Lutris' blog

Day 20 : Symphony of the night on Playstation (1997)

by on Sep.15, 2010, under lutris

Castlevania : Symphony of the night is one of the best games in the Castlevania series and is notable for being the first with the new style of gameplay which borrows a lot from Super Metroid (and that can never be a bad thing).

But it’s James Rofle’s job to talk about Castlevania, not mine. I’m here to tell you about what has been done and what is to be done in Lutris regarding the pcsx emulator.

The pcsx is one of those tricky emulators, you know, the kind with license issues, kicked out of Debian for a few lines of questionably free code and with multiple forks. Luckily it’s not too hard to get PCSX running in Ubuntu, PlayDeb has a PCSX-Reloaded package that will save you the pain of installing this emulator manually. There will be a tight integration between PlayDeb and Lutris in the future but that’s for a future version, right now you’ll have to follow the procedure from PlayDeb.

So, what have I done to give players a better gaming experience with Playstation games ? If you have played with PSCX before you might know that its fullscreen support is somewhat clumsy, especially if you happen to have a dual monitor setup (which I do). With PCSX when you try to switch to fullscreen, the game expands to both screens but the game is only displayed on the left monitor, so you get a black area on the left part of the left screen then you see half of the game then, on the right monitor, you get your regular desktop. That’s not really cool…

Anyway, fullscreen games on Linux have a tendency to be very annoying, most of the time you can’t alt-tab to your desktop, you can’t change the sound volume with your multimedia keyboard, your second monitor is black and if the game crashes you have to drop to a TTY to kill the game (or restart your session if killing the process doesn’t work). None of these problems occur while playing in windowed mode but playing in a window sucks even more than all these issues combined.

So … let me introduce you to … Fullscreen Windows ! Fullscreen windows gives you the best of both worlds and it’s made possible by Compiz. You have a real fullscreen window with no borders, no gnome-panel (well, not on every app, but there’s an option in lutris to hide gnome-panel), you can change the volume, use alt-tab or Compiz’s Expose and you still get to see your other monitors. Fullscreen windows rocks and you should use them whenever it’s possible ! For pcsx there’s nothing special to setup since the window stretches to whatever size you ask it to be. But for some other games like Quake , you have to use your desktop’s resolution or the trick won’t work.

There are two new options in lutris’ latest revision : compiz_fullscreen and compiz_nodecoration which are both at the ‘system’ level. For pcsx-r it’s better to set the value in the runner config to ‘PCSX’ in compiz fullscreen in order to apply the option to every Playstation game. Most of the time compiz will automatically hide windows decoration when it’s made fullscreen but if it doesn’t happen, this what compiz_nodecoration is for ;) For some games like Quake you might ┬áhave to hide gnome panel to have true fullscreen.

Oh by the way, there’s no screenshot of the game today, but here’s a screenshot of what Quake looks like now that I’ve tweaked it a little bit (click on the picture to appreciate it at it’s ful size).

Cool looking Quake

Cool looking Quake


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