Pixel perfect video in RetroArch

I love pixel perfect video when playing my retro games. If you are like me, then you probably do not like the default setting in RetroArch which adds some blur to the image. Let’s change that.

This is what you get by default (Game Boy Color in this case):

This is what you get when you disable the blur filter. Pretty nice, isn’t it?

And these are the simple steps you have to follow:

  • Start Retroarch
  • go to “Settings”
  • Select “Video”
  • Disable “Bilinear Filtering”
  • Enjoy your pixel perfect games

 

Wiimms Mario Kart Fun – Tutorial

Here is a short tutorial on how to create a copy of “Wiimms Mario Kart Fun” ready to play on your Wii (or emulator)

What you need before you start

– Latest release of Wiims Mario Kart Fun files from here: http://wiki.tockdom.com/wiki/Wiimms_Mario_Kart_Fun

– Mario Kart Wii ISO file NTSC or PAL version (as example PAL version might be called something like “Mario_Kart_PAL_Wii.iso”)

How to patch your ISO file

  • Extract the Mario Kart Fun archive you downloaded; at the point of writing the file was called mkw-fun-2019-10.v1.txz.
  • Copy the ISO file into the extracted folder
  • if you are using Linux (or Mac) make sure you run “sudo chmod a+x *.sh” to make the scripts executable
  • Then you start the “create-image” scripts
    Windows: “create-image.bat
    Linux/Mac: “./create-image.sh
  • 1st question asks about language during the creation process, type “de” for German, “en” for English, “es” for Spanish. Default is English. Input your preferred language or directly press Enter.
  • 2nd question is about language within the game itself.  The following options are available:
    G : Deutsch
    U : English (America)
    E : English (Europe)
    M : Español (América)
    S : Español (Europa)
    Q : Français (Amérique) => aucun message de chat
    F : Français (Europe) => aucun message de chat
    I : Italiano => messaggi di chat
    J : 日本人 (Japanese) => no chat messages
    K : 한국의 (Korean) => no chat messages, no Wiimmfi texts
    If you don’t want to force any changes in-game language related, select “-“, as I do here. Type “-” and Enter.
  • 3rd question is about fallback language. Not sure why this is required as we selected no changes just before, but nevertheless, we type “E” for English (Europe), as I am using the PAL version here, and then Enter.
  • 4th question is about track language; many options to choose from, let’s go for the default option, which is the native language related to each track. Type “x” and Enter.
  • 5th question is about translating names of custom tracks. As we have just chosen native language names before, lets select “no” and press Enter.
  • 6th question is about the output format, various options possible. I go here with a standard ISO format. Type “iso” and press Enter.
  • 7th question is about if you want to shared the existing save game from your Mario Kart Wii or a new dedicated, unrelated save game. I prefer a new save game so lets type “yes” and press Enter.
  • The script shows you then a summary, here is ours::
    ==========
    Summary
    ===========* Language (de,en,es): en
    * Force game language or ‘-‘ (G,U,E,M,S,Q,F,I,J,K,-): –
    * Fall-back language (G,U,E,M,S): e
    * Language of track names:: x
    * Translate also names of custom tracks (no,yes): no
    * Image file format (iso,ciso,wdf,wbfs,gcx,wia,riiv): iso
    * Use private savegame (no,yes): yes* Continue with these settings? (no,yes) [yes]:

    Yes, looks good, let’s press Enter.

  • Then the script is doing its magic this might take a while….. if everything went well, it should output something like1 iso image(s) created
    2019-11-03 19:14:00 .. 19:23:51 (9m+51s)
  • That’s it. You can now either copy the ISO on a SD or harddrive connected to your Wii and load the game via USB Loader or load the ISO directly in an emulator like Dolphin. Have fun.

OSSC Firmware Upgrade Tutorial

If you are the lucky owner of an OSSC (Open Source Scan Converter) to scale up your retro games on your modern TV, then you like to ensure to keep your firmware of your device up to date to profit from fixes and enhancements which are constantly released. Great support on the OSSC here.

OSSC from manual

What do you need?

These are the steps to follow:

  • Grab the latest firmware from here: https://www.niksula.hut.fi/~mhiienka/ossc/fw/
  • Write/Restore the downloaded file to the Micro SD Card with the help of your image writer software
  • Put the Micro SD card into your OSSC (slot is on the left side of the display)
  • Switch the OSSC on
  • Press “Menu” on the remote control
  • Press “Down” until the menu says “Firmware Upgrade”
  • Press “OK”
  • Confirm to flash by pressing “1”
  • Wait until the OSSC finished to verify and flashes the new image
  • When it says “FWwupdate ok” you can switch the OSSC off, wait a few seconds and turn it on again
  • It should now work with the latest firmware

Experienced some issues? Comments and feedback welcome.

FAQ Chimp-Tools (Xbox Classic)

Having used the Chimp-Tools lately to clone an Xbox-Harddisk to replace it with a bigger sized disk, I put together all possible errors that I came across while trying solve my issue:

  • Ensure you use the latest Chimp build: https://github.com/Rocky5/Chimp261812
  • Verify to use the path Chimp expects:
    E:\applications\chimp
    E:\applications\chimp loader
    E:\apps\chimp
    E:\apps\chimp loader
    E:\chimp
    E:\chimp loader
  • Use standard RGB cable and not the Component or any other 3rd party video cable
  • Disable the widescreen option in your Dashboard and use normal aspect ratio
  • Disable 480p, 720p or 1080i options
  • Linux users: Use a Windows machine to FTP transfer your files over to the Xbox; for some reasons the permissions attributes don’t work with Chimp (this was for example the issue I experienced and with Windows it worked without any problem)

More to come….

 

From Youtube.com

SD2SNES: Firmware 1.8.0 with SuperFX support

Good news for all the SD2SNES owners and fans of Star Fox (or Starwing in Europe), Stunt FX Race and further games requiring the SuperFX chip: The latest firmware supports SuperFX chip. Yes, you can play Star Fox now with your SD2SNES.

 

  • Get the latest firmware from the Project SD2SNES download page.
  • Then backup your current “SD2SNES folder on our SD card.
  • Overwrite your current SD2SNES folder with the files from the archive with the v1.8.0 firmware.
  • Safely unplug your SD card.
  • Place it in your SD2SNES cartridge, switch on your SNES or SuperNT and enjoy. The upgrade worked very smooth-less for me.

 

Further changelog:

  • SuperFX support by RedGuy! This is the duck’s guts. What an accomplishment. Big thanks to RedGuy!
  • EXPERIMENTAL brightness patching for S-CPUN based consoles (1CHIP/Jr). The patching is comprised of two parts:
    1. 1CHIP transient fix – tries to alleviate some graphical issues with 1CHIP consoles where it reacts unfavorably to sudden changes to the brightness register. This fixes the shadow in Air Strike Patrol, warped scanlines in Rudra’s Treasure, and faded scanlines at the top of the screen on certain Capcom games when the console is equipped with a de-ghosting fix involving the replacement of the C11 capacitor.
    2. Brightness limit – can be used to limit brightness on consoles where the stock RGB levels are too high.

    NOTE: There are known problems with games that use DMA to set the brightness register. Notably Star Fox and some MSU1 video players. You should disable it if you intend to play those. For now I’m releasing it as is because I still think it can be useful (and I’ll be gone for two weeks and didn’t want to delay this release any further :-D)

  • Added ExLoROM support (LoROM > 32Mbits)
  • The In-game hook is now disabled by default.
  • Touched up the menu a bit – dependent settings are printed in grey if the higher-level setting is disabled
  • Changed the version numbering by eliminating the eternal leading zero. The last digit can now be used for small revisions or fixes.

Play Return to Castle Wolfenstein together in cooperative mode

After my guide to install “iortcw” client for the 2001 released game Return to Castle Wolfenstein, I like to highlight also the “rtcwcoop” project which allows you to play through the missions with your friend(s).

You can grap the client from the project website: https://github.com/rtcwcoop/rtcwcoop/releases

Follow the guide for iortcw for the installation, it is pretty much the same procedure copying the original game date files over.

Have fun.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein – iortcw

Finally found a way to play one of my all-time favorites “Return to Castle Wolfenstein” on a modern computer (and under Linux) with the engine port iortcw. After trying to get the game to run with WINE and PlayForLinux without success, iortcw finally started without any issues in impressive 2560×1440 resolution. Something we only dreamed about back in 2001

iortcw is an enhanced RTCW engine – id software used to release the source code of all their games back in the day – with some features of the ioquake3 engine. Many features where implemented like the following (from their project site):

  • SDL backend
  • OpenAL sound API support (multiple speaker support and better sound quality)
  • Full x86_64 support
  • VoIP support, both in-game and external support through Mumble.
  • MinGW compilation support on Windows and cross compilation support on Linux
  • AVI video capture of demos
  • Much improved console autocompletion
  • Persistent console history
  • Colorized terminal output
  • Optional Ogg Vorbis support
  • Much improved QVM tools
  • Support for various esoteric operating systems
  • cl_guid support
  • HTTP/FTP download redirection (using cURL)
  • Multiuser support on Windows systems (user specific game data is stored in “My Documents\RTCW”)
  • PNG support
  • Many, many bug fixes

 

So how to install it? What do I need?

Lets start with what you need:

  • An installation of the original game, to grab the game data, as this is still under copyright and not open source like the engine
  • The latest release of the iortcw port (https://github.com/iortcw/iortcw/releases)
  • the latest release of their patch (https://github.com/iortcw/iortcw/releases)

Installation

  1.  If you haven’t done so, install your original game and remember the target installation directory as you need some game files later
  2. Browse to the iortcw project release folder https://github.com/iortcw/iortcw/releases and grap the latest release files for your operating system. At the point of writing the latest version was v1.51b.
  3. Also grap the latest patch file from this site: This was this file as per now patch-data-141.zip
  4. Extract the latest release zip into a location where you like to have your installation going forward (like c:\Games\ioRTCW\ in Windows or /home/joe/Games/ioRTCW/ in Linux
  5. Go to the location of your existing original installation, go into the “Main” folder and copy the following files over to your ioRTCW “main” folder: pak0.pk3, sp_pak1.pk3 sp_pak2.pk3 sp_pak3.pk3. This is the game date for the single player mod.
  6. Then extract the content of patch-data-141.zip (or a newer version in the meantime) into your iortcw folder and merge its content into it
  7. And that should be it actually: Go to your iortcw installation folder and start either the “iowolfsp*” file for single player or “iowolfmp*” for multiplayer.

I recommend to go straight into the Option menu to tweak the settings for your system and your likening.

Enjoy. Comments appreciated.

 

Screenshot from one the my favorite levels where you have to escape from Castle Wolfenstein by using a cable train:

Newer Super Mario Bros. DS

The Newer Team released there newest creation just a few days back: Newer Super Mario Bros. DS. This is a hack of the 2006 released game New Super Mario Bros. by Nintendo for the Ninendo DS. You can almost say it is a complete new game as it contains:

  • 80 all-new levels on 8 world maps
  • Original and ported graphics and sounds
  • The return of a classic power-up
  • New and updated game mechanics
  • A brand-new soundtrack featuring old and new hits

According to my 6 year old son it this ‘the best game’ he ever played. So that means something….

Check out the trailer from the team:

As you can not download the rom directly obviously, the Newer Team released patchs that can be applied to your rom. Downloads here or on their website:

So how to create the new version?

For Windows users:

  • Have your created original New Super Mario Bros. NDS rom ready
  • Extract the zip file you just downloaded form above or the Newer Team site with your favorite packing software
  • On the Welcome screen click “Next”
  • Select “Choose” and select your NSMB rom and select “Next”
  • If you like to amend the path for the Newer rom, do that on the next screen; just click “Next” if you like to use the same path as your original rom is stored
  • Click “Start” and the patcher will do its magic
  • Click “Finish” after the success message
  • Go and play (either via emulator or on your Nintendo DS)

For Linux and MacOS users there is a step by step guide in the readme.txt files of the archives.

Enjoy this great hack.

Doom – Overview and Introduction

Yes, I am a big doom fan since 1992 and I still enjoy playing this game (and others from ID) still. There is also still a huge community  around Doom not only let run Doom on any possible and impossible devices (like the Sandisk players via Rockbox), but also there are many open source game engines developed – and still further enhanced – to enjoy Doom in higher resolutions and enhanced gameplay. Mods like Brutal Doom are bringing Doom to a complete new Level.

Let me introduce in a first article a few engines worth looking at; the list is far from complete, these are the ones I stumpled up on. At a later stage we can then look into tutorials how to install them, and also some interesting mods and more.

Why is it worth looking at these engines? A picture says more then 1’000 words. Here is a screenshot from original Doom from DOS and from the Doomsday Engine for comparison; click for details.

 

Doomsday Engine
(dengine.net)
Doomsday Engine is a Doom/Heretic/Hexen port with enhanced graphics and a very nice start-up GUI. Also supports other ports like Doom64. I finished (finally) Heretic using Doomsday and it was really great fun. As this is my current favorite, it will be the focus of the next tutorials.

ZDoom
(zdoom.org)
ZDoom is a family of enhanced port of the Doom engine to modern operating systems. It runs on Windows, Linux, and OS X, and adds new features not found in the games as originally published by id Software.

Older ZDoom ports may be used and distributed free of charge. No profit may be made from the sale of it. GZDoom and its descendants from version 3.0.0 on are licensed GPL and are subject to the terms and restrictions of the new license.

ZDoom was originally created by Randi Heit using id Software’s and various others’ sources. Its successor ports GZDoom and QZDoom are now maintained by Christoph Oelckers, Braden Obrzut, Rachael Alexanderson, and Magnus Norddahl.

Zandronum
(zandronum.com)
Zandronum is a multiplayer oriented port, based off Skulltag, for Doom and Doom II by id Software.

Zandronum brings classic Doom into the 21st century, maintaining the essence of what has made Doom great for so many years and, at the same time, adding new features to modernize it, creating a fresh, fun new experience.

RetroArch PrBoom
(retroarch.com, prboom.sourceforge.net)
PrBoom, the purest Doom-Port? Aims to be the most stable Doom port with the highest compatibility to the major Doom versions and highres software rendering. Full Boom and most if not all MBF features.

That’s it for the moment. There are many more engines, ports and mods. As said the community around Doom and the like is huge. More to come regarding installation, setup and required files (like doom.wad and all the other interesting topics to be covered.

PS3 Emulator – RPCS3

As I am usually more interested into older systems to play, I read the first time about a working PlayStation 3 emulator today. You as well? They call themselves the ‘The world’s first open-source Sony PlayStation 3 Emulator for Windows and Linux’, so we are probably not the only ones. So lets have a look at what RPCS3 exactly is and what it can do already. From their ‘About’ page: