Discussion What is the best GBA emulator? Page 3

Started by calmpalm April 22nd, 2019 10:23 AM
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Lucariokalos

Playing rom hacks and official game

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...I mean maybe but I don't think it would really matter, when it comes to comes to graphics, or really any input ouput, you need to keep in mind the quality of your



input/source.

If the quality of the source is bad, it doesn't matter what the ability of your output device it will still be limited to exactly what you put in.

For example, if I have an old polaroid photo that's faded a bit and spotted with time and I digitize it, by either scanning or taking a photo with my camera phone. The size and dimmensions of the digital file will be that of the device I use, say my camera takes 1080p pictures, the new photo will be 1080p.
but it will still be a picture of an old dirty polaroid photo.

The quality of the image is no better, and what the image is showing is no sharper, just making it a 1080p digital file, just allows me to show the same image quality, just bigger.

If I put that same 1080p image up on a 4k tv, it would look no better than it did on my phone, its just spread out onto a bigger screen, so maybe I can see it better.

The reason 4k tvs can make blu rays, or HD tv channels looks so good is because the source for those things is already 4k compliant/in 4k or super HD.
So using an high quality chord just allows you to transfer all (or just more) of the original High quality signal to be displayed on your TV.


OK that out of the way the problem here, is this is for gba roms, a technology over 20 years old, before HD was even thought of.
Everything is made from pixel sprites some are even 8-bit, so the source is far from 4k quality.

Second you're limited by your display device, if your emulator is on a high quality new laptop, no problem most monitors can display 4k, but if its older than, once again you're limited but by your output device this time.

So if an emulator could even output in 4k you need a 4k display to view it regardless of what chord you use. (Not trying to talk down to you, just being thorough.)

Now back to that picture metaphor, so once you have digital image, there is a way to improve the quality of low quality images, that process is known as "up sampling" Simply said a program takes an image analyzes the pixels in it, and then fills it in with more pixels as close to identical as it can determine to artificially make it bigger.

You know how if you take a picture and you try to stretch it in a program it gets all distorted, upscaling is a way around that, the distortion in the first method is caused by the limited amount of pixel data, pretty much a half a cup of water is still half a cup of water no matter what shape glass you put it in, it can only go so far.

Continuing the analogy upscaling would stretch and extend it without distortion by essentially adding a substance to the same glass that is completely indistinguishable to water by the naked eye. So half a cup of water can become a full cup or 2 or 4.

In the case of images you're increasing the resolution, the more you upscale and increase the resolution the bigger the file size though.
Also I'm pretty sure upscaling is a bit limited on how much it can increase the resolution of the original source image/file.

Lets say for example up-scaling is limited to 4x the original resolution.

To be called 4k an image must have a "horizontal resolution" of about 4,000P. Keep in mind standard hd is 1080p.

Now if the upscaling is limited to 4x like i said ( and it may not be because I made that up off the top of my head and didn't actually look up an upscaling program) then at max upscaling you would need a source file of 1080p just to get to 4k.

(you could try running the output file back through the upscaler until you get the resolution you want but idk if that works or not, either way file would be ungodly massive.)

Either way the native resolution of most gba games is far lower than that, for reference an the sprites for item icons in the game (pokemon 3rd gen is what I'm talking about) are png files usually between 100 and 300bytes looking it up, the image itself was about 24p. It's not a lot but that should tell you at least something of the resolution these gba games are working with.


But even if you did upscale it, these all the images in the game are working with very simple color palettes, so it wouldn't suddenly look beautiful, the colors and images would look about the same, just smoother and less pixely.


Finally there's the problem of the hardware needed. An emulator that is capable of running its own native upscaling program would be a massive undertaking, for example it took a ps3 to do proper upscaling on ps2 console games. So you're looking at something at least that powerful. That applies to both the emulator you're trying to run and the computer you're running it on.

That said it is possible to play HD and 4k quality games on a gba, but I'm pretty sure that's not outputting anywhere near the 4k range.
https://cogconnected.com/2020/11/can-play-ps5-games-gba/

Long story short, it may be theoretically possible, but there's no reason or benefit to doing so.
But a little bit of upscaling could make games look better, but you have to remember old jagged 8-bit sprites are still going to be pointy sprites even at a higher resolution just maybe a bit nicer, lol think about it like this.

if you took an old playstation game, with its old outdated polygon sprites and made it bigger/clearer would it really make those characters look any better? Yes, but they're still weird polygon people.
thank you for your long information :)
Rom hack I supported:
Pokemon Unbound,Pokemon saffron version,Pokemon gs Chronicles,Pokemon secret Diaries, Pokemon Orange island,Pokemon Saiph,Pokemon,Pokemon sors,Pokemon Fire red Rocket edition,Pokemon Radical Red.
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thank you for your long information :)
lol you're welcome. :)

I really didn't mean to write that much, but that's the kind of stuff I'm interested in, so I may have got a little excited talking about it.

Hope it helps you. Oh and at the end of the day all that matters is how it looks to your eyes. So you could probably make some adjustments in your emulator or computer display, and make it look to you HD clear, without needing to actually make the resolution 1080p or 4k.

Just try and find a balance that works for you, and since its only as clear as its base normal resolution usually the smaller your window size the better the image quality.

So try adjusting your computer display settings, then your emulator settings, (if you use mgba they have a lot of good graphic options make sure you have open gl on if your computer runs it) and then adjust the size of the screen until it looks the best to you.

Alright I'm gonna stop now because I've derailed this enough. Good luck.

Chronosplit

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Seen July 18th, 2021
Posted May 12th, 2021
486 posts
10.7 Years
quick update found some notes on gba emulators recommended by os.
It's almost there. The mobile recs are crap, and I doin't know why this is suggesting the good GBA emu and the old as sin emu at the same time for windows. But I'm going to stop myself from ranting, I put down that torch years back because my insistance that everyone switch to mGBA or at the very least VBA-M changed nothing.

Anyway, android:
-Pizza Boy GBA Pro is great for it's UI (in both portrait and landscape), speed with accuracy, tilt/rumble/solar implimentation, multiplayer, and other features. By using its own code as opposed to something else at the core like just about every emu in the play store, you can always be assured that you're not running anything second rate to PC. No color correction, but it does have LCD sliders that can run a rough approximation of that. The GBC version is also first-rate.
-mGBA is available via RetroArch. The color correction and LCD ghosting are built in without using more shaders, and this is even more important for mobile screens. Is it worth running RetroArch alone for? Not really. mGBA is known to be both faster and more accurate than most of the competition by design, but it can't link and gyroscope tilt is a no-go.
-If for whatever reason you need VBA-M, GBA.Emu is about the only reliable version of it. This is actually slower than the two above, but it's VBA-M's fault. A lot less features, but the .Emu line is known as solid and reliable with regular updates for many years. One problem: forget about any special features other than the RTC working, including link cable.
-Whatever you do, NO MYBOY. It hasn't been updated in many years, the dev expects that you pay them money after having already run off, and it's based on ancient emus besides (if the rumors are correct it goes way back to Gameboid which is gpsp, which even on the PSP has been outdone). The no update thing is even worse on android than on other platforms because it renders the app a ticking time bomb. Eventually an OS update will make it completely unworkable, and no one will do anything about it.

With iOS you have a choice between Delta and Providence, from what I hear.
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It's almost there. The mobile recs are crap, and I doin't know why this is suggesting the good GBA emu and the old as sin emu at the same time for windows. But I'm going to stop myself from ranting, I put down that torch years back because my insistance that everyone switch to mGBA or at the very least VBA-M changed nothing.

Anyway, android:
-Pizza Boy GBA Pro is great for it's UI (in both portrait and landscape), speed with accuracy, tilt/rumble/solar implimentation, multiplayer, and other features. By using it's own code as opposed to something else at the core, you can always be assured that you're not running anything second rate to PC. No color correction, but it does have LCD sliders that can run a rough approximation of that. The GBC version is also first-rate.
-mGBA is available via RetroArch. The color correction and LCD ghosting are built in without using more shaders, and this is even more important for mobile screens. Is it worth running RetroArch alone for? Not really. mGBA is known to be both faster and more accurate than most of the competition by design, but it can't link and gyroscope tilt is a no-go.
-If for whatever reason you need VBA-M, GBA.Emu is about the only reliable version of it. This is actually slower than the two above, but it's VBA-M's fault. A lot less features, but the .Emu line is known as solid and reliable with regular updates for many years. One problem: forget about any special features other than the RTC working, including link cable.
-Whatever you do, NO MYBOY. It hasn't been updated in many years, the dev expects that you pay them money after having already run off, and it's based on ancient emus besides (if the rumors are correct it goes way back to Gameboid which is gpsp, which even on the PSP has been outdone). The no update thing is even worse on android than on other platforms because it renders the app a ticking time bomb. Eventually an OS update will make it completely unworkable, and no one will do anything about it.

With iOS you have a choice between Delta and Providence, from what I hear.
nice, you seem to know mgba pretty well, maybe you can help me with an issue I have, its my main gba emulator and I love it but for some reason none of the little stat change animations will play when I'm using. Like if I lower attack they won't have that sliding color effect play over the pokemon. The sound plays but there's no visual que.

Any idea what's up with that? I didn't change much once I got it, besides turning on open gl, and the high resolution scale.
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Chronosplit

I play for keeps!

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Seen July 18th, 2021
Posted May 12th, 2021
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10.7 Years
nice, you seem to know mgba pretty well, maybe you can help me with an issue I have, its my main gba emulator and I love it but for some reason none of the little stat change animations will play when I'm using. Like if I lower attack they won't have that sliding color effect play over the pokemon. The sound plays but there's no visual que.

Any idea what's up with that? I didn't change much once I got it, besides turning on open gl, and the high resolution scale.
My first blame would go to the high res scale, and if not that it's renderer related. It'd be worth checking out the github and see if an issue's been opened, but last I checked the scaler's still a bit WIP.
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My first blame would go to the high res scale, and if not that it's renderer related. It'd be worth checking out the github and see if an issue's been opened, but last I checked the scaler's still a bit WIP.
ok thanks I'll try that.


edit
it worked.
The A-non Team




Trevenant
Lv. 100 @ 306
Points: 70
Challenge: Souls of the Damned
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Chandelure
Lv. 100 @ 213
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Rapidash
Lv. 100 @ 497
Points: 70
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Flareon
Lv. 100 @ 708
Points: 70
Challenge: TBA
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Roselia
Lv. 100 @ 794
Points: 100
Challenge: TBA
Legendary: TBA

Entei
Hatch @ 793
Level 100 @ 1,018
Shiny: No
Points: 100

Seen July 28th, 2021
Posted July 15th, 2021
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1.9 Years
Stat changes not animating was/is an issue with 0.8.4 and using OpenGL. You can change the "Display driver" option, or use 0.8.3, but both of those options are worse than just using the development build. The development build has it fixed (among many other things), and I would highly recommend to use it (just consider it as early access to 0.9).

As for the topic, mGBA is objectively a better emulator since it boasts insanely high accuracy. It also has many features, including linking. It also has a Mac build (also Linux and other platforms), although I have zero knowledge on how good other emulators for Mac are. As for VBA, there is basically no legitimate reason people should defend or continue to use VBA in general. The only use for VBA is when you want to play rom hacks that rely on the VBA's inaccuracies like some older rom hacks, and even some modern ones unfortunately developed with testing on VBA. As for Android, Pizzaboy is easily the best standalone emulator, it has the highest accuracy, good speed, good features, good UI, and even has a free version for people that refuse to pay or can't afford it. iOS is something I have no experience in, but I believe Delta is the way to go, which recently added in RTC finally. Pretty sure it is developed by the same guy/team(?) as gba4ios, which was delisted from the store and is seemingly annoying to get onto a device and not lose the license.
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I use NO$GBA because it works well enough for me and I have never had issues with it.
VBA doesn't work on my windows computer. I don't know why.
Also in NO$GBA you can use 10 times speedup for grinding and also use cheats.
maybe you have a bad or corrupted vba.ini file for VBA or have a slow & old PC.

My Win10 LTSC 2019 computer (has an AMD Phenom II X4 cpu w/ 6Gb of RAM) can run the latest versions of no$gba (v3.04), mGBA (v0.9.1) and VBA-M (either v2.1.4 stable from Oct. 2019 or latest available 2021 nightly build from github) fine.
Seen July 29th, 2021
Posted July 25th, 2021
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73 Days
Any tips?
Depends on the OS
You wanna play on your android? Go for My Boy! I used it before i got my pc and it worked really well and nice. Plus as an added bonus you can connect your other GBA pokemon games and switch between them to play with you LeafGreen and Emerald (i m just kidding use any mainline gba pokemon game) and you can trade aswell so you can use trade evo as well. If you are on yur PC go for MGba coz its the best. The Audio might not be good compared to VBA but VBA is really vurnerable to catching a virus coz -https://youtu.be/L-L8qWpd_74- so just stick with MGba. It is really nice emulator and if you care about the audio then stick with VBA-M but it is still dangerous ngl..Yur choice i chose Mgba and it works better than Vba coz i played emerald with both of them....So Android- My Boy! And PC- MGba or Vba-M