An Argument For Emulation
1 year ago
Missouri, USA

I've been putting off this discussion for so long as I feel like there are some very strong opinions on it, but I don't think I can put it off much longer. I miss running this game and really feel the need to address a few of my personal concerns, which I hope you all can alleviate.

As it currently stands, emulation is banned in all but five categories, three of which do not have any rules listed on emulation, and two of those are empty categories.

Why is emulation permitted for 99% and Magician Faust but not other categories? You do everything required of Any% and more for 99%, and Magician Faust is short the rest of Zenebatos and Mayfil onward, so it's truly not that different from Any% generally speaking.

Calling back to a previous thread on this forum, Deathtome once posted the following.

"You can't use any emulator because it will be different speed for each emulator. Also the emulator suggested by us are faster than the real console. So it would not be comparable to a real console run. Which is why you can only publish emulator runs in the individual disks section." -

Emulation has certainly changed in the last 5 years. The Legend of Dragoon is beyond stable on a number of emulators and while it may not run at the exact speed a console will, it is very clear that ePSXe and Retroarch (two emulators I have extensive experience running the game on) do not run the game faster than console. They are in fact slower.

So where is the concern that they might 'outpace' a console run? Even if they did, why not permit these in their own sub category. This would definitely require more data from multiple users to find which emulator would be best suited for speedrunning fairly.

I understand that creating categories or sub-categories for some instances like emulation where there is currently not an overwhelming amount of runners asking for it, much like the Level 30/60 categories, can result in smaller, individual leaderboards. However, banning it outright creates a wall between runners who want to run but can't use console and being able to participate in the competitive play that is running on a board.

Allowing emulation only broadens global access. Many people, like myself, have copies of this game that no longer run physically. Sure, new discs can be acquired, but why are we disallowing accessibility outright for those who have a passion for the game but maybe not the console hardware?

With the advent of the wonderful Dragoon Modifier and other mods/patches available, I can only imagine how many returning players might get a kick out of replaying their favorite JRPG and decide “Hey, I wanna speedrun this!” and then proceed to in a much more accessible format than finding the necessary hardware. Of course, they’d need to run on a vanilla version of the game, but I think you get my point.

Of course, there are concerns about fairness in emulation. Not all emulators are created equal. If separate sub-categories were created for the current active categories, perhaps confirming emulators and emulator versions could be permitted to keep the playing field level. Perhaps there must be settings shown at the start of a run or certain stats enabled in the overlay from the emulator being used.

Additionally, while I don't understand actual board management from a moderator standpoint, I do assume nested categories (like English/Japanese/Turbo/etc) are not infinite and would probably need to be managed differently for these kinds of changes. As a side note, I suppose, I'd love to be enlightened on how those are managed in the background, but it's kind of off-topic I guess.

In summary, many of the current categories feel slapped together and the rules feel inconsistent or unfair across the whole board. I'm hoping we can discuss and maybe adjust some or all of these things to make this speedrun community better.

Edited by the author 1 year ago
lasagnaaammm and Ventus like this
United States

I personally have never had an issue with allowing emulators so long as we ensure that load times are not faster than the load times on console. I think what makes the most sense would be to list specific emulators that are allowed and require that default settings must be used. It honestly doesn't make much sense to me to allow emulators for certain categories but not others.

@Deathtome @blackdeathdoom Would appreciate your opinions on this as well.

Kaladere likes this
California, USA

As far as I know, certain emulators can be faster or slower depending on how you set them up. I personally have no experience emulating this game so I wouldn't know. I see no problem allowing it as long as it's clearly marked which emulator you used.

California, USA

Also it's pretty easy to clean up stuff from a moderator standpoint on a "smaller" game like this. I was looking at a few things that do seem cluttered and messy. Probably need to clean up stuff at least a little anyway.

California, USA

FURTHER, it's not too expensive to get everything you need to run on a console (ps2 is the best console ever imo) but still emulator seems fine to me.

Missouri, USA

Right. I've not replaced my discs because I'm super forgetful and every time I remember to do so, I'm in between paydays.

I definitely think some sort of default setting emulator setup would be best, but I'd have to test which emulators run the game the best on the default settings the best to weigh in on it truly. I know for sure that I've had to adjust a number of things on Retroarch at least, but I've forgotten what's been tweaked.

The biggest default issue I can recall on Retroarch was that battle transitions were sometimes just a black screen instead of the sand-falling effect. I don't recall if I've had that issue on things like Bizhawk or ePSXe.


In terms of verifying runs and an even playing field Duckstation is a super good option. You can have it display any modifications you have enabled as well as game speed and disc speed which makes having everyone on the same settings quite easy and quick to verify. It is also very straightforward to set up and quite stable the entire time I have been using it.

B1GSALTY likes this
California, USA

yeah I heard duckstation was faster than console years ago, testing all load times would be sweet, like lasagna tested 90kv77k standard vs smooth graphics recently.


If any emulator would be allowed it would be Duckstation (with certain settings). You can't just go INSTANT SEEK SPEED + 24x disc speed and stufff. That would save 1 hour on the run itself. Would have to test which settings would create an even field, but that's the tricky part. PS2 runners would feel scammed if another faster option appears in form of an emulator since the best way to play should be the original hardware always.

Duckstation, if the game works all the way through, seems to be the option to explore. Then test with certain settings to not get an advantage over PS1. It already has snappier menu speed and all that compared to PS2 so even if disc speed is not an advantage there are other benefits (also no lag during multi attack animations of spells). If people who have time would record footage with certain settings. In FF9 these are the settings so you could start there...

Duckstation (SETTINGS)

  1. BIOS Settings Make sure "Fast boot" is disabled and always include the ps1 logo on your submission video.

  2. Console Settings

  • Async Readahead: 8 sectors
  • Read Speedup: 3x (6x Speed)
  • Seek Speedup: None (Normal Speed)
  1. Emulation Settings Make sure emulation speed is set to 100%.

  2. Display Settings Keep those checked for verification purposes:

  • Show ODS Messages
  • Show Emulation Speed
  • Show Game Frame Rate
  • Show Display FPS
  • Show Controller Input
Missouri, USA

I'd be happy to test these and start gathering some data if it would help standardize what could be used. I've never used Duckstation, but I'm excited to have something running with such minimal settings and be stable.

Deathtome likes this

Nice man, would be nice with a Disc 1 speedrun of any sort to sort out how good/bad the settings are compared to real hardware. ePSXe sucks because even with a turbo controller you can't hit 268%. So Duckstation is the future when it comes to these things. I played FF9 on it and it felt better than ever (even better than a PS2 due to faster menus and instant inputs). Once someone has played through on Duckstation we can confirm if this game works or not (it should). Then we can see what to do. If you end up testing Disc 1 with video footage for research, then go ahead and do so once you've had time to play.

Kaladere likes this
Missouri, USA

I'll be doing that soon. Debug room pulled me into the spiral. I'll likely stream any testing for Duckstation, so I'll have videos to review if necessary.

Minnesota, USA

Before I got my PS2 console (77k), all my submissions were submitted using duckstation with no modifications. Load times were in fact slower with default settings [(3m20sec from 1st input (duckstation) VS 3min18.5sec (ps2 77k)] I just never had the graphics up showing proof of FPS/controller input of course. On my next stream I can do a run with suggested settings from up above and submit a link in this thread in y'all would like?

Anyways, HI EVERYONE! :D

Edited by the author 1 year ago
Kaladere likes this