Archivi dell'autore: MayImilae

Dolphin Progress Report: April 2016


Things have slowed down, but, that's a good thing. As we hopefully enter the final days of the 4.0 era, there are simply less changes being merged. Dolphin is under a feature freeze, and with few bugs remaining, developers have become exceedingly picky about what can be safely merged into the emulator. So we apologize for the lack of updates, but we promise it will be worth it. To make up for the lack of content, here's another weird game we sent to JMC47 in order to torment him. Enjoy that along with this month's notable changes.


Sesame Street: Cookie's Counting Carnival

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Dolphin Progress Report: March 2016


It's April Fool's day which means that the internet is full of fake articles, products, videos, and images meant to fool users into thinking they're real. We decided to do things a little differently here at the Dolphin Blog, instead of making the users our fool, we decided it would be JMC47. See, JMC47 has been going through the trouble of getting as many games possible to gain a stranglehold on the issue tracker/wiki help with testing and issue verification. In the past, he's made videos of the games he's come across upon his own will, which led to videos like the one on Speed Racer. delroth ended up finding a game so spectacularly weird that JMC47 not only had to play it, he had to record his experience. Welcome to Gummy Bears MiniGolf presented in glorious 1080p HD!


Gummy Bears Minigolf

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Dolphin Progress Report: February 2016


Another month rolls by and now the feature freeze is starting to take a toll on the new features. Aside from Android and D3D12 development, which have an exception from the feature freeze, most of the changes this month were either relatively small or involved Dolphin 5.0 blocker bugs. Progress on the eventual Dolphin 5.0 release is very promising, with over half of the remaining blocking issues with fixes pending! While there is still quite a bit of work to do, we hope this month's notable changes, featuring some oft requested tweaks, will tide people over until the feature freeze is over.

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Dolphin Progress Report: January 2016


With Dolphin in the thick of the 5.0 feature freeze, things were expected to slowdown a bit. Some of us were worried there wouldn't even be enough content for a Progress Report! Alas, while the gears have shifted toward different things to prepare for a release, there is no shortage of interesting changes. As an added bonus a feature implemented three years ago was rediscovered! That kind of thing just seems to happen over the course of a project.

Work toward Dolphin 5.0 has continued; but, a lot of these cleanups have come at a cost. There have been some noteworthy regressions (notably with netplay) and through testing we've noticed some broken features that have been working incorrectly for some time. As Dolphin approaches its next release, we hope that users will continue to update to the latest dev builds and test for regressions and issues so they can be caught before 5.0 is in everyone's hands.

Something to notice about this Progress Report is that we heavily leaned on Dolphin's FIFOCI infrastructure for screenshots and examples. These images were automatically generated on a server without user interaction and were taken from the exact same frame of instructions sent to the emulated GameCube/Wii GPU. Of course, FIFOCI is limited to graphical bugs, and certain graphical bugs at that. Without FIFOCI, it's possible that these changes would not exist, or if they did, there wouldn't be an easy way to verify what they fixed. In the case of the Wrap Negative Indirect Texture Coordinates, it was developed as a fix for F-Zero GX, but FIFOCI discovered it also affected Skyward Sword.

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Dolphin Progress Report: December 2015


Happy New Year! Now for the big news. On January 7th, 2016, we will be entering a full feature freeze in preparation for the Dolphin 5.0. A feature freeze is basically a period where we all devote ourselves to doing testing and fixing regressions to move us toward the Dolphin 5.0 release, and we've had one for every release we've done! During the feature freeze, no new "features" can be added to the emulator, and only bug fixes can be applied to master. Does that mean there won't be blog updates? No! The show must go on, and the Progress Report will monitor the fixes as they come in, plus there will be articles in the interim about the remaining bugs, some of the great features added since Dolphin 4.0, or just some articles that we've been wanting to put up and never have time.

But the feature freeze hasn't started yet! We have a nice full month of updates for you in this month's Progress Report.

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Dolphin Progress Report: November 2015


Black Friday is a day when many gamers splurge for deals on their favorite games and consoles. For Dolphin testing, this presents an opportunity for users and testers alike to get a lot of games for very, very cheap. So, in honor of that, here's a picture of a Black Friday haul. Thirty-three Wii games and a Drawesome tablet for fifty dollars isn't too shabby of a haul, plus other deals and markdowns grabbed throughout the week make for a monster pile of games to test!


Black Friday

Imagine the total cost of all of these games added together if you bought them new when they were released!


Note that even the marked down sticker tags are do not tell the full tale; many of the games were even cheaper than that once all the promotions kicked in! One tester has a very, very busy holiday ahead!

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Dolphin Progress Report: October 2015


A few months ago, we announced our intentions to work on and release Dolphin 5.0 with a new release method. By using a stable branch, we hoped to avoid doing a feature freeze so that devs could both work on new features and continue to stomp out regressions. Unfortunately... that didn't work. Users wanted the newest features to be in Dolphin 5.0, developers were confused on what features needed to go to what branches, and things more or less ended up not working out the way we hoped.

Sometimes, it's best to just admit a mistake and do things right, so, in order to provide users and developers with the clearest path for Dolphin 5.0, we will be restarting the Dolphin 5.0 release process from scratch. That means abandoning the stable branch (along with merging all unique fixes over into Master) and eventually implementing a full feature freeze in order to give time to close all regressions and make Dolphin 5.0 the special release it needs to be.

We hope that users are understanding of the delay. With that, let us continue with our regularly scheduled Progress Report action!

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Dolphin Progress Report: September 2015


After some minor delays, Dolphin's new issue tracker is up and running, with all of the old issues preserved and imported. It hasn't taken long for things to heat up on our new tracker despite trying to keep it on the down low while it was being tweaked. A mixture of delays with the issue tracker and new bugs in our stable branch cropping up has pushed back the Dolphin 5.0 release out of September. When will it be released? Well, it all depends on when all critical bugs and regressions are stomped out of the stable branch. In order to prevent a fiasco, it's better to report these regressions now rather than after release. No one wants another 4.0.1 and 4.0.2 situation on their hands.

As the release candidates drag on, we've noticed that many users are assuming that 5.0 release candidate builds are newer than development builds. Please remember, the 5.0 release candidates are based on 4.0-6727, and only have bug fixes applied beyond that. Almost all of the new features from July's progress report onward ARE NOT in the stable branch unless they are a regression fix. For new features, the development builds are still recommended. Speaking of the newest features...

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Dolphin Progress Report: August 2015


If you count the number of notable changes throughout August, you may think it was a down month. Aside from a flurry of Dolphin ARM updates, there really wasn't much to choose from. A lot of the major projects remaining on the emulator are multi-month affairs, so contributors seemingly disappear from the progress reports for months only to return with a bang. Then there's Sonicadvance1, who keeps trucking on with Dolphin ARM on an almost daily basis. Despite the miniscule number of big additions, the big ones this month more than made up for the lack of volume. It's actually kind of nice for the blog staff to not have to fight over which changes get in once in a while, too!

With that, let's dig into this month's notable changes!

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The New Era of HLE Audio


In early 2013, Dolphin had began its first steps in a new focus on accurate emulation. The 3.5 release represented a shift in the emulator's focus, and as such, saw great improvements in terms of compatibility and accuracy over the previous release. But one area that stuck out like a sore thumb during this era was the quality of High Level Emulation (HLE) audio. Hundreds of games suffered from crashes associated to audio, and thousands had significant problems, with missing effects, incorrect volume, and random bursts of noise.

The problems of HLE were systemic, deeply rooted problems within its design, and would require a complete rewrite in order to solve. Rewriting HLE audio was always a priority, but the daunting task to reverse engineer, implement, and test kept most developers away. So instead they pursued Low Level Emulation (LLE) to great success. LLE audio worked so well, the developers were able to avoid the mess of HLE and more or less just tell users to dump a GameCube/Wii DSP-ROM and use that instead. The problem with that option is performance: LLE audio is incredibly demanding, especially when the DSP is being strained by many sound effects.

This situation finally changed right after Dolphin 3.5 when delroth merged New-AX-HLE-GC, a rewrite of the most common microcode (µcode) for GameCube games, AX-GC. Thousands of bugs disappeared over night and stability increased greatly. While previously there was argument among developers that HLE audio bugs could be ignored because of the option for LLE, as tens of thousands of users finally experienced accurate audio for the first time it became apparent just how important HLE audio truly was. Later in the year, the AX-HLE rewrite was expanded to Wii games in a second cleanup. The ability for users to use HLE audio for most games instead of LLE audio resulted in one of the greatest performance increases in Dolphin's history!


The Non-AX µcode Games

While over 99% of GameCube and Wii titles use the AX µcode, there are a small number of games that use a different µcode. The "Zelda µcode”, named after its exclusive use in Nintendo-created titles, represents only a tiny portion of the total games Dolphin can play; but those games are some of the most popular and interesting games on the GameCube and Wii.



The Zelda µcode games, in release order

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