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Virtual Jaguarx V0.98


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#1 hcf

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:10 AM

It has been released a new version of Virtual JaguarX, the Atari Jaguar emulator for Xbox.

This v0.98 version has huge improvements over the last version, so I suggest everybody to upgrade to it.

IMPORTANT: Due to a stupid bug, the emulator needs at least 18 roms to work (it is the amount of roms needed to fill the screen in the rom list menu), and it must be launched from hard disk (it does not work from DVD). Otherwise, it will hang.


Changes in the emulator core

1) Full-screen playing, even in HD modes: Now you can play at full-screen, both with 480, 720p or 1080i. This has been achieved by replacing all the SDL code related to video, with Xbox native Direct3D code.

2) Noticeable speed improvement: Besides the full-screen support, the native Direct3D code also brang a speed improvement. This makes that some games that were hardly playable in the last version, can be played in this one at good speed (for example Kasumi Ninja or Zool 2). Besides, many games that need overclocked sound/GPU, will have better sound and less graphical glitches now, because the overclocking factor now is much lower.

3) Improved compatibility: There are new playable games that didn't work (or were unplayable) in previous versions, like Soccer Kid, Protector Special Edition, Zero 5, Worms, Evolution - Dino Dudes, Kasumi Ninja...

4) Better savegame management: In the past versions, there was an annoying bug that caused that, if you didn't exit from the game in a proper way (START+BACK) you lost all the saved games related to that rom!! This bug has been fixed with a better savegame management. Now, if you exit bad, you will only loose the current game, but all the previous saved progress will be kept. So, you will never loose your saved games again (time to beat Rayman now?).


Changes in the GUI

1) Now you can have a lot of games in your "roms" folder (the previous version had a bug when you had more than 50-60 roms). And these roms can have moderately long names if you want. Anyways, remember that the files must have a "normal" name if you want that the emulator is able to recommend the best settings for that game. For example, if you have the game Rayman you can name it like "Rayman.zip" or "Rayman (Ubisoft).j64" or whatever you want that begins with "Raym"... but don't rename it like "My favorite game.zip", because the emulator will not know that it is Rayman!

2) Preliminary screenshots support. The emulator search for screenshots with the same name of the rom (but extension "jpg") in the "media/artwork/action" folder (like in the Xtras) and if it exists, it will show it when the game is selected in the menu. This package contains some screenshots of some of the most famous games, but you must rename your roms like them if you want them to work. For example, if the screenshot is "Kasumi Ninja.jpg", rename your rom as "Kasumi Ninja.zip".

3) Background music

4) Better joystick management


HD support

If you have an HD monitor, you can configure Virtual JaguarX to display graphics in 720p or 1080i resolution. In this version of the emulator, only the gameplay will be shown at those high resolutions, but the rom list menu will still be shown at 480, no matter what you configured.

To configure a high resolution, select a game in the rom list menu. After that, the emulator will show the "RECOMMENDED OPTIONS" screen. Go to the last option ("Video Mode") and select your desired resolution (480, 720p or 1080i) and after that press START to begin playing. The game will be displayed in your selected resolution.

Furthermore: you only need to do this one time. The next time that you select another rom, the emulator will "remember" your selected resolution, and it will configure it automatically as the "recommended option" (although you can change it again if you want).

Please, note that I don't own an HD TV, so I have not tested the high resolution modes myself, but beta testers have confirmed that it is working well (thank you very much to darknior for testing this!).


COMPATIBILITY LIST

Please, keep in mind that the emulation is still not perfect. Even games marked in green color are not perfect (especially speaking about the sound emulation). Green color does not mean "perfect gameplay". Green color means that you can play and enjoy the game without major problems, although the emulation in many cases is not 100% accurate (or even the sound does not work at all).

-------
- KEY -
-------
The game plays well, or with minor glitches / slowdowns
The game is playable, but it has important glitches / slowdowns
The game does not work, or has critical glitches/slowdowns that

make it unplayable


----------
- Games -
----------

Air Cars -> Does not work
Alien Vs Predator -> Plays at good speed, but has important glitches
Atari Karts -> It runs a bit slow, but it is playable. The problem is that, after a few races, the game crashes sad.gif
Attack of the Mutant Penguins -> Does not work
Battle Sphere Gold -> Does not work
Brutal Sports Football -> Does not work
Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tails -> Playable, but probably incorrect speed and slowdowns
Cannon Fodder -> Plays very well, even with sound and music
Checkered Flag -> It loads, but beginning the race is not possible
Club Drive -> It crashes after driving a bit
Cybermorph -> Does not work
Defender 2000 -> It works well, although the music quality is bad. See the section "is music crap?"
Doom - Evil Unleashed -> It is playable with sound, but the size of the main window is half than normal
Double Dragon V -> It works very well, even with sound, but the music is crap. See the section "is music crap?"
Dragon - The Bruce Lee Story -> It works well, with minor glitches and slowdowns
Evolution - Dino Dudes -> It works well
Fever Pitch Soccer -> Does not work
Fight For Your Life -> Does not work
Flashback -> It works very well, although the recommended option is disabling sound.
Flip Out -> Does not work
Frog Feast -> Does not work (it crashes in the title screen)
Gorf 2000 (PD) -> Does not work
Hover Strike -> Does not work
I War -> It works, although a bit slow
Iron Soldier -> It loads, it lets you select the weapon, it shows you the mission briefing... and it crashes
Iron Soldier 2 -> It loads and you can advance by the menu, but after that, it crashes
Kasumi Ninja -> It is playable now, although the sound is still not good
Missile Command 3D -> It works well
NBA Jam TE (1996) -> It works
Pinball Fantasies -> It works well, even with sound and music
Pitfall - The Mayan Adventure -> It works, but it has graphical issues
Power Drive Rally -> Does not work
Protector SE -> It works very well, although without sound
Raiden -> It works very well, even with sound and music
Rayman -> It works very well, you can use overclocked audio, although the recommended option is disabling audio.
Ruiner Pinball -> Does not work
Sensible Soccer -> It works very well, although without sound.
Soccer Kid -> It works very well, even with sound and music, although the music is a bit choppy. See the section "Is music crap?".
Space War 2000 -> It works, but enemies are not shown
Super Burnout -> Does not work
Super Cross 3D -> It hangs the emulator
Syndicate -> It has critical graphical glitches that make it unplayable.
Tempest 2000 -> Playable at good speed, even with sound, although the music does not play well. See the section "Is music crap?".
Theme Park -> It loads and it seems to work, but I don't know what to do in this game
Total Carnage -> Unplayable, it has major graphical glitches
Towers 2 -> Unplayable, it has major graphical glitches
Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy -> It works well
Troy Aikman NFL Football -> It works without sound
Ultra Vortek -> Does not work
Val D'Isere Skiing & Snowboarding -> It works perfect until you begin the race, then crashes
White Men Can't Jump -> It crashes after the title screen
Wolfenstein 3D -> Perfect gameplay, although sound is not emulated
Worms -> It works well, even with sound
Zero 5 -> It works well, although without sound
Zool 2 -> It works well, even with sound and music, although music is choppy
Zoop -> Does not work


CONFIGURATION OPTIONS

It is not needed that you change anything, because the emulator will try to select the best options automatically. Anyways, here is a description of the options, because you CAN change them manually if you want:

Frameskip: The emulator will skip the emulation of some frames. This can help to make the emulation faster.

Sound emulation: The DSP is the module that makes the sound in the Jaguar. This option lets you overclock this unit, to make the emulation faster (although the quality of the sound will be worse).

GPU Speed: The GPU (Graphic Process Unit) is the module that makes the complex graphics in the Jaguar. This option lets you overclock this unit, to make the emulation faster (although you may face graphical glitches).

Force FPS: You can select an amount of FPS (frames-per-second) and the emulator will try to "overclock everything dinamically" in a smart way, in order to achieve that frame rate. In fact, you will see that in many games, the recommended configuration is "Force 50 FPS", which was the default speed for many Jaguar NTSC games.

This is not usefull for every game, because sometimes the synchronization of the modules is made by one of these modules, and if you overclock it, the game can be even slower. As allways, the recommended settings are usually the best.

There are even some games where you will see that the recommended configuration is forcing a lower number of FPS (not 50). This is normal, don't get worry by that wink.gif

Use BIOS: The "BIOS" is that animation that played when selecting a game (with the red "Jaguar" word). You can select to play this BIOS or not. Many games work both with or without BIOS, so in these games, the emulator will recommend you to skip the animation. Other games do require to use BIOS (like Rayman) and the emulator will recommend you to USE BIOS automatically. And there are even games that require to NOT use the BIOS (for example Wolfenstein 3D) and the emulator will recommend this to you too. Shortly: you will not have the need to touch this option, as the emulator selects it properly for you.

Video Mode: You can choose between 480, 720p or 1080i. The option that you chose, will be remembered by the emulator, and it will be recommended in the future for every game (so, it is not needed that you configure it all the time). Note that 720p and 1080i resolutions will only be used during the gameplay, but the rom list is still at 480 resolution.

NOTE: The emulator will suggest the optimal configuration options for a NORMAL XBOX. If you have a Trusty Xbox, these options will be valid in cases where no overclocking has been selected, and even in cases where the "Force FPS" is used, because this is a smart option that will overclock the systems considering the speed of your machine. But some games have a recommended configuration with fixed overclocking values (for example, Overclock Sound x3, or GPU x4...). In these cases, it's possible that the game runs a bit faster than normal if you have a Trusty Xbox. If this is the case, you will have to change a bit the configuration options manually.


INSTALLING AND/OR UPGRADING

To install the emulator, simply copy it to your hard disk, and put the roms inside the "roms" folder.
If you had the previous version of Virtual JaguarX, simply overwrite the old folder with the new one. You will even keep you saved games if you keep the content of the "eeproms" folder.


BACKGROUND LOGO AND MUSIC

The image of the screen is the logo.jpg one. You can replace it if you want. The background music is the BGM.ogg file, and you can also replace it if you want.



IMPORTANT

You must keep in mind these 3 things:

* This version of the emulator only works from hard disk. Running from DVD is not possible, sorry.

* Roms must be placed, as allways, in the "roms" folder.

* When you choose a game, it will spend a bit more time to start than in previous versions, although after that, everything will run faster and better.



KEY MAPPING

As far as the key mapping is related, you know that the Jaguar has 3 standard buttons (A, B and C) and a numeric keypad. The standard buttons are the most used, and they are mapped in the Xbox buttons A, B and X. After that, we must decide which is the better way to map the numeric pad. At the moment I have mapped the buttons in this way: START = 0, Y = 1, Black = 2, White = 3, Left Trigger = 4, Right Trigger = 5, dPad UP = 6, dPad Right = 7, dPad Down = 8, dPad Left = 9. Anyways, feedback will be very well received, to discuss the best way to map all these buttons.

You can exit of the game pressing START+BACK simmultaneously. You can launch a very limited in-game menu pressing BACK to change the frameskip. In fact, there is only one options that can beconfigured by the user:

* Frameskip: The default value is ZERO, because many games run at full speed (or at least at playable speed) without using frameskip. But if you play a game that runs slow, maybe increasing the frameskip can help a bit to make the game playable. Please, be warned that increasing the frameskip in the middle of the game is possible, but decreasing frameskip in the middle of the game can make it crash (you probably will have to re-launch the rom).


IS MUSIC CRAP?

There are some games that work at full speed, the sound effects are good, but the music is crap (because sometimes the quality of the sound can be very bad when overclocking the sound processor). If this is your case, and the music is so bad that you prefer to mute it, keep in mind that several Atari Jaguar games can mute the music pressing the START button (which is mapped to the '0' button of the Jaguar) and you can turn on the music again pressing START again.

So, for example if you are playing Double Dragon 5 or Evolution - Dino Dudes and the music is annoying, press START. The game will be still at full-speed, you will hear the samples perfectly (which is way better than playing without sound) and the music will be muted.

In several other games, the music with overclocking is tolerable or even good, so there is no need to mute it.


KNOWN BUGS

It has been reported that, if the "roms" folder contains less than 18 roms (which is the amount of roms that fills the screen) the emulator hangs. I will try to fix it in the next version, but in the meanwhile, at least 18 games need to be placed in the "roms" folder.

It has been reported that the game "Tempest 2000" sometimes starts with graphical glitches if you use the recommended configuration. If this is the case (if the first "pipe" is not drawn properly) exit the game and select it again in the rom list. If the game starts properly, it will run properly all the time.


CHANGELOG

v0.98
-----

* Full-screen playing

* HD support 720p and 1080i in the gameplay (the GUI is still shown at low

resolution)

* Noticeable speed improvement

* Improved compatibility (Worms, Soccer Kid...)

* Better savegames management

* SDL Video code replaced with Xbox native code

* Emulator splitted into two executables (GUI and core)

* Background music in the GUI

* Screenshots support in the GUI

* Bugs fixed in rom list, now a lot of roms can be used.

* Better joystick management


v0.95b
------

* The emulator suggests the recommended configuration for every game.

* Added the possibility of overclocking the GPU

* Added an option to "Force FPS", overclocking dynamically both the GPU and the DSP to achieve the desired frame ratio.

* Added an option to show or not show the BIOS animation at the begining of every game. This is very important to play some games that don't like the BIOS, like Wolfenstein 3D (that game was not playable in the past version).

* Replaced all the SDL code related to the joypad, with DirectInput code.

* Fixed a bug that prevented to play games with strange video resolution changes, like Doom, Evolution - Dino Dudes, or Trevor McFur. In the past version of the emulator, these games only show a black screen. In this version they are playable, although the aspect ratio is not correct yet.

* Fixed some bugs here and there

* Lots of small optimizations here and there, to improve the global speed of the emulator.

* Increased the size of the rom list in the user interface



v0.90
-----

* Initial version



THANKS

As allways, I want to say thanks to all the people that helped me in this port: Neobomb, Hyper_Eye, Madmab, Freakdave, weinerschnitzel, XtecuterX73, darknoir, the Surreal64 CE team, the creators of the original Virtual Jaguar emulator (nwagenaar, Caz, Adam Green, Aaron Giles, David Raingeard, Bernd Schmidt, Sam Lantinga, Ryan C. Gordon, Curt Vendel, Reboot, byuu, and mainly thanks to Shamus for his help!) and the creators of all the libraries for Xbox (like the SDL ones).

Besides, big thanks to all the people that made and make possible the Xbox scene and the emuxtras project, Neobomb (again!), Wimpy, Waal, Perr, Mega Man, RessurrectionX, Lantus, SPPV... Thank you very much for your work!

In this v0.98 version, I want to say thanks specially to the Surreal64 CE team, Madmab, and darknior, who gave me critical help to be able to make some of the most important improvements.


#2 stranno

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:20 PM

Great to see improvements over this emulator.

I'm not be able to start Kasumi Ninja. It loads fine but the fight never starts after the Round 1 title (default rom options).

Here's a video with few games and 720p video of Rayman. I have short time to record so i didnt messed around with options, sorry.





#3 hcf

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:46 PM

QUOTE(stranno @ May 2 2013, 08:20 PM) View Post

I'm not be able to start Kasumi Ninja. It loads fine but the fight never starts after the Round 1 title (default rom options).

Here's a video with few games and 720p video of Rayman. I have short time to record so i didnt messed around with options, sorry.






You don't have to change the options. Since version v0.95b, Virtual JaguarX recommends the best settings for each game!! The only one option that you must configure is the Video mode (480, 720p or 1080i). The rest of the options, simply let them as they appear, and the games will run well smile.gif

Kasumi Ninja didn't worked for you, because you disabled the sound emulation. This game needs sound emulation to start the combat (the combat begins when the "Round one" audio ends... so if you disable the audio, the fight will never start). Simply let the options unchanged, and the game will work well. If you face any problems, let me know...

Thanks for the feedback and for the videos!


#4 garyopa

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 10:34 PM

Thanks, for the update, now linked to the front-page here at XS

#5 cricri_pingouin

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 11:19 PM

Awesome, thanks for the update hcf! biggrin.gif
Feel free to keep updating it tongue.gif

The file I've got is:

QUOTE

v0.981
------

* Fixed the bug that hung the emulator if there were less than 18 files in the "roms" folder


So it looks like you squashed this bug already!

#6 hcf

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 12:12 AM

Thanks for placing that on the front page, garyopa!

@cricri_pingouin: Yes, I managed to fix the bug that needed 18 roms to run the emulator. If you downloaded an emulator and the "changelog.txt" has that text that you posted, you have the latest version with this bug fixed smile.gif

In fact, I believe that the bad version has been replaced by the fixed version in every place now, so everybody downloading the emulator now, will download the fixed version. Only if you downloaded the emulator before May 2nd, you could have the bad version. If this is your case, if you downloaded the emulator before May 2nd (and your "changelog.txt" does not contain the text that posted cricri_pingouin) then you may have the old version with the bug, and I suggest you to download the emulator again to have the fixed one (or alternatively, put more than 18 roms in the "roms" folder).

#7 ErichMoraga

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 02:44 AM

While I'll probably dust off my old XBox to try this out, I wanted to tell you about this cool new console called the XBox360 which could probably provide the horsepower this emulator deserves...

#8 hcf

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 11:24 AM

QUOTE(ErichMoraga @ May 4 2013, 03:44 AM) View Post

While I'll probably dust off my old XBox to try this out, I wanted to tell you about this cool new console called the XBox360 which could probably provide the horsepower this emulator deserves...


biggrin.gif Lol, you made me laugh with your post about that "new" console (I don't really know how much ironic you tried to be, but I guess that a lot). Yes, of course I know the Xbox360, but unfortunately I don't own a 360, nor I have the knowledge to program for it.

But... you can see that I have released the source code of this emulator (inside of the same package) so anyone can make a port of Virtual JaguarX for the 360. Even you can do it if you want, this emulator is open source (simply remember to release the source code when you had finished). As you said, the 360 must be able to run it better than the original Xbox.

In fact, when I released the first version of Virtual JaguarX (last year, version v0.9) someone made a port for Xbox360, but it seems that it was made to run via Xbox emulation or something like that, so it did not take advantage of the horsepower of the 360. On the other hand, if someone makes a real native port for the 360, it could run better.

Finally, if someone reading this is considering making a port for the 360, I would offer him to contact with me and I could tell him a couple of advices to optimize that even more (taking advantage of the several cores of the 360). Even more: this last version v0.98 uses a lot of Xbox native code. If you are thinking on a port, maybe you could be interested in porting the former version (v0.95b) which was way more portable (based mainly in SDL).

#9 garyopa

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 07:47 PM

QUOTE(ErichMoraga @ May 3 2013, 09:44 PM) View Post

While I'll probably dust off my old XBox to try this out, I wanted to tell you about this cool new console called the XBox360 which could probably provide the horsepower this emulator deserves...


Personally, I am hoping the really NEW Xbox, the 720 or Loop or Fusion or Next or possible rumored its just going to be called Xbox (again), will be exploited early on in its life, as being x86-64 based, it will be alot easier to port over the existing emulators even the old XBMC to the latest Xbox platform, as the 360 sadly saw alot less emulators and homebrew, due to the fact it was so unusual programming and powerpc based.

#10 cricri_pingouin

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 12:05 PM

QUOTE(ErichMoraga @ May 4 2013, 02:44 AM) View Post

I wanted to tell you about this cool new console called the XBox360 which could probably provide the horsepower this emulator deserves...


Yeah, emulators for Xbox360 are great... if you have it jtagged or chipmodded!
My Xbox is softmodded, it's easy to do, quick, reliable, and doesn't need any skills.
In fact, I used to have both Xbox and 360 till two weeks before christmas. Guess which one I sold then? Hint: I'm using this emulator.

Edited by cricri_pingouin, 05 May 2013 - 12:06 PM.


#11 Geeba

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 12:51 PM

QUOTE(ErichMoraga @ May 4 2013, 02:44 AM) View Post

While I'll probably dust off my old XBox to try this out, I wanted to tell you about this cool new console called the XBox360 which could probably provide the horsepower this emulator deserves...


You've not seen Coinops then! LOL!




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