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My NES emulator of choice for PC is...
Poll ended at Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:27 am
Nintendulator 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Nestopia 26%  26%  [ 9 ]
Mesen 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
FCEUX 49%  49%  [ 17 ]
RockNES 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
VirtuaNES 6%  6%  [ 2 ]
puNES 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
3dNES 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Other 11%  11%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 35
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:58 pm 
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tokumaru wrote:
Just because FCEUX is winning, that doesn't mean it's better than all other emulators in every aspect.

It's in the question - your emulator of choice, so it IS the choice.
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FCEUX is certainly inaccurate (...). This is a development forum after all, so I don't find it surprising that the emulator with the best debugging features is ahead in the poll.

An inaccurate emulator shouldn't be used for homebrew production/testing. Instead, Nintendulator is the best rational choice.

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I absolutely wish there was an emulator with the 3 things I consider essential:

1- CPU/PPU/APU accuracy;
2- debugging tools;
3- proper video output (correct aspect ratio, NTSC artifacts);

Unfortunately, such an emulator doesn't exist, so I end up having to use 3 different emulators.

Care to list the "best debugging features" of FCEUX?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:22 pm 
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Some of my favorite fceux debugger features:

1. Conditional breakpoints...this is huge
2. Being able to step into out of and over routines. Typical debugger stuff.
3. Right-Click clicking on current location take you directly to the rom location where you can edit the rom using the built in hex editor
4. Code and data logging highlighting.


5. Being able to add labels addresses, variables,etc
6. Debug screen is layed out nicely visually and re-sizeable
7. Display of current stack


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:26 pm 
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Zepper wrote:
Care to list the "best debugging features" of FCEUX?

1- Real-time CPU debugging with symbolic disassembly, stepping, breakpoints, cycle count, etc.;
2- Assembler (you can type code after clicking at the left of the disassembly window);
3- Real-time memory editor (RAM, ROM, VRAM/ROM, OAM, etc.);
4- Name table viewer with scroll, mirroring and tile information;
5- Pattern table viewer with selectable palettes and 8x16 mode;
6- "show on scanline X" option when viewing PPU stuff;
7- Visibility toggle for sprites and background;
8- Floating windows that I can arrange in the most convenient way;

These are the ones I use more frequently. One thing that FCEUX is missing is a sprite viewer. It does however have Lua scripting, which allows me to write my own code to debug things that aren't natively debugged, and to check the state of specific games as I reverse engineer them.

I just tried Mesen's debug tools and they're very interesting too. It does many of the things FCEUX does, and even some new things.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:34 pm 
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As expected, nothing unusual from other emulators. Even my emulator can patch any memory in real time. Nintendulator (and many others) have that debugger - of setting up breakpoints, memory viewer and so on. Even NESticle had nametable, pattern table and palette viewer, and using that GUI. ^_^;;

I'd say that FCEUX supports Lua scripts, plus the choice for TASes.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:00 pm 
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Yes, Nesticle's PPU debugging tools were what made me want to program for the NES. For the first time I could see how a game console worked.

As for CPU debugging, I don't think many emulators present it as dynamically as FCEUX does. All the information and options are right there, the breakpoints are easily editable, you can assemble new code on the spot (i.e. hack in real-time without having to use hex), and so on. It's very comfortable to use, and that's what makes the difference.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:21 pm 
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NESticle let you edit VROM in real-time. It was really neat to modify it and watch the character change as the tiles did.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:21 pm 
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mikejmoffitt wrote:
NESticle let you edit VROM in real-time. It was really neat to modify it and watch the character change as the tiles did.

Indeed, as I said. 8-)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:22 pm 
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I too started with NESticle's CHR editor. The failure of changes made there to CHR RAM games to persist is what led me to NESdev in the first place.

So anyway, I use FCEUX because it runs at full speed on a 10" laptop. I use a 10" laptop because it fits in a nondescript bag that I carry on the bus to and from work.

I just tried Nintendulator 0.975 in Wine 1.6.2 in Xubuntu 16.04 on a Dell Inspiron mini 1012 with a 1.6 GHz Atom CPU, and I got 30 to 40 FPS with 9 frameskip. This is despite the claim that "a 1500MHz (estimated) or faster CPU is required to emulate at full speed" on Nintendulator's website. Usually the Atom is comparable to a similarly clocked P4, but something must have been holding it up.

FCEUX for Windows in Wine, for comparison, gives me 60 FPS. That's why I compile FCEUX (SDL) from SVN (instructions) and use it for play testing, use FCEUX for Windows for step debugging and testing with obscure controllers, and use a PowerPak for hardware testing. If laptop makers hadn't largely dropped the 10" size at the end of 2012 to chase the higher profit margins of tablets, I'd be using a newer laptop and something more accurate.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:53 pm 
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You might like the Japanese high-end PC market. I picked up a Panasonic CF-RZ5 while in Akihabara, which I use more or less exclusively in regular laptop mode. The trackpad has actual buttons, and a nice 1920x1200 10" IPS screen. I did a good amount of the development for my compo game on that computer on the airplane. It weighs 1.6 lbs.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:19 pm 
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Then let me rephrase: I use FCEUX because a Panasonic RZ series laptop to run Nintendulator at full speed would cost $1,749 (source: Liliputing), which is well over five times what I paid for this one, and the sort of rasterbation that demands the extra accuracy is not a regular part of my style.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:30 pm 
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Zepper wrote:
An inaccurate emulator shouldn't be used for homebrew production/testing. Instead, Nintendulator is the best rational choice.

The term inaccurate is not a binary yes/no proposition, except when applied to specific cases. FCEUX is completely accurate for a lot of cases, it is inaccurate for some cases. (I think part of its poor reputation comes from the legacy "old PPU" being the default setting, too.)

What matters is whether the emulator is accurate enough to do the job you want it to.

Once I got past the learning curve of some typical inaccuracy issues (e.g. DPCM bit deletion), I found I could easily spend most of my time testing in FCEUX without fear it was going to fail on the real hardware. I still test occasionally on hardware (and other emulators) just to be sure, but it's been a very long time since I've been surprised by something that slipped past its "inaccurate" emulation.

Overall I think it is really quite accurate for almost everything I want to do. (But not completely, which is why I sometimes need Nintendulator, though even an "accurate" emulator like Nintendulator has its limits.)


You mention that many of these features appear in other emulators, but FCEUX has all of those features at once, and most of them are implemented well. Nintendulator has a pretty good debugger, but I find it inconvenient in many ways compared to FCEUX's. Also its movie playback, TAS, and lua scripting all can help tremendously with debugging. Being open source is a huge plus too.

The only debug feature it seems to be missing compared to other emulators is a good OAM viewer, though there are some good lua script alternatives.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:55 pm 
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FCEUX is so prevalent that I wouldn't consider releasing a ROM that didn't work on it.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:56 pm 
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M_Tee wrote:
Any recommendations for that would be welcome.


I like NES.emu (and all the other emulators ) by Robert Broglia. It's based on fceux, but with a well-designed configurable virtual game pad. He uses the same UI bits across his emulators, so once you figure out what you like, you can reuse it for others.

It's not free, not even super cheap. But it's worth it if you actually want to play emulated games.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:36 am 
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Thanks. I bought NGP.emu long ago. Just recently reinstalled it. It's pretty good.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:02 pm 
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tokumaru wrote:
Mesen might be one of those that required stuff to be installed (C++ runtime?) that my Windows 7 refused to install, so I simply couldn't try it. I'm on Windows 10 now, with all this stuff installed already, so I guess I could give it a try.
Very early builds of Mesen were dynamically linked to the VC++ runtime, but that changed around april last year or so. On an up-to-date Windows 7+, Mesen shouldn't require anything to be installed to run properly. A bit late of a reply, but figured I should mention this!

hackfresh wrote:
3. Mesen - keeping this on my watch list due its growing list of features. Haven't had a chance to test its netplay or how stable it is lately. Seemed to have some issues with crashing or not keeping a steady frame-rate before but that might have been the early builds.
Netplay should be working properly, as far as I know (it's also supposed to work cross-platform). As for crashes, other than the one recently posted for the Linux build, I'm not aware of anybody getting issues (though this may just be a case of people not bothering to report the crashes).


As for the debugger tools in Mesen, there's definitely a few things missing to match FCEUX's debugger (hard to catch up to an emulator that's been in development for a decade!) - though I think it may offer a thing or two that FCEUX is missing (and I think it has pretty much all the debugger features that Nintendulator & no$nes offer?). There's still a fairly lengthy list of features I want to add to it eventually, I just haven't had much time to dedicate to Mesen lately. Like I said before though, I'm more than happy to try and improve the debugger if anyone has any feedback about it.


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