Recent Emulation News: Significant DeSmuME performance improvemenfts, MAME 0.204 released and Performance Issues on the PlayStation Classic especially on PAL titles
Nowadays, almost every tech-savvy person has used emulators to play older games and as a result, the emulation scene is one that never quite sleeps. In this article, we’ll be looking at recent DeSmuME performance improvements, the release of MAME 0.204 and the performance woes that the PlayStation Classic suffers from.
Significant DeSmuME performance improvements and the release of MAME 0.204
Due to various reasons, the seemingly under-powered Nintendo DS has been more of a headache to emulate than its competitor the PSP, which has more CPU/GPU power. This difficulty in efficiently emulating the Nintendo DS has led to performance issues on lower powered PCs that aren’t too modern like systems equipped with Bay Trail/Cherry Trail Atom CPUs.
Thankfully, development on DeSmuME is still ongoing and the most recent update brings about substantial performance gains especially when running games at higher resolutions. From a more technical standpoint, this update allows for SSE2-enabled custom-size VRAM reads in the OBJ layer which translates in performance boosts. Some games that will probably have their performance improve after this update include Mario Kart DS, Nanashi No Game and some minigames in Super Mario 64 DS.
To get it, check out this link to get the latest nightly (Visual C++ 2015 libraries are needed, at least on Windows 7 SP1). It must be noted that performance improvements may also due to recent builds of DeSmuME disabling some rarely-used features.
In other news, MAME 0.204 has been released and it brings along many improvements relating to retro computer emulation. Computers that benefitted from this update include:
- The BBC Micro with a large amount of working software titles added to its software support list. Newly supported software mostly has to do with utility software so you can do stuff such as develop software on an emulated BBC Micro for a more authentic developement experience!
- HP9000/300 computers also saw some love and they can now boot HP-UX 9 with X11 and the Vue desktop environment.
- Silicon Graphics workstation emulation also saw some improvements
- 68K Mac, NeXT and early Sun system emulation also got better thanks to updates in 68k MMU code
Other than developments in computer emulation, MAME 0.204 also makes all Tiger Game.com games playable and fixes bugs in emulating some arcade cabinets among other things. To download MAME 0.204, go to this link.
The PlayStation Classic apparently has more deal-breakers.. this time with sub-par emulation performance
Even though the PlayStation Classic isn’t yet released (its release day is the 3rd of December), it already got its own share of bashing from various fronts. From a not-so-good game selection to an ugly UI that only offers ONE save state… but now, another deal-breaker has been added and this time, it’s sub-par emulation and PAL games even in NTSC regions.
The latest issues that have surfaced with the PlayStation Classic according to a EuroGamer article include:
- 6 out of 20 games, including Tekken 3 and Grand Theft Auto are PAL versions rather than NTSC ones.
This means that they run at 83.33% of the speed of their NTSC counterparts since PAL consoles refreshed at 50Hz (rather than 60Hz) till HDTV become the standard
- As a result, you’ll now be able to ‘enjoy’ some of your favourite PlayStation 1 games in slow-motion, mimicking the experience that European gamers had. 😉
- R4 Ridge Racer Type 4 on the PlayStation Classic can’t keep up a steady 30FPS, with some dips to the low-20FPS range, with constant frame times. This is quite disappointing considering that original hardware can achieve this level of performance
- Some games, like Battle Arena Toshinden, manage to stutter due to the fact that 50Hz games are outputted on a 60Hz video output
- Check out EuroGamer’s article for a more in-depth account of where emulation on the PlayStation Classic is lacking
In my opinion, the PlayStation Classic is a micro-console that you should avoid as there are plenty of better alternatives, like the PSTV or any second-hand PC, out there.
Furthermore, most PlayStation Classic alternatives can make use of the latest developments in emulation whereas micro-consoles usually don’t receive updates so if the shipping software is sub-par, you’re stuck with it. However, if you still want to get a PlayStation Classic, you should wait at least a short while to see if there’ll be interest on hacking it so that it can do more!