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Why can't PCs properly emulate 10+ year old games?

#1Rigby_RaccoonPosted 11/1/2013 12:17:17 AM
NOTE: I'm not discussing emulating itself, at all, just what the technical issues that keep it from being proper on PCs.

There are N64 games that can't even be ran properly on a high end rig, let alone a 360 or PS3 game! What is keeping PCs so far behind?
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#2daemon_danPosted 11/1/2013 12:20:17 AM
Most N64 games work fine. It's just that the way they were coded is so freaking strange, because the hardware wasn't like normal PC hardware. It's not so much that PCs can't do it, it's that people that dev emulators don't quite know how to code correctly for everything
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#3Bigj089Posted 11/1/2013 12:23:12 AM
Because someone touches themselves at night. As soon as you find out who the hooligan is and stop them, they will finally start working properly.
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#4PaukenPosted 11/1/2013 12:26:23 AM
Also depends heavily on the game. For example, Smash Bros will work on a toaster no problem, but a more obscure title might have gigantic issues preventing any attempt to clear it.

I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I know that even on consoles with more standard hardware like the Wii, a few games just don't wanna work, such as Metroid Prime Trilogy (good luck running that at a decent framerate :p ), or Excite Truck (damn glitchy sound, it kills that game for me).

And don't get started on Saturn emulation, it's a lost cause given how the hardware's so #%$&ing obscure that most games barely run on an i7 top-of-the-line processor, let alone the average joe's PC...
#5nIMr0D888Posted 11/1/2013 12:29:18 AM
Because the emulator developers haven't got access to the consoles schematics, so everything they do is basically a guessing game to get things to work.
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#6-CJF-Posted 11/1/2013 12:39:19 AM(edited)
There are several different reasons that some systems cannot be emulated correctly yet, including but not limited to, lack of interest, lack of documentation of the hardware, lack of computing power, HLE emulation glitches due to hacks, and more.

There are only two major N64 emulators that I know of as of right now, they are Project 64 and CEN64, a new cycle-accurate emulator that looks very promising. Both of these emulators are developed by individual programmers or a very small group of dedicated programmers in their spare time.

Emulation is very demanding of hardware because the instructions must be translated into commands that can be understood by the CPU. The more accurate the emulation, the more taxing it is on the system. LLE emulation of the Super Nintendo can bring an i5 2500k to its knees under certain circumstances. LLE emulation of anything more recent would be unplayable on current hardware. HLE emulation can make this possible, but at the cost of accuracy which often results in glitches. Some good examples of HLE emulators which use hacks to make emulation possible include PCSX2 (PS2) and Dolphin (NGC, Wii).

Pauken posted...
And don't get started on Saturn emulation, it's a lost cause given how the hardware's so #%$&ing obscure that most games barely run on an i7 top-of-the-line processor, let alone the average joe's PC...


Actually, Saturn emulation is pretty good now. SSF will run most games full speed on a single core. Any modern processor should be able to obtain full speed in SSF and the compatibility is great too.

The reason some obscure games don't run as well as mainstream titles is because some emulators use speed hacks to work around issues rather than fixing the root cause (which would requires LLE emulation in some cases). Naturally, the more popular titles are nearly flawless while the obscure titles may not have received proper attention.

As for games not working, try to remember that most emulators are a WIP. The fact that Wii emulation is even possible seems amazing to me considering how recent the console is. Dolphin is progressing at an amazing rate.
#7Tyranius2Posted 11/1/2013 12:33:09 AM
N64 is known to not be the most stable of emulators. Everything else works like a charm for almost every game.
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#8SenkoyPosted 11/1/2013 1:07:19 AM
Every console has it's challenges in terms of emulation I believe. I read that the PS2 was so hard to emulate because of how it was so critical for synchronization in the hardware (don't remember the details) and getting a PC to emulate that was very difficult since PCs didn't really work that way.

So it's not just about power, but it's also about figuring out how to make a PC 'pretend' to be that console to play the game correctly.
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#9KamenRiderBladePosted 11/1/2013 1:22:45 AM
It also doesn't help that normal people don't have access to all the detailed schematic diagrams of how every major chip / motherboard trace / minute detail works.

If there was public access to that proprietary information, you can make perfect emulators, but since you don't, it's alot of reverse engineering and guesswork.

If the old game companies really wanted, they could make PC emulators for their old systems, but the demand for such things isn't there, so nobody will do it.
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#10KabtheMentatPosted 11/1/2013 1:38:17 AM
KamenRiderBlade posted...
It also doesn't help that normal people don't have access to all the detailed schematic diagrams of how every major chip / motherboard trace / minute detail works.

If there was public access to that proprietary information, you can make perfect emulators, but since you don't, it's alot of reverse engineering and guesswork.

If the old game companies really wanted, they could make PC emulators for their old systems, but the demand for such things isn't there, so nobody will do it.


There's plenty of demand. Otherwise people wouldn't use emulators at all. However the gaming companies understand they can resell you games you already have, or used to have, and make it super easy because of digital distribution. And now with Sony and Gaikai, streaming.
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