Archifau tag: new feature

Dolphin Progress Report: August, September, and October 2023

This past October, Dolphin turned 20 years old since its initial release to the public as an experimental GameCube emulator. It's been a long ride, with twists and turns. I don't know if anyone back in 2003 expected Dolphin not only to still be under active development 20 years later, but to also support the GameCube's successor in the Wii.

You might be wondering, where is all the pageantry? The honest truth is that things aren't ready yet. We have a few massive changes on the horizon that we wanted to be ready for the 20th anniversary, but that date was not an excuse to release something in a broken and incomplete state. For now, development will continue as normal, but we promise that there is some excitement to be had on the horizon.

In the meantime, we have some great changes for you this in Dolphin Progress Report!

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: February, March, and April 2023

It's been a hectic past few months for the project. In addition to the upcoming release on Steam, a lot of focus has gone into other major features. While not everything has landed yet, two very important changes to Android did arrive, one of which has been in the works for a couple years!

We're talking about a large scale rewrite to Dolphin's Android Input Handling that will eventually allow it to match the feature set users on Desktop Dolphin builds enjoy. Android users also get another major quality of life upgrade - Dolphin is now a Document Provider on Android. This means you can use Dolphin to directly copy files into and out of its per-app directory on the latest versions of Android.

In this report, we'll be going through both of these and several other important changes. Enjoy!

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: December 2022 and January 2023

We've got a lot of exciting news and features packed into this Progress Report. On top of the normal emulator development, Dolphin's infrastructure has seen a massive overhaul. While most of the work has gone into optimizing our backend and hardware to meet new demands, users may notice some upgrades to user facing features like the Dolphin Wiki and FifoCI.

Some focus on the infrastructure doesn't mean there was a slowdown in progress for the actual emulator, though! A bevy of new contributors to the project mixed with the efforts of stalwarts has brought together some massive new features no one will want to miss. Headlining this Progress Report is a massive new performance hack called VBI Skip. If you're on a weak device that can't consistently play a game full-speed, VBI Skip is a powerful tool that can help make the game more playable and keep audio crisp and clear. If you're looking for higher performance overall, a ton of Vulkan optimizations and general emulator optimizations have given Dolphin a pretty large performance increase. A new option called Cull Vertices on the CPU can also greatly improve the framerate in many games.

If you're instead looking to enjoy some unique games, the Skylanders games can now be played without needing a physical Portal of Power connected. You can even use your own figurine data to continue where you left off with powerful Skylanders!

We have a lot to get through... but first.


It's that time again - we have to warn users of a rather annoying problem that can decimate Dolphin's performance, particularly in mobile devices. The culprit this time is NVIDIA based Optimus laptops - users have been reporting that the discrete NVIDIA graphics card has been giving them a fraction of the performance of Intel's onboard graphics!

We're unsure of what is wrong and haven't been able to determine exactly when it started happening. However, if you find that Dolphin is suddenly running slower than before, you can work-around the issue! Simply add Dolphin to the 3D Settings in the Nvidia Control Panel and set our Power Management setting to "Prefer Maximum Performance." That has been the only way to consistently fix performance.

A global Maximum Performance Profile does not work, you can only work around the issue by creating a profile specifically for Dolphin Emulator and setting it to Maximum Performance.

We also have one more announcement to make. For Android users who want the latest development builds on their phone without wanting to wait, we now have an Open Testing Program on the Play Store app.



Selecting this option will keep your Dolphin up to date with the latest development builds. This means you'll have access to the latest optimizations and features immediately, without having to wait for the next beta update. However, as with our development builds on desktop, there is always the risk of bugs and/or regressions slipping in and going unnoticed for a bit. If you want to live on the bleeding edge, Dolphin's Open Testing Program is here.

Now with all of that out of the way, let's finally get on with December and January's Notable Changes.

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: September, October, and November 2022

As we hit the holiday season, our Progress Report might be considered a bit late. A two month report became a three month report as we realized just how much work we had to catch up on. While the usual summer burst of activity didn't come, it seems instead everyone poured their time in throughout the autumn months! There's so many features, performance improvements, quality of life updates, and more that had to be considered.

We're going to have to skip out on some of the smaller updates this time around because there are so many big hitters. For instance, if you hate shader stuttering, Dolphin's Ubershaders have gotten a new tool that helps smooth out issues on Vulkan, D3D12, and Metal thanks to Dynamic Vertex Loaders that help reduce/remove pipeline compiles during gameplay.

If you're on a weaker device that stays away from Ubershaders... maybe after these optimizations you might finally be able to make the leap. Raw performance in Dolphin is up across the board thanks to many optimizations to the GPU emulation thread (which is emulated on CPU). Because this optimization affects the very core of Dolphin, pretty much every game should be faster, with a few select games seeing improvements of roughly 50%!

If you're looking to play with friends, we have some good news on that front as well. Dolphin's "experimental" Wii Remote Netplay support has finally received some much needed attention that may help it break free of that experimental moniker in the coming months.

And, for our Android users, a lot of the performance improvements also affect tablets and phones, but we also have a special treat only for you. The Android GUI has also seen a huge overhaul that should make it easier to use and easier on the eyes. And for those having problems with particular games using features Dolphin can't reasonably emulate, we have a few presents from an old friend to patch them up.

We could go on and on, but you know what time it is. Please enjoy these Notable Changes!

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: July and August 2022

The Summer tends to consistently be one of the busiest times for Dolphin's development. While sometimes the question is what do we put into the Progress Report, during the summer months it's usually how much can we fit into the Progress Report? This summer's congestion was then compounded by us blog staff having a few things we've been planning coming into fruition. Still, the show must go on, and we're here... albeit a bit delayed.

As such, we've got a huge smattering of changes to go over and many smaller ones that we couldn't quite fit in. macOS users in general will be able to rejoice with the addition of a brand new Metal backend brought to us by veteran developer TellowKrinkle. They also brought their graphics expertise to improve things for everyone, greatly reducing the remaining causes of shader based delays/stuttering when using Ubershaders. If you're looking for an easier way to setup a wide variety of controllers, a new SDL2 controller backend has been added for all OSes, and even brings native motion control support without the use of a DSU server to non-Linux operating systems. We also have a wide variety of emulation fixes, more graphics mods added, and the long awaited SD card "folder" feature!

All of that and it's our job to write about it. We've got our work cut out for us.

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: May and June 2022

It's been a very hectic two months. Dolphin's development builds officially dropped support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 in 5.0-16393 when the Windows buildbots were updated to use Qt6. If you read the last Progress Report, you'd know that Windows 7 was already on shaky terms due to rampant breakages, but it was Qt6 that finally ended the legacy operating systems. We wrote an entire article about this, so be sure to read that here if you haven't already.

But with loss, some new has also come. We now have a new builder for Windows on ARM! Dolphin has supported Windows on ARM for a couple of years now, but we haven't provided builds due to a lack of prospective users and a lack of space on the buildbot server. But times have changed - the buildbot has seen some upgrades with a new, bigger harddisk and shuffle2 has renovated parts of the infrastructure to make supporting Windows ARM64 builds easier. With those two hurdles out of the way, we've now configured our buildbot to provide Windows ARM64 builds on our Downloads page. We're not exactly sure how much use these builds will get, but we're hopeful for the future of the platform.

But by this point, you're probably as sick of hearing about the gives and takes of supporting various operating systems as we are of writing about them, so let's get to some emulation goodness. We've got some highly technical changes, including a new "Graphics Mod" system that allows modders and users to create graphical mods. If you're into the edge of emulation, we've also seen support for the annoying Datel Loader used for Action Replay discs and a few very odd unlicensed devices without needing an original GameCube BIOS or swapping to DSP-LLE. This is somewhat significant for reasons we'll get into later, because using real Action Replay discs does make a difference!

For those who love creative homebrew, we've also added support for the homebrew libasnd microcode to HLE audio, meaning that you no longer need to switch to LLE audio for many homebrew titles. We go into the details of all of this and more on this Dolphin Progress Report!

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: February, March, and April 2022

After a long wait, the Progress Report is back! This time it wasn't so much from a lack of content, but from a lack of content creators. The past three months had illnesses hit one of our writers and the other had a very challenging move. Even with these major hurdles jumped, we're not even close to 100% yet. It's been a battle to get caught up with all of the big changes to Dolphin the past couple of months and because of that this report is a tad late.

Needless to say, there's only one way to start catching up, and that's to get to digging through the past three months of Notable Changes. Enjoy!

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: November and December 2021, January 2022

This year, we've hit an important milestone that's been in the works for nearly a decade. In late 2012, Sonicadvance1 began work on Dolphin's ARM JIT. Back then, there weren't any devices that had even a sliver of hope of running Dolphin close to full speed, but that wasn't really the goal. All he wanted to do was see if it could be done; it sounded like a fun, challenging project. However, as time passed the idea turned into more than just a passing curiosity. Users were more than happy to donate to cover the hardware cost of staying on the bleeding edge of a rapidly evolving ecosystem, allowing ARM development to flourish. By 2015, Sonicadvance1 astounded developers and the community alike with footage of Mario Kart: Double Dash!!'s time trial mode running close to full speed.

We've come a long way.

On that note, we're happy to announce that Dolphin's AArch64 JIT has finally reached feature parity with Dolphin's x86-64 JIT. This means that every PowerPC instruction that the x86-64 JIT supports along with every major JIT feature are now supported in the AArch64 JIT! And this is a great time for ARM in general, with each generation of processor pushing the boundaries and companies like Apple adopting the architecture for larger and higher power devices like their M1 Mac line. For those on mobile phones and tablets, Adreno powered devices provide decent enough graphics drivers to get a reasonable experience at this point. And with a critical bottleneck getting fixed just days ago, performance on Adreno GPUs has skyrocketed. You won't have to scroll far for that news, we promise.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg; we've had three months worth of changes pile up and some other important infrastructure news. We've improved the user experience on macOS significantly and restored support for older devices. In fact, enough has happened that we'll be detailing the status of Dolphin's macOS support near the end of the report.

And... we haven't even talked about any emulation fixes yet. The past three months have had tons of changes that would have normally been the highlight of a Progress Report. The three month gap between reports was not because of a lack of changes. Want to take Riivolution games on netplay? You can. Hate the EA VP6 bugs? Make them a thing of the past with a new option. Wish your favorite LogicOp game worked on GLES or MoltenVK? Odds are, it does now! The list goes on, but outlining everything would take way too long, so let's just dive in. Please enjoy the November, December, and January Progress Report!

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: September and October 2021

It's the beginning of the month and time for another Dolphin Progress Report! ...That line doesn't exactly work when it's midway through the month, huh? This Progress Report ended up being a very technically challenging report to write with several huge rabbit holes that go through the history of Dolphin and the games themselves. The first rabbit hole showcases TMEM, the GameCube and Wii's texture cache. Dolphin's approach to emulating this bit of the hardware has been to effectively ignore it exists. Trying to even begin to rectify the problems with this approach and explain the reasoning behind why it sort of wasn't emulated go very, very deep. This Progress Report also contains collaboration with the PCSX2 development team as they helped us understand some of the behaviors of Floating Point Math on the PlayStation 2. The fact that the PlayStation 2's floating point behaviors mattered to us for this Progress Report should tell you the kinds of things we were up against when writing up the changes.

If that wasn't enough, Dolphin also welcomed support for a wealth of mods through support for Riivolution. An easy to use GUI for launching Riivolution mods was added both to desktop Dolphin builds and Android. Speaking of Android, users may have noticed we pushed out an early beta last month. This beta was mostly to showcase and let users on the Play Store try out the newly finished Cheat GUI! We'll finally showcase that after a lengthy delay between when that extra beta was pushed and this Progress Report. While it's not related to Dolphin directly, Apple released the new M1 Max and we got our hands on one to see how it stacks up against the M1 with some rather interesting performance numbers at the end of the report.

With that out of the way, there's no point in delaying things any further. Please enjoy these rather lengthy Notable Changes!

Parhau i ddarllen

Gellir parhau'r drafodaeth yn edyn fforwm yr erthygl hon.

Dolphin Progress Report: June and July 2021

Emulation is often seen as this suspect gray area of gaming that is tolerated but always on the edge. There's a lot of negativity and questions around the merit and purpose of emulation. In contrast to that narrative, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to some of the features added the last few months, including heartfelt reactions from users, make all of the challenges and struggles so much easier.

As we drift further from the heyday of the GameCube and Wii, we've been seeing a greater impact not only on the past generations of gamers, but the current one. It was heartwarming to see long-time users able to play Four Swords Adventures with their kids or friends across the world. The gratitude we received from users finally able to try previously hard-to-access features in their favorite games was so appreciated. We love these games and consoles the same as you, and we want to make sure that they live on.

Sometimes with all the negativity in emulation, it's refreshing to have something that makes both the developers and the users happy. And while we'd love to revel in past accomplishments, there's still so much more work to be done. We graciously thank everyone for their kind words over the past few months, and hope you continue to enjoy using Dolphin Emulator. With that said, it is about time that we get started with the June and July Progress Report.

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