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Emulation (Games) Open Source PlayStation (Games) Software Games

Free Software PS2 Emulator PCSX2 Hits 1.0 202

An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from geek.net on the release of PCSX2, a GPLed emulator for the PS2: "PCSX2 is a free PS2 emulator for the PC that has been in development since the year 2000 and managed to reach version 1.0 last week. As an emulator it's an impressive piece of work, boasting compatibility with over 73 percent of games, which is some 1,697 titles. It can offer up graphics beyond what the original hardware was capable of, achieving resolutions up to 4096 x 4096 with anti-aliasing and texture filtering. You can save games, record video as you play, use a range of controllers, and even adjust game speed if you so wish. Of course, you'll need a fast machine to run PS2 games at a decent speed, but the spec is still reasonable. It's recommended you have at least a Core 2 Duo running at 3.2GHz, or a Core i5 at 2.66GHz+. As for graphics cards, a GeForce 9600GT or Radeon HD 4750 is desirable." Grab it while it's hot (official binaries and source). Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be packaged for any GNU/Linux distros (Debian has packages of the predecessor to PCSX2, PCSX: Reloaded which, naturally, emulated the Playstation).
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Free Software PS2 Emulator PCSX2 Hits 1.0

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  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @07:13PM (#40900199)

    I tried using it on my old computer (Core 2 Duo @ 2.26GHz, GeForce 9600), and it didn't run at all well. Primarily seemed to be the sound - sound disabled, it ran at about full speed, but with sound it ran around 5fps. Changing video settings didn't seem to affect it - I got 5fps at 16x MSAA and 5fps at 0x AA.

    That computer died a while back, and I'm on a new, more powerful one now (Core i7 @ 2.3GHz, GeForce 660), so I might try this out sometime, see if I can handle it now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @07:14PM (#40900209)

    I've always admired peoples' commitment to creating emulators for gaming platforms. Years down the track they're often the only platform left to play, unless of course the game publisher decides to 're-release' an old title with an inbuilt emulator for a nominal fee.

    As time goes on and as subsequent generations of consoles become more complicated in both their hardware and embedded operating systems, emulating them will become increasingly difficult. I don't know how long it can last.

    Hopefully console manufacturers will shy away from overcomplicated designs as they have been quite costly for them in the current generation of consoles, but this is probably wishful thinking.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @07:18PM (#40900243)

    Why would I want to use an emulator on the classic windows game box I have in the living room, when I have the genuine article in there already?

    I have a PS2 Fat, with the network module, a 500gb IDE drive stuck in the expansion bay, and a magic memory card in card slot 1.

    FreeMCBoot is free. It exploits a little known feature in fat PS2s that allow it to boot from the memory card (this was used for japanese kareoke software), which gives me access to homebrew, and HD loader, OpenHDLoader, and USB advance.

    Between the 3, I no longer need to use the actual DVD disc drive to play my games, and the console will last almost forever in this state.

    I can play my PS2 games on the actual PS2, and have the convenience of picking the game I want to play without leaving the couch. It runs at full speed, because it is running on the native hardware.

    Why would I use an emulator? FreeMCBoot is free. Give me a memory card, and I can make it magic for you too. Not problems. I did it for several friends. You can make one yourself if you have skillz disc swapping or have an action replay disc. If you don't, there is a community who will cook your card for you for free.

    Not belittling PCSX2 or anything: for people that ditched their old console, it offers a good nostalgia fix, and also serves as a code base for emulators running on other consoles, (like the PS3, now that it is hopelessly smashed security wise.) That is *always* a good thing.

    But I still prefer the real thing.

  • There's one upside to newer console generations though: as consoles get more complicated, developers stick to APIs and don't do as much register-level fiddling or depending on things like hardware timing. That means that it's easier to perform higher-level emulation of newer consoles (as opposed to the cycle-accurate emulation often required to get good results for older 8-bit and 16-bit machines) and still have things work. Newer consoles are also more similar to a PC, which simplifies emulation.

    For example, the Dolphin GC/Wii emulator managed to get pretty accurate graphics emulation in less time than PCSX2 because the GC/Wii's GPU is a lot saner and has a model that is relatively easy to map to OpenGL/DX, unlike the PS2's GPU and vector units which are horribly painful to emulate. The 360's and PS3's and WiiU's GPUs are pretty much bog-standard PC GPUs (which does mean they will be more complex to implement full emulation for, but at least it will map more easily onto standard graphics APIs). The higher-level software frameworks also make it easier to use high-level emulation for chunks of the system - e.g. Dolphin doesn't emulate the Starlet ARM CPU of the Wii, but instead performs high-level emulation of its APIs. Therefore, it gets away without emulating the USB, SD, WiFi, flash, and other hardware, which greatly simplifies the implementation and makes it more user-friendly.

    It'll be challenging, but it's not an entirely dark future.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito