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Netplay is a defining feature of Dolphin: it allows you to connect any GameCube or Wii game for online play, without the problems or limitations of the Nintendo WiFi Connection or hassle of BBA. It is improving regularly, and while it is a bit finicky at the moment it is very playable and reliable with the right settings. This guide outlines what you need for reliable online play with Dolphin.

"The person I'm playing with seems to be moving around strangely but he says that I'm the one moving weirdly. What happened?"

This is a desync. Basically what both of you are seeing are two different games. See #Desync Troubleshooting


Setting Up Dolphin[edit]

Memory card of any kinds must be copied across every computers that players intended to use for netplay. Memory Cards for GameCube can be synchronized or disabled, meanwhile players may have to copy SD card to other computers themselves. Wii save files are currently disabled as of 4.0-6512. This means users do not need to synchronize Wii NANDs any longer, but cannot save in exchange.

Rule of thumb is that most settings should be set to default and you are expected to follow specific settings where the instruction (made by host or matchmaking websites) has told you to set before playing online.

General Configuration[edit]

General Interface Audio GameCube Wii Path Advanced
Basic Settings

Enable Dual Core: ON
Enable Idle Core: ON
Enable Cheats: OFF
Framelimit: Auto

Advanced Settings
(Settings synced)
(No desync)
DSP Emulator Engine
DSP HLE emulation
Device Settings

Slot A: Memory Card
Slot B: <Nothing>
SP1: <Nothing>

Misc Settings
(Settings synced)
Device Settings
Insert SD Card: OFF
(User setup)
CPU Options
(Settings synced)

Graphics Configuration[edit]

General Enhancements Hacks Advanced
(No desync) (No desync in most game)
Embedded Frame Buffer

Skip EFB Access from CPU: OFF
Store EFB Copies to Texture Only: ON

(No desync)

Controller Settings[edit]

Netplay Settings[edit]

How to set the Pad buffer[edit]

Because input on the GameCube and Wii are polled by non-frame intervals, buffer does not directly relate to frames and can even vary per game. Lower the buffer as much as possible without causing slowdown for an optimal experience, ideally in areas that insure there isn't computer related slowdown such as a menu. In most games, add 1 roughly pad buffer per 15ms of latency per client. Two players at 50ms latency would be roughly 3 - 4 buffer, where as three players at 50 and 65 ms would be roughly 7 buffer.

Assigning Controller Ports[edit]

By default, only players of the first port on each computers will be used. The host will be player one, and the first joiner will be player two, and so on. But the host can change the port order and invite the secondary players of the same computer. To do so, simply hit the "Assign Controller Ports" button, then add and/or order their names to the port number respectively.

Setting a Spectator[edit]

A Spectator is a connected computer that has no controllers assigned to them. This can be done by going to the "Configure Pads" window (only host has access to it) and remove the spectator's name from any of the controller ports. The spectator will not cause lag or latency but can still watch the netplay session.

Desync Troubleshooting[edit]

Double check your settings and confirm if you and other players have good ISO dump. 4.0-6638 added the ability to detect desyncs. Watch the textbox for if it notices desyncs, as very often it will be able to tell the game has desynced before the players and may help them pinpoint the problem.

Netplay has matured considerably in recent time, but still requires user competency and problem solving to get over some of the hurdles.

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