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SNES Emulation: Snes9X Tutorial

About Snes9X

This tutorial is to help you with Snes9X for Windows. It used to be considered the #2 best SNES emulator compared to ZSNES, but after its last update it went light years ahead of ZSNES and is now considered by many to be the #1 SNES emulator.

*If you would like to download Snes9X, I have it in my emulators page.

Extracting & Placement

I suggest you make a new folder called "SNES" 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. Extract all the contents of this emulator's zip file into the SNES folder. If you don't know how to extract files from a zip file then read this. A "Roms" folder should be there - I recommend tossing all your SNES ROMs there. Snes9X has zip support, so you do not have to extract ROMs from their zip files. Double-click on "snes9x" to open it.

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Q: Unable to initialize XAudio2?

Upon opening Snes9X, you might get this error:

Unable to initialize XAudio2. You will not be able to hear any sound effects or music while playing.

It is usually caused by not having a recent DirectX release installed.

You just need to install the latest version of DirectX, as it says. What is DirectX? Think of it as a bundle of support files that help games run better, provided by Microsoft (for free). Anyway, you can download the latest version of DirectX here.

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Q: ddx9_38.dll is missing?

Upon opening Snes9X, you might get this error:

The program can't start because ddx9_38.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix the problem.

Same deal as the above issue with XAudio2, you just need to install the latest version of DirectX - here.

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Setting up the buttons on your keyboard or gamepad

Click on Input menu then Joypad Configuration, or press Alt+F7. You'll end up here. This box tells you the buttons that correspond to each SNES button. If you wish to change them, click on the box the arrow is pointing, then press the button you want it to change to. This automatically activates the auto configuration, so the highlighting will jump to each box, awaiting your command for the button that you want it to change to.

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Loading a game

Click on the File menu then Load Game; or press Ctrl+O. By default, Snes9X will display its "Roms" folder. It creates this folder the first time you attempt to load a ROM. I recommend tossing your games in this folder. You can create the folder yourself, or have Snes9x create it. Anyway, from this window click on a game then click Open; as shown here.

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Full screen

Press Alt+Enter to enter full screen. Press Alt+Enter again to go back to window mode. During forget, pressing Esc disables/enables the top menu bar.

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Screen renders (output image processing)

Go to the Options menu then Display Configuration. You will arrive here. Click on the drop-down for Output Image Processing. Clicking on any of these then clicking OK would enable the screen render. Try all of them until you find one to your liking.
*Check out the filter samples below this box for some previews of these filters!
 

Forced 1X: the default; no filters applied.

Simple 2X: enlarges the output screen 200%.

Scanlines: adds dark horizontal lines to simulate a TV.

TV Mode attempts to simulate a TV more so than 'scanlines'.

Blargg's NTSC (Composite): an impressive filter that realistically simulates a TV!

Blargg's NTSC (S-Video): a variation of above.

Blargg's NTSC (RGB): a variation of above.

SuperEagle same as 2xSal, but the screen is less blurred and not all the edges are rounded off.

Super2XSal: combines 2xSai and Eagle.

2xSal: smears pixels together with a slight blur, and does so diagonally in attempt to round every edge.

hq2x: a smart filter, which attempts to sharpen and blur when necessary.

hq2xS: a variation of above.

hq2xBold: a variation of above.

EPX A: attempts to round together pixels without any blurring.

EPX B: a variation of above.

EPX C: a variation of above.

Simple 3X: enlarges the output screen 300%.

Dot Matrix 3X: simulates a dot matrix monitor, with the screen enlarged 300%.

hq3x:a smart filter, which attempts to sharpen and blur when necessary, but does so better than "hq2x".

hq3xS: a variation of above.

hq3xBold: a variation of above.

lq3xBold: attempts to round together pixels without any blurring, with the screen enlarged 300%.

EPX3: attempts to round together pixels without any blurring, with the screen enlarged 300%.

Simple 4X: enlarges the output screen 400%.

hq4x: a smart filter, which attempts to sharpen and blur when necessary, with the screen enlarged 400%.

 
Another spot you should know about are the "High Res" renders, which are here. Some games render its font higher than 16-bit! Some that come to mind is the menu in Seiken Densetsu 3, the menu in Romancing SaGa 3, and all fonts in Treasure of the Rudras. So these "High Res" filters can render the high resolution fonts separately from the above filters that render affect everything else.

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Highslide JS

SCANLINES

Highslide JS

2XSAI

Highslide JS

EAGLE

Highslide JS

SUPER2XSAI

Highslide JS

TV MODE

DOT MATRIX 3X

HQ3X

BLARGG'S NTSC
(COMPOSITE)

TV MODE 3X

Save states

Save states is a feature that saves the exact spot you are in any game. You can use this feature manually by going into the File menu or by quick keyboard commands. Through the File menu, simply click on Save Game Position and then choose any of the 9 slots; you can save up to 9 different save states. As shown here. To recall that saved state, go into Load Game Position, then choose the slot you saved your game in. Notice the keyboard commands next to each slot. For example, pressing Shift+F1 automatically saves your game in Slot 1, and pressing F1 would automatically recall that saved state from Slot 1.

Side Note: All the RPG shrines in my FantasyAnime offer complete collections of periodical game saves so that you can continue at any significant point in the game. If you'd like to learn more about how to use somebody else's saves or transfer saves between emulators, check out my Game Saves Tutorial.

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Capturing SPC's

Don't know what SPC's are? Then check out my Extracted Music tutorial. Anyway, when the game you're playing is playing a song that you like, click on the File menu then Save SPC Data. The SPC will save into the directory where Snes9X is in.

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Using Game Genie & Pro Action Replay

1. First load the game. Click on the Cheat menu then Game Genie, Pro-Action Replay Codes.

2. Start typing away and enter the code in the "Enter Cheat Code". Remember, type in the cheat with no spaces!

3. Press the Tab key to bring the cursor over to the "Cheat Description" box and type up a short description of the code.

4. Click on the Add button and Reset or reload the game. If the cheat doesn't work then that means you either typed it wrong or it's a bad code.
Note: You *can* use cheats with multiple lines. You need to enter each line one at a time. I suggest you name each line like "Infinite Weapons 1", "Infinite Weapons 2", "Infinite Weapons 3" so it can be easier to keep track of the cheat. Again, if the cheat doesn't work then that means you either typed it wrong or it's a bad code.

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Finding cheats

You have a few options.

• There are websites that contain complete archives of Game Genie and Pro Action Replay codes. GameGenie.com and About.com seem to be the best resources for that. At About.com, the best way to find their cheats with their search is to type the name of the game then "game genie". Like so: "super mario world game genie".

• You can download a ZSNES CHT file that already contains a whole bunch cheat codes. A CHT file is where ZSNES stores your cheats for a single game. Zophar's Domain has the largest CHT file archive. To use a CHT file, simply rename it to the name of your ROM (the same process as patching a ROM with an English patch).

• The next best source is Google. The best search keywords to use is to type the name of the game then "game genie". Like so: "super mario world game genie".

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Capturing screen shots

1. If your intention is to capture only sprites, disable background layers (shown below).

2. If you're in full screen mode, press the Esc key to enable the top menu (pressing Esc again will disable it).

3. Go to File > Save Other > Save Screenshot. Snes9X will toss the screen shot as a PNG image into a folder called "Screenshots", within the Snes9X folder.

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Disabling background layers

The graphics of all Super Nintendo games are made up of five layers: four graphics layers and the sprite layer. You can turn any of these layers on an off. Keyboard buttons 1, 2, 3, and 4 turn the graphics layers on/off. Button 5 turns the sprites layer on/off.
*This feature is crucial if you want to capture game sprites, because it makes the process so much easier when there's not a background to manually edit out.

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Recording AVI movies

Wow, few emulators come equipped with this awesome feature! So to do this:

1. Open the game you would like to capture from. Play the game up to the point you want to start recording. If you're in full screen mode, press the Esc key to enable the top menu (pressing Esc again will disable it).

2. Go to File > Record AVI.

3. Snes9X will prompt you with the Save As window. Where I have the red outline, enter the name you would like for your movie clip, then click Save.

4. Snes9X will prompt you with the Video Compression window. Leave it as "Full Frames (Uncompressed)" and click OK.

5. The recording begins. Snes9X will most likely have sound disabled and be running sluggish. Don't worry! That doesn't mean your movie clip will come out the same way. When you're ready to stop the recording, go to File > Stop AVI Recording.

6. That's it! :) Jump into Snes9X's folder and enter the "Movies" folder. Your movie clip is there. Now do you want to edit your video? On Windows you have Windows Movie Maker to edit video (for free). And when you're done with your movie in it, you can transfer your movie directly to YouTube. It's easy! Once you finish your video, just go to Menu > Publish Movie > YouTube, as shown here.

If you're having trouble working with Snes9X's AVI recording, you may need to convert it to another video format. Some video editors, for example, may reject it. So to convert the AVI to another format:

1. Download & install WinFF. It's a free video converter than can convert anything to anything else.

2. With WinFF open, click on the Add icon to add your AVI recording.

3. I recommend converting your AVI to Windows Media (WMV) format. WMV is the most compatible format on Windows and works well with Windows video editors. So choose WMV, WMV2 Generic, click the "..." to set a save location - as shown here.

4. To ensure a quality movie for video editing, bump up the quality to "5000" for 5 MB/s quality video; here's where you do it. People typically watch videos at 1-2 MB/s so 5 MB/s works great for an editing quality.

5. Click the Convert icon when you're ready to convert. That's it!

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Q: Upon load I get a 'bad checksum' error!

You're playing a fan translated game or modified/hacked game, right? That "bad checksum" message is normal. It just means the English patch or modification/hack patch increased the size of the ROM, hence the checksum is different.

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Q: My game freezes at a specific spot!

If your game keeps freezing at a specific point in the game, then you've experienced the infamous game freeze. It's very rare and has been plaguing emulation enthusiasts for over a decade. Why does this happen? Well you can't expect every game to work 100% perfectly with every version of every SNES emulator.

I am going to assume you're playing your game from a recalled save state since you keep experiencing the same lock up. Unfortunately, there's no way to fix it. Restarting the game from the beginning probably won't help either. There's only hope for you if you're playing an RPG. And if you are playing an RPG, what you can do is copy your SRM file (the in-game save) for use with another SNES emulator, like ZSNES. However, if in your RPG you did not save your game in-game and only used save states, then you're screwed.

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Q: Can I transfer my save to another SNES emulator?

Snes9X lets you save your game in two ways...

SAVE STATES
As I explained further above about save states, that's the feature that lets you save at any point in any game. Snes9X's save states are exclusive to Snes9X so they cannot be transferred to other SNES emulators.

SAVED RAM
Saved RAM is the internal save in RPGs. They have an SRM file extension. View this for a clearer picture. SRM files are what can be transferred to other SNES emulators. You can literally just copy & paste the ROM and the SRM file over to the other SNES emulator and it'll pick it up. Although some SNES emulators want to be organized and require you to dump the SRM file in a designated saves folder. You can learn more about transferring saves and using somebody else's saves in my Game Saves Tutorial.

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