My proposed changes to the N64 Optimization Wiki - Please comment!
quicksilver last edited by
Below is a rough draft of my N64 Optimization wiki page overhaul. Before I make major changes to the page I would like some feedback so that I know my proposed changes are welcome. I have felt like the page has had some bad information and to the best of my ability I removed/amended it. Some categories such as hi-res texture packs I personally know nothing about so I left it as is.
READ FIRST - Why N64 emulation on the Pi is not so great
N64 emulation on the raspberry pi is difficult due to the pi's under powered GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and lack of certain GPU features found in more modern devices. For a more detailed explanation please see this post by a mupen64plus developer.
If you are looking for a more perfect N64 emulation experience you should seriously consider different hardware first (i.e. a desktop computer, modern mobile phone/tablet etc.). However, listed below are several tweaks that can be made to your raspberry pi that will help maximize N64 performance and make many of the popular N64 titles playable.
Hardware and Configuration
A Raspberry Pi 2 or Raspberry Pi 3 is highly suggested.
Overclocking is setting a hardware component to run faster than originally intended by the manufacturer. There is no standard for overclocking and not all pis will handle the same amount of overclocking. Therefore before you make changes to how your pi runs you should read this article first for proper overclocking methods and stability testing to prevent SD card corruption and potential loss of your data.
For boosting N64 performance boost look to overclock
core_freq. Most pis seem to be stable at
core_freq=550with some amount of over voltage although your particular pi may be able to be clocked higher (or not at all).
sdram_freqoverclocking are of little to no help for boosting N64 performance on the pi. Though they may help increase performance for other high demand emulators such as PSX or MAME.
v3d_freqis set by the
gpu_freqsetting so it does not need to be set separately.
The CPU governor controls when your overclock is applied. With the cpu-governor set to performance mode your pi will run at full speed while running ROMs but will down-clock when sitting idle in Emulation Station. The CPU governor can be set to max performance mode in one of two ways.
echo "performance" |sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor
Or you can enable it from Runcommand Go to Retropie-Setup - Setup and Configuration to be used post install - Configure the runcommand launch script - cpu configuration force performance
then cancel, exit and reboot.
Selecting the Correct Emulator and Graphics Plugin
Just as important as overclocking, selecting the right emulator/graphics plugin from the run command menu on a per game basis will also increase performance.
To learn the community tested optimal settings please view either of the 2 rom compatibility lists located here or here. (rom compatibility lists are all in need of retesting with new hardware sets and updates to software) Do not accept these lists as 100% accurate as they are community maintained and with updates may change over time. There may be some inaccuracies so it is best just to use the lists as a general starting point. Some games listed as playable have with recent updates become playable and vice versa. Current Default Emulator is mupen64plus-auto which will attempt to select the correct graphics plugin for you, however for best results it is best to test each plugin for yourself on a per game basis. It is recommended that you confirm a game runs well with the standard low-res plugin before attempting to use the hi-res option.
Each plugin should be set to the lowest resolution to increase performance. This can be scaled up for some games that perform really well like Mario kart and Super Mario 64 at your own discretion.
Notes on Audio
The SDL audio plugin produces less audio drop out during lag and makes for an improved experience over the the OMX audio plugin. Previously, the SDL audio produced an audio crackling that was undesirable. With recent updates the audio crackle was fixed so it is now fine to use SDL audio. To switch to the SDL audio plugin first update your mupen64plus emulator to the latest binary version. Then navigate to:
/opt/retropie/configs/all/autoconf.cfgand make sure that
mupen64plus_audio = "0"
As a side benefit from using SDL audio, save/load states will now function properly with mupen64plus.
High Resolution Texture Packs
From Current version forward Hi Resolution Texture options are automatically configured to True in the configuration files. You should not need to modify them as you did with previous versions.
If it is critical to check that everything is enabled simply run this command in one line
cat /opt/retropie/configs/n64/mupen64plus.cfg | grep Textures && cat /opt/retropie/configs/n64/mupen64plus.cfg | grep txHiresEnable
and you should get a result looking like
LoadHiResTextures = True DumpTexturesToFiles = False txHiresEnable = True txHiresEnable = True
Which will confirm that Hi Rez is turned on for both Glide and Rice Plugins
Make sure you have launched a rom with both Rice and Glide before checking the file or the variables will not be there to confirm.
# Use high-resolution texture packs if available. txHiresEnable = False
# Enable hi-resolution texture file loading LoadHiResTextures = False
You would then place high res texture packs in the directory
Download the texture packs to that directory and then unzip them:
mkdir /home/pi/.local/share/mupen64plus/hires_texture cd /home/pi/.local/share/mupen64plus/hires_texture wget http://websitewithtexturepack/texturepack.zip sudo unzip texturepack.zip
Texture packs are available for download here
The folder name in that directory must match the core name in the rom header.
Most cases the default directory name is ok but you may need to check if you find if your rom is not correctly launching the texture pack.
To find that you can use the command to display the core name just use the command below in terminal then exit and scroll up I do it from a ssh session cause I can scroll up and read it. But in the first few lines it will show the core name
cd /home/pi/RetroPie/roms/n64 /opt/retropie/emulators/mupen64plus/bin/mupen64plus.sh mupen64plus-video-rice rom name
You can use the same command to launch the rom correctly loading the texture pack.
To get the texture pack to load from emulation station you must do the following.
Launch Retropie Setup
Update Retropie Setup Script
Go to Manage Packages
update the mupen64plus package (I Suggest installing from source)
Go to launch one of the N64 games you have uploaded a high resolution texture pack for.
Launch that game
Press x or any key when it launches
change the video mode to one of the following options
Then hit launch
Please also feel free to reference the Rice 64 github page for the source documentation
It looks good for a first pass. In regards to the portion of over clocking I think there should be a large bolded disclaimer or something saying that it should only be done by advanced users, at their own risk, can cause freezing/instability/void warranty etc.
As often people listen to some annoying youtuber telling them to change settings they don't understand and then come here wondering why their pi sploded. I'd rather the wiki not do the same thing.
quicksilver last edited by
@herb_fargus thanks for the feedback. I have noticed the same thing. I suspect many people who overclock their pis do very little in the way of stability testing and think that just because it boots and runs a couple games it's stable. I'll add a little more to that section and make sure it's bolded.
Drakaen391 last edited by
I do agree the lists need complete overhaul as some games that ran flawlessly, now don’t work (Pokemon Snap)