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Old 8th July 2017, 04:54 PM
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Bighead Bighead is offline
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Once upon a time I was active in the N64 emulation community. I played my first emulated N64 game (which of course happened to be SM64) on UltraHLE. I remember when it was all so new and exciting because progress was rapidly being made. Stuff was happening, PJ64 and 1964 popped up. We could finally move on from Corn and SupraHLE that played 12 games combined. The world was an amazing place to live in. Then something happened. Things slowed down. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what, but hell I'll give it a shot because I have nothing better to do right now.

Backtrack a (random #) of years ago. Try to picture a room full of geniuses, all working towards a common goal, all tucked away into their own little cubicles hard at work. You had zilmar and Jabo making an emulator with help from smiff (PJ64), schibo and Rice making an emulator (1964), Azimer making an emulator (apollo64), hacktarux making an emulator (mupen64), LaC and Lemmy making an emulator (Nemu64), MasterPhW making an emulator (True Reality), MarathonMan eventually making an emulator (cen64), among others who haven't been forgotton. You have Jabo working independently on graphics, Rice working independently on graphics, ziggy working independently on graphics, Gonetz working independently on graphics, Orkin working independently on graphics, mudlord working independently on graphics, MasterPhW working independently on graphics, angrylion working independently on graphics. And as for audio... well, hats off to Azimer for always offering the superior audio solution, and it the few cases it was not, schibo also had a good audio implementation. And major props to Iconoclast for his astounding RSP work, and LuigiBlood for his dedication to N64DD. This list leaves out a lot of people, who have all also went off and done their own things (who can ever forget shunyaun, or pokefan with ACE64 and its many incarnations). As an observer, what can possible be perceived from this? It's almost like there seems to be a sort of trend, almost like... everyone is competing with one another! Or... something?

And this trend has extended for over a decade. It's almost like anyone who knows anything about emulating a Nintendo64, wanted to do what they excel at all by themselves, or in very small teams. Things have somewhat changed since then, but a lot still seems to be the same. And for what purpose is there to do it alone other than self glorification? The notion of complete control? Being the project BOSS? It can't honestly be self improvement, because that actually entails accepting we aren't the best at everything and there is much to be learned from others. This mentality of separation still seems to stagnate. You can't help but wonder what could have been if these wizards combined their efforts from the start. We'd probably be playing Rogue Squadron and Indiana Jones in HLE at 4k resolution by now, with absolutely no fear that the N64 is being properly preserved for future generations. Impossible, maybe? Maybe not. It's now one of those "we'll never know" situations.

There has also always seemed to be this hive mind notion to support legacy hardware in the N64 scene, and put all this worry and emphasis on "speed". But, by the time any reasonable amount of progress is made, that hardware that everyone seems so hell bent on not leaving behind, is most likely dead at the point the goal will be achieved. What's considered "fast" today is tomorrows "slow". Heck my current PC isn't even considered "mid-range" anymore by today's standards, and yet I have no trouble emulating almost anything that can be emulated at full speed + graphical enhancements, including Wii-U games. How does the desire for "LLE" and "cycle accuracy" and all those fancy buzz words even exist along side these needless concerns about performance? It's almost like not only wanting the cake and eating it too, but throw in ice cream, pie, and tasty sugary fruit!

And some of the arguments here just blow my mind, it feels like I'm reading a forum from 2001. Concerns over 10MB of bloat? A 250GB+ hard drive is basically a minimum standard in even the cheapest of laptops these days. You can pick up an 8GB USB stick for under 10 bucks. It makes me wonder what audience PJ64, and this proposed PJ64-Graphics plugin is even targeted at? I imagine the majority of most people who actually care about playing games, are just going to drop the GlideN64 plugin into the plugin folder and never give anything else a second thought. I don't even understand the notion of multiple plugins anymore. Because one does something better than the other? Why not combine efforts, then one plugin does both things better. I leave it to the N64 scene to latch onto such an antiquated philosophy. I get that there is always going to be diversion, multiple projects will always exist. higan vs SNES9x, PCSX2 vs Play!, CEMU vs Decaf, Dolphin vs Ishiiruka, rpcs3 vs rpcs3, NES²°³, Retroarch vs The World. But no other collective effort towards emulating a console has been more divided than the n64 scene. You need not look further than the comments in this thread for evidence.

This whole worrying about performance thing. Let's look at it from another angle. Look at how accuracy focused Dolphin is. Look at the new Wii-U emulator CEMU. Accuracy aside, both require a beefy system to even run decent. Yet... there seems to be an audience for them. Arguably one that far exceeds the N64 emulation player base. Tons of active users with an enormous following. Heck these days I usually end up playing the more popular N64 games that were ported to virtual console on Dolphin rather than fiddle with the nightmare that n64 emulators have become (and truthfully, always have been). Because what's being demonstrated here is what has held back this scene for over 10 years: a lack of cooperation.

At the end of it all, everything will remain as it always has been. But for some reason, I felt compelled to waste over an hour typing this up for no reason at all other than I'm tired, bitchy, insomnia drunk, and shrugged when I happened upon this thread. I'm not going to join in on the debate, but I'll eagerly watch how N64 emulation plays out over the next decade (assuming, I'm still alive).
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