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About the developer

TASVideos
1.2K Stars 260 Forks Other 18.6K Commits 395 Opened issues

Description

BizHawk is a multi-system emulator written in C#. BizHawk provides nice features for casual gamers such as full screen, and joypad support in addition to full rerecording and debugging tools for all system cores.

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BizHawk

A multi-system emulator written in C#. As well as quality-of-life features for casual players, it also has recording/playback and debugging tools, making it the first choice for TASers (Tool-Assisted Speedrunners).

(latest) release | GitHub latest dev build | AppVeyor latest dev build | GitLab CI GitHub open issues counter


Jump to: * Installing * Windows * Unix * macOS * Development builds * Building * Windows * Unix * Usage * TASing * External tools * Cores * Support and troubleshooting * Contributing * EmuHawk development * Core development * Testing/QA * Localization * License * Related projects * License

Features and systems

The BizHawk common features (across all cores) are: * format, region, and integrity detection for game images * 10 save slots with hotkeys and infinite named savestates * speed control, including frame stepping and rewinding * memory view/search/edit in all emulated hardware components * input recording (making TAS movies) * screenshotting and recording audio + video to file * firmware management * input, framerate, and more in a HUD over the game * rebindable hotkeys for controlling the frontend (keyboard+mouse+gamepad) * a comprehensive input mapper for the emulated gamepads and other peripherals * programmatic control over core and frontend with Lua (Windows only) or C#.NET

Supported consoles and computers:

  • Apple II
  • Atari
    • Video Computer System / 2600
    • 7800
    • Lynx
  • Bandai WonderSwan + Color
  • CBM Commodore 64
  • Coleco Industries ColecoVision
  • GCE Vectrex
  • Magnavox Odyssey² / Videopac G7000
  • Mattel Intellivision
  • NEC
    • PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 + SuperGrafx + CD
    • PC-FX
  • Neo Geo Pocket + Color
  • Nintendo
    • Famicom / Nintendo Entertainment System + FDS
    • Game Boy + Color
    • Game Boy Advance
    • Nintendo 64
    • Super Famicom / Super Nintendo Entertainment System
    • Virtual Boy
  • Sega
    • Game Gear
    • Genesis + 32X + CD
    • Master System
    • Saturn
    • SG-1000
  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • Sony Playstation (PSX)
  • Texas Instruments TI-83
  • Uzebox
  • more coming soon..?

See Usage below for info on basic config needed to play games.

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Installing

Windows

Released binaries can be found right here on GitHub (also linked at the top of this readme):

Windows | binaries

Click

BizHawk-.zip
to download it. Also note the changelog, the full version of which is here at TASVideos. Extract it anywhere, but don't mix different versions of BizHawk, keep each version in its own folder. You may move or rename the folder containing
EmuHawk.exe
, even to another drive — as long as you keep all the files together, and the prerequisites are installed when you go to run it.

Run

EmuHawk.exe
to start. If startup is blocked by a Windows SmartScreen dialog, click "More Info" to reveal the override button. Third-party antivirus may also block startup. There are some command-line arguments you can use: see Passing command-line arguments.

EmuHawk does have some prerequisites which it can't work without (it will let you know if they're missing). The list is here, and we've made an all-in-one installer which you can get here. You should only have to run this once per machine, unless the changelog says we need something extra.

We will be following Microsoft in dropping support for old versions of Windows, that is, we reserve the right to ignore your problems unless you've updated to at least Win10 1909 or Win8.1 KB4586845. Read more on MSDN.

A "backport" release, 1.13.2, is available for users of Windows XP, 7, or 8.1 32-bit. It has many bugs that will never be fixed and it doesn't have all the features of the later versions.

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Unix

Note: There's only one dev working on Linux (@YoshiRulz)! Please have patience, and try not to bother everyone else.

Install the listed package with your package manager (some buttons are links to the relevant package). The changelog can be found on TASVideos.

Manjaro | bizhawk-monort (AUR)

No package for your distro? Grab the latest release here on GitHub (it's the same as the Windows version):

Misc. Linux | bizhawk-monort

If you download BizHawk this way, don't mix different versions, keep each version in its own folder. The runtime dependencies are glibc, Mono "complete", OpenAL, and

lsb_release
. .NET Core is not a runtime dependency, only Mono. WINE is also not a runtime dependency.

Run

EmuHawkMono.sh
to start EmuHawk—you can run it from anywhere, so creating a
.desktop
file to wrap the script is fine. The shell script should print an error if it fails, otherwise it's safe to ignore console output. It takes mostly the same command-line arguments as on Windows: see Passing command-line arguments.

Most features and cores work, notable omissions being Lua support, Mupen64Plus (N64), and Octoshock (PSX). See #1430 for details.

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macOS (legacy BizHawk)

EmuHawk depends on certain libraries for graphics, and these don't work on macOS. Users on macOS have three options: * Use another machine with Windows or Linux, or install either in a VM (WINE is not a VM). * Use an older 1.x release which was ported to macOS by @Sappharad (with replacements for the missing libraries). Links and more details are in this TASVideos forum thread (jump to last page for latest binaries). * For the technically-minded, download the source of an older 2.x release. @Sappharad put a lot of work into it but ultimately decided to stop.

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Development builds

Development builds are made automatically whenever someone contributes. Because of this, we recommend using a release for work that requires stability (such as TASing), and only switching to a dev build if there's a specific change or addition you need.

recent dev builds | AppVeyor recent dev builds | GitLab CI latest dev build | AppVeyor latest dev build | GitLab CI

Click one of the buttons above to download a dev build (they're also at the top of this readme). AppVeyor uses Windows and GitLab CI uses Linux, but they work all the same. * On the AppVeyor page for a Build, click "Artifacts", then

BizHawk_Developer--#.zip
. * On the GitLab CI page for a Pipeline, click "Jobs", then the download button on the right under the heading "Package". (On the Pipelines list page, there's also a download button on each Pipeline—choose
package_devbuild_*:archive
there.)

To find the dev builds for a specific commit, you can click the green checkmark next to it (in the commit history, for example) for a dropdown, then click either "Details" link to go to AppVeyor/GitLab.

Building

Windows

If you have WSL, Git BASH, or similar, clone the repo with: ``` git clone https://github.com/TASVideos/BizHawk.git BizHawk_master

or ssh: git clone [email protected]:TASVideos/BizHawk.git BizHawk_master

...then go into the repo's `Dist` folder and run `QuickTestBuildAndPackage_Release.bat`. This is the same process used by AppVeyor.
(Git is required for this script, but if you proceed to open the solution in VS then you can build without it.)

For anything more complicated than just building, you'll need an IDE like VS Community 2019, currently the best free C# IDE (you may prefer Rider, VS Code, or something else). Open the /BizHawk.sln solution file in your IDE. With VS, start the build by choosing the BizHawk.Client.EmuHawk executable in the toolbar (in either the Debug or Release configuration) and clicking the launch button beside it.

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Unix

Before you can build, you'll need the .NET 5 SDK or later (package name is usually dotnet-sdk-5.0, see full instructions). You may need to uninstall MSBuild and/or the 3.1 SDK first. Once it's installed, run:

```sh git clone https://github.com/TASVideos/BizHawk.git BizHawk_master && cd BizHawk_master

or ssh: git clone [email protected]:TASVideos/BizHawk.git BizHawk_master && cd BizHawk_master

Dist/BuildRelease.sh

The assemblies are put in the

/output
dir, so if you have the runtime dependencies (see Installing) you can call
/output/EmuHawkMono.sh
.

VS 2019 isn't available on Linux, but Rider and VS Code are. You can always code from the command line...

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Usage

Passing command-line arguments

EmuHawk takes some command-line options which aren't well-documented; you might be able to figure them out from the source.

On Windows 8.1/10, it's easiest to use PowerShell for this. For example, to pass

--lua=C:\path\to\script.lua
as the first argument and
C:\path\to\rom.n64
as the second, navigate to the BizHawk install folder and run:
pwsh
(New-Object System.Diagnostics.Process -Property @{StartInfo=(New-Object System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo -Property @{FileName="$PWD\EmuHawk.exe";Arguments='"--lua=C:\path\to\script.lua" "C:\path\to\rom.n64"'})}).Start()

For char escaping tips you're on your own. It might help to split up the command so you can identify syntax errors:

pwsh
$s = '"--lua=C:\path\to\script.lua" "C:\path\to\rom.n64"'
$startInfo = New-Object System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo -Property @{FileName="$PWD\EmuHawk.exe";Arguments=$s}
$proc = New-Object System.Diagnostics.Process -Property @{StartInfo=$startInfo}
$proc.Start()

On Linux, you can pass arguments to

EmuHawkMono.sh
as expected and they will be forwarded to
mono
. (You can also
export
env. vars.) There is one exception: if you pass
--mono-no-redirect
as the first argument it will be eaten by the script itself, and stdout will not be redirected to a file. The same example as above would be
./EmuHawkMono.sh --lua=/path/to/script.lua /path/to/rom.n64
.

For char escaping tips, see ~~Unix StackExchange~~ your shell's man/info page. BASH and Zsh have different rules!

Loading firmware

Put all your dumped firmware files in the

/Firmware
folder and everything will be automatically detected and loaded when you try to load a game (filenames and subfolders aren't enforced, you can just throw them in there). If you're missing required or optional firmware, you will see a "You are missing the needed firmware files [...]" dialog.

Keep in mind some firmware is optional, and some have multiple versions, only one of which needs to be set.

If you want to customise firmware (when there are alternative firmwares, for example) go to

Config
>
Firmwares...
, right-click the line of the firmware you want to change, click "Set Customization", and open the file.

You can change where EmuHawk looks for firmware by going to

Config
>
Paths...
and changing "Firmware" in the "Global" tab to the new location. This allows multiple installs to use the same folder.

Identifying a good rom

With a core and game loaded, look in the very left of the status bar (on by default, toggle with

View
>
Display Status Bar
): * a green checkmark means you've loaded a "known good" rom; * a "!" in a red circle means you've loaded a "known bad" rom, created by incorrect dumping methods; and * something else, usually a ?-block, means you've loaded something that's not in the database.

Rebinding hotkeys and virtual gamepads

There are two keybind windows,

Config
>
Controllers...
and
Config
>
Hotkeys...
. These let you bind your keyboard/mouse and gamepads to virtual gamepads, and to frontend functions, respectively.

Using them is simple, click in a box next to an action and press the button (or bump the axis) you want bound to that action. If the "Auto Tab" checkbox at the bottom of the window is checked, the next box will be selected automatically and whatever button you press will be bound to that action, and so on down the list. If "Auto Tab" is unchecked, clicking a filled box will let you bind another button to the same action. Keep in mind there are multiple tabs of actions.

Selecting and configuring cores

To change which core is used where multiple cores emulate the same system (currently: NES, SNES, GB/C, SGB, and PCE/TG-16), look under

Config
>
Cores
. Under that menu, you'll also find the
GB in SGB
checkbox. When checked, GB/C games will be loaded using the chosen SGB core instead of the chosen GB core.

Cores have their own settings, which you can find in various windows under the system-specific menu (between

Tools
and
Help
when a rom is loaded). Some cores, like Mupen64Plus, have a labyrinth of menus while others have one.

Running Lua scripts

(Reminder that this feature is Windows-only for now.)

Go to

Tools
>
Lua Console
. The opened window has two parts, the loaded script list and the console output. The buttons below the menubar are shortcuts for items in the menus, hover over them to see what they do. Any script you load is added to the list, and will start running immediately. Instead of using "Open script", you can drag-and-drop .lua files onto the console or game windows.

Running scripts have a "▶️" beside their name, and stopped scripts (manually or due to an error) have a "⏹️" beside them. Using "Pause or Resume", you can temporarily pause scripts, those have a "⏸️".

"Toggle script" does just that (paused scripts are stopped). "Reload script" stops it and loads changes to the file, running scripts are then started again. "Remove script" stops it and removes it from the list.

In-game saves

Games often have a "save progress" feature, which writes some save data on the cart or some sort of memory card. (Not to be confused with EmuHawk's savestates.) But when EmuHawk emulates this process, the in-game saves remain in the host system's memory (RAM) along with the rest of the virtual system, meaning it's not really saved. The save data needs to be copied to a file on disk (on the host), which we call "SaveRAM flushing".

You can simply use

File
>
Save RAM
>
Flush Save Ram
(default hotkey:
Ctrl+S
) to make EmuHawk save properly. The
.SaveRAM
files are in system-specific subfolders of the BizHawk install folder (configurable) for if you want to make backups, which you should.

The

File
>
Save RAM
menu is printed in bold when the virtual system does a save, which usually corresponds to pushing a "save progress" button in-game. Note that some games use SRAM for miscellaneous tasks, so it may not be strictly necessary to flush the SaveRAM every time it's changed. Can't hurt though.

EmuHawk can also flush automatically, which you can configure with

Config
>
Customize...
>
Advanced
>
AutoSaveRAM
. When closing or switching roms, EmuHawk may also try to flush SaveRAM. A disclaimer: Automatic flushing is extremely unreliable and not being maintained. It may corrupt your previous saves!

More disclaimers: Develop a habit to always flush saves manually every time you save in the game, and make backups of the flushed save files! If you don't flush saves manually and something breaks, you're on your own. If your save has been corrupted and you didn't make a backup, there's nothing we can do about it.

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TASing

~~This section refers to BizHawk specifically. For resources on TASing in general, see Welcome to TASVideos.~~ This section hasn't been written yet.

For now, the best way to learn how to TAS is to browse pages like BasicTools on TASVideos and watch tutorials like The8bitbeast's and Sand_Knight and dwangoAC's.

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External tools

Creating a GUI with Lua scripts is fiddly. If you know some C# (or another .NET language), you can replace your Lua script with an external tool. See the ext. tools wiki for more details.

We're looking to create a catalog of tools made by the community, share yours on IRC/Discord (links below).

Cores

A core is what we call the smaller bits of software that emulate just one system or family of systems, e.g. NES/Famicom. For the most part, there's a "best" core for each system, based on accuracy, but there are a few alternative cores which are faster and less accurate.

Hawk cores are part of the BizHawk project. All other cores are ported, mainly from the Mednafen project.

System

Core Alt. Cores
Apple II Virtu
Atari 2600 Atari2600Hawk
Atari 7800 A7800Hawk
Atari Lynx Handy
Commodore 64 C64Hawk
ColecoVision ColecoHawk
Game Boy / Color GBHawk Gambatte
Game Boy Advance mGBA
Intellivision IntelliHawk
N64 Mupen64Plus
Neo Geo Pocket NeoPop
NES NesHawk QuickNes
Odyssey² O2Hawk
PC-FX T.S.T.
Playstation (PSX) Octoshock
Sega 32X PicoDrive
Sega Game Gear SMSHawk
Sega Genesis Genplus-gx
Sega Master System SMSHawk
Sega Saturn Saturnus
SNES BSNES Faust, Snes9x
Super Game Boy BSNES SameBoy
TI-83 TI83Hawk
TurboGrafx TurboNyma HyperNyma, PCEHawk
Uzebox Uzem
Vectrex VectrexHawk
Virtual Boy Virtual Boyee
WonderSwan / Color Cygne
ZX Spectrum ZXHawk

There are also works-in-progress for: * Amstrad CPC (home-grown core) * Fairchild Channel F (home-grown core) * MAME * MSX (home-grown core) * Nintendo DS via melonDS * Playstation 2 via Dobiestation * others maybe (candidates)

Please don't bother core devs about these WIPs unless you're looking to contribute in some way.

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Support and troubleshooting

A short FAQ is provided on the BizHawk wiki. If your problem is one of the many not answered there, and you can't find it in the issue tracker search, you can try: *

#bizhawk
on freenode IRC (via web browser; via HexChat/Irssi:
chat.freenode.net:6697
; via Matrix) *
#emulation
on the TASVideos Discord (also the more specialised channels
#tas-production
and
#scripting
, and the ApiHawk server) * The TASVideos forum for BizHawk

You can open a new issue at any time if you're logged in to GitHub. Please at the very least read the issue templates, we tend to ask the same questions for every one-line issue that's opened.

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Contributing

EmuHawk development

Do you want your name next to these fine people? Fork the repo and work on one of our many open issues. If you ask on IRC/Discord (see above), you might get more info about the problem—or you might find someone else is also working on it. It's especially important to ask about adding new features.

All the source code for EmuHawk is in

/src
. The project file,
/src/BizHawk.Client.EmuHawk/BizHawk.Client.EmuHawk.csproj
, includes the other projects in a tree.

When opening a PR: * Consider making changes over multiple commits instead of one large commit. Bonus points if each commit is a working build. * Rebase instead of merging when pulling changes. * Don't use the

master
branch of your fork! Using another branch makes rebasing so much easier. * Our test suite is small, but it's still worth running. Build the executable project
BizHawk.Tests
. * If you fork on GitLab, the tests will run in CI. * For the time being, code style is checked manually. Please use CRLF, tabs, and Allman braces in new files. * Static code analysis is configured but disabled—build with
-p:MachineRunAnalyzersDuringBuild=true
. * If you fork on GitLab, the Analyzers will run in CI if you use
git push -o ci.variable="BIZHAWKBUILD_USE_ANALYZERS=true"
(or otherwise set that env. var for the pipeline).

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Core development

We're not particularly interested in PRs adding cores out-of-the-blue, but if you have experience in emulator development please get in touch on IRC/Discord.

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Testing/QA

Not a programmer? You can still be helpful by grabbing a recent dev build and reproducing old bugs, i.e. checking if they've been fixed or not.

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Localization

ping YoshiRulz on IRC or Discord (

YoshiRulz#4472
)

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License

EmuHawk and DiscoHawk can be used by anyone for any purpose allowed by the permissive MIT License (Expat). The full text is very short.

Any developers looking to re-use code from BizHawk in their own work should understand which files the license applies to. It's included in the text, but tl;dr: anything outside

/src
isn't ours and we can't give you permission to share, use, or sell it. That means not all the files included with BizHawk releases or dev builds are free to share, either.

Disclaimer time! Can't have emulation software without a disclaimer...

Following the terms of our license does not make you immune from other contracts or laws. Some or all of the following may be illegal where you live: creating a copy of non-free software for backup purposes ("dumping" or "ripping"); distributing copies of non-free software; soliciting pirated copies of software; knowingly posessing pirated copies of software; importing software from the USA (GitHub and TASVideos are American entities); using a backup copy of non-free software without the original. For obvious reasons, we cannot and will not distribute dumped games or firmware that is under copyright.

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Related projects

  • Dolphin for GameCube and Wii — cross-platform
  • FCEUX for NES/Famicom — cross-platform; TASing is Windows-only
  • libTAS for ELF (Linux desktop apps) — requires GNU+Linux host; also emulates other emulators
  • lsnes for GB and SNES — cross-platform
  • melonDS for Nintendo DS — cross-platform
  • mGBA for GBA and GB/C — cross-platform

Emulators for other systems can be found on the EmulatorResources page at TASVideos. The TASVideos GitHub page also holds copies of other emulators and plugins where development happens sometimes, their upstreams may be of use.

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