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Xenosaga Episode III - Also Sprach Zarathustra [SLUS 21389] (U)
#1
status=5;
version=1.1.0;
console=PS2;
crc=2088950A;
img_t=empty;
img_f=empty;
wikiurl=Link;
Code:
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Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.4 Ghz | 6 GB DDR3 RAM in Triple Channel | GeForce GTX 285
2.5 TB Hard Drive Space | Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Official betatester of PCSX2
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#2
PC Specs:

CPU: Intel Core i7 @ 3.4Ghz
GPU: Nvidia GTX 285 768MB

Build Description: PCSX2 17 01 2013 1.1.0 r5517- Windows
GSdx 5464 SSE41 [09 12 2012]
LilyPad 0.11.0 [28 12 2012]
cdvdGigaherz 0.8.0 [28 12 2012]
USBnull Driver 0.7.0 [28 12 2012]
SPU2-X 2.0.0 [17 01 2013]
DEV9null Driver 0.5.0 [28 12 2012]
FWnull Driver 0.7.0 [28 12 2012]
USA v02.00(14/06/2004) Console
DC and MTGS | VU1Rec and VU0Rec | rCache 0 | Console 1 | Patches 0

EE/VU Clamp modes: Normal/Normal
EE/VU Rounding: Chop/Chop

Speedhacks Used:

N/A

Gamefixes Used:

N/A

Amount of testing done (little/medium/much/completed-game): medium

Comments:

Status is unchanged. Runs at 200% speed.

Bugs:

N/A

Status
Playable
Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.4 Ghz | 6 GB DDR3 RAM in Triple Channel | GeForce GTX 285
2.5 TB Hard Drive Space | Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Official betatester of PCSX2
Reply
#3
PC Specs:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U (8 cores, 8 threads, released mid-2020ish, it’s an APU for ultrabooks)
GPU: Radeon Integrated Graphics
Laptop Model: 14ARE05 (Lenovo Flex 5)
RAM: 16GB soldered

Build Description: PCSX2 1.7.0 Linux (64 bit build, it’s all I could find in the repositories. Admittedly, this is a non-standard built)
Linux Distro: Manjaro 20.2.0 Nibia, KDE Edition (Manjaro is a fork of Arch Linux)
Kernel: 5.11.0 pf-Zen2 Kernel (specifically tailored for AMD's Zen2 architecture, likely not important. It’s a non-standard kernel that has worked the best for my system. I’ve also tested out some Real Time kernels and the standard kernel, and it made no extra difference for PCSX2 and this game)
The Linux version has the ability to use both software and hardware hacks at the same time- which I noticed the Windows version does not have. Sometimes I swear that by selecting one option, other options aren’t used, but PCSX2 isn’t upfront about what contradicts what.

BIOS Used: USA v1.06
Video Plugin: GSdx 64-bit (GCC 10.2.0 AVX/AVX) 1.2.0 [libGSdx-AVX2]
EE/VU Clamp modes: Full and Extra+Preserve Sign respectively
EE/VU Rounding: Chop/Chop
GSdx Settings: OpenGL Hardware, 3x Native, Interlacing (Automatic), Bilinear (PS2) Texture Filtering (works the best). Only OpenGL Hardware or Software is present in the Linux version of PCSX2.

Amount of testing done (little/medium/much/completed-game): Medium, I’ve done pretty extensive testing on only the first level, and a little afterwards- both in Linux as well as Windows on this computer (to be posted later), and with Linux on my previous computer. I did a lot of testing while saving in the middle of cutscenes to see what options could fix many of the cutscene issues- as that seems to be the game’s biggest weak point when it comes to emulation on Linux. I’ll continue to go through the game and report what I encounter.

Speedhacks Used:
I set the CPU cycle to “Normal”. I didn’t need any extra power, just compatability. I noticed that the emulator struggles with timing what bit of the game to play and when- so I decided to mess with anything timing related as little as possible just in case.
Enabling Wait Loop Detection seemed to help with some stuttering in the game- or it could just be my imagination. Either way, it doesn’t hurt.
I’ve found that the game doesn’t seem to like EE cycle skipping, so I set that to 0. It can handle being set to 1 to a certain extent if you don’t check the wrong boxes after that, but the game absolutely cannot handle anything higher than that without significant graphical issues.
Under microVU hacks, I did not select the “MVU Flag Hack”, as that could sometimes cause graphical issues. I noticed that the game runs smoother with the MTVU hack enabled. I have multiple cores, and using them works better than not using them. It also fixed some flickering caused by the “Aggressive” CRC hack option to be mentioned later. Somehow, despite being a “hack”, it actually increased compatability elegently without any drawbacks. “Instant VU1” was not selected.
Gamefixes Used: None

I’ve done A LOT of trial and error trying to get things to work as best as they can because I’m nutty that way and I’m a glutton for punishment. A few extra tips:
GSDx Config (Video Plugin Settings):
Hardware:
Enable user hacks, you’ll need it.
I didn’t see much extra benefit from Accurate DATE rendering and GPU Palette Conversion, but I kept them on for possible compatibility reasons.
I didn’t notice any extra benefits to Anisotropic Filtering- likely because this mode is meant to make textures look good at extreme angles- but Xenosaga has a fixed camera system, so that situation pretty much never happens, and even in situations where it should have helped, it still didn’t seem to work. I went all the way up to 16x Anisotropic Filtering once and it crashed my game. Dithering doesn’t seem to make much of a difference unscaled or scaled, so I turned it off. Keep mipmapping on, the game looks bad without it, but anything above “Basic” doesn’t appear to add any extra benefit.
The CRC Hack Level is important. FMVs have a tendency to do strange things in this game. Regular gameplay works smoothly and beautifully, but different parts of cutscenes can do weird things. Flashback scenes have the most glitches, with odd black boxes appearing, and lines down the middle of the screen. In normal cutscenes, colors and models will have a strange doubling effect, but then when the camera switches to another camera angle they’ll render just fine. You have multiple options to fix this. You can either use software rendering to fix these issues completely (which also means you can’t select a higher resolution), or you can use the “Aggressive” CRC hack setting. The Aggressive setting makes cutscenes work a lot better, but it also removes the sepia tone filter. Once I did this, some orange and yellowy flickering in the bottom half of the screen appeared. Somehow, checking the “MTVU multi-threading” option in the Speed Hacks section solved the flickering issue. There were still some occasional flashes that appeared in cutscenes, and by setting the blending accuracy to at least “Medium” it would solve that (admittedly minor) issue. Thus far in my playthrough that has appeared to iron out all the bugs in most cases (just no sepia tone filter, lol). Giant robot battles work very well but get slow when you start to activate effects heavy animations like Anima. They weren’t game breakingly slow or glitchy, thankfully. No matter how many options I experimented with, I couldn’t get rid of that slowness without decreasing the resolution.

Software:
My computer has 8 CPU threads Recommended settings are # of threads minus 2. So I set it to 6.
This game DOES NOT like Auto Flush, do not by any means use Auto Flush. Horrible slow down on my old computer, and on this computer as well.
On my previous computer, the game didn’t seem to like Edge Anti-Aliasing. It works just fine on this one though, but it most cases it won’t do much. It makes town maps look better, although it does cause a little bit of stuttering.

Advanced Settings Tab:
From what I’ve read elsewhere online, Force-disabling Half Screen Fix Detection will help some people. Disable Safe Features, as it will help some textures render on the over-map in towns.
“Merge Sprite” is one of several options that help keep the sprites in the game working. One sprite-enhancing option doesn’t seem to noticably work on its own, but selecting “Merge Sprite”, and setting “Round Sprite” to “Full” seems to help.
Turn on Trilinear Filtering, it prevents half the screen from changing to a darker color in some cutscenes.
Half pixel-offset should be set to “Special (Texture)”, otherwise, odd black lines and shadows will appear on the floor. Above or below that, and odd graphical glitches pop up.
Several sources I found suggested setting the texture offset Y-coordinate to 1000 would help. Setting it to those coordinates made things really blurry in some areas for me, like in towns on the over-map. But, textures do have a tendency to do strange things in this game, so fiddling with this could work if some blurry doubling of textures appears. I set my X coordinate to 25, and my Y coordinate to 100. I think it made the image sharper, but it’s hard to tell.
I found no use in selecting the OpenGL Custom Settings.
Post-Processing Tab:
Keep on “Texture Filtering of Display” and select “Fxaa Filter”. I detected no compatibility issues when keeping them on, and the game looks weird without those two settings.

Audio Settings:
Set latency to around 120, and that should help with audio syncing improperly. Audio settings aren’t anywhere near as important, and you could probably make do with whatever. I noticed that Pulse Audio didn’t always work that well on my computer, so I switched to PortAudio (Cross-Platform), and set the API to “ALSA”. That’s likely a very computer-specific thing though.

Bugs:
The game won't detect my memory card, so I have to use the built in save function in PCSX2. The game also noticably slows down sometimes around save points a bit more than in the original. If the game does detect a memory card at all, it will say it’s trying to format the card, but then fail every time. I spun up the Windows version of PCSX2 and the memory card feature worked just fine.

Bugs that are NOT PCSX2 bugs:
On my PS2, loading a boss battle or cutscene would take just long enough to make you start to wonder if something went wrong. I found it kinda funny that PCSX2 would also sometimes do the same thing. I wouldn’t consider these things to be compatibility issues as they are present in the original game. On the PS2, during the first level after the boss fight- Shion calls her E.S. in a cutscene- which I remember distinctly would always cause a slight pause until the next section of the cutscene was played- but instead, PCSX2 continued the cutscene fluently- a rare instance of the emulator doing a better job than the original hardware compatability-wise. On the PS2, the game could be a little slow around save points sometimes, so trying to emulate an already unstable part of the game is likely what is causing slowdown issues. It’s not 100% PCSX2’s fault that save points often don’t work, as I have replayed the game many times on the PS2, and weird things did tend to happen with them. I imagine having bugs on top of bugs would be a sticky problem to untangle.
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