Mupen64Plus

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Mupen64Plus
Mupen64plus-r1.pnd.png
Developer(s) bsmiles32, Francisco Zurita, Milan Nikolic, Gilles Siberlin, littleguy77, Logan, Dorian Fevrier, Richard Goedeken
Latest version 2.5.9 [+]
Active Yes
Platform(s) Multi-platform
Emulates Nintendo 64
Website Mupen64Plus.org
License GNU GPLv2
Source code GitHub

Mupen64Plus is an open-source, multi-platform, plugin-based Nintendo 64 emulator that forks from and updates Mupen64. Its developers elected to move away from Zilmar's plugin spec and developed their own set, meaning plugins from other N64 emulators won't work with it. It also has a forked libretro core under active development.

Download[edit]

Windows Linux macOS Latest Stable/Beta releases

Windows Windows Dev builds
i686-w64 for x86, x86_64-w64 for x64
Android Mupen64Plus FZ
Beta port of Mupen64Plus to Android
Pandora 2.2
Port of Mupen64Plus to Pandora
Dragonbox Pyra 0.1
Port of Mupen64Plus to DragonBox Pyra
Windows Linux m64p
mupen64plus + Parallel RDP + a GUI

Review[edit]

Mupen64Plus, as released by the core development team, lacks a GUI. It is run either directly from the command line with arguments or by dragging and dropping ROM files onto the executable. Emulator and plugin settings are changed by editing the included mupen64plus.cfg file. If a GUI is desired and/or you don't want to bother with command lines or config files, there are several third party frontends and forks available that provide a more streamlined experience. See the Frontends section below for more.

Mupen64Plus uses its own plugin spec, so it is not compatible with plugins targeting the older zilmar plugin spec used by emulators such as Project64 unless they have been specifically ported to the new spec. However, just about every plugin worth using has now been ported or simultaneously targets both.

By default, Mupen64Plus applies a ton of audio buffering, causing extremely delayed audio, more so than most other emulators. This can be mitigated by lowering the buffer settings in the mupen64plus.cfg file, though lowering it too much will cause audio crackling. For improved audio latency and sync, consider using Mupen64Plus-Next through RetroArch.

Front-ends[edit]

This section will only cover frontends and packages that build on top of the regular mainline Mupen64Plus core and plugins. Multi-emulator programs such as BizHawk, OpenEmu and RetroArch also use a version of Mupen64Plus for their N64 emulation, though they do so by turning the emulator into a core that interfaces with the frontend through an API such as RetroArch's libretro. As such, their versions of Mupen64Plus are considered forks.

  • Front-ends
  • M64Py is highly recommended for a Mupen64Plus frontend. Not only does it come with everything set up, but it also comes with every plugin maintained by the Mupen64Plus development team plus GLideN64. This is great since it's very hard to find some of the plugins without compiling them from the source code. Sadly, it's not perfect, since the input config utility doesn't work with some gamepads.
  • mupen64plus-qt
  • mupen64plus-gui is a nice Qt5 GUI newly created in 2017. m64p is a package created by the same author, which combines recent builds of Mupen64Plus with the ParaLLEl-RDP and RSP plugins and Mupen64plus-gui. This is arguably the easiest works-out-of-the-box package for beginners, as there's nothing necessary to configure except controls, though this comes at the expense of not being able to use other plugins.
  • Rosalie's Mupen GUI is the newest up-and-coming GUI, and aims to provide both ease of use and a complete emulation package. Each release comes with a recent build of Mupen64Plus, RMG itself, and up-to-date builds of GLideN64, ParaLLEl-RDP, Mupen64Plus HLE RSP, and ParaLLEl-RSP, with the option of using other plugins as well. Unfortunately, with the exception of GLideN64, plugin configuration must still be done by editing the mupen64plus.cfg file.

Using Mupen64Plus[edit]

Windows

  1. First create this directory: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Mupen64Plus
  2. Copy all the .ini and .cfg files into this folder, then create a folder in there called "save".
  3. To play games, you can do the following:
    • Drag and drop your ROM onto mupen64plus.exe.
    • Alternatively, associate .n64/.z64/.v64 files to mupen64plus.exe via Default Apps, then double-click the ROMs to play them.
  4. You can change plugins and settings by editing the mupen64plus.cfg file.

Recommended plugin setups[edit]

Mupen64Plus has its own set of plugins, which are incompatible with plugins used in other emulators. The following is an overview of recommended setups.

Commonly used

  • Video: Glide64mk2
  • RSP: cxd4-ssse3
  • Glide64mk2 is just Glide64 with additional tweaks and enhancements for use with Mupen64Plus. The cxd4 plugin is a port of BatCat's RSP plugin for Project64. You will need to enable "DisplayListToGraphicsPlugin" in the cxd4-ssse3 settings for this to work. This appears to be the best combination for use with most games, though toasters may have performance issues. If the mk2 variant is too slow, try regular Glide64.

Best performance and graphics

  • Video: Rice
  • RSP: rsp-hle
  • These are Mupen64Plus's default plugins. Rice's Video is a plugin used on other N64 emulators, most known for its support for hi-res texture packs, now enhanced for Mupen64plus. It also has support for bilinear, trilinear, and anisotropic filtering, texture scaling, and up to 16x MSAA. It is not quite up to Glide64's level, but it does well enough for many games and is quite fast. The default RSP plugin appears to be just an enhanced port of vanilla Mupen64's RSP. Use this combination if you have a lower end PC and can't handle the Commonly Used setup.

Accuracy/Rogue Squadron

  • Video: z64
  • RSP: cxd4-ssse3
  • z64 is a port of z64gl, a low-level emulation video plugin for N64 emulators. It comes with its own accompanying z64 RSP, but cxd4 (a port of BatCat's RSP Interpreter plugin) appears to be more accurate and very well optimized. This setup is capable of playing difficult games like Rogue Squadron with very few graphical glitches, and it is faster than on Project64 to boot.