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How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie)



  • The answer to your problem is to use a PC instead of a Raspberry Pi.

    I posted a thread on this a while back, which was met with some derision:
    https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/3574/try-retropie-on-a-pc

    The short version is that, even though the Pi can't do what I need it to do, (run N64 games well) I'm still stupid because a Pi is smaller, uses less power, and somehow costs less than a free PC.
    In this regard, the Pi is similar to a house brick, in that house bricks are also smaller than a PC, use less power, and cannot run N64 games satisfactorily.

    It's not as easy to set up as a Pi, but still pretty straightforward if you follow the tutorial:

    https://github.com/retropie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/RetroPie-Ubuntu-16.04-LTS-x86-Flavor

    You don't need a particularly good PC - the one I'm using is a Core 2 Duo @ 3GHz.

    Other advantages include:

    • Probably free
    • No special power requirements - just plug it in
    • No messing around with SD cards
    • Plenty of USB ports built in
    • As much hard drive space as you want
    • The ability to drop into a full desktop environment (Ubuntu) to perform routine maintenance, download roms etc.

    Disadvantages are:

    • Bigger
    • Uses a bit more electricity
    • It's not a Raspberry Pi

  • Banned

    @jamesbeat

    @jamesbeat said in How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie):

    The answer to your problem is to use a PC instead of a Raspberry Pi.

    I posted a thread on this a while back, which was met with some derision:
    https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/3574/try-retropie-on-a-pc

    The short version is that, even though the Pi can't do what I need it to do, (run N64 games well) I'm still stupid because a Pi is smaller, uses less power, and somehow costs less than a free PC.
    In this regard, the Pi is similar to a house brick, in that house bricks are also smaller than a PC, use less power, and cannot run N64 games satisfactorily.

    It's not as easy to set up as a Pi, but still pretty straightforward if you follow the tutorial:

    https://github.com/retropie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/RetroPie-Ubuntu-16.04-LTS-x86-Flavor

    You don't need a particularly good PC - the one I'm using is a Core 2 Duo @ 3GHz.

    Other advantages include:

    • Probably free
    • No special power requirements - just plug it in
    • No messing around with SD cards
    • Plenty of USB ports built in
    • As much hard drive space as you want
    • The ability to drop into a full desktop environment (Ubuntu) to perform routine maintenance, download roms etc.

    Disadvantages are:

    • Bigger
    • Uses a bit more electricity
    • It's not a Raspberry Pi

    Well:

    • Where do you obtain these free PCs?
    • I doubt your PC runs directly on mains power. It also has special power requirement. I just plug my Pi in. Not sure what you are doing with yours.
    • Burn SD image. Insert. So much hassle.
    • The Pi3 has 4 USB ports. My laptop has 3. Also USB hubs are a thing.
    • Connect a USB storage device. Connect an HDD or SSD. Like any computer.
    • PIXEL desktop. A full LXDE desktop environment. If you don't like that one install another.Many are available.

    Why do you seem to have a bug up your butt about Pis?



  • Here we go again...

    Where do you obtain these free PCs? Work, friends, dumpsters, free PC's are everywhere. I've got one you can have if you can pick it up from NY.
    I doubt your PC runs directly on mains power. It also has special power requirement. I just plug my Pi in. Not sure what you are doing with yours. Semantics. PC's have a built in PSU - Pi uses a specialized high power USB PSU.
    Burn SD image. Insert. So much hassle. Not too difficult I agree, but still more of a pain to do
    The Pi3 has 4 USB ports. My laptop has 3. Also USB hubs are a thing. Pi ends up resembling a dead octopus. USB hubs cost money and probably need powering. Extra PSU for the hub?
    Connect a USB storage device. Connect an HDD or SSD. Like any computer. Yet another add-on that you have to find room and provide power for. Pi isn't looking so small and neat now, huh.
    PIXEL desktop. A full LXDE desktop environment. If you don't like that one install another.Many are available.

    Why do you seem to have a bug up your butt about Pis?
    I don't have a bug up my butt about Pi's, in fact under other circumstances I would consider myself a Pi fanboy. I was an early adopter and own several.
    The Pi just can't run N64 games well. Not the best tool for the job in this case.

    Why do you seem to have a bug up your butt about PC's?
    A PC would do what the OP wants to do.
    And as you yourself said:
    You do remember that the Pi is a $35 single board computer running a ten year old mobile phone CPU? I don't mean to be rude but you need to have realistic expectations. The N64 is notoriously difficult to emulate even on a good spec gaming PC.


  • Global Moderator

    The Pi just can't run N64 games well.

    some n64 games. your pc also can't run some n64 games well.. just not as many :)

    we've already done this pi vs pc discussion on that linked thread. no point repeating it.

    yes, a pc will probably be better at emulating the n64. but then you'll be complaining about it not running angrylion or paraLLEl at good speeds :)



  • @dankcushions said in How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie):

    .

    we've already done this pi vs pc discussion on that linked thread. no point repeating it.

    True, and I'm not interested in repeating the argument any more.

    I replied to the thread to help out the OP - a PC does appear to be the best solution for the his particular use case, (as it was with mine) and I wanted to make him aware of it.



  • So this seems as good a thread as any to ask a fairly noob-ish question. I've scoured the internet for an answer to this question. It's probably the actual answer to OPs question seeing as N64 emulation certainly isn't a RetroPie problem (or even a RPi3 problem IMO if you look at PSX emu).

    My question is, what is the process of an emulator becoming a core in RetroArch? PJ64 is probably the best N64 emulator out there, but obviously isn't a core for RetroArch and can't be used for RPi3. It has some nice features/accuracy compared to the current emulators (including Pokemon going over to Pokemon Stadium). It appears PJ64 became open source in 2013 (I had no idea as I dropped out of the emulation scene, before RA cured my apathy).

    The TL;DR would be: What is the process of an emulator becoming a RA core/RetroPie? Is it the job of the devs to turn it into a RA core or the RA/RP team themselves? Is there any chance of PJ64 becoming an RA core or ported to RetroPie?


  • Global Moderator

    @hooperre said in How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie):

    The TL;DR would be: What is the process of an emulator becoming a RA core/RetroPie? Is it the job of the devs to turn it into a RA core or the RA/RP team themselves? Is there any chance of PJ64 becoming an RA core or ported to RetroPie?

    well, it's no-ones "job" as such :) anyone could do it. both people within libretro have made libetro cores, and people outside of it. ideally the original emulator developer would bake-in support.

    it's not a total re-write (the libretro api is quite robust and well documented, so you "just" need to get the hooks in the right place), but my understanding is that it gets more tricky with GL cores. i don't see a reason why pj64 couldn't be ported to libertro.. you just need to find someone to do it.

    that said, as far as the pi goes, does it have an ARM dynarec like mupen64? i doubt the pi would keep up in interpreter mode. also, would the plugins work in GLES2? i fancy that it wouldn't be an improvement from mupen64, especially if you run gliden64 in both (as you probably would want to do).



  • @dankcushions said in How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie):

    @hooperre said in How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie):

    The TL;DR would be: What is the process of an emulator becoming a RA core/RetroPie? Is it the job of the devs to turn it into a RA core or the RA/RP team themselves? Is there any chance of PJ64 becoming an RA core or ported to RetroPie?

    well, it's no-ones "job" as such :) anyone could do it. both people within libretro have made libetro cores, and people outside of it. ideally the original emulator developer would bake-in support.

    it's not a total re-write (the libretro api is quite robust and well documented, so you "just" need to get the hooks in the right place), but my understanding is that it gets more tricky with GL cores. i don't see a reason why pj64 couldn't be ported to libertro.. you just need to find someone to do it.

    that said, as far as the pi goes, does it have an ARM dynarec like mupen64? i doubt the pi would keep up in interpreter mode. also, would the plugins work in GLES2? i fancy that it wouldn't be an improvement from mupen64, especially if you run gliden64 in both (as you probably would want to do).

    Haha job was certainly a poor word choice. I guess I keep thinking back to when PJ64 was closed source.

    Thanks for the quick response.



  • @hooperre said in How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie):

    So this seems as good a thread as any to ask a fairly noob-ish question. I've scoured the internet for an answer to this question. It's probably the actual answer to OPs question seeing as N64 emulation certainly isn't a RetroPie problem (or even a RPi3 problem IMO if you look at PSX emu).

    You are right. How can a Raspberry Pi 3 run PlayStation with no bother, but can't run a console that's advanced and more graphically intense? How can it run Super Mario 64 nearly perfect, even with some graphical and audio problems?



  • @Allanbuzzy The answer is because emulation of PSX is more mature and, quite honestly, more straight forward than emulation of a N64. It's not a RetroPie issue, or really probably even a Raspberry Pi issue, it's an emulation issue. If N64 emulation was as simple as PSX, it would likely run fine.

    The question of what can the RetroPie team do to improve emulation, I thought, was a bit of an offensive one. I think the question is what can emulator devs do to improve N64 emulation on the RPi? But maybe I'm too thinned skinned when it comes to the wonderful work of the RetroPie team haha.



  • The N64 is less well understood than the PSX, so that's part of the issue.
    Another part is processing power - the fact that N64 works better on a PC than a Pi proves that.

    My guess is that the extra processing power is only necessary because of the first issue, and that a more efficient emulator would indeed work on the lesser processing power of the Pi if one could be created.

    That doesn't help us today though, which is why I'm using a PC for now.
    A better emulator would be ideal, but at the moment we have to use brute force to get decent performance.

    It all boils down to the tightly closed and unconventional hardware of the N64.



  • @Allanbuzzy said in How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie):

    How can a Raspberry Pi 3 run PlayStation with no bother, but can't run a console that's advanced and more graphically intense?

    Well, you just gave the response there in the very question, no? Isn't that obvious? Besides, have you actually read my long reply above? It explains why. Will you keep on banging on the same key?


  • Banned

    @fabio78 Hahahaha! It just goes against "logic" but that's the way it is. The PSX and all following PS's have a pretty standard hardware set-up. The N64 had proprietary, complicated, custom hardware. It may be less "advanced" but it doesn't stop it being more complicated!



  • @AlexMurphy Wait, wait! You guys are getting it all mixed up! :)
    The n64 is more advanced than the PSX. Higher teraflops means it pushed much more polygons on screen at any given time. Better texture filtering also.
    And... The PS2 and the PS3 also had proprietary technology, with the Emotion Engine and Cell respectively. (Part of the Xbox success is due to it being based on PC tech, making it friendly to develop. Sony has followed suit only with the PS4.)
    They both were a nightmare to develop. In fact, the n64 actually used off the shelf tech (Silicon Graphics based), not usual, but not proprietary either.


  • Banned

    @fabio78 Okay, I always thought Sony consoles used pretty much stock HW. Good to know. So why can't I play Conker's Bad Fur Day on my Pi? /S



  • @hooperre I want to upvote this more. This is probably the only acceptable use of "bruh"


  • Banned

    @lilbud Yeah, I genuinely laughed out loud when I saw that meme. More of a snicker but definitely a laugh. Just the perfect response.



  • @AlexMurphy Conker came at a much later date in the console's life cycle, so unlike Mario 64, for example, devs were utilising the HW to the maxium, and also being more ingenious with the way they were writing optimised code, with creative solutions and workarounds. These tricks are hard to emulate as such games "subvert" the original HW a little bit, and also (and obviously) are more graphically intense.



  • @Allanbuzzy said in How to improve on the N64, Dreamcast and PSP emulation (RetroPie):

    Then what was the point of adding N64 if it was so laggy and buggy? Shouldn't they maybe like, keep it until a Raspberry Pi has a better CPU?

    Not true at all! Some N64 games run are playable on the Pi. The most issues with emulation are caused by the software and not hardware. Once they optimize the code it will run fine. I have been playing N64 roms on PC since 2001 and I really never had any problem except for some texture issues but aside from that the games are playable on PC.

    And seriously bitching about something that you got for free is kinda lame in my opinion. All those emulators are programmed by hobbyists who have a real job and a family, they're just doing it for fun.

    BTW; The devs behind RetroPie didn't code the emulators. So you're kinda complaining to the wrong people lol.

    Not trying to be a fanboy but PSX has better games compared to N64, I had both consoles back in the 90ties and I really didn't spend that much time on the N64.


  • Banned

    @fabio78 It's ok. Sarcasm is hard to do via text. I appreciate your reply though.



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