The Best Wii Emulator Has A DirectX 12 Renderer, And It’s Great

If you haven’t messed around with Dolphin, an emulator constantly refined and tweaked by a massive community of contributors, then you should find some time tonight to play around with it. It’s a superb program; it might even be the most impressive emulator released to date.

Dolphin’s just got one of its biggest upgrades to date, however. The team behind the emulator has just added a DirectX 12 renderer to one of their experimental releases, and the gains are huge.

By the way, that’s MadWorld above if you’re wondering what the screenshot was. Dolphin can make Wii (Gamecube too) games look real pretty.

Anyway, the DirectX 12 renderer. The Github pull request for the feature was first floated in late December, and there was a bit of discussion on whether all the bugs would be ironed out in time for the next stable release.

That’s still up in the air — although it’ll be merged into the main build shortly after at the very least — but it seems like a moot point because the impact for those able to take advantage (with Windows 10 and the requisite GPU) is huge.

“I just tried it — it seems to make a BIG difference. I was able to run Twilight Princess at 4k with Per Pixel Lighting with minimal slowdown. Before it was nearly unplayable on those settings,” one reddit user posted. Others have reported being able to play at 4K resolutions with a mid-range gaming PC, with minimal to no stuttering.

One commenter on the Github page reported that Super Mario Galaxy 2 was 48% faster using the DX12 render — at 4K resolutions. There’s also messages of improved performance across the board in other games as well, although reading through the Dolphin forums indicates that there are plenty of bugs to be ironed out.

But gee, Wii games running smoothly at 4K resolutions or higher just thanks to the addition of a DX12/D3D12 renderer? That makes me excited for what happens when other games patch in DX12 support. And don’t forget about Vulkan, either.

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