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Romhacking => Newcomer's Board => Topic started by: rvcs on January 09, 2019, 08:21:09 am

Title: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: rvcs on January 09, 2019, 08:21:09 am
Hello folks,

I'm still a newbie in this whole ROM-patching thing and I'd like to know which emulators run better and smoother patched/hacked/etc ROMs per system. In my case, I'm looking for DS, SNES and GBA emulators, but I guess information about any system will be helpful to other newcomers too.

Thanks in advance!  :woot!:
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: KingMike on January 09, 2019, 08:11:31 pm
Ideally ROM hacks would be written to work within the limits of the original hardware and would work on any emulator or real hardware.

But in reality many hacks might be depending on BAD emulation (unintentionally usually) to run right.
So I guess if you want a woefully out of date emulator that can handle hardware-inaccurate ROM hacks, there is ZSNES but please do not use ZSNES in 2019 for anything but playing old bad ROM hacks. :P (12 years since last update!)
(using recently updated emulators like higan/bsnes and snes9x would be better, and also a better choice when developing new ROM hacks)
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: NERV Agent on January 10, 2019, 02:10:44 am
Higan is extremely accurate, but requires a very beefy system to run. Keep that in mind if you don't want your system to go up in flames.

Otherwise, try a Linux distro called "Lakka". You can boot it off of a USB drive and it emulates games very well. The system requirements aren't too demanding, and it can run fine on your stock Intel HD Graphics GPU, no Nvidia nor ATI required!
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Rightling on January 14, 2019, 09:30:00 pm
Higan is extremely accurate, but requires a very beefy system to run. Keep that in mind if you don't want your system to go up in flames.

I guess it depends on your definition of beefy. I have a i5 8600k and a GTX 960 but higan seems to use only about 20% of CPU and 10% of GPU based on task manager. I used to run higan with a i5 2500k which was released in 2011, over 7 years ago now. But I guess not everyone has the luxury to have medium to higher end computer parts, so that's understandable.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: NERV Agent on January 15, 2019, 05:14:48 am
True dat, but don't expect a laptop sold at Office Depot, Staples, or even your workplace office computer to run it at all. I wouldn't risk running it on any of those things even if it was Higan under Lakka.

Well, I guess if it's cold and the heater is out, I can run Higan on a stock office laptop and enjoy the warmth coming from the motherboard burning and fizzing out.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: tvtoon on January 15, 2019, 01:57:12 pm
I think we should let go all this talk about how higan is heavy duty by now. My ancient crap can run it at reasonable speed and if you can't afford to buy Athlon 200GE ($60 tag) by now, you should be more worried how you will eat tomorrow...

Point is that it doesn't matter. ;)
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: KingMike on January 15, 2019, 05:46:39 pm
True dat, but don't expect a laptop sold at Office Depot, Staples, or even your workplace office computer to run it at all. I wouldn't risk running it on any of those things even if it was Higan under Lakka.

Well, I guess if it's cold and the heater is out, I can run Higan on a stock office laptop and enjoy the warmth coming from the motherboard burning and fizzing out.
It might. My five year old HP desktop PC seems to be able to run higan okay. (I can't remember if I upgraded anything inside it or if it's still the same hardware it came with) So I would imagine a current cheap PC to be able to handle it.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Chronosplit on January 15, 2019, 07:42:53 pm
I've always thought that hardware offerings would catch up to BSNES/Higan, not the other way around.  The big thing was about dual core, and some "walmart specials" may or may not be able to catch up to that kind of power now.

If nothing else, BSNES Mercury might work out.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Isao Kronos on January 15, 2019, 08:52:07 pm
I use SNES9X for snes, mGBA for GBA, mednafen for ps1, bgb for gameboy, dolphin for gc/wii, m64p for N64, and PCSX2 for PS2. I try to keep it fairly organized in my emulation folders at least.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: NERV Agent on January 15, 2019, 10:37:00 pm
Oof! I meant using Higan to run Super FX games accurately.

https://www.tested.com/tech/gaming/2712-why-perfect-hardware-snes-emulation-requires-a-3ghz-cpu/

http://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/Computer_specs#higan

The HP Thin Client which I used at my (former) job would surely set off a smoke detector if I tried playing Star Fox on it.

But if it isn't Super FX, ZSNES should be good enough.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Isao Kronos on January 15, 2019, 11:09:03 pm
Please don't suggest ZSNES, it hasn't been updated in a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time. At least suggest SNES9X.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Mario Bros. on January 16, 2019, 12:20:13 am
exact Zsnes is shitty outpassed since longtime


it's fake emulation with shortcuts and arrangements, SMW and a lot of others go horribly on, street fighter it's very BAD on zsnes
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Psyklax on January 16, 2019, 12:48:32 am
I use SNES9X for snes, mGBA for GBA, mednafen for ps1, bgb for gameboy, dolphin for gc/wii, m64p for N64, and PCSX2 for PS2. I try to keep it fairly organized in my emulation folders at least.

That's a good list, but remember you can just use Retroarch and use all of those emulators within one program. BSNES/Higan is best if you care about accuracy, SNES9X is acceptable for casual playing.

Don't forget Bizhawk, which also includes many cores for different emulators but is designed for re-recording to make tool-assisted speedruns. Since the guys at TASmovies want the accuracy to be such that the recordings can be played back perfectly on actual hardware, it's a good sign that Bizhawk's cores are accurate.

Oh, and if you buy a cheap Chinese Android TV box then you can run Retroarch with many of the emulators at full speed.

Oh, and don't touch ZSNES with a ten-foot pole. :D
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: KingMike on January 16, 2019, 12:57:09 am
But if it isn't Super FX, ZSNES should be good enough.

Please stop recommending an emulator that hasn't been updated in 12 years. (I guess if you want to play with an extremely outdated emulator at this point, it's your choice.)
I stopped at the poor sound quality, but I'm sure there's a number of other reasons.
I literally have not used it for any purpose other than savestate hacking in about that many years.

Did it take 12 years to get us to stop people saying "Nesticle is good enough"?
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Isao Kronos on January 16, 2019, 10:18:21 am
Retroarch's UI infuriated me to the point at the time that i threw up my hands and went back to what i was doing
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Jorpho on January 16, 2019, 10:47:17 pm
Did it take 12 years to get us to stop people saying "Nesticle is good enough"?
Well, there was never a version of Nesticle for Windows, and even from a DOS prompt in Win9x I can remember having problems with it.  That put a prety big dent in its userbase.

98% of the time there's nothing in ZSNES that will make you exclaim, "Ugh, this is so inaccurate that it's completely unplayable."
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: NERV Agent on January 17, 2019, 01:14:04 am
That's a good list, but remember you can just use Retroarch and use all of those emulators within one program.

RetroArch doesn't emulate the PS2 at this time.

Well, there was never a version of Nesticle for Windows, and even from a DOS prompt in Win9x I can remember having problems with it.  That put a prety big dent in its userbase.

98% of the time there's nothing in ZSNES that will make you exclaim, "Ugh, this is so inaccurate that it's completely unplayable."

Same here, it's not like using ZSNES will give you AIDS or anything.

I use ZSNES because many palette editing programs make use of the ".zst" savestate format, as well as Tile Molester.

Nesticle is nice because you can edit tiles in real time. Can't find that tile in the ROM? Just load up the ROM in Nesticle, get to the a point where that tile shows up, and edit it right then and there.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Mario Bros. on January 17, 2019, 02:03:24 am


Same here, it's not like using ZSNES will give you AIDS or anything.

I use ZSNES because many palette editing programs make use of the ".zst" savestate format, as well as Tile Molester.


His request is not for work on a rom ,but play with a patched rom
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Sliver X on January 18, 2019, 06:47:42 pm
Well, there was never a version of Nesticle for Windows, and even from a DOS prompt in Win9x I can remember having problems with it.  That put a prety big dent in its userbase.

There most certainly was (https://sites.google.com/site/panicus/nest95.png): I used it on my old 486 system running Windows 95A to do modem based netplay with a friend of mine.

Retroarch is good if you're looking for slightly easier configuration (sometimes) VS standalone emulators at the expense of stability.

I much rather prefer to use emulators made by the authors themselves (who are typically pretty good coders) than the Frankenstein's Monster Retroarch is. I've given it serious attempts to drive emulator based PCs and Android devices I've built over the years with it and I would typically give up after randomly having various cores crash or losing and/or corrupting save data.

Then again, that's just my opinion: Some people seem to love it?
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Jorpho on January 19, 2019, 12:05:44 am
There most certainly was (https://sites.google.com/site/panicus/nest95.png): I used it on my old 486 system running Windows 95A to do modem based netplay with a friend of mine.
I stand corrected.  Why did I not try using that back in the day..?

I've poked at Retroarch and I didn't really get it either.  Seems to be from the same school of thought that spawned XBMC.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Psyklax on January 19, 2019, 02:46:12 am
I don't quite get the hate that Retroarch receives due to the UI. Regular emulators are okay provided you have a mouse to click on everything, but when I want to just sit back on the sofa with my PS2 pad and flick back and forth between different systems using only the pad, and auto loading and saving of save states when I'm finished with a game, then Retroarch does it very comfortably. And often I use it with a $25 Android TV box, which runs the 8- and 16-bit systems perfectly.

I just turn it on, open Retroarch, look at the recently played games, pick one, and I'm in. When I'm finished, I go back to the menu and pick something else, all with my pad. I guess not everyone is happy with this, but it works for me. It's also my preferred method of playing PS1 on my PC.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: NERV Agent on January 19, 2019, 06:06:12 am
I'm fond of RetroArch now, but when I started using it is was a throbbing headache. (http://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=27221.0)
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: Sliver X on January 19, 2019, 01:41:01 pm
I don't quite get the hate that Retroarch receives due to the UI. Regular emulators are okay provided you have a mouse to click on everything, but when I want to just sit back on the sofa with my PS2 pad and flick back and forth between different systems using only the pad, and auto loading and saving of save states when I'm finished with a game, then Retroarch does it very comfortably. And often I use it with a $25 Android TV box, which runs the 8- and 16-bit systems perfectly.

I just turn it on, open Retroarch, look at the recently played games, pick one, and I'm in. When I'm finished, I go back to the menu and pick something else, all with my pad. I guess not everyone is happy with this, but it works for me. It's also my preferred method of playing PS1 on my PC.

Oh, don't get me wrong. While Retroarch's UI is really, really bad my problems with it are at a core technical level (As I use universal frontend solutions to manage games on my machines, including the one that's controlled entirely by gamepads (https://sites.google.com/site/panicus/ed2.jpg)).

It just doesn't seem to be, um, coded very well. It doesn't really matter how good a core is (And they usually are considering the emulators they use), but LibRetro itself, in my experience, is a crash prone buggy mess that while amazing in theory is severely lacking in actual execution.

Configuration is also a nightmare for the thing. And this is coming from somebody who doesn't mind hand editing config files such as Mednafen uses or setting up general frontends for dozens of systems at a time.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: NERV Agent on January 20, 2019, 05:47:57 am
On the topic of RetroArch, if you are in the middle of playing a game, do not accidentally hit Esc with the intention of going to the menu, this closes the program. There's nothing like getting really far in the game only to lose all your progress because you wanted to get to the menu, but you hit Esc instead.

The menu key is F1.

Why they didn't make the shut down command "Alt F4" is beyond me.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: mziab on January 20, 2019, 08:15:02 am
On the topic of RetroArch, if you are in the middle of playing a game, do not accidentally hit Esc with the intention of going to the menu, this closes the program. There's nothing like getting really far in the game only to lose all your progress because you wanted to get to the menu, but you hit Esc instead.

The menu key is F1.

Why they didn't make the shut down command "Alt F4" is beyond me.

Actually, Alt+F4 works too. But I agree that Esc might not be the most sensible default. Well, at least it can be remapped.
Title: Re: Best emulators for running a hacked ROM
Post by: EvilJagaGenius on January 20, 2019, 09:47:53 am
(yo, first post)

I'm surprised no one has mentioned any Sega emulators.  I use Gens Plus and it works fairly well, I've only gotten two problems with it so far.  One was it refusing to boot up Lunar 1 and the other was a Spanish-patched ROM of Phantasy Star II.  And I'm not convinced the PSII ROM was any good to begin with.  Good sound, decent speed, some nice graphics filters, runs Game Gear and Master System games too.  There's only a Windows version but the source code is lying around places on the Internet.

On my phone I use Genesis Plus GX, but that's RetroArch only I believe.