So, I did some tests on PSX version and it seems like some emulators perform better than others.
The Bank Job:
ePSX - 2:51-2:55 Mednafen - 3:05-3:10
ePSX runs much smoother, therefore it's faster. Omega does it around 3:10 on PS2, so Mednafen seems to be on the spot. The question is if we should ban certain emulators.
Also, has anyone tested performance on different PS systems?
It seems that PS2 FDS causes a music glitch (which might also happen on SDS? I forget) and that the disc sometimes randomly stops spinning with FDS (also might happen on SDS but idk). To top that off, I have vague remembrance of the game running more smoothly on PS2 than on PS1, but I still don't even know about that.
For things that I am certain about, the PS3 PSN store version is a PAL version (not available in NTSC regions like the USA) and even then runs like complete shit. That should be expected of all PSN store versions of PS1 games though so it's not really a surprise.
Pitpo mentioned something about a xebra emulator that ran really accurately but had a softlock at some point. cookie used it too, but Pitpo says it's a much older version that cookie used (with no softlock of course), so that could be dug up somehow.
Mednafen apparently behaves in different ways on NTSC and PAL versions. PAL seems to be emulating accurately, but on NTSC you can notice strange performance boosts (especially on day missions in Miami), after 3 attempts I managed to reach and even beat Omega's golds on some missions. I must admit that I was actually playing pretty well, but it still seems to be somewhat wrong. There is one more accurate emulator that might be good for speedrunning. Unfortunately, latest versions of XEBRA, the emulator I'm talking about, used to randomly softlock the game before cutscenes (this bug was introduced by Dr.Hell making some changes in rendering methods). I haven't tested build from February 26th yet, but if he managed to fix it (or this bug doesn't appear on NTSC version for some reason), XEBRA would probably be the only way to go. Nothing else can emulate this game properly.
Btw. I remember Omega having some issues with PS3 too, which only proves how difficult this game is to emulate. You'd have to ask him for feedback on that though, my memory isn't working very well.
I'll try to give Xebra 02/24/16 a full game test. I'm also using NTSC version (scph-5501). First try on TBJ - 3:08, so the speed seems good.
Tested latest XEBRA build, random softlocks are still present (managed to lock the game after first new york cutscene), emulation speed isn't much different from mednafen. In fact, I think they're performing exactly the same, which means game runs faster on emus than on PS2 and if you look at overcooler's run (done one real PS1), it also seems to be running faster than that.
In summary, the most accurate PS1 emulators are running faster than real hardware, we may try to experiment with other emulators/plugin settings or just accept the fact that emu runs are going to be about minute faster than other runs. Or just completely ban emulator usage :^
Well, as I said, I was able to match Omega's PS2 run in Bank Job, so where do you get the idea that both Xebra and Mednafen are running faster than the real hardware? :)
Based on my observations of pitpo's streams I believe the emulators he tried (medna and xebra) are faster than real hardware in some parts. For example the first long straight in Rufus after the little bridge, around Jean Paul's house some parts of downtown SF in Cosy and the part of town after Beverly Hills in cop car. In general I think they're pretty accurate but they seem more consistently smooth to me. Again this is from watching a stream so these should be taken with a grain of salt.
Also the first attempt I saw pitpo do on NTSC he got a time on Ticco's Ride that was a good 4 seconds faster than my sum of golds. Now granted I improved my TBJ gold by a couple seconds since then but I think the emulator had some assistance in that time.
The load times of those emulators seem to be about equal to PS2 FDS which I also don't think is right. FDS loads save about 2 seconds on every mission load over SDS and I'm fairly sure an actual PS1 is even slower than that. Emulator loads should be as close to PS1 loads as possible.
Omega loves comparing my live runs to his VODs and I have no reason not to trust him. Everyone who watches me and runs this game agrees that framerate is too high. Here are some excerpts from today's playthrough on XEBRA.
[16:24:37] @UltimaOmega07: the bridge seemed ok [16:24:49] @UltimaOmega07: but after the final turn my framerate chugs piss [16:25:07] @UltimaOmega07: which i didn't really see here [16:27:18] @UltimaOmega07: the first long straight didn't lag nearly as much as for me [16:28:28] @UltimaOmega07: even with lag reduction after the first bridge hump i can't get more than like 10fps [16:28:54] @UltimaOmega07: and it doesn't really get better until i'm like halfway across the park
[16:43:25] @UltimaOmega07: chinatown framerate niceCheats [16:45:29] @UltimaOmega07: nice slowdown near that turn [16:45:32] @UltimaOmega07: oh wait there wasn't any [16:45:35] @UltimaOmega07: 4head [16:47:57] @UltimaOmega07: wow [16:48:06] @UltimaOmega07: no slowdown after that turn [16:48:29] @UltimaOmega07: mine dips down to like 15
[16:56:20] @UltimaOmega07: i had my pb video running ahead of you [16:56:31] @UltimaOmega07: on the first long straight so i could compare [16:56:47] @UltimaOmega07: and you actually went ahead by half way through second long straight
[17:13:04] @UltimaOmega07: the part of town after beverly hills runs like piss [17:13:09] @UltimaOmega07: even with lag reduction [17:14:12] @UltimaOmega07: i also like how you beat me to the marker even though i had a better igt
Hmm, in that case I think we should give it a proper test. I mean, simply do a couple runs of each mission on both PS and Mednafen/Xebra and see if there really is any difference in time. You can't really say this or that runs faster just by watching a stream, you know. Also, some of the framerate difference could be explained by having more objects on the screen, which actually has quite an effect from what I've seen.
Unfortunately I don't own any PS system, so I can't test it :(
So there's a new run of the PS version and guess what - it was done on ePSX. I'm not sure how we should handle it. Given how much faster ePSX is compared to any other emulator or even the original system, I was thinking about creating a new subcategory for emulators, because this is certainly not fair.
His run is not even that good (he pretty much full-stop crash in every mission) and he still easily got 7 minutes over Omega's run.
I'm not gonna lie I could easily beat his run if I sorted my strats out properly, and that'll be about a minute or two I suppose
Are you gonna run it in future?
Looking at doing that yeah, unsure of a date of when I will actually do it though as I'm a little restricted on time as of late :/
Good thing Emu is now separated. Now I don't have to fail at trying to emulate the exact limitations of this game on console.
My only concern, the ILs (Cross Town Checkpoint and such) should reflect the Full-Game Runs. Is there a way to make that happen, by separating the difference between console and emu?
No need to since ILs use IGT, although emu runs will still have advantage due to framerate.