Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Emulator Resources / Using

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How to use emulators

Disclaimer: Emulators may not have all the following tools. See EmulatorResources/Features to see which tools specific emulators have.

Loading ROMs

Before you can do anything, you must load the relevant ROM. The emulator should have an option in the File menu such as "Load ROM" or "Load game".

This site does not distribute ROMs.

For some emulators such as FBA, you may need a system BIOS (ex. Neo-Geo). For Mupen64 and PCSX, you may need appropriate plug-ins.

Playing back movies

To play back a movie, a ROM must be loaded. There should be a menu option (which may be under any heading) named "(Re)play movie", "(Re)play input", "Movie > Play", or similar.

To play back the movie correctly is another issue. See desync help.

In the Unix version of FCEU, you either

  • have to place the movie into the FCEU preferences directory (~/.fceu) with a name composed of the ROM name, the ROM md5sum and .fcm extension, and then press shift-F6 to load it.
  • start the emulator with a command line like this: "fceu -play moviefile.fcm moviefile.nes"
  • start the emulator and hit shift+2 and enter the movie filename
depending which version of FCEU you have.

Starting a new movie to record

To record a new movie, a ROM must be loaded. There should be a menu option very close to the option for playing back movies, named "Record movie", "Record input", "Movie > Record", or similar.

If you have an option what to start recording from, pick "Record from Power On" or at least "from Reset", if there is no the former option. Don't start recording "from Now" or "from a Savestate".

Resuming recording of a movie

To resume recording of a movie, play it back until it reaches the point where you want to resume recording. Then make a savestate, turn off read-only (default is usually Shift+8 but can be configured), and load the savestate. You can use existing savestates (in read-only mode) to reach the point sooner.

Some emulators have an option such as "Resume recording from now" or such.

Configuring input and hotkeys

These options (there are usually two or more) allows you to set up hotkeys and controller input in any way you wish. Most emulators have this.

Using savestates

There are two systems of savestate usage.

The first system is a couple of keys used to change the saveslot number and a couple of keys to save and load. The second system consists of 20 keys, with each pair controlling save and load of a distinct saveslot.

Most emulators have the second system, and may have the first one as well.

Default keys vary by emulator.

Savestates can be used during movie playback to watch the movie from that point, or during recording to rerecord (undo errors).

Some emulators allow saving savestates to an external file.

Frame advance

Frame advance is the most precise form of slow motion, a slow motion where it plays frame by frame at your control.

To input controller keys in a frame, hold down the controller keys and press the frame advance button. The frame advance button is usually \ by default, although it can also be the space key. The frame advance button may be held down to frame advance quickly.

To input a stylus (touch screen) press on DeSmuMe, click and hold the touch screen with the mouse and press frame advance.

Changing the speed

Slow speed is a less-refined form of slow motion than frame advance. This slows down the emulator to a fixed speed (anywhere from 1% to 50%). The emulator can also be sped up to a fixed speed. By default, slow down is - and speed up is +. Some emulators only have speed config options.

The emulator cannot be sped up any faster than the CPU can handle.

Viewing frame count

Usually, it is helpful to know exactly how many frames your movie has used by a certain point, when comparing different movies. The key is . by default on some emulators, and a menu or config option on others. Mupen64 has the frame count visible in the bottom bar, except in fullscreen.

Input display

When reviewing movies, it is often helpful to see when keys are pressed. It shows which keys the author pressed in the movie as it is played. It also helps during recording to see which buttons registered during a frame. The key is , (comma) by default on some emulators, and a menu or config option on others. Mupen64 has the input display visible in the bottom bar, except in fullscreen. DeSmuMe indicates stylus (touch screen) input on the touch screen as well.

Autofire and autohold

Autofire causes the emulator to press a designated button every second frame. Autohold causes the emulator to press the button every frame. There may be many other types of autofire options.

Autofire is strictly unnecessary for making TASes, as frame advance is the most precise form of slow motion. Autohold may be necessary when pressing a mass of keys that will likely cause some not to register.


Not to be confused with emulator speed, which does not drop frames.

Fast-forward causes the emulator to emulate as fast as possible while dropping almost all frames (rendering only a handful). Sometimes it is called turbo (but autofire is also called turbo). By default, it is the Tab key.

The emulator cannot be sped up any faster than the CPU can handle.

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EmulatorResources/Using last edited by feos on 2013-01-04 19:40:45
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