New PlayStation1 core DuckStation now available for RetroArch!


Stenzek’s new PlayStation1 emulator DuckStation is now available as a Libretro core on RetroArch! The author of this promising new PlayStation1 emulator made the core by himself and has included it in his upstream repo.

DuckStation is a totally new PlayStation 1 (aka PSX) emulator focusing on playability, speed, and long-term maintainability. Accuracy is not the main focus of the emulator, but the goal is to be as accurate as possible while maintaining performance suitable for low-end devices. “Hack” options are discouraged, the default configuration should support all playable games with only some of the enhancements having compatibility issues. A “BIOS” ROM image is required to start the emulator and to play games. You can use an image from any hardware version or region, although mismatching game regions and BIOS regions may have compatibility issues. A ROM image is not provided with the emulator for legal reasons, you should dump this from your own console using Caetla or other means. DuckStation includes hardware rendering (OpenGL, Vulkan and D3D11), upscaling and 24-bit color and a 64-bit dynarec.

It is currently available on the Libretro buildbot for the following platforms:

  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Android (AArch64-only)

As soon as a commit is pushed on Stenzek’s repository, the libretro buildbot will compile a new build, and it should from there be available shortly for all RetroArch users.

Features

  • Relatively high degree of compatibility
  • Has three hardware renderers: OpenGL, Vulkan, and Direct3D11
  • Allows you to internally upscale the resolution
  • Has a dynamic recompiler and cached interpreter CPU core
  • Ability to run PSX CDROM emulation on a separate thread, reducing frame time spikes
  • How to get it

    There are two ways to install and/or update the DuckStation core:

    a – If you have already installed the core before, you can go to Online Updater and select ‘Update Installed Cores’.

    b – If you haven’t installed the core yet, go to Online Updater, ‘Core Updater’, and select ‘Sony – PlayStation (DuckStation)’ from the list. It will then download and install this core.

    BIOS required

    DuckStation, like Beetle PSX, requires a real BIOS in order to work. There is no HLE BIOS like PCSX ReARMed.

    A “BIOS” ROM image is required to start the emulator and to play games. You can use an image from any hardware version or region, although mismatching game regions and BIOS regions may have compatibility issues. A ROM image is not provided with the emulator for legal reasons, you should dump this from your own console using Caetla or other means.

    Recognized BIOS images:

    • scph5500.bin
    • scph5501.bin
    • scph5502.bin

    Benchmarks

    System specs: CPU – Intel Core i7 7700k | GPU – Geforce RTX 2080 Ti (11GB VRAM, 2018) | 16GB RAM

    We’ve performed some basic performance tests between DuckStation and Beetle PSX HW. We are using the same baseline resolution (1x) for both cores, and we try to make the test as fair as possible by disabling features such as PGXP and texture filtering for Beetle PSX HW (both features which DuckStation lacks).

    DuckStation

    Title Direct3D11 Vulkan OpenGL
    Tekken 3 396fps 414fps 335fps
    Alien Trilogy 538fps 552fps 499fps

    Beetle PSX HW

    NOTE: Beetle PSX HW does not have a Direct3D 11 renderer

    Title Vulkan OpenGL
    Tekken 3 326fps 229fps
    Alien Trilogy 480fps 473fps

    As you can see, on average performance is overwhelmingly in DuckStation’s favor. It does have to be said that Beetle PSX HW right now has some unique features that DuckStation lacks, such as PGXP and texture replacement.

    Conclusion

    You should definitely give DuckStation a go if you want a high performance PlayStation1 emulator. If you find Beetle PSX HW to be running too slowly for you on your system, you should check if DuckStation is faster instead.