Work In Progress PCSX2 Libretro core in development

PCSX2 is a PlayStation2 emulator with a fairly high degree of compatibility. For over two years we have ran a bounty hoping that somebody would be able to port PCSX2 to libretro, so that it can run for instance inside a libretro frontend like RetroArch.

Today, I can happily report that we are nearing the point where the core is becoming quite usable. It might not be long before we can finally make our first initial release. Watch our YouTube video premiere here that shows you a variety of games running on an in-development PCSX2 core, running on RetroArch of course.

Let’s discuss briefly what to expect in the weeks ahead when the initial release version launches. So far there is only a 64bit x86_64 libretro core. There might be a 32bit core in the future, but it’s contingent on improvements made in upstream first. The OpenGL and Direct3D 11 renderers have both been hooked up. Direct3D 11 renderer should be a bit faster on Windows than OpenGL, but on the flip side OpenGL has slightly more features (higher blending accuracy modes for instance).

Things NOT to expect for now:
* Android support. Totally dependent on upstream efforts to make PCSX2 more portable. This will remain for 64bit x86_64 PCs for now.
* No Mac support. GSdx has OpenGL 4.x requirements and Mac doesn’t meet them. Standalone should be the same in this regard.

We are hugely grateful to aliaspider for finally getting this core up and running in libretro. Together with Govanify we have also found some x64 dynarec bugs that he managed to solve, so games like Drakengard and Klonoa 2 work now with the 64bit dynarec. Govanify has some plans to make the PCSX2 codebase much more portable than it is now, but this is a long-term project.

PS. Keep checking our RetroArch YouTube channel. We will be showing you many games running on PCSX2 / RetroArch in the upcoming days ahead.

Play! Libretro core (PlayStation2 emulator) ready for download on the Libretro/RetroArch buildbot!

So without further ado, upstream versions of Play!, the PlayStation2 emulator, are finally rolling out on the buildbot today!

Currently, the core is available and has been confirmed to run on:

  • Windows (64bit and 32bit)
  • Linux (64bit and 32bit)
  • Android

How to download it

Inside the main menu, go to ‘Online Updater’.

You might want to make sure first you have the latest info files by selecting ‘Update Core Info Files’ first.

From here, go to Core Updater.

Scroll down until you have found ‘Sony – PlayStation 2 (Play!)’. Download it. Go back to ‘Load Core’, and load it. Now go load a backup image file with it.

NOTE: Play! does not require any BIOS for you to dump, it uses its own HLE (High Level Emulation) BIOS.

What is Play! ?

Play! is a Work In Progress PlayStation2 emulator. Thanks to the great efforts of Zer0xFF, who took three days out of his busy schedule to port the emulator to the libretro API, we can start rolling out this emulator to our buildbot soon!

It must be stressed that Play! is a Work In Progress PS2 emulator, and we mean that literally. Don’t expect every game to run perfectly, far from it. However, it has a solid foundation and already has working dynamic recompilers for all the popular architectures, its value which cannot be understated. The libretro core also already has working savestate support.

System requirements

This core will require OpenGL on the desktop and OpenGL ES3 on mobile devices.

Your system should currently be as powerful as possible in order to get the best possible results. As time improves, system requirements will probably reduce.

Game compatibility is entirely dependent on the state of the upstream #Play! emulator. So as Play! improves, so too will the libretro core!

Help PlayStation2 emulation get better by supporting Play!

#Libretro is currently a Patreon backer of the Play! project, and we are very grateful to Zer0xFF from the Play! project for getting this port up and running in less than 3 days! Good open source PlayStation2 emulation deserves to get more funding, and we are happy to do our part. We hope you will as well!

Example video – running on RetroArch Android on a Samsung Galaxy S10+

Some example videos