Nintendo 3DS emulation is about to get a whole lot better, as Citra now has Vulkan support bringing better performance for players. This follows on from the devs teasing Vulkan back in an earlier progress report in March.
Joining many other emulators in modernising their rendering systems like Dolphin, Ryujinx, RPCS3 and yuzu. In the announcement they showed the difference with an Intel Core i3-1005G1 going from 75FPS to 115FPS. It's currently in their nightly releases and will eventually be in their main downloads.
This brings with it improved Android support, support on macOS once again thanks to translation to Metal via MoltenVK, users on older AMD GPUs and more.
Since it's still early days though, it won't be anywhere close to perfect so you should expect to see issues. They have a few noted things to be aware of:
- Do not expect Vulkan to fix old emulation bugs that are not related to graphics or rendering.
- Do not expect Vulkan to render games correctly that our OpenGL backend does not render correctly. Aside from OpenGL or Vulkan driver bugs, switching between the APIs shouldn’t show any visual difference. If that is the case for you, please report this to us!
- Do not expect Vulkan to be an improvement over OpenGL in every aspect, on every device. Whilst Vulkan provides better performance than OpenGL in most cases, that is not always the case.
- As of writing, Vulkan does not have full feature parity with our OpenGL backend. We will list some of the missing features below.
- Whilst Vulkan currently has a disk pipeline cache, as well as runtime shader caching, an actual Disk Shader Cache for it is not yet implemented. As such, you may still experience some shader stutter at the start of each session until that is properly implemented.
- Recording your gameplay using Video Dumping is not yet implemented.
- Texture Filtering and Post-Processing Shaders are not yet implemented.
Nice to see more projects pick up Vulkan support, should keep it running nicely into the future. Especially when they add in all the features, the performance should be great.