In the gaming world, we have two of the best game consoles ever made. So it's only right that the Dolphin emulator which emulates both consoles on PC is one of the best emulators ever made.
Dolphin is a completely free and open source platform which implies that it is accessible on all operating systems namely Windows (64-bit), MacOS 10, Linux, and Android. Now we will see how to install the dolphin emulator and for the sake of better understanding and simplicity, we will see the installation on windows 10 PC as it’s the most widely used system.
While installing the dolphin emulator, there are mainly two kinds of versions to choose from:
Releases once or twice a year
Releases as many as multiple versions in a single day
Use if you want to play super safe. Issues don’t usually arise and are fixed quickly even if they do arise.
Note: A good way to do it is to use the latest development version and update it weekly
Once you have selected the version to install, download the version. It will be downloaded in .zip format. It’s a compressed file
Use an extracting tool like WinRAR archiver to extract the file in the desired location
It is recommended to extract it in a specific location in a drive with ample disk space so all the games can be saved in this folder in the future too.
It's time to get started! Launch the Dolphin emulator by clicking on the desktop icon
If the desktop icon is not there, go to the dolphin X64 folder and search for the executable file (.exe) to start it for the first time.
1 One of the biggest flaws of an emulator is the fact that configuring a game by game settings is very confusing and even after so many years, it’s still unpredictable. Some games play smoothly with one graphics setting and others with another.
Certain games run awesome at 60 FPS with full anti-aliasing whereas others don't. . Since it is not a fixed science, the only way to go is trial-and-error. This means sometimes we'll have to tweak an individual game's configuration so that the main settings get overwritten for that particular game.
2 Individual game settings can be changed by right-clicking the game icon in the dolphin main menu.
3 Game icon(right click) -> Properties-> Game config -> edit config.
4 Blank white notepad will appear for entering overrides for the setting as you wish.
5 From the dolphin wiki page, you can acquire the full list of settings. Write the setting heading in square brackets. And then the desired tweak. Eg: [video_settings] AspectRatio=1.
Controller configuration is an integral step before starting to play any game. Firstly, check if you have any of these controllers available with you: Xbox360, Xbox One, and various Logitech gamepads. These XInput gamepads will be recognized by the PC but still have to be configured manually:
NOTE: Dolphin games are best when played with controllers as they were supposed to be. But a mouse and keyboard can also be used.
A walkthrough of the graphic settings in the dolphin emulator
OpenGL: Helps in reducing in-game issues and gives excellent well supported performance.
DirectX 11 (Direct3D 11): Followed by OpenGL in a superior support. Performance might vary with the game.
Vulkan DirectX 12: It is experimental because it can greatly increase the performance but at the cost of glitches and errors.
Software Renderer: It's mostly a tool for developers and not gamers as it's very slow and doesn't have enhancements options.
Aspect ratio: Since it may differ from game to game, it's better left on auto.
Fullscreen: Can be set to auto or native resolution.
Vsync: It will reduce screen tearing but will reduce the performance.
TIP: Enable Show FPS while experimenting in the settings so you are assured to not mess something up.
Internal resolution: Game resolution greatly affects your FPS (frames per second).
Anti-aliasing: It is performance intensive since it reduces jaggies in images to make them clear and sharper.
Anisotropic filtering: It is free visual fidelity. Set to 8x or 16x in case of performance issues.
Scaled EFB copy and per-pixel lighting: These will render a good visual experience by increasing the picture quality with hardly any decrease in performance.
Forced texture filtering: It’s better to leave it disabled as it boosts the visual but causes lag issues in Mario sunshine and other such games.
Widescreen hack: It is better to keep it disabled and add the required widescreen codes manually.
Disable fog: disabling fog might look better visually but it might hamper the games which use fog actively like horror games.
Hacks - Skip EFB Access from CPU: The performance boost is not worth the damaged compatibility and playability. So it’s preferable to not mess with it.
Ignore format changes: It increases performance without any drawback but it is better to have it disabled in the case of certain games.
Store EFB copies to texture only: As it increases the performance, it decreases the accuracy. Enabling this setting is usually fine except for some games.
Texture cache: Enabling it helps in GPU texture decoding especially in the case of discrete GPUs
External Frame Buffer (XFB): Unless a certain game requires it, it is better kept disabled.
Other: Options are just tweaks and custom changes in performance and visual improvements.
Advanced: (Mostly used by developers)
Load custom texture and pre-fetch custom texture: fetch textures that are safe to use.
Enable progressive scan: it won't do anything in most cases so it's safe to enable.