Difference between revisions of "Super Nintendo emulators"

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(Emulators: No SNES emulator can be cycle-accurate on the Wii. Not even one made by Nintendo.)
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* Many bugs and lacked functions for many games, see [[ZSNES#Review|ZSNES review]]
 
* Many bugs and lacked functions for many games, see [[ZSNES#Review|ZSNES review]]
 
* Polarizing Graphical user interface (loved by some, hated by others)
 
* Polarizing Graphical user interface (loved by some, hated by others)
 +
 +
==Satellaview Emulation==
 +
BS-X or Satellaview software was being broadcast to a special Japan-only hardware as temporary data to be deleted shortly after. As such, a wealth of games went undumped and lost forever.
 +
 +
Many of these games had Soundlink features and would have assets like streamed music and voice acting, as well as some data, but these have been lost forever, outside of video recordings and OST releases. These games will likely play without music on your emulator. The entirely fan-made MSU-1 feature on the higan emulator tries to replicate the BS-X Satellaview and unreleased SNES-CD concept for streamed music in SNES games far beyond the maximum cartridge capacity (12MB), but it's not the same thing.
 +
 +
Some games like BS Treasure Conflix make use of the additional RAM provided by the BS-X add-on. While you can try playing them on regular SNES emulators as regular emulators, you may face issues for many of these games (no font appearing, hangs with black screen...). You'll need Satellaview emulation to properly emulate those.
 +
 +
bsnes-sx2 and snes9x-sx2 are recommended. They use your PC clock with no option to modify it though - SNESGT had the option to modify the clock, but it wasn't updated for a while and isn't really recommended for SNES emulation in general. No$SNS has good BS-X emulation (and the best debugger tools for romhackers and translators) but falls behind the others when it comes to general emulation.
 +
 +
You'll need the BS-X BIOS to properly emulate the Satellaview. It goes as BS-X.bin under the BIOS folder when using snes9x-sx2. It has many variants - you'll want the translated one (with English text) with removed DRM (so that you can play a given broadcast without restrictions on how many times you can do so, like in the original hardware).
 +
 +
Whenever you open a BS-X compatible ROM (that wasn't modified to behave like a normal SNES game, like most BS Zelda translations were), you'll be greeted by the BIOS software - asking you to choose your name and avatar, which you can control in a city. Of course the St-GIGA broadcast service went defunct in 2000, so the big radio tower will just give you a "Hello Satellaview" test broadcast (you may be interested though in seeing how Nintendo used to do loading screens: to get to enjoy them without them shutting down instantly, open BSX0001-47.bin (bsxdat folder) in a hex editor and change at offset 0x06 that 0x30 to 0x00.) and most houses will be closed.
 +
 +
You'll want to enter the little red house you start in front of, and load the stored data. In some cases, you may have to wait a while before actual gameplay starts, or until a given time (on real hardware people would wait for up to 6 minutes).
 +
 +
{| class="wikitable"
 +
|+PC
 +
|-
 +
! scope="col"|Name
 +
! scope="col"|OS
 +
! scope="col"|Version
 +
! scope="col"|BS-X Emulation
 +
! scope="col"|[[Recommended emulators|Recommended]]
 +
|-
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[[bsnes]]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Windows
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[http://bsxproj.superfamicom.org/archive.htm sx2 v0.09] (based on v082)
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Cycle
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|✓✓
 +
|-
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[[Snes9x]]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Windows x86, x64
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[http://bsxproj.superfamicom.org/archive.htm sx2 0.02] (based on 1.53)
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|High
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|✓
 +
|-
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[[NO$SNS]]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Windows
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[http://problemkaputt.de/sns.htm 1.5 (2013)]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Mid
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|✓
 +
|-
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[[SNESGT]]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Windows
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[http://www.zophar.net/snes/snesgt.html 2.18 (2007)]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Mid
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|✗
 +
|-
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[[bsnes]] (higan)
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Windows, Linux
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[http://byuu.org/higan/ 0.94]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Cycle
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|✓
 +
|-
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[[BizHawk]] (bsnes)
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Windows
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[http://tasvideos.org/BizHawk/ReleaseHistory.html {{BizHawkVer}}]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Cycle
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|✗
 +
|-
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[[Mednafen]] (bsnes)
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|Multi-platform
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|[http://mednafen.sourceforge.net/releases/ {{MednafenVer}}]
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|High
 +
| style="text-align: center;"|✗
 +
|}
  
 
==Resources==
 
==Resources==

Revision as of 18:31, 24 January 2015

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is a 16-bit, 4th generation console released on 1990 in North America. In Japan, it was known as the Super Famicom. The Satellaview was a subscription based add-on released only in Japan that streamed content to the Super Famicom. The Super Game Boy was a peripheral designed to play Game Boy and black Game Boy Color cartridges on the Super Nintendo. Both the Satellaview and the Super Game Boy are supported by higan.

Emulation for the SNES is robust, with several high quality emulators for various systems, with some even being cycle accurate.

Emulators

PC
Name OS Version Libretro Core Accuracy Recommended
bsnes (higan) Windows, Linux 0.94 Cycle
Snes9x Multi-platform 1.53 High
BizHawk (bsnes) Windows 2.3.3 Cycle
Mednafen (bsnes) Multi-platform 1.24.0-UNSTABLE High
MESS Multi-platform 0.217 Low
Silhouette Macintosh 1.0 Low
ZSNES Multi-platform 1.51 Low
Mobile
Name OS Version Libretro Core Accuracy Recommended
Snes9x-Next* Multi-platform 1.53 Mid
Snes9x EX+ Android 1.5.19 Low
SuperGNES Android r89 Low
CATSFC* Multi-platform 1.36 Low

*Only available on mobile as a libretro core (e.g. RetroArch).

Console
Name OS Version Libretro Core Accuracy Recommended
Virtual Console Wii and Wii U n/a Very High
Snes9x-Next* Multi-platform 1.53 Mid
Snes9xTYL(me)cm Mod PlayStation Portable r26 Low
CATSFC Multi-platform 1.36 Low

*Only available on consoles as a libretro core (e.g. RetroArch).

Comparisons

1. bsnes (higan)

  • The most accurate of the bunch. Should play any and all commercially released games without trouble, assuming you have the power.
  • A Core 2 Duo at 2 GHz is the weakest I've seen run the balanced version full speed for most games.
  • Balanced works. You do NOT need the accuracy build for anything but one game. And it's just a missing shadow even for that.
  • ROM hacks designed around emulator quirks will most likely not work. Same as with real hardware.
  • LLE audio sounds amazing.

2. Snes9x

  • Compatible with most games, even many romhacks that make use of emulator quirks.
  • Fast enough for pretty much any toaster (think Pentium 1 or 2, yes I tested!)
  • LLE audio, same as bsnes's.
  • Often buggy graphical output and shader support in standalone
    • Driver/GPU dependent.
    • Remember those diagonal lines of offset across older 3D games on certain graphics cards? Yeah. Finding a picture.
  • Hit and miss controller support, especially when it comes to XInput devices.

3. RetroArch, which has bsnes, and Snes9x cores.

  • The same points as the emulators themselves
  • Amazing graphical output
    • At any resolution
    • At any fullscreen resolution and refresh rate
    • Vast shader support
  • Dynamic rate control kills off most any and all audio distortion, such as crackling.
  • Does not require Game Folders or anything like higan standalone.
  • Has a fork of SNES9x known as SNES9x-Next that is based on a WIP of SNES9x between 1.52 and 1.53 with some extra speedhacks so it runs full speed on a Wii, as well as a SuperFX overclock option.
  • Has a fork of bsnes known as bsnes-mercury, which aims to restore functionality like HLE DSP chip emulation and SGB emulation using Gambatte that was removed in later versions of bsnes, as well as have some optimizations that don't affect emulation accuracy. It also has an option to overclock SuperFX. Default options make it exactly the same as regular bsnes, with LLE DSP chip emulation enabled.

5. BizHawk

  • Useful for TAS (Tool Assisted Speedruns)
  • Written in C#, requires .NET 4.0
  • Windows-only

5. Mednafen

  • The SNES core is based on bSNES 059 which is rather old from 2010. It pre-dates the performance/balanced/accuracy builds. This version is much faster than the current version.
  • Missing many of the LLE audio improvements that newer versions of Snes9x and Higan use currently.
  • The version of bsnes that Mednafen is using is missing out on many accuracy updates that particularly impacts a few edge case games such as Air Strike Patrole. The signifigance of this game is it was one of two games known to manipulate the PPU mid-scanline and is notoriously difficult to emulate. Some of the problems Mednafen has versus newer cores is poorly rendered text, flickering lines near the bottom of the screen, and missing shadow during flight.
  • While acceptable for many games its recommended to use Snes9x, Higan, or RetroArch instead.

6. ZSNES

  • Will run full speed on very old x86 systems such as an early Pentium 1.
  • Romhacks were often designed around it's speedhacks and many won't work properly on anything else.
  • Though fans have modded this, it is basically a dead emulator with no future.
  • Many bugs and lacked functions for many games, see ZSNES review
  • Polarizing Graphical user interface (loved by some, hated by others)

Satellaview Emulation

BS-X or Satellaview software was being broadcast to a special Japan-only hardware as temporary data to be deleted shortly after. As such, a wealth of games went undumped and lost forever.

Many of these games had Soundlink features and would have assets like streamed music and voice acting, as well as some data, but these have been lost forever, outside of video recordings and OST releases. These games will likely play without music on your emulator. The entirely fan-made MSU-1 feature on the higan emulator tries to replicate the BS-X Satellaview and unreleased SNES-CD concept for streamed music in SNES games far beyond the maximum cartridge capacity (12MB), but it's not the same thing.

Some games like BS Treasure Conflix make use of the additional RAM provided by the BS-X add-on. While you can try playing them on regular SNES emulators as regular emulators, you may face issues for many of these games (no font appearing, hangs with black screen...). You'll need Satellaview emulation to properly emulate those.

bsnes-sx2 and snes9x-sx2 are recommended. They use your PC clock with no option to modify it though - SNESGT had the option to modify the clock, but it wasn't updated for a while and isn't really recommended for SNES emulation in general. No$SNS has good BS-X emulation (and the best debugger tools for romhackers and translators) but falls behind the others when it comes to general emulation.

You'll need the BS-X BIOS to properly emulate the Satellaview. It goes as BS-X.bin under the BIOS folder when using snes9x-sx2. It has many variants - you'll want the translated one (with English text) with removed DRM (so that you can play a given broadcast without restrictions on how many times you can do so, like in the original hardware).

Whenever you open a BS-X compatible ROM (that wasn't modified to behave like a normal SNES game, like most BS Zelda translations were), you'll be greeted by the BIOS software - asking you to choose your name and avatar, which you can control in a city. Of course the St-GIGA broadcast service went defunct in 2000, so the big radio tower will just give you a "Hello Satellaview" test broadcast (you may be interested though in seeing how Nintendo used to do loading screens: to get to enjoy them without them shutting down instantly, open BSX0001-47.bin (bsxdat folder) in a hex editor and change at offset 0x06 that 0x30 to 0x00.) and most houses will be closed.

You'll want to enter the little red house you start in front of, and load the stored data. In some cases, you may have to wait a while before actual gameplay starts, or until a given time (on real hardware people would wait for up to 6 minutes).

PC
Name OS Version BS-X Emulation Recommended
bsnes Windows sx2 v0.09 (based on v082) Cycle ✓✓
Snes9x Windows x86, x64 sx2 0.02 (based on 1.53) High
NO$SNS Windows 1.5 (2013) Mid
SNESGT Windows 2.18 (2007) Mid
bsnes (higan) Windows, Linux 0.94 Cycle
BizHawk (bsnes) Windows 2.3.3 Cycle
Mednafen (bsnes) Multi-platform 1.24.0-UNSTABLE High

Resources