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Daphne Laser Disc emulator - a comprehensive tutorial

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I have been spending the last few days adding new systems to my LaunchBox, and the one that took me the longest to figure out was Daphne Laser Disc emulator, which for those that don't know is designed to play Laser disc Arcade games from the 1980s. At the moment it plays the following games: Astron Belt Badlands Bega's Battle Cliff Hanger Cobra Command Dragon's Lair Esh's Aurunmilla Galaxy Ranger Space Ace Star Blazer Super Don Quix-ote Thayer's Quest These are some fabulous retro games, so I thought I would pass on the information required to get this system up and running through LaunchBox.

Step 1: Go to the Daphne Emulator site (http://www.daphne-emu.com/) and click on the Download link at the top of the page. Then you will need to download the Windows zip package to your PC. Step01_Daphne_Web_Page.PNG

Step 2: Extract the downloaded zip file to your chosen location for your emulators, and into into a directory (I named mine Daphne).

Step 3: Go to the Daphne Downloader Page ([redacted]) and download the BookSmarts Edition of their downloader. This will allow you to download some of the media files for most of the games from within the Daphne emulator. Step03_Daphne_Downloader-1.PNG

Step 4: Extract the downloaded file directly into the Daphne Emulator directory you created in Step 2. Step04_Daphne_Downloader.PNG

Step 5: Go to the Daphne directory and run DaphneLoader.exe, and you should see the loader start up with a list of all the supported games in Daphne. Daphne may need to update, which you should do, and also let Daphne through your firewall if you are prompted to do so.

Step 6: Now we are going to use the Daphne Downloader to get most of the media required to run the games! This requires a download of approximately 11GB, so be prepared, but it can be resumed at any time so don't worry if you need to restart your PC. First select any game EXCEPT Space Ace, Cliff Hanger, Dragon's Lair, Dragon's Lair 2 or Thayer's Quest, and click the 'Start' button. Step06a.PNG This will begin the download process using Daphne Downloaders built in torrent client, and you can see the progress by selecting 'View Transfers' from the 'File' menu. Step06b.PNG If you get errors about ports not being open, slow downloads and firewall rules, you should be able to ignore them, I got these and I still maxed out my connection while downloading.

Step 7: Once this is done, the next step is to try one of the games you have just downloaded. Select any game EXCEPT Space Ace, Cliff Hanger, Dragon's Lair, Dragon's Lair 2, or Thayer's Quest and click the 'Start' button, which should open up the game in a separate window. Hopefully this worked fine, and you can press escape to exit the game. You should now try all the games in the list, once again except for Space Ace, Cliff Hanger, Dragon's Lair, Dragon's Lair 2 or Thayer's Quest. This will grab all other needed files for each game.

Step 8: Now we get the rest of the games. These remaining games are different, because they are still available for purchase, so cannot be legally downloaded and usually require the original DVD disk to play (More on this later). The media disks you will have to source yourself, either through download from the usual places you might find such things, or through purchase online of the DVDs. Once you have the acquired media files, you click on one of these missing games, and hit the 'Start' button again, click 'OK' on the DVD warning popup and Daphne Downloaded will go off and get some more files that are needed to run these games. Step08.PNG When this is finished close Daphne. Step08b.PNG

Step 9: Now we get to move your games to your chosen locations. When you open the Daphne emulator directory you will see the two directories of interest, 'vldp' and 'vldp_dl', the first contains the downloaded games from Step 6, and the second contains some parts of the games from step 8. Step09.PNG When you open these directories, you will see sub directories in each that correspond to the games that Daphne downloaded, such as ace, astron, badlands, etc. You can move each of these directories from both vldp and vldp_dl to the spot that you would like to store your games, but DO NOT change the directory names or any files within them! Step09b.PNG

Step 10: Now with all these directories in the locations you would like them, we add the missing files from the Media DVDs you have acquired! All you need to do is copy the media files, which will be in M2V (Video) and OGG (Audio) files into their corresponding directories. For example, the ace directory, which is for the game Space Ace, will contain the downloaded files as such ace folder - ace.dat - ace.m2v.bf - ace.ogg.bf - ace.txt The media DVD will contain the M2V and OGG files, so add those to the directory as well to make the structure as follows: ace folder - ace.dat - ace.m2v - ace.m2v.bf - ace.ogg - ace.ogg.bf - ace.txt Do this for ace (Space Ace), lair (Dragons Lair), lair2 (Dragons Lair 2), tq (Thayer's Quest) and cliff (Cliff Hanger), though the last one has reported issues and may not download from Daphne Downloader. Also note that Dragons Lair 2 has multiple M2V and OGG files on the discs, but they all go into the lair2 directory. This will bypass the need for having the DVDs in your machine at run time on all these games. Step10.PNG

Step 11: Go into each of these directories and ensure that there is a TXT file already in each which is named EXACTLY the same as the directory it is in. This is the MPEG Framefile for the video and is vital to get these games to run correctly!

Step 12: Now open up DaphneLoader again and go straight into the "File" menu and select Preferences, then change all you setting to the same as shown below. Step12a.PNG This will stop any downloads and updates that we don't need any more. Then we need to test that the files are working as expected, so select the first game Astron Belt, and click the 'Configure' button. Then ensure that you are on the Game / Laserdisk tab, click the button 'Configure Laserdisc'. On the form that pops up, change the 'Virtual Laserdisc Player Options' drop down to 'No, I will install any missing video/audio files myself', and hit cancel on any warnings that pop up. Then select the 'Browse' button to select the MPEG Framefile Location, and select the file astron.txt from your astron directory. Step12b.PNG Note: for those that like to keep your directory referances portable, you can put relative referances in these file boxes, but we are actually not going to use DaphneLoader for launching the games with LaunchBox, but instead will use a simple batch file, which will be portable. You now need to select the specific MPEG Framefile for each of the other games.

Step 13: Run the games and enjoy retro goodness! Step12c.PNG

Step 14: Now we need to create a simple batch file in the Daphne directory, which will allow us to launch the games directly from LaunchBox, by selecting the MPEG Framefile txt file as the rom. Create a new text file in the Daphne directory and paste in the following code:

@echo off set Passed=%1 For %%A in ("%Passed%") do ( Set Name=%%~nA ) echo.Name is: %Name% Daphne.exe %Name% vldp -fullscreen -x 1920 -y 1080 -framefile "..\..\Systems\Daphne\Roms\%Name%\%Name%.txt"

You need to change the -x and -y values to match your desktop resolution, and the location section for the MPEG Framefile ("..\..\Systems\Daphne\Roms\%Name%\%Name%.txt") needs to match the location of your Daphne game directories, either relative path as shown here or a direct path like: "D:\Games\Systems\Daphne\Roms\%Name%\%Name%.txt" Please DO NOT CHANGE the %Name%, as this is what does the work! This batch file will extract the file name from the MPEG Framefile that is selected as a rom in LaunchBox and replace %Name% with this name at launch. This needs to be changed to a .bat file instead of a .txt file, but the name does not matter, I called mine DaphneLaunchBoxLoader.bat

Step 15: Last step yippee! Okay, this one is easy, add a new emulator, Daphne, but make sure that you select the BAT file that we created in the previous step rather that the Daphne file itself, and associate it with the Daphne platform. Step15a.PNG Add the roms to launchbox by going to your Daphne game directory and do a search for *.txt files, and drag all the MPEG Framefiles to launchbox. Select Daphne as the platform and Daphne as the emulator, wait for the metadata to download and enjoy! Step15b.PNG Hope this works for anyone that is interested, let me know your success or failures and I will try to help!Laugh

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I've never been able to get Daphne to work so I'm hoping this will finally get it up and working thanks.

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Great tutorial... nice work! I have been having a problem with Daphne's last couple versions that I can't get the "ignore aspect ratio" option to work (to stretch full screen). It used to work fine, but now it won't. I started a conversation about this on the Daphne forums, but their forum disabled my account for spam??? No idea... lol. Anyway, just wondered if anyone else had encountered that problem recently. Thanks.

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The ignore aspect ratio setting did not work for me either, but if you want the window to stretch to full screen, change the resolution in the batch file (Step 14) to force a 4:3 ratio which will stretch to full screen. For example, on my machine, if I set the -x and -y values to -x 1024 -y 768, it forces this resolution and stretches the games to 16:9 ratio, whereas setting the values to -x 1920 -y 1080, which is my native resolution, plays the games in proper 4:3 aspect ratio with black bars on either side. Just make sure that the resolution that you select is actually supported by your monitor, as some, especially laptop displays, have limited resolutions they will display by default, though you can add any custom resolution in your graphics card display properties usually.

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Thanks for the reply. I was able, with just a bit of tweaking, to get the games launching from Launchbox, following your tutorial... which is great! Thanks. I just can't seem to get the screen stretching to work though... even using your advice to change the .bat resolution to 1024... it still plays in 4:3. I wish I knew what happened because these games did used to play in 16:9 in Daphne for me.

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Try removing the -x and -y from the batch file entirely, see if that fixes it, so the code will be:
@echo off set Passed=%1 For %%A in ("%Passed%") do ( Set Name=%%~nA ) echo.Name is: %Name% Daphne.exe %Name% vldp -fullscreen -framefile "..\..\Systems\Daphne\Roms\%Name%\%Name%.txt"
This shouldn't apply any resolution and just run at the default Daphne settings, which should stretch it to your screen. Also, if are you running this on a laptop, it may be the scaling settings for your display that is forcing it to 4:3 ratio when the screen is set to a 4:3 resolution. What tweaking did you have to do to get the games running, I would be interested, and it might help anyone else that runs into issues later on.

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Sorry, by tweaking I just meant that, because I already had the files and didn't download them through Daphne that I had to "standardize" everything following your tutorial. After I did that it launched perfectly through Launchbox. I still can't get the aspect ratio working. I tried editing the bat like you suggested, above, but it's still 4:3. It has to be something else in the Daphne settings but I can't seem to figure it.

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Hmm, it may be an issue with display scaling. When I set this up, I was doing it on a laptop, and the scaling for the GPU forces all resolutions to widescreen. I haven't tried it on my desktop yet, I will try that out tonight and see if I have the same issue, but you might need to tweak the scaling settings in your GPU control panel, or indeed it may be a scaling setting in your monitor. Unfortunately, this will effect all games and programs that try to run at a 4:3 ratio. Personally I rather have the games scaled to 4:3 as I found they looked a bit strange stretched to 16:9, so I had the opposite problem initially, where the games would only play stretched, and I wanted them with black bars on the sides. Laugh

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All my emulators and games are stretching properly, as well as Daphne working properly before, which made me think it must be something in Daphne. I did upgrade my monitor about a week ago, but nothing else has been affected. I'll look at the monitor settings and see if it might be something in there although I don't really think it has too much that can be tweaked in the options.

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Ok, I was able to get it stretched using the override in the Nvidia control panel... I'm just poking around to see if this has messed up any other games/emulators/programs now... hopefully, it all works out. Thanks for hanging in there with me. :)

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Is there a Daphne setting that can eliminate the brief text that sometimes flashes in between scenes in Dragon's Lair?

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I haven't noticed it myself, but if you look at the command line switches for Daphne (http://www.daphne-emu.com/mediawiki/index.php/CmdLine), there are 2 that you might try: -blank_searches - Forces the screen to go blank during searches. -blank_skips - Forces the screen to go blank during skips. They might hide the text.

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I tried setting those options in the loader but they didn't work. I probably need to get the DVD set and download all the files directly from Daphne. I really wish the DRM wasn't based on an out of print and obscure DVD set. They should set it up to check for the Steam version since that's all DL is selling now.

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Is there a way for proper xbox 360 gamepad support without extra tools like xpadder? The Buttons of my controller work completely fine but the Daphne Loader doesn’t recognize my analog sticks or D-Pad.

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I haven't tried my 360 controller, but I have PSX controller plugged into a generic USB adapter and it works fine without any change of settings. I tried to modify the controls and DaphneLoader doesn't even seem to recognise the controller at all! From what I have read Daphne has very rudimentary joystick support, so it may need xpadder to really work well.

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I'm using my xbox one controller analog in Daphne without xpadder. If I recall I just had to remap the buttons and not the stick.

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Wow, indeed you're right. I never thought it would be so simple. Even if Daphne Loader doesn't recognize the analog sticks they work just fine in game. But now I noticed that the select and start button get recognized within Daphne Loader but do nothing in game. I know it isn’t a big flaw but it triggers my OCD because all of my other arcade emulators has Coin and Start on those 2 buttons.

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You will have to map the select and start buttons. With the analog stick, it seems like it isn't recognizing it in the input configuration screen, but like you said, will work in the game. So you will just have to map the buttons.

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I already mapped the two buttons in Daphne Loader but they don't work in game. Other buttons like LB or RB are working toally fine if I map them to coin and start.

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