Commit 7a548482 authored by Tim Allen's avatar Tim Allen

Update in-repo docs since this is now "bsnes" not "higan".

parent 30ed7f7e
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Contributing to higan
If you would like to propose a change to higan,
If you would like to propose a change to bsnes,
you should create an account on the [unofficial forums][f],
go to the "Projects" forum,
and post your idea in a new topic there.
higan - Suite of videogame console emulators
bsnes - Suite of videogame console emulators
icarus - Game library importer for higan
Copyright © 2004-2017 byuu
The unofficial higan repository
The unofficial bsnes repository
higan emulates a number of classic video-game consoles of the 1980s and 1990s,
bsnes emulates the Super Famicom and Super Nintendo consoles,
including various peripherals,
allowing you to play classic games on a modern general-purpose computer.
This repository includes
the source-code for
stable and WIP releases of higan,
starting during the development of v068.
It also includes community-maintained documentation.
The name "bsnes" originally referred to a standalone SNES emulator.
Later, bsnes added support for other classic game consoles,
then in v091 it was renamed "higan".
higan still exists, and still includes SNES emulation,
but for people who don't want or need all the other emulators,
as of v107 the SNES emulation is once again
available on its own as "bsnes".
apart from `.gitignore` files,
anything in the
......@@ -23,26 +26,20 @@ or [shaders](shaders/)
directories should be exactly as it appeared in official releases.
Everything else has been added for various reasons.
Official higan resources
Official bsnes resources
- [Official homepage](
- [Official homepage](
Unofficial higan resources
- [Unofficial forum](
- Documentation for
[the current stable version][stadocs]
- [Source code repository](
archives official higan releases
archives official bsnes and higan releases
and WIP snapshots
since approximately v067r21
- [Latest WIP build for Windows][wipwin]
- Documentation for
[the latest WIP version][wipdocs]

higan - "Now you're playing with fire!"
higan is a multi-system emulator that began development on October 14th, 2004.
It currently plays games for the following systems:
* Nintendo Famicom (NES), Super Famicom (SNES)
* Nintendo Game Boy, Game Boy Color + Game Boy Advance
* Sega Master System, Game Gear + Mega Drive (Genesis)
* NEC PC Engine (TurboGrafx) + SuperGrafx
* Bandai WonderSwan + WonderSwan Color
Supported Systems
* FreeBSD 10+
* Windows 7, 8, 10
* Linux 3.2+
* OS X 10.7 Lion or above
You'll need a fast CPU, with clock speed being vastly more important.
Dual-core is perfectly adequate, since higan doesn't make significant use
of more than one core.
For Intel, you're looking at a 3.5 GHz Haswell architecture or better,
whilst AMD users will want a similarly specced Ryzen build.
Controller Setup
First, you'll want to configure your controllers. Choose Settings -> Input and
pick the system you'd like to configure. If you have two players, or a special
game (eg. Mario Paint), you can pick the controller port and device here.
To assign inputs, double click the name and press the stick or button on your
controller. You can have multiple assignments, for example both keyboard and
joypad. The Erase button clears the assignments for one input; Reset clears
them all in one go.
(Normally you only need to do this once. But because of how USB works,
it's impossible to tell identical controllers apart. This means if you move
one to another port, it counts as a new device, and you'll have to reassign
the buttons or move it back.)
Loading Games
After this you can go to Library -> Load ROM File and select a game. higan
adds it to your library, and it should start immediately. (Game Boy Advance
titles need one more step; please see the FAQ below.)
To add games en masse, you can use Library -> Import ROM Files. This opens
icarus, where you can choose a folder of ROMs, then select the ones you want
to import.
In both cases, if you choose a system under the Library submenus, all games
added will show up in a file browser under the Emulation folder in your user
profile. The path can be changed under Settings -> Advanced if desired.
Controller Ports
If you're emulating a console, you need to plug the controllers in, since
there's no connection by default.
Usually this means selecting eg. Super Famicom -> Controller Port 1 -> Gamepad,
for example. However, some games require other peripherals like the SNES Mouse.
Troubleshooting & FAQ
Q: What's the Library?
A: higan loads folders containing all the files needed to run the game.
Odds are you have PC games and music albums organised the same way.
This does mean that to play the games, you have to import them first.
If you're familiar with iTunes or Steam, you already know how this works!
Q: Importing vs. loading? What's the difference?
A: The "Library -> Load ROM File" menu is a shortcut. It adds the game to your
library, then opens it without the manual import process.
However, if you have lots of games to add at once, you'll want
"Import ROM Files" instead.
Q: Why's higan say I'm missing a file ("Game Boy Advance.sys/bios.rom")?
A: This is the ROM for the startup screen you see when you switch on the
Game Boy Advance. Games require it to run, but like other ROMs, it's
copyrighted and therefore not provided with higan.
Having acquired a copy, you'll have to drop it in the requested folder,
then rename it to bios.rom.
Q: Where are the games imported? Where did all my save files go?
A: Check the path under Settings -> Advanced. On Windows it'll probably be
something like C:\Users\<name>\Emulation, organised by system. The saves
are typically named save.ram.
Q: Where can I find the settings?
A: There's a few possible locations for settings.bml.
1) In the same folder as the higan executable.
2) In the older location if you previously installed higan:
C:\Users\<name>\AppData\Roaming\higan (Windows)
/home/<name>/.config/higan (BSD, Linux)
3) In the new location (created if the others aren't found):
C:\Users\<name>\AppData\Local\higan (Windows)
/home/<name>/.local/share/higan (BSD, Linux)
/Users/<name>/Library/Application Support/higan (Mac)
higan checks these in order, so you can make a portable install if you like.
(macOS normally hides the Library folder. To open it, switch to Finder,
hold the Option key and select Go -> Library from the menu.)
Q: I set up my gamepads, but they don't work!
A: Try configuring the ports found in the system menu (eg.
Super Famicom -> Controller Port 1 -> Gamepad). Like a real console,
fresh higan installs come without any controllers plugged in.
Q: I upgraded higan, why do I get a black screen? What's "Ignore Manifests?"
A: higan looks at a file called "manifest.bml" to get the information needed
to run each game. However, the format has changed over time, making older
manifests incompatible with newer higan releases.
If you tick "Settings -> Advanced -> Ignore Manifests," you might find this
resolves the problem. This can be useful for developers and testers.
However, it breaks a few titles that require manifests to work!
Should you find yourself in this situation, consider removing manifest.bml.
(By default, no manifests are created; higan looks at the files in the
game folder, and with the help of a database, tries to regenerate the
correct one each time you load the game.)
Q: I have "Ignore Manifests" ticked, but the game won't run?
A: A few games have especially quirky setups that require manifests for
the time being, so you'll need to untick this option:
* Far East of Eden: Tengai Makyou Zero (English translation only)
* Campus Challenge '92
* PowerFest '94
Q: Why's the audio lag, stutter, distort, or sound robotic?
A: If you have an Atom, certain Celeron models, or an older AMD processor
(or even an especially old Intel such as a Core 2 Duo)... then these aren't
fast enough, sorry. :(
Try going into the Settings -> Advanced menu, then pick a different audio
driver and restart higan. WASAPI can be fussy on some devices.
Select Settings -> Audio and experiment with the latency. Larger values
should be more reliable, with the downside of laggier game controls.
Occasionally software that hooks into the system or other apps, for example
mouse settings panels, can cause lag and other problems.
Because higan is CPU-intensive and single-threaded, it can interact badly
with video capture which is yet another burden on the system. If you're
trying to stream or broadcast, and you have Windows 7, consider disabling
DWM. Also, look up how to configure hardware encoding (eg. QuickSync).
Q: Can I get smoother video?
A: Try Settings -> Video -> Exclusive mode, then switch to fullscreen. This
currently requires the Direct3D video driver under Settings -> Advanced
in order to work.
(Exclusive fullscreen is pretty experimental at the moment.
There are cases where it fails badly, so save your work!)
Exclusive mode will normally yield what's known as "tearing." If this
bothers you, there's an alternative... albeit one with serious gotchas,
which is why it's hidden away.
Close higan, then open up settings.bml and look for the following:
Change false to true, save the file, then start higan and untick
Settings -> Synchronize Audio.
Keep in mind that this setting can and will reduce sound quality, as GPUs
and sound cards in modern PCs generally are not synchronised with each
other. The second big consideration is that your refresh rate needs to
match the game.
PAL and NTSC titles run at 50 Hz and 60 Hz, respectively. This applies to
all console systems. Of the handhelds: Game Boy, Game Boy Color and
Game Boy Advance run at 60 Hz, while WonderSwan runs at 75 Hz.
This means you'll need a monitor that supports these frequencies, set to
the appropriate display mode. Not all of them do. If your refresh rate
doesn't match, games will run at the wrong speed.
Online Resources
Official homepage:
Unofficial forum:
Unoffical source code repository + documentation:
Info on game folders and firmware:
Commercial use:
Original author:
We'd like to acknowledge many invaluable contributions made to higan
by the following individuals:
Andreas Naive Hendricks266 Overload
Ange Albertini hex_usr p4plus2
anomie jchadwick quequotion
AWJ Jonas Quinn RedDwarf
Bisqwit kode54 Richard Bannister
blargg krom Ryphecha
Łukasz Krawczyk Lioncash segher
Cydrak Lord Nightmare Sintendo
Danish lowkey SuperMikeMan
DMV27 MerryMage tetsuo55
Dr. Decapitator Matthew Callis TmEE
endrift mightymo TRAC
Fatbag Nach wareya
FitzRoy ncbncb zones
gekkio neviksti
It's been a long, wild ride... apologies to anyone we've missed!
For more information, please see:
higan is provided under the GNU General Public License, version 3.
However, certain libraries may be used under the more permissive ISC license.
Please see LICENSE.txt for details.
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