Questions about Retroarch

biggles

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I still own a handful of PS1, PS2, and Saturn games. Including Katamari Damacy, Night into Dreams, Tempest X, and Castlevania: SOTN. Recently installed Retroarch after hearing it is one of the best emulators out there for Windows 10. The PS1 games ran fine with default settings. Questions:
1. I have not tried PS2 emulation yet but hear this is quite difficult to do. How good would people say emulation quality is for PS2?
2. For a long time I was reading on how emulating Saturn would be very tough to accomplish as well. I am hearing some defects in the sound. Is this likely fixable by finding a guide or youtube video on how to tweak the settings?
3. Even though I still have the discs, I assume emulation will run more smoothly if I make backups using software such as imgburn, correct? Does it make a big difference on the storage type? Internal SSD vs internal 7200 rpm HD vs USB 3.0 HD. Currently running games off disc or USB 3.0 HD but I do recall getting some messages in the emulator having to do with delays in reading game data.
 

chameleoneel

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PCSX2 is the best PS2 emulator. Lots of games have been quite easy to run, for a few years. That said, you will still run into graphical issues in certain games. and most games need a handful of tweaks here or there, to sort out some issues from the default config.

Yes, you should rip copies of your PS2 games to your hard drive. ISO or something like that.

hard drive type shouldn't matter. I had no issues emulating FF12 in roughly 1440p, off a 7200rpm hard drive in like 2014.

Retroarch is kind of a minefield. Because it offers several different "cores" (each of which are entirely different emulation code). And those cores vary a lot. Probably should research on a game by game basis. Also, different flavors of Retroarch for different devices seem like they can vary, as well.
 

Krenum

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Like ZodaEX said, RetroAch CAN run PS2 but I would use the PCSX2 program on its own if you're going to be on Windows. Having an all in one is nice, if you want that look up Batocera.

I use PCSX2 on my Windows computer and it works great. Make sure you choose the Vulkan backend or DX12, OpenGL on PS2 is not great.

For the Disks, yes you can load them through a CD-ROM drive or you can rip them into ISO and convert them to PBP (PBP will compress multi disk games into one. Easier to change disks)

You need a fairly powerful PC to run PS2 games at full speed beyond the default resolution.


That being said though, I'm running bot PS2 & Sega Saturn off of a Dell Optiplex 7050 Micro which has an i5 7500T (Kaby Lake) with integrated graphics at full speed at 1080p, PS1 games are running at 5X Resolution at full speed with shaders & PGXP ON (smooths lines and wobbly textures, *Select memory only)
 
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Armenius

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RetroArch isn't an emulator, it's a frontend. The libretro cores available for it are not always developed by the same people who made the original emulators, though. Some of the libretro cores are very outdated and/or broken compared to the main releases. That being said:
  1. PCSX2 is the most complete emulator still available for PS2. It is not hard at all to get it setup. It comes with a lot of options already set for good compatibility. I would suggest just changing your graphics plugin to D3D12. Vulkan isn't as compatible at the moment. The wiki for the emulator contains a lot of information for almost every game out there to help you set specific options if you run into problems. Note that emulation for the PS2 is still very much through an interpreter, so emulation is still an approximation of what the games are supposed to run like. A lot of games are not going to feel right when you play them, but they are close enough that you'll get used to it.
  2. I have not emulated Saturn games as of yet, so I could not tell you about it.
  3. Yes, I would make images of your discs and run them from a hard or solid state drive. I have not noticed much of a difference between running off a solid state or spinner. When you make an image be sure to also record the subtracks and run the image in your emulator through the cue file. I definitely would not recommend running games off a USB thumbstick or drive with no external power.
PS1 games are okay to run through RetroArch. I recommend the Beetle core, as that is the libretro fork of Mednafen. Mednafen is currently the best PSX emulator out there for accuracy. If you want upscaling and all that fancy stuff then I would get the Duckstation standalone. The libretro core for Duckstation was abandoned, and the fork available is outdated and lacks features compared to the standalone emulator. The standalone Mednafen is a barebones emulator that is run through the command line.

I would also use the standalone PCSX2 emulator to play PS2 games.
 
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Armenius

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Update, now on Steam (for free of course).
Be aware that the Steam version doesn't include all the cores to download through the program, as some of the emulator authors didn't want them to be included in this version. I don't really see the purpose of getting it through Steam, unless you want to use it with Steam Link.
 

Nobu

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Be aware that the Steam version doesn't include all the cores to download through the program, as some of the emulator authors didn't want them to be included in this version. I don't really see the purpose of getting it through Steam, unless you want to use it with Steam Link.
If it does a better job of managing the plugins, etc, then that's a good reason, I guess.
 

Armenius

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If it does a better job of managing the plugins, etc, then that's a good reason, I guess.
I have not looked at this version, but it was no big deal in the standalone. Everything is automated through the UI unless you want to install a libretro core not included in the official database.
 

biggles

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If it does a better job of managing the plugins, etc, then that's a good reason, I guess.
Steam auto updating, less concern over security risks, forums. Not super important but I can see some small advantages to getting Retroarch from Steam vs some random website out there.
 

Armenius

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Steam auto updating, less concern over security risks, forums. Not super important but I can see some small advantages to getting Retroarch from Steam vs some random website out there.
Random website? Why would you get it someplace other than retroarch.com?
 
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