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PS2 Emulation: Vulkan Backend has been merged into PCSX2, new GUI incoming

Teslerum

Member
This is in addition to other big changes for the Emulator in the past year, like the removal of the plugin system (leaving only N64 emulation that actively uses it). There's also been various other improvements, for blending, frame pacing, input lacing as well as fixing longstanding issues in games of course (Hype, Primal, Shadow Man 2, Burnout for example)

Download here:


And finally the Backends author Stenzek (Dolphin/Duckstation) is in the process of creating a new UI for PCSX2. (Not yet finished)

Pics here: https://www.neogaf.com/threads/ps2-...pcsx2-new-gui-incoming.1627284/post-265511608

Edit: Also texture replacement incoming

 
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squarealex

Member
Finally

The original developers of PCSX2 messed up so much that it became one of the worst random performance emulators ... They didn't understand the PS2 hardware. Really brave to these new developers to continue improving the completely broken structure of this emulator .. (There is no x64 version for example and still using plugins for some I / O service or Sound / GPU). Good news

Big improve for ARM device
 
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Rudius

Member
Great news! I recently played Ratchet and Clank and it was really demanding on the CPU, which could alleviated. I also hope they can fix some issues with NFS Hot Pursuit 2 in hardware mode.
 

Teslerum

Member
Finally

The original developers of PCSX2 messed up so much that it became one of the worst random performance emulators ... They didn't understand the PS2 hardware. Really brave to these new developers to continue improving the completely broken structure of this emulator .. (There is no x64 version for example and still using plugins for some I / O service or Sound / GPU). Good news
I mean there's still a few around close from the start (like refraction who joined in 2005). And making an emulator usually involves not understanding the hardware until you figure it out.

If anything the problem was that there was an incredibly high rate of turnover on the emulator for the longest time with most not leaving proper documentation/comments of their code. Which lead to a mess, that had to be sorted out for multiple years before it could be improved upon.

(Also the plugin system doesn't exist anymore and an x64 version exists now too)
 
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stranno

Member
Finally

The original developers of PCSX2 messed up so much that it became one of the worst random performance emulators ... They didn't understand the PS2 hardware. Really brave to these new developers to continue improving the completely broken structure of this emulator .. (There is no x64 version for example and still using plugins for some I / O service or Sound / GPU). Good news

Big improve for ARM device
:messenger_tears_of_joy:

Jacob "Air" Stine, from the old PCSX2 team, has been a Sony software engineer for 7 years, developing all the backwards compatibility on PS4.


Started in the role of Audio and UI programmer and improving DevOps for other contributors. Encouraged basic code-review paradigms and tackled technical and architectural problems that were creating barriers to new contributors joining the cause.

Advocated for improving the open source contribution ecosphere. The project had been handicapped by technical and political in-fighting prior to my tenure. I took initiative to re-focus the team, helped set sensible goals by identifying our customers and the personal interests of contributors (academic, personal, etc). I actively encouraged individual contributions toward those goals. I demonstrated a level of competency and skill that helped inspire others to contribute. I established new guidelines for moderating public forums and reviewing/accepting contributions.

Engineering and architecture projects I took on over ~2.5 yrs:
● new asynchronous UI design, with a user-oriented focus on responsiveness, stability, and minimizing # of clicks to access the most commonly used items. Designed to be cross-platform with Windows / Linux.
● Algorithmic optimization for asynchronous GS emulator, using high performance lock-free async queues
● benchmarking and micro-optimization of JIT compiler
● state machines and high-precision event schedulers (implementation, optimization, debugging)
● revived cross-platform initiative and ported JIT compiler to Linux ABI
● successfully provided full support for Linux developers without having any prior knowledge or experience using Linux OS

Role: Research & Development, Playstation Platform Emulation -- Technical Lead, 2011 to 2017

- develop concurrent multithreaded Playstation 2 virtual machine for Playstation 4 (C++)
- virtual state-machine based audio mixing (C++, SIMD)

In general, people from the emulation or homebrew scene are probably the people with the biggest knowledge in the world about a particular platform. Swiss developer Extrems, for example, probably knows more about the Gamecube/Wii hardware than any developer/engineer that ever worked at Nintendo.
 
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PSYGN

Member
Cool. First game I tried was Stuntman a few years ago and it ran horribly, but another game ran just fine. Maybe I'll try again.
 

Teslerum

Member
Cool. First game I tried was Stuntman a few years ago and it ran horribly, but another game ran just fine. Maybe I'll try again.
Stuntman still has issues. And its one of the few games that needs floating point math to be completely accurate (for the AI to behave as it should in a few levels, though you can still finish the game.), which isn't going to happen in the forseeable future. Finnicky game.
 
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Black_Stride

do not tempt fate do not contrain Wonder Woman's thighs do not do not
Looks like reflections still dont work in Burnout 3.
But atleast the sky aint black.
 

stranno

Member
Afaik, sky could be fixed in old builds, using hardware mode, setting skipdraw to 999.

And other performance issues were fixed/hacked with a patch/cheat made by UlsterRosé. Which included a funny lower-tier version of the LOD models. Here's the hack running on the real hardware.


Tbh, the game looks much better without the blur and the fog. At least to my taste.
 
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SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
Its Happening Ron Paul GIF
 

ReBurn

Gold Member
Afaik, sky could be fixed in old builds, using hardware mode, setting skipdraw to 999.

And other performance issues were fixed/hacked with a patch/cheat made by UlsterRosé. Which included a funny lower-tier version of the LOD models. Here's the hack running on the real hardware.


Tbh, the game looks much better without the blur and the fog. At least to my taste.
It wouldn't hurt my feelings if EA and Criterion released a Burnout retro collection.
 

Notabueno

Banned
I always wondered why Playstation emulators were so slow and terrible compared to Nintendo emulators, despite both being popular.
 
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squarealex

Member
Jacob "Air" Stine, from the old PCSX2 team, has been a Sony software engineer for 7 years, developing all the backwards compatibility on PS4.

Dud, I say Old PCSX2 team, wich is 2001 team and the "main core" wich is still up today...

The problem is that "the core" is too dependent on audio, video plug-in which are independent of the emulator.
Also, several developers manage to add their codes to certain instruction sets. It certainly increased the speed ... but again, dependent on the plugins ... worse... dependent of developpers, and some fix is just for 1 or 2 games...

PCSX2 at this point can run FFX, Kingdom Heart... but god all other game is a pain in the ass to run... (It's like the developpers, code for some game and not the PlayStation 2)
(Just for example... they no reason Sly Cooper run better on emulator PS3 than original PS2)

One day ... they ended up with just two developers.

Of course now the emulator is improving, and I thank the developers who took over the project ... But before 2007, we had to wait 1 year and a half to have a new version with as an improvement ... a new version of the video plugin which managed CPU instruction games like SSE3 or GPU Pixel Shaders 2.0

And the problem that current developers must face is to optimize this pillar which must be a mess to understand.

Jacob Stine arrived after all messe up plugin and weird optimized thing (and thanks for him like other, wich is a "modern view").

(Also the plugin system doesn't exist anymore and an x64 version exists now too)
Good to know.. is a good news seriously..
courtesy of Stenzek (Duckstation)
Wow, Seriously this guy is god tier... Duckstation is for me one of the best video game emulator ever made... All other PS1 Emulator is useless for me...
 
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Kuranghi

Gold Member
Holy ship this thread reminded me I have a sealed copy of Burnout 3: Takedown waiting to play on my Xbox 360!

I promised myself I wouldn't open it until I 100%'d Burnout Re-ven-gay but I'm starting to realise that won't happen without a buddy as invested as me to pass the controller to when I get frustrated. Trying to get 5 Stars on the later Burning Lap/Preview events and crashing on the final corner 20x in a row really wears me down.

Can't slow down for that corner if you want 5 Stars I'm afraid!
 

Teslerum

Member
I always wondered why Playstation emulators were so slow and terrible compared to Nintendo emulators, despite both being popular.

Well, being popular isn't really a reason and honestly it depends. If we compare

- In the case of Playstation 1 vs N64 emulation honestly PlayStation came out on top. While at the beginning this was much closer, N64 has come to be one of the most notorious systems to emulate, and only really recently managed to do so while being slow. There are still several hurdles of combining that accuracy with enhancements too.

- In the case of Playstation 2 vs Dolphin its two things imo.

A: The Playstation 2 is much more alien to PC's
B: Dolphin had far better project management.

While PCSX2 had several excellent devs over the years, it. as I mentioned previously, also had a high turnover rate with nobody really enforcing some standards in writing code. As time went on this resulted in huge code debt that needed to be sorted out, leading to the current devs having to basically reverse engineer PCSX2 itself. To this day there's still certain code (Hardcoded Hotkeys for example) that nobody truly knows how it works. And that includes Refraction who has been around since 2005.

On the *Alien* side of things, the big thing (though there are other aspects as well) is how the PS2 handles floating point math. Here's an oldie, but goodie on the topic: https://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread-blog-Nightmare-on-Floating-Point-Street
Basically, the PS2 and your pc do not do their math the same way, leading to different results. This has to be accounted for, often individually, and is the culprit of a majority of PCSX2's issues. Even Dolphin has recently jumped into this issue thanks to a bad port to the Gamecube (True Crime: NYC)


Great Quote as well here:

Essentially, the PlayStation 2 doesn't really have INF or NaN. One of the reasons that our friends working on PCSX2 have so much trouble emulating Floating Point Math on modern computers is because it's just not possible to emulate it quickly and correctly at the same time. We asked for a quote regarding their thoughts on Floating Point Math on the PS2, unfortunately due to the mostly worksafe nature of the Dolphin Progress Report, we didn't see it fit to broadcast such harsh language and we do not approve of insulting one's mother, even if it is the mother of a mathematical concept.

Another aspect here is that a lot of PS2 games are weirdly coded and incredibly finnicky, even relying on behaviour that should be wrong to work. The whole system is a treasure trove in terms of that kind of stuff. Look Up *Sins of the PS2" by PSI to get more into the topic if you want.
 
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stranno

Member
Dud, I say Old PCSX2 team, wich is 2001 team and the "main core" wich is still up today...
2001 is one year after the PS2 launch, what do you expect.

Initial console emulators are all convoluted, specially in those years when Zilmar specs for plugins were still a thing and different people developed different Graphics Synthesizer plugins. Clean emulators usually come later, based on all the previous knowledge. It like FPGAs, where would they be without software emulation? Nowhere.

It doesn't mean they didn't understand the hardware. Not even Sony understood the hardware enough, just look at the gigantic difference in performance and compatibility between ps2_softemu and ps2_netemu for Playstation 3.

On top of that, Playstation 2 graphics subsystem is just complex, with many different configurations of the graphics workflow (serial or parallelized), and being the most exploited console ever, graphics wise, doesn't help much.
 
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Fafalada

Fafracer forever
Another aspect here is that a lot of PS2 games are weirdly coded and incredibly finnicky, even relying on behaviour that should be wrong to work. The whole system is a treasure trove in terms of that kind of stuff. Look Up *Sins of the PS2" by PSI to get more into the topic if you want.
It's funny to call that 'sins of PS2' given it's the games that sinned, not the hw. Even his own article about some of the aspects of the system highlights how that can often be based on misunderstanding the hw though - the games that have timing-dependant GIF synchronization are guilty of same types of sins, there were safe ways to synchronize that didn't rely on fiddly behavior and associated performance penalties - but when every developer gets to figure it out on their own - you get the expected chaos in outcomes.

It doesn't mean they didn't understand the hardware.
Well in all fairness - PS2 was one of the rare consoles that released its entire hardware documentation into public access, so it was substantially easier to understand how hw functions than machines that were mostly reverse-engineered. So they should have had a bit of a headstart there.
 

Notabueno

Banned
Dolphin had far better project management.

had a high turnover rate with nobody really enforcing some standards in writing code. As time went on this resulted in huge code debt that needed to be sorted out, leading to the current devs having to basically reverse engineer PCSX2 itself.

To this day there's still certain code (Hardcoded Hotkeys for example) that nobody truly knows how it works.

Yeah but that's the thing: why are playstation emulators, despite being in demand, so badly envisioned and managed wether you compare PCSX2, RPCSX3, PPSSPP and whatever exist for Vita or PS4 emulation, to Dolphin (which can emulate both GC and Wii), Cemu, Citra, Yuzu etc...?

Is it the culture behind the brands?
 

Teslerum

Member
Yeah but that's the thing: why are playstation emulators, despite being in demand, so badly envisioned and managed wether you compare PCSX2, RPCSX3, PPSSPP and whatever exist for Vita or PS4 emulation, to Dolphin (which can emulate both GC and Wii), Cemu, Citra, Yuzu etc...?

Is it the culture behind the brands?

I mean. What?

RPCS3 and PPSSPP (especially) are both fine managed (PCSX2 now too).

Meanwhile Cemu is closed source, Citra still has tons of issues and has been largely abandoned by the Yuzu team (leaving 3DS emulation in the dark, though activity has picked up a bit) and Yuzu itself has its fair share of drama. So, its not like they are perfect.

They are all great emulators with great teams behind them. I don't think there's any pattern here.
 
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Teslerum

Member
Vulkan just crashes instantly on my system. Maybe it’s the game, I dunno.
Which game if I may ask?

And is it possible you copied the dev build over an old installation of pcsx2? In that case just delete every file, except memcards and bios and then copy the dev build over.
 

Kilau

Member
Which game if I may ask?

And is it possible you copied the dev build over an old installation of pcsx2? In that case just delete every file, except memcards and bios and then copy the dev build over.
It’s an English translation patch version of Phantasy Star: Generation: 1

For the second question, yes I likely did that so I’ll try as you suggest. Vulkan not needed for this game but I wanted to see what was new.
 

Notabueno

Banned
I mean. What?

RPCS3 and PPSSPP (especially) are both fine managed (PCSX2 now too).

Meanwhile Cemu is closed source, Citra still has tons of issues and has been largely abandoned by the Yuzu team (leaving 3DS emulation in the dark, though activity has picked up a bit) and Yuzu itself has its fair share of drama. So, its not like they are perfect.

They are all great emulators with great teams behind them. I don't think there's any pattern here.

I might be wrong, I guess I got stuck in the Dolphin v PCSX2 era, wondering why Dolphin was so well designed and progressing so damn fast, while PCSX2 was a horrible software with no GUI (back then) and tons of problems.

Because despite all you mention, Cemu, Citra and Yuzu have great GUI, are simple of use and work pretty well which is crazy considering Yuzu runs the Switch.
 

ACESHIGH

Member
I might be wrong, I guess I got stuck in the Dolphin v PCSX2 era, wondering why Dolphin was so well designed and progressing so damn fast, while PCSX2 was a horrible software with no GUI (back then) and tons of problems.

Because despite all you mention, Cemu, Citra and Yuzu have great GUI, are simple of use and work pretty well which is crazy considering Yuzu runs the Switch.

About citra, you are pretty much screwed if you own an AMD graphics card. Hopefully one day devs can add Vulkan support.
 

adamsapple

Or is it just one of Phil's balls in my throat?
That new UI (at least the front end) looks conspicuously like Dolphin.

And I'm A-OK with that. PCSX2 always had that industrial look while Dolphin the sleek futuristic one. Good to see PCSX2 taking in the positive cues.
 

adamsapple

Or is it just one of Phil's balls in my throat?
Add texture replacement to the list


Oh fuck yeah !

I'm salivating at the thought of higher quality texture modes for the Resident Evil games that never left the PS2. Dead Aim, Outbreak etc.
 

LiquidMetal14

hide your water-based mammals
Wow this looks absolutely incredible thanks to the help provided. If this ends of anything like that station we have just another level we have assembly to on PlayStation 2 emulation. Amazing.
 

SF Kosmo

...please disperse...
Add texture replacement to the list

I was thinking this might be cool to try this with a game like Tales of Rebirth that uses 2D low res 2D hand painted backgrounds. Run it through Gigapixel or some similar AI upscaler. Could be neat.
 

CamHostage

Member
Add texture replacement to the list


This is official integration, correct? PS2 Texture Modding has existed for a little bit already, albeit like Stenzek said, unofficially and kind of hacky; this appears to be official and with texture dumping functions included within.

Very curious to see what gets done with it, I've seen some amazing restoration/modification work done on PS1 and GC games, and PS2 has not only a ton of classics but a lot of really cool games to check out which would benefit from some clean-up to make them fresh for people to check out now.


BTW, I've not been into emu for a long while but I'm getting a device finally (the Odin Android) to back into the vaults and am interested in checking out texture packs and hacks like this. I know the place to go for ROM hacks of translations or modifications, but I've never seen a compendium site of texture packs and FMV upscales, it seems like no good singular site has popped up to house or link out for all that stuff. There's a subRedit for r/texturepacks, I guess that'd be a start, and sometimes individual emulator groups have packs for their platform, but otherwise, does anybody know if that still the case, that you need to scope around for specific community groups to find HD texture packs for games you have ripped.
 

Dr.D00p

Member
PCSX2 with a nice GUI.

The very definition of lipstick on a hackfest pig.

I mean, from the PCSX2 website..

'98.03% of PS2 games are now playable using the emulator, but only 0.97% of games are listed as "Perfect"

less than 1% of games are 'Perfect' after a decade of development.

That tells you all you need to know about how horribly hacky this emulator is.
 
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