Before reporting any problems with emulators and/or plug-ins, please do the following:
All Microsoft Windows users, please run Windows Update (Start->Windows Update) and download any updates that you might not have. If your install of Microsoft Windows is more then 2+ years old, or you find yourself constantly running into BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) and Windows crashing/freezing, it might be time you do a hard drive format and put on a fresh install of Windows and other software.
In recent times, the most recommended Operating system (as far as emulation goes) has to be either Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Both are amazingly stable and fast (depending on your hardware). We also recommend you update to the latest Service Packs available (Service Pack 3 for Win2000, and Service Pack 1 for WinXP). Both of these will fix quite a lot of issues and are $#@!ulative of any previous Service Packs released by Microsoft.
Now that you have a nice install of Windows and it's updates. Here are a few other things you should do:
Install DirectX 9a (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/default.asp). This is almost required by all N64 emulators today and is a must .
Now we'll take a look at any hardware updates.
Video Cards : Video Cards are one of the many backbones of emulators (doh). They output graphics by the emulator's video plug-in. Therefore, we need to keep their drivers up to date to ensure the best graphics you can get for your card. Depending on your video card, more then likely if it was manufactured in the past 2-3 years, it is still supported by its maker. Over a span of time, drivers speed up performance and fix known issues. Here are a few links of the top video card manufacturer. Please check for any driver updates before reporting issues .
S3 Graphics: http://www.s3graphics.com/
Also, check your manufacturer's website. Some manufacturer's release video card BIOS updates which should be updated as well, but are not necessarily recommended unless you know what you're doing.
Sound Cards: Sound cards are another backbone of emulators. The output sound/audio comes from the emulator's sound plug-in. Therefore, they also should have their drivers updated as well to ensure crisp audio quality. Here are a few quick links to some more common manufacturers:
Aureal: Site down, I recommend http://members.optushome.com.au/kirben/ or http://www.vortexofsound.com
Creative: http://www.creative.com/ or http://www.soundblaster.com/
Turtle Beach: http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/
Main boards (aka Motherboards). Obviously there are way too many manufacturers to list here, so the best way to find the latest BIOS for your motherboard is to type in your manufacturer's name, find their official site, and see if there are any updates available. BIOS updates fix small issues with processors and hardware compatibilities. Be very careful to find the exact motherboard model you have, since flashing with the wrong BIOS could make your motherboard go kaput.
Attached to main boards, are certain chipsets. Here are three methods for determining your main board chipset: 1. Look in your motherboard manual. 2. Device Manager, System Devices, and look at the "PCI to ISA Bridge, "CPU to PCI Bridge" and "CPU to AGP Controller" Your chipset manufacture's name should come before them. 3. Another option is to remove your PC casing and check what chipset is located on your motherboard.
Then locate your chipset manufacturer's homepage, and find the latest drivers for it.
This should about cover all of the basics of having an up-to-date system. There are other things you could also find drivers for, but aren't exactly that big of an issue; some of these are: Monitor drivers, Network card drivers, and mouse drivers. Usually, all of these are plug and play devices which aren't involved much with emulators (except your monitor, but drivers do little more the specify max resolutions and refresh rates)
Now that you have your system up and going with a nice install of Microsoft Windows and updates, and driver/BIOS updates – it’s time we figure out what exact ROM images you have.
There are two certain utilities we will need to use in order to do this. One is Tool64, a utility made by Def which (Correctly ) changes your ROM format to/from .V64 and .Z64 from .N64, .ROM, and a few other uncommon ones. To use this utility, simply download it from here ,and exact it to a folder on your hard drive. Just remember where you put it. Now launch Tool64.exe, and go to Options, and uncheck “Auto Create Backup” since this does nothing really but waste space (in my opinion). Now go to File, Open, and select the folder where you keep your ROM images. You should see the list of images show in the GUI. Now go to Edit, Select all, and right click and select Byteswapped or Big Endian format and let it convert your ROMs. Byteswapped (V64) and Big Endian (Z64) are the too most commonly accepted ROM formats among N64 emulators.
Now that we have converted our ROM images to a common format, it’s time to find exactly what ROMs we have (and don’t have for that matter).
In the world of ROMs, Cowering has created a multitude of utilities, called the “Goodxxx Utils”. They scan your ROM images, renaming them to their correct names, and identifying what type they are (bad, hacked, overdumped, trained, pirated, ect ect). He has detected thousands upon thousands of ROM images and put them into a complete listing for each console. For our purposes, we’ll be using “GoodN64”.
The latest version (at typing this) is 0.999.7. This can be found in many places on the internet, but the true source of it lies in #rareroms on Newnet. But anyway, to make things easier, you can download it here .Simply extract all the contents to where you keep your N64 ROM images. Also, you will need Zlib.dll. Just the latest binary can be found here .Just extract this to your ROM image folder as well. It might make a /bin folder with the Zlib.dll in it, so just move it to your GoodN64 directory.
Now it’s time we rename those ROMs ! All I do it right click on GoodN64.exe, and click “Send to Desktop”. Then I go to my desktop, right click on “Shortcut to GoodN64.exe”, and go to properties. Under the Shortcut tab, you’ll see “Target: C:/…/ GoodN64.exe”
I add the following command line parameters:
Target C:/…/GoodN64.exe –dirs –sep_ -rename
-dirs moves ROMS to directories by region and type
-sep_ replaces ROM names with _’s instead of spaces (just a personal preference here)
-rename renames your ROMS (required!)
Now simply launch the shortcut on your desktop and let GoodN64 do it’s job.
Please refer to GoodCodes.txt for the meaning behind the [!] [b1] (U) (E) and other related codes.
Also, please be sure to read any stickies in an emulator forum since they usually provide emu-specific help or links to help if you're having problems.