PCSX2

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PCSX2
PCSX2-Logo.png
Developer(s) PCSX2 Team
Latest version 1.6.0 [+] (Stable)
Active Yes
Platform(s) Windows, Linux, macOS
Emulates PlayStation 2
PlayStation
Compatibility Compatibility list
Website PCSX2.net
Support ($) GitHub Sponsor
License GNU LGPLv3 (1.7+)[1]
Source code GitHub
Issue tracker GitHub (official), GitHub (unofficial)
BIOS/Keys Required

PCSX2 is an open-source PlayStation 2 emulator for Windows and Linux. Since 2016, it has also supported the PlayStation 2's backward compatibility mode for PlayStation games.[2]

Download

Windows Linux Stable builds
Windows Linux macOS Nightly builds
Windows Orphis dev builds
macOS Dev builds

Android AetherSX2 Port

Note that the stable builds are severely outdated. You should use the nightly/dev builds instead unless they contain regressions.

System requirements

See Computer_specifications#PCSX2.

Windows XP/7/8.1 Compatibility

Despite Windows 7 and 8.1 NOT being officially supported, 1.7-dev builds (up to version v1.7.3581) of PCSX2 can work with a few workarounds. You'll need:

For starters, extract PCSX2 in a folder and then extract the 64-bit dxvk: d3d11.dll and dxgi.dll OR extract Reshade.exe: and rename "reshade64.dll" to "dxgi.dll" and then move this file next to the main PCSX2 executable. You'll also need to select Cubeb as the audio renderer. Otherwise, it'll crash with XAudio. And lastly, always pick between Vulkan, OpenGL and Software. D3D11/D3D12 can crash occasionally, and it won't function as intended anyways. Don't expect any official support if you post logs showing you're using Windows XP, 7, 8, or 8.1.

For Windows XP, use this build. You don't need workaround for this build. Note that this build does not include the Direct3D9 renderer (or any DirectX rendering). If you want to use the old D3D9 renderer, you will need to use the official build 1.4.0 which is the last to officially support Windows XP.

Latest wxWidgets build (but its not compatible with Win7, 8 and 8.1 workaround because of fast memory implementation): v1.7.3771.

Setup

Gamepad

Native DS3 controls with LilyPad-SCP - Import this with the 'Load Bindings' button in LilyPad's config.

Either that, or you can use the Pokopom XInput Plugin. If you use a DualShock controller running under an XInput wrapper such as SCP Server, then this plugin is a no-brainer. It's very customizable, and you don't have to configure it beforehand. All of the buttons are bound at startup.

Video

Most of the video options should be straightforward, with the possible exception of interlacing modes. Many games will run fine with 'None', while others may experience artifacting or jitter. "Auto" is recommended.

  • "Sawtooth" is not recommended at all. Artifacting is far too heavy to be usable.
  • "Bob" has reduced artifacts, but jitter can still occur.
  • "Blend" has the least amount of jitter. However, it can cause blurriness. The Blend interlacer does frame-blending. This is also known as motion blur. This means that if there is heavy jitter, the video output will be extremely blurry since the two jittering frames will blend together. Only use this interlacing method as a last resort.

You can cycle through the options with F5 to quickly test them out.

To completely eliminate the de-interlacing issue, the community has made patches/hacks for a lot of games that can be loaded through a .pnach file, like a cheat code. Those can be found in the PCSX2 wiki or forums.

Another method to get around this in older versions (custom res as an option was removed) is by running GSdx in hardware rendering, doubling the vertical resolution (if a game displays 640x480 on the emulator window, set vertical res to 960) and selecting bob-tff for interlacing. This can eliminate interlacing artifacts in most cases, although issues with upscaling, as well as using hardware emulation over software, can arise.

Overview

PCSX2 was originally created in 2001 by Linuzappz and Shadow as the successor to PCSX, another PlayStation emulator. Development of PCSX ceased on September 17, 2003, to focus on PCSX2. When version 0.9.8 was released in May 2011, only 55% of the PS2's library was considered supported.[3]

A significant number of quality-of-life changes have come about since the project moved to GitHub, with a renewed interest in bringing it up to par with emulators for similar-gen consoles. Until mid-2021, PCSX2 was a holdout of the plugin system, despite development of each plugin eventually consolidating into the main repository. While the stable 1.6.0 build still contains the plugin API, the nightlies no longer have it, as it was removed entirely in PR 4436. Compatibility has also seen major improvements across the board, to the point where every game at least boots. As of January 2022, 98% of the PlayStation 2 library is considered playable, although only 26 games are marked as perfect.

A pull request adding x86_64 support was opened on June 7, 2020, and both 32-bit and 64-bit builds for Windows, macOS, and Linux were first made available on July 4.[4] The plan is to reduce so-called "technical debt", including game-specific hacks that cause accuracy issues and bugs in the 32-bit builds, as well as broaden support for more platforms and devices such as ARM64 chips.

A pull request removing x86 support was opened on December 9, 2021, and the last 32-bit build and first 64-bit-only build were made available on March 19, 2022.

PCSX2 is also able to run PS1 games by emulating the original hardware's built-in backward compatibility. Unfortunately, there's some PS1 software that doesn't run correctly (if at all) on a real PS2 and therefore is unlikely to be compatible with this emulator either, so you'll still need a more straightforward PS1 emulator for those. PCSX2's PS1 support is inaccurate even compared to a real PS2, and it was largely added as a proof-of-concept and is only really useful for novelty purposes.

Issues

Main thread: PCSX2 General Troubleshooting FAQ

Automatic game fixes

Whenever you encounter any kind of bug that isn't graphical in nature, objects going through other objects, untargetable objects that should be targetable or A.I. freezing, for example, make sure that the automatic game fixes option from the system menu is activated.

Major graphical glitches

Graphical problems such as corrupted textures, missing effects, clipping light sources, burn-in or transparent objects being opaque can usually be solved by switching to the software renderer by pressing F9 while the game is running or via GSdx's config panel. If using the Direct3D 11 renderer, try the OpenGL renderer, as it may be more accurate. If you're using a stable build, try switching to the most recent nightly or dev build. Newer development builds of the emulator may have fixes or other features added to the hardware renderers, which remove common glitches like red or green bars appearing on the screen.

Poor performance in software mode

Many games will require you to switch to software mode to fix various issues, albeit at the cost of a significant performance loss. However, an easily overlooked setting in the graphical plugin configuration panel, extra rendering threads, might help lessen the performance loss if you have a quad-core or higher CPU. It is recommended to set it to the number of cores in your CPU minus one if you aren't using the MTVU speed hack or minus two if you are (ex: if you are using a quad-core CPU, you should set this number to 3 without MTVU and 2 with MTVU). The process described above is partially automated in recent development versions of PCSX2, but you might still need to tweak it to get optimal performance levels

Multi-threaded microVU

Multi-threaded microVU (MTVU), while generally a very useful speed hack, might sometime cause minor problems like hanging and absence of performance gain, or more severe ones like massive performance hits, save-state corruption (PCSX2 keeps a backup you can load with Shift+F3 in case any issues arise), or just plain crashing.

Crashes

Crashes could be the result of several things. Switching between hardware and software rendering rapidly is likely to cause the emulator to lock up. This can be easily avoided by waiting a few seconds after switching between hardware and software rendering before switching again. If your GPU drivers also crash simultaneously (or you get massive graphical corruption on your desktop and/or a BSOD while trying to run a game), this means you're either using outdated drivers, or you're trying to use an AMD card with the OGL renderer and Blending Accuracy set to none, in which case, either set it to basic or higher or use the DX11 renderer instead. in which case either set it to basic or higher or use the DX11 renderer instead. If the log warns you about TLB miss, you are either:

  • Using a bad dump of a game, in which case you'll need to re-rip your disc or re-download the game you are trying to play.
  • Playing the game directly from your DVD drive, in which case you should rip the game and play using the .iso instead (it's not advised to play directly from your DVD drive).
  • Trying to play a game that isn't supported by the emulator, in which case you cannot do anything except trying another version of the game (PAL or NTSC-J, for example).
  • Trying to play a game with a massive, or in some cases, any EE overclock applied, in which case turn it back down in the speed hack menu.
  • You need to check the Wiki to see if the game requires any specific settings regarding the Clamping Mode of the EE/VU.
  • Cheats used in the game's .pnach file are invalid.

If PCSX2 still crashes after doing all of the above, check that you aren't using any speed hacks and that your system is stable and not overheating. Especially if you're overclocking.

Extreme fluctuation in emulation speed

The large fluctuation in emulation is often caused by the games themselves and cannot be avoided, but there are a handful of cases where this is caused by specific configuration issues.

  • Using a large internal resolution multiplier on a low-end GPU, even if the game runs mostly fine, can cause the emulator to suddenly need to do a lot of cumbersome operations on the VRAM. Low-end GPUs tend to have much lower VRAM bandwidth and will get crushed by that. This is especially true when using Large Framebuffer and even more so when using the OGL renderer. Obviously, the only real fix is turning the resolution down and disabling Large Framebuffer if possible
  • Playing games directly from the original DVD using a disc drive, in which case you should rip the game and play using the .iso instead
  • Having the Blending accuracy set too high in the OGL renderer (Full and Ultra mostly)
  • Using EE overclock in some games

Intermittent warped audio

Due to how the synchronizing function of the audio plugin works, even when running games on a computer capable of going way above 100% speed in a stable fashion, random bits of time-stretched audio can be heard occasionally or even frequently. There are, however, a few ways to work around that issue.

  • Set the audio syncing method to Async Mix (can cause A/V sync issue, not recommended with rhythm games), do not set it to None as it basically does the same thing as Async Mix but has more issues
  • Unlock the PCSX2 framerate limiter and use an external one, such as MSI Afterburner

Blurriness

It's either interlacing or a filter in the game itself. For the former, switching the de-interlacing mode with F5 may help and cause flicker or screen shaking. For the latter, hacks are required. Either Aggressive-CRC if the game is listed there, or skipdraw (toy with the numbers 1-100) might work otherwise.

Black lines

Black lines are caused by scaling to a non-integer internal resolution (anything other than Yx Native), texture filtering (Try anything that isn't bilinear (Forced), improperly offset textures (TC Offset, Wild Arms Offset hacks, Half-Pixel Offset), or improperly handled texture edges (Merge Sprite hack, Sprite/Round Sprite combobox). The native resolution, for the most part, fixes these issues. However, software rendering may be required as well.

Special hardware

Pressure-sensitive buttons

Main article: PlayStation_2_emulators#Pressure_Sensitive_Buttons

Lightgun support

Lightgun support was available in the PCSX2 emulator via a third-party plugin called nuvee.[5] This is no longer relevant since the removal of the plugin system, now PCSX2 handles lightgun support by itself.

Multiplayer on PCSX2

See PlayStation 2 emulators#Hardware features and accessories -> LAN or Network Adapter sections, also you can use LAN tunelling for offline multiplayer play.

References

  1. Bositman (November 24, 2021). AetherSX2 brings PCSX2 to mobile. PCSX2.net.
  2. https://github.com/PCSX2/pcsx2/pull/1571
  3. refraction (November 25, 2010). The History of PCSX2. PCSX2.net.
  4. PCSX2 now has a 64-bit version. Reddit (2020 Jul 04)
  5. https://lightgungamer.com/pcsx2

External links