Emulation Round-up: RetroArch 1.7.7 released with experimental XBOX ONE build, Improved Desktop UI and Bluetooth Keyboard/Mouse Support on the PSVita and a look at the RPCS3 Progress Report For March 2019!
With the recent releases of the Trinity and PS3HEN exploits, focus has mostly been on the PSVita and PS3 hacking scenes. However, progress in the emulation scene didn’t stop and in the last couple of days, we got RetroArch 1.7.7 and two progress reports from the great folks of Dolphin and RPCS3!
RetroArch 1.7.7 released
As usual, the Retroarch guys are hard at work improving their all-in-one emulation solution and this time, they’ve released version 1.7.7. While this version is more of a minor routine release, it still has some notable features. These include the release of an experimental alpha version of the XBOX One (UWP) version, the addition of RetroArch Settings in the Desktop UI so that you can manage them through a WIMP interface and support for menu widgets with an achievement notification widget being built in.
From a more technical point of view, RetroArch also gained a new OpenGL driver, a legacy OpenGL 1.1 driver which adds compatibility with ancient graphics cards and the main menu is now framerate independent. When it comes to platform-specific additions, we find support for Bluetooth Keyboards/Mice on the PSVita port, vibrate on touch for Android (no idea why anybody would want to use it but it’s there) and a separate macOS 10.13+ (High Sierra) version that makes use of Metal rendering instead of OpenGL rendering but older versions of macOS are still supported through another build.
To grab RetroArch 1.7.7 for the platform of your choice, check out this link
A quick look at the RPCS3 Progress Report
The PlayStation 3 console was released over a decade ago and developers are still working hard on improving the main PC emulator for it. Thanks to this, a lot of work has been going on recently and in their recently published March progress report, the RPCS3 folks have been up to the following:
- 39.6% of the games in RPCS3’s streamlined 3003-large game database are now rated as playable while 46.2% can get in-game which means that they can be played to varying degrees
- This is a significant improvement compared to their statistics in March of last year where only 27.5% of games in their database were marked as playable!
- Significant RSX Texturing improvements by kd-11 in the form of a rewritten texture cache that’s much more accurate and improvements to the blit engine (2D rendering part of the GPU) which translated to graphical improvements in many titles and the eradication of flickering in Demon’s Souls and fixing the water reflections Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time along making some stages in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX work properly.
- For more information about how the texture cache work, check out RPCS3 article on the matter
- Thanks to the blit engine improvements, some games like Saints Row III/IV also registered performance improvements as CPU emulation of the blit engine is no longer needed for them
- Nekotekina overhauled the SPU Interpreter (fast) into an LLVM-based interpreter which translated into performance boosts of up to 20% in some games and also upgraded the version of LLVM used in RPCS3 from 7.0 to 9.0
- RPCS3 now natively supports the DualShock 3 controller and all its features, such as motion controls, but using it requires you to sacrifice Bluetooth compatibility (i.e wireless) and currently, it only works on Windows
- God Of War 3 performance on a Windows system with an HDD has been improved by fixing a flushing to disk issue
- VSH (XMB) emulation has seen a lot of progress and a special build of RPCS3 can now run it although games can’t be launched
- Games that saw notable improvements are Gran Turismo 6, Supercar & Ferrari series, Ridge Racer 7 and NASCAR Unleashed in the racing department; Doom 3: BFG Edition and some sports games also saw some improvements
If you’re interested in more emulation-related news, you should check out Dolphin’s February-April progress report which includes a whopping 3 sub-articles along with normal progress report goodness! It includes information about a new Direct3D12 backend, a NetPlay Server Browser, emulated MotionPlus and much much more so it’ll keep you occupied for quite a while if you read everything. You should also check out recent updates to bsnes’ HD Mode 7 Mod by following this link.
On a concluding note, it seems that interest in emulation will never quite fade away and you can always support the hard-working teams mentioned in this article by donating a few bucks on their Patreon links which can be found below!
RetroArch’s Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/libretro
RPCS3’s Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Nekotekina
The Dolphin Folks don’t accept donations so if you want to help, get coding or testing 😉