A look at GameCube and Wii Emulation

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by InsaneNutter, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    [​IMG]


    A few months ago I was randomly browsing the net and found that a new version of Dolphin had been released, Dolphin is a GameCube emulator that has been in development for many years now. This new version has been re written as a 64bit application with gave it a massive improvement in performance. As of July 13th 2008 Dolphin is now open source.

    I thought I would download it and give it a shot as I had been using Windows Vista 64bit for a couple of months but never had a 64bit application to test out.

    The first game I tried on Dolphin was one of my favourite GameCube games, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. To my surprise the game emulated just about perfectly! The performance increase in the 64bit version of the emulator compared to the 32bit version was massive! I was able to play Sonic at 1680x1050 with no slowdowns.

    I have created a couple of videos and screenshots of Dolphin running Sonic and Smash Brothers Melee below, you really do want to try out the emulator as the videos and screenshots don’t do it enough justice :)

    Dolphin the Emulator
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    Video’s of Sonic Adventure Battle 2
    City Escape Level (104MB)
    Green Hill Zone (50MB)


    Video’s of Smash Bros
    Big Fight (50mb)
    Pokemon Stadium Level (21MB)
    Fzero Level (22MB)

    Videos of Mario Kart Double Dash
    DK Mountain (10MB) - Doesn’t emulate that well


    Screenshots (see the gallery at the bottom for many more)
    Pal games are locked at 50fps max

    [​IMG]





    Recent Advances
    Since I used the emulator in the summer there have been many updates to it, a welcome addition is been able to use the Xbox 360 joypad, that makes games a lot easier to play (for me anyway) as the 360 joypad set out similar to the GameCube joypad.

    Smash Brother Melee is now also very playable, there’s the odd bit of graphics corruption but that doesn’t really affect gameplay that much. Since I tested the emulator out this summer sound now also works perfect in a lot of Nintendo games, a few months ago games like Smashbros had no sound what so ever... its now also possible to limit the frames as Smash Bro’s was emulated too fast before.

    Thats not all, the Dolphin coders have one more big surprise, Wii emulation!

    Wii Emulation
    That’s right Dolphin is the first emulator that can emulate commercial Wii games, so far I’ve only got Mario Kart working but I hear with the right tweaks Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Galexy are very playable.

    Mario Kart will run at 45-60fps as you will see from the screen shots and video below its more than playable. (The videos I made of Mario Kart on the Wii are about 20fps slower than the game actually plays, my pc couldn’t keep it with FRAPS dumping the raw video I guess)

    Whats even more surprising is you can use your Wii mote and nunchuck with the emulator if you have it setup on your pc... the scale this emulator is evolving at is impressive.

    Wii Screenshots (more at the bottom)
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    Mario Kart Wii Video’s
    Loading Mario Kart Wii - not that intresting ;)
    Lap of a race (640x480) - good quality
    Lap of a race (320x240) - didnt kill the frame rate of the emulator as much
    Random 45 second clip

    You have got me interested, what do I need to use Dolphin?
    You need a fairly modern system with a dual core processor and a fairly good Direct X 9 graphics card with Pixel Shader 2.0 support.

    The faster the dual core processor the better really, having a quad core processor will not give you any benefit over a dual core... in fact a faster dual core will outperform a slower quad core.

    For a graphics card a decent Geforce 7/8/9 series or equivalent should be fine, the emulator is a lot more processor demanding rather than graphics demanding.

    A 64bit OS is recommended but not required, from what I’ve read on the net you will get up to a 25fps improvement in some games just for running the 64bit version of the emulator... it all depends on the game as to how much of an improvement you will see. 64bit is defiantly the way to go to get the most out this emulator at the moment.

    Specs im using:
    Core2Duo E4500 overclocked to 2.93Ghz
    Geforce 8800GT 256MB
    4gb of ram
    Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 x64

    Downloads:
    Dolphin 32bit
    Dolphin 64bit (Recommended)
    masterkey.bin – This is needed for Wii emulation (unzip and place in the Dolphin\Sys\Wii folder)

    The information in the spoiler has the settings I used to get Mario Kart Wii working, you generally need different settings and a downloaded save game to get Wii games to run.

    Thanks to John Peterson of the NgEmu forums

    General Settings (PAL)

    • <LI itxtvisited="1">Dual Core, Idle Skip: Both seemed to work <LI itxtvisited="1">Use EuRGB60 Mode (PAL6): On worked, off may work to, I didn't try it <LI itxtvisited="1">Enable Progressive Scan: Off, on gave a black screen
    • Optimize Quantizers: Off, otherwise there will be graphical errors
    OpenGL Settings (PAL)

    • <LI itxtvisited="1">EFB Hack: Yes, it actually seems to fix some graphics errors
    • Projection before R945: Yes, seemed to fix some graphics errors
    Sound Settings

    • <LI itxtvisited="1">Enable HLE Audio: On <LI itxtvisited="1">Enable DTK Music: On or off, it's not used
    • Enable Other Music: On or off, the pre rendered movie (that appears if you don't press A on the intro screen) still has no sound. But off also turns of the speed throttling, so keep it on if you have a very fast computer.
    Controls (Regular GC controls)

    You can use the nJoy input plugin just like with GC games. It's just Simple Pad that doesn't work.

    Controls (Emulated Wiimote with no Extension)

    • <LI itxtvisited="1">3 and 4 (regular number keys): Turn left and right (it emulates turning the Wii Wheel left and right i.e. tilting the controller left and right so it may be a little inprecise) <LI itxtvisited="1">2 (regular number key): Accelerate <LI itxtvisited="1">1 (regular number key): Break / reverse <LI itxtvisited="1">B: Use power up <LI itxtvisited="1">A: Look back <LI itxtvisited="1">Left, Right, Up, Down: Navigate the menus, no use ingame
    • M: No use
    Controls (Emulated Wiimote with Nunchuck)

    • <LI itxtvisited="1">Numpad 4 and 6: Turn left and right <LI itxtvisited="1">A: Accelerate <LI itxtvisited="1">B: Break / reverse (also jump in Manual mode) <LI itxtvisited="1">Z: Use power up <LI itxtvisited="1">C: Look back <LI itxtvisited="1">S: Perform a trick in the air (did not work when I tried it) <LI itxtvisited="1">~ (not implemeted): Perform a wheelie on a bike <LI itxtvisited="1">P (+): Pause menu <LI itxtvisited="1">Left, Right, Up, Down, 1, 2: Navigate the menus, no use ingame
    • M (-): No use
    Controls (Emulated Wiimote with Classic Controller)

    • <LI itxtvisited="1">J, L (left analog stick left and right): Turn left and right <LI itxtvisited="1">Z (A): Accelerate <LI itxtvisited="1">C (B), 0 (r): Break / reverse (also jump in Manual mode) <LI itxtvisited="1">7 (L): Use power up <LI itxtvisited="1">X, 9 (ZR): Look back <LI itxtvisited="1">Numpad 4, 5, 6, 8 (D-Pad): Perform a trick in the air <LI itxtvisited="1">Numpad 8, 5 (D-Pad up and down): Perform a wheelie on a bike <LI itxtvisited="1">O (+): Pause menu <LI itxtvisited="1">Y, ZL, N (-): No use
    • Left, Right, Up, Down, 1, 2 and the other Wiimote buttons: Turned off when the Classic Controller is connected
    Issues

    Graphical errors like the pictures show

    Saved game

    Download

    NOTICE: Currently you have to place an old save game in the data dir to get in to the game. I attached a 100% completed savegame for the PAL version. You can unzip it into the game's data dir in User\Wii\title\00010000\524d4350\data (524d4350 means RMCP i.e. the PAL version). For NTSC versions you can use the NTSC file and place it in a dir called 524d4345 (which is the USA id RMCE).

    I hope that covered the subject pretty well if you have any questions feel free to ask :)
     

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  2. Stealth Geek

    Stealth Geek Resident

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    I was gonna give this a try, but I haven't found a way to rip my Gamecube games other than the method that requires a broadband adapter. *-)
     
  3. P.KID

    P.KID Addict

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    sme. does anyone know where to get gc roms? i want mario kart but my gc lens are dead.
     
  4. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    I personally used the broadband adapter method, however if you can get hold of an Hitachi LG-8164b, LG-8163b, LG-8162b or LG-8161b DVD drive it’s simply a case of loading RAW DUMP 2.0, waiting an hour or two and you have an ISO of your GameCube / Wii game.

    I’ve attached the program for anyone who wants it, it will only work with the drives listed above.

    Edit - The Sonic Adventure 2 - Review Prototype uploaded by Hoffman works in this emulator.
     

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  5. Safinn

    Safinn Addict

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    Very cool. Can you not download the games like you can with the roms?
     
  6. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Yes you can download GameCube and Wii ISO’s, just not from Digiex.

    Any popular torrent site will have them I would imagine, a quick Google search revealed 100’s.
     
  7. Safinn

    Safinn Addict

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    It's just I thought it would be easy for those to download insteam of ripping the games themselves.
     
  8. Stealth Geek

    Stealth Geek Resident

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    Distributing isos for newer consoles would probably result in a lot of trouble. (A)


    Two of my computers have Hitachi drives. Too bad neither of them will work. :(
     
  9. Zeppelin

    Zeppelin New Member

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    Will this run GC games straight off my DVD drive?
     
  10. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    You could try anyway with your drive, it says other Hitachi drives might work, they just haven’t been tested.

    Nope you can’t run them off your DVD drive, they need to be ripped to your hard drive.
     
  11. Trebor

    Trebor Dolphin Fan

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    Nice post InsaneNutter, if I didn't have my Wii I'd probably check this out. Heck I may still give it a go if I can find any GC ISOs :D
     
  12. Stealth Geek

    Stealth Geek Resident

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    I tried the Raw Dumper thing...no go. It just gives me the error that I may have a faulty drive.
     
  13. univa

    univa New Member

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    dolphin supports isos wii region pal and ntsc?

    Friends, does the Dolphin emulator supports isos region pal and ntsc? *-)
     
  14. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Yes both NTSC and PAL games should work fine.
     
  15. mattyd38

    mattyd38 Console Modder

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    slightly off topic, but hey...

    i chipped a wii with a wiikey2 last week... im really quite impressed with the results, the soldering was pretty tricky, i mean the points are fricking TINY!!! but depending on your console its can be as low as a 5 wire install...

    the wii is still pretty mean about which media it will play (any one with a modded GC can vouch for me on nintendos poor lasors :-@ ) but once the chip is installed you stick in a dvd which reads as a gamecube game, set up the firmware on the chip and BOOM, multi reagion, backup booting WII
    (note ; this chips allows backup wii and GC software to run, i beleive you can play unsighned downloadable content as well , dont qoute me on that...)

    if you ask any one who knows me i think the wii is a bit f a money spinner, but with the abilty to play "BACKUPS" i might even be tempted to part with the chuppa and bag me one of these puppys...

    also mark as FUN TO TAKE TO BITS... stupid tri wing screws :>
     
  16. univa

    univa New Member

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    yeaa

    through friends and hope to emulate the emulator dolphin 100% wii and gamecube games with new versions :D
     
  17. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Compatibility will improve over time, especially now it’s open source.

    Its gone from playing a few GameCube games to been able to play some Wii games very well.

    If you check it out again in a few months time I’m sure compatibility will have improved much more.
     
  18. Dark Scyth

    Dark Scyth Moderator

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    How would the Wii emulator work? Does it support modded sensor bar with a Wii controller?

    Hellyeah Sonic Adventure 2 Battle was awesome, if you got all the Emblems in the game you'd get the first level of the first sonic game in 3D...not really worth it though...lol
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  19. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Well the Wii controller is Bluetooth so that can be used with the pc, not too sure about the sensor bar.

    I could never get them all when I had this on the GameCube, I’ve got a nice save game for the emulator which has that level unlocked though ;)
     
  20. Dark Scyth

    Dark Scyth Moderator

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    I got all of the Emblems and I had a total of about 260 hours, although I had some excellent Chao's all level 99.:D
     

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