Until now, just one game has stood between open source video game emulator Dolphin and a complete library of games for Nintendo's Gamecube: Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Now the Dolphin team has announced that it has finally emulated the licensed game, and have competed the back-catalogue.
In a blog post published on Tuesday (6 September 2016) the team explained the complex way the 14-year-old game works with the PowerPC Memory Managing Unit and RAM, making it particularly difficult to emulate.
To fix the issue, the Dolphin team said they had to rewrite a "gargantuan" portion of the Block Address Translation (BAT) code in order to make it work.
"With this rewrite, Dolphin has taken another big leap in accuracy under the hood," the team wrote. "While most users shouldn't see a difference, a few random crashes here and there should be sorted out.
"It's bittersweet in a way, while it is a momentous occasion to get the last GameCube game booting, it also denotes that there aren't many huge mysteries remaining.
"While some games still crash, and there are are a lot of issues to still tackle, there are no completely broken games that make zero sense remaining."
Now, the Dolphin emulator can at least boot every official GameCube title with fewer crashes while games that use a different type of memory addressing will run about 8-15% slower. However, Polygon does note that Phantasy Star Online Episode 1 and 2 Trial Edition, Army Men: Sarge's War and the Game Boy Player still don't load beyond the menu screen while using the emulator.
The Dolphin emulator, which began as a closed-source development project in 2003 and eventually went open-source in 2008, has become a well-known entity in the emulator community.
Although Dolphin does use its own emulation code, Nintendo has made clear its strict stance against emulators, along with ISO or ROM software that emulators may support. However, it has not intervened or ordered the halt of the Dolphin team's unofficial work thus far.
Still, Nintendo has been known to shut down emulation and fan-made projects that re-create or reference the Japanese gaming giant's beloved franchises and properties. In recent months, the company has issued DMCA takedown notices to the developers behind No Mario's Sky, Pokemon Uranium, a fan-made tribute remake of the original The Legend of Zelda, and AM2R – the fan-made remake of Metroid 2: Return of Samus, citing copyright issues.
The Dolphin emulator currently supports Windows PC, Mac, Linux and Android devices.