Emulation News: The Switch gets a standalone PPSSPP port with better GTA performance, Homebrew Downloader and JIT improvements; melonDS potentially getting ARM JIT recompiler and Android port in the future
Emulating other consoles is a primary reason why we hack our devices and hacked Nintendo Switch consoles have a wealth of emulators from ones for older consoles like the SNES to relatively recent consoles like the PSP, DS and Wii. In this article, we’ll be looking at the recently released standalone PPSSPP port for the Switch and recent developments relating to the JIT (Just-In-Time) Compiler of melonDS.
m4xw releases standalone version of PPSSPP for the Switch that has various advantages over RA core
For quite a while, emulating the PSP on the Nintendo Switch has been possible with m4xw’s RetroArch core for PPSSPP, which is the most well-known PSP emulator around.
This worked pretty well and let you play a lot of great PSP games including WipeOut Pure on the Switch even at higher rendering resolution. However, m4xw decided to take PSP emulation on the Switch a step further and has now released a standalone version of the PPSSPP emulator.
Obviously, the question on many peoples’ mind is what are the advantages of using this version of PPSSPP over the RetroArch core and this is answered here:
- A GLES2 version which greatly improves performance & reduces stutter in the PSP’s GTA games (Vice and Liberty City Stories) and some other titles
- PPSSPP’s Homebrew Downloader can be used so that you can download PSP homebrew directly from the emulator itself
- The JIT (Just-In-Time) compiler has been re-worked thus removing the need for masking. This removes Switch-specific JIT issues
- A Browser applet in the main menu has been added
- The emulated Home Button in PPSSPP now works correctly
- Many other fixes and features which can be seen in the changelog below
If you have a hacked Switch and are interested in emulating one of the best portable consoles on it, check out this link to access the changelog and download link for m4xw’s standalone PPSSP build. The link leads to Patreon so you can also buy m4xw a few beers for his hard work! The download is publicly available for free.
melonDS and its interesting JIT-related prospects including an Android port
Nintendo DS emulation has been around for over a decade but there’s still interest in creating more emulators for the system that achieve better accuracy, performance and compatibility. One of the more recent emulators is Arisotura’s (Staple Butter) melonDS which has made great progress this year thanks to its OpenGL accelerated renderer.
Yesterday, its main developer shared some information on a pull request, by RSDuck, made on July 14th and the status of an upcoming melonDS 0.8.3 release. The pull request is related to the JIT recompiler (an x86-64 one to be more specific), a feature of the emulator which isn’t yet fully ready for use. Arisotura stated that when implemented, the JIT recompiler could give performance boosts of 30-100% which would greatly playbility in some games. Furthermore, RSDuck said that it shouldn’t be too difficult to port the JIT recompiler to ARM which might result in a nicely-performing Nintendo Switch port, more progress on the PSVita port and even an Android port!
On the other hand, work is still being done on melonDS 0.8.3 and it will be released once an issue with the audio output code is fixed. Furthermore, beta builds of the JIT and DSi branches of the emulator will be made available eventually so that’s something else to tinker around with!
If you’re interested in more emulation-related stuff, you can check out the recent release of Mesen-S 0.2 which is a SNES emulator or joncampbell123’s ideas for his DosBox-X emulator. Furthermore, frangar has clarified some more things on the HW acceleration on RetroArch for the PSVita bounty/feature request which you may be interested to read by following this link.