Play! 2020 Q1 Progress Report

We had a looooong time since our latest post, but I'm sure most people will find the news in this report worth the wait.

Input improvements, usability improvements, rendering... ok, but what about new games working? We got all this covered (and some more incoming...)

Input Improvement: Custom profiles
A neat known feature present in many emulation projects, custom profiles allow you to fine tune your key/button bindings so you have them ready for use with a single click with the games where the defaults are simply not good enough.

High Resolution Screenshots
While screenshots aren't a new thing on Play! (by using the menu "Virtual Machine > Capture Screen"), they always had a sad limitation: the image captured was only the size of your actual resolution instead of the internal rendered resolution. With the arrival of high resolution screenshots, now you're able to have images saved with exactly the same size of Play!'s internal resolution. Results being: huge screenshots with no quality loss!

Vulkan backend merged to master builds
Our new video backend is now out of experimental builds and ready to be tested by everyone. Please note that even outside the experimental branches, Vulkan is fairly new and not as feature complete as our OpenGL backend, so issues should be expected. The lack of some of these features can lead to worse performance in some cases and graphical issues that aren't present on the OpenGL backend. Warnings and issues aside, you can expect performance improvements of over 2x the framerate in some specific cases where the number of draw calls is high.

The Vulkan backend requires a GPU supporting VK_EXT_fragment_shader_interlock (many nVIDIA & Intel GPUs support it).

Vulkan/OpenGL Switch Shortcut
When the Vulkan backend was only in the experimental branches, testing and comparing the changes between Vulkan and OpenGL was not that a lot of fun: you needed change the setting on the menus, then restart the emulator and then run the game until the point where you wanted to compare. Needles to say, a lot of time wasted between changing from one backend to the other. Now it's much easier and painless: simply right click the text at the bottom of the screen (on the status bar, right corner) where it says the backend being used to switch between them in real time.

Games/Compatibility improvements

Appleseed EX (improved from In-Game to Playable)
https://youtu.be/LNgVzYmf9L0

Counter Terrorist Special Forces - Fire for Effect (improved from Broken to Intros)

Crimsom Tears (improved from In-Game to Playable)
https://youtu.be/8ye1YOH7nFg

Gigawings Generations (improved from Broken to Playable)
https://youtu.be/2idE72G_GLk

Ninja Assault (improved from Broken to Intros)

Police 24/7 (improved from Broken to Loadable)

Raiden III (improved from In-Game to Playable)
https://youtu.be/egIKzFFpIZ4

Shikigami no Shiro (improved from In-Game to Playable)
https://youtu.be/EqrWSpojF6M

Snowboard Racer 2 (previously untested, Playable)

Tank Elite (improved from In-Game to Playable)
https://youtu.be/fVbgvEMSTsA

Raw Danger (improved from Broken to Intros)

Syphon Filter - Dark Mirror (improved from Broken to In-Game)

Syphon Filter - Logan's Shadow (improved from Broken to In-Game)

Triggerheart Exelica Enhanced (improved from In-Game to Playable)
https://youtu.be/SNRqxe476jM

What's Next?
Even with all these improvements above (compatibility wise), it's almost impossible to check on everything that improved, so many other games should have their status updated on the next few days on the compatibility tracker. With all this out of the way, probably a question many users still have: what's next? Going on right now, even more compatibility improvements and a solid new way to handle memory cards will be enough to make even more games playable, so stay tuned!

Many thanks to Literalmente Game ( https://www.patreon.com/literalmente_game ) for writing this report!

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