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DuckStation - PlayStation 1, aka. PSX Emulator

Latest News | Features | Screenshots | Downloading and Running | Building | Disclaimers

Discord Server: https://discord.gg/Buktv3t

Latest Windows, Linux (AppImage), Mac, Android https://github.com/stenzek/duckstation/releases/tag/latest

Available on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.github.stenzek.duckstation&hl=en_AU&gl=US

Game Compatibility List: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1H66MxViRjjE5f8hOl5RQmF5woS1murio2dsLn14kEqo/edit?usp=sharing

Wiki: https://www.duckstation.org/wiki/

DuckStation is an simulator/emulator of the Sony PlayStation(TM) console, focusing on playability, speed, and long-term maintainability. 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 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.

Latest News

Older entries are available at https://github.com/stenzek/duckstation/blob/master/NEWS.md

  • 2021/01/31: "Fullscreen UI" added, aka "Big Duck/TV Mode". This interface is fully navigatible with a controller. Currently it's limited to the NoGUI frontend, but it will be available directly in the Qt frontend in the near future, with more features being added (e.g. game grid) as well.
  • 2021/01/24: Runahead added - work around input lag in some games by running frames ahead of time and backtracking on input. DuckStation's implementation works with upscaling and the hardware renderers, but you still require a powerful computer for higher frame counts.
  • 2021/01/24: Rewind added - you can now "smooth rewind" (but not for long), or "skip rewind" (for much long) while playing.
  • 2021/01/10: Option to sync to host refresh rate added (enabled by default). This will give the smoothest animation possible with zero duped frames, at the cost of running the game <1% faster. Users with variable refresh rate (GSync/FreeSync) displays will want to disable the option.
  • 2021/01/10: Audio resampling added when fast forwarding to fixed speeds. Instead of crackling audio, you'll now get pitch altered audio.
  • 2021/01/03: Per game settings and game properties added to Android version.
  • 2020/12/30: Box and Adaptive downsampling modes added. Adaptive downsampling will smooth 2D backgrounds but attempt to preserve 3D geometry via pixel similarity (only supported in D3D11/Vulkan). Box is a simple average filter which will downsample to native resolution.
  • 2020/12/30: Hotkey binding added to Android version. You can now bind hotkeys such as fast forward, save state, etc to controller buttons. The ability to bind multi-button combinations will be added in the future.
  • 2020/12/29: Controller mapping/binding added for Android version. By default mappings will be clear and you will have to set them, you can do this from Settings -> Controllers -> Controller Mapping. Profiles can be saved and loaded as well.
  • 2020/12/29: Dark theme added for Android. By default it will follow your system theme (Android 10+), but can be overridden in settings.
  • 2020/12/29: DirectInput/DInput controller interface added for Windows. You can use this if you are having difficulties with SDL. Vibration is not supported yet.
  • 2020/12/25: Partial texture replacement support added. For now, this is only applicable to a small number of games which upload backgrounds to video RAM every frame. Dumping and replacement options are available in Advanced Settings.
  • 2020/12/22: PGXP Depth Buffer enhancement added. This enhancement can eliminate "polygon fighting" in games, by giving the PS1 the depth buffer it never had. Compatibility is rather low at the moment, but for the games it does work in, it works very well. The depth buffer will be made available to postprocessing shaders in the future, enabling effects such as SSAO.
  • 2020/12/21: DuckStation now has two releases - Development and Preview. New features will appear in Preview first, and make their way to the Development release a few days later. To switch to preview, update to the latest development build (older builds will update to development), change the channel from latest to preview in general settings, and click Check for Updates.
  • 2020/12/16: Integrated CPU debugger added in Qt frontend.
  • 2020/12/13: Button layout for the touchscreen controller in the Android version can now be customized.
  • 2020/12/10: Translation support added for Android version. Currently Brazillian Portuguese, Italian, and Dutch are available.

Features

DuckStation features a fully-featured frontend built using Qt, as well as a fullscreen/TV UI based on Dear ImGui. An Android version has been started, but is not yet feature complete.

Main Window Screenshot Fullscreen UI Screenshot

Other features include:

  • CPU Recompiler/JIT (x86-64, armv7/AArch32 and AArch64)
  • Hardware (D3D11, OpenGL, Vulkan) and software rendering
  • Upscaling, texture filtering, and true colour (24-bit) in hardware renderers
  • PGXP for geometry precision, texture correction, and depth buffer emulation
  • Adaptive downsampling filter
  • Post processing shader chains
  • "Fast boot" for skipping BIOS splash/intro
  • Save state support
  • Windows, Linux, highly experimental macOS support
  • Supports bin/cue images, raw bin/img files, and MAME CHD formats.
  • Direct booting of homebrew executables
  • Direct loading of Portable Sound Format (psf) files
  • Digital and analog controllers for input (rumble is forwarded to host)
  • Namco GunCon lightgun support (simulated with mouse)
  • NeGcon support
  • Qt and NoGUI frontends for desktop
  • Automatic updates for Windows builds
  • Automatic content scanning - game titles/regions are provided by redump.org
  • Optional automatic switching of memory cards for each game
  • Supports loading cheats from libretro or PCSXR format lists
  • Memory card editor and save importer
  • Emulated CPU overclocking
  • Integrated and remote debugging

System Requirements

  • A CPU faster than a potato. But it needs to be x86_64, AArch32/armv7, or AArch64/ARMv8, otherwise you won't get a recompiler and it'll be slow.
  • For the hardware renderers, a GPU capable of OpenGL 3.1/OpenGL ES 3.0/Direct3D 11 Feature Level 10.0 (or Vulkan 1.0) and above. So, basically anything made in the last 10 years or so.
  • SDL, XInput or DInput compatible game controller (e.g. XB360/XBOne). DualShock 3 users on Windows will need to install the official DualShock 3 drivers included as part of PlayStation Now.

Downloading and running

Binaries of DuckStation for Windows x64/ARM64, x86_64 Linux x86_64 (in AppImage format), and Android ARMv8/AArch64 are available via GitHub Releases and are automatically built with every commit/push. Binaries or packages distributed through other sources may be out of date and are not supported by the developer.

Windows

Windows 10 is the only version of Windows supported by the developer. Windows 7/8 may work, but is not supported. I am aware some users are still using Windows 7, but it is no longer supported by Microsoft and too much effort to get running on modern hardware. Game bugs are unlikely to be affected by the operating system, however performance issues should be verified on Windows 10 before reporting.

To download:

Once downloaded and extracted, you can launch the emulator with duckstation-qt-x64-ReleaseLTCG.exe. To set up:

  1. Either configure the path to a BIOS image in the settings, or copy one or more PlayStation BIOS images to the bios/ subdirectory. On Windows, by default this will be located in C:\Users\YOUR_USERNAME\Documents\DuckStation\bios. If you don't want to use the Documents directory to save the BIOS/memory cards/etc, you can use portable mode. See User directory.
  2. If using the Qt frontend, add the directories containing your disc images by clicking Settings->Add Game Directory.
  3. Select a game from the list, or open a disc image file and enjoy.

If you get an error about vcruntime140_1.dll being missing, you will need to update your Visual C++ runtime. You can do that from this page: https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/2977003/the-latest-supported-visual-c-downloads. Specifically, you want the x64 runtime, which can be downloaded from https://aka.ms/vs/16/release/vc_redist.x64.exe.

The Qt frontend includes an automatic update checker. Builds downloaded after 2020/08/07 will automatically check for updates each time the emulator starts, this can be disabled in Settings. Alternatively, you can force an update check by clicking Help->Check for Updates.

Linux

Prebuilt binaries for 64-bit Linux distros are available for download in the AppImage format. However, these binaries may be incompatible with older Linux distros (e.g. Ubuntu distros earlier than 18.04.4 LTS) due to older distros not providing newer versions of the C/C++ standard libraries required by the AppImage binaries.

Linux users are encouraged to build from source when possible and optionally create their own AppImages for features such as desktop integration if desired.

To download:

macOS

To download:

macOS support is considered experimental and not actively supported by the developer; the builds are provided here as a courtesy. Please feel free to submit issues, but it may be some time before they are investigated.

macOS builds do not support automatic updates yet. If there is sufficient demand, this may be something I will consider.

Android

A prebuilt APK is now available for Android. However, please keep in mind that the Android version does not contain all features present in the desktop version yet. You will need a device with armv7 (32-bit ARM) or AArch64 (64-bit ARM). 64-bit is preferred, the requirements are higher for 32-bit, you'll probably want at least a 1.5GHz CPU.

Download link: https://github.com/stenzek/duckstation/releases/download/latest/duckstation-android.apk

To use:

  • Install and run the app for the first time.
  • This will create /sdcard/duckstation. Drop your BIOS files in /sdcard/duckstation/bios.
  • Add game directories by hitting the + icon and selecting a directory.
  • Map your controller buttons and axes by going into Controller Mapping under Controllers in Settings.
  • Tap a game to start.

Title Information

PlayStation game discs do not contain title information. For game titles, we use the redump.org database cross-referenced with the game's executable code. A version of the database is included with the DuckStation download, but you can replace this with a different database by saving it as cache/redump.dat in your user directory, or updated by going into the Game List Settings in the Qt Frontend, and clicking Update Redump Database.

Region detection and BIOS images

By default, DuckStation will emulate the region check present in the CD-ROM controller of the console. This means that when the region of the console does not match the disc, it will refuse to boot, giving a "Please insert PlayStation CD-ROM" message. DuckStation supports automatic detection disc regions, and if you set the console region to auto-detect as well, this should never be a problem.

If you wish to use auto-detection, you do not need to change the BIOS path each time you switch regions. Simply place the BIOS images for the other regions in the same directory as the configured image. This will probably be in the bios/ subdirectory. Then set the console region to "Auto-Detect", and everything should work fine. The console/log will tell you if you are missing the image for the disc's region.

Some users have been confused by the "BIOS Path" option, the reason it is a path and not a directory is so that an unknown BIOS revision can be used/tested.

Alternatively, the region checking can be disabled in the console options tab. This is the only way to play unlicensed games or homebrew which does not supply a correct region string on the disc, aside from using fastboot which skips the check entirely.

Mismatching the disc and console regions with the check disabled is supported, but may break games if they are patching the BIOS and expecting specific content.

LibCrypt protection and SBI files

A number of PAL region games use LibCrypt protection, requiring additional CD subchannel information to run properly. libcrypt not functioning usually manifests as hanging or crashing, but can sometimes affect gameplay too, depending on how the game implemented it.

For these games, make sure that the CD image and its corresponding SBI (.sbi) file have the same name and are placed in the same directory. DuckStation will automatically load the SBI file when it is found next to the CD image.

For example, if your disc image was named Spyro3.cue, you would place the SBI file in the same directory, and name it Spyro3.sbi.

Building

Windows

Requirements:

  • Visual Studio 2019
  1. Clone the respository with submodules (git clone --recursive https://github.com/stenzek/duckstation.git -b dev).
  2. Open the Visual Studio solution duckstation.sln in the root, or "Open Folder" for cmake build.
  3. Build solution.
  4. Binaries are located in bin/x64.
  5. Run duckstation-qt-x64-Release.exe or whichever config you used.

Linux

Requirements (Debian/Ubuntu package names):

  • CMake (cmake)
  • SDL2 (libsdl2-dev)
  • pkgconfig (pkg-config)
  • Qt 5 (qtbase5-dev, qtbase5-private-dev, qtbase5-dev-tools, qttools5-dev)
  • libevdev (libevdev-dev)
  • git (git) (Note: needed to clone the repository and at build time)
  • Optional for faster building: Ninja (ninja-build)
  • Optional for framebuffer output: DRM/GBM (libgbm-dev, libdrm-dev)
  1. Clone the repository. Submodules aren't necessary, there is only one and it is only used for Windows (git clone https://github.com/stenzek/duckstation.git -b dev).
  2. Create a build directory, either in-tree or elsewhere.
  3. Run cmake to configure the build system. Assuming a build subdirectory of build-release, cd build-release && cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -GNinja ...
  4. Compile the source code. For the example above, run ninja.
  5. Run the binary, located in the build directory under bin/duckstation-qt.

macOS

NOTE: macOS is highly experimental and not tested by the developer. Use at your own risk, things may be horribly broken.

Requirements:

  • CMake (installed by default? otherwise, brew install cmake)
  • SDL2 (brew install sdl2)
  • Qt 5 (brew install qt5)
  1. Clone the repository. Submodules aren't necessary, there is only one and it is only used for Windows (git clone https://github.com/stenzek/duckstation.git -b dev).
  2. Clone the mac externals repository (for MoltenVK): git clone https://github.com/stenzek/duckstation-ext-mac.git dep/mac.
  3. Create a build directory, either in-tree or elsewhere, e.g. mkdir build-release, cd build-release.
  4. Run cmake to configure the build system: cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DQt5_DIR=/usr/local/opt/qt/lib/cmake/Qt5 ... You may need to tweak Qt5_DIR depending on your system.
  5. Compile the source code: make. Use make -jN where N is the number of CPU cores in your system for a faster build.
  6. Run the binary, located in the build directory under bin/DuckStation.app.

Android

Requirements:

  • Android Studio with the NDK and CMake installed
  1. Clone the repository. Submodules aren't necessary, there is only one and it is only used for Windows.
  2. Open the project in the android directory.
  3. Select Build -> Build Bundle(s) / APKs(s) -> Build APK(s).
  4. Install APK on device, or use Run menu for attached device.

User Directories

The "User Directory" is where you should place your BIOS images, where settings are saved to, and memory cards/save states are saved by default. An optional SDL game controller database file can be also placed here.

This is located in the following places depending on the platform you're using:

  • Windows: My Documents\DuckStation
  • Linux: $XDG_DATA_HOME/duckstation, or ~/.local/share/duckstation.
  • macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/DuckStation.

So, if you were using Linux, you would place your BIOS images in ~/.local/share/duckstation/bios. This directory will be created upon running DuckStation for the first time.

If you wish to use a "portable" build, where the user directory is the same as where the executable is located, create an empty file named portable.txt in the same directory as the DuckStation executable.

Bindings for Qt frontend

Your keyboard or game controller can be used to simulate a variety of PlayStation controllers. Controller input is supported through DInput, XInput, and SDL backends and can be changed through Settings -> General Settings.

To bind your input device, go to Settings -> Controller Settings. Each of the buttons/axes for the simulated controller will be listed, alongside the corresponding key/button on your device that it is currently bound to. To rebind, click the box next to the button/axis name, and press the key or button on your input device that you wish to bind to. When binding rumble, simply press any button on the controller you wish to send rumble to.

SDL Game Controller Database

DuckStation releases ship with a database of game controller mappings for the SDL controller backend, courtesy of https://github.com/gabomdq/SDL_GameControllerDB. The included gamecontrollerdb.txt file can be found in the database subdirectory of the DuckStation program directory.

If you are experiencing issues binding your controller with the SDL controller backend, you may need to add a custom mapping to the database file. Make a copy of gamecontrollerdb.txt and place it in your user directory (or directly in the program directory, if running in portable mode) and then follow the instructions in the SDL_GameControllerDB repository for creating a new mapping. Add this mapping to the new copy of gamecontrollerdb.txt and your controller should then be recognized properly.

Default bindings

Controller 1:

  • D-Pad: W/A/S/D
  • Triangle/Square/Circle/Cross: Numpad8/Numpad4/Numpad6/Numpad2
  • L1/R1: Q/E
  • L2/R2: 1/3
  • Start: Enter
  • Select: Backspace

Hotkeys:

  • Escape: Power off console
  • ALT+ENTER: Toggle fullscreen
  • Tab: Temporarily disable speed limiter
  • Pause/Break: Pause/resume emulation
  • Page Up/Down: Increase/decrease resolution scale in hardware renderers
  • End: Toggle software renderer

Tests

  • Passes amidog's CPU and GTE tests in both interpreter and recompiler modes, partial passing of CPX tests

Screenshots

Monkey Hero Ridge Racer Type 4 Tomb Raider 2 Quake 2 Croc Croc 2 Final Fantasy 7 Mega Man 8 Final Fantasy 8 in Fullscreen UI Spyro in Fullscreen UI Threads of Fate in Fullscreen UI Game Grid

Disclaimers

Icon by icons8: https://icons8.com/icon/74847/platforms.undefined.short-title

"PlayStation" and "PSX" are registered trademarks of Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Limited. This project is not affiliated in any way with Sony Interactive Entertainment.


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