Hello everyone! If you are an fan of Marvel VS Capcom 2, Capcom VS SNK 2, or other fighting ganes on the NAOMI (or Dreamcast), you may always asked yourself about playing online with others. Now, you may also have already done your own research (and even played before with DEMUL), and then stumbled with FGC Arcadia in April, which had introduced NullDC NAOMI netplay to play these games, with impressive results.
In that case, then you would get why you found out about that in first place, and why you would (or are) using it. Well, I guess that this introduction paragraph went on for quite a while, so long story short, you have checked out FGC Arcadia to play CVS2 and/or MVC2 online (and enjoying it), as it recently has been blowing up in popularity.
In this occasion I’m bringing to you an interview with supersonicstep, the only and one creator of FGC Arcadia; and while he isn’t the developer of neither the emulator used nor the plugin it works through to connect online, he was the one that had brought these fans into a community, and most importantly, was able to find the previously lost NullDC Naomi netplay build (used by people on DustLoop forums for online Guilty Gear XX Accent Core), and what’s more, implement an ingenious idea that would drastically reduce the delay, which is the driving force (as well as lower requisites than DEMUL) behind the recent popularity on it, with many MVC2 and CVS2 players rejoicing around the world.
When did you create or form part of FGC Arcadia?
I had the idea of FGC Arcadia back in 2015, and it originally was a website intended to be an battle server that included emulation setups. It originally had Taito Type X2 Netplay for SSF4AE, Demul 0.56/0.57/0.582, Dolphin, PPSSPP Netplay, and ePSXe.
I finished the website in late 2016/2017, and then it becamse somewhat popular between 2017 and 2018. During this time, we cut off TTX2 netplay, and mainly focused on PPSSPP, Dolphin, DEMUL and ePSXe.
MVC2 actually was pretty popular, which got ducvader into the door; but DEMUL had some issues. For one, it was very high resource, and you needed a good PC to run it. It also was propense to having a lot of input delay, and even though it was using Kaillera P2P, it still was unoptimal at times.
So you would say that the whole community was around since 2015?
I would honestly say it was since 2017, as in 2015, it was just me testing emus, and 2016 was making the website.
Alright. Since when you know about NullDC and qkojamma (and how you found out)?
I actually found out about NullDC when i found out about demul, but the QKOjamma build i knew about since 2018 from this video:
Do you remember where you found NullDC + QKOjamma?
After failing to find it for 2 years, I actually found it by talking to DQRF on discord. It was no where on the internet, even with Wayback Machine (DQRF is from the Guilty Gear XX ACR discord)
He had to go on his old PC and then sent 5 builds that weren’t what I was looking for; but he finally sent the build I was looking for, and started testing it from there
I remember doing the same and looking everywhere for it, very glad you could find it 😀
Since when the usage of NullDC with qkojamma was adopted for netplay (in FGC Arcadia)?
It has been adopted since April 1st. I initially tested around March 20, 2020 with hooride, and was in beta testing until it blew up around April 1st. Everyone was telling me how good it was, especially Dr. FatBody. We were even able to play coast to coast really well; that’s when I knew it had to be done.
Sounds good. Can you talk about the “frame-delay over input” method described in the FAQ page?
Originally I was testing with NullDC 1.0.0 Beta 1 because I couldn’t find the NullDC NAOMI Netplay build back then, and I didn’t know the math formula for how delay work (nor how to lower it), so I tested it with my laptop to see if increasing the FPS could lead to lower delay.
Turns out it did, but my theory had to be revised when I was playing people from across the world and knew what the delay calculations were at first. I knew the external frame limiter actually helped lower the delay, but I didn’t know how much of an impact it would make; for two players in the same city, it was perfect, and across the world it cut the delay in half (because it ran at 102% speed).
I actually edited the .cfg files of the emulator so it can be framerate unlocked, because most emulators run slower due to trying to catch up with the sound, and sound in emulation is usually slow and not accurate. So I was like “Why not use a third party framelimiter to test this theory out?”:
The idea mostly was abuot, instead of increasing delay for multiplayer, unlock the framerate in the emulator and limit it through something else to compensate for the delay.
So you mean you would unlock the framerate, to then use an third party framelimiter and nullify the delay used?
Yeah, because it will allow the emu to not drop below 100%.
Worse it would get is 102% speed, which is high for fighting games.
What games can you confirm that have worked perfectly?
Pretty much almost all the fighting ganes. The Guilty Gear XX games (Slash, Reload Accent, Core), Marvel VS Capcom 2, Capcom VS SNK (normal and pro) and Capcom VS SNK 2, King of Fighters xi, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum, and a couple others.
And about the “frame-delay over input” method, did you find out about that from experimenting? Or had seen a theory about that somewhere else?
It was a theory, really. During experimenting, found out about the delay decrease from not limiting the framerate from the emulator itself.
What did you think about all the other netplay methods you used before? What has been your best experience on (unofficial) netplay?
I think Fightcade, NullDC, and Dolphin are definitely the cream of the crop. Anything running with Kaillera is only playable with peer-to-peer.
What do you think that will come in the future for netplay?
I think its only going to get better because GGPO is open source now, but we need more emulator developers to favor netplay (though again, a lot of the code is open source now, so I can see it being a thing).
Alright, thank you so much for answering 😀
In any case, I’m grateful that you took the time to go through this, this topic always intrigued me.