Emulation Round-Up: Orbital (PS4 emulator) gets performance improvements and USB storage support, Square Enix committed to making all their games available digitally and melonDS 0.8.1 released with input upgrades, OpenGL fixes and more!
Nowadays, there are many graphically stunning titles, like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, but people are still interested in playing older titles for various reasons ranging from nostalgia to the uniqueness of such games. As a result, emulation technology and accessibility keeps on getting better and in this article, we’ll take a look at recent peformance improvements in Orbital, the release of melonDS 0.8.1 and Square Enix’s promise to make all games digitally available!
Orbital (PS4 emulator) Update 4: Performance Improvements, I/O fixes and more
While both the Switch and the PS4 are current-generation consoles, progress on emulating the PlayStation 4 has been much slower. However, this might change as there have been a considerable number of developments relating to Orbital which is a WIP PS4 emulator not to mention the Spine emulator.
In the latest progress update relating to the emulator, which was shared in video form, we were told that the following was achieved recently:
- Significant performance improvements resulting in smoother frame rates in the few things that actually work with the PS4’s Safe Mode being one of them
- Some texture loading issues were also rectified and this fixed some artificating
- The bootloader fetches keys through IO, not AHCI, and the effect of this is that USB storage devices and the internal HDD of the PS4 are now supported during emulation
- PUPMGR functions have been added and several SAMU emulation issues are now fixed.
- You can also reinstall the firmware theough a virtual mass-storage USB device if you want to do it for some reason
As of right now, Orbital can’t run any commercial titles so if you want to do that, you should check out Spine which is a closed-source PS4 emulator that runs some 2D titles. That being said, the above progress is still pretty important as it’s simply paving the way for further developments in the PS4 emulation area.
Square Enix committed to making all of its game library available digitally
Square Enix, formely two separate companies called Square and Enix, has been around for a few decades and they’ve been releasing great games ever since with the likes of Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Super Mario RPG and Secret Of Mana among many others.
As many of their games have been released over a decade ago, they’ve not available digitally and some are only available in cartridge form.
In light of this, Square Enix’s president Yosuke Matsuda shared a couple of thoughts in relation to making the whole Square Enix catalogue digitally available in an interview with Game Informer.
Among the main points he mentioned, we find that the developers at Square Enix are working towards porting some NES titles to modern hardware and that the company is considering creating yet another streaming or subscription sevice to allow the general public to play these games. However, there’s still an obstacle in the way of creating ports for some titles as their source code is simply lost which means some titles might never get a new port.
No ETA has been given which means that you’ll still have to turn to emulation for now unless you own the console for the game itself 😉
melonDS 0.8.1 released: Input improvements and OpenGL fixes
Other than Orbital and Square Enix’s ongoing digitalisation project, melonDS 0.8.1 got released and this brings some pretty important things. This Nintendo DS emulator focuses greatly on accuracy although recently, performance and features have been taken centre stage with the recent addition of an OpenGL accelerated renderer in version 0.8.
Version 0.8.1 (changelog) is a minor update and it comes with:
- The input handling section of the emulator has been rewritten and this translates to the ability of mapping key combos, such as CTRL+M, to a DS button. Joystick support has been improved with a more detailed explanation in the above changelog
- An OSD (On-Screen Display) feature has been added which is used to display status messages when, for example, loading/creating save states similar to Dolphin
- The fast-forward hotkey is back with a proper hotkey mapping.
- A toggle for enabling/disabling the frame limiter has also been added
- Some fixes to the OpenGL rendering engine, support for line triangles and an early implementation of edge marking
For more emulation-related stuff, you might be interested in checking out Yuzu’s latest Patreon release (or at least read about it) which includes a new texture cache, basic GPU sync mechnaisms and swap interval emulation.
If you want to donate to the emulators mentioned in this article, check out these links because after all, those behind these emulators are still people with bills to pay:
Orbital Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/AlexAltea
melonDS Pateeon: https://www.patreon.com/staplebutter