Archivy autora: JMC47

Dolphin Progress Report: May and June 2020

We've got a lot to get through the past two months. Headlining it all is that we're happy to announce support for a new compressed disc format developed specifically for Dolphin: RVZ. This lossless format allows for near top of the line game compression without compromising the integrity of ISOs, while also maintaining performance and stability. But what good is compression if emulation isn't up to snuff? The past two months have been chock-full of emulation and usability fixes for both Android and Desktop Dolphin! There's a little bit of everything, …

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Dolphin Progress Report: April 2020

It feels like it's been some time since we've had actually had a monthly Progress Report. This is because there haven't been as many major changes landing, making it harder to fill out a substantial article. That isn't to say that things have slowed down, these smaller changes increase the quality of life for users and add up, especially when jumping from older builds to the latest. However, these changes are a lot harder to show and feature in a Progress Report compared to things that actually affect the core emulation and games. This time around, we had more than enough on our plate to write about, including support in the latest builds for a very interesting game: The Metroid Prime 3's E3 2006 Beta.

But before we get to the new changes, we need to cover something we missed last month. So, without further delay, please enjoy the mostly April Progress Report!

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Dolphin Progress Report: February and March 2020

We understand that the past few months have been trying for many of us across the world. Something like this can make what you do feel so very small in the grand scheme of things. Everyone has their ways of coping with isolation, using the internet, games, emulation, and much more as forms of entertainment to keep spirits up. To those of you relying on Dolphin Emulator, we hope that Dolphin Emulator makes your day a little brighter in these trying times.

In this Progress Report, you'll find that we've got a lot of changes affecting things outside of core emulation. For instance, Dolphin on Android and macOS see the return of Dark Mode, perfect for late night gaming without straining your eyes. But if we're going to talk about the main event, we have a new way to use your Wii Remotes that brings tremendous flexibility. People that were disappointed by the removal of Hybrid Wii Remotes, forced Wii Remote disconnections on Save/Loadstates, and other limitations of Real Wii Remotes should be very excited. With two months of changes to get through, it's about time we just dived in. Please enjoy the February and March Progress Report!

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Dolphin Progress Report: December 2019 and January 2020

The Progress Report has come and with it some major changes and decisions. However, before we get into new things, we need to go over an ongoing change as we've seen some users struggling. In the last progress report, we updated our project solutions to Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 2019. We thought there would be no issues at the time, after all, Microsoft says that VS2019 runtimes are forward and back compatible with VS2015 and VS2017, however, it turns out that is not always the case, and we definitely encountered one of the incompatible scenarios. Over the past two months, we've seen many reports of users encountering "VCRUNTIME140_1.dll was not found" errors and not knowing what to do. So just as a reminder, if you encounter MSVC or VCRUNTIME errors, install the latest x64 Microsoft Visual Studio runtimes from Microsoft's website (direct link). Even on updated versions of Windows, you may be missing the latest runtime as these runtimes are not distributed through Windows update for whatever reason. We hope this clears up any problems users were having regarding these issues.

With that, we've got a lot to get through from the past two months. From unintentionally stumbling into an Achilles's Heel of the Zen CPU architecture and tanking performance to supporting a brand new environment with Windows on ARM support, we're going to run the gamut of big features, decisions, and fixes. So without further ado, let's get to it.

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Dolphin Progress Report: November 2019

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.

Released versions of the game show this intro screen during the day, but this pre-release version is at night!
We can't say for sure that the Spider-Man 3 film doomed the Spider-Man 4 game, but, well, it probably did.

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.

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Dolphin Progress Report: October 2019

We apologize for the late Progress Report, but at this point it's partially by design. There's been an ongoing issue with Dolphin's updater being recognized as a trojan by Window's Defender Cloud AI scanning. The good news is that Microsoft has acknowledged that Dolphin's updater isn't a trojan, however for now they have to manually whitelist our executables. In order to ensure that the monthly builds distributed through our update track aren't deleted by Window's antivirus, we've been verifying that the build we've chosen is whitelisted. If you're interested in learning more about how something like this happens, MayImilae researched the issue and wrote up a detailed report below on what is happening and where we stand on the problem for now.

Until further notice, please keep reporting these erroneous detections so our builds can be whitelisted by Microsoft until they get their AI sorted. Thank you. Without further ado, let's jump into a smattering of significant changes that hit this month, including a way motion features in some of your favorite controllers.

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Dolphin Progress Report: August and September 2019

Earlier this month, an interesting development within the Wii reverse engineering scene was announced as Fullmetal5 revealed that they had hacked the Wii Mini via a Bluetooth exploit. This bookends a flurry of a Wii Mini hacking, including rigorous hardware modding by DeadlyFoez. You may be wondering, "Wait, wasn't the Wii hacked over a decade ago?". That's true, but the Wii Mini stubbornly remained unhacked all the way into 2019.

This resiliency came from the Wii Mini's cut down nature: it physically lacks the attack vectors that were used against the original Wii. In total, the Wii Mini was missing GameCube support, with no GameCube controller ports or Memory Card slots, lacked internet and browser support, and they completely removed the SD card slot. With so few attack surfaces, hackers have had to get inventive. DeadlyFoez created "FrankenWiis", mixing Wii Mini hardware and standard Wii hardware, to create exploit options and dump the Wii Mini firmware. This was as far as anyone could go, until Fullmetal5 found the holy grail: an exploit in the standard Wii Mini configuration, through the Bluetooth stack! This exploit completely opens the Wii Mini, allowing for arbitrary code execution to dump and/or load data over the Wii Mini's USB ports. The exploit is currently not public, but when it is released, users will be able to run homebrew on the Wii Mini just like any other Wii console, without any hardware mods. If you're interested at all in the Wii Mini and its many differences, feel free to checkout some of DeadlyFoez's videos of their efforts. It's a very strange little machine.

Update: During the writing of this article, the exploit was released!.

With the Wii Mini Menu dumped, the main question for us was... does it run in Dolphin?

The Wii Mini Wii Menu running in Dolphin!
Here is a normal Wii Menu for comparison. The Wii Mini lacks the Wii Shop, all internet channels, and the SD Card.

The answer is yes! In addition to that, Fullmetal5 also adjusted Dolphin to correctly detect Mini Wii Menu versions. While there isn't much practical use for running this cut down Wii Menu in Dolphin, it was exciting to finally see one of the last unhacked pieces of Wii hardware fall. We'd like to wholeheartedly thank everyone involved for their efforts toward Wii hacking and preservation.

With that out of the way, we have a few changes of our own to go through. While the end of the summer was a bit slow, there are still some essential fixes for several popular games and finally EFB Access is working correctly on Adreno devices... at least in Vulkan. Let's jump into August and September's Notable Changes without further delay!

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Dolphin Progress Report: June and July 2019

As seems to be happening annually, due to a short summer lull, we decided to combine the June and July Progress Reports. As you may have noticed, we're a few days into August at this point and things ended up running a bit late. That's actually a consequence of how we do these Progress Reports - we sometimes will go through big changes, test them, and get developer input on how they work in order to better explain them. In late July, a mixture of late changes, unexpected behaviors, and an extremely subtle game bug forced us to delay things while we sorted everything out. In this case, the end result didn't actually affect Dolphin, but does make for a better read as everything finally came full circle.

While we apologize for things being late, we do have a rather wide variety of changes that hit over the last two months to make this Progress Report extremely well-rounded. Whether you're looking for GUI updates, Android, fixes to ancient bugs, and even one feature inspired by a developer who saw Dolphin being used during Summer Game's Done Quick!

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Mini Update: libusb Hotfix

While we usually wait for a Progress Report to write about bug fixes and other features, a regression was causing so many issues that we've decided to roll out an early monthly build and detail what happened and why right now. If you're a heavy user of Dolphin's passthrough features, this is a rather important update.

libusb Thread Safety Problems

libusb is an incredibly powerful library that facilitates direct communication to USB devices without needing to develop a kernel level driver. It also has the benefit …

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Dolphin Progress Report: May 2019

The past few months have been quite hectic with a slew of gigantic changes requiring lengthy articles alongside them. These big features all hitting together seems to have brought up a talking point in the community would be irresponsible to ignore. Everyone wants to know when Dolphin 6.0 is coming. After all, Dolphin 5.0 launched nearly three years ago and lacks features like Ubershaders, Bluetooth Passthrough, Hybrid XFB, Emulated Motion Plus... the list goes on. Unfortunately, we have to announce that we aren't especially close to a release right now.

A release build is about more than just having exciting features, it's meant to be stable, reliable, and highly compatible. Since Dolphin 5.0, there have been a lot of minor and major regressions that haven't been fully worked out yet. Whether it's a game like Ed, Edd, & Eddy: The Mis-Edventures hanging on a loading screen or audio being broken in Resident Evil 2. There are dozens, if not over a hundred of these little issues that just take time and effort to address. Some of these issues are close to being resolved while others haven't even been investigated yet.

All we can ask of users is to continue using the latest development builds, continue reporting bugs, and be patient with the next release. With that out of the way, it's time to get to this May's Notable Changes. As always, users who want to try these features can download the latest development builds on the download page or use the auto-updater to get a new dev build every month automatically. Enjoy.

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