Monday, 5 March 2018

Saturn Emulation Reaches New Heights with YabaSanshiro!

Hi, it's your friendly neighborhood Saturn addict, ArugulaZ. I've got some important news to report, but first... uh, we need to talk. Whenever I go to Blogger to update my own blog, I get redirected to the Saturn Junkyard instead, because it's more frequently updated. See though, I'm just a contributor here. I'm the editor of Kiblitzing, and I'd really rather my blog come up first... it would make it easier to post new entries and check my stats. If there's any way to force it to become my default (aside from the obvious solution of being dropped from the Saturn Junkyard staff), please let me know... I'd appreciate it.

Okay, now onto the good stuff. Console hacking and emulation site recently reported that the Saturn emulator uoYabause has been rechristened YabaSanshiro. It's also been updated several times since the name swap, drastically improving its speed and performance. Reddit user OldManKain tested over thirty of his own games with the emulator, and reports that a sizable majority of the titles run perfectly or with only minor issues. My own testing has not been nearly as thorough, but I tried four different titles and the lion's share of them ran brilliantly on my crusty old desktop. These include Radiant Silvergun and Bulk Slash, two games which ran at the speed of slug on other Saturn emulators. Hold on, let me dig up some pictures...

Here's Bulk Slash, a futuristic action title that looks better than Virtual On and runs at a faster clip than the Armored Core series on Playstation. You pick up hitchhiking co-pilots, you lob bombs at cannons, you transform into a jet and rain hot death on your enemies... it's ten tons of iron-plated fun, and it's a shame that it's never been ported to other systems. Most emulators can't handle Bulk Slash, downshifting into first gear when the action gets too intense, but YabaSanshiro runs it at roughly the same speed as a real Saturn. That alone makes it worth the download.

But wait, there's more! YabaSanshiro also runs Radiant Silvergun without much difficulty. It seems just a hair bit slower than it was on the Saturn, but everything else, from the legions of enemies to the powerful sword clap that sweeps them all off the screen, has remained intact. Note that my gaming desktop is from 2011, an antique by today's standards. You'd need a machine with much higher specs to get the same kind of performance from competing Saturn emulators.

Here's Street Fighter Alpha Zero 3, the best home version of the game until the PSP release came along five years later. It looks gorgeous in YabaSanshiro, and runs without any apparent glitches. However, as you'll notice from this image, the top of the screen is slightly cut off. Hitting Alt+Enter a couple of times brings back those extra pixels, but I haven't found a permanent solution to this problem.

The only game that gave me any real issues was Street Fighter: The Movie... you'll notice here that Ken and Vega's shadows have horizontal stripes, and another stage has a layer that covers the entire bottom third of the screen, obscuring the characters as they battle. On the plus side, the transparent shadows that trail your character during super moves have been preserved. Why they're here in Street Fighter: The Movie and not in more worthy Saturn games is anyone's guess.

You can download YabaSanshiro from the developer's web site. Just keep in mind that you'll also need the Visual C Redistributable (x86) to make it work... you can find that here. Also, be sure to set the video plugin to OpenGL so all the layers display properly. Find some Saturn games, plug in your favorite controller, and have a yaba-saturn gay old time.


fatherkrishna said...

Great article Jess! in answer to your initial question, I don't know how the mix up has occurred, but the last thing we want is to lose you! You are the an original team member and the man who kept this place alive during the wilderness years!

I'll ask the other guys to help you out!

NebachadnezzaR said...

Always a pleasure to see another post from you, ArugulaZ. I've mentioned this emulator before in part 2 of my Killing Pixels series, but since then there have been a couple of updates. It's great to see development becoming so active, especially considering how far it still has to go in terms of compatibility.