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SNES controller lag - curious what your experiences are



  • Disclaimer: my apologies if this is one of those threads that everyone has seen a thousand times; I just joined and haven't had a chance to go through everything yet. Anywho, I was checking out the thread here about analyzing potential differences and causes of lag: snes-controller-lag. I haven't had time to start going through the different troubleshooting steps, but I am interested in hearing from others, I think more as a sanity check than anything.
    I redid my Pi setup last weekend with a 64GB Sandisk Class 10 card to get the latest versions of RetroPie and OSMC, which are triple-booting with Raspbian Stretch using PINN (NOOBS with extra features); all are updated via apt. My previous setup was on a 32GB card with Raspbian, LibreELEC, and RP 4.0 controlled by Berryboot. I also treated myself to an 8bitdo SNES30 controller on this round.
    Playing Super Metroid on the old setup with a cheapy USB SNES controller from Micro Center was about as I remembered it on my original SNES back in the day.
    I had to start Super Metroid over again as the save file is being stubborn, but the gameplay is as smooth as I remember on the SNES I had a kid. Castlevania IV plays pretty well on the new setup too, a bit of lag is there but low enough to not ruin the experience. Super Mario World, however, is absolutely unplayable. The lag is just too great, 1/5 - 1/4 second at least, and jumps are exaggerated. I switched to a Bluetooth dongle after reading the built-in of the Pi is lacking; no effect. Plugged the controller in with the USB cable; no effect. The cheapy USB from before also didn't help.
    About 15 years or so ago I had ZSNES running on a Windoze XP laptop with an earlyish dual-core processor and logitech gamepad with wireless receiver. This worked beautifully, I couldn't detect lag and the game played as I remembered.
    So I guess that leads me to my questions:

    • How significant are the differences in the various emulators? ZSNES is considered to be long in the tooth these days; the Pi is currently using the default lr-snes9x2010. Are there better ones, or do certain emulators seem to work better with different ROMS in your experience?
    • How significant are differences in the actual ROM files, has anyone seen a difference in actual ROM files from different sources? I have a couple different ones handy for SMW, is it possibly the ROM file itself?
    • Are certain games just better under emulation?

    Curious for your thoughts. Thanks.



  • Just a quick reply (short on time):

    @Mr-Lumbergh said in SNES controller lag - curious what your experiences are:

    How significant are the differences in the various emulators? ZSNES is considered to be long in the tooth these days; the Pi is currently using the default lr-snes9x2010. Are there better ones, or do certain emulators seem to work better with different ROMS in your experience?

    The default snes9x-2010 is already optimal. It behaves the same as original hardware in terms of input lag. The same applies to snes9x, snes9x-2005 and the bsnes variants in RetroArch. Unless something has changed recently, higan has one extra frame of latency. Of course, the other parts of the host system (input handling, frame output, etc.) are added on top of this.

    @Mr-Lumbergh said in SNES controller lag - curious what your experiences are:

    How significant are differences in the actual ROM files, has anyone seen a difference in actual ROM files from different sources? I have a couple different ones handy for SMW, is it possibly the ROM file itself?

    No difference between ROMs, given it's the same version of the game. The latency is tightly coupled to the design of the game, so it's not like you'll get worse input lag if you get the ROM from a "shoddy" source.

    @Mr-Lumbergh said in SNES controller lag - curious what your experiences are:

    Are certain games just better under emulation?

    Input lag can vary between games, but it did on original hardware as well. Many people find Super Mario World laggy, but it's not less responsive in emulation than other SNES games. However, Super Metroid responds one frame earlier than SMW. It did on original hardware and therefore does in emulation as well. While you probably wouldn't notice this difference on original hardware, due to both being so quick, one frame might be just enough to push it over the "irritating threshold" when emulating.

    That said, you will not have "normal" feeling input lag on one game and atrocious input lag on the other, unless:

    • The game was laggy on original hardware as well

    • You have inadvertently made game specific settings that affect input lag



  • @Mr-Lumbergh said in SNES controller lag - curious what your experiences are:

    • How significant are the differences in the various emulators? ZSNES is considered to be long in the tooth these days; the Pi is currently using the default lr-snes9x2010. Are there better ones, or do certain emulators seem to work better with different ROMS in your experience?
    • How significant are differences in the actual ROM files, has anyone seen a difference in actual ROM files from different sources? I have a couple different ones handy for SMW, is it possibly the ROM file itself?
    • Are certain games just better under emulation?

    The SNES is the console I grew up on, I still have one plugged in but I'm mostly playing the SNES through RetroPie now.

    • I think I'm just using the basic emulator that came with RetroPie. I've played many different games and I've had trouble with none. I had to fiddle with some stuff for the N64 (which I gave up on and I just bought another used N64 to replace my broken one so I could play my N64 games that way) and for the PSX, but for the SNES everything works like a charm.
    • I go for PAL roms, mainly to get the ones that correspond to the cartridges I actually have. As long as the source is good, there shouldn't be any noticeable difference in roms from it and other good sources.
    • I'd argue that ALL Super Nintendo games are just better under emulation. As said, I still play on the real SNES from time to time but its Visuals on a modern television leave room for improvement. With RetroPie, I've chosen a CRT + smoothing shader, and it all looks much better. Add to that that I can use a wired Switch controller (my favourite controller of this generation) instead of the old SNES controller and that you can use save states (helpful for games without a save or password system which you'd otherwise have to play in one sitting), and RetroPie has given me more joy to replay my old SNES games. I guess an emulation recommendation from someone who actually owns the cartridges of the ROMs that he plays is one that adds a bit of weight :-)

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  • Global Moderator

    re: different roms and lag; the NTSC version will have less input lag than the PAL version - see https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/Input-Lag#run-the-ntsc-version-of-games



  • @dankcushions said in SNES controller lag - curious what your experiences are:

    https://github.com/RetroPie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/Input-Lag
    Thanks for posting this.
    I was so hung up on the Pi that I neglected the TV settings. It is a bit of an older LG smart TV I'm using, so switching to game mode seems to have helped; it's roughly half of what it was before. I'll try some of the other pi-based tricks when I get some more time to just tinker, but this has been helpful.



  • @BillyH
    The CRT filter sounds cool; how do you enable that? Playing these old games on an HDTV shows just how pixellated even the 16-bit games were.



  • As far as we talking about CRT-Filters, i have the best experience concerning input-lag with my CRT-Setup.
    I did not think about input-lag when i decided to organize a good old CRT again for the pi, but i felt the difference at once.
    It might have something to do with the lack of needed picture-enhancements, that modern Flat-TVs have by default, but however: greatest gaming-experience on the pi by using CRT in my case.
    Controllers are two 8BitDO SNES-Pads.



  • @Mr-Lumbergh said in SNES controller lag - curious what your experiences are:

    @BillyH
    The CRT filter sounds cool; how do you enable that? Playing these old games on an HDTV shows just how pixellated even the 16-bit games were.

    Uhm.... very good question, let me get back to you on that :-D

    I configured this all right after installation which was over a year ago, I checked for each of the emulators what screen settings I enjoyed (I recall spending a lot of time of finding the optimal screen size for the GBA)... and then promptly forgot about it.

    There's a menu somewhere where you can choose shaders, I think I just followed the doc actually:
    https://retropie.org.uk/docs/Configuration-Editor/

    I think in the end, I just set CRT+smoothing for all libretro emulators at the same time, but I'm not 100% sure, I might have just actively put the CRT+smoothing shader on for SNES/NES/Megadrive (I am now in doubt about whether or not I have chosen said shader for PSX too), because I definitely don't use CRT shading for the ScummVM games.

    @sirhenrythe5th said in SNES controller lag - curious what your experiences are:

    As far as we talking about CRT-Filters, i have the best experience concerning input-lag with my CRT-Setup.
    I did not think about input-lag when i decided to organize a good old CRT again for the pi, but i felt the difference at once.
    It might have something to do with the lack of needed picture-enhancements, that modern Flat-TVs have by default, but however: greatest gaming-experience on the pi by using CRT in my case.
    Controllers are two 8BitDO SNES-Pads.

    Talking controllers, I use wired too because I was afraid of input lag with bluetooth controllers.
    The Switch pro controller is one of my favourite controllers ever so I bought a wired one for use exclusively with my RetroPie.



  • @sirhenrythe5th out of curiosity, how are you connecting your pi to the crt, and any considerations or experiences regarding games with different resolutions, etc. Does it all work out as in the old days, everything full screen, etc? Does pal and ntsc have an impact? I remember that ntsc games in my pal system would flicker.

    Happy to move to a separate thread if more appropriate, apologies. Just curious.


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