PS2emu Alpha: A Simple and Free Way to Play PS2 Games on PC with Plugin and Bios
Like its predecessor project PCSX (a PlayStationOne emulator), it is based on a PSEmu Pro spec plug-in architecture, separating several functions from the core emulator. However, as of v1.7.1420, plug-in functionality has been merged into the core emulator. PCSX2 requires a copy of the PS2 BIOS, which is not available for download from the developers due to the copyright concerns and legal issues associated with it.
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You will need the BIOS files from your own PlayStation2 console. They are not included with PCSX2 since they are copyrighted by Sony. Without them you won't be able to use the emulator at all, since PCSX2 requires these binaries to work. You'll find more information on how to dump/download the BIOS from your PS2 console later in this guide.
PCSX2 has the first run configuration wizard to help you with configuration. The emulator will automatically store all settings, memcards and any new configuration related files in your My Documents folder if you used the installer, or in the same folder where pcsx2.exe is located if you downloaded the binary version.
In the next screen you will be able change the plugins you want to use. The plugins selected by default are the most compatible ones and will usually perform better. Do not change anything here if you are not yet familiar with PCSX2.
Note to AMD users: please do NOT confuse SSE3 with SSSE3 (1 extra S) and SSE4A with SSE4.1, they are totally different and are NOT supported on AMD systems before Bulldozer/Bobcat. Please fall back to the SSE2 plugin instead in case your system has an older CPU.
Open downloaded zip file and extract PCSX2Fx_Settings.txt and shader.fx files in the same directory pcsx2.exe is located. You can change some shaders' settings by editing the PCSX2Fx_Settings.txt (the file contains all the needed instructions). External shaders should be used with caution because some of them may potentially have an enormous impact on speed. Note that you can use external shaders even with GSdx software renderer, which is the best way to get higher visual quality in this rendering mode.
Movie CaptureThis feature will only work while you are ingame. By pressing F12 a message box for video capture will appear. You'll need to specify the place where to store video, processing codec (like for ex. x264vfw, note you'll be only able to use already installed codecs) and picture resolution. Please be aware that lossless or uncompressed video may produce VERY large files so your HDD must have enough free space to contain it. Press F12 the second time to stop capturing. The result video will be automatically speed up to 100% even if you have experienced slowdowns while playing. If you use SPU2-X as your audio plugin the audio file recording.wav will be also recorded and saved alongside with the video file.
SPU2-X is the most advanced, compatible and up-to-date sound plugin for PCSX2. It was first based on Gigaherz's SPU2ghz and later modified by Jake Stine (Air). This is the only SPU2 plugin that supports audio processing effects (like reverberation and Dolby Pro Logic (if your sound card is able to decode it)). Many games only work correctly with SPU2-X.
Dev9 is a collective name for plugins that handle HDD and ethernet (LAN/Internet) access.By default PCSX2 installation has only one plugin Dev9null v0.5.0, which is null plugin used as a stub. However there is a newer Dev9 plugin in development by Luigi__ named MegaDev9. The plugin is still in its early development stage at this time (early 2015) but it can already partially emulate HDD. You can get it from here.Also there is an experimental Ethernet plugin from gigaherz and drkIIRaziel named DEV9giga-razi. Even with the most of Sony game servers down you can still give it a try. It can be downloaded using this link.
As with Dev9 plugins PCSX2 does not currently have any official working plugin to properly emulate USB access. The release package includes only USB Null v0.7.0 which is yet another stub plugin. Howeverthere is a USB plugin called Nuvee that supports USB mice, keyboards and lightguns by Shalma. You can get it from here.Additionally, there is a new plugin by jackun called USBqemu wheel mod emulating steering wheels. The plugin is a modification of an old USB Qemu plugin. USBqemu is fully capable of supporting various steering wheels. For more information visit the plugin's dedicated thread on the forums and/or you can download it using this link.
GS stands for Graphics Synthesizer PlayStation2 co-processor responsible for rendering the graphics (but is also used by some games for additional calculations and other purposes). The PCSX2 will work in conjunction with the selected GS plugin (like for ex. GSdx plugin) to emulate PS2 graphical co-processor and convert its output into input understood by the PC video cards.