Archives 2015

Relicensing Dolphin: The long road to GPLv2+


Since its resurfacing as an open source project in 2008, Dolphin has been licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2). This license, created in 1991, is still a fairly common license used in the open source world. But as with anything that deals with technology, times are changing at a rapid rate. More recent projects are using GNU Public License version 3 and Apache 2.0, for their additional freedoms, protections from outside liability, and improved inter-license compatibility. Unfortunately these newer licenses ...

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A Second Perspective: An In-Depth History of Stereoscopy in Dolphin


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Videogames are interactive experiences with emotional highs and lows, providing players with thrilling experiences alongside wondrous vistas. The greatest games can leave lifelong impacts on their players long after the controller is put down.

Emulators serve as a convenient way to relive those past experiences and rediscover hidden gems from one's childhood. But what if an emulator could not only recreate those moments, but enhance them by pushing the games you know and love to new heights? At what point do people say that the must-play experience of the game is not on the original console, but on an emulator?

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Dolphin Progress Report: April 2015


On the one year anniversary of the Dolphin Progress Report, we have a fairly slow month in terms of emulation development. While there are certainly some big things on the horizon, unfortunately development managed to hit one of the gaps where there were mostly some fix-ups and optimizations this month with only a few changes that users will notice.

With that, let's take a look at this month's notable changes.

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A Commemoration for Rachel Bryk

On Thursday, April 23rd, we lost part of our family. Rachel Bryk tragically died at just 23 years old.

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Dolphin Progress Report: March 2015

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Console add-ons and linking emulation are almost always difficult tasks. Worse yet, availability, software support, cost, and even popularity can limit the ability to get these hardware add-ons documented and emulated. While their are numerous examples spanning tons of consoles and their respective emulators, this month, we're talking about GameCube to Game Boy Advance Connectivity.

Timings and synchronization are a given on real hardware; games know how it's going to work and many expect it to always work perfectly. When it doesn't? Certain games break. Now imagine a synchronization task more complex than dualcore and netplay. That would be GBA to GCN connectivity.

When skidau took up the task of renovating Dolphin's connectivity to Visual Boy Advance-M, he knew that it would require not only work on the Dolphin side of things, but also VBA-M. Getting two completely different emulators to sync up (up to 5 instances!) and play nice was the heart of the issue. Months of prototype builds (over 60 total!) between Dolphin and VBA-M were tested and the best possible combination was chosen for high compatibility and reasonable performance. The result is Dolphin (and VBA-M) finally getting a taste of what this feature was like on console.

That, and much more, is featured in this month's progress report!

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Datel: Unlicensed Product Showcase

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Software licensing has been a way to control not only the quality of products for game consoles, but also limit what developers could do. From the Nintendo Entertainment System onward, Nintendo has used a variety of lockout chips and DRM in order to make sure all of the products on their consoles had the Nintendo Seal of Approval. Their efforts kept quality much higher than in the previous era of gaming, but did not completely stomp out all unlicensed products and games. For the GameCube, Wii, and many other consoles, Datel has been the most prominent producer of unlicensed hardware and software. They have survived a rough market to make a claim to fame with popular products such as Action Replay!

These range from extremely interesting utilities to minigame collections. So, enjoy a quick look at some of this rarely emulated software!


Unlicensed Datel Software Showcase

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Dolphin Progress Report: February 2015

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One of the topics of talk that have been hitting up message boards and social media is that of when the next official Dolphin release is coming up. So much has happened in the past year that it's kind of crazy. Huge speedups that hit the core of the emulator, crazy accuracy improvements, hundreds of games with higher compatibility ratings and much more. Most people by default recommend the latest development builds over Dolphin 4.0.2.

But a release build is about more than the latest and greatest features. It's about putting the absolute best you have in terms of stability and usability as well. Yes, the latest development builds are fast, they're accurate, but they also have loads of issues that need to be taken care of before a release can even be considered. The fact of the matter is that a lot of people still use our older releases, and we don't want another case where a release has huge, advertised features broken. Dolphin 4.0 was a lesson that we'd rather be safe than sorry and have to release multiple hotfix builds shortly after a much anticipated release.

We understand that everyone is eager for the next official version, but when there are so many known critical issues on the tracker and others still getting discovered, it's just not the right time for release. While a lot of the issues have owners, due to the volunteer nature of the project, many of the problems aren't currently being worked on. For a lot of the issues, a little time and expertise may be enough to narrow down and fix release critical issues. For our users? Keep finding mistakes in the emulator and making developers aware. Especially when there are so many new features being added.

With that in mind, let's get to a more fun topic; February's Notable Changes!

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Game Modification: 60 FPS Hacks in Dolphin

Playing a game in Dolphin instead of the GameCube or Wii can make a huge difference in visual quality. With HD output, Dolphin can bring the best out of many stunning titles. But beyond that, an assortment of crazy enhancements, including 3D output, free camera, widescreen hacks, a higher clocked emulated CPU and much more, can absolutely transform titles into new experiences even for veterans after many playthroughs.

Super Mario Sunshine is a beautiful GameCube platformer released in 2002. While its sequels on the Wii, Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 run at a fluid 60 ...

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Dolphin Progress Report: January 2015

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Let's kick off the new year with a bang! January will finally let Dolphin answer the question that gets asked every progress report: "Does Rogue Squadron work yet?"


Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader in 1080p 60 fps with Dolphin


Thanks to a ton of work from the staff, tons of testing from the forum users, hardware tests, newcomers and veteran's alike, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader and Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike are both playable and completable in Dolphin at long last.

Considering just how many big merges were changed and how much work was done that may not even be the biggest news of the month. So hold tight, and please enjoy this month's Notable Changes!

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Making developers more productive — the Dolphin development infrastructure

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There is a whole chunk of the Dolphin project that most users don't know about and have no interactions with. Most of the blog's articles focus on user visible features: improvements in the emulator core, or accuracy changes that allow non playable games to finally work properly. We seldom talk about how these changes come to life.

This piece will relay the effort of a few people within the Dolphin team who have been working in the shadows for the past 30 months to provide tools and infrastructure for other Dolphin contributors. From cloud based graphics rendering, bug detection, all the way to simple IRC bots, these tools have helped Dolphin become more efficient in the modern era.

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