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PSX Emulation: ePSXe Tutorial

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This tutorial is to help you with ePSXe. ePSXe is considered the #1 PSX emulator. Most games emulate flawlessly, but you may encounter lock-ups and an assortment of bugs. ePSXe lets you play any of your Playstation games on your computer via your CD-ROM or with Playstation ISO's (FYI, an ISO is a file or archive of files which build up a single CD video game). Having a good video card is important if you want the best ePSXe experience. With Pete's OpenGL plug-in (and others), ePSXe can render 3D graphics to fit a specified resolution. That means 3D edges will be sharp instead of pixilated. The two images toward the right are examples of this. Also, don't limit yourself to this tutorial. The ePSXe help file and help section in its site is helpful as well.

*If you would like to download ePSXe, I have it in my emulators page.

Introduction to the plug-in system

Playstation 1 emulation revolves around the plug-in system (just like Playstation 2 and N64 emulation). Playstation emulators are merely the shell of the operation. It's your job to gather the plug-ins for each component of emulation. Those components are:

1. a graphic plug-in (also called video)
2. a sound plug-in
3. a CDR plug-in (also called cdrom)
4. the Playstation BIOS

They need to be set up the first time you open ePSXe. Each plug-in comes with a whole bunch of useful customizable features. You can download the Playstation plug-ins from any major emulation site. If you don't feel like looking around, you can just download them here. :)

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BIOS and plug-ins downloads

Playstation 1 BIOS (236 KB)

ePSXe plug-ins Collection (1.39 MB) - Contains all the best plug-ins! Here's a breakdown on what they are:

cdrPeops.dll - This is the CD-ROM plug-in.
gpuPeopsSoft - This is a video plug-in. This plug-in is ideal for people with slow computers and/or computers with a not so great video card.

gpuPeteD3D.dll, gpuPeteDX6D3D.dll, gpuPeteOpenGL.dll, gpuPeopsOpenGL.dll - These are the video plug-ins that render the 3D graphics according to a specified resolution (as explained in "About ePSXe"). Pete's OpenGL plug-in is the best of this trio. But even better is the next one...
gpuPeteOpenGL2.dll -
Same as the above plug-ins, except this is the best and most advanced plug-in. However, it's only compatible with modern video cards. If you have an older computer you need to rely on the other plug-ins.
spuEternal.dll
- This is the audio plug-in.
spuEternalL.dll - This is just a supporting file for spuEternal.dll

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Extracting & Placement

1. I suggest you make a new folder called "Playstation 1" within a folder called "Emulation". You don't have to, but it makes things a little easier for you if you're not too computer literate.

Contents of BIOS and Plug-ins folder2. ePSXe's zip file contains folders in it. If you simply drag & drop ePSXe, those important folders will not be created. ePSXe must be extracted by the extract feature. If you don't know how to extract files from a zip file then read this.

3. When the extracting is complete, look for a folder called "plug-ins" and a folder called "bios". Extract all the plug-ins you downloaded into the "plug-ins" folder and extract the bios into the "bios" folder. (as shown toward the right)

4. Double-click on "ePSXe" to open ePSXe. A "config setup" window will pop up (it only pops up the first time you open ePSXe). This config setup is a wizard to help you set everything up. You can go through it if you want to, but I suggest skipping it and setting things up manually so that you get more familiar with ePSXe's capabilities. The rest of this guide will teach you the manual method.

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Setting up Video

If you haven't already, make sure all the video plug-ins you downloaded are extracted and in ePSXe's "plug-ins" folder.

1. Click on the Config menu then Video.

2. You will arrive here. Click on the down arrow and click on the name of the video plug-in you downloaded. If you downloaded my helpful plug-ins bundle, you would have Pete's plug-ins available. If your computer isn't very fast (a netbook perhaps?), choose "P.E.Op.S. Soft Driver". Really though, we're past 2010 so any modern computer can handle the best that ePSXe can do - so choose either "Pete's D3D Driver" or "Pete's OpenGL Driver"; try them both and see which one runs best.

3. Once you choose a plug-in, click on the Configure button.

4. This window will show up, or something like it. All of Pete's plug-ins have an awesome feature: look towards the bottom left for a "Fast" button and a "Nice" button. Click on Nice for best performance. If your computer can't handle it, then click on the Fast button.

5. Click OK when you're done.

*If ePSXe is running buggy or slow, read troubleshooting.

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Setting up Sound

1. Click on the Config menu then Sound.

2. The Sound window will pop up. Click on the down arrow then the name of the audio plug-in you downloaded. Or rather, did you download my plug-ins bundle? If you did, choose "Eternal SPU Plugin" - that's the best one! Unlike the video plug-in, the sound plug-in does not need to be configured.

3. Click OK when you're done.

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Setting up Cdrom

I don't recommend using your CD-ROM to play Playstation games because I think ISO's run much better. Also, these days we have massive harddrives so a few Playstation ISO's would barely consume your computer space. Anyway, if you insist on using your CD-ROM here's how to set it up:

1. Click on the Config menu then Cdrom.

2. The Cdrom window will pop up.

3. Click on the down arrow then ePSXe CDR WNT/W2K core, or any other you downloaded.

4. Click on the Configure button.

5. Make sure everything looks correct and that the plug-in is pointing to your CD-ROM. If you chose "ePSXe CDR WNT/W2K core" as I recommended, by default it's set to "First Cdrom", as so. If you don't have multiple CD-ROM drives then do nothing.

6. Click OK when you're done.

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Setting up Bios

Click here to download the bios if you haven't already.

1. Click on the Config menu then Bios.

2. You'll arrive here. Click on the Select button.

3. By default ePSXe will open up its BIOS folder. If you put all the BIOS files in here, you'll see something like this. It is recommended to use the "Scph1001.bin" BIOS. Click it, then click the Open button.

4. Click OK when you're done.

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Setting up the keyboard or gamepad

Click on Config > Game Pad > Pad 1. You'll see an image of the Playstation controller. Simply click on a box then press the button you want to set it to, either on your keyboard or your gamepad. Click OK when you're done.

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Loading a PSX ISO you downloaded

1. I'm sure the PSX ISO came in a ZIP, RAR, or 7Z file. The first step is to extract it. Windows XP can extract ZIP files by default; I have directions here. To extract a RAR file you need to install RAR software; 7-Zip and ExtractNow are good free ones. And to extract 7Z you need 7-Zip.

2. ePSXe only supports running ISO files and BIN files! If the PSX game you downloaded came in a weird format like NRG, IMG, UIF, DAA, CDI, XBX, B51, BWI, etc. - those are ISO formats exclusive to specific burning software. Google around to find what program is associated with that format, install it and burn the game to a CD. If you want my opinion, I say just forget about the obscure format and download the game from somewhere else to get it in ISO or BIN format. *OR* you can use ePSXe's competing emulator, pSX; for it supports all ISO formats.
*And if the game you downloaded has a ECM file extension, that's a form of compression. Go here for directions with that.

3. Go to File then Run ISO. An Open window will show up, look through you computer for your ISO and load it as if you were loading a ROM. Don't expect the game to load immediately, give it a minute or two.

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Loading a PSX game CD

Insert the game into your CD-ROM then go to File and Run CDROM. That's it! Oh, and don't expect the game to load immediately; give it a minute or two.

Note: Really though, it's silly to be using your actual game CD when modern computers have such large hard drives. Games run better in their ISO form. Read below to learn how to rip your game CDs.

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CD swapping with multiple CD games

So games like Final Fantasy and such that are multiple CDs require the CD to be swapped for you to continue to the next CD.

Swapping a PS1 CD via your CD-ROM

If you're playing a PS1 CD in your CD-ROM, at the point when the game asks for the next CD...

1. Press Esc to go back to the ePSXe window.

2. Go to File > Change Disc > CDROM, as shown here, and follow the prompts.

Swapping a PS1 ISO or BIN

If you're playing a PS1 ISO (or BIN), at the point when the game asks for the next CD...

1. Press Esc to go back to the ePSXe window.

2. Go to File > Change Disc > ISO, as shown here, and follow the prompts to choose your next ISO (or BIN).
*Remember, the next ISO (or BIN) you choose must be from the same game. You can't just, say, load a Euro ISO when you're using a North American ISO. Or jump from a BIN to an ISO.

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Ripping your game CD to ISO

Gosh, these days we have like 500 GB, 800 GB, 1-5 TB hard drives! You can totally rip all of your PSX games and barely put a dent in your hard drive. PSX games run better & faster when you're running their ISO. And now that smartphones and tablets are becoming more common, you'll have no choice but to rip your games to play them on emulators on mobile devices. So here's how you rip your game CD:

1. Download & install ImgBurn. You can download it from its homepage, or download it right here (it's 2 MB).

2. Upon opening ImgBurn, click Create image file from disc, as shown here.

3. Make sure the proper source drive is set under "Source", then click click the "Read" icon - as shown here.

4. That's it! Ripping your game CD will take maybe 20-30 minutes. And by default, ImgBurn will toss the BIN file (the ISO) into Documents.

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Pausing/Exiting games

Press the Esc key to pause the game. Doing so will make the screen disappear and exit to your desktop (with the ePSXe window still there). But don't fret! The game is paused and still running in the background. To continue the game, click on the Run menu then Continue.
Note: If you exit the game and accidentally close the ePSXe window, then your progress is lost.

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Save states

Save states is a feature that saves the exact spot you are in a game. Once a game is open, press the F1 key to save your game. When you wish to recall your saved state, press F3.

NOTE: ePSxe's save state feature is slightly glitchy. It has a history of not working well when you save during FMVs or instances of heavy activity. It's best to capture a save state at a point when the game is at a standstill with nothing going on.

Tip: If you're playing an RPG I recommend that you use both save states and normal saving to save your games. This way you'll always have a backup.

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Memory card: Copying/Moving/Deleting saves

To manage your memory card and copy/move/delete saves is the same exact way as you do on the real thing. To access the memory card management screen, do as so:

1. Open ePSXe and go to File > Run BIOS, as shown here.

2. You should arrive at the BIOS main screen. Choose Memory Card to proceed.

     *If for some reason ePSXe took you to the CD Player instead, navigate the cursor to Exit.

3. Now you're at the memory card management screen. This is the screen you can manage your memory card saves.

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Fast forward

The following directions only works when you're using any of Pete's video plug-ins.

1. Press Delete to make ePSXe's "FPS menu" show at the top of the screen (picture below). Notice the arrow is on the "FL" icon. You can toggle this FPS menu to hide and show by pressing Delete.

2. Press End to enable fast forward. By doing so, you will see the icon change to this:

3. To bring the game back to normal speed, press End. You will see the icon change to this: . Press End a second time to change the icon back to it's original state, which is:

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Troubleshooting

I guarantee you, you *will* encounter problems. Playstation emulation is still buggy, so there's like a gazillion things that could go wrong.

If something is messing up VISUALLY...
I suggest you fiddle around with the settings in the video plug-in's configuration, or try another video plug-in. Also make use of specific game fixes within the configuration.

• Particularly, using Pete's plugins it helps to switch between the Nice and Fast presetts. Fiddling with them can resolve speed issues or graphic glitches.

If something is messing up with SOUND...
I suggest you fiddle around with the settings in the sound plug-in's configuration, or try another sound plug-in.

That's basically the plan of action when something goes wrong: try other configuration options or try another plug-in. For more help, scroll down to view my ePSXe FAQ questions.

So what do you do if nothing works? Like, you tried everything but ePSXe is still buggy and laggy? Well, try ePSXe's competing emulator: pSX. It runs smoother than ePSXe and works great on slower computers.

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Q: I'm getting a "zlib.dll is missing" error!

That's a common error with ePSXe v1.70. You can download that zlib.dll file here (31.9 KB). Extract it from its zip file and copy it over to the folder that you have ePSXe in.

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Q: My game is running way too fast!

I bet you're playing the game at the default settings. Heh, this is a good problem. This simply means your computer is too fast for the current settings of the video plug-in. So to resolve this simply beef up the settings. Doing so is easy. Go to Config > Video > Configure. If you're using one of Pete's plug-ins (which I hope you are) all you need to do is click on the Nice button.

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Q: My game locks/freezes up!

It can be tricky to resolve lock-ups/freezes. Here are things you can try:

SAVE STATES
• Are you playing the game from a recalled save state? If you are, trying playing the game from an in-game save (i.e. from the memory card).

CHEATS

• If you're using cheats, turn them off.

VIDEO

• Try a different setting with the Video plug-in. Example: If you're using Pete's plug-in and chose "Nice ", choose "Fast" instead, or vice versa.

• If you're using a fancy OpenGL video plug-in like "gpuPeteOpenGL2", try a soft plug-in like Pete's "gpuPeopsSoft"

CD-ROM

• If you're running the game from a CD, try a different cdrom plug-in or try running the game from an ISO (you can download PSX ISO games from my links or torrent sites).

YOUR COMPUTER

• Try restarting your computer.

• Make sure your video card and sound card has the latest drivers.

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Q: Can I transfer my memory card file to another PSX emulator?

Yes! For example, I've successfully transferred my memory card file to a PSX emulator on Android smartphones. It's easy. All that you do is copy over ePSXe's memory card file to the memory card folder of the other PSX emulator. Then rename your memory card file to the naming convention of the other PSX emulator. ePSXe's memory card file is located in the "memcards" folder - as shown here. So "epsxe000.mcr" is memory card 1 and "epsxe001.mcr" is memory card 2. So let's say the other PSX emulator calls its memory card file "memcard1.mcr" - just rename "epsxe000.mcr" to that same filename.

You can learn more about transferring saves and using somebody else's saves in my Game Saves Tutorial.

Note: You cannot transfer ePSXe save states to another PSX emulator.

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Q: Where can I download PSX games?

Ah, the golden question. Some of my ROM site links carry PSX games. Torrents are a good resource as well. When in a torrent site, search using keywords like "final fantasy vii psx", "final fantasy vii ps1", "final fantasy 7 psx" and such to find the game you're looking for.

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