awesome work, i look forward to what you think of other releases
Hi, Ive just written this guide to emulators for the PSP, so far only the NES part is ready for primetime but I though I would put it up and if anyone finds it usefull Ill do the rest of the platforms (if you tell me which platform you want me todo next then I will do my best to deliver) so without further ado...
[UPDATE] I doubt that most of you wil want to read through all the details so I am going to put a summary of each emu at the top of this thread to make it simple to get a brief idea of what to expect.
[UPDATE] Added my SNES emulator impressions
[UPDATE] Added GBA emulators (all of it)
[UPDATE] Added PC-Engine/TurboGraphix 16 emulators (in a second post)
Nester J 9.5/10 (this is the best emu by FAR, get this one)
Nes for psp 0.04 5/10 (not really very good at all, DONT get this one)
Famicontest (v0.31) 6/10 (also not very good, AVOID)
The Nes emulation is pretty much perfect (already!) if you run at 222Mhz then most games run at full speed with perfect sound etc. speed up to 333Mhz and all games are taken care of.
Uo_Snes9x (V002y14) This emu is the best of the bunch but still only runs games at about 30 (half speed) frame skip helps a bit but makes the game quite choppy (see below for more details). 6/10
Snes9x for psp This is pretty much identicle to Uo_Snes9x but lacks auto frameskip setting. 5/10
Snex9x Optimised by Yoshihiro This emu ran but I couldnt get the file browser to show any roms. This meant I had no way of seeing how good it was 0/10
SNES emulation is not really ready to play games on quite yet. I think it will get there pretty soon (maybe the next few months) until then its best left for games that dont require quick reflexes such as RPG's.
VBAPSP This EMU is basically a proof of concept rather than an emulator designed to play games. 2/20
HuE 0.10 This is a pretty good emulator but some performance issues (namely sound) and some usability quirks, let it down. 7/10
PCEP V0.7 This is the one to get if you want a good PC-Engine Emu. Runs at full speed with sound and is really easy to use. Only problem is that it does not support 6 button layouts like HuE and so games like street fighter are unplayable on it.
Guide to emulators for the PSP v0.1 (Written by Evilsmevil)
A little less than 2 weeks ago a piece of software was released that allowed almost anyone with a PSP to play ‘Homebrew’ games on their handhelds. Homebrew code is anything that is not licensed by Sony to be run on their platform. With this raising of the gate many different programs have flooded onto the net promising all sorts of things! This guide is designed to give an overview of all the current emulators on the scene along with the pros and cons of each.
I will test each emulator with three ROMS from each respective system. I will then give average frame rates attained for each of the games. After this I will give an overview on the features offered by the emulator (such as state saving and clock speed options). I will then give it a score out of 10 for all those of you that like to only have to look at one number to have an opinion on something. I will group the emulators by platform starting with the most used and ending up with the more esoteric systems such as Wonderswan et al.
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
The original Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the US in August, 1985, and was an instant hit. Its graphics were far superior to any home-based console that had come before it, and it went on to sell over 60 million units worldwide.
The NES has several emulators currently available and as it is an old system it is pretty much runs all games at full speed at 222Mhz. The three games that I decided to use are
• Super Mario Bros 3: This was used as this was the most graphically intensive of the 3 and therefore all the previous versions will run just as well if not better also Mario games are probably one of the things that most people will want to play on the NES!
• Castlevania 3 Dracula’s curse: This was chosen as it is graphically intensive and will test how the emulator handles in more intensive games.
• River City Ransom: This game has fairly complicated controls (you need to press both A and B to jump, so it tests the responsiveness of the emulator and also if the PSP’s control layout is suited to the system it is emulating.
Nester J is a very accomplished emulator. It runs most games at full speed (see test results for details. Is very easy to use and has a full File browser that allows to you to select games from anywhere on the memory stick. It also has a battery meter so you know how much juice you have left. It supports loading and saving and has a very comprehensive options menu (Accessed by default with the left shoulder button) that allows you to change any option you can think of (including clock speed settings and full screen options).
Super Mario Bros 3: Mario Runs flawlessly on NesterJ and handles the game at full speed (60fps) at 222Mhz. The controls are tight and you might as well be playing it on a NES!
Castlevania 3 Dracula’s Curse: This doesn’t fare quite as well. The game will not run that well at 222Mhz but when Pushed up to 333Mhz it manages about 50fps. The game is just as responsive as Super Mario but it does feel like its running a little slowly (it is infact running at only 90% of the game speed). Still its very playable if a little plodding!
River City Ransom: This game runs pretty well On 222Mhz setting. It averages about 56/58fps Which is practically full speed, Ramp It up to 333 and everything runs perfectly. The controls are handled well and jumping (by pressing both buttons, is handled very well).
Overall NesterJ is a pretty much does everything you could ask for. It runs most games at full speed, features plenty of customisation, and lots of extra features like battery level indicators and game saves.
Final Score (out of 10): 9.5
Nes for PSP (v0.4)
This Emulator is nowhere near as good as NesterJ. It barely runs games, has little support in the way of options and lacks save support.
Super Mario Bros 3: This does not run well at all. There is no FPS monitor on NES 0.4 so this is really an estimate but the game was running at about ½ speed so about 30fps at 222Mhz Mode at 333Mhz it did better (about 50fps) and was playable but the sound was a bit patchy and slurred a bit in places.
Castlevania 3: This ran terribly! My best guess was about 5fps at 222Mhz and a little more at 333Mhz but this was completely unplayable.
River City Ransom: At 222Mhz again, this game is a lost cause, Running at about 30fps its not really playable at all. At 333Mhz the game is definitely playable but the sound is a bit slurred and its definitely not running at full speed.
In the end NES 0.4 does not turn out a great performance, At 222Mhz its unplayable and at 333Mhz is barely cuts it, When compared to NesterJ it really does not compare favourably.
Final Score (out of 10): 5
Famicontest is another rough a ready emulator that emulates NES games. It is very barebones in terms of options and settings (there are none!). The emulator is set up so that is uses a technique called Frame skipping this means that instead of rendering every frame it will skip frames in order to keep the game play speed normal. This reduces the frame rate but keeps the game at a playable speed. With the other emulators I switched this setting off to test their raw performance. This emulator has it set and you are not able to switch it off. This means that the frame rates posted are quite low but the game is quite playable (even if the graphics are quite joggy).
Super Mario Bros 3: This ran with an FPS of 12 and a FS (frame skip) of 5. At these settings the game runs at full speed but is very joggy. This makes it very tricky to play.
Castlevania 3: This is the most brutal test and it shows! This ran at a frame rate of 0 and was so slow that it almost froze the PSP!
River City Ransom: This ran at 20fps and FS 3. It was fairly playable but why play with those settings when NesterJ can run it at 60FPS?
Overall Famicontest is a very simple emulator that shows what would normally be available a few weeks after homebrew starts. It is a testament to the skill of the scenes programmers how much they have managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time!
Final Score (out of 10): 6
Famicontest is a modified version of InfoNES that has been slightly optimised therefore I thought it was pretty pointless to review InfoNES as well. It is not really intended to be used as a real emulator but really a starting point for people that want to create an emulator without having to do it all from scratch.
Final Rating (out of 10): N/A
Continuing on the Nintendo Theme, Next up are the SNES emus. There are currently 4 Emus flying around most of them based on SNES9X, a pc based emulator that has a long history of development.
Chrono Trigger – This game has very detailed graphics and still looks extremely good this is used to test how well the emulator can handle high load games.
Super Metroid – This is an old fan favourite and I am sure many of you are anxious to play know how it runs (if you missed this when it first came out you really should try it out) it is also a very good looking game and so should test the emulator to its limits!
Super Street Fighter II – Ah yes the seminal Fighting game that really got the genre started, This game relies on quick reactions (and quick input) this should test how responsive the emulators are (my thumb will be tested to destruction as well!)
Now onto the Emulators
NOTE: All the Emulators have been run at 333Mhz only as 222Mhz was not really fast enough for any of them
This is the unofficial port of Snes9x and it works pretty well. At this point in time none of the emulators can run at full speed without frameskip but its still not bad (see games for details). It has a good lineup of features (variable clock speed, save support, Sound rate settings, Frames kipping) oddly, the Auto frame skip function did not seem to work. Hopefully this will be addressed soon.
Chrono Trigger – Being an RPG this game isn’t all that reliant on a good frame rate but it still performs pretty will, Uo_Snes9x averages about 30fps and with a FS of 2 the game runs at full speed and because of the games pacing this is perfectly playable.
Super Metroid – This game does not work quite as well as CT, Unfortunately it only runs at about 17fps during combat which is just too slow for an action game, also there are several graphical oddities that you notice while playing. For instance your character will disappear for several seconds when you are damaged. Also some shots from your gun will fail to be displayed. This makes it quite hard to play the game! (by setting the FS to 3 the problems mentioned will no longer happen (Thanks Shannon!))
Super Street Fighter II – this suffers the same fate as Super Metroid, Poor FPS means that it just isn’t playable (unless you enjoy playing SF in slow motion. Another problem is that the controls really are sometimes a little sluggish. For example when moving forward you can sometimes not be able to jump forward. Jumping in general is actually pretty flaky.
Uo_Snes9x is a pretty good emulator but not really up to gaming standard quite yet. Wait a few months and things should be better.
Snes 9x .003
This Emulator runs pretty much the same as Uo_Snes9x except it has fewer options, It would be a bit pointless doing benchmarks as they are exactly the same as Uo_Snes9x.
Basically the same as Uo_Snes9x but with a few options less, still not really good enough for gaming except strategy games and games where there isn’t really any action
Snes9x Optimised by Yoshihiro
This emulator gave me a lot of trouble and I couldn’t get it to run any roms (more specifically I couldn’t get it to list any ROMs in the file explorer. I know I must have been doing something wrong but I still couldn’t for the life of me work out how to get it running at all.
So far in this stage of the development process SNES games are not really ready for prime-time, I have no doubt that as the libraries are optimised and the frame rates go up things will improve but for now SNES is really only for playing games that don’t need fast reaction times (such as RPG’s). Give it a couple of months and you will be able to play anything though!
awesome work, i look forward to what you think of other releases
I figured out what the deal is with the optimized Super NES emulator. It actually points toward a Master System folder! The author claimed that he used some code from the interface of the Master System emulator, so he probably forgot to change the default directory. Sloppy, sloppy programming, I tell you!
The character dissappearing in metroid probably has to do with the frame skip rate. If you have it set to an odd number, then change it to an even number. If it is an even number change it to an odd number. The blinking should go away. (hopefully).
You might want to mention that the us_snes9x remembers the framerate and cpuspeed setting for each individual ROM. Which is a nice feature, but it also means resetting them everytime you load a never before used ROM. I usually set frameskip to 2 or 3.
ArugulaZ I tried making that directory on my psp but to no avail, I will have another look though as it might have something todo with the file extensions on the rom files. Ill keep you posted.
Thanks Shannon! you were right about the frame skip setting, I will update my article to reflect that. I will also mention about the ROM settings being remembered aswell, I didnt put it earlier because my reviews were more focusing on the speed of the emulators rather than usability.
Right now there is only 1 GBA emulator around but I though I would check it out anyway to see if its actually good or still in the embryonic stages. Heres what if Discovered…
This REALLY is not worth your while! As a proof of concept (i.e. that GBA games can be played on the PSP) it works but other than that the emu is very barebones. You can only load 1 ROM to play on it at a time (This needs to be renamed to rom.gba) and to say that you play the games is a slight misnomer (unless you consider watching a slideshow ‘playing’) The engine ran my test game (Metal slug advance) at about 2fps and was completely unplayble. There is nothing in the way of options (you select the app on your psp, it reebots and rom.gba will play. The emulator does actually allow you to choose what clock setting you run it at (using the analogue nub) but there is no noticeable improvement.
Unless you get kicks from watching GBA games run very slowly on a PSP this isn’t worth your while. 2/10
PC Engine (TurboGFX 16)
The PC Engine was released in Japan in October 1987 - exactly a year before SEGA's 16-bit Mega Drive. Developed as a joint project between NEC and Hudson, the system featured an 8-bit processor at its core and was initially priced at just Y24,800 (£133). As underwhelming as its 8-bit architecture may seem, the system was surprisingly powerful due to numerous other chips that boosted its capabilities, and the fact that the main processor ran at a healthy 7.12MHz. The system was certainly comparable to the Mega Drive, while some of the better-looking games could easily be confused with SNES titles.
This game is a typical racing game which uses a mode7-esque rendering mode (i.e. you drive into the screen). This should test less used parts of the emulator and show how stable it is.
Street Fighter II
For every platform I like to do some kind of street fighter test. This is useful as it allows me to do a like-for-like comparison and it also enables me to test the responsiveness of the controls.
Bomberman started life on the PC Engine so it wouldn’t be right not to include a Bomberman test.
HuE for PSP 0010
This emulator used to be called XPCE but has since changed its name to HuE (no idea why). At first I thought this emulator was extremely barebones but it turns out its just not very well thought out. All the features are there, its just a bit difficult to get to them. Getting to them is also accomplished by pressing select and the right trigger at the same time. Once you get to the Menu you will find a good array of options and a very versatile frame skip setting. Once you have turned off V sync and sorted out frame skip the emulator runs really well. Here are benchmarks from the games.
NOTE ABOUT SETTINGS: I used the every other frame option, with Vsync turned off and the clock set at 333Mhz. There was no way of displaying the frame rate so the FPS is purely subjective. Also the sound was turned off as sound emulation on Hue was slurry and also gave quite a large frame rate drop.
Chase HQ: This game was something of a mixed bag. When the game ran, it ran very well indeed (full speed i.e. 60fps). However there were some control issues. HuE has 2 control schemes available, the 2 button layout of the initial controllers and a second, 6 button layout. Some of the games use only 2 buttons while others use 6. The problem was that the 6 button layout didn’t work very well, with the left direction on the D-pad seemingly unresponsive and some of the other buttons working in peculiar ways (right shoulder button paused the game). However this was not the case in all the games I tested, (SF II worked fine in 6 button mode) so it is hard to tell if it is specific to the game or to the emulator (I have a feeling it’s a bit of both).
Street Fighter II
This game very fast, at least 60fps I even think it may have been too fast. Also I had a few control issues involving moving forward and then doing a forward jump. I am not sure if this is to do with the emulator or if it is my hardware although I am inclined to think it’s the former. As mentioned earlier, this game seems happier in 6 button mode. In fact you cant really play it in 2 button mode as you can then only kick!
This charming game ran like a dream. No problems at all and it was perfectly happy in 2 button mode (by the way the buttons are fully configurable from the emu menu). The game had one issue though to do with laying bombs, mainly it was a little too sensitive. This would mean that I would inadvertently drop 2 or more bombs because it would think I was holding down the key for too long. Hopefully this is fixable.
Hue is a good emulator and shows that the 16-bit consoles can be emulated really well. Aside from a few quirks this emu is a really solid piece of work and I hope the few kinks can be ironed out soon. 7/10
PCEP is the other contender to the crown of best PC-engine emu and it’s a crown that it wears with pride. Not only is it easier to use than Hue, its also much more stable and runs at a much better speed. In my review of Hue I mentioned that it seemed that Street Fighter ran a little TOO fast, well it seems that HuE was actually running the game faster than 100% (my guess is 110%). PCEP did not suffer from that problem, as you will see below in the test results. The only problem with PCEP is that it does not have a 6 button mode like HuE does. This makes it impossible to play street fighter as you can only punch.
SETTINGS USED: I used 333Mhz with frame skip set at auto and sound turned on.
This game fared better on PCEP. Not only did the game run at a more consistent pace (60fps) but it also ran the game with sound. There were no response issues although there was a slight graphical glitch when you were allowed to choose from 1 of 2 paths, in this instance both paths were superimposed on top of each other. This meant it was sometimes a little off putting but the game was still perfectly playable and its only a minor nitpick.
Street Fighter II
This game could not decide whether it wanted to run at 60fps or 30, and it kept switching between the two as the action occurred, this was not a problem however thanks to the auto frame skip implemented in PCEP. What WAS a problem however was the fact that there was no 6 button support. This meant that SF was unplayable as you only had access to 2 punches.
This game definitely ran the best of the bunch. It ran at a rock steady 60fps and the controls were perfect. Unlike in HuE, there was no problem of double bomb dropping and the sound was immaculate. Overall a very good performance.
I thought that HuE was going to be as good as it would get but it turns out that I was wrong, PCEP is a very good emulator and as soon as a few wrinkles are ironed out (namely the 6 button configuration for the controller) it will be a truly excellent emu. Until then it is still worth a shot.
What about N64 emulators? Or Atari 2600? Are there any emulators for those games.
Or at least working GameBoy Emulator would be cool...what do you recommend about those?
anyone know when we might see a good version of the snes emu comming I am sick of playng my games at half speed its enough to throw your psp cant wait tell that gets there I am happy I work at EB Games I Traded my PSP in for another because I updated the Firmware so I just want to know that I dident do it for nothing.
Originally Posted by o2byzst
Not Really Anything worth while
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