Emulation allows players to run the older Panzer Dragoon games on a modern Windows PC. Various emulators such as Retroarch, Mednafen and Yabause facilitate this. In addition, the RetroArch Kronos and Yabause emulators can upscale and smooth out the graphics. These emulators will play and run any .cue file that has been ripped from any legally-owned Saturn game.
Below is a list of quick setup guides you will need in order to get these emulators working. These guides will not include where and how to download ROMs online, as this is illegal.
- 1 Legally ripping games
- 2 Saturn emulators
- 2.1 RetroArch
- 2.2 Mednafen
- 2.3 Yabause
- 2.4 OpenEmu
- 2.5 Cxbx-Reloaded
- 2.6 compatibility and issues:
- 2.7 Xemu
- 2.8 Ripping Xbox games for use with Xemu
- 2.9 Xemu Settings:
- 2.10 compatibility and issues:
- 3 Playing the Panzer Dragoon Series in VR/3D
Legally ripping games
The .cue and .bin files from physical copies of the Panzer Dragoon games can be extracted and ripped via the Alcohol 120% software.
- Go to the RetroArch website, https://www.retroarch.com/. Choose the correct device on which RetroArch will be installed.
- Download the system bios files. These can be found via a Google search, on http://archive.org/.
- With RetroArch installed, place the bios files in the system folder within Retroarch's main installation folder.
- Go to the RetroArch main menu. Select the "Online Updater" to install any pending updates for the emulator.
- In Settings, go to Video/Scaling/Aspect Ratio/ and set the aspect ratio to 16:9.
- In the main menu, select "Download Core" and you will see 4 different Sega Saturn cores (emulators). Note: Kronos Core is currently the only Saturn core that fully works. Other cores, like Yabause, might have slight issues that impair their use. However, Yabause or Mednafen work fairly well as standalone emulators, separate from Retroarch. For more information on those standalone emulators see their respective sections further down in this guide.
7. Note: (This is very important) For a game with multiple discs like Panzer Dragoon Saga and all single games as well, make sure you test out each individual game file in RetroArch Kronos, by itself, to see if it works properly before playing. Concerning a game with multiple discs, If one of the discs/iso are corrupted when you go to switch discs, the disc won't load and you will just be stuck in the Saturn internal menu. As long as each individual disc works you will be fine. RetroArch Kronos will load any .cue file of a game but it has to have the .bin file to go along with it or the game won't load at all.
Setup for multiple discs
Once your Sega Saturn Kronos core is downloaded and you've tested and verified that each individual game iso works, you need to set up your game files for multiple discs. If you have no multiple disc games or don't intent to play any, you can skip this step. Assuming you do, the instructions are as follows: RetroArch will scan and play any .cue file of a specific game. Again just make sure to have the .bin file to go along with it. For a multi disc games like Panzer Dragoon Saga you need to go through an additional step. You need to set up a .m3u text document containing all of your game files. Each game multi disc or not, should have its own separate folder. So concerning a multiple disc game like Panzer Dragoon Saga, make a folder and put all 4 iso .cue and all 4 .bin files into it. Once everything is in one folder and organized we need to make the m3u file. So, open up notebook or notebook++ and copy the name of each of your .cue game files exactly, for each disc as shown bellow and in the visual guide.
Panzer Dragoon Saga (Disc 1 of 4) (NTSC).cue
Panzer Dragoon Saga (Disc 2 of 4) (NTSC).cue
Panzer Dragoon Saga (Disc 3 of 4) (NTSC).cue
Panzer Dragoon Saga (Disc 4 of 4) (NTSC).cue
Then go to file and save as. You can save this file whatever you want so I saved mine as: Panzer Dragoon Saga.m3u. But the ending extension is very important and it needs to be .m3u
NOTE: If you can't see the .txt extension at the end of your text document title you need to change your settings to show known file extensions. In Windows 10 it's very simple, you can find that on your folder under 'View' and a checkbox reading 'File name extensions'.
Once you create this file put it in the same directory/folder as your game files. Then, when in RetroArch use this file to load your game. Go to main menu/load content and select your game folder location and load that m3u file. You will then have to select your Kronos core and then your game should boot up.
When you actually have to switch discs you will need to press F1 and go into the quick menu and perform these steps:
Play until the "Please insert disc 2" prompt.
Quick Menu > Disc Control > Eject Disc.
QUICK MENU > RESUME, just for a second.
Quick Menu > Disc Control > Current Disc Index, change for disc 2.
And finally: Insert Disc.
Note: After you switch discs, within the Saturn menu, the button on the upper left will change to a curved "S". You can then select it to start the disc up.
For all other single disc games you can just go to main menu/load content and just load the .cue game file as is. Just make sure the .bin file is in the same folder as the .cue game file.
While a game is running if you press F1 you will be presented with a number of emulator options. Unlike Mednafen, Kronos actually upscales the game all the way up to 8K resolution! Within this options menu, you can fine tune your graphics settings or make any save states. For the Kronos Sega Saturn core I suggest these settings:
SH-2 cpu core: Kronos ("Old" setting not supported any longer.)
Resolution: 1080p or 720p
Polygon Mode: gpu-tesselation
Improved Mesh: on
Making Save States
While a game is running press F1 to go into the menu and select "Save State". Note: this feature was recently fixed, so be sure before starting the game you "update installed cores" with the "Online Updater" found in the main RetroArch menu.
RetroArch Kronos Compatibility List:
Panzer Dragoon (Works well)
Panzer Dragoon Zwei (Works well)
Panzer Dragoon Saga (Works well)
Once you have Mednafen installed you need to go into your installation folder, right click on the mednafen.ctg file and open it up in a program like notepad and make some changes. Use Ctr+f within the document to search for what you need as shown below.
- Within the mednafen.cfg, file and using notepad or notepad++ to edit it, make these changes and save:
-Hit ctrl+f, search for ss.stretch
change ss.stretch aspect_mult2 to ss.stretch aspect
search for ss.correct_aspect
0 is native
1 will squash or stretch to 4:3
-ctrl+f search for ss.videoip
0 will give you sharp pixels
1 will apply bilinear filtering (a blur)
-ctrl+f search for video.frameskip
set this to 0
so the emulator renders all frames
ctrl+f search for ss.scsp.resamp_quality
sound quality for the scsp
0 is lowest
10 is highest
default is 4
-ctrl+f search for ss.midsync
setting to 1 can reduce input lag
but increases CPU load
-ctrl+f search for cd.image_memcache
if you have a good bit of RAM
setting this to 1 will load the entire game into your RAM
Basic Emulator Settings:
Alt + Shift + 1 -> Set controls for Player 1
Alt + Shift + 2 -> Set controls for Player 2
Alt + Enter -> Full Screen
0 - Save Screen Snapshot
F5 - Save Game State
F7 - Load Game State
F11 - Toggle FPS Text
ctrl+shift+esc (only use this if you have to force close Mednafen)
Loading a game:
Before loading a game make sure your game files including the .Cue and .Bin files are together in one folder. To start a game drag an .Cue file of your chosen Saturn game over the mednafen.exe file found in your main directory folder. For multiple disc games you will have to make an m3u file (see the RetroArch section above called "Visual Guide"). Once you do this load that m3u file by dragging it into the Mednafen .exe to start the game. When you have to switch discs do the following:
F8 to open/close tray
F6 to switch between discs
Note: This emulator can also upscale and smooth out the graphics
Main Site: https://yabause.en.uptodown.com/windows
Go to settings and General :
First, select a folder for your Saturn BIOS. You will have to find them online. Do a search in Google for “Sega Saturn BIOS v1.00a (1995)(Sega)(US)(M6)” . These are the ones I used. Put them in the same folder as the Yaubause 0.9.15 installation folder. Next, CD-Rom should be set to *ISO-File Virtual Drive* . uncheck *Enable Built in HLE Bios* . Translation option should be set to *use system locale* . Lastly, make sure *Enable Frame Limiter* is checked. If not, the framerate will be way too high. And check off *Enable Multithreading* .
Next, go to Video :
Select *OpenGL* as the video interface. Select *Bilinear Filtering* . Also, for OSD Core use *Software OSD Interface* . Fullscreen Resolution should be 1920X1080. Also set *Integer Pixel Scaling* to 4. Apparently Bilinear Filtering will smooth out the graphics.
Next, go to Sound :
The best option here is *SDL Sound Interface* .
Next, go to Input :
Its only possible to get the L and R buttons mapped with the pad option only. The 3D control pad will not map the L and R buttons. Select the controller for *Pad* . You’ll have to map the movement to the d-pad because for some reason Yabause has issues with controller input settings. But the pad option will ensure you at least have all of your buttons mapped, just without analog movement. And the L and R have to be mapped to the top L and R buttons, doesn’t map to any back triggers of a 360 controller for some reason… But ironically for some odd reason the 3D controller option works with Nights into Dreams just fine though…except when you’re walking around with the kids.
Lastly, go to View :
Select hide on fullscreen. This will keep the top menu invisible when you go into fullscreen. You can go into fullscreen by going to the top menu, view, and select fullscreen. Once in fullscreen you can exit by pressing the command alt+Enter on your keyboard.
To load a game/ISO go to file and Open ISO. You will need to open a .CUE file of the game you want to play. You also need to make sure that the .Cue file has its other .bin file to go along with it, or the game won't load. And to save go to file, save state, or load state.
For macOS users, OpenEmu is multi-console emulator that extends the Mac's 'it just works' philosophy to open source video game emulation. It uses Mednafen for Sega Saturn emulation under the hood.
Cxbx-Reloaded is an Xbox emulator you can use to play xbox games including Panzer Dragoon Orta on Windows.
Main Site: https://cxbx-reloaded.co.uk/
Setup Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hPP5iXq3JA
Download and install the latest version and check to see if you have the system requirements to run the emulator as follows:
Windows 7 or later (64 bit only) or X86-64 Linux with Wine
GPU: Direct3D 9.0c/Pixel Shader Model 2.X and Vertex Shader Model 3.0
32-bit (x86) Visual C++ 2019 Redistributable found here:
Once you have the emulator downloaded run the cxbx.exe file. It's recommended to run the program in portable mode to keep everything contained in one place. Once this is complete you will be in the emulator main menu. Next, go to setting and configure input. This is where you will setup your controller. In the dropdown menu next to port one select MS Gamepad S and map your gamepad buttons. Next, go to settings config video. Make sure your graphics card is selected in the first field and your using Direct 3D HAL (hardware accelerated) for the second field. For display resolution set the resolution that matches your monitor. The field called Render Resolution is where you can upscale the game. Select what your CPU can handle. In order to run a game properly you might have to go into settings/hacks/speed hacks and set it to run xbox threads on all cores.
You can also install the Xbox Dashboard. This isn't a requirement for most games but some games do indeed require it. The version of the dashboard I Installed was 4920. Once you have the file, go to your main cxbx-Reloaded installation folder. Go to the EmuDisk folder and put all the dashboard files in Partition2.
To run a game, go to file/open xbe. Select your game file/ISO. Any game file will be named default.xbe. Then, go to emulation/Start or F5 to launch the game. If the game runs properly the emulator will create a file called EEPROM.bin. Once it does this go back into the emulator settings and select config eeprom. Go to video settings and select Widescreen. This will stop games from stretching that can properly run in fullscreen. If you want to run games in full screen go back into settings/config video and check off use exclusive fullscreen mode. You can also use F10 to toggle fullscreen on or off.
Ripping game ISO's
You can use a program called XDVDMulleter to rip your legally owned games for use with this emulator:
compatibility and issues:
Currently Panzer Dragoon Orta on Cxbx-Reloaded is unstable at most. You will experience sound skipping and random crashes during gameplay.
Xemu is another Xbox emulator that will let you play Xbox games. It has a higher compatibility rate for most games compared to Cxbx-Reloaded.
First install the emulator:
Now it's time to set up the emulator.
Once the emulator is installed and open. In the top menu go to Machine/Settings. You will need 3 files to get the emulator working properly: Flash (BIOS) file, MCPX Boot ROM file and Hard Disc Image file. The EEPROM file will be created automatically, so you don't have to worry about that. I can't provide you with the other 3 files so you'll have to search for them yourself. Once the files are inserted hit save at the bottom and restart the emulator. The files should look like this:
Flash (BIOS) file: omplex_4627.bin
MCPX Boot ROM file: mcpx_1.0.bin
Disc Image file: xbox_hdd.qcow2
Ripping Xbox games for use with Xemu
To legally rip your xbox games into iso format you can use a program called extract-xiso
For files that are unpacked with a string of multiple folders or in xbe format you can use a program called C-Xbox Tool to convert them into a single iso found here:
When in the program:
1: Click ISO Creation
2. Add folder
3. For source folder go where your xbox games are
4. select the game folder
5. then save it to downloads or something
6. finally click start
To launch a game go to Machine at the top menu and select Load Disc. Then select the folder you put your iso game file into. You can then proceed to upscale the game by going to the top menu and selecting View. You can select Rendering Scale and upscale the game all the way to 10x. Note: most computer setups can only handle 2x or 3x at this time. And on some instances you might experience slow down in some levels and have to revert to 1x scale. You can also go to Scale and play in 16:9 Widescreen and run the game in Fullscreen mode.
compatibility and issues:
Panzer Dragoon Orta is currently playable from start to finish in Xemu. On lower end PC's most players will have to play the game in 1x scale.
Playing the Panzer Dragoon Series in VR/3D
With the emulators mentioned above you can split the screen and play the games in 3D with your VR headset of choice. RetroArch has a built in split screen mode but the other standalone emulators like Mednafen will require a program called ReShade to split the screen. More information below:
RetroArch: Split Screen Shader setup (works on all Saturn cores)
RetroArch has a split screen shader that is built in to the emulator itself and when set up will split the screen. Here are some instructions to set up the Side by Side shader:
Note: make sure first in RetroArch settings go to: Video/Scaling/Aspect Ratio/and set the aspect ratio to 16:9.
When a game is running press F1 and scroll down to Shaders. Next go to Load and select shaders_slang/stereoscopic-3d/and select the side-by-side-simple shader. This shader will split the screen. Go back and then select Shader Parameters. In these options set each one to:
Eye Separation: -0.50 or -0.55 (-0.52 is preferred: see how to manually alter this number below)
Vertical Placement: 0.42
Horizonal Placement: 0.99
If the Shader fails to load you might have to fix the file manually. Might be fixed and updated later but in case it isn't, here is how to fix it:
Go into RetroArch installation folder. Go into the shaders folder. Next, go into shaders_slang folder. Go into stereoscopic-3d folder. right click side-by-side-simple and open it up in notepad++. Change this line:
shaders0 = shaders/side-by-side-simple.slang
shader0 = shaders/side-by-side-simple.slang
Then go to file and save.
You can also manually increase the number count of the Eye Separation by editing that file as well. So you will get an even more precise 3D effect. Here is what you have to do:
Go to: [retroarch dir]\shaders\shaders_slang\stereoscopic-3d\shaders\side-by-side-simple.slang
Right click on side-by-side-simple.slang and open it up in notepad or notepad++. Edit this line near the top:
#pragma parameter eye_sep "Eye Separation" 0.30 -1.0 5.0 0.05
Change the 0.05 to 0.01
This will allow to eye separation to increase in increments of 1 instead of 5. Make sure to go to file and save your changes. With these new changes in place I suggest a starting number of -0.52 for the Eye Separation.
Next all you have to do is merge the screen with a free program like desktop+ or bigscreen. But I suggest the paid version of Virtual Desktop as it has more options as far as merging the screens go.
Mednafen and Yabause 0.9.15 installed with ReSade (A program that will split the screen)
Now, to play these games in 3D you will need a program called ReShade; a program that will split the screen. Go to the site and download it. Next install ReShade on mednafen.exe, and Yabause 0.9.15.exe, found in the main directory where you installed the emulators. When installing ReShade Select OpenGL
When you open up the emulator and load a game, you will see the ReShade interface overlaid on the emulator screen when you start a game. Hit the home button to bring up the tutorial and hit continue to bring up the shaders. From the list select Depth3D to split the screen. You can then play around with the Divergence and Convergence, which will set how strong the 3D is.
Install Virtual Desktop from the Oculus Store: (This program allows you to merge the two screens.)
Note: you can use free programs like desktop+ or bigscreen but I suggest the paid version of Virtual Desktop as it has more options as far as merging the screens.
Next, you will need to buy a program from the Oculus or Steam Store called Virtual Desktop. Once inside this program you can bring up the emulator from your desktop into full screen. You can then, either from the Virtual Desktop menu or by pressing F6, split the screen to go into VR along with the ReShade split screen. You can also curve the sides of the screen and zoom in or zoom out to your liking.