Dolphin April/May 2018 progress report in a nutshell – Auto Updater enabled by default, less audio latency, improvements to new Qt UI, I/O timing fixes, Android-specific updates and more!
Like the previous Dolphin progress report, this one also covers a period of two months. As a result, it’s quite a long progress report so this article is here to considerably shorten the read!
Summary of the report
Similar to other months, this progress report tackles various areas of the emulator however the main sections tackled were the emulator core and the UI. Among the work done by the Dolphin team and its many contributors during the past two months, we have:
- The removal of support for Hybrid Wii Remotes and Projection hacks. The latter were useful back in the days of DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2 (over a decade ago) when certain GameCube/Wii GPU effects couldn’t be emulated properly.
- As a result, some titles now look better since these projection hacks sometimes omitted the rendering of certain elements such as shadows.
- Fixes to how NAND timings work, these brought about stability improvements to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and possibly other games.
- The auto-updater is now enabled by default so you’ll no longer have to manually download new nightly builds!
- Audio latency on Windows is now much better since you can use a newly-created WASAPI backend created for that purpose.
- A vertex loader on Android has been fixed up which makes the barn in one of the Wii Harvest Moon games render correctly.
- The new Qt UI got many new features and bug fixes.
- Assorted bug fixes and the implementation of the Copy Filter
Core emulation improvements: Rumble fixed in many games, correct emulation of file system timings and the addition of the Copy Filter.
This month saw various improvements to various aspects of Wii/GC emulation ranging from fixes to file system timings to rendering improvements.
Thanks to work by leoetlino, Dolphin now correctly emulates the Wii’s NAND read/write timings which resulted in:
- The MLB Power Pros banner being saved to the system menu.
- Read/Writes are now slower than before since now, they work the same as they do on the Wii. This will result in some games, like Super Smash Bros Brawl, to take longer to load as initial NAND checks now as long as they should.
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is now much more stable when using the mobile phone to take/view in-game images. This makes playing a minigame that requires you to take pictures much less tedious!
Through the removal of an incorrect IF condition by spycrab0, games such as Luigi’s Mansion, Pokémon Colosseum, and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness now have their rumble function working again provided your controller supports rumbling.
The Copy Filter, a minor feature that’s been requested for several years, has finally been implemented by stenzek. Through it, the gamma/brightness settings used in some games like Metroid Prime work well and some games look less blurry.
End-user improvements: Auto-updater and UI improvements
When you’re using something that is constantly getting updated, downloading the latest nightly build could become quite a tedious task. Now, that will no longer be a problem since Dolphin’s auto-updater, which is only found in Qt builds, is enabled by default. Through this auto-updater, you can choose between 3 update tracks which are:
- Stable – Versions of Dolphin which are released every couple of years are served which makes this function somewhat useless.
- Beta – Versions of Dolphin which are current after a progress report is written. This will provide an updated build every 1/2 months.
- Dev – Versions of Dolphins that are compiled after every commit. This means you’ll have daily updates and a dialogue box showing recent commits to go along with it.
Staying on the topic of the end-user aspect, the recently-introduced Qt GUI has had some improvements such as:
- Fixes relating to exclusive fullscreen
- Support for custom styles/themes
- Ability to use various devices to map a single virtual controller
- Debugging features such as a FIFO Analyser
To find out more about what the Dolphin guys were up to, simply follow the link to their progress report below. It’s a pretty long and in-depth read so make sure you sit yourself down and have some coffee (or ice-cream) close-by before attempting to read it 🙂