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Old 7th March 2017, 10:44 AM
justin8571 justin8571 is offline
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Default Mario Kart 64 speed/pickup issues

Hello everyone,

Back in 2013 I tried to reach the holy grail of 1080P four player Mario Kart 64 for use on today's larger TVs. Me and some mates try to get together once a week (not as easy these days) to race for forfeits and of course the ultimate loser cup, and since 1997 when it came out all we've done is race four player Koopa Troopa Beach; an absolute masterpiece of a circuit. We've only ever used the US N64 due to it being 17.5% faster as the UK version feels like you're driving in glue. Anyway, we're all well in our 40s now but our competitive nature and hatred for each other while racing hasn't lessened one bit.

So, back in 2013 I downloaded Project64 and the US ROM of Mario Kart 64 but there was a frame skipping issue in the four player mode that made it unplayable. Such a shame as the game looked beautiful in full HD. At that time there appeared to be no solution so I eventually gave up and we went back to the fuzzy pictured console via s-video.

Just by chance I came back on to this forum last week, hijacked an old thread and posted a question about the four player frame skipping issue which someone kindly answered, saying that it had been fixed. So, I commandeered my six year old's PC (well it was mine once) and installed Project64, as well as a copy of the US Mario Kart 64 rom and fired it up.

Last night four of us played (first to reach five losses per forfeit) and the frame skipping issue is definitely sorted, which is great. In fact it's almost perfect but for a couple of issues.

The first one is the speed. I'd say it's about 20% slower than the US console although strangely it appears slower in some places more than others. I definitely notice a bit of slow-down up to the first corner from the starting line if maybe three or more of us get a fast start but not so much if only one of us gets a fast start.

It's definitely not a limitation of the PC's hardware as it's a decent spec.

The next issue is the allocation of pickups, it gives out lightnings like confetti which spoils the gameplay. I can only assume maybe that someone's altered the code in the rom, if that's possible???? Now when we tried the emulated MK64 back in 2013, although there was the frame skipping issue, the pickups were allocated as expected. If you've played Koopa Troopa Beach a lot you'll know that if you've activated a star and then while still invincible go up the second to last ramp before the finish line and collect a pickup, about 70% of the time you'll get three mushrooms. This definitely happened back in 2013 with the US rom but last night this wasn't the case. Something just isn't right with regards to pickups.

I had a look at the game's config settings last night but this stuff is so far beyond my comprehension that I didn't stand a chance, so I didn't fiddle with anything.

So, can anyone please help out an ageing gamer finally reach his holy grail?!!!

Is there anything that can be done to increase the speed slightly please? Anything in the settings perhaps, none of which I can claim to understand.

Also, can anyone please tell me what's going on with the pickups? Is it possible that the rom I've downloaded has been altered and if so can anyone please point me in the direction of an original US MK64 rom?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Justin
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Old 7th March 2017, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin8571 View Post
The first one is the speed. I'd say it's about 20% slower than the US console although strangely it appears slower in some places more than others. I definitely notice a bit of slow-down up to the first corner from the starting line if maybe three or more of us get a fast start but not so much if only one of us gets a fast start.

It's definitely not a limitation of the PC's hardware as it's a decent spec.
What settings are you using? Are the VI/s always >= 60? What does the audio sound like during the slowdown?
Quote:
Originally Posted by justin8571 View Post
The next issue is the allocation of pickups, it gives out lightnings like confetti which spoils the gameplay. I can only assume maybe that someone's altered the code in the rom, if that's possible???? Now when we tried the emulated MK64 back in 2013, although there was the frame skipping issue, the pickups were allocated as expected. If you've played Koopa Troopa Beach a lot you'll know that if you've activated a star and then while still invincible go up the second to last ramp before the finish line and collect a pickup, about 70% of the time you'll get three mushrooms. This definitely happened back in 2013 with the US rom but last night this wasn't the case. Something just isn't right with regards to pickups.
Try disabling an option called "Fixed Audio Timing" and let us know if that fixes your issue.
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Old 7th March 2017, 11:24 PM
justin8571 justin8571 is offline
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Hello,

thanks for your help, I do appreciate it.

I'm at work now but will get a chance to take a look at my settings tomorrow. I haven't changed anything though so they'll all be at default.

The slow-down is very minor and probably not noticeable to most people but I guess as we've played it for the past 20 years that we could see/feel even tiny differences, but I don't think the audio was affected in any way.

I'll try your Fixed Audio Timing suggestion tomorrow as well and get back to you. It'll be difficult to replicate the four player mode on my own to see how this affects the allocation of pickups but I'll give it a go.

Clearly I haven't got a clue about how any of this works so thank you for offering your advice.

Justin
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Old 8th March 2017, 10:58 PM
justin8571 justin8571 is offline
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Hello,

I only managed to run it today for a short while. I was looking everywhere for a VI/s setting but then noticed it on the bottom right hand of the screen. It changed only between 60 and 61.

I found the Fixed Audio Timing setting and deselected it but wasn't able to test it fully. Got some mates coming round Wednesday next week for our Mario night so we'll give it a proper test and I'll post the outcome. If you don't mind, how could an audio timing setting affect the allocation of pickups?

Thanks again for your help

Justin
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Old 9th March 2017, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin8571 View Post
Hello,

I only managed to run it today for a short while. I was looking everywhere for a VI/s setting but then noticed it on the bottom right hand of the screen. It changed only between 60 and 61.

I found the Fixed Audio Timing setting and deselected it but wasn't able to test it fully. Got some mates coming round Wednesday next week for our Mario night so we'll give it a proper test and I'll post the outcome. If you don't mind, how could an audio timing setting affect the allocation of pickups?

Thanks again for your help

Justin
Hi . So basicaly you are getting 60 - 61 VI/s and audio sounds fine, but it's "20% slower"? Are the frame updates laggy? Or do you mean the actual game speed is slower, like the movement?

It makes sense for audio to affect RNG because that helps RNG become less deterministic. You're welcome .
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Old 13th March 2017, 05:20 PM
justin8571 justin8571 is offline
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Hello,

Sorry for the late reply. I've had a bit of time to myself today so I fired it up for a bit of testing.

It's difficult trying to replicate four players when I'm on my own so I'll be able to get a better idea on Wednesday evening. With Fixed Audio Timing off I ran three players individually just short of the finish line on the third lap and then observed the pickups for the fourth player starting all the way from the beginning. It definitely wasn't throwing up as many lightnings and the pickup distribution seemed more normal, but again I'll know for sure Wednesday evening. I've still no idea how you figured an audio setting might affect pickups but it would appear to have done exactly that.

As for the speed, my guess of 20% slower was way off, but you can feel it's slower. For this I compared laps using the US console vs the US emulated copy. I did a fast lap on each without using any pickups, used the same amount of power-slides and jumped up the ramp through the mountain. I videoed the laps and then timed them with a stopwatch so as not to go by the game's timer.

Using the stopwatch I found that I could do a lap about two seconds faster on the console than the emulated version. I worked this out as the console game running seven percent faster than the emulated version.

Also, there's a momentary slowdown when a lightning is used. When you use a lightning the other three players spin for a couple of seconds and it's during that time slowdown is evident.

There are so many settings for the emulator and game, and other than the Fixed Audio Timing everything else is at default. Do you know please if I can optimise the game by altering any of the settings? The settings can be tailored to this one track as we only use the emulator for that alone. You mentioned the VI/s setting, is that something I can fiddle with to slightly increase the games speed?

Thanks again for your help and sorry to heap yet more questions on you. This game looks amazing on the emulator and is so close to being perfect, I'm just hoping a few tweaks will do the trick.

Justin
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Old 14th March 2017, 05:18 AM
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No worries man. It's a good thing that someone is actively testing .

Your item issue sounded like an RNG related issue and PJ64 not too long ago went back to Fixed Audio Timing as default setting. I've done a lot of testing, so I just have a decent amount of background knowledge for various things in N64 emulation.

As for speeding up the game, you can try setting counter factor to 1 or raise the Vi refresh rate. The effects of increasing VI refresh rate vary per-game. For instance in Super Smash Bros, menus are noticeably faster iirc after increasing VI refresh rate.

I wonder if the slowdown is actually caused by the frameskip fix. One hypothesis I have, is that perhaps the game goes faster in parts that aren't laggy, due to their workaround.

Let us know what your results are .
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Old 15th March 2017, 04:15 PM
justin8571 justin8571 is offline
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Hello,

Just had a little go and tried setting the counter factor to 1 and did some timed laps but unfortunately the lap times were the same as before.

The VI refresh rate was set at 1500 and I've had a play up to 10000 but still no improvement I'm afraid. As you can tell, I don't understand any of this, it's way beyond me, and I don't know if the VI refresh rate has anything to do with VI/s shown at the bottom of the game screen, as that still remained at 60.

There are all sorts of settings, all of which are set to default from when I installed the emulator so I'm not sure whether they're optimised for Mario Kart or not.

It can definitely run the game faster as when I deselect Limit FPS the game absolutely flies, but way too fast to be played. I wonder if there's a way of only slightly increasing the FPS to slightly increase the game speed?

Thanks again

Justin
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Old 16th March 2017, 04:05 AM
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things to consider.

LCD = 60hz
CRT = 59.93hz
PJ64 timing is not correct. zilmar has not investigated the issue with core, and made the assumption that the plugins are the issue.

I have tested a few emulators with different results. And I suggest that you try this with 1964 0.8.5, and PJ64 no cheats to see if there is a difference.


Another test you can do is setting the screenhertz=61 in the config file for this game and use vsync.. this seems to fix the missing frames for Smash in PJ64, but I am unsure if its the actual correct timing or solution.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNJo_U8hc4A
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Last edited by theboy181; 16th March 2017 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 16th March 2017, 04:12 AM
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[916B8B5B-780B85A4-C:45]
Cheat1=1
Cheat44=1
Counter Factor=1
Dsound-SyncAudio=1
Fixed Audio=0
Good Name=Super Smash Bros. (U)
Linking=0
screenhertz=61
SMM-Cache=1
Use TLB=0
ViRefresh=1500
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