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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Plugged In - Wii USB Support


We at the blog love to demonstrate new, cutting edge features and documenting them for current and future users of the emulator. Wii USB device emulation is one of those things that lacks data and testing in Dolphin. It requires real hardware just to try it out and only a select few people are crazy enough to work on anything involving the Wii IOS HLE. The first time E-ticket Service Launch support was added to Dolphin, it managed to break connecting Wiimotes; that's just how touchy that code can be!

When looking around, the most common answer is that USB Devices won't work with Dolphin, with examples of the Konami microphones being given and recommendations toward an old branch that implemented Wii Speak support (which still doesn't support those microphones.) For anyone searching, the answer to "Do Wii USB devices work in Dolphin?" came up as a flat no on the wiki, issue tracker, and forums.

It turns out that a lot of these devices work perfectly in Dolphin! Support was added way back in 2013, but seems to have been mostly forgotten by time. The primary reason for this was that it was a part of the Wii Networking merge. The main focus of that merge was to add Wifi support to Dolphin for playing games on the still active Nintendo servers. Hidden within that was an USB HID implementation for Dolphin. Somehow, this wasn't really tested or noted for the most part and snuck into the emulator almost unnoticed. When a discussion about this came up on IRC a few days ago, we just had to try and see what would happen when we plugged some Wii accessories into our computers for Dolphin.


Skylanders Portal Demonstration

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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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Hey, Listen! Your Wiimote can speak now!


One of the oldest complaints about Dolphin's Real Wiimote support is that Wiimote audio not only sounds extremely bad, but can outright lag the controls and even cause the Wiimotes to disconnect from your PC. To work around these problems, the developers did the only thing they knew to do; implement "Disable Wiimote Speaker Data." This ended up being one of the most important features for many users to be able to use Real Wiimotes in Dolphin, as dozens of games suffered constant disconnects due to audio issues.


Firing Starbits with Speaker Data Enabled on older builds.


The situation remained unchanged for year after year until just a few days ago, when newcomer Julian Loehr renovated Dolphin's Wiimote handling to take advantage of the improvements within the Windows 8/10 Bluetooth Stack. Not only do -TR Wiimotes work without special hardware, but on all configurations Wiimote Audio started working on those Wiimotes. Further investigation by degasus thanks to a timely regression the very next build brought us something unimaginable: fully working RealWiimote audio!


Real Wiimote Audio Demonstration


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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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Rodea: The Sky Soldier Releases for Wii U, 3DS and... Wii?


It's now late in 2015, and the Wii U has comfortably supplanted the Wii as Nintendo's flagship console. While there have been a few Wii releases the past couple of years, most of them are just low-quality ports of titles that are much better on other platforms along with the typical shovelware. But Rodea: The Sky Soldier is very different story. It is a high quality third party release for the Wii. In 2015. This would be a neat, but not exactly newsworthy story, except there is no Wii version you can buy on its own; it's only found as a pack-in with the Wii U release within the first print of the game. Now, most people are probably wondering, "Why would I play the Wii version instead of the Wii U version?"

Because Yuji Naka, the legendary developer behind Nights into Dreams and the creator of Rodea, asked people to play the Wii version.



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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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