We've got a lot of exciting news and features packed into this Progress Report. On top of the normal emulator development, Dolphin's infrastructure has seen a massive overhaul. While most of the work has gone into optimizing our backend and hardware to meet new demands, users may notice some upgrades to user facing features like the Dolphin Wiki and FifoCI.
Some focus on the infrastructure doesn't mean there was a slowdown in progress for the actual emulator, though! A bevy of new contributors to the project mixed with the efforts of stalwarts has brought together some massive new features no one will want to miss. Headlining this Progress Report is a massive new performance hack called VBI Skip. If you're on a weak device that can't consistently play a game full-speed, VBI Skip is a powerful tool that can help make the game more playable and keep audio crisp and clear. If you're looking for higher performance overall, a ton of Vulkan optimizations and general emulator optimizations have given Dolphin a pretty large performance increase. A new option called Cull Vertices on the CPU can also greatly improve the framerate in many games.
If you're instead looking to enjoy some unique games, the Skylanders games can now be played without needing a physical Portal of Power connected. You can even use your own figurine data to continue where you left off with powerful Skylanders!
We have a lot to get through... but first.
It's that time again - we have to warn users of a rather annoying problem that can decimate Dolphin's performance, particularly in mobile devices. The culprit this time is NVIDIA based Optimus laptops - users have been reporting that the discrete NVIDIA graphics card has been giving them a fraction of the performance of Intel's onboard graphics!
We're unsure of what is wrong and haven't been able to determine exactly when it started happening. However, if you find that Dolphin is suddenly running slower than before, you can work-around the issue! Simply add Dolphin to the 3D Settings in the Nvidia Control Panel and set our Power Management setting to "Prefer Maximum Performance." That has been the only way to consistently fix performance.
We also have one more announcement to make. For Android users who want the latest development builds on their phone without wanting to wait, we now have an Open Testing Program on the Play Store app.
Selecting this option will keep your Dolphin up to date with the latest development builds. This means you'll have access to the latest optimizations and features immediately, without having to wait for the next beta update. However, as with our development builds on desktop, there is always the risk of bugs and/or regressions slipping in and going unnoticed for a bit. If you want to live on the bleeding edge, Dolphin's Open Testing Program is here.
Now with all of that out of the way, let's finally get on with December and January's Notable Changes.