If you own the entire GameCube library on disc, now it’s completely legal for you to own that entire library digitally. The Dolphin Emulator team has announced that now every GameCube game ever released works on the emulator.
For years, Dolphin has been the go-to emulator for playing your GameCube and Wii games on PC. Its list of compatible games was expansive, as was its feature set, which allowed for modifications and increased visuals. But one game had eluded the Dolphin development team for years: Star Wars: The Clone Wars on GameCube.
According to a recent blog post, this had to do with the game’s complex way of using the PowerPC Memory Managing Unit. It made the game absolutely unplayable on Dolphin.
The problem arose from how the game worked with the Memory Management Unit (MMU) and RAM. The MMU is essentially virtual memory that talks to the RAM. If the game were to directly talk to the GameCube’s limited 24MBs of RAM, it would quickly crash. The game would instead need to talk to the MMU, and then the MMU would talk to the RAM when necessary. This prevented the RAM from being overloaded.
So, what made Star Wars: The Clone Wars so complex? It uses the GameCube’s ability to map memory and switches it on the fly as the game requires. This would crash the emulator. The blog post goes into far more detail, and is very technical.
The team had to go in and rewrite the BAT (Block Address Translation) code to make it work. This means that now the team highly recommends beefy gaming computers that can deal with the processing load. Games that use this different manner of addressing memory can run 8-15 percent slower.
Now that every GameCube game can be emulated, it should work as a great archiving tool. Emulators in general have been a godsend to the gaming community as older systems that are becoming more scarce are still available to play on PC.