Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Beans
    19
    Distro
    Ubuntu Gnome 13.10 Saucy Salamander

    The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    It's been several years since I ran Ubuntu. Some of my best college days were spent playing games on ZSNES in Ubuntu against my roommates. So you can imagine my dismay when I installed 13.10. ZSNES used to run reliably on 7.10 (!)... but the version in the Saucy repo inevitably crashes after about 15 minutes of gameplay. See: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2159402

    The first thing I tried was installing a different emulator. Snes9x was always a good option... but apparently it's not in the 13.10 repo yet. Someone made a package, but it crashes for me whenever I open any menus, so I can't even load a game. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2182196

    So then there's bsnes. That isn't even an option for a lot of people because the hardware requirements are so high. Fortunately, I have a new machine that can run it smoothly... most of the time. Of course, bsnes is what's in the repo, but it's horribly outdated. bsnes isn't even bsnes anymore. It's higan. At least someone made a higan package that is easy to install. http://www.playdeb.net/software/higan Unfortunately, even when bsnes is running at a tolerable speed, the user interface and feature set are maddeningly poor. There's no rewind feature, which I miss dearly. Fast-forward works... a little--but only if you're syncing to audio using certain combinations of video and audio drivers... and none of those combinations happen to run at an acceptable speed on my system. Perhaps the most difficult thing to deal with is that pressing ESC doesn't open the menu, and there doesn't seem to be a way to set it to do that.

    When everything in the repos failed, I tried compiling my own. The most recent resources I can find on compiling ZSNES in Ubuntu are from 2007. No matter how many variations of libraries I've installed, I still can't get it to build. So next I tried compiling Snes9x. That worked--but the version I compiled crashes at the same places as the one from the package I downloaded.

    Sorry to whine! I'm just frustrated. I'm holding onto a fragile thread of hope... that someone will tell me about some option I haven't considered. I *really* don't want to install Windows on this machine. That's no fun! Please help if you can. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sheffield, UK
    Beans
    1,211

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    Yeah it is a bit of a mess at the moment isn't it? I managed to get the Raring package for Snes9x-gtk running fine on Kubuntu Saucy 13.10, where it would crash the desktop on regular Ubuntu. I could only put this down to some new bugs in the Unity desktop. I just installed Zsnes (I didn't even know it was still available!), and sure enough even on Kubuntu it doesn't really work.

    I think on the modern 64 bit Linux desktop at the moment we are really missing not only SNES emulation, but also Sega Megadrive (+various) too. Kega Fusion is tip-top, but the only version available now is several years old and requires no small amount of manual tweakerage on the users part to get it working. I can get it to work easily, but I imagine many users new to Linux will give it a go, and decide it requires too much faffing with to bother, abandoning it for Windows.
    AMD Phenom X4 945, 4Gb Crucial 800Mhz DDR2 RAM, 1Tb SATA III HDD, nVidia 9800GT 512Mb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Beans
    19
    Distro
    Ubuntu Gnome 13.10 Saucy Salamander

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    Thanks for the reply! At least I know it's not just me.

    I could do the old Snes9x package in Kubuntu or Xubuntu--that's something I haven't thought of yet. It's not quite the same as my preference: ZSNES, but at least it would work! I'll probably give that a go later this week.

    ...Unless somebody else has an idea? Heheh.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sheffield, UK
    Beans
    1,211

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    Managed to get Zsnes to run today on Kubuntu with a command I used years ago for it.

    Code:
    zsnes -ad sdl
    This just changes the audio driver as you probably know, but afterwards it ran fine. It didn't crash the desktop or anything.
    AMD Phenom X4 945, 4Gb Crucial 800Mhz DDR2 RAM, 1Tb SATA III HDD, nVidia 9800GT 512Mb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Beans
    8

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    Just noticed this thread, have a couple considerations about running snes9x, and also wanted to mention a couple things about the SNES state of affairs.

    First it appears that there must be something somewhere in the snes9x code, which is choking on a particular unity configuration. I also would believe this to be the case, as you've also seen the crash after manually compiling. If the crash happens during menu selection, the problem is likely from a GTK3/WM interaction. I remember seeing similar menu click crashing on 12.04, running GTK3/Openbox. I may be able to investigate, but I'm still fairly weak with my C,... and practically illiterate with C++. I have written a couple small C things, so I can at least generally understand the code.


    I also wanted to do a quick breakdown, of the various SNES emulator options, to explain why I promote snes9x. We have three reasonable choices, ZSNES, BSNES, and Snes9x.

    ZSNES is generally a good emulator, but it's written using a ton of ASM, and is generally unportable. This is why all the android SNES emulators are often Snes9x rip-offs/forks. So the emulator itself is decent, but it's future is more questionable.

    BSNES, aka Higan, is not my kind of emulator. Unlike the people who value accuracy, I value something I call playability. Meaning I'll sacrifice performance right up until things become too slow to play. Most importantly this doesn't just mean playable on my 8x core opteron workstation..., but playable on a low end PC, and playable on mobile ARM devices. BSNES isn't close to playable on my Ubuntu ARM chromebook, that much I know offhand... so how valuable is that accuracy again? Unfortunately the idiots who write desmume feel the same way, I'm beginning to think 'accuracy' is just the prefered excuse for writing inefficient emulator code.

    So what emulator is accurate to play all my games, fast enough to promote 'playability', and portable enough to compile on my Ubuntu ARM chromebook? .... Only one emulator fits this bill, Snes9x!

    So I agree completely, the SNES state of affairs isn't ideal, and I wish we could get a clear GPL licence for Snes9x. Simply because it could use as much going for it as possible, and it's most valuable as a full member of this 'community'. Screw the fanboy's who want to play things 'as accurately as possible', it's not an acceptable trade-off to only play on supercomputers.
    Last edited by techzilla2; November 21st, 2013 at 11:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Beans
    21

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    I use Zsnes on my arcade cab, (Lubuntu 13.10) it seems to run fine, but i never tried a long playing sesion.
    Mednafen also emulates Snes, but i haven't tried it for snes, i use it for Sega Genesis.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    United States
    Beans
    105
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    The 32-bit package of ZSNES plays without issues under XFCE4, so I wonder what the hangups are on other desktop environments? It's a hacky emulator to begin with, but ZSNES still works under the right conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by techzilla2 View Post
    BSNES, aka Higan, is not my kind of emulator. Unlike the people who value accuracy, I value something I call playability. Meaning I'll sacrifice performance right up until things become too slow to play. Most importantly this doesn't just mean playable on my 8x core opteron workstation..., but playable on a low end PC, and playable on mobile ARM devices. BSNES isn't close to playable on my Ubuntu ARM chromebook, that much I know offhand... so how valuable is that accuracy again? Unfortunately the idiots who write desmume feel the same way, I'm beginning to think 'accuracy' is just the prefered excuse for writing inefficient emulator code.
    How well does "playability" hold up when trying to run games like Earthworm Jim 2, loads of ROM hacks that improve games, and fan-made translations of RPGs? Emulators like ZSNES crash those right off, because it uses dirty hacks and workarounds detrimental to accuracy, all for the sake of speed. You will also notice accuracy problems in games that do somehow work. It is outright appauling how bad games like "The Legend of Zelda : A Link to the Past" sound in most emulators, it melts the nostalgia goggles right off of me. BSNES was the first time I truly enjoyed that game on something other than the original system.

    Speed was important in the 90's, when most computers had a 100MHz CPU or weaker, but now most machines have multiple processor cores clocked well above 1GHz, and it's more possible than ever to enjoy these games accurately with literal, perfect fidelity to their original platform. I have an average CPU for this time, and can play BSNES just fine; in fact I'm having more trouble getting it to slow down and throttle to 60 FPS.

    Accuracy is not an excuse for poor emulation speed, BSNES' code is meant to be as clean as possible, without cheap hacks, so every game will run. It is a controversial emulator for not accepting the disturbingly poor standards of the emulation scene, but ultimately, guess which emulator is still going to be playing the entire SNES library and its rom hacks in the future? Not Snes9x, and most certainly not ZSNES. It is unfair to criticize what you don't understand.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Beans
    1

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    Just a note: BSNES is now called Higan.
    I had the same frustrating problems with ZSNES (locking up 30 minutes into a game). I thought I'd try Higan. So far, it's the best emulator I've ever used.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Beans
    127

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    Snes9x-gtk works great for me

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Beans
    11

    Re: The disappointing state of SNES emulators in Ubuntu 13.10

    I've also experienced the hanging of zsnes. This was most unfortunate as I have used it since I was on windows many years ago. It was familiar to use, but the hanging does make it unusable. And it even doesn't print any feedback to the terminal window, so I can't really know what causes the hanging.

    Mednafen works, but do not get the ancient one (0.8) at the repository. It's 10 years old, get the newer one (0.9) instead, from playdeb (as I did) or compile it yourself.
    Now while mednafen is one of the finest of all emulators, it doesn't have a GUI so it may be scary/unusable for newcomers, but that's why there's ixbar3000 .

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •