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Keatah

How many of you are emulation converts?

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Emulation has come a long way since I started in 96. It used to be that there was a real benefit in playing the games on real hardware as emulation was just not up to snuff. But 20 some odd years later and it now matches and even surpasses the original experience. Emulators are now used by the original hardware manufacturers.

 

Items like the nes and snes classic are great as the emulation is (to me) spot on and you get to use new original controllers. And it looks better than ever through hdmi on modern displays.

 

For me emulation is the preferred way to play these games.

Having played quite a bit on the NES and SNES classic systems, I can say with certainty that the NES does things that the original never did. Some really freaking cool effects when the screen flashes in Final Fantasy that then get passed on to other games. Get one of those enemy-clearing power ups in Castlevania 3 and it does a psychedelic motion blur thing that the original system just cant. Clearing four lines in Nintendo Tetris is equally wild.

 

The SNES has similar additional effects. Set off a bimb in Contra 3 and youll see what I mean.

 

No way to control either short of using RetroArch but its a really fun cosmetic thing if youre into that sort of thing.

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Having played quite a bit on the NES and SNES classic systems, I can say with certainty that the NES does things that the original never did. Some really freaking cool effects when the screen flashes in Final Fantasy that then get passed on to other games. Get one of those enemy-clearing power ups in Castlevania 3 and it does a psychedelic motion blur thing that the original system just cant. Clearing four lines in Nintendo Tetris is equally wild.

 

The SNES has similar additional effects. Set off a bimb in Contra 3 and youll see what I mean.

 

No way to control either short of using RetroArch but its a really fun cosmetic thing if youre into that sort of thing.

 

 

That psychedelic effect you are seeing is the epilepsy protection Nintendo added to the classic consoles. I first noticed it in GI Joe and then again when turning on 3D in Worldrunner 3D. When using Hakchi2 you can disable this before writing the roms to the console. Do that and everything will be normal again :)

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That psychedelic effect you are seeing is the epilepsy protection Nintendo added to the classic consoles. I first noticed it in GI Joe and then again when turning on 3D in Worldrunner 3D. When using Hakchi2 you can disable this before writing the roms to the console. Do that and everything will be normal again :)

Ah that makes sense. I really like it though. Ill keep it. :)

 

Strange as it may sound it makes those consoles my preferred platform for NES and SNES games.

Edited by derFunkenstein
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I've had emulation on some device or another for 20 years. I still do.

 

For some reason I am really input lag sensitive. Some people say it doesn't bother them but I just can't see how. It's bad enough to where it takes the fun out of emulation. I recently started buying consoles with everdrives. Putting on super Mario 2 on a CRT, playing every level and beating it while only losing 6 live was very satisfying as was my kids playing Super Mario world and getting way farther than they ever had was also nice. Those two things were just not possible for us with emulation. They are hooked on those systems now.

 

That input delay compensation posted earlier is very intriguing. I read the whole thread liberto and they have made some stunning progress and I wish them well. They have a ton of things to consider. Input delay isn't even consistent within the same game in a lot of instances. Now add in wireless or USB type controllers and native lag on flat-screens and it's adding several layers of complication on an already complicated thing.

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Poorly setup emulation has a lot of input lag.

Properly setup emulation with a good low latency monitor is actually quite low. I can go back and forth between my consoles on a CRT and my PC emulation setup and I cannot feel a difference.

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Things like page flipping, blitting.. single, double, or triple buffering.. and vsync are other factors that can affect lag in real measurable numbers.

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Poorly setup emulation has a lot of input lag.

Properly setup emulation with a good low latency monitor is actually quite low. I can go back and forth between my consoles on a CRT and my PC emulation setup and I cannot feel a difference.

What kind of setup do you have? To be honest I haven't really checked the situation out for a couple of years but it definitely wasn't up to snuff yet. The best people were achieving on older systems was 2 frames of lag and I most definitely can feel that.

 

The ultimate test is Mike Tysons punchout. Play them side by side and see how far you get on each.This game is very unforgiving when it comes to lag. There isn't any compensating with it.

 

ETA:This all gives me hope though. Between these ultralow lag monitors becoming reasonable and this new tech would give me motivation to build a dedicated mame rig.

Edited by Nodak
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Now I am in no way saying that emulation even under the best conditions has zero lag in comparison to real hardware on a CRT and I don't have the equipment to do scientific testing.

 

If you use an emulator that supports Frame Delay (Retroarch and GroovyMame) and you have a good CPU that sounds like it's way overkill for an old system you can really push the Frame Delay to pretty high levels. Combine this with other settings in Retroarch such as Hard GPU Sync On and Hard GPU Sync Frames set to 0 on an actual PC monitor you can get results that are substantially lower than what you get with a TV and lower end CPU. What Frame Delay does is it delays when the emulator polls for controller input to the last possible millisecond before it outputs the image to the display. The higher you can set Frame Delay to the longer it will wait (0-15 ms), of course though the higher you set it the more powerful the CPU you will need to drive the emulator without framerate and audio problems. More CPU intensive emulators will also drive up the CPU power required for high Frame Delay settings. For example Snes9x will allow for much higher settings than Higan will depending on your CPU.

 

Frame Delay also assumes you are using the V-Sync on setting which itself adds 1 frame of input lag, you can simply turn off V-Sync but then you will experience screen tearing on a 60 hz display. One way around this and isn't cheap is to use a G-Sync (or Freesync) display. G-Sync is also amazing for Mame setups because you don't have to choose between V-Sync On for no screen tearing or V-Sync Off to have games run at their proper speed.

 

My personal gaming setup is a fairly respectable gaming PC, AMD FX 8350 CPU, GTX 970 graphics card (irrelevant to this discussion) and a G-Sync monitor and a wired Hori Fight Commander game pad. And like I said previously I can move back and forth from my real hardware on a CRT to my PC and I cannot feel any differences in gameplay. But if I try and play on my TV where I have an old toaster of a PC setup for some basic emulation the difference is night and day. Trying to play a fighting game on the TV setup is awful but loading up something like say Street Fighter 3 in Mame on my good gaming PC is smooth and tight.

 

I cannot test Mike Tyson myself because I was never good at the game to begin with but I know it is the ultimate test game but I would love to see someone who is good at the game test it out on my setup. I have run the 240p test suite roms manual lag test though and I consistently score less than 1 frame of input lag.

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I guess I have to apologize!

 

 

Wow, a lot has changed in the last couple of years. I was ready to call BS on your claim because of snesx not even being able to do that itself, last I knew they were still at 2 with the emulation alone. The people hitting two had direct wired controllers and crts. I guess that has changed also. Thanks for the explanation, it looks like I'm going to have to build a make cab this winter.

 

I'll still be keeping playing all the old stuff on the consoles I can but I'll not have the excuse of lag anymore.

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No need to apologize at all, the out of the box experience for the most part is in line with what your thoughts were. But with a decent system and some tweaking the experience becomes much better and closer to what people consider a "good" experience.

 

Another thing to always keep in mind though is the majority of the input lag comes from the TV because of its extra image processing, even an average modern PC monitor doesn't have that so the input latency is much better but you can get better if you use a good gaming monitor.

 

If you want to give things a quick test before diving in too deep, download Retroarch and the Snes9x core. Turn on Hard GPU Sync and start bumping the Frame Delay setting up until you start to hear some audio crackle and then set the Frame Delay back down 1 notch. On my FX 8350 I found I could get up to around 9ms Frame Delay and the 8350 is not a great emulation processor.

 

You could also try out the new Run Ahead stuff but personally I think that is a bit of a gimmick though it does work to reduce input lag.

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I don't think anybody's got it as bad as this guy. And I'm not saying it to shame anybody; I just don't think it's possible to rival his collection of junk. :lol:

 

Impressive pile no doubt. I would say I currently have about 1/4th of that currently - having already disposed of years of accumulated crap.

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Love original hardware. I have currently set up along with my PS4 (mainly for Netflix, Youtube, and Bubsy) a Jaguar, Nuon, Atari 2600 jr, and Intellivision.

 

Buuuuuut when it come to development and testing, emulation is best.

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I became a "convert" years and years ago. As a child I had several game systems, and access to more, and even computers. Spoiled for sure no doubt. I always wanted an all in one. Today I can have that. AND as a bonus it can be (is) a single-board computer 1/4th the size of a KIM-1.

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I feel like this is a confessional thread or something...but yeah, I've been emulating classic systems for years. I do have lots of classic hardware, but just don't have the space to have it all out all the time, so I turn to emulation. After my honeymoon with the Pi ended, I turned to the MiSTer FPGA platform. It doesn't do as many platforms as your PC or Pi can, but the "hardware emulation" is very good with much less latency than the Pi and with many systems available including the NES, TurboGrafx, Genesis, C64, and others (and growing). If you haven't checked it out, just google "mister fpga".

Edited by mattsoft
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This is always a interesting discussion. Although on my Home Theater PC (based off Windows Media Center), I installed the Windows version of Emulation Station with pretty much everything from the 2600 to the Wii on it. ONLY about 15-20 titles for each console as thise are my favorates, I sitll love the orginal feel off playing off the origral cart/disc.

 

I'm working on a project now getting all my old consoles tested and fixed where needed to setup in a large cabinet that will handle 20 consoles all connected and working. This is just for older consoles, as I will have another station for modern consoles (Xbox One X, PS4, Xbox 360, WiiU and swich (commning soon)). Never mind the all the games (in a closet) and my 5 full size arcade machines.

 

I have been collecting from the 2600 days and have had almost every system from then to now. It's against my wife's wishes(the cabinet with 20 consoles) but, as it's in a basement living room, It's something that I will be doing. Yea, yea, yea, I know...Happy wife, Happy life but, This is one thing I am doing and she knows it.

Edited by TheCoolDave

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I'm pretty much emulation only these days, whether it's through my Pi (and 256gb SD that took MONTHS to perfect) or my Nintendo and Commodore minis. Much more convenient to me and buying physical games is too price restrictive these days.

 

When I was majorly into collecting in the '90s and early 2000s not a lot of other people really were so you could build up massive collections very cheaply.

 

Plus these days I'm more about playing the games than having lots of stuff on the shelves. I do still have a small collection of nice games but no original hardware other than a Fountain Force 2.

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The ultimate test is Mike Tysons punchout. Play them side by side and see how far you get on each.This game is very unforgiving when it comes to lag. There isn't any compensating with it.

 

Funny. This is my benchmark game when testing out new emulation setups I put together. If I can't play NES Punch-Out it's going to be, at best, a casual gaming system. My grandson won't notice the difference so it's good enough for him ... BUT I SURE NOTICE. :-o

 

 

 

I feel like this is a confessional thread or something...

 

Best Lewis Grizzard voice - "Tell it all brother! Tell it all!

Edited by ClassicGMR

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I'm all about emulation for some time. Back in the 80s, especially with Colecovision, it was all about getting arcade accuracy, or arcade quality, something they never truly accomplished. When arcade emulation started coming of age in the 90s, that was the way to go for me so I could play the original games, not some interpretation on half assed hardware. I owned a ROTJ arcade cab and several classic systems, but found a home built emulation cab properly configured was the best for most everything.

 

The original hardware always had some allure until you actually tried to use it. Then the allure wore off pretty quick. I don't see anything wrong with quality emulation since it's all about reproducing the intended gameplay of the original program. Even original hardware, arcade or console, created barriers to that. I'm always amazed at people going way, way out of their way to use original hardware to reproduce the original experience, defects and all, now that much of the tech involved is out of production and new stuff works better. It's like sticking to a scratchy old record or tape that gets worse each time you play it rather than using a CD.

 

To each his own. Obviously, there's a large aspect of trying to relive specific experiences rather than primarily playing a particular game. I gave up trying to relive my childhood ages ago, I just appreciate the simplicity, strategy and sometimes grace of the older games. Nostalgia is a itch you can never really scratch, so better to leave it be.

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Though I didn't consider myself a collector in the 80's it's what the amount of stuff I had eventually labeled me as. But it pretty much died out in the very late 80's and early 90's. And all but totally stopped in the 2000's.

 

Most all of what is in my present-day collection has some sort of sentimentality attached to it, or, it's miscellaneous things that are like spare parts and maintenance related.

 

My MAME setup started when MAME first came out. Since then I've periodically added favs here and there. Just the other day I took about an hour and added 2 games, with some tweaking of the controls and video effects. It wasn't any more time than what my gramma and me would spend getting cartridges on a day off from school. But the convenience factor is up by like 1000%. And it just works. So there's that..

 

I'm totally happy to give up some minor accuracy & aesthetic/historical points for that convenience and reliability. And half the time these points are not even gameplay related, but like formfactor - standing vs sitting. Or having X-amount of fuzzies or glare to relive the past. And believe me. I have no desire to fight with wire harness and umpteen thousand connections, or 40-year old intermittent IC sockets. Nor do I want to drag out a toolbox and soldering iron to be constantly fixing something.

Edited by Keatah

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Unless you are intimately familiar with the original you might never know how accurate or inaccurate is what you're playing.

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I use emulation as a demo to see if I'd want to actually pay money for the game. Also for portability and playing rom hacks and arcade games,

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Unless you are intimately familiar with the original you might never know how accurate or inaccurate is what you're playing.

 

That's alright. Over time these little things tend to get fixed. And when dealing with games like 40+ years old almost, what we have today is damned good! The majority of the essence of the game has been captured.

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Even with the latest version of mame 0.203 I get warnings, for example, that Galaga graphics emulation is imperfect and with Qbert sound emulation is imperfect. I can only hope that gameplay is accurate. And most people emulate with ancient versions of mame. Most people are just happy that the game plays.

Edited by mr_me

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The game does more than just play. Its essence is captured. And quite nicely too. MAME is likely to change the precise exact sub-pixel rendering somewhat. Or rather, the device it's rendering to does the changing - framebuffer, GPU, final display device. It's a flavor, like different CRT shadow masks, or plasma, or LCD.

 

I think most will agree that after Galaga's heyday, having it at home through MAME (or other emulation) is a godsend for those of you who play that game..

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