|Current developer(s)||Project64 Team|
|Latest version||3.0.1 [+]|
|BIOS/Keys||Required for 64DD|
Project64 is a free and open source, plugin-based Nintendo 64 emulator.
|Official Public releases|
|Official Nightly builds|
|Unofficial dev builds|
Compiled by emucr, may contain old/deprecated plugins
Includes PJ64 1.6, PJ64 2.1 and various other plugins
Recommended for 64DD emulation
It first came out as a purely experimental emulator by developers zilmar and Jabo. It quickly revolutionized the N64 emulation landscape. For many years afterward, it was considered to be the best N64 emulator, with only Mupen64 and 1964 posing any real competition. By version 1.6, it was touted as being not only highly compatible but also the most stable of the lot.
However, upon announcing the development of version 1.7, the project became closed off to most of the public. The only way to keep up with the latest developments was to donate $20 to obtain beta testing privileges. However, there were several development version leaks, most of which turned out to be unstable, prone to crashes, and full of performance and compatibility regressions, which cast doubt upon the competency of the developers. Upon Jabo's departure from the project in 2011, most people came to regard Projec64 as being stuck in development limbo, if not completely dead.
In 2013, however, zilmar, now the lone developer of Project64, released version 2.0, including its complete source code. Quickly afterward, version 2.1 was released. However, these versions proved to be a mixed bag in comparison to the older, long-standing 1.6 release, and even the leaked 1.7 betas in some respects. Several compatibility issues were fixed, and the interface was cleaned up, but the default plugins were largely inferior to earlier iterations, and even the core itself saw compatibility regressions in some games. And though the source had been made public, there was no public repository for developers to contribute fixes or pull requests, resulting in the project to becoming dormant again.
In 2015, zilmar created a public Project64 repository on GitHub, at last opening the gates for public contributions. Development picked up at break-neck speed and has yet to cease. Many of the issues with earlier versions of Project64 have now been fixed. It has been mostly ported to 64-bit, and there is even an effort underway to make it more portable and eventually work on non-Windows platforms.
As of 2022, PJ64 has been getting ready for the 4.0.0 stable release, and thus the nightly builds are going through a major overhaul. Users should either be careful of potential regressions when installing a new nightly, or stick with 3.0.1 while waiting for the stable release.
Malware and nagware
Up to version 2.2, the official installer for PJ64 included opt-out malware in the installer. In July of 2016, the malware was removed from both the source code and installers. However, version 2.3 introduced a benign but irritating nagware screen that pops up when launching PJ64 after starting it multiple times, which grows more persistent with successive launches as a forced waiting period is installed. You can type "thank you from project64" as the notification code, or disable it by modifying
project64.cfg to appear as follows:
[Support Project64]Run Count=-1
Version 184.108.40.2065 introduced a new method, with a per-machine ID that gets generated on the user side and requests a confirmation code associated with it. You can avoid it thanks to this script by Rosalie241.
Windows 10 BSOD
Following the stable release 2.0, Windows 10 users had a high likelihood of encountering a BSOD upon attempting to run Project64. This was fixed before the release of version 2.3, so Windows 10 users are encouraged not to use versions 2.0–2.2.
- Main article: Recommended N64 plugins
Project64 used to ship with Jabo's video and audio plugins, and for many years, used them as defaults (along with his input plugin). These plugins are closed-source, haven't been updated since the 1.7 days, and even have regressions compared to Jabo's 1.6.1 versions. However, Project64 now defaults to its own branded video, audio, and input plugins that are a fork of Glide64, a new audio plugin loosely based on Azimer's and mupen64plus's code, and original respectively. It additionally ships with GLideN64 and N-Rage's input plugin, both of which are recommended over the defaults. Users may still prefer additional plugins for accuracy or feature set, such as Angrylion video, Azimer's audio, and HatCat's RSP interpreter.
Uses Kaillera or AQZ.