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Parallel 64 Expectations


Bedwyr
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Hi all.

I saw that Retroarch has the Parallel 64 core now and wanted to get my expectations straight. I've already seen a bit of framerate drop which doesn't bother me a whit. However I had some hopes that the lower level emulation might fix some of the filtering problems nearly all N64 emulators have had, especially interface raster images. My test case is Dr. Mario 64 which uses a lot of these and it appears that unfortunately they are still choppy and muddy, although Mario 64 seems to show some improvement in the Princess Toadstool letter of invitation. Should I simply not get my hopes up for the future and assume that this is an intractable problem with rendering to CRT?

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Parrallel 64 get the dithering effect right, but it skips all of the VI emulation. For that you will need angrylion, which is available as a secondary plugin choice. 

With the latest multithreaded patch you can run pretty much any game at full speed with it, and it is pixel accurate to the n64, but it requires a 4.0ghz+ intel CPU, ideally skylake or later. 

There are other issues as well. The n64 uses a variable resolution, scaling from 240p to 480i, sometimes within the same game. There isn't a good way to address this. My advice would be to try and set retroarch to push out a 480pixels on the height and use super resolution on the width. This won't give you the quite the correct look at 240p, because it will be interlaced, but it will make menus and the odd scene rendered at 480i crisp like it is supposed to. 

I am building my CRT setup now. Not in a place to test it, but for me I think I am just going to pony up for real hardware.  

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I my test it has been wonderful, managed to make problematic titles to work perfectly by using angrylion and enabling its VI Overlay. Titles like Pokémon Puzzle League and Resident Evil 2 now display full motion videos fine and don't have major problems like other plugins.

I'm yet to test Acclaim titles like Turok 2 and 3, those requiere some tricks to make them work properly in other plugins.

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I haven't been into the N64 emulation scene since around 2002. Retroarch is kinda my all in one go to for everything and with N64 I switched from the mupen to Parralleli core recently after hearing amazing things about this Angrylion plugin. Well, when I changed over it, I changed the GFX plugin to Angrylion and the VI overlay and it looks....bad. LIke real bad. it's blurry and hard to see anything. turning the GFX plugin to Auto fixes it and allows me to run and much higher internal resolutions. But if I go back to angylion it doesn't allow me to use those high resolutions and ends up just making the image distorted and blurry. Is there something I'm doing wrong or is it just one of those things that make it look like an old 64? If so, what is the benifit of Agrylion? If it's just settings, what settings need to be changed and to what?

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36 minutes ago, TheMadMan007 said:

Is there something I'm doing wrong or is it just one of those things that make it look like an old 64? If so, what is the benifit of Agrylion? If it's just settings, what settings need to be changed and to what?

Nope, nothing you are doing wrong, it's just how it works to make the games look like they originally did.

The benefit is it is the most accurate N64 emulation to date in terms of function and looks.

You can read up more on it here:

https://www.libretro.com/index.php/parallel-n64-with-multithreaded-angrylion-released/

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ah ok bummer, thanks for the info though. I'd rather play with the clarity for most games, than the "accurate emulation" when I very rarely would be able to tell. I see why people would want it, but there is no way I'm playing Zelda looking like Angryliion makes it look, its just too blurry. It's weird because Angrylion looks way worse to me than if I just hookup my N64 directly to my TV

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Just putting my 2-cents in here, as I've also tried multiple emulators and thought my tests might help you as well (if you were not aware of some of the other options out there for N64 emulators for example).  For me Mupen64 did not scale very well on my laptop, and the performance was lacking overall.  Parallel 64 for me was a much better core to use in Retroarch.  It's still relatively new, so I expect bugs are still to be ironed out, but it scales well, and the performance seems to be rather good.  But, for me the best emulator to use for N64 is still Project64.  Not sure on compatibility with the games you're looking to play, but all the ones I'm interested in playing, or am playing now, seem to work just fine in that.  That, plus is upscales much better than the RA cores (Parallel is a close one though for that), but the performance is much better for me.  FYI, there's also a retroachievement-ready version of Project64 called RAProject64 (http://retroachievements.org/viewtopic.php?t=4686) in case you were into that as well.  The way I have my launchbox set it I have RAProject64 as my main emulator, and then the Parallel core as my secondary emulator setup in Retroarch/launchbox as well.  That way if I find a title that does not play in RAProject64 (which so far is none for me as I mentioned above) I can select launch with ... and select Retroarch instead and it will load the game using the Parallel64 core.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that as it might help you (or others) who are looking at emulator options for N64.

Edited by CDBlue
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19 hours ago, TheMadMan007 said:

ah ok bummer, thanks for the info though. I'd rather play with the clarity for most games, than the "accurate emulation" when I very rarely would be able to tell. I see why people would want it, but there is no way I'm playing Zelda looking like Angryliion makes it look, its just too blurry. It's weird because Angrylion looks way worse to me than if I just hookup my N64 directly to my TV

You should use the mupen64.io build instead. It is very accurate for HLE and allows for internal resolution upscaling and AA and all that jazz. 

Personally, I prefer the authentic look of angrylion . The dithering effect is not properly emulated anywhere except in angrylion and parrallel 64, and without the dithering all the games look super off in their colors to me. Unfortunately, the checkered dithering is really distracting without all the VI blur as well. So IMO you need both for the right look. 

I would say that angrylion with VI overlay looks a lot like a real n64, with the caveat that a blurrier image definitely looks better on a CRT compared to upscaled on a LCD monitor. 

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