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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Dolphin Progress Report: December 2014

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The Dolphin Progress Report is not only about featuring high impact changes, but also smaller changes that do interesting things, changes with interesting stories behind them and more. This month has a ton of everything to offer. Dolphin is graced with a new graphical enhancement that will have games popping right out of the screen, a new way to accurately use native controllers, more MMU optimizations, graphics fixes, and even a few other surprises sprinkled in. Some of these changes made us regret running the Best Of blog entries mid-month; as they would have been shoe-ins to be featured!

With that, let's say goodbye to 2014 with a bang and take a look at some of the biggest changes that hit the emulator in December!

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Dolphin Progress Report: November 2014

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When working on an emulator, a feature never really feels finished. Last month, crudelios triumphed with his new software bounding box implementation. It was easily the most accurate implementation of the feature to date. A few months before that, magumagu created more accurate disc timings to make games load more accurately. RachelBryk has been steadily adding features for TASing for years. Perhaps a longer term, more general project is Sonicadvance1's continued work on Dolphin's ARM port which is always receiving updates.

All of those features have seen further refinements and work this month that enhances their usability! Sometimes these changes are from one author continuing their work, but a lot of the time other contributors will join in with their own ideas, fixes, and add-ons. Just because a feature exists in the emulator doesn't mean it can't be improved further!

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The Rise of HLE Audio

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Like any artistic medium, games are emotional experiences filled with joy, sadness, frustration, and more. Special moments can bring tears, cause shouting, or even screams. But imagine during one of those emotional highs if the audio simply died, and the game continued onward in a deafening silence before eventually freezing. That kind of marred experience was commonplace under Dolphin's old way of handling HLE audio.

The users of today don't have to face those problems; modern High Level Emulation (HLE) audio is both fast and accurate, mostly matching the conventions and output of its high-accuracy counterpart, Low Level Emulation (LLE) audio. This change in behavior is thanks to the work by delroth and magumagu that corrected the main fundamental flaw that afflicted old HLE audio. Fixing this defect and cleaning up the audio brought a multitude of features and fixes to the emulator that helped bring us into this modern era of speedy accuracy.



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Dolphin Progress Report: October 2014

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A single merger can represent days, months, or even years of work. Most of the commits are relatively small, but once in a while you get absolutely huge changes like Tev_Fixes_New or the GLSL rewrite that span across years between initial concept and merged code. There's a special sense of accomplishment when one of the long awaited changes finally show up in the emulator. The number of commits and the amount of code changed; neither of those indicators often tell of the trials faced by the contributor over the course of their journey.

And don't think that just because the code is merged that things are finished. Part of the purpose of having progress report is to put a spotlight on some of the latest and greatest changes. The users are the last line of defense against potential bugs, problems, and unintended consequences that often come with new features.


All of the latest features mentioned this month can be found in the latest development builds available here.


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Dolphin Progress Report: September 2014

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Optimizations seem to beget even more optimizations. It was big news when last month we got a nifty 26% boost in CPU performance, but somehow, two dedicated devs managed to top it this month. Not to be upstaged by Fiora , comex has dropped new features and two absolutely gigantic performance commits. By making tricky use of registers and native RET behavior, two of his merges alone result in a massive 16% performance boost to games.

Not to be outdone, Fiora has continued her rash of optimizations as well. If we were to include every single one this progress report may never end. So instead, she crunched some numbers with all the optimizations over the last two months put together.

Let's just admire that list for a moment. The Last Story is considered the most demanding game on Dolphin, requiring massive overclocks on even the strongest of machines. A 38% speedup is the difference between it being playable and choppy for users with powerful computers.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader has a lot of problems, but MMU performance will be the least of them from now on. Fiora's optimization of how the JIT handles MMU games brings us huge speedups to every MMU title!

Of course, speed isn't everything for an emulator: Performance is pointless if the emulator does the rest of its job in a lackluster matter. Have no fear, we have new features and some critical bug fixes to go along with Dolphin's newfound speed!

All of the latest features mentioned this month can be found in the latest development builds available here.

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