GBA emulator for the DS by Darkchen *UPDATE*

shaunj66

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GBA emulator for the DS by Darkchen *UPDATE*
GBAtemp Exclusive hands-on
Homebrew enthusiast and GBAtemp member darkchen has been busy developing a Game Boy Advance emulator for the Nintendo DS, and we've tried it! The result? Some extremely impressive work!


How did darkchen manage to emulate the GBA given the hardware limitations of the DS? The clever guy used the extra power that the DSiPlayer (slot-1 media player) provides to get the extra juice needed to emulate GBA at a decent speed. Unfortunately of course, this means that this emulator will only work on the iPlayer.

We've tried a handful of games using darkchen's emulator and the results have been extremely impressive. The majority of games (even 3D intensive games) work extremely well with almost perfect video and sound output. There is a little bit of slow down in some games (using a frameskip setting of 2), but the results are astonishing for a first release. I didn't even see a single graphical glitch. But, not only is the emulation side of things impressive, the emulator GUI itself is also very well done and offers a great number of useful and well implemented options such as save states, screenshots, frameskip and more. It even supports zipped ROMs, but has some issues with 256Mbit games when zipped.

You can check out our hands-on video of the emulator above to see it in action for yourself. (We apologise for the poor video quality - watch in HQ on YouTube for a better picture). Well done to darkchen for a great piece of software and we hope you'll continue to improve it.

Also, please be aware that darkchen has not yet released this emulator publicly, so please do not request download links.

*UPDATE*: GBAtemp are proud to announce that we are now able to release the emulator publicly TONIGHT (GMT). So stay tuned, iPlayer owners!

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 Hands-on Video (YouTube)
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darkchen's blog
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 Discuss
 
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stivsama

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my EZF3in1 looks so... inadequate now. Hope Darkchen gets to optimise this a little more, maybe add key config in there. Or options so that users can sacrifice some aspects of emulation to enhance others.

i am excited, for sure.
 

Matt140

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NOOOOOO!!! Curse you iPlayer and your extra CPU!!!

A bit off topic: I've never found an aswer to this, why doesn't the DS play as fast as the GBA? I guessed it would play much faster with the stronger processor?
 

shaunj66

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stivsama said:
my EZF3in1 looks so... inadequate now. Hope Darkchen gets to optimise this a little more, maybe add key config in there. Or options so that users can sacrifice some aspects of emulation to enhance others.

i am excited, for sure.
There is already a key config menu
smile.gif
 

R2DJ

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This is very nice. If this comes out, I will get the iPlayer for the sole purpose of GBA emulation. I would like to play Pokemon Emerald, provided that it will have real-time clock functionality and of course, saving...
 

stivsama

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shaunj66 said:
There is already a key config menu
smile.gif

Thanks, I always wanted to switch some buttons around when I play GBA with 3in1. If there's key config already, next thing I want is in game guide, lol (yeah, i realize the emulation thing already eats up a lot of resources, so i won't look forward to it too much, just like slot-1 gba emulation.. oh wait.)

Beta testers should test the GBA essentials.. you know, for kicks.
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jeklnoo

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Quite an amazing feat, and I'm very interested in the technical details of how it works, but I'm still somewhat meh as for the usefulness...I can't stand non-perfect emulation. Even just a little frameskip or audio glitch makes games a lot less fun somehow. I'll stick with my GB Micro + EZFlash IV + 2GB miniSD for playing GBA games for now. This is the same reason I'd never buy that Dingooo A320 or whatever that was mentioned a few days ago.
 

Maz7006

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50mb-ish video
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on my 256kb/s connection....
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anyway great stuff
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i was a bit worried since darkchen sort of abandoned his blog for a while :/
 

Psyfira

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Very nice
smile.gif
It looks like the project's been going on for quite some time to produce something that well polished. I seriously thought no-one would ever actually develop something like this, I guess the removal of the GBA slot on the DSi changed that. Amazing work.

If I'm reading this right the iPlayer's CPU is in constant use during runtime. Does this mean running GBA games on the iPlayer has the same effect on the DS's battery life as playing video?
 

jgu1994

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That's impressive I must say. So this only works with the iPlayer, but i'm assuming it would work on both the ds and the dsi?
 

Joe88

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finally a video
very nice emu


though it still leaves the question if people will do
if they have a regular DS or DSL and will buy a $35 slot-1 cart instead of a $20 slot-2 cart
on top of that having to switch out the slot 1 carts instead of having it in all the time like a slot 2
and obtain another MicroSD (unless you can use the same microsd for both)


this will be good for people with a DSi with any firmware lower then 1.4
or people who bought the iplayer already and have a ds or whatever
too bad you can only do this on the iplayer though
 

Fat D

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Matt140 said:
NOOOOOO!!! Curse you iPlayer and your extra CPU!!!

A bit off topic: I've never found an aswer to this, why doesn't the DS play as fast as the GBA? I guessed it would play much faster with the stronger processor?
The DS is faster than the GBA, but for emulation, just faster is not enough: you need to simulate the entire environment, which takes much more power than just running the original code. Also, the GBA cartridge bus is directly adressed, like internal RAM, and therefore does not have a delay in data streaming. Running a GBA game on a Slot-1 card on the DS processor would create a bottleneck in the DS card slot.
 
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