PS3 Emulation Makes Huge Strides, Can Now Play Uncharted

PS3 Emulation Makes Huge Strides, Can Now Play Uncharted

The team behind RPCS3, an emulator designed to let you play PS3 games on a PC, have made a ton of progress since we last checked in on the project, with the program now able to run – if not perfectly play – some of the biggest and best games on the PS3.

The reasons why are of course pretty technical (though you can read them here if you want to take a look), but the end result is that Uncharted now boots and is playable, and improvements have been made to a range of games from Ratchet & Clank to God of War to LittleBigPlanet to Gran Turismo.

Now, as with most emulation stories, “playable” is used only in the most literal sense. Most of these games still have huge issues, from single-digit framerates to broken shadows to texture horror shows. The point here is the progress being made, not the end result.

The ability to play games like Uncharted 3, The Last Of Us and Killzone 3 is also inching forwards, with each of those games now able to at least boot to a title screen before crashing.

There’s a detailed game-by-game breakdown of what’s been improved recently at the project’s site.


  • The ability to play games like Uncharted 4

    Uncharted 2 and 3. No one’s attempting to emulate the PS4 yet…

    Uncharted 2 & 3 emulation is probably years away. The way Naughty Dog used the PS3 architecture on those games was apparently pretty weird (IIRC they shoved a lot of the rendering to the CPU and instead used the GPU for physics calculations) so I imagine those are extremely difficult to get right.

    • No need to emulate the PS4; the CPU/GPU architectures are the same, just need to provide a compatibility layer.
      Of course the real challenge is in that compatibility layer – with all the online stuff nowadays connecting to playstation’s servers.

      But yeah, once that’s taken care of (End of PS4 life I guess, otherwise sony will just issue update after update in a war to stop it), PS4 games will -I expect- run much better on PC than PS3 games, and possibly PS2 games (so long as your hardware is at least as powerful as a PS4) because there’s not emulation stage.

      • Yeah it does. It’s was called the “Reality Synthesizer” or RSX and custom built for Sony by NVIDIA. Based off the NV47 architecture from the 7800 GTX, ran at 500mHz and had 24 programmable shader units. Dedicated 256mb GDDR3 @ 650 mHz, plus an extra 224mb main memory shared with the CPU which is one of the reasons they could offload some of the rendering work to the Cell.

        It was a weaker GPU than the X360 and that combined with the general weirdness of the Cell and Sony’s crap tools were why for the first few years all the multi-platform games ran worse on PS3 – they had tried to do all the logic work on the CPU and graphics work on the GPU rather than build to the hardware’s strengths.

  • Is the issue with PS3 emulation is that its very hard to emulate the PS3’s CPU architecture on a pc?.

    • Pretty much, the Cell processor is damn strange
      If I recall rightly it’s got 8 “cores” but they’re not actual processor cores, to heavily simplify it, it would 1 core (PPE) with 8 “threads” (SPEs) at it’s disposal that it had to directly manage multiple tasks on (7 dedicated to certain tasks and 1 as a backup)
      Emulating this on a traditional x86-64 architecture processor is no easy task where you can have multiple different core configurations and speeds that you have to factor in

      • I’d still class the SPEs as proper CPU cores: they just happen to use a different instruction set to the main POWER core. The main difficulty was that they weren’t hooked up to the console’s main memory or IO, and relied on the PPE as an intermediary.

        Also, depending on what level they’re emulating they might only need to deal with 6 SPEs. In general, one of eight SPEs was disabled to improve yields, and another was reserved by the OS to implement parts of the DRM system.

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