Emulation News: Dolphin June/July Progress Report, MAME 0.212, ZXVita 1.1 and Cemu 1.15.11 – Various improvements all over and Windows 7 support in Dolphin on its way out!
As many know, the emulation scene is one of those that almost always has something to offer and this time is no different. In this article, we’ll be looking at Dolphin’s June/July progress report and updates to MAME, ZXVita and Cemu.
Main News: Dolphin’s June/July progress report and MAME 0.212
The Dolphin folks are always eager to publish a nicely-written progress every month or two and these are a great read if you’re interested in the curiosities and (simplified) technicalities surrounding console emulation.
However, they’re a tad long for the regular retro gamer and due to this, the main points of the June/July 2019 one will be summarised here:
- The first improvement is to Action Replay/Gecko cheat code management because now, you can sort them alphabetically with a simple right-click or do the sorting manually to place the codes you care about most at the top
- Apparently, users of these codes got a tad annoyed when alphabetic sorting was forced into the management dialogue so manual ordering was reintroduced in an improved form since now, you don’t need to mess with INI files to order them but just drag ‘n drop!
- The Crop Aspect Ratio Option was fixed and it properly does slight zooming-in rather than stretching
- This feature is needed because the GameCube/Wii don’t output proper 4:3/16:9 video in all games. As a result, some titles have little black bars on the edges of the screen when emulated and this could be handled by a slight zoom-in or stretching.
- Support for reinterpreting formats in VRAM Textures
- This fixes rendering issues in Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions & The Simpsons Game as these two games created textures in one format and sampled it in another which caused Dolphin to get confused!
- EFB/XFB copies are now saved in save states and this makes them a tad bigger when it’s enabled
- This eliminates purple/black screens and missing objects when loading save states in certain games
- A nicer LogicOps hack which is required for certain games to render properly on Windows 7 (D3D11 rendering) and most Android devices
- Not many games use LogicOps but Star Fox Adventures is one that uses it
- A rendering issue in Dekotora National Festival was fixed thanks to a one-line code change – A sizeable chunk of the PR is dedicated to this as it’s quite a curious case that took 3 years to fix so read that if you want some leisure reading
- Finally, it’s been hinted that support for Windows 7 is on its way out as none of the major developers use Windows 7 as their primary OS. It’s still supported in current Dolphin builds but it may miss out on certain features going forward or even be completely dropped even though it still has around 1/3 of total Desktop OS market share
On the other hand, MAME received a sizeable update to version 0.212 which will further satisfy your multi-system emulation needs. Among the things that the updates brings along, we find:
- Beefed-up software lists with hundreds more clean cracks for the Apple II, the Rainbow on Disk collection for Tandy Color Computers and all recent GBA dumps not to mention thousands more ZX Spectrum cassette images
- Chess computers can now use built-in artwork for chess piece simulation
- Security chips for numerous arcade machines, including Choplifter and Bionic Commando, have been implemented which means that original non-tampered dumps of these games can be played
- Audio improvements with FM Towns CD, Konami System 573 and PortAudio sound module all seeing fixes or new features
- Lua scripts and plugins can now do more as the layout file format has been improved which facilitates creative use of LEDs and LCDs.
Minor News: Cemu 1.15.11 released to the public and ZXVita 1.1 released
In this section, we’ll be looking at a minor update to popular emulators and a sizeable update to a PSVita-only emulator. The first is Cemu 1.15.11 which is an update to the go-to Wii U emulator for PCs. Releases for this closed-source Patreon funded emulator are made available to non-Patreon supporters a week after initial release and version 1.15.11 comes with improved Update/DLC handling with more faithful file organisation, improved detection of content type, an improved debugger and tweaks to GX2 (Wii U’s GPU) emulation in preparation to the upcoming Vulkan renderer. For the full changelog, follow this link and to download the publicly available builds, go here; you can also donate to the Cemu folks on Patreon if you want early access to their builds and to support their great efforts!
Finally, ZXVita 1.1 has been released and after some looking around a changelog was found. This update brings along emulation of the floating bus, instant *.tap file loading, faster GUI navigation, more accurate CPU emulation and improvements to the touch keyboard among other fixes. To install it, grab it from VHBB or download the VPK from VitaDB.
Other than these releases, the last two days also some more stuff in the hacking/emulation scene including the publishing of internal photos of the Switch Lite (+ Reddit commentary), Goldleaf 0.6/Kosmos 13.1 being released, a switchroot subreddit being created for stuff relating to Android on the Switch and Capcom vs SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 being playable on the Play! (PS2) emulator with promising performance on the Samsung Galaxy S9 according to a Reddit user.