Wii U emulators

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Revision as of 10:22, 31 May 2024 by Ahayri (talk | contribs) (Enhancements)
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Nintendo Wii U
Wii U.png
Developer Nintendo
Type Home video game console
Generation Eighth generation
Release date November 2012
Discontinued January 2017
Predecessor Wii
Successor Switch
Emulated
For emulators that run on the Wii U, see Emulators on Wii U.

The Wii U is an eighth-generation console released by Nintendo on November 18, 2012, at $349.99. It has a 3-core IBM PowerPC CPU at 1.24 GHz with 2 GBs of RAM and an AMD Radeon GPU. It is the first console by Nintendo to output high-definition (HD) resolutions, such as 720p and 1080p. It includes a tablet-like controller, known as the Wii U GamePad, to provide certain additional gameplay. Notably, it can play all Wii games as well as support the Wii Remote controllers for native Wii U games.

Emulators

Name Platform(s) Latest Version Enhancements Hardware features
and peripherals
Compatibility FLOSS Active Recommended
PC / x86
Cemu Windows Linux macOS Artifacts
2.0-88
Flathub
~ ~ 53%
Decaf Windows Linux git
Kinnay Linux git
Mobile / ARM
Cemu Android 1.0 (source only) ~ ~ ? roadmap


Comparisons

Cemu
An initially closed-source Wii U emulator created in October 2015, regularly updated every 2 to 5 weeks. It can run a sizeable amount of games. As of 2022, Cemu is no longer in the experimental stage, it's now fully open-source, and a macOS port has been released.
Decaf
Can boot some commercial games. It's developed sporadically.
Kinnay
Emulates the Wii U processors and hardware at the lowest level. It's able to emulate all the way through boot1, IOSU, and Cafe OS up to the Wii U menu. Written by the leading Decaf developers, exjam and kinnay.

Hardware features and peripherals

There are two types of Microphones for the Wii U, the most common being the Gamepad and the other being a standalone Microphone. Not sure what's the difference between them, should they be distinguished? Famicom also has two Microphones, one is the old Famicom's P2 controller, and the other is a handheld Microphone, but they should be completely different, because no one uses the P2 Microphone to play Karaoke games

Name cemu
DS mode ~
Wii U Menu ~*
Virtual Console *
Wii Mode / vWii
Wii U Optical Disc
Connectivity Nintendo Network
SpotPass/StreetPass ?
Inputs Motion Controls (Gyro) ~
GamePad Screen *
GamePad Speaker
GamePad Microphone
Camera
IR sensor
NFC ~[N2 1]
Keyboard ?
Amiibo ~*
Skylanders Portal of Power ~
LEGO Dimensions Toy Pad ~
  1. Cemu allows to load NFC tag from file, but it's not possible to scan NFC tag in real-time via NFC reader.

DS mode

Currently, SSimco's Cemu Android port does not do any optimization for DS mode, and certainly does not support sensors. Cemu's Dual Screen is just two separate windows with no more advanced settings.

What's DS mode? TV is top screen, Gamepad is bottom screen. So they're dual screen. (example: https://www.nintendoworldreport.com/media/30499/1/28.png)

  • Swap Screen
  • Screen Layout: Left Right or Up Down (Default)
  • Rotate Screen: Screen 1: 0 (Default), 90°, 180°, -90° or Screen 2: -360°, -270°, -180°, -90°, 0, 90°, 180°, 270°, 360°, Custom, Sensor (Default)

NOTE: Sensor degrees from -360° to 0 to 360°, your device must support gyroscope, accelerometer, touch screen, second screen (optional) and Stylus for drawing games (optional). Mesen's developer once said that screen rotation is for homebrew games. But in fact, there are a few game developers like Treasure who have thought of this. Ikaruga is a NAOMI arcade game. In order to give players an experience close to the arcade version, its Dreamcast port actually allows players to rotate the screen, and its Switch port also allows players to rotate the screen.

  • Hide Screen: Screen 1 or Screen 2 or Off (Default)
  • Disable Screen: Screen 1 or Screen 2 or Off (Default)
  • Screen Spacing: 0 (Default), Auto, Custom

NOTE: Auto is maximum value from Top to Bottom calculated based on aspect ratio and resolution, including rotating monitors

Cemu's Android port and DS / 3DS emulators require these;

  • Orientation (Android): Portrait (Default) or Landscap or Auto
  • Screen Position (Android): Left, Right, Center, Top (Default), Bottom
  • Status Bar or Notch and Navigation Bar (Android): Top Bar: On (Default for Notch), Off or Bottom Bar: On, Off (Default)
  • Hide Gamepad Virtual Controller (Android): Left Side, Right Side, Bottom Side, Both Sides, All Sides, Off (Default)

NOTE: Checkbox required. If you think of the Microphone as a button, it's at the bottom

  • Rotate Gamepad Virtual Controller (Android): -360°, -270°, -180°, -90°, 0, 90°, 180°, 270°, 360°, Custom, Sensor (Default)

Unlike the DS and 3DS, the Wii U's two screens are not one piece, so two rotations are necessary.

Wii Mode

Wii Mode
WiiBrew: vWii

The Wii U is compatible with all Wii games and Wii accessories such as the Wii Remote (Plus), Wii Nunchuk, and the Wii Balance Board. It is possible to migrate most downloaded software and save files from a Wii to a Wii U.

Also it supports Wii games that allow you to connect to the DS if you're gonna play them on the WiiU.[1]

The Wii U is not compatible with GameCube discs or accessories, although a homebrew application for Wii Mode exists that enables GameCube hardware and GameCube controller support. A USB GameCube controller adapter with four ports was released exclusively for use with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and does not support any other Wii or Wii U games.[2]

Wii U Optical Disc

The Wii U Optical Disc (WUP-006) is the retail physical game medium for the Wii U, with a capacity of 25 GB. There is no 50 GB dual layer version. The Wii U system software is backwards compatible with Wii Optical Discs, but not with GameCube game discs. The Wii U Optical Discs differ in appearance from most other optical discs in that they have soft, rounded edges.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated, "Wii U does not have DVD or Blu-ray playback capabilities. The reason for that is that we feel that enough people already have devices that are capable of playing DVDs and Blu-ray, such that it didn't warrant the cost involved to build that functionality into the Wii U console because of the patents related to those technologies". Like with the GameCube and Wii optical discs, it was chosen by Nintendo to prevent copyright infringement of games, to reduce cost by avoiding licensing fees to the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), and to reduce loading times. This also prevents the console from being modified into a DVD or Blu-ray movie player.[1]

  • cemu has no support for Wii U discs, PC optical drives can't read Wii U discs anyway.
  • See this dedicated page for more information about home media playback support for emulation softwares.
  • See Ripping_games.

Skylanders Portal of Power

Cemu can communicate to the USB device directly if you have the Skylanders portal even though currently it has minor issues. There is no official Skylanders portal emulation for Cemu at the moment, but you can use this unofficial modified version which has an emulated portal of power included.

There is a pull request for adding "Skylanders Portal of Power" emulation to cemu though.

LEGO Dimensions Toy Pad

cemu can communicate to the USB device if you have the Toy Pad. Just like RPCS3 there is no Toy Pad emulation for the cemu at the moment but you can use LD-ToyPad-Emulator for that.

Enhancements

Name cemu
Graphics Resizable Internal Resolution
Ultrawide hack
Widescreen already supported on Wii U system.
But there is no support by system for render games in other ratios such as ultrawide 21:9 or super ultrawide 32:9.
Texture packs
Ray-tracing
(DXR, VRT and MRT)
Implementing ray-tracing in an emulator is unfortunately quite challenging and unlikely to be feasible in the near future.
However you can try "Screen-Space Ray Traced Global Illumination" shader using ReShade.[2]
Pre-rendering AA
(MSAA, SSAA)
Super-resolution techniques
(DLSS, XeSS and FSR 2+)
Requires access to the depth buffer and temporal data like motion-vectors so it's quite challenging and unlikely to be feasible in the near future.
Besides any GPU that can use DLSS can run cemu at 4k native anyway.
RTX Remix Implementing RTX Remix technology in an emulator is unfortunately quite challenging and unlikely to be feasible in the near future.
Besides, cemu already supports some of RTX Remix features.
On top of that you can use ReShade for post-processing.
Performance Overclock
Internal Framerate Hack
Frame generation technologies
(LSFG, DLSS-G, ExtraSS and AFMF)
Implementing frame generation technology in an emulator is unfortunately quite challenging and unlikely to be feasible in the near future, however post-processing techniques such as motion interpolation is quite possible. Input latency will be a crucial factor, but its impact likely varies depending on the specific technique employed, it's recommended to use after applying the "Internal Framerate Hack".
While AFMF or LSFG can be used with cemu, please be aware that some visual glitches and artifacts may occur at this time.
Preload optical disc image to RAM
For users with sluggish multi-platter HDDs or plagued by horrible seek times, this enhancement might offer smoother experience, potentially reduced power consumption; it also shines when disc images reside on a network drive.
Although keep in mind that preloading image would take some time, and it will require additional amount of RAM capacity.
Rendering latency reduction technologies
(LatencyFleX, Reflex and Anti-Lag+)
While most emulators offer frame pacing or framebuffer latency control options, implementing rendering latency reduction technologies isn't currently feasible. This is likely doesn't offer enough benefit to justify the development effort.
Post-Processing Post-rendering AA
(FXAA, TXAA and MLAA/SMAA)
~[N2 1]
Post-rendering scaling
(Sharp bilinear, Lanczos and FSR 1)
Filters [3]
AI-powered filter compatible
(Freestyle)
?
Shader Chain
Inverse tone mapping compatible ?
TAS features Macros/Scripts/Lua *
Rewind
Fast-Forward/Turbo Speed *
Savestates [4][5]
Movie recording/playback *
Controls Mouse Injector Compatible
Input lag-mitigating technique
Quality of life Streamable compression format
Built-in Graphics mod editor/manager
Built-in Cheat Manager ~[N2 2]
Built-in Custom resolution/CRTSwitchRes
For using this on Windows OS you need CRT Emudriver.
Another option is using EDID editor tool such as "Custom Resolution Utility".
N/A
Eighth gen home consoles and beyond only have digital video output anyway.
Per-Game Profiles *
Command Line Options *
Variable Refresh Rate compatible *
Big Picture Mode
Misc RetroAchievements
EmuVR support Exclusive to libretro cores. So there is no support.
AI Service
With the help of OCR and other techniques, the AI service can provide a live translation of a game, or text-to-speech capabilities for the visually impaired among other things, either on demand or automatically.
Exclusive to libretro cores at the moment. So there is no support.
Free Look
Free Look is a enhancement feature that allows manipulation of the in-game camera.
~[N2 3]
Debug Features ~*
  1. Possible if game has GraphicPacks for post-rendering AA.
  2. Use the graphics pack options to enable cheats in cemu. Right click on your game>select graphic packs, you'll get many other options there.
  3. Have to be done on a per game basis as the cemu didn't have a "Camera" feature like the Dolphin emulator at the moment, so look for game mods like botw-freecam. Also there is a feature request: free cam for cemu.

Cemu: PC to Mobile and Mobile to PC

Just like the real Wii U, you need two screens. The Android version of Cemu should also be able to transfer saves, DLC and other files to and from the PC version. Root/data/data/info.cemu.Cemu is inaccessible. Google has added restrictions to Android/data/info.cemu.Cemu, so files from Cemu PC version to Cemu Android or files from Cemu Android to Cemu Android can only be built into Cemu Android.

Nitrome once developed an application for smartphones called Touchy, which allows four players to control four characters in a Flash game. It also allows players to play Flash games using sensors. Obviously, one keyboard is not enough for four players, and many people are not satisfied with the sensor emulation. They usually need to use third-party software, other devices, or change the mouse input method.

The Wii U Gamepad is basically available on some Android phones, except for the physical keyboard. Touch screen (Multitouch), stylus (Samsung and Motorola), Microphone, Camera (Front and Back), IR, NFC, gyroscope and accelerometer

Therefore, in addition to transferring files between the Android version and the PC version of Cemu, it should also be used as a Gamepad. The game runs on the PC or mobile phone, and the game screens on the mobile phone and PC can be exchanged during the game. You may need to turn on Screen Cast. It would be better to have a rotating monitor. PC TV, Android Gamepad or Android TV, PC Gamepad

The current Cemu Android version of Microphone is just a button, and its developer has not added Android Microphone support. Unlike the Famicom, the Wii U Gamepad has many buttons, and Android Microphone permission is necessary. Camera (front and back) also require Camera permission just like the Android version of GBCC.

The current Cemu Android version has these device requirements. Version: 11 to 14, CPU: 64 bit ARM also known as arm64-v8a, preferably Qualcomm's Snapdragon. Sensor: Refer to Wii U Gamepad, which is currently not supported by the emulator. Touchscreen: Like the DS and 3DS, Multitouch is optional for Stylus, Multitouch is necessary for on-screen controller. Wi-Fi, USB Type-C and Bluetooth: transfer files, screen cast, third-party controllers may use these. Vulkan and GPU driver: not supported yet.

Dolphin support for Wii U

You might have read about an unofficial branch of Dolphin with Wii U support — but don't get your hopes up. While the PowerPC architecture in the Wii U is the same as the Wii and GameCube (this fact alone was the reason why Wii emulation was added to Dolphin. It was originally GameCube-only), this support is nothing more than the file viewer features (region, internal name, various info, list of files and folders inside ISO and a way to extract them) being expanded to Wii U disc images. Nothing has been done on the actual emulation front as far as Dolphin is concerned, and the Dolphin developers have said that they are not interested in adding Wii U support to Dolphin.