Dolphin Emulator

Dolphin is an emulator for two recent Nintendo video game consoles: the GameCube and the Wii. It allows PC gamers to enjoy games for these two consoles in full HD (1080p) with several enhancements: compatibility with all PC controllers, turbo speed, networked multiplayer, and even more!

Download Dolphin 4.0-7463 for Windows, Mac and Linux »

Compatibility »

Perfect: 11.7%
Playable: 72.3%
Starts: 13.4%
Intro/Menu: 1.7%
Broken: 0.9%

Latest articles

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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Dolphin Progress Report: July 2015


Since the release of Dolphin 4.0, things have advanced quite a bit. With compatibility rising to their highest levels yet alongside features that seemed impossible and extravagant, users have been asking about the next stable for almost a year now. For previous releases, including Dolphin 4.0, the staff mostly ceased work on new features while crashes and regressions were addressed. In the case of working toward Dolphin 5.0; there were just too many interesting and exciting features on the way to risk stalling out by asking developers to wait. So a release was delayed indefinitely.

So in mid-June, we decided to do things a little differently. Instead of slowing Dolphin down for a release, at 4.0-6727 we forked Dolphin into two branches. The development branch has continued forward as usual with all the bells and whistles without worrying about impeding the next release. Meanwhile, all commits relating to crashes, regressions, and other important fixes would not only be merged to master, but also to stable. This allowed the developers to continue developing the latest and greatest features, while still preparing a stable successor to Dolphin 4.0.

Today, we're happy to announce the first release candidate for Dolphin 5.0! Dolphin 5.0-RC is now on our Downloads page. These builds need to be heavily tested and any bugs; crashes or regressions found in Release Candidate builds should be tagged [RC] when reported to the issue tracker. While we will be switching issue trackers later this month, we intend to transfer all issues to a new tracker to make sure the hard work of our users throughout the years doesn't disappear.

Any future release candidates will be below the development builds on the download's page.

As to be expected until Dolphin 5.0 is complete, any non-essential crash fixes and features from this point forward will not be in the final release. For the latest and greatest features, the development builds are still your best option, and the Progress Report will keep on reporting what's new. With that, please enjoy this month's notable changes!

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Dolphin Progress Report: June 2015


As the twilight of the Dolphin 4.0 era approaches, code cleanup and regression hunting have become a high priority, fixing the serious and minor issues that have cropped up over the past year and a half that remain unaddressed. From remedial problems such as INI issues to Real Wiimotes issues on OS X, a lot of those important minor issues have been tackled. As if that wasn't enough, there are still exciting developments within several core features to keep users satiated in this month's Progress Report.

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