General Guide

posted 4 Jan 2011, 04:13 by Thomas Vale   [ updated 4 Jan 2011, 04:20 ]
Here is my general configuration I use for most games that don't require specific settings.
The only special game fix I have enabled is 'Odd/Even Bit hack'

GPU Configuration (Pete's OpenGL)
Note: Pete's D3D/D3D 6 are so similar I won't bother making a seperate post for each

ATi users used to have many issues in OpenGL, but as of 1.72, these have been mostly resolved.

Let's go through the settings:
Full screen/ Windowed mode: Simply selects whether or not the emulator will start Full screen, or run in a window. This can be changed in game by using the Alt-Enter keyboard shortcut.
Desktop Resolution/ Window size: Sets the size of the window in windowed mode or the resolution in Full screen mode. Higher resolutions are slower, but generally look better. It's recommended to leave this in 640x480, or a multiple of 320x240 (640x480, 960x720, 1280x960)
Colour Depth: 16-Bit is faster on many cards, but shading and mdecs may look uglier. Also, afaik ati users can't use fsaa in 16-bit
Keep psx aspect ratio: Adds black borders to the top and bottom of the screen, so that the picture is scaled to the designed resolution. This setting is down to personal preference

Texture Quality: Depends on your system. The higher the better, but more Video Ram is needed. It was found that R8G8B8A8 is faster on nVidia cards and B8G8R8A8 is faster for ATi cards.
Texture Filtering:Depends on game. In a game with 2d backdrops (Final Fantasy, Tales of Destiny), 6 is recommended to prevent tiling in the background, however, in full 3D games (Soul Edge, Tekken), 2 looks better. Some games require specific settings to prevent glitches (Final Fantasy 7 for example dislikes 2d filtering).
Gfx Card vRam size: Depends on card. GeForce's can auto detect. Some other cards will too, but to be safe, set it on the size of your card's RAM
Hi-Res textures (2xSai, much vRam needed): This option will improve the textures in many games, making small fonts more readable, and most textures will look sharper. It even will help the standard bilinear filtering, less 'blocky' look that way and not much black borders. On the other hand some rendering techniques (like multi-layered 2D backgrounds) will cause glitches (thin lines appear, for example, or small gaps between textures), and that is nothing that can be fixed. To use this:
  • Your graphics card has to be able to handle 512x512 textures. Voodoo 3 and below users are unable to do this[li]Hi-Res 2xSaI textures need 4 times as much video memory as normal. Users with 64Mb+ cards should be fine.

Personaly I have this on where possible.

Show fps display on start-up: Shows the gpu status menu in the corner of the screen. Can be toggled with the 'Delete' keyboard shortcut. Purely personal preference.
Use fps limit Limits the frame-rate based on the Auto detect fps/Frame skipping limit, fps limit (10-200) toggle. Leave this on unless you want to see Hwoarang move like Ferrari on steroids.
Use Frame Skipping: Skips frames to speed up rendering. Can cause issues with some games. Only turn this on if really nessecary.
Auto-detect fps/ Frame Skipping limit & fps Limit: If you set the toggle to the top one, the game will limit the frame rate based on the game's region (~60fps for ntsc, ~50fps for pal), in conjunction with Use fps limit. fps Limit allows you to manually set the max speed of the game

Off-Screen Drawing: This is used to detect if the game is trying to draw outside the front/backbuffer, doing such stuff in software. Higher numbers can be slower. Some games may need it set that high though. Best to leave it on 2.
Framebuffer textures: Used for swirl effects and stuff in games
There are 3 main methods:
0 disables framebuffer textures, but if you set framebuffer access to 4, you will get the most compatible (and cpu hungry) mode
2 (in combination with Framebuffer access relies on the power of you graphics card to draw the swirls
3 is a compromise between the two.
Framebuffer Access: Used for swirl effects and stuff in games
0 disables framebuffer access, disabling all the fancy swirls
2 is recommended if you aren't using Full Screen Anti Aliasing, in which case you should set it to 4: Full Software drawing

Alpha Multi Pass: Draws opaque texture pixels the way it should be. Slower, and if your OpenGL driver draws black rectangles around objects, turn this option off. Requires Texture mode to be on R4 G4 B4 A4, or R8 G8 B8 A8. Leave this on, unless issues occur
Mask bit: Enables the usage of mask bits to avoid drawing into some parts of the screen. To increase compatibility you can turn the mask bit emulation on. Because most games don't need the mask detection, you can turn it off to get more available texture Ram. I'd leave this On unless you get artifacts.
Advanced blending: Depending on your drivers OpenGL implementation using 'Advanced blending' will be nice or slow. Leave this on, unless you have a graphics card that doesn't support it.

The Misc section explained in the plugin. (does exactly what it says on the tin)
Recommended Settings:
Scan lines: Off, unless you really like the look of it (or the dot-matrix filter)
Line Mode: Off
Unfiltered Framebuffer Updates: Off, unless you experience slowdowns in mdecs
Colour Dithering: Off, unless using 16-bit colour
Screen Smoothing: Really up to you. I don't like it, but some people like it. Very slow.
Disable Screensaver: Disables the screensaver. Useful if you are using a joypad.

Special game fixes tend to be game specific (I wonder why!) and most mention the game they need. The fsaa fix is for when you have fsaa on using an nVidia card or using an ati card, to prevent certain glitches. With later drivers, this may no longer be nessacary. The Odd/Even bit hack is a fix for epsxe 1.5.2 and below, so you should leave it on. The Mixed sw fb access is a fix for ATi's ludicously slow hardware framebuffer access speed. All the other fixes should remain off, unless a game specifically needs it, as they can cause issues in other games.

epsxe's Sound settings:

Enable Sound: Self-Explanatory. Leave on, unless you are really hurting for speed.
Enable cdda sound: As it says, enables the reading and playing of CD tracks. Leave on unless you need extra speed
Enable xa sound: As it says, allows the playing of sounds in mdecs (Videos). Leave on unless you need speed.
Enable spu irq hack: Required only for the internal plugin. Causes issues in others. Leave off unless you are using the internal plugin.

spu config (Eternal)

Buffer Size: : Set to 8 or 11 for Thread/ Timer mode. Increase it if you are experiencing crackling. Set to 25 or more if on aSync mode.
Audio Out Method: :
  • Thread/ Timer - These options are faster than SPUasync mode, but aren't as compatible with certain games.[li]SPUasync - This mode is for Metal Gear Solid and certain other games.

I recommend 'Thread' mode/
SPUasync Mode:
  • Simple - This option will not perform any complicated processing. If the frame rate is stable this will work fine, but if the frame rate drops too low or goes up to high the sound will become choppy.[li]Wait - This option will do complicated processing adjustments to the sound if the frame rate becomes too high or low.[li]Smooth - This option will make adjustments to the sound sample quality if the frame rate changes, so the sound does not get choppy. This option however may cause emulation problems with games that require spu irq fixes.

Special Game Fix: These are fixes for various games. I leave them on all the time, and experience no problems, but it is best to only enable them for the games that are listed as requiring them.
Wait for XA buffer is free: Will force the main emulator to wait for the XA buffer to be free before putting all the XA data into XA buffer. This solves some clicks and gaps due to emulator timing, but prevents games playing XA audio from fast-forwarding.
Show Realtime Config Window: This will allow the user to change settings while a game is being played. This is useful to see what settings produce the best sound. For example, it can be used to change the sound buffer on the fly to get the best results. In order for the config window to appear properly the emulator must be played in a "windowed" mode.
Reverb mode: Simply changes the way the reverb effects of the psx are produced.

cdr plugin (PEOPs CDR)

I recommend using 
CDRWin, Alcohol 120% or CloneCD to create iso files to play games as it often improves mdec performance.

Normally Pete's plugin is the best for games that require subchannel reads (some pal games), other wise I use Xeven's plugin. Games which need subchannel reads will have tutorials on how to use them (eventualy)
Interface: Depends on your O/S, and whether or not you have an aspi layer installed. Go with whatever works.
Read Mode: Just Autodetect, or use BE_2 if that fails
Caching mode: None is the slowest mode, but it should work on most drives. Read ahead will read more sectors at once, speeding up mdecs. There is a small chance that a few drives cannot do it, so set it to None, if you are having troubles. The Async mode will do read ahead and some additional 'intelligent' asynchronous reads. Use ASync if possible.
Try to Limit Speed: Some drives will work better if you limit the drive speed. Not all drives support the "set speed" command, and if your drive doesn't support it, a message will be displayed on start up.
Don't wait till the Drive is ready: Some drives will not report when they are ready, and will remain on a black screen unless this option is activated.
Try again on reading error: Sometimes, the CD won't read in the first pass. This option allows you to set how many times the pugin will try again till it reports a red error, and the underneath option allows it to pop up a message box if it does fail.
Use ppf patch file: Allows you to patch the game on the fly (for circumventing copy protection on games that look for sub channel data), without creating an iso image. The Emulator one is easier to use, as it automatically patches appropriate discs.
Subchannel Reads: Alows the reading/ caching of Subchannel data in data tracks for copy protection.
  • Don't read subchannels: If your game doesn't have a copy protection, use this option.[li]Read subchannels. This mode is very slow, but will allow you to read the subchannel data off the CD, so that games like Final Fantasy IX pal will run without the need for patching.[li]Use subchannel SBI/M3S info file: The plugin will only do the normal data reading, but everytime a game wants to subchannel data, the plugin will use the subchannel data stored in a file on your harddisk. So, you just have to create a subchannel info file of your copy protected game one time, and

ePSXe FAQ OpenGL 2.x information

OpenGL 2.x was designed with higher end graphics cards in mind. Owing to the way it is written, it is a lot more compatible with wierd effects than OpenGL 1.x.
Things to be aware of about it:
  • Anti-Aliasing and Anistropic Filtering do not work with it. End of story. Turn them off in your graphics card's control panel as it will simply slow it down.
  • Internal X resolution set to 2 on ATi cards will not work. nVidia cards from the geForce 3 up will support it (although the GF3 will be damned slow)
  • Pixel shading features ('Use pixel-shader for psx texture Window Emulation' and 'Shader effects') only work on DirectX9 class graphics cards such as the ATi 9500 and above or the nVidia geForce FX 5200 and above. If your card does not support Dx9 shaders you'll get an error similar to 'No wgl extensions avaliable'
  • The FX 5xxx series cards have poor pixel shaders and you may find that the PS texture window emulation will heavily slow down your emulation.
  • nVidia geForce 3 and 4 Ti's have problems with this plugin unless you enable 'GF4/WinXP crash fix'
  • Bear in mind that while you can run this on pre-Dx9 hardware, it can end up running far slower than OpenGL 1.xx. If it seems too sluggish for you and you are using OpenGL 2.x, try OpenGL 1.x

Switching CDs

Make sure the epsxe gui is enabled (If you are using epsxecuter, check the show gui option). Press escape to show the gui. If you are using a CD, change the disc now, then go to "File", "Change Disk", then select "CD-Rom" or "iso" as appropriate.
Alternatively, you can save your game on the memory card before the change disc screen appears, press escape, load the next CD, press Reset (Run>Reset), then load the game from the memory card and that should work.

Lag When switching screens

There are 2 possibilities here[ol type='1'][li]It's owing to the CD-Rom access time. Try creating an iso from the CD-Rom, then run it directly in epsxe (File>Run iso), or [/li][li]You are using OpenGL2 and have left Framebuffer Effects on 1 or 2. This introduces pauses when invoking framebuffer effects, like the fade out effect. Set FE to 3 to solve this[/li][/ol]
Memory cards don't work, or the controller fails to work.

Try pressing F4 or F5 where you have the problem. F4 is the toggle for sio irq, and is known to solve memory card problems and some input issues. The option was removed in epsxe 1.5.2, but the toggle remains for compatibility. F5 switches the controller mode between Digital and Analogue mode. This can resolve some input issues in some games. In Final Fantasy IX this can be used to get past the trainer screen in a patched copy.

The Screen becomes Black, but I can still hear the music , or mdecs (Full Motion Videos) refuse to play.

Using Save states can occasionally cause such problems. Load the game from your last memory card save, and it should be fine

The game runs too fast

Make sure you have enabled Frame rate limitation in the Video plugin.

The background has a pixellated or tiled look.

If it looks pixellated, it is likely you have the filtering mode on 0, 3, or 4. 5/6 
may help, but it also may indroduce other problems, like coloured borders round objects or fugly looking text boxes.
If it seems tiled, that means you probably have filtering set to 1 or 2. Try 3/4
If the background still appears blocky, try running the game in a resolution that is a multiple of 320x240 (640x480, 960x720 or 1280x960 are examples)

Other problems
  • Make an iso of the game. Your CD could be scratched.
  • Remove all the Plugins you are not using from the Plugins directory. Some Plugins could cause troubles on a few computers.
  • Try removing the Vision Thing and epsxe entries from hkey_current_usersoftware in the registry, or by using epsxecutor, or epsxe Regcleaner.
  • Try using a different emulator. If you're using epsxe 1.6.0, try 1.5.2, then try psxeven, etc.
  • Try not using save states. Save States are known to cause problems sporadically, so try not using them and see if your problem is fixed.
  • Post your problem here or on Emuforums

Q. I keep getting thunk connection failed/ subTsgMSCD32.dll was not found.
A. This is a common error. It is because of an old mscdex based plugin. Simply delete the all the files with tsg in the title from the Plugins directory.

Q. How do I use the 'Cheat' function in epsxe?
A. The 'cheat' function in epsxe is for implementing hacks to run certain games. If you wish to use Action Replay or Gameshark codes, use PEC, avaliable at Emucheater.

Q. The polygons move all jittery! How can I fix this?
A. The psx lacks 'sub pixel accuracy'. This means that when you put the resoloution up, the coordinates of the polygons are still in 320x240, or whatever resoloution the psx is using. There is no real fix for this. Your best bet is to run in 640x480 and enable Full Screen Anti Aliasing.

Q. The textures look warped, is there a fix for this?
A. The psx doesn't have a Z-buffer, so Perspective correction (which would fix this) isn't avaliable.

Q. My Savestates won't work at all!
A. Various number of things are possible:
  • The 'SStates' directory doesn't exist - create it
  • The SStates directory is write protected - disable write protection
  • You are running from a shortcut with an incorrect 'working directory' parameter - change the parameter, or run the exe directly

Q. I cant get any music in my game
A. Open up epsxe. Goto Config then to Sound
Check Enable Sound, Enable cdda and Enable XA sound. Do not enable spu irq hack