08/03/2022 – Quacking Around With PS1 Games

It has been a while, I’ve been keeping OK.

As you can maybe guess from the title, I’ve been messing around with PS1 emulation via Duckstation. Although it’s not the only emulator I’ve been fiddling with, I’ve also been poking around with PPSSPP and playing a few gems on PCSX2. Although a lot of work is required to get stuff working properly on the latter there.

I suppose what brought all this on was my desire to play through the old Drakengard games along with my friend linking me the opening movie to Wild Arms 5. All that just locked my brain into a place of wanting to play a bunch of PS1, PS2, and PSP RPGs as well as various other games I missed from my youth.

On PS1 emulation specifically, it’s nice to be able to play those games without the texture warping. It really cleans up the image and can make some of these games look really good still. Stuff like Wild Arms looks like it could be released today by some small indie studio or something. Although the actual gameplay and exploration design is probably a bit dated by today’s standard. But I’ll talk about that in my Den post later in the year.

Another point on the matter, phone emulation has come a long way. PPSSPP was on Android years ago and worked OK-ish. But now it and Duckstation both run pretty well on my Xperia 10 III. However, the experience of syncing up my saves between PC and phone could do with some dedicated support. Currently I’m using Dropbox for Duckstation saves. It works well enough, but you have to make sure that the PC application’s memory card settings are set to make a seperate cards for each game. The phone only gives you that option, and a shared card causes problems when importing.

Right, down to business.

The Game Template Project, the Unity assets designed for building basic game ideas without having to start from scratch every time; has reached a point where I’m fairly happy with it. I wouldn’t say it’s done yet, I do plan on adding documentation and general feel of the “games” isn’t quite right yet. But I’m happy with the amount of different genres covered. Hopefully I might actually finish this project. That would be refreshing. Whether or not it’ll make any money for me is another question entirely though.

Outside of Unity, I’m going to start experimenting with the Stride game engine. It’s an open source game engine made with C# that many say is a Unity-like IDE. My experiences with Godot was prompted my desire to check out other engines and such because I can’t rely on Unity for everything, and quite frankly Unity has been driving me up the damn wall in places. Having an understanding of how other engines and other people do things can only be a benefit. But I am worried about a lack of documentation.

As for what I’m building in it, well I’ll probably start with Pong as it’s the “Hello World” of video game development. Following that, I’ve had a small game idea pinned to my white board for a while now. It’s a very small game, so the scope should be small enough to use it as a reason to learn how to the use the engine. And if it ends up being too difficult to deal with there, I’ll port it back to Unity. Although perhaps at this point I should stop coming up with new ideas and finish the ones I already have.

There’s nothing else really to talk about for the moment. The Den post is getting filled in slowly, jotting down notes as I play through things and such. Again, that’ll be out come June. See you next time.