Author Topic: NullDC 1.0.4 - Setup tutorial  (Read 29473 times)

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Offline SonicFreak94

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NullDC 1.0.4 - Setup tutorial
« on: April 15, 2011, 03:40:53 pm »
   NullDC 104 r50 (
   Alternatively, you can get the latest SVN build from:
   (For more info, you can go here:
   Visual C++ 2010 Runtimes (
   DirectX 9c Runtimes (
   Dreamcast BIOS (
   Archive extractor such as 7-Zip ( or WinRAR ( (I personally recommend 7-Zip.)

   If you have an older computer (Such as an Intel Pentium 4 CPU of around 2GHz or equivalent), you might be better off running the older version of NullDC (1.0.0 b 1.6). Information on setting up this version can be found here:
Getting started:

   Alright, let's begin.
   First of all, you need to extract NullDC. Download it from one of the links provided. Open the archive (whether it be a .7z, .rar, .zip, or what have you) with your archive extractor of choice, and extract its content where you would like to keep it.
   Be sure you installed the first two prerequisites listed above, or NullDC won't function. Just download one at a time, run one at a time, and follow the instructions provided by them.
   Before starting NullDC, the first thing you need to do is extract the BIOS to the correct place. You have to do this first, otherwise the emulator won't run at all. Download the Dreamcast BIOS provided or use your own. If you're using the provided BIOS: Open the "dreamcast_bios.rar" archive in 7-Zip or WinRAR, double click the "dreamcast_bios" folder within the archive, choose which BIOS you would like to use--
      NTSC-J = Japanese Dreamcast
      NTSC-U = American Dreamcast
      PAL = European Dreamcast
      The same applies to games.

   --and open that folder. From there, take "dc_boot.bin" and "dc_flash.bin" and move it to the "data" folder within your newly created NullDC folder (the place you decided to keep it).
   Once the BIOS is in place, turn NullDC on by double-clicking "nullDC_Win32_Release-NoTrace.exe". Once it loads, it's time to start configuring the plugins.
   To do this, go to the menu(s) Options -> Select Plugins. Since almost everything is already pre-configured to work the best it can, let's just skip right to the controller and extensions to it.
   If you're using a keyboard, you don't need to change the plugin used for the controller, so you can skip this step.
   If you're using a controller, I suggest using the "PuruPuru Dreamcast Controller v0.1 by Falcon4ever" plugin.
      I use an Xbox 360 controller. If you use one as well, these plugins work best for this controller.

   Under the controller plugin are 2 options that you can change. One is set to "NullDC VMU" by default. That's the best one to use. If you have a Logitech G-15 Keyboard, however, use the respective plugin for additional coolness.
   On the second option, you can choose to add another VMU, or a rumble pack. If you want to use a rumble pack, I suggest using "Puru-Puro Pak [XInput]", as it seems to work without any issues. The other option caused NullDC to crash every time the controller tried to vibrate, but hey, maybe that's just me.
   If you need or want to set up secondary controllers, do so by clicking on any of the other tabs, such as "Port B," "Port C," and "Port D."
      VMUs are relatively small in terms of storage, so if you plan on emulating a lot of games, one VMU isn't going to cut it. What you can do is: On any or all of the additional controller ports, change the plugin to "NullDC Controller [no input]." From there, just set all of the addon-ports (the options under the controller plugni) to VMUs. For example, I could have Port A use my 360 controller, have 1 VMU, and 1 rumble pack. Port B, C, and D would be no-input controllers full of VMUs specifically for storage purposes. In fact, that's exactly what I do! =P
      Of course, you can set up secondary controllers that actually do something if you like, but you don't know how to set up the controls yet, do you? Let's go on with this then!

   Now to set up the controls. Click OK on the plugin selection window. Now go to the menu(s) Options -> Maple -> Port A (or whichever port you need to configure) -> Config keys for Player 1. From here, it's pretty straight forward, although I'll give a brief explanation.
   First of all, if you're using the default plugin so you can use your keyboard, the configuration will look significantly different from the PuruPuru Dreamcast Controller plugin. For this default plugin, here's what it'll look like:
   Analog Up, Left, Right, and Down are obviously for the analog stick. Digital Up, Left, Right and Down are for the D-Pad. Buttons A, B, X, and Y are self explanatory; as is the start button. Digital 2 however... I'm not even sure myself what that is! Left Slider and Right Slider however, are the left and right triggers. The Z and C buttons aren't used by many games, so you probably don't even need to mess with that.
   As for the PuruPuru Dreamcast Controller however, it will be very different.
   Here, you can adjust the normal buttons, in addition to the deadzone and halfpress options for the analog stick(s). The rest of the configuration is pretty straight forward. Just click the button next to the input you would like to set, such as the A button, then press the desired button on your controller.
   That's it for controller setup. Now let's move on to something else. This is entirely optional, but worth mentioning.
   Under the Options menu, go to PowerVR. There are 4 options that are safe to mess around with. Resolution, Aspect Ratio, Sort, and Modifier Volumes. Let me go over them one at a time:
         "Maximum Supported (Highest quality)" - This means that the game will not be stretchd at all. If you change the size of the window or enter fullscreen, the game runs at that resolution, essentially.
         "Maximum, but up to 1280x800" - I haven't tested this myself, but I would assume if it gets any bigger than 1280x800, it starts to stretch it instead of actually running at that resolution.
         "Native (640x480)" - This means the game will run at the native resolution regardless of your resolution, NullDC's window size, etc. This may increase performance if you're having any issues when playing in fullscreen or increasing the window size.
         "Half of maximum pixels" - Example: If you play it in fullscreen at 1024x768, the game will actually be running at 512x384 (half) instead, and stretch the rest of the way up. It will probably give a performance increase.
         "Quarter of maximum pixels (Lowest quality)" - Self explanatory. It will probably increase performance.
      Aspect Ratio:
         "Borders" - Maintains aspect ratio if you resize the window or play in fullscreen at a 16:9 resolution, for instance.
         "Stretch" - Stretches the game to fill the window/resolution no matter what the size
         "Extra Geom" - Now, this is the interesting one. This is basically like the "widescreen hack" in Dolphin, if you are familiar with it. What it does is this: If you play at a 16:9 resolution with this option, instead of stretching or adding borders, it will try to show more of the geometry of the game, giving you a wider view as if the game was actually meant to be played that way. It's not perfect though, and can cause a lot of visual glitches, so be aware.
         This generally has to do with texture transparancey in games. If you notice any glitches related to that, mess with this a bit.
         "Off (Fastest, lowest accuracy)" - I don't recommend having this off. See why below:
         "Per strip" - And by below, I meant down some more:
         "Per triangle (Slowest, highest accuracy)" - As its label portrays, this is the slowest, but most accurate in terms of texture transparancey issues. You may take a hit in performance if you use this option, but obviously you'll have less visual glitches (depending on the game). Unless it's really bad or bothers you a lot, I suggest using "Per strip." If you have a fast enough computer however, use this.
      Modifier Volumes:
         This has something to do with shadows. By default, this is set to the first option.
         "Normal And Clip (Slowest, highest accuracy)" - Provides the highest accuracy in terms of shadows and things, but may impact performance.
         "Normal (Good speed, good accuracy)" - Provides moderate accuracy and speed, as the label portrays.
         "Off (Fastest, no shadows)" - This will probably increase your performance if you're having issues, but you won't see any shadows, as if it wasn't obvious.

   Different combinations will give different levels of accuracy (not as many visual glitches for example) on different games. One configuration may not work well with all games; although the default does a pretty good job. I only recommend changing these options if you're having performance issues, or if you want to max out the settings if you have a good computer.
   That's it for emulator configuration, really.
   The last thing you need to do is set up the VMUs. You don't necessarily need to do this, as NullDC creates a new fully functional VMU for you, but if you want to change your icon or color for your VMU or something (or don't like the default smiley face icon), then follow these instructions. Otherwise, skip this step.
   In NullDC, go to File -> Normal Boot. A window will open that says "Select Image File". Instead of selecting one, click "No Disk" so that you can get into the Dreamcast BIOS. You may be asked to set the date. It isn't necessary to do this, although you can if you like.
   Once you get past the date setting thing, you'll be greeted by the Dreamcast BIOS with 4 options. Select "File" (The VMU), and you should see however many VMUs you set up. Select the VMU, select "All", and select "Delete all (memory reset)". Select the icon and color of choice for your VMU, (although it's optional) and select "Yes" when it says "Please confirm your settings." You'll get a rainbowy progress bar of doom, and it should then say "All files were deleted and the memory card was reset." Press A to continue, and now you have a fully functional new virtual VMU with all its random icon and color goodness.
   Now all you have to do is start up your game of choice! If you're using the latest SVN build of NullDC, then simply go to Options -> GDRom -> Swap Disc. To load a game, click the browse (or "..." button), and select the game of choice. The game must be in CDI or GDI format. Click OK, then go back to the main screen by selecting "back" or pressing the B button, and the game should boot up. If not, select "Play," and you can finally play Sonic Adventu--I mean uh, that game you wanted to play for so long!

   If you are not using the latest SVN build, however, this will probably make the emulator crash. In which case, exit NullDC and start it again. Then go to File -> Normal Boot. Doing it this way and using the swap disc option will bring up the same window. To load a game, click the browse (or "..." button), and select the game of choice. The game must be in CDI or GDI format. Click OK, and you're ready to start playing!

I hope this helps.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2011, 01:42:35 pm by SonicFreak94 »