Recently, Rinnegatamante and others have been working on getting a Dreamcast emulator running on the PlayStation Vita although a snag was hit with the ReDream emulator that was being ported as its open-source ARM code was a tad too buggy thus making working with it very difficult. However, this didn’t stop Rinnegatamante from trying to get Dreamcast emulation on the Vita and to do this, he switched focus to Flycast and is currently doing significant progress!
What is Flycast? What has Rinnegatamante achieved?
As one can already guess from the title, Flycast is a Dreamcast emulator based on reicast with ‘flyinghead’ being the main developer behind it.
This emulator, which is still seeing development to this day, is available on the 3 major PC OSes, Android and even the Nintendo Switch together with the ability to be used as RetroArch core.
Due to this emulator being open-source and already working well on ARM systems, it was chosen to be the one to port to the Vita by Rinnegatamante with initial debugging starting on Saturday. Since then, a good amount of progress has been made including:
- Getting the emulator to run on the Vita through RetroArch
- RetroArch helps greatly with both input and audio handling which is why cores for it are preferred over stand-alone emulators when it comes to porting stuff over
- Games are able to boot with Rinnegatamante showing off Resident Evil: Code Veronica & Crazy Taxi
- Earlier today, a build of the Flycast core with an ARMv7 dynamic recompiler, fixed viewport (where the emulator renders stuff on screen) and a modification to the SH4 dynamic recompiler was demonstrated in a YouTube video (below) – Tweet
How is performance? Can I get Flycast on my Vita right now?
Going by the two demonstrated games, performance at the current moment in the time may not be up to scratch for most games to be playable as Crazy Taxi hovers around the 20FPS mark (60FPS native) while Resident Evil: Code Veronica does around 10-15FPS during gameplay – these results were derived from the YouTube video present below which features a pretty recent build. However, less demanding titles may run better although 2D titles may output corrupted sprites due to the absence of mprotect for texture updates.
If you want to mess around with Flycast on your own console, Rinnegatamante has provided a VPK on Discord containing the RetroArch core which you can install via VitaShell. However, you also need to install the PSM Runtime & ShaRKF00D since the port makes use of runtime shader compilation. After installing ShaRKF00D, you have to check whether “ur0:data/libshacccg.suprx” exists and if so, then you can proceed to install the ‘retroarch_vita.vpk’ file provided which installs the Flycast RetroArch core. Further information on how to install the emulator together with download links can be found in the links below.
While the current state of Flycast on the Vita won’t let you emulate every Dreamcast game ever released with success, things look somewhat promising but it’s important to keep in mind that the Dreamcast is a 6th generation console like the PlayStation 2 so the PlayStation Vita is nowhere near powerful enough to be able to emulate certain titles with playable frame rates although perhaps we may see some less demanding stuff play well.
To follow the latest updates, it’s recommended to head over to Rinnegatamante’s VitaNuova Discord channel and check out the ‘#development’ section.
VitaNuova Discord Channel (discussion regarding the emulator with frequent updates from Rinnegatamante): https://discord.gg/PyCaBx9
Discord message with download links + installation instructions (First in a series): https://discordapp.com/channels/601683789655179264/601735049670295555/730787821593428009
Rinnegatamante’s Patreon (donations): https://www.patreon.com/Rinnegatamante