Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Console emulation is alive and well, and that’s constantly demonstrated by projects such as Dolphin. The emulator, which allows you to play GameCube and Wii games, is constantly improved upon, and lets you play games on your PC, phone, tablet, and other devices. The Dolpin developer team has now published a progress report, detailing several of Dolphin’s improvements over the course of the last months.

The Dolphin team has released a progress report covering developments from May to July 2023. Among the most notable ones, significant advancements have been made in Android GPU driver support. While Android drivers have historically lagged behind desktop counterparts due to missing features and performance issues, custom drivers have been seen as a way out of this situation, which is what Dolphin has recently implemented. Using the libadrenotools library, which allows users to switch out system drivers for user-provided ones, Dolphin can swap out the standard Vulkan driver for Freedreno Vulkan, also known as Turnip, which is a custom driver for Adreno GPUs that significantly improves Vulkan support.

Graph showing custom driver performance on a Google Pixel 3a

Dolphin also now has a full implemention of WiiConnect24, the online platform that powered the Forecast Chanel, Nintendo Channel, and other services on the original Nintendo Wii console. Nintendo shut down the original service in 2013, so Dolphin uses a reverse-engineered service called WiiLink. The RiiConnect24 service has been a popular third-party option for a few years, which will continue to work with Dolphin, but the blog post explains that “with Sketch working on both the server side (WiiLink) and the client side (Dolphin), compatibility and stability is currently higher with WiiLink.”

Dolphin has also addressed Wii NAND-related problems with the introduction of “Check NAND” functionality. This feature helps identify and rectify issues with the Wii NAND, ensuring its integrity and proper functioning. Moreover, the emulator now supports accurate NTSC/PAL color spaces, allowing users to choose color profiles that replicate the display characteristics of specific regions, mirroring the appearance of games on analog CRT televisions. Trigger detection issues in Android controllers have also been fixed, thus allowing GUI controller configuration.

Many of these changes have rolled out in past versions of Dolphin — this is, after all, just a roundup of all the changes that have happened in the past few months, many of which usually go unannounced. Therefore, by downloading the latest version of Dolphin, you should get access to all that stuff. It’s good practice to keep it updated because of that reason. After all, you never know if the next update can dramatically improve your experience.

Source: Dolphin

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By John P.

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