How to play GameCube and Wii games with Dolphin VR

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How do I set up the Dolphin VR emulator for Rift and Vive?

The world of VR attracts many players and developers into its fold, and one result is Dolphin VR, a Nintendo GameCube and Wii emulator for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. That’s right; as long as you have some old games lying around that you can rip into an ISO file, you can be playing them in your head-mounted display. Let’s take a look at how to get Dolphin VR set up!

How to download and install Dolphin VR

First things first; let’s download and install the Dolphin VR emulator.

  1. Navigate to the Dolphin VR download page.
  2. Click Dolphin VR 5.0-250 (SDK 1.3.0). You’ll be routed to a mega.nz URL.

  3. Click Download through your browser. When the download is complete, continue on to the next step.
  4. Click Save.

    Click Download through browser. Click Save.

  5. Click Open folder.
  6. Right-click the Dolphin VR file.

    Click Open folder. Right-click Dolphin VR.

  7. Click Properties.
  8. Click the checkbox next to Unblock.

    Click Properties. Click the checkbox next to Unblock.

  9. Click Apply.
  10. Click OK.

    Click Apply. Click OK.

  11. Double-click the Dolphin VR file.
  12. Click OK.

    Double-click Dolphin VR. Click OK.

  13. Click I Agree.
  14. Click Next.

    Click I Agree. Click Next.

  15. Click Install.
  16. Click Finish when the installation is complete.

    Click Install. Click Finish.

How to add a GameCube or Wii game to Dolphin VR

Now that Dolphin VR is installed, you can import any GameCube or Wii games you ripped from your old disks. We will assume that you’ve already moved the ISO files onto your PC.

  1. Launch Dolphin VR from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Double-click the Dolphin could not find any GameCube/Wii ISOs line in the main window.

    Launch Dolphin VR. Double-click Dolphin could not find any...

  3. Click the location where you’ve saved your ISOs.
  4. Click Select Folder.

    Click the location of your ISOs. Click Select Folder.

Your games will now show up in Dolphin VR.

How to configure Dolphin VR for optimal performance

There are a few tweaks required to get your games working properly in Dolphin VR.

  1. Launch Dolphin VR from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click Config.
  3. Click the checkbox next to Enable Cheats.

    Click Config. Click the checkbox.

  4. Click OK.
  5. Click Graphics.

    Click OK. Click Graphics.

  6. Click the dropdown menu next to Backend.
  7. Click Direct3D 11. If you’re using an AMD GPU, you might get better results by sticking with OpenGL.

    Click the dropdown menu. Click Direct3D 11.

  8. Click the dropdown menu next to Fullscreen Resolution.
  9. Click 1920×1080.

    Click the dropdown menu. Click 1920x1080.

  10. Click the checkbox next to Use Fullscreen.
  11. Click the Enhancements tab.

    Click the checkbox. Click the Enhancements tab.

  12. Click the dropdown menu next to Internal Resolution.
  13. Click 3x Native (1920×1056) for 1080p.

    Click the dropdown menu. Click 3x Native.

  14. Click the Hacks tab.
  15. Click the checkbox next to Skip EFB Access from CPU.

    Click the Hacks tab. Click the checkbox.

  16. Click the checkbox next to Disable in the EFB Copies field.
  17. Click Close.

    Click the checkbox. Click Close.

  18. Click VR.
  19. Click the Avatar tab.

    Click VR. Click the Avatar tab.

  20. Click the checkbox next to Show Controllers. You can skip steps 21 and 22 if you don’t plan on using Vive or Touch controllers as Wiimotes.
  21. Click OK.

    Click the checkbox. Click OK.

Depending on your system, you might have completely different settings for an optimal experience. We recommend starting with the settings above and going from there.

How to set up a gamepad in Dolphin VR

While you can use a keyboard and mouse by default with Dolphin VR, we will show you how to configure a gamepad. Before starting these steps, ensure your gamepad is connected to your PC. In our case, we’re using the Xbox controller that was included with the Oculus Rift.

  1. Launch Dolphin VR from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click Controllers.
  3. Click Configure next to Port 1 in the GameCube Controllers section.

    Click Controllers. Click Configure.

  4. Click the dropdown menu in the Device section.
  5. Click Xinput/0/Gamepad.

    Click the dropdown menu. Click Xinput/0/Gamepad.

You can now click on each button in the list and hit each corresponding button on your gamepad. The setup I have here seems to work pretty well, but you can map everything out as you wish.

When you have all keys mapped, continue with these steps.

  1. Click the menu in the Field section.
  2. Type a name for your gamepad configuration.

    Click the menu in the Field section. Type a name.

  3. Click Save.
  4. Click OK.

    Click Save. Click OK.

Gamepads can also be set up in the Wiimote section, but they’ll only work if the Wii game you’re trying to play is compatible with a gamepad (aka the Nintendo classic controller).

How to set up motion controllers in Dolphin VR

A note on setting up Wiimotes. Attempting to configure a Touch or Vive controller to act exactly like a Wiimote is tough. We haven’t had much luck getting it exactly right, but we can show you how to get the basics down.

  1. Launch Dolphin VR from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click Controllers.
  3. Click Configure next to Wiimote 1 in the Wiimotes section.

    Click Controllers. Click Configure.

  4. Click the dropdown menu in the Device section.
  5. Click VR/0/Touch. For Vive controllers, you’d select VR/0/Vive.

    Click the dropdown menu in the Device section. Click VR/0/Touch.

  6. Click Refresh.
  7. Click the dropdown menu in the Profile section.

    Click Refresh. Click the dropdown menu.

  8. Click Touch Wiimote. For Vive controllers, you’d click Vive Wiimote.
  9. Click Load.

    Click Touch Wiimote. Click Load.

If you’re using Vive controllers, textures should be applied automatically so that you can see the controller in game.

There are plenty of settings you can mess around with in order to get your VR motion controllers working exactly like Wiimotes. If you have a particularly good setup, please share it with us in the comments section.

How to prepare your games for Dolphin VR

Now that your controllers are set up and Dolphin VR is correctly configured, you must enable a few AR codes to make your game work properly with VR.

  1. Launch Dolphin VR from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Right-click a game in your list.

    Launch Dolphin VR. Right-click a game.

  3. Click Properties.
  4. Click the AR Codes tab.

    Click Properties. Click the AR Codes tab.

  5. Click the checkbox next to all Disable Culling Outside Camera View options.
  6. Click Close.

    Click the checkboxes. Click Close.

Troubleshooting Dolphin VR

Dolphin VR understandably has some issues — we are, after all, playing GameCube and Wii games in VR. In our experience, GameCube games worked almost flawlessly with the settings listed above. Wii games are a different story. Many do not have AR codes to remove black bars and other outside camera views, and the whole motion controller thing is much more complicated than a simple gamepad.

Nevertheless, here are a few tricks we saw along the way that might make your experience with Dolphin VR that much better.

Fix low FPS

If you notice your game is stuttering or there’s some tearing, there’s a pullup option for 90Hz HMDs like the Vive and Rift have.

  1. Launch Dolphin VR from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click VR.

    Launch Dolphin VR. Click VR.

  3. Click a Pullup fps option depending on what FPS you’re seeing in-game. In this case, we’ll pull 60fps up to 90fps.
  4. Click OK.

    Click a Pullup fps option. Click OK.

Enable stereoscopic 3D for Oculus

If you’re using a Vive, SteamVR should handle all the 3D stuff on its own, but with Oculus, you can benefit from enabling this option.

  1. Launch Dolphin VR from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click Graphics.

    Launch Dolphin VR. Click Graphics.

  3. Click the Enhancements tab.
  4. Click the dropdown menu next to Stereoscopic 3D Mode.

    Click the Enhancements tab. Click the dropdown menu.

  5. Click Oculus.
  6. Click Close.

    Click Oculus. Click Close.

Reduce motion sickness

Are you suffering from motion sickness while playing? There are a few settings we can tweak to help.

  1. Launch Dolphin VR from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click VR.

    Launch Dolphin VR. Click VR.

  3. Click the Motion Sickness tab.
  4. Click the dropdown menu next to Sky/Background.

    Click the Motion Sickness tab. Click the dropdown menu.

  5. Click Hide or Lock.
  6. Click the dropdown menu next to Motion Sickness Prevention Method.

    Click Hide or Lock. Click the dropdown menu.

  7. Click Reduce FOV.
  8. Click OK.

    Click Reduce FOV. Click OK.

You can tweak these settings as you see fit to get the best motion sickness reduction.

Your experience with Dolphin VR

Have you already tried Dolphin VR? What settings are you using? Let us know in the comments section!



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