Recommended N64 plugins
The N64 emulation scene had previously been described as a broken mess, the very definition of plugin hell. With recent developments in the scene, however, the situation has markedly improved, and it is no longer considered necessary to have multiple emulators and plugins on hand to get most games to work. This page will outline the best plugins currently available for the benefit of both the casual and enthusiast looking to get their N64 emulation fix.
- 1 The Plugin Specs
- 2 Video
- 3 Audio
- 4 Input
- 5 RSP
- 6 Recommended N64 Setups
The Plugin Specs
To understand the current plugin situation, and why there are several competing emulators that all appear to use the same plugins but said plugins are not compatible across emulators, a bit of history is in order. As for the terms HLE and LLE, which will occur with frequency throughout this page, and the difference between them, it is recommended to read this page on High/Low level emulation beforehand.
Historically, the majority of N64 emulators all shared the same plugin spec (known as the zilmar spec, after the creator of Project64, the first emulator to use it), and could therefore all use the same plugins, meaning you could take a plugin DLL file, use it on one emulator, then take that DLL and use it on another, and it would also work there. Of these, the big three emulators were Project64, 1964 and Mupen64. Each had advantages and disadvantages, and some games worked well in one only to not work in another, even when using the same plugin configuration. This necessitated having all of these emulators and sometimes even older or modified versions of them, along with a great many plugins, to be able to play most of the N64 library with the least amount of issues possible - though admittedly a good amount of games (particularly the most popular ones) were playable with just the best few of them.
To illustrate the point, here is a site that, as late as 2012, was dedicated to documenting the exact emulator, plugin and settings combination necessary to get each and every game to at least a playable state, if at all possible. Unsurprisingly, this situation often led to a lot of confusion from users, who often wondered why there were so many plugins, and which ones were the best to use, only to find out it often depended on the game, and even then, some games would refuse to work as intended no matter what was tried. Hence the label "plugin hell" was coined, and stuck as a description of the travails of trying to emulate N64 games well into the 2010's.
However, as time went on, things began to change, though slowly at first. 1964's development eventually ceased, and it completely fell off the radar. Mupen64 was forked into Mupen64Plus and developed its own plugin spec that was incompatible with the older zilmar spec, making it unable to use existing plugins unless they were specifically ported to it. This left only Project64 as the only relevant and active emulator still using the zilmar spec. For some time, then, this left the fledgling Mupen64Plus missing out on most cutting-edge plugin development, as most people were still using Project64.
A semblance of parity began to come about as a result of several major developments: first, Mupen64Plus itself was forked by the libretro team, which made many changes and improvements to the core emulator, and integrated its plugins into the core itself. Second, gonetz, the developer of Glide64, unveiled his newest plugin, GLideN64, which would officially support both the zilmar and Mupen64Plus specs from the beginning. Third, the Angrylion plugin, which is the most accurate and compatible (and slowest) video plugin there is but was initially only available for the zilmar spec, was ported to Mupen64Plus and integrated into the libretro fork. Finally, Themaister, one of the creators of libretro and RetroArch, began developing a unique plugin initially exclusive to libretro known as ParaLLEl-RDP, essentially Angrylion running on the GPU through Vulkan compute shaders, enabling near-perfect N64 graphics emulation at actually playable speeds. Add to this the fact that most PCs and many mobile devices are now more than capable enough of running the most advanced plugins, and the plugin situation, once considered a labyrinth, has been greatly simplified to just needing a few for the vast majority of use cases.
All that said, the issue is that there are now three plugin standards to account for:
- The zilmar spec - Utilized by Project64 and most other legacy emulators; only Project64 still uses it today.*
- The Mupen64Plus spec - Utilized by Mupen64Plus and most of its forks.
- Libretro - Not really a spec per se, as the plugins are integrated directly into the libretro core, so there's no DLL files to download or add.
As of right now, not all plugins are readily available on all three. Consult the tables below for reference:
|Name||Latest Version||Project64||Mupen64Plus||Libretro||HLE||LLE||Widescreen Hack||Custom Texture Packs||Recommended|
|Angrylion RDP Plus||1.6||✓||✓||✓||✗||✓||✗||✗||✓|
*It should be noted that Project64 after version 2.x made some changes to the zilmar plugin spec, and while it remains backwards compatible with the older version of the spec (meaning most older plugins will still work with Project64), plugins targeting the newer version will not work on older versions of Project64 or other zilmar spec-based emulators.
**Funnily enough, Glide64 actually DOES have LLE code (much of it apparently comes from z64gl) and can technically run in LLE mode by using it alongside an LLE RSP plugin such as CXD4. However, it is not a complete implementation, and actually trying to run it in such a mode results in massive visual glitches, making it unusable. Practically speaking, then, Glide64 cannot be considered a true LLE plugin, and will not be designated as such, nor was it ever meant to be.
|Name||Latest Version||Project64||Mupen64Plus||Libretro||HLE Compatible*||LLE Compatible*||Recommended|
|Mupen64Plus HLE RSP||git||✓||✓||✓||✓||✗||✓|
|Mupen64 HLE RSP||0.5.1||✓||✗||✗||✓||✗||✗|
*These terms signify whether an RSP plugin can work alongside HLE and/or LLE audio and video plugins. As for the type of emulation employed by the RSP plugins themselves, all but the Mupen64/plus HLE RSP plugins are LLE in nature. The LLE RSP plugins that can work with HLE plugins do so by passing the N64 display and audio lists onto the plugins themselves.
Currently Recommended Plugins
The following are the current best video plugins for use on modern PCs and devices.
An LLE video plugin inspired by and referenced against Angrylion's RDP plugin, made to run on the GPU through the use of the Vulkan API's compute shaders. It was introduced in the ParaLLEl-N64 libretro core, is also available in the newer Mupen64Plus-Next core, and is included in several forks of Mupen64Plus and Project64, such as simple64 and this build of Project64. This is currently considered the best video plugin by most measures. It is almost as accurate and compatible as Angrylion's RDP, but much faster. Like most Angrylion forks, it allows disabling of VI features such as anti-aliasing and blur. Unlike the software-rendered Angrylion, however, it also allows a number of enhancements, including hi-res upscaling, resulting in a sharp, high-definition picture while simultaneously retaining accuracy, essentially what the N64 output would look like if the original console could render in HD. It can also render at a high resolution and downsample back down to a lower one, should one wish to improve the 3D graphics without making them stick out from the often low-res 2D elements. Due to its LLE nature, it does not support widescreen hacks or high-res textures - try GLideN64 if you seek to use such features.
System requirements for ParaLLEl-RDP are higher than for the other plugins. It requires a GPU with Vulkan support and up-to-date drivers (most Nvidia and AMD GPUs made after 2012 should be covered, though Intel graphics requires Skylake or newer), and upscaling increases the GPU requirements even further, far more than GLideN64. It must also be used in conjunction with an LLE RSP plugin, preferably its sister plugin ParaLLEl-RSP, as it features a recompiler for added speed. At native resolution, however, a modest PC with Vulkan support can handle it without much issue, even on integrated graphics.
A hybrid HLE/LLE plugin developed by the maker of Glide64, though its code is actually originally based on gln64 (with combiner hacks from Glide64 and LLE code from z64gl and, to a lesser extent, angrylion). It is included with the latest versions of Project64, the Mupen64Plus-Next libretro core, and older versions of simple64. This is the best HLE plugin by far. The plugin currently supports mip-mapping, emulation of low-level triangles, microcode emulation of every game, gamma correction, flat and prim shading, VI emulation, and LLE graphics support. It is the only plugin that has implemented HLE support of microcodes for every N64 game (including the infamous Factor 5 and BOSS games) to enable fast performance and graphical enhancements. It currently fixes numerous long-standing issues in games and is capable of smoothly emulating advanced framebuffer effects in hardware that Glide64 and Jabo could not. It also supports several enhancements, such as hi-res custom texture support, MSAA and AF, a widescreen hack, and even some shaders. There is support for an "Overscan" feature that helps the users to remove black borders around a game's visual output.
GLideN64 requires at least OpenGL 3.3 in the latest versions to run, and OpenGL 4.x for some advanced functions, making this plugin more demanding than the plugins that came before it, though modern GPUs should be ok, even on mobile. It is not without its share of issues to this day, however. There are still several HLE bugs left to resolve, and its LLE mode, while much improved over z64gl's, is still not quite as developed as its HLE mode, and some of the plugin's enhancement features are disabled in this mode. Since it is hardware-rendered even in LLE, there are issues that may never be quite resolved due to inherent differences between the N64 hardware and the OpenGL API. It is advisable to use this over ParaLLEl-RDP only if you are unable to run the latter in HD at full speed or if further enhancements such as widescreen hacks and hi-res textures are desired.
This is a fork of Angrylion's RDP that supports multithreading. It is included in this build of Project64 and in both N64 libretro cores. The standalone plugin version uses OpenGL 3.3 for drawing the picture and also supports Linux. The multi-threading helps boost performance significantly, as does using it alongside an RSP plugin with a recompiler such as ParaLLEl-RSP, but some games are still not full speed even on a Core i7-8700K. It also allows you to disable VI filters for slightly better performance. This fork has at least one accuracy regression compared to the official version of Angrylion. Since it is a CPU-bound, software-rendered plugin, it has no enhancement options of any kind - what you see is what you get, exactly like on a real N64. Use this only if running a relatively fast CPU and ParaLLEl-RDP does not work with your GPU for whatever reason.
The former best general-use plugin. Versions of this are included in Project64, mainline Mupen64Plus, and the ParaLLEl-N64 libretro core. While it is no longer updated and is far less accurate and compatible than the newer offerings, it still has a few use cases, such as better support for older ROM hacks. It works relatively well for many (most?) games, has support for hi-res textures, and it is also faster than the newer plugins, which makes it suitable for slower devices such as the older Raspberry Pis. Otherwise, to ensure the highest possible compatibility, stick to either ParaLLEl-RDP or GLideN64.
Note that the Project64 version of Glide64 has been renamed to Project64 Video and has undergone some changes and rewrites since it was initially forked, and thus may contain regressions compared to the last official standalone release of the plugin by Gonetz. Since this fork only works with current versions of Project64, should you wish to use this plugin on an older zilmar-spec emulator like 1964 or the original Mupen64, or if you want to avoid potential regressions with the Project64 version, use Glide64 Final instead.
The following video plugins are old and deprecated, and should not be used or considered unless you have a VERY old or underpowered device that cannot handle the recommended plugins, or there's a very specific use case not covered by modern implementations.
- Jabo's Direct3D8 - Comes with Project64, and was once its default video plugin. Very speedy, has built-in AA and AF options, and includes a widescreen hack. The version included with the most recent versions of Project64 (188.8.131.52-ver5) is somewhat buggy and has regressions, however. Jabo's 1.6.1 patch is better, though version 1.7 can run in LLE mode, which can help with a few games. Sadly, it will likely never see another update again, and though it is still included in Project64 to this day, it is no longer the default, and should not be used unless you have a very old PC that cannot handle Glide64 or GLideN64.
- Rice Video - A very fast, highly configurable video plugin primarily based around the Direct3D API. It was once famous for being the first plugin that allowed the user to load custom hi-res textures, which made it a popular plugin within the N64 emulation community. The 1964 team at one point annexed it as its official video plugin, renaming it 1964Video. There are many versions and forks of it floating around, all aiming to fix issues or add features (one fork even featured early shader support), and forks of it are included in mainline Mupen64Plus and in the ParaLLEl-N64 libretro core. However, even during its heyday it lagged behind Glide64 and even Jabo in both compatibility and accuracy, and once Glide64 gained the ability to load custom textures, there remained little reason to use it beyond its speed. A "Community Version" popped up that aimed at improving it and fixing its issues, but it ended up introducing many regressions compared to older versions and the effort was eventually abandoned. As such, none of its variations are recommended for general use unless there's a very specific fringe case (such as some really old texture packs or ROM hacks) or are trying to emulate on a very old and/or severely underpowered PC or handheld device. If you are absolutely resolved to try it out, seek out the original versions by Rice, primarily 6.1.0 or 6.1.1b, and stick to the Direct3D renderer, as the OpenGL backend included in some versions is buggy and incomplete outside of the Mupen64Plus fork.
- z64gl - A hardware-rendered, low-level plugin developed by ziggy, derived from MAME's N64 driver. A fork is maintained by the Mupen64Plus team, though not included in their official releases. It was once notable for being one of the only plugins that could play games without an HLE microcode implementation such as Rogue Squadron. However, it was rather glitchy, had higher system requirements than the HLE plugins, needed an LLE RSP plugin to work (such as the bundled z64 RSP or Project64's RSP plugin set to LLE graphics), and configuration required editing the config file directly. A fork cropped up that aimed at improving it, but it did not get very far. Nowadays, it's obsolete, as GLideN64 can now play every game through HLE (thus subverting z64gl's only selling point), and its LLE has been surpassed by Angrylion-derived plugins and even GLideN64's LLE mode.
- Official Angrylion RDP - A software-rendered, hardware-accurate plugin, developed by angrylion (though derived from MAME, much like z64gl). This is the most accurate N64 video plugin in existence, emulating almost* every facet of the N64's RDP precisely and thus making it capable of playing almost every single game in the N64 library with no issues, fixing even notorious cases such as the Pokémon Snap red dot and the Body Harvest bridge. This, however, comes at the cost of insane CPU requirements while making games look like, well, N64 games running on real hardware, which means native resolution, no widescreen, no hi-res textures - just the N64 in its full, vaseline-covered glory. Since this particular version is single-threaded, uses DirectDraw and is Windows only, it is recommended to use Angrylion RDP Plus or ParaLLEl-RDP instead, which offer much more reasonable performance. Only try it out if you have a tricked-out rig and want to test your CPU's mettle, or if you can compile it from source and need it for testing/debugging purposes, as the latest updates are always made to this version first.
- HatCat/angrylion's Pixel-Accurate N64 Plugin - This is a fork of Angrylion's RDP, done by HatCat. It has some optimizations not present in the official code, but is outdated and lacking some accuracy improvements and optimizations written by Angrylion. It has the option to disable the VI filters (which gives a speed boost), as well as the ability to set custom resolutions. Also, this version uses OpenGL 1.x instead of Direct Draw and supports Linux. Obsoleted by newer forks such as Angrylion RDP Plus.
Below is a gallery comparing how many of these plugins handle Mario Tennis, a hard-to-emulate game with many special effects that few plugins get right. Pay attention to the scoreboard on the top left, the MPH indicator on the top right, the NPCs on the back, shadows below the characters, and the trail and sparkle effects on the tennis ball and rackets. Only GLideN64 and the Angrylion-derived plugins emulate it correctly:
* There is at least one known, relatively minor graphical glitch in Pokemon Snap (go figure) using Angrylion that requires currently-unimplemented cycle-accurate behavior to fix without resorting to hacks.
This section will only cover the zilmar spec plugins, as Mupen64Plus does not have any alternative audio plugins besides the default, and neither do the libretro forks.
- Project64 Audio - The default audio plugin for Project64, apparently loosely based off of code from Mupen64Plus's HLE RSP. Very barebones, with no options to speak off.
- Jabo's DirectSound - Comes with Project64. It works fine for the most part, but some games may not play nice with it. It is a low-level plugin, so it needs an accompanying LLE RSP plugin. Will probably never be updated again.
- Azimer's HLE Audio - This popular HLE audio plugin boasts high compatibility. Version 0.56WIP2 is old as hell, but it is the tried and true standard to which audio plugins are compared against. Recently, Azimer open sourced his plugin, and there were plans to integrate it into Project64, though this has yet to happen. While the latest development versions have a few issues, it now works in LLE, and has integrated code from Mupen64Plus's HLE RSP plugin, allowing it to work with the Factor 5 and BOSS games even in HLE.
- Shunyuan's HLE Audio - An audio plugin, apparently based on 1964Audio and HatCat's RSP plugin. Can run in both LLE and HLE modes despite the name, though the HLE mode just makes it run an outdated, baked-in version of HatCat's RSP, which makes it not a true HLE plugin. Has been abandoned after charges of just taking others' code without revealing a source. If games run at a weird speed using this plugin, go to the ROM's Game Settings, and disable Fixed Audio Timing and Sync using Audio. Though it worked surprisingly well despite its Frankenstein nature, modern development versions of Project64 no longer work with it, apparently due to it depending on a bug that has now been fixed. As such, it is probably better to use Azimer's plugin instead.
- Project64 Input - Comes with Project64 as of the latest versions. Very simple input plugin which looks suspiciously a lot like Jabo's, but at least has XInput support, which is nice.
- NRage Input - Also comes with Project64 as of version 2.2. Hands down the best input plugin as it is more feature complete than Jabo's DirectInput. Has a ton of options and great controller compatibility, including XInput support for use with Xbox 360 controllers. It can't emulate the microphone that is required by Hey You, Pikachu or the printer required for the Pokémon Snap Station. It has the ability to emulate Controller Pak (Mario Kart 64's ghost saves), Rumble Pak (Star Fox 64), and Transfer Pak (Pokémon Stadium series) functionality fairly well. Version 2.3 of Project64 introduced a version of the plug-in that can emulate the N64's mouse accessory designed for the 64DD to coincide with Project64's newest ability to emulate the 64DD accessory. Surprisingly, Mario Artist: Paint Studio can use the Japanese Game Boy Camera (called Pocket Camera) in Transfer Pak mode, but the camera function doesn't work as it displays static, although importing captured images still works technically.
- Jabo's DirectInput - Used to come with Project64, but now removed in favor of NRage Input. It isn't too bad, but it may have some compatibility problems with some controllers. Should work just fine with the keyboard if you're one of those masochists who emulates without a controller. Only standard controller emulation with nothing attached to it. As usual, do not expect any updates.
- Raphnetraw - This open source plugin allows streamlined use of N64 controller(s) via raphnet N64-to-USB v3+ adapters. It supports rumble and is available for Project64 and mupen64plus. Also contains various DLLs for special port arrangements (link).
- Zilmar's RSP - Comes with Project64. Reasonably accurate, quite fast in Recompiler mode (enabled by default), and will work fine for the majority of games, only having issues with a few games in LLE. The version included in Project64 2.x and beyond can work with both LLE and HLE plugins by toggling the relevant options in the Plugins settings menu. This plugin is exclusive to the zilmar spec.
- Mupen64Plus HLE RSP - Comes with Mupen64Plus. Based off of the old Mupen64 HLE RSP plugin, but much improved. Though it is only compatible with HLE audio and video plugins, when paired with GLideN64, it can play almost every single N64 game without issues, and it now has MusyX support as well for games that used it. If you wish to use it with Project64, a zilmar-spec port is available and can be obtained by using this installer. It works out of the box with both the default Project64 Audio plugin as well as Azimer's, but it will not work with Jabo's, as that is a pure LLE audio plugin and requires LLE RSP emulation.
- "Static" RSP Interpreter/CXD4 RSP - Made by HatCat/CXD4 and originally released in Project64 Forum. Comes with some forks of Mupen64Plus as well as both libretro cores, and is included in this build of Project64. For whatever reason, the zilmar-spec version usually goes by Static Interpreter, while the Mupen64Plus-spec and libretro versions go by CXD4. As of the most recent release version, it is one of the most accurate RSP plugins, though zilmar's RSP in Recompiler mode as well as ParaLLEl-RSP both trump it in speed. It can take advantage of SSSE3 for greater performance, though it also comes in SSE2 and non-SSE variations in case your PC does not support those instruction sets. In both the zilmar and Mupen64Plus versions (though not in libretro, it seems), it is capable of working with both HLE and LLE audio and video plugins via the following settings:
- Simulate RSP graphics from external plugin - Check if using an HLE graphics plugin, uncheck if using LLE
- Simulate RSP audio from external plugin - Check if using an HLE audio plugin, uncheck if using LLE
- Force semaphore locking - Check to fix issues with Mario no Photopie. Only works with Project64 2.x and beyond.
- ParaLLEl-RSP - A fast and accurate RSP written by Themaister, though it borrows heavily from both CXD4 and CEN64's RSP code. It is about as accurate and compatible as the Static Interpreter/CXD4 RSP, while being much faster owing to its inclusion of a dynamic recompiler. It is an RSP option mainly used in the ParaLLEl-N64 and Mupen64Plus-Next libretro cores; however, it is also possible to use it with Mupen64Plus, its forks [[simple64] and RMG, and now even Project64 as a plugin (this version comes bundled with it). Note that it only works with LLE video and audio plugins, though it is highly recommended if using such.
- Mupen64 HLE RSP - Comes with the old zilmar-spec Mupen64. A very fast and compatible HLE RSP plugin. Written by Hacktarux and Azimer. Has issues with some games, particularly those using MusyX microcode. MusyX support and many other compatibility fixes were later added to the Mupen64Plus version, which has now been ported to the zilmar spec after years of exclusivity on the Mupen64Plus side of things. As such, this version is officially obsolete.
- z64 RSP plugin pack - Largely deprecated by the Static Interpreter/CXD4 RSP plugin. This set of RSP plugins comes with the z64 video plugin, each with their own purpose:
- Ziggy-z64RSP - This RSP is based on the MAME/MESS RSP code. It is slower but more accurate.
- Ziggy-PJ64 - Based on the Project64 1.4 RSP, this plugin is much faster.
- angrylion - This RSP is a simple Interpreter, and is required for a few games like World Driver Championship to work correctly with z64gl.
Recommended N64 Setups
While in general only a small handful of plugins are necessary to play the vast majority of N64 games these days, there are nevertheless a variety of use cases which may necessitate using some plugins in specific combinations over others. The following section will be divided primarily by plugin specs, then further subdivided by the following use case "profiles":
- General Use - A profile that strikes a good balance of speed, accuracy and compatibility. Most games will be playable on average hardware and should run with few to no issues.
- Performance - Focuses primarily on speed for lower-end devices that cannot handle the General Use profile. Many games will be playable, but expect lower overall compatibility, glitches and missing effects.
- Accuracy - Attains the maximum compatibility and accuracy made possible by the emulator. Almost all games will be playable and look as intended, but requires much higher system specifications.
As a rule of thumb, start with the General Use profile. If it's too slow, move down to the Performance profile. Conversely, if there's a problem with the game (or you just want to be as close to real hardware as possible), move up to the Accuracy profile. It should be said there may be configurations within the emulator or plugin settings that may help with speed or compatibility, but it is generally not recommended to mess with them unless you know what you're doing, as both emulators and plugins are usually already optimized on a per-game basis, so moving settings around could result in breaking things. Should you wish to try to eke out more performance out of a given profile, it may be wise to consult with the emulator/plugin developers or communities centered around N64 emulation first.
Project64 and Others
Project64 comes bundled with the following plugins:
- Video: Jabo's Direct3D8, Project64 Video (Glide64 under another name), GLideN64
- Audio: Jabo's DirectSound, Project64 Audio
- Input: NRage for Project64, Project64 Input
- RSP: zilmar's RSP
Should you wish to use other plugins, they must be downloaded from a third party source and dropped into their respective plugin folder categories in the Project64 directory. Video plugins go under Plugin/GFX, audio plugins under Plugin/Audio, etc.
- General Use
- Azimer's Audio NEW (set to LLE)
- Static Interpreter RSP or Zilmar's RSP
- Either of the RSP plugins should be fine for most games. The Static Interpreter RSP is slightly more accurate, whereas zilmar's is much faster. Should you wish to use GLideN64 in LLE mode (or any LLE video plugin for that matter), if using zilmar's RSP, simply uncheck "Graphics HLE" in the Plugin configuration screen. If using the Static Interpreter RSP, you'll have to run the spconfig.exe that comes with that plugin, and tell it to NOT "simulate RSP graphics from external plugin" (in other words, type "0"). ParaLLEl-RSP only works in LLE, so GLideN64's HLE mode will be unavailable with that plugin.
- Project64 Video or Glide64 Final
- Azimer's HLE Audio
- Zilmar's RSP or Mupen64Plus HLE RSP
- Make sure you configure the graphics plugin to show texture enhancement options. Then you'll have an extra tab to change more options. Go to the texture enhancement tab and click on the button that gives the best performance and it should improve framerate once you saved the settings. There's also another button for best texture quality. Recommended for the older zilmar-spec emulators as well (replace Project64 Video with Glide64 Final for those, though you may want to do that even with Project64 should you run into a regression). If you absolutely need more performance, you can try Jabo's plugin (specifically version 1.6.1, NOT the buggy version bundled with Project64), though it comes at a cost to compatibility. Also, try out the Mupen64Plus HLE RSP if you'd like to eke out that extra bit of performance.
- Angrylion RDP Plus
- Azimer's Audio NEW
- Static RSP Interpreter
- If you have a decent quad-core CPU, you can run many N64 games with pixel-perfect graphics at full speed, thanks to the new multithreaded version of angrylion's software plugin. The new Azimer's plugin (still WIP) works good in LLE. Since there's almost no visual difference, you may as well use ParaLLEl-RSP to get better performance, and/or move to ParaLLEl-RDP outright for even greater speed and upscaling options to boot (though it goes without saying upscaling would no longer be accurate). Conversely, if you want even greater accuracy, disable "Hide advanced settings" under Configuration, then enable "Always use interpreter core" under Advanced, and under Angrylion's options, disable multi-threading and set compatibility to "Slow". Performance WILL crash, but hey, it'll be accurate!
The official releases of Mupen64Plus only come bundled with a handful of video and RSP plugins, namely Glide64mk2, Rice, and the HLE RSP. The developers also maintain forks of the CXD4 RSP and the z64 video and RSP plugins, but they are not included in the official release bundles for some reason. Should you wish to use those plugins or third party ones such as GLideN64 or the ParaLLEl plugins, you must build them yourself or get them from outside sources. Due to this fact, the mediocre nature of the "official" video plugins, and the overall lack of user-friendliness, it may be better to use a fork such as simple64 or RMG, though note that simple64 only comes and works with the ParaLLEl plugins, so RMG is a better choice if you wish to use something else, as that comes with more plugins and allows you to use whichever ones you want.
- General Use
- Video: GLideN64 or ParaLLEl-RDP
- RSP: RSP-HLE (for GLideN64) or ParaLLEl-RSP (for ParaLLEl-RDP)
- Either one of these combinations will enable you to play the vast majority of N64 games while having reasonable system requirements. GLideN64 is faster and has more enhancement options, but ParaLLEl-RDP is much more accurate to the real console. You can also use the CXD4 RSP with GLideN64 if you want, but be sure to set it to pass display lists to the graphics plugin in mupen64plus.cfg, else GLideN64 will switch to its LLE mode, which is not generally recommended to use.
- Video: Glide64mk2
- RSP: RSP-HLE
- These are Mupen64Plus's default plugins. Glide64mk2 is based on Glide64 Final, and is named so as to differentiate it from the original, now obsolete fork of Glide64 that Mupen64Plus used at its inception. It is not up to GLideN64's level, but it does well enough for many games and is quite fast. Use this combination if you have a lower end PC that can't handle the General Use setup. If your device STILL can't handle this setup, try the Rice video plugin, but expect many missing effects, glitches and incompatibilities.
- Video: Angrylion Plus or ParaLLEl-RDP
- RSP: CXD4-ssse3 or ParaLLEl-RSP
- Any combination of these should result in very high accuracy. Technically, the most accurate setup is Angrylion combined with CXD4, but the difference between these and the ParaLLEl plugins is almost negligible, while being a lot slower. Be sure to set the CPU core to Pure Interpreter for even greater accuracy, along with plummeting framerates.
Note: In some cases the cfg file may not appear, in which case you may do this:
- Open terminal in emulator folder on in its respective directory
- mupen64plus --configdir /directory/where/you/want/it/to/be
There are two N64 libretro emulator cores for use on libretro frontends such as RetroArch: Mupen64Plus-Next and ParaLLEl-N64. The former is up-to-date and is recommended for most use cases, while the latter is no longer updated and is only around for performance reasons. They also have access to the following plugins:
- Shared by both cores
- Video: ParaLLEl-RDP , Angrylion
- RSP: ParaLLEl-RSP, HLE, CXD4
- Exclusive to Mupen64Plus-Next
- Exclusive to ParaLLEl-N64
- glN64, Rice, Glide64
Due to these differences, it is advisable to use Mupen64Plus-Next for general use, and ParaLLEl-N64 for performance.
- General Use (LLE)
- Core: Mupen64Plus-Next
- Video: ParaLLEl-RDP
- RSP: ParaLLEl-RSP
- By default ParaLLEl-RDP will output at native resolution with all the VI filters on, making it look exactly like Angrylion and the real N64 console. Upscaling must therefore be enabled in the core options. You can also alternatively render at a high resolution and downsample to a lower one if you want to improve 3D without making it stick out from 2D elements too much.
- General Use (HLE)
- Core: Mupen64Plus-Next
- Video: GLideN64
- RSP: HLE
- While GLideN64 also works with the ParaLLEl and CXD4 RSP plugins, using them will cause GLideN64 to switch to its LLE mode, which is currently glitchier and slower than the HLE mode, for few compatibility or accuracy benefits, if any. As such, it is recommended to stick with the HLE RSP for GLideN64.
- Core: ParaLLEl-N64
- Video: Glide64
- RSP: HLE
- For slow, low-end devices and old PCs only. If further speed is desired or needed, you may try glN64 or Rice, but using them comes at a steep cost in compatibility and accuracy, and many low-end devices in use today ought to be able to handle Glide64 just fine (well, with the exception of certain underpowered "retro gaming" handhelds).
- Core: Mupen64Plus-Next
- Video: Angrylion
- RSP: CXD4
- Just like the developers intended! If you want to go all out, set the CPU core to Pure Interpreter, turn off multi-threading and set thread sync level to High in Angrylion's options for the real 30 VI/s experience. Closest you'll get to real hardware until a complete cycle-accurate N64 emulator surfaces.