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Discussion Starter #1
The first time I ever used an emulator to play FF9 it was using VGS and while I wnjoyed it I was really pleased to find out later that ePSXe was running the game well. This would have been sometime in early 2001, and at the time my system was: PIII 450, Voodoo 5 5500 AGP, Creative Soundblaster PCI 128D, 128 MB RAM, and some generic CD-ROM 40X speed. FF9 ran like a dream - 640x480 resolution with 2X anti-aliasing, no crashing (except for a weird error when hitting 'Esc' that froze ePSXe), sound and MDEC speed and smoothness fine. At the time I was using Null's audio plugin, the ePSXe core CD plugin, and whatever version of Lewpy's Glide driver that was out at the time.


Cut to now - my old system fried and now I have the following specs cobbled together from old stuff lying around and a couple of new (purchase-wise, not technology-wise) items: Celeron 500, Geforce MX 4000 PCI w/64 MB RAM, Creative Soundblaster PCI 128D, 194 MB RAM and a Toshiba 24x/10x/40x CD-RW. FF9 runs incredibly slowly now - it is playable, and the MDECs are acceptable with acceptable audio, as is normal gameplay but battles are about 50% of what they ought to be, speedwise.

I am using ePSXe v. 1.5.2. (don't worry - I dug for info from this and other forums before posting here). I am using the P.E. Ops Sound plugin, with sound, CD sound and XA sound all enabled; SaPu's CD-ROM plugin; messing with the sound and cd-rom didn't seem to change anything except for MDEC performance (both visual - stuttering - and sound). Both are whatever the most recent versions are. For visuals I have tried Pete's D3D plugin and Pete's OpenGL plugin, both version 1.75 and version 1.67. It seemed to me that 1.75 actually caused more problems, so I switched to 1.67 and the only difference between OpenGL and D3D that I have seen have been regarding MDECs - D3D has full-speed then a brief stutter, then full-speed again, etc. OpenGL is slower and never gets totally normal speed but never has disruptive stutters, it is consistent. Here are my settingsfor D3D. The same holds true for OpenGL except where the D3D option doesn't exist in the OpenGL plugin:

FullScreen at 640 x 480 with 16 bit color. Texture quality R4 G4 B4 A4.
Smart Texture Garbage collection is on. Texture filtering 0. Vram is set to 64.
FPS Limit, Frame Skipping, and Auto-Detect FPS limit are all selected.
Off-Screen drawing is at 2, Advanced Blending is off, Framebuffer textures are 0, and Framebuffer access is 4.
Alpha multipass and Mask bit are on, as are Unfiltered framebuffer access and the special FF9 polygon fix.

Perhaps Lewpy's plugin is superior, perhaps the processor dropoff is more than I think or maybe having a PCI card instead of AGP is hurting. Or maybe it is all three, I dunno. I just know I don't want to have to go back to VGS.

Any help appreciated.

Adrian
 

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The problem is that glide pwns OpenGL and D3D for raw speed. Heavily. As a result of this you may need a beefier CPU. My old Athlon 650+geForce2 (Celeron <<<< Athlon) combo seemed to work OK till framebuffer effects were needed.
You could try setting framebuffer access to GPU rather than CPU tho.
>Framebuffer textures are 0, and Framebuffer access is 4.
Set that to 1/3 IIRC
 

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Is this thing on?
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Maybe you should try running an ISO. From threads posted here, scratched CDs are also one of causes of slow playback and response of Final Fantasy IX.

My recommandation is the Eternal SPU which is obtainable by clicking on my signature below. Set the buffer to 32 and activate the special fixes.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. I'm happy to report that FF9 is now running 10 times better than before. I downloaded CloneCD and made image files of all four discs and immediately noticed a great deal of improvement speed-wise. Battles were still hiccoughing too much for my taste though so even though I hadn't noticed much difference before I switched to Pete's OGL plugin and hit the 'Fast' button. Huge improvement, and from there I added/increased features one by one, testing them to see how good/accurate loking I could get it while still having good speed. I found out that the major bottleneck was Framebuffer Access - a setting of 2 or 3 absolutely crushed the speed of the game. Putting it on 1, however, sent the speed shooting through the roof. I'm actually running in 800 x 600 resolution now with everything set to optimal settings to display FF9 correctly, with the exception of the Framebuffer Access. It looks pretty again and the speed is fantastic. Thanks again.

Adrian
 

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You could also try using Eternal's SPU Lite plugin for sound. It doesn't give you any reverb effects but should give you a performance boost. Also you might as well set the Framebuffer options to 0 and 1 (can't remember which ones but they basically turn off the effects). This way it shouldn't slow down whenever a random battle occurs or whatnot. All that happens is a black screen whenever it's suppose to show the transition. I hope this info helps.
 
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