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Dolphin - A GameCube / Triforce / Wii Emulator

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Dolphin is an emulator for running GameCube, Triforce and Wii games on Windows/Linux/OS X systems and recent Android devices. It's licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2).

Please read the FAQ before use.

System Requirements

  • OS
    • Microsoft Windows (Vista or higher).
    • Linux or Apple Mac OS X (10.7 or higher).
    • Unix-like systems other than Linux might work but are not officially supported.
  • Processor
    • A CPU with SSE2 support.
    • A modern CPU (3 GHz and Dual Core, not older than 2008) is highly recommended.
  • Graphics
    • A reasonably modern graphics card (Direct3D 10.0 / OpenGL 3.0).
    • A graphics card that supports Direct3D 11 / OpenGL 4.4 is recommended.

Installation on Windows

Use the solution file Source/dolphin-emu.sln to build Dolphin on Windows. Visual Studio 2013 is a hard requirement since previous versions don't support many C++ features that we use. Other compilers might be able to build Dolphin on Windows but have not been tested and are not recommended to be used.

An installer can be created by using the Installer_win32.nsi and Installer_x64.nsi scripts in the Installer directory. This will require the Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS) to be installed. Creating an installer is not necessary to run Dolphin since the Build directory contains a working Dolphin distribution.

Installation on Linux/OS X

Dolphin requires CMake for systems other than Windows. Many libraries are bundled with Dolphin and used if they're not installed on your system. CMake will inform you if a bundled library is used or if you need to install any missing packages yourself.

Build steps:

  1. mkdir Build
  2. cd Build
  3. cmake ..
  4. make

On OS X, an application bundle will be created in ./Binaries.

On Linux, it's strongly recommended to perform a global installation via sudo make install.


When Dolphin has been installed with the NSIS installer, you can uninstall Dolphin like any other Windows application.

Linux users can run cat install_manifest | xargs -d '\n' rm from the build directory to uninstall Dolphin from their system.

OS X users can simply delete to uninstall it.

Additionally, you'll want to remove the global user directory (see below to see where it's stored) if you don't plan to reinstall Dolphin.

Command line usage

Usage: Dolphin [-h] [-d] [-l] [-e <str>] [-b] [-V <str>] [-A <str>]

  • -h, --help Show this help message
  • -d, --debugger Opens the debugger
  • -l, --logger Opens the logger
  • -e, --exec= Loads the specified file (DOL,ELF,WAD,GCM,ISO)
  • -b, --batch Exit Dolphin with emulator
  • -V, --video_backend= Specify a video backend
  • -A, --audio_emulation= Low level (LLE) or high level (HLE) audio

Available DSP emulation engines are HLE (High Level Emulation) and LLE (Low Level Emulation). HLE is fast but often less accurate while LLE is slow but close to perfect. Note that LLE has two submodes (Interpreter and Recompiler), which cannot be selected from the command line.

Available video backends are "D3D" (only available on Windows Vista or higher), "OGL". There's also "Software Renderer", which uses the CPU for rendering and is intended for debugging purposes, only.

Sys Files

  • totaldb.dsy: Database of symbols (for devs only)
  • GC/font_ansi.bin: font dumps
  • GC/font_sjis.bin: font dumps
  • GC/dsp_coef.bin: DSP dumps
  • GC/dsp_rom.bin: DSP dumps

The DSP dumps included with Dolphin have been written from scratch and do not contain any copyrighted material. They should work for most purposes, however some games implement copy protection by checksumming the dumps. You will need to dump the DSP files from a console and replace the default dumps if you want to fix those issues.

Folder structure

These folders are installed read-only and should not be changed:

  • GameSettings: per-game default settings database
  • GC: DSP and font dumps
  • Maps: symbol tables (dev only)
  • Shaders: post-processing shaders
  • Themes: icon themes for GUI
  • Wii: default Wii NAND contents

User folder structure

A number of user writeable directories are created for caching purposes or for allowing the user to edit their contents. On OS X and Linux these folders are stored in ~/Library/Application Support/Dolphin/ and ~/.dolphin-emu respectively. On Windows the user directory is stored in the My Documents folder by default, but there are various way to override this behavior:

  • Creating a file called portable.txt next to the Dolphin executable will store the user directory in a local directory called "User" next to the Dolphin executable.
  • If the registry string value LocalUserConfig exists in HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Dolphin Emulator and has the value 1, Dolphin will always start in portable mode.
  • If the registry string value UserConfigPath exists in HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Dolphin Emulator, the user folders will be stored in the directory given by that string. The other two methods will be prioritized over this setting.

List of user folders:

  • Cache: used to cache the ISO list
  • Config: configuration files
  • Dump: anything dumped from dolphin
  • GameConfig: additional settings to be applied per-game
  • GC: memory cards
  • Load: custom textures
  • Logs: logs, if enabled
  • ScreenShots: screenshots taken via Dolphin
  • StateSaves: save states
  • Wii: Wii NAND contents

Custom textures

Custom textures have to be placed in the user directory under Load/Textures/[GameID]/. You can find the Game ID by right-clicking a game in the ISO list and selecting "ISO Properties".


A modification of Dolphin for working AVI video/WAV audio dumping







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