/ Ostatnia aktualizacja w dniu 11 lutego 2024
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With the conclusion of the holiday season, it's time for us at the blog to get back to work. And this time around, we have a smattering of changes covering just about everything you could imagine. For those looking to enjoy some of the latest homebrew with DSP-HLE, Dolphin now has support for the latest homebrew microcodes! For retail games, we also have a minor update to the Zelda-HLE microcode to fix a missing effect that's long overdue.
In some more important news, for those of you having disk space issues when running Dolphin on Windows since the last beta, a fix is now available. And for those looking for the clearest picture possible, Dolphin's mipmap heuristic has been backed down to allow for higher resolution mipmaps across more textures. And of course, if you're wanting that perfect image, Custom Aspect Ratios will allow for easier use of ultra-widescreen hacks and more!
Add to all of that a huge bugfix for older revision Steam Decks, another chapter in the Bounding Box saga, seeing a classic in an all new way, and yet another chapter in broken GPU drivers, and you've got yourself a Dolphin Progress Report.
But with loss, some new has also come. We now have a new builder for Windows on ARM! Dolphin has supported Windows on ARM for a couple of years now, but we haven't provided builds due to a lack of prospective users and a lack of space on the buildbot server. But times have changed - the buildbot has seen some upgrades with a new, bigger harddisk and shuffle2 has renovated parts of the infrastructure to make supporting Windows ARM64 builds easier. With those two hurdles out of the way, we've now configured our buildbot to provide Windows ARM64 builds on our Downloads page. We're not exactly sure how much use these builds will get, but we're hopeful for the future of the platform.
But by this point, you're probably as sick of hearing about the gives and takes of supporting various operating systems as we are of writing about them, so let's get to some emulation goodness. We've got some highly technical changes, including a new "Graphics Mod" system that allows modders and users to create graphical mods. If you're into the edge of emulation, we've also seen support for the annoying Datel Loader used for Action Replay discs and a few very odd unlicensed devices without needing an original GameCube BIOS or swapping to DSP-LLE. This is somewhat significant for reasons we'll get into later, because using real Action Replay discs does make a difference!
For those who love creative homebrew, we've also added support for the homebrew libasnd microcode to HLE audio, meaning that you no longer need to switch to LLE audio for many homebrew titles. We go into the details of all of this and more on this Dolphin Progress Report!
This year, we've hit an important milestone that's been in the works for nearly a decade. In late 2012, Sonicadvance1 began work on Dolphin's ARM JIT. Back then, there weren't any devices that had even a sliver of hope of running Dolphin close to full speed, but that wasn't really the goal. All he wanted to do was see if it could be done; it sounded like a fun, challenging project. However, as time passed the idea turned into more than just a passing curiosity. Users were more than happy to donate to cover the hardware cost of staying on the bleeding edge of a rapidly evolving ecosystem, allowing ARM development to flourish. By 2015, Sonicadvance1 astounded developers and the community alike with footage of Mario Kart: Double Dash!!'s time trial mode running close to full speed.
On that note, we're happy to announce that Dolphin's AArch64 JIT has finally reached feature parity with Dolphin's x86-64 JIT. This means that every PowerPC instruction that the x86-64 JIT supports along with every major JIT feature are now supported in the AArch64 JIT! And this is a great time for ARM in general, with each generation of processor pushing the boundaries and companies like Apple adopting the architecture for larger and higher power devices like their M1 Mac line. For those on mobile phones and tablets, Adreno powered devices provide decent enough graphics drivers to get a reasonable experience at this point. And with a critical bottleneck getting fixed just days ago, performance on Adreno GPUs has skyrocketed. You won't have to scroll far for that news, we promise.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg; we've had three months worth of changes pile up and some other important infrastructure news. We've improved the user experience on macOS significantly and restored support for older devices. In fact, enough has happened that we'll be detailing the status of Dolphin's macOS support near the end of the report.
And... we haven't even talked about any emulation fixes yet. The past three months have had tons of changes that would have normally been the highlight of a Progress Report. The three month gap between reports was not because of a lack of changes. Want to take Riivolution games on netplay? You can. Hate the EA VP6 bugs? Make them a thing of the past with a new option. Wish your favorite LogicOp game worked on GLES or MoltenVK? Odds are, it does now! The list goes on, but outlining everything would take way too long, so let's just dive in. Please enjoy the November, December, and January Progress Report!
One of the most enjoyable parts about being a part of emulation is seeing the classic gaming community use the tools we provide to find hidden bits of joy that would be impossible to reach otherwise. Freelook has found secret after secret hidden away just off-screen, and there's even a youtube series that focuses entirely on them! Savestates basically made speedrunning and TASing possible, allowing for quick testing of routes and sequence breaks to push games to their limits. But communities can go far beyond that, with tools now allowing us to look directly into game files and expose unreleased and rare relics. In the past couple of months, we've had two incredibly interesting leaks: A TGC file ripped from a store preview disc containing a pre-release version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and a very early prototype of the never released Spider-Man 4.
Each of these games give a very specific look into their development. Wind Waker's prerelease demo is very close to the retail product and fully playable beginning to end without the imposed timer. Those that have looked into it have found a plethora of minor differences and glitches between this build and the one Japan would see a few weeks later. Spider-Man 4 on the other hand, never saw release and this was just about everyone's first look at the game. While it emulates just fine in the latest development builds, it does not run in Dolphin 5.0, due to broken support for unencrypted Wii discs. If you do run it, you get to see an incredibly early preview of the game with many non-existent textures, placeholder graphics, and incomplete collision detection. Still, we're happy that Dolphin was chosen as a platform to test out this unique prototype and the game worked without needing modification. With that bit of interesting news out of the way, let's get back to our regularly scheduled Progress Report.