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Lordmonkus

Mesen Retroarch Core & HDNES Packs

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I'm just not a fan of the "more modernish high resolution" packs, I like the ones that are more like 16 bit upgrades personally.

I changed the shader I use and that helped the performance.

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Ah makes sense.  I don't use shaders in most of my emulators.  While I can see the nostalgia with using CRT or scanline filters and such, I find I like the clean look more I get without any shaders more (personal preference I guess) :)

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Yup, pure personal preference. To me the scaled up clean pixels blows the details of the art out and doesn't look how it "was intended". There's an argument to be made that the original artists took CRT characteristics into account when they made their sprite art to give extra details that couldn't be there in the sprite itself.

Luckily though we have so many options now to suit personal preference.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/23/2018 at 2:51 AM, CDBlue said:

Hmm, didn't notice any performance hit on my machine, but I have a newer PC for my "retro gamer"

I can tell roughly how much an RA core is taxing my CPU by using RetroArch's Fast Forward feature. I get a stable 60fps with Mesen but only about 80fps when I use Fast Forward. I get about the same with Beetle / Mednafen PSX core so it's probably on par with that. That is my 'non-technical' benchmark anyway lol (i5-2500k stock 3.3ghz).

Anyway, yeah Mesen! I stumbled across this by accident a few months ago when RetroArch updated to 1.73. For some reason, the Nestopia core audio was becoming garbled even with Latency off, so I switched to Mesen, purely because I liked the name lol. Tis' a great emulator. No glitches or anything. Today, I imported the Famicom Disk System and to my surprise, there is a "core option" to automatically switch disks and you can bind some disk controls to your pad as well. Love it.

Edited by JamesBond@ge

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Hi - Yes, you are right. It is best to use the standalone version of Mesen for the Metroid: HD pack (at least for now). Some of the features of the pack are unique to the version of the emulator that just came out this month. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Retroarch version takes a while to catch up. Assuming the setup is working as intended, game play should look similar to you the YouTube video available at the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAom8dBJ9Vg

Also, Mesen is compatible with command line parameters. So, if you set Launchbox to use a fullscreen option, the experience is fairly seamless (like it can be with Retroarch). I have a screenshot of settings that seem to work fairly well attached.

Also, if you are interested, I've attached a copy of a game cover that should work in Launchbox. The background art is from Harmony of a Hunter.

LaunchboxMesenSettings.JPG

MetroidHD.jpg

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Hello! Wow, that's great to hear. I wasn't aware Sour was that on top of things with Retroarch. I have not tested the pack on the latest version, but I would be interested to know how your experience goes. Happy gaming.

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Actually, I see that Lordmonkus mentioned in his post about it that he did try it with Retroarch and was getting audio popping etc.  I'll let you know how I fair with the latest core.  I don't use any shaders, which I believe Lordmonkus mentioned above he does, so maybe that and the new packs just don't play well :)

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Shaders will look different than normal with this pack because it is scaling the image and how much it scales depends on the pack. MegaMan and Castlevania only scale it 2x I believe and it looks like the Metroid one is scaling it much higher, maybe 8x so that really impacts the look of a CRT shader. I used a "descaling" shader pass to bring it back to 240p before applying the CRT effect, here is a couple of example screenshots.

1140164270_Metroid(USA)-180810-143216.thumb.png.ca6b746312fd70feb2647cf78bece737.pngThis one above is just the CRT-Aperture shader alone with the hdpacks scaling, you can see how the scanlines are thin and there is a lot of them.

275549555_Metroid(USA)-180810-143057.thumb.png.a4f7522d1da53fa7251a84ced99e0242.pngThis one is the same CRT-Aperture shader but with a "descaling" pass first that scales the image back down to 240 before applying the CRT effect. You can see the scanlines are thicker and there are fewer of them, it looks like how it would with a normal NES game.

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That's weird. I haven't really experimented much with shaders on this pack. But, that's interesting if you are having different results from the Castlevania pack. When using the pack builder feature to create the final product, a 2x scale was used. A screenshot of the settings I used is attached. I'm not sure what may be different.

In any case, it wouldn't surprise me if performance on this pack vs. Castlevania is a little more hit or miss. The Metroid pack cycles through four frames for the environment on a continuous basis. This is probably more difficult for the CPU to handle. While this is a pain in the neck for HD pack development (all environment tiles are multiplied by four), it does allow for animation effects (like lava and light effects). I could be wrong, but I don't think the Castlevania pack behaves in this way. There may be other causes, but that is the first one that comes to mind.

Capture.JPG

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@Aclectico this Metroid pack is only scaling 2x ? it looks way too good to be that low, I was expecting it to be more like 4 or 8x.

In my experience Retroarch versions of emulators tend to require a bit more CPU than the stand alone so that probably has something to do with it and my CPU while it is fairly capable it is not the best for emulation. I have an AMD 8350 @ 4GHz and it does get the job done for the most part though I do find it to be right on the edge of performance requirements for certain things like Saturn using the Beetle core vs stand alone Mednafen for example and with Mesen using the more intensive hdpacks.

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If it looks too good for 2x resolution, I'll take that as a very large complement :) But yes, the way Mesen classifies the scale, it is 2x. Two pixels instead of one in the y direction, and same for the x direction. The end result is 4 pixels now make up what used to be one. But, depending on how you look at it, I suppose some could consider it 4x.

I also know what you mean on stand alone versions. My PC really has trouble with Retroarch and DS emulation. But, performance seems to be much better with stand alone.

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Do you know what scale the MegaMan and Castlevania packs are using ? Because those 2 look great and play perfectly with CRT shaders.

I don't want to come off as being critical of your pack here because I think it looks amazing but my personal tastes lie more in line with the amount of enhancement the MegaMan and Castlevania ones do. They upgrade the graphics without going too far like some of the other packs do, Nuts & Milk and Super Mario packs for example go too far and clean to the point of looking like cheap flash versions of the game.

Your pack actually looks perfect when "descaled" back down to 240p using a shader though that does cause a couple of minor graphical issues like cutting off certain parts of menu text.

Doing some testing I have found the sound issues are in both the stand alone and RA core and it usually happens when I jump. I'm gonna play around a bit more with some stuff to see if I can find a setting to make it not do it.

Metroid (USA)-180810-154959.png

Metroid (USA)-180810-155009.png

Metroid (USA)-180810-155049.png

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I definitely get pops in both but they are less common in the stand alone version of Mesen. I was hoping to eliminate or reduce them in RA by changing some settings like increasing audio latency and disabling Hard GPU Sync but that made no difference. Overall performance though is perfect, there is zero frame loss or skip and no other audio glitches than the occasional pop.

I don't know if this is something that can be fixed in the pack itself or I just need to get a better CPU.

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Posted (edited)

I'm home now and had to try it out.  Works and plays smoothly for me via Retroarch and the latest Mesen core (i7 7700@4.2 with 16gig DDR4 on this machine).  But, I do also hear the clicking only when jumping as well, that @Lordmonkus mentioned.  Btw, welcome to the forums @Aclectico, good job on the pack... hope to see more from you :)

Edited by CDBlue

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@Lordmonkus I think I see what may be occurring with the shaders (the screenshots helped). Am I correct in saying the issue only seems to occur with horizontal sections of letters? If so, these areas of the letters are only one pixel high. The shader lines are probably just covering up the very small area of the letters. My guess is that you do not see issues like this with Castlevania is because the letters in that pack never get that thin. Also, the numbers in your screenshot seem to be okay because all areas of numbers never get below two pixels in size. I suppose one fix may be to simply increase the thickness of all letters so that no horizontal area is less than two pixels. That would be a relatively large undertaking, and I think that may be more than I am able to take on at the moment.

As far as the clicking sound goes - do you notice the same issue in this video? 

If so, what you are seeing is probably intentional. When replacing sound effects, there were a number of options that already existed with jumping in prior games:

-Metroid - Very cartoonish jump sound

-Metroid Zero Mission - Jumping sound similar to the walking sound

-Super Metroid - No jumping sound

I decided to try and follow the strategy of Zero mission. Basically, I just took the sound of Samus running and increased the volume a bit. If it is not to your liking, there should be a simple fix. In the HdPacks folder, there should be a "SamusJumping.ogg" file and a "SamusTakingARunningStep.ogg" file. If you delete the Jumping file it may solve your issue. Let me know what you think.

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