WiiU emulation is that much easier than 3DS emulation?

I’m just wondering. How is Cemu able to progress so much faster than Citra? Is it all because of the GPU issue? Or is it that 3DS is better secured than the WiiU? IDK

This has been discussed in several other topics, but there’s a few key points.

  • The Wii U uses hardware (CPU: a PowerPC 750, Power 7 architecture) that’s well understood and documented. A lot of components were “off the shelf.”
  • They have a very small team of developers and are closed source. This does allow them to be more agile, but that also comes with the price of not being a community project. Without proper code vetting spaghetti code and hacks getting the most popular games working, but neglecting a solid foundation.
  • The 3DS has a CPU that’s fairly well documented, but a GPU (the Pica 200) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PICA200 that is not well understood. There is little to no documentation on it, as the processor was designed specifically for Japanese markets.
  • Additional time and research from the Citra project as well as 3dbrew on how to crack open the 3DS’s operating system which came at a much later time than the Wii U.

Without proper code vetting spaghetti code and hacks getting the most popular games working, but neglecting a solid foundation.

I’ve been following Citra since its very early days and as much as I respect the developers of Citra, I really dislike people who use the above argument without proper proof. Whether you’re being explicit or implying it, please avoid such arguments without any form of evidence.

To be clear, I dislike Cemu’s closed source status too. And I do see where you’re coming from with your other points.

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Is it an assumption? Yes, but generally in 1-2 man groups without anyone looking over your code, things tend to get dirty under the hood.


not necessarily that bad in and of itself, more of a problem if the project ever becomes open source and then nobody can understand what is actually happening under the hood

Whether it goes open source or not, it still will have the fate of the maintainer not being able to understand the code after years (Especially if the original programmers aren’t around.), and therefore the program becoming opsolete.

I don’t know, isn’t Wii U a harder platform for develop games 'cause the engine is different and have a closed source? Well, this doesn’t interfere for emulation, I think.

But 3DS have a hardware a little complex (I guess), 'cause 3D, two screens and yeah.

I don’t think emulate Wii U is so hard, but can be a little harder than 3DS emulation. Or not.

You’re making a few big simplifications here.

You’re right about this not affecting emulation. Engines are specific to games, and generally aren’t left up to the emulator to implement. If a game uses Unreal (Not on the 3DS obv., just giving an example.) instead of Unity, it still is treated like any other game. GPUs on the other hand are what matters.

The closed source part isn’t quite right. There is no one engine that the 3DS and Wii U use. There’s a lot of diffferent options, and and engine just being different doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s harder to develop for. As for the source code, I believe most commercial engines are closed source, but this is nullified by the fact that developers have documentation to use the engine.

I would say a big reason why the Wii U is a tricky platform to develop for is the presence of the gamepad, and I’m sure there’s other big factors.

Having two screens isn’t really what makes the 3DS complex. What does is Nintendo’s choice of GPU, like Flame Sage said.

I don’t understand what you’re saying here. It seems you’re saying “The Wii U is easier to emulate than the 3DS, but it can be harder, but it can be easier.”

It is also generally believed Cemu is using more sketchy methods to build their emulator.
I cannot vouch that Citra devs aren’t poking with the official SDK tools and documentation, but I can almost guarantee the Cemu devs are.
I can compile builds with Unity for WiiU and run them on citra with almost 1:1 results compared to physical hardware, which generally speaking, most emulators like Dolphin (until more recently) and Citra seems to have a much harder time with this since dev builds can incorporate different functionality than most retail games. I haven’t seen such issues present with Cemu, implying that either the emulator is well coded, or they are using the SDK in some manor.

Because I really don’t know, it’s just a hypothesis.

I’m not expert, sowy.