The first portable console from Sony happened something like the PS2 about the possibility of greatly improving the appearance of their games thanks to emulation. PPSSPP is the best PSP emulator we can find, and lets you play console titles on both Windows and Android devices, among many systems. Here’s a tutorial to set up the emulator and get a much better visual quality than the original console. In this case, we will configure the port for Android devices.
On the legality of emulation
Let’s make it clear: emulation itself is not illegal , especially if, as in this case, you do not need an original console BIOS to run. What is questionable is the provenance of the games we use. PPSSPP is able to read disc images of games in ISO, CSO, PBP, ELF, PRFX formats even if they are compressed in zip format. Although it is possible to rip the contents of the original UMD disks of the console if we have a Custom Firmware installed, the fact is that in the internet it is possible to find communities with practically the complete catalog of the console at our disposal already “processed”. If we want to have a clear conscience the ideal would be to download only the rips of the titles that we already have, although we know how these things work and the borders that can be crossed without much remorse.
How to configure PPSSPP on Android
The PPSSPP emulator is an impressive open source initiative that lets you emulate Sony’s portable console titles on a multitude of platforms. Although the best results offered are Windows, there are certainly versions for Android, iOS and OSX as well as unofficial Linux, Blackberry, Symbian, and other ports that are nothing more than curiosity because they are not as optimized as the first ones systems.
The original native resolution of the games on the PSP screen is only 480 × 272 (although the films on UMD discs reach 720 × 480), but the certainty is that the resolution of textures and the processing capacity of 3D scenarios are sufficiently detailed as not to spoil the resolution to the point that we will find few differences with the seen in the PS3. REALLY. In fact, HD reissues that are used are even below what can be achieved by fine tuning the graphical configuration of the emulator. This time we will focus on the Android version.
The main menu allows locally loading the image of our game, which once detected will become part of the mosaic of recent titles with a format similar to what you see in the menu of the console itself. The interface was designed to be used in full screen either with gestures or with an external controller.
The best way to test the graphical changes of a game is to load and change the options little by little to see how they affect the performance, and that is what we will do. Let’s load and fetch the image in question from the title we’re going to use. We pause the game and go to the settings menu alternately. Here is a demonstration of what can be modified:
- Graphics API: By default, the only available option will be OpenGL.
- Rendering mode: Leave by the buffer, indispensable if we apply a post-processing shader. If we opt for performance, we enable Skip buffer effects and take something out of the resolution, although in many cases this can cause serious visual problems in games.
- Simulating block transfer effects This feature is designed to work in conjunction with the buffer-mode rendering option, a combination that is much more optimized than the read-only memory mode, but with almost the same results.
Frame rate control (FPS)
- Leap of frames: Not very recommendable for the horrible that can be the lack of images per second on the screen. Still, little has repercussions on the overall performance of the emulator.
- Force 60 FPS: Essential to play correctly the God of War of PSP to correct a problem of ghosting and reduction of framerate.
- Postprocessed Shader: Provides a series of filters to enhance and smooth the viewing of high-resolution images. Here it is a matter of taste, but the one that offers a clearer image is the FXAA. You also need to take into account whether the game is 3D or 2D. In the latter case, it is even better to totally disable shaders to enjoy the big, beautiful pixels.
- Immersive mode: Hides the Android navigation visual buttons, increasing the effective area of the screen. Mandatory is little.
- Rendering resolution: Here it is necessary to make a small incision because the resolution is not the same as the rendering of the emulator being emitted on the screen, so it is absurd for more than 1080p if this is the resolution of our device in case of by the image in full screen. The possible options are based on multipliers of the original resolution, so a 2x render will offer an output of 960 × 544 (original 480 × 272). Given that certain shaders require an extra resolution, with 4x we will be well served.
- Screen resolution (hardware scale) With the explanation of the previous question very present, we should do a small exercise of calibration in the resolution of our device and in the scale of the screen. The idea is to get a multiple of two that matches the native resolution. At first, the default option “PSPx2” should fall well on most terminals, but in this case, we may have some minor issues with screens of strange dimensions along with a 4: 3 aspect ratio. Each case is a case and it pays to test the different possible combinations.
Climbing section of textures
- Scale type: This allows you to further deepen the texture visualization to improve them if they are in low resolution and are very close to the camera. Here we must move a little until we find a balance between quality and performance, although equally, each title is a world. With 2x and the xBRZ filter we have more than enough for 1080p.
- Texture filter: We leave in automatic and close if the game is 2D so as not to erase the sprites. Little can we do in 3D to enhance the look of the typical overlapping flat hud.
- Screen Scale Filter: The very image visualization when scaling on our monitor also allows you to soften when it does not match the native one. The linear model for 3D and pixelated for 2D.
Moving on to all these options is possible to achieve better results that leave nothing to be desired compared to the previous generation of consoles and, together with a gamepad, completely translates the portable experience to that offered by “fixed” machines if we send the signal to an external monitor, although the crux of the matter is to use virtual controls on the screen. If we do not like them to overlap the image, we can always reduce the visible area of the game in the Features> Editor menu of the screen area.
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