Emulation News: melonDS 0.8.3 released with important input/audio fixes; JIT builds coming soon, MAME updated to version 0.213 and Super Mario 64 getting a native PC port!
After a little over a week full of PSVita news and releases thanks to h-encore² (native hack for FW 3.71/3.72), things on that front have cooled down and other scenes will be focused on again. In this article, we’ll be looking at stuff relating to emulation including melonDS 0.8.3, MAME 0.213 and efforts towards porting Super Mario 64 to PCs!
melonDS 0.8.3 released with many fixes – Hot Keys fixed and a solution for the frame limiter/audio issues found
melonDS is a Nintendo DS emulator by Arisotura which aims to provide a high degree of accuracy while still keeping performance in mind.
This year, the emulator has seen a great deal of progress including the addition of an OpenGL accelerated renderer and imminent JIT/DSi builds which will continue to increase the emulator’s versatility.
Now, melonDS 0.8.3 has been released which comes with the following:
- An issue relating to Ctrl+K hotkeys was fixed so now you can map ‘special’ keys like Shift and Ctrl to buttons again
- As a solution to audio and frame limiter issues, three different syncing solution have been introduced namely:
- Limit framerate – the oldschool way of doing things but it’s a tad different from previous implementations as it tries to find an average framerate over several frames so as not to limit games that run at 30FPS internally too aggressively
- Audio sync – Use this if you want 0 audio stuttering at the cost of a less stable framerate
- VSync – synchronises the emulator’s framerate with that of your monitor (typically 60/75/120/144FPS) but may not work properly with games that alter their framerate by modifying VCount. Only works on the OpenGL renderer when running on Windows
- OpenGL initialisation no longer fails on OpenGL 4.1 or earlier (melonDS’ renderer requires OpenGL 3.1)
- Audio output is now done at a standard 48000Hz frequency instead of 47430Hz to improve compatibility with poorly written audio drivers
- Some accuracy improvements and minor fixed as per the commit history on GitHub
Furthermore, beta builds of JIT-enabled and DSi-compatible version of the emulators will be coming but these are based on melonDS 0.8.2 and melonDS 0.8.1 respectively for the time being.
To grab melonDS for your PC and emulate the DS to your heart’s content, check out this link.
MAME 0.213 released and a native Super Mario 64 port coming to PC
As its name implies, MAME is a multi-system emulator that focuses on Arcade machine emulation although it emulates everything from Chess computers to Game & Watch devices. For a long time, it’s been receiving monthly updates with a decent amount of added compatibility and September is no exception as MAME 0.213 landed with the following updates:
- A couple more Chess computers are now supported including the Mephisto, Mephisto II and Mephisto III alongside ‘Brikett’ ones
- Another addition to the Game & Watch compatibility list with this month adding support for ‘Mario’s Bombs Away’.
- Elektronika’s Kosmicheskiy Most, an unlicensed total conversion of Fire which is a Game & Watch game, is also supported now
- On the arcade front, The Destroyer From Jail and alternate regional version of Block Out and Super Shanghai Dragon’s Eye are now supported
- Protection controllers of more arcade machines like ‘Last Mission’ are now emulated rendering the game they used to protect fully playable
- MS-DOS compatibles also saw some compatibility improvements with the Mindset Personal Computer and Dulmont Magnum now working just fine.
- The Apple II software list got an update with most clean cracks and flux dumps being included. SGI computer emulation also some improvements with more disk image types being supported
- For a more in-depth look at what MAME 0.213 brings along, you can check its full change log here
To grab MAME 0.213, head over to this link and select the download for the platform of your choice.
In other news, progress is moving at a good pace on creating a Super Mario 64 port for PC after its source code was decompiled in July.
From this video which supposedly demonstrates a build of SM64 for x86 hardware (the code of which has been written by a developer on the Public Decompilation Discord), the game seems to be running somewhat okay and uses some Glide64 functionality presumably for replacing calls to system libraries to make porting it a much simpler affair.
While Super Mario 64 can be emulated very well on any PC from the last decade and half, a native port would enable the community to create mods, tinker with game physics, tweak game resolution, hack the in-game camera and much much more while potentially allowing the game to run on ancient hardware.
Obviously, one article isn’t enough to cover what happened in the last few days when it comes to the emulation scene so if you want to read more, check out this Reddit thread on a Stereoscopic 3D GBA RetroArch core and Mednafen 1.23.0-UNSTABLE being released.