Despite HENkaku nearing its fourth anniversary, homebrew development on the PlayStation Vita is still alive especially in the emulation department. In this article, we’ll be looking at Rinnegatamante’s latest progress on ReDream for the Vita together with Electric1447’s release of VHBB-Android.
ReDream is now rendering frames on the PlayStation Vita
ReDream is now rendering frames on the PlayStation Vita which gives even more hope that we may see a functional Dreamcast emulator on the console!
It’s a well-known fact that the PlayStation Vita is nowhere near powerful enough to emulate the PlayStation 2 despite many in the homebrew community asking for it but now, there’s hope that games for another 6th generation console may become playable on the device!
This all started a few days ago when Rinnegatamante announced that he was working on porting ReDream, a Dreamcast emulator that greatly focuses on speed, to the PSVita with the final goal of at least making some titles playable. However, nothing was being rendered on screen till then but that’s just changed thanks to a tweet posted yesterday night.
The tweet demonstrates the ReDream core running within RetroArch 1.8.8 rendering the Dreamcast’s BIOS splash screen which is quite promising but obviously, a good deal of work still needs to be done including the creation of ARM dynarec which MasterFeizz is working on. Rinnegatamante has also mentioned on Discord that ReDream’s renderer is straightforward enough to be able to be converted to custom shaders specific for the PlayStation Vita which would perform better than an OpenGL 1 backend. On the subject of performance, ReDream also has support for multi-threading which would allow for more efficient usage of the Vita’s CPU resulting in more playable games further down the line.
Electric1447 releases VHBB-Android – A VitaDB browser for your smartphone
The VHBB application on the PlayStation Vita is quite pleasant to use when it works but sometimes, getting it to work is a little difficult leading many to use alternative ways for getting homebrew on their console.
VHBB-Android is a simple yet elegant way to get stuff from VHBB although a search feature would be quite helpful!
Now, Electric1447 has released a VitaDB client that you can use on your smartphone which is a nifty Android app allowing convenient basic access to Rinnegatamante’s VitaDB by offering the following features:
- Displaying a list of homebrew and plugins listed by publishing date
- There’s currently no option to search by name or employ some other type of filtering (categories or alphabetical for example)
- The ability to download both the VPK file and data files for homebrew to your phone
- Plugins may also be downloaded through the application
- Downloads are stored in “/sdcard/Download”
- Both homebrew and plugins need to be copied and installed manually via FTP or USB OTG to your Vita
- Support for Android 5.0 and above
In its current iteration, VHBB-Android doesn’t allow one to view more in-depth descriptions of homebrew neither does it have the ability to show homebrew screenshots but perhaps, we’ll see such features in a future version as the application is still being frequently updated with it having seen 4 releases in the last 2 days. The ability to add custom homebrew repositories is also in the pipeline according to a comment on Reddit by the developer.
Staying on the topic of emulation, bsnes-mt 1.0 has been released which is a modded version of the popular bsnes emulator that comes with better image quality together with some added UX and QoL features including a Russian translation and PNG screenshots among other stuff. A roadmap has also been laid out for the first DobieStation (PS2 emulator) release which may be interesting to read.
Going back to the first item in this article, there were efforts to port NullDC (Dreamcast emulator) to the PSP over a decade ago and the port was able to emulate games like Power Stone & Crazy Taxi although they obviously weren’t playable. However, you may see videos of them being emulated on the latest build below which are pretty impressive considering the hardware the emulator’s running on!