Dolphin - Nintendo Wii and Gamecube Emulator
Dolphin - DOWNLOAD
Origins (2003 - 2007)
Dolphin was first released in 2003 as an experimental Nintendo GameCube emulator that could boot up and run commercial games. However it had terrible performance and many games crashed on start up or barely ran at all. Average speed was from 2 to 20 FPS depending on the chosen game and system configuration and had no sound support. Its name is derived from the original code name for the GameCube, "Dolphin" in 1999.
Dolphin was officially discontinued in 2004, with the developers releasing version 1.01 as the final build of the emulator. However, the developers decided to revive the project in 2005 and then in 2007, version 1.03 was released with minor improvements and with little sound support as compared to version 1.01.
Open Source and Wii Emulation (2008 - Present)
Dolphin became an open-source project on July 13, 2008 with the developers releasing the source code under the GPLv2 as well as creating a public SVN repository on Google Code with basic Wii emulation implemented. This attracted various developers and development on the emulator has continued since with SVN builds being released regularly since, unlike before, when it was closed-source. Coders began releasing builds under the label of 'unofficial SVN builds' rather than the previous 'official' releases, as well as the new builds being released by their revision number (e.g. RXXXX) instead of version numbers (e.g. 1.03) like in the previous builds, differences between consecutive builds are also usually minor.
Dolphin's Wii emulation reached a milestone in February, 2009 when it made a breakthrough managing to successfully boot and run the official Wii System Menu v1.0. By now, Dolphin can boot all versions of the Wii OS. There is however not yet support for Wii channels, except for the disc channel.
By April 2009, most commercial games, Gamecube and Wii alike, have been able to be fully played albeit with a few minor problems and errors, with a large number of games running perfectly. Many changes to the emulator have improved speed for both x86 and x86-64 users achieving full speed or higher speeds than the Gamecube and Wii itself. Sound has dramatically improved. Graphics in most games are also almost perfect except for a few minor problems.
By late October 2009, numerous new useful features were incorporated into the emulator such as automatic Frame-skipping, which increases the performance of the emulator as well as increased stability of the emulator overall. Also improved was the NetPlay feature of the emulator, which allowed players to play multiplayer Gamecube and Wii games online with friends. The GUI was reworked to make it more user-friendly. The DirectX plugin has also been fixed and brought up to speed with the current OpenGL graphics plug-in.
The newer builds of Dolphin have many new features, including cheat support, netplay, high-resolution support, and Xbox 360 controller support. Dolphin's team is currently asking the community for suggestions for new and more useful features they want in Dolphin. Current features include:
Action Replay Support
Xbox 360 Controller support, with rumble
Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering
Memory Card Manager
Real and emulated multiple Wii Remote support
Wii Remote expansions support.
DSP HLE and experimental LLE
WAD(DLC games) Support
Some support for Homebrew and XFB Emulation
Hi-Res Support, Texture Dumper, Free Look
Tool-assisted speedrun Support
In-Game Screenshot Dolphin(R3903) running Super Smash Bros. Brawl in High-Resolution 720pDolphin supports high resolutions through its OpenGL plugin, e.g. 720p or 1080p, which are not supported by the actual console (the Wii can only support 480p resolution). This feature has been widely applauded by the gaming community as the emulator has surpassed the limits of the original console and has received features on numerous gaming networks.
Dolphin is able to run many Wii and GameCube games with almost full emulation with a few minor errors. Some official and unofficial compatibility lists can be found here:
The official compatibility list.(could be outdated )
A thread index with all games tested.
A list of games that run perfect on Dolphin.(not complete yet)
A list of notable games that are compatible with Dolphin:
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Sunshine
Resident Evil 4
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart: Double Dash
Mario Party 4
Harvest Moon: Magical Melody
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
Tales of Graces
Dolphin runs best on a PC with a dual-core processor as well as a graphics card which supports OpenGL and Pixel Shader 2.0. Preferable graphics cards would be of those made by nVidia or ATI. Dolphin's team is always working to get better performance. Dolphin is able to use mice, keyboards, joypads, joysticks, Wii Remotes and microphones. It is also able to use the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows. However, in most games, there are still a few minor graphical and sound glitches - or even gameplay glitches - that may stop the player from progressing further in the game. The community can report technical issues on the project's Google Code site.
Operating System: Microsoft Windows (2000/XP/Vista/7) / Linux / Apple Mac OS X (Intel version)
Processor: Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 with SSE2 (recommended: a dual core processor above 2GHz)
Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 or DirectX 9.0c compatible
Dolphin has received widespread acclaim across various independent gaming sites such as Kotaku and 1up for its achievements most notably the ability to play games in high-definition. It has also been highly praised for the high compatibility of games with the emulator and the ability not just to emulate one but two consoles. It has also received the attention of many websites due to it being the only emulator to properly emulate a seventh generation console.