Snes9x vs Zsnes - The Battle of Titans

Discussion in 'Other Consoles & Oldies' started by the_randomizer, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. the_randomizer
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    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    It's come to my attention that, despite not having been updated since 2006, Zsnes remains to be the most popular emulator among gamers, the reasons for this are widely varied. First and foremost, the GUI, it's old-school, second, it's a very very fast emulator and can run on anything that Windows 95 had as long as the processor was 200 MHz or so. Another reason, is people are comfortable with which they are used to and if they don't see a reason to change or upgrade, they likely won't, such is with the case of Zsnes. Without looking at it closely, most games appear to behave normally, but comparing it to a more accurate emulator, like Snes9x and
    Higan, many games do not behave normally at all. Zsnes focuses purely on speed, accuracy is dead last, as it was written in pure ASM (assembly) to make it run as fast as possible on weaker machines, but this comes at a cost, many games have quirks that affect the experience.

    First issue: Games with co-processors, such as the Super FX/SuperFX-2, S-DD1, Cx4, DSP-1, SA-1, etc all have their sets of issues, listed here, http://emulation-general.wikia.com/wiki/ZSNES#Review
    all chips are clocked weirdly and some games run faster than they should, Star Fox, Star Ocean, to name a couple.

    Second issue: Transparency, some games used pseudo hi-res mode 7, such as the forest levels in Kirby's Dream Land 3, in Zsnes 1.51, you have to use the old graphics engine by pressing 8, otherwise, trees and underwater levels are opaque and not translucent. Example here http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net...-forest.gif/revision/latest?cb=20130407030521

    Third issue: Some games will lockup randomly after a long time of playing, for example Der Langrisser, Super Mario RPG will lock up after two or so hours for no reason at all, Snes9x, Bsnes/Higan do not exhibit this issue.

    Fourth issue: Sound, this one's a real killer and hard to notice by many users. Given the fact I have very sensitive hearing, I can pick out bad sound when it's emulated poorly. Most games on Zsnes sound horrible, music not so much, but sound effects stick out like a sore thumb. Some games used a form of audio streaming from the S-SMP (part of the SPC700 processor), Earthworm Jim 2 being one of those games. Zsnes has music, but most of the sound effects, including Jim's voice, are missing.


    A video showing the issues in Zsnes, skip to 1:41 to listen to how bad it sounds, games should not have missing sound effects. Both Higan and Snes9x have cycle-accurate S-SMP emulation, meaning compared to a real Snes, it should sound pretty bloody close to the real thing, so close, that one can't tell a difference. This here, is the main reason I don't like Zsnes that much is the fact the sound if so off, and that people don't hear the difference, and is something that I at least wish to address to people who read this thread :) Another killer? The Lavos scream from Chrono Trigger, only two emulators get it right ^_^ http://filetrip.net/view?Ak8TbwrRqs

    Now, some people may argue, “But wait, if Zsnes works so well for me, why should I change to Snes9x or Higan when I'm so comfortable with Zsnes?” There's a solution for those who want better emulation, but want to keep the Zsnes GUI, there's actually a mod of Snes9x that uses the old GUI, called ZMZ http://www.smwcentral.net/?p=section&a=details&id=5681 It uses the libretro core of Snes9x (same cores RetroArch uses), so the best of both worlds.

    OH! And for those who want to truly test between the two, listen to this :D
    Snes9x Super Mario World warp pipe - http://filetrip.net/view?ltjVDgEufF

    Zsnes Super Mario World warp pipe - http://filetrip.net/view?cW1oCDe4vh

    Pros and cons of each emulator:

    Zsnes:
    + User friendly
    + Easy to find and add in-game cheat codes
    + Fast forward, rewind, water/flame effects in GUI
    + Runs on practically all machines with at least 200 MHz and 32 MB RAM
    - Poor sound emulation
    - Many games behave strangely and some run too fast
    - Hasn't been updated since 2007 or so
    - GUI is quite dated
    - Compatibility lowest of all Snes emulators
    (Sound sample: http://filetrip.net/view?cW1oCDe4vh This is not how the warp pipe should sound)

    Snes9x:
    + Cycle-accurate sound thanks to Blargg's S-SMP core (passed all hardware tests)
    + Games that require special timing and audio streaming work
    + Sleek GUI
    + High compatibility (only 2nd behind Higan)
    + Games with co-processors run at the correct clock speed
    + Games don't lock up at random
    - Not as accurate as Higan, to be blunt only a few games use dot-rendering as opposed to scanline rendering, Higan is the only emulator that does this (or whatever he calls it)
    - GUI not as easy to navigate as the one in Zsnes.
    Sound in Snes9x, this is how the warp pipe SHOULD sound http://filetrip.net/view?ltjVDgEufF

    Comments, feedback, what do you guys think? ^_^ I want to prove to the Temp that not only can I discuss something like this civilly, but also, to help me become better at debating topics, to help develop an appreciation for discussions in general :D I look forward to hearing your replies :P This isn't to force people to change sides, but to help make aware the issues that plague Zsnes and to bring them to others' attention :) Please keep this civil as well, I don't want any flaming or arguing, that's all I ask for those who participate :3
     
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  2. GamerzHell9137

    GamerzHell9137 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I only use ZSNES to play contra online cause for some reason the netplay works perfectly on it. Use Snes9x for all other games(offline).
     
  3. the_randomizer
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    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    I believe Zsnes 1.50 removed netplay (not entirely sure, never tried networking on Snes9x TBH), but for every other game, yeah, it's better to use Snes9x.
     
  4. GamerzHell9137

    GamerzHell9137 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    1.42 was the last version with netplay iirc? Shame that they canned netplay.
     
  5. the_randomizer
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    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    Maybe something broke in 1.42, 1.51 broke a lot of things, including pseudo hi-res transparency, you have to use the old graphics engine to bypass levels that are opaque, like underwater in Kirby's Dream Land 3.
     
  6. DiscostewSM

    DiscostewSM GBAtemp Guru

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    I used to use ZSNES as my main SNES emulator, but after getting a Wii U Pro controller and getting it set up to work on my computer, I ended up switching to SNES9x because ZSNES could only map the first 16 buttons (whereas the U Pro has more than 16, and the Home button is not the last). Now that I've been using SNES9x, I wish I had used as my main long ago.
     
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  7. VinsCool

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    Man zsnes is great but outdated. That is.
    Too much inaccuracies. Snes9x 1.53 masterrace!
    Too bad mobile ports are from the stupid 1.43 version. Even blargSnes on 3ds have better sound.
     
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  8. ShadowOne333

    ShadowOne333 GBAtemp Guru

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    How is ZSNES' GUI easier to navigate than the one in Snes9x?
    I actually find ZSNES GUI to be quite convoluted and somewhat painful to watch, it makes me remember the days of the Turbo C kind of crap which is in no way an absolute joy. XD
     
  9. the_randomizer
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    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    Same here, I started off with Zsnes back in 1998 or so, Snes9x was in its infancy (back then called Snes97 I believe), then in 1999, to Snes9x, I was on and off, but when Snes9x came out with the new audio core, I couldn't go back.


    The exception is Snes9x EX on the Google Play store, for devices with 1 GHz+, based off of 1.53 so the sound is amazing. BlargSnes has insane sound now, after hearing that FFIV sample, that was amazing :D While Snes9x isn't as accurate as Higan, it sure as hell does a good job being accurate and fast :P

    My mistake, for some people, it's easy, for others, your mileage may vary :P Gonna make some changes to the OP :) Sorry about that ShadowOne333
     
  10. ShadowOne333

    ShadowOne333 GBAtemp Guru

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    No need to apologize. :P
    It is each people's opinion, and to me I think ZSNES GUI seems quite outdated, reminds me of all those MS-DOS kind of programs and everything near the Windows '98 era.
     
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  11. the_randomizer
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    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    Oh it's pretty damn outdated, but back when I used it, it seemed fine. There's actually a version of Snes9x that uses the RetroArch Snes9x.dll on top of a Zsnes GUI for kicks, called ZMZ, runs pretty well, so for those who like the GUI can use it :P Zsnes Android is apparently in the works from Pagefault himself, the main Zsnes developer. Maybe Zsnes 2.0 is around the corner, if is, I'll update the OP :D
     
  12. VinsCool

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    not before 2018

    Gateway confirmed. :D

    Kidding. That is something I haven't knew. Wold you link the GUI for me? I would like to test it out :P (pausing SnesGT XD).
     
  13. the_randomizer
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    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    I thought I posted it in the OP, maybe it wasn't..? :P http://www.smwcentral.net/?p=section&a=details&id=5681 Here ya go, it uses the Libretro Snes9x core by default, but you can load other versions of Snes9x libretro.dll in there as well (only limit is it's the 32-bit build). :D And I actually caught the developers on their IRC (freenode) development's going slow, but steady.
     
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  14. VinsCool

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    thanks :)
     
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  15. the_randomizer
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    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    No prob, man ^_^
     
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