bios.bin off your DC and pop it in the dir before you can play.

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  • Retroid Moderator 9 Apr 2006 19:57:13 45,373 posts
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    Emulation, eh?

    It'll never catch on.

    /Writes out reasons why he's a hardcore gamer

    /Is lynched
  • Spectral 9 Apr 2006 20:01:01 5,027 posts
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    Anyone know the specs needed to run an Amiga emulator well?
  • matrim83 9 Apr 2006 20:01:42 5,598 posts
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    Great thread DB.

    Project 64 even has a mouse plugin so you can play Golden Eye etc with it.

    + Zelda OoT with a quicksave = Gaming Nirvana.

    Edited by matrim83 at 20:05:09 09-04-2006

    Valar morghulis.

  • Dirtbox 9 Apr 2006 20:03:29 80,652 posts
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    Spectral wrote:
    Anyone know the specs needed to run an Amiga emulator well?
    You can run an amiga emu with 500mhz.

    You can have a go with MESS there if you feel lucky, but WinUAE is the coice of the pros.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 20:03:34 09-04-2006

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  • Dirtbox 9 Apr 2006 20:04:32 80,652 posts
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    matrim83 wrote:
    Great thread DB.

    Project 64 even has a mouse plugin so you can play Golden Eye etc with it.
    Yeah, I'll get to the plugins once I've had a fag and finished my coffee.

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  • Retroid Moderator 9 Apr 2006 20:10:16 45,373 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    Spectral wrote:
    Anyone know the specs needed to run an Amiga emulator well?
    You can run an amiga emu with 500mhz.
    Mate of mine was getting full-whack A500 emulation on a 233MMX back in the day :D

    Best Commodore C64/128 emulator. Also has emulators for several other 8bit Commodore machines but they're in various stages of development. Rather good considering, though :)
  • Deleted user 9 April 2006 20:16:40
    1) Download MAME32
    2) Download ROMs
    3) ???
    4) Profit
  • Deleted user 9 April 2006 20:21:50
    Bored_Gamer wrote:
    Yeah but it isn't just download MAME and off you go you know!

    Uh.

    Yeah, it is.
  • Dirtbox 9 Apr 2006 20:25:19 80,652 posts
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    Truk wrote:
    Mr. Dirtbox sir, you are teh r0xx0rz. Great thread. :)

    I've been using ZSNES and a NES one, but I was going to ask about other emulators. Question answered without even writing it. Cheers!
    My pleasure.

    /best threads since 2002

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  • Deleted user 9 April 2006 20:32:17
    There's Windows versions, and DOS versions. There's a version for each that's optimised for Pentium processors.
  • silentbob 9 Apr 2006 20:33:50 29,079 posts
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    Cheers DB - very good work. Now I can ease my lazy arse back into emulation without any real effort. Except of cours ethe days now committed to grabbing the latest ROMs.

    VR News: [link=http://www.roadtovr.com">www.roadtovr.com --

  • Amajiro 9 Apr 2006 21:50:45 2,214 posts
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    Awesome post DB.

    Any sign of a DS emulator?
  • Retroid Moderator 9 Apr 2006 21:54:40 45,373 posts
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    Some news sites, as I posted on the 'hardcore gamer' thread:

    MAME:

    MAME World is always very up-to-date

    Haze's MAME WIP is great if you're interested in some of the detective work which goes on in the background

    General:

    NG Emu - excellent for the latest news on PS1-onwards emulation including their latest plugins, but usually very busy :(

    Emu X Haven is usually decent

    Emulation 64 was originally for N64 stuff but now covers pretty much everything :)

    Emu HQ covers a lot of the more obscure releases too

    ^^ I usually swap between those lot so I don't miss anything out.
  • lost_soul 9 Apr 2006 22:11:40 9,369 posts
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    Anyone remember Dave's video game classics?

    /disappears off down memory lane
  • Stormflood 9 Apr 2006 22:15:28 2,263 posts
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    For Xbox emulation, try the Xbox 360 - it doesn't work with all games, and isn't updated often, but it sort of works.








    sorry ;)


    p.s. great thread, nice work

    Edited by Stormflood at 22:19:37 09-04-2006
  • ProfessorLesser 10 Apr 2006 01:04:26 19,593 posts
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    Because obviously Deeb doesn't know how to spell 'reading'...
  • Tabasco 10 Apr 2006 01:14:47 5,782 posts
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    Bravo DB Bravo! I know what I'll be doing for the next couple of weeks (And if all goes well, a couple of months after that...).

    /Doesn't know where to start/

    Ah wait a cocking picking wee minute....Goldeneye with a mouse!

    /Does know where to start/

    \o/
  • Dirtbox 10 Apr 2006 03:48:09 80,652 posts
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    Amajiro wrote:
    Awesome post DB.

    Any sign of a DS emulator?
    Nothing that's worth mentioning at the moment, there are several, but they're all rather slow and glitchy, if they work at all.

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  • Bunda 10 Apr 2006 03:59:51 5,241 posts
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    VBA and Snes9X also have Mac versions, not sure about other softwarez. Love the thread; have been emulating for years. Snes9X is teh r0x. But is there a good Mac N64 emulator? The only one I've got, it's called KIGB, it sucks. So what good N64 emus are there for Mac?

    Edited by Bunda at 04:00:46 10-04-2006
  • Dirtbox 10 Apr 2006 04:09:12 80,652 posts
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    Sorry, i haven't got a clue about Mac stuff. I know how to emulate macs on PCs, though :)

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  • Bunda 10 Apr 2006 04:27:53 5,241 posts
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    And I know how to emulate PCs on macs.
    :D
  • Dirtbox 10 Apr 2006 05:40:06 80,652 posts
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    Post deleted

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  • Dirtbox 10 Apr 2006 05:40:13 80,652 posts
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  • Dirtbox 10 Apr 2006 06:01:30 80,652 posts
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    Bored_Gamer wrote:
    ProfessorLesser wrote:
    Because obviously Deeb doesn't know how to spell 'reading'...

    Who is Deeb?
    That'll be me, thanks for deleting the junk.

    To get MAME up and running, you'll need either of the top two from here depending on what processor you have, it says which is which next to them.

    Once done you'll need a rom, which can be procured from any one of a thousand places. Lets say you want Pong, which is one of the few public domain roms around.

    Search for mame pong download, you'll get a site within a couple of hits.

    Pop the rom file, which is in .zip format (you don't need to unzip it or anything) into the rom directory in the MAME folder and start mame, click the Available folder on the side and if you can see it, play it, if not, go to the file menu and click audit games, then you should be able to see it.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 06:02:52 10-04-2006

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  • Dirtbox 10 Apr 2006 09:04:47 80,652 posts
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    I'll have a go at it later on and think about adding it.

    Cheers for the heads up.

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  • Kay 10 Apr 2006 09:32:13 18,147 posts
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    No NES emulators? I've found VirtuaNES and Nestopia to be the best.

    Also, although Gens is brilliant, Gens+ is a better (and newer) version that also emulates the Game Gear/ Master System.

    K
  • Retroid Moderator 10 Apr 2006 09:34:48 45,373 posts
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    /Remembers the first ever version of MAME

    :D
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