The Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular gaming consoles today. With its hybrid design that allows for both handheld and TV gaming, along with an impressive library of first-party and third-party titles, it has sold over 120 million units worldwide since its launch in 2017. However, like any gaming platform, Switch owners may eventually want to explore emulation options once a console reaches the end of its lifecycle. This is where Ryujinx comes in – an open-source Nintendo Switch emulator for PC that allows users to play Switch games on their computer.
What is Ryujinx?
Ryujinx is a Nintendo Switch emulator for Windows, Linux, and macOS systems. Developed primarily by gdkchan and with contributions from other developers, Ryujinx aims to replicate the Switch hardware experience on a PC with performance and accuracy as top priorities.
Ryujinx is an open-source project licensed under the GNU General Public License v2.0, and its source code is publicly available on GitHub. Development is active, with new features, compatibility improvements, and bug fixes being added frequently.
Some key features and goals of the Ryujinx emulator include:
- High game compatibility and accuracy in replicating Switch hardware functions.
- Focus on performance – games run at higher resolutions and frame rates than on original Switch hardware.
- Supports modern graphics APIs like Vulkan, OpenGL, and DirectX 12.
- Mod support through graphic pack mods.
- A user-friendly interface and configuration options.
- Cross-platform support across Windows, Linux, and macOS.
In terms of development status, Ryujinx is considered playable and fast approaching a beta release quality. While it may not have the same compatibility rates as Switch emulators like Yuzu or Cemu yet, performance and graphics are quite solid already for many titles.
Ryujinx Features and Configuration
As an actively developed Switch emulator, Ryujinx is steadily gaining new features and improvements with each update. Here are some of the core features and configuration options users can utilize currently:
Graphics – Ryujinx supports modern graphics APIs like OpenGL, Vulkan, and DirectX 12. This allows for enhancing games with higher resolutions, increased draw distances, texture filtering, and more. NVIDIA DLSS integration is also available as an upscaling option.
Controls – Games can be played with a keyboard and mouse, or controllers like the Xbox and DualShock controllers. Controller profiles, rumble, and motion controls are supported.
** mods** – Graphic pack mods can be installed for certain games to further improve visuals, adjust UI elements, or unlock framerates beyond 30 FPS.
Multiplayer – Local wireless multiplayer is available, allowing emulated Switch games to connect on one PC. Online play requires additional configuration.
Save states – Quick save and load game states are supported, allowing easy picking up from any point.
Docked/Handheld mode – Both docked/TV mode and handheld mode are replicated accurately, automatically changing display output and performance.
Updates and DLC – Games can be kept up to date by installing new game updates and DLC through Ryujinx directly.
Configuration – There are extensive configuration options for controlling every aspect of emulation and improving game-specific compatibility.
For the optimal experience, a gaming PC with a discrete NVIDIA or AMD graphics card is recommended for running Ryujinx. Intel-integrated graphics may work for less demanding 2D titles.
Ryujinx Game Compatibility
With hundreds of titles released on the Switch, game compatibility on emulators is an important consideration. As an evolving project, Ryujinx’s compatibility and performance will vary across different games.
In general, here are some guidelines for expected game compatibility on the latest version of Ryujinx:
- Playability: Many games are completely playable from start to finish without major issues. This includes big titles like Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Splatoon 2.
- In-Game: Some games can get in-game but may have graphical glitches, slowdowns in places, or soft locks during gameplay. Games like Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Astral Chain, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 fall under this category.
- Loadable: For certain games, Ryujinx can boot the game to menus but encounters issues when starting gameplay. Examples are Pokemon Legends: Arceus, Mario Party Superstars, and Kirby Star Allies.
- Not Working: Several titles see little to no functionality due to compatibility issues. These are often games that utilize unique Switch hardware features not fully emulated yet.
Performance and compatibility can vary based on the user’s CPU power and in-game areas too. Complex 3D games generally demand more processing requirements currently. The Ryujinx compatibility list on GitHub tracks known issues across popular games. Referring to this list helps gauge a game’s playability.
As the emulator matures, the range of playable games continues to expand. Many games go from in-game to nearly perfect playability within a few app updates.
Ryujinx Compared to Yuzu
For PC users looking to emulate Nintendo Switch games, Ryujinx and Yuzu are the two main options available. Both are open-source emulators capable of running Switch games on Windows, Linux, and macOS. But there are some notable differences between the two emulators:
- Ryujinx– Created primarily by gdkchan and active contributors. Written in C#.
- Yuzu– Created by Yuzu Developers. Written in C++.
- Ryujinx– Entered public development later than Yuzu but caught up quickly. Major updates every 1-2 months.
- Yuzu– Has a head start in development time over Ryujinx. Updates every 2-3 months currently.
- Ryujinx– Prioritizes performance and playability over perfect hardware accuracy.
- Yuzu– Aims for cycle-accurate Switch emulation as the goal.
- Ryujinx– Has graphical enhancements, mod support, multiplayer, and save states.
- Yuzu– Focuses mainly on accuracy without many bells and whistles.
- Ryujinx– Generally faster framerates, and uses multiple CPU cores well.
- Yuzu– Slightly lower framerates in many games, single-core CPU dependent.
- Ryujinx– Compatibility is steadily improving, fast approaching Yuzu’s level.
- Yuzu– Higher overall game compatibility rate.
There is no definitive “better” option. Ryujinx is faster and more featureful, while Yuzu edges out in accuracy and compatibility for now. Both emulators have active development, so improvements across areas like the compatibility gap between the two projects.
How to Get Games for Ryujinx
Like any emulator, Ryujinx requires game ROMs to play games. As with all emulators, there are legal considerations around obtaining games. Here are a few options:
- Dumping from your Switch– Users can legally dump games they physically own on the Switch using homebrew tools and playing them on Ryujinx.
- Free homebrew games– Homebrew developers have created many custom games and ports for the Switch that can be downloaded legally.
- Online game downloads– Most commercial Switch game files available online are not legally obtained or distributed. We cannot recommend or assist with finding copyright-infringing game downloads.
- Support game developers– If enjoying a game through emulation, consider also buying a legitimate copy to support the developers.
Game dumping for personal use and free homebrew titles offer legal options for acquiring content to use with Ryujinx. As open-source emulator developers have no control over how users ultimately obtain commercial games, we simply aim to provide information and let users decide ethically.
Ryujinx Installation Guide
Getting started with Ryujinx involves a quick and straightforward installation process. Here is a step-by-step guide to installing and setting up Ryujinx on Windows:
Minimum System Requirements
- Windows 7 64-bit or newer. Windows 10 is recommended.
- GPU – Nvidia GTX 700 series or AMD Radeon RX 200 series.
- CPU – Intel i5-6400 or equivalent. Ryzen 5 1400 or equivalent.
- 8GB RAM minimum, 16GB recommended.
- Download Ryujinx
- Go to the official Ryujinx website https://ryujinx.org
- Click the “Get Ryujinx” button to download the latest release.
- Extract the .zip file contents to your desired folder location.
- Install Graphics Drivers
- NVIDIA – Install the latest Game Ready GPU drivers from Nvidia’s website.
- AMD – Install the latest Adrenalin drivers from AMD’s website.
- Configure Graphics Backend
- Open Ryujinx and go to Settings > Graphics.
- Select your preferred graphics backend: Vulkan, OpenGL, or DirectX 12.
- Click Apply to save. Vulkan or DX12 is recommended for best performance.
- Install Keys
- Keys are required for playing encrypted Switch games.
- Copy your Switch prod keys and place them in Ryujinx/system/contents/registered -Keys can be dumped from your Switch using homebrew or found online.
- Install Firmware
- The latest Switch firmware file (firmware.zip) is required.
- Download and copy firmware to Ryujinx/system.
- Firmware updates can be downloaded from official servers using a prod key.
- Add Games
- Click Add Game Directory in Ryujinx.
- Browse and select your Switch games folder location.
- Games will now show up in the Ryujinx game list.
- Select a game and click Load Content to start playing!
- Enjoy your Switch games on PC with Ryujinx!
This covers the basic setup steps to get Ryujinx running. Refer to the official quickstart guide for more detailed instructions if needed. Some additional tips:
- Update to newest GPU drivers if encountering crashes or graphical issues.
- Enable virtual fullscreen for best performance.
- Configure controls under the Input menu.
- Adjust graphics settings for optimal balance of visuals and FPS.
With this installation guide, you should now be ready to dive into playing Switch games on your PC using the Ryujinx emulator!
Ryujinx Performance Guide
Running Switch games smoothly on PC with Ryujinx depends on having sufficient hardware and the right settings configured. If dealing with lag, choppy graphics, or inconsistent FPS, try these Ryujinx performance optimization tips:
- GPU– Aim for at least a GTX 1060 or RX 570 tier GPU. Higher-end cards will enable more enhancements.
- CPU– 4 core/8 threads or more ideal. Ryujinx scales well with cores. Intel 7th gen+, AMD Ryzen 2000+ series recommended.
- RAM– 8GB minimum, 16GB ideal. Memory speed also affects Ryzen CPUs.
- Having adequate hardware is key for stable performance. An Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti or RX 6600 XT class GPU paired with a modern 6-core/12-thread CPU like the Ryzen 5 5600X or i5-12400F is a recommended starting point.
- API– Use Vulkan for best FPS. OpenGL can be faster on some old GPUs.
- Resolution– Docked: 720p or 1080p. Handheld: 720p or native Switch resolution. Higher may impact FPS.
- VSync– Off. Limit framerates using the FPS limit instead.
- Multicore Enabled– On. Distributes workload across CPU cores.
- Accuracy Level– Normal or High. Low only if needing a performance boost.
- Anisotropic Filtering– Off. Can cost FPS. Game dependent, test if needed.
- FPS Limit– 30 or 60 FPS. Match the game’s intended framerate.
- Audio Backend– Auto or SDL recommended. WASAPI has overhead.
- Docked Mode– Primarily designed to run docked at higher FPS. Undocked when needing handheld mode only.
There are many other tweaks possible in Graphics and Advanced tabs. Finding an optimal balance of settings for each game system is key. Start with these basics first before testing other options.
- Resolution– 720p docked and handheld generally performs best. Higher may impact FPS.
- Framerate– Target 30 FPS for 30 FPS titles, and 60 FPS for 60 FPS titles.
- Effects– Lowering effects like shadows can help weaker GPUs manage higher FPS or resolutions.
- Areas– More complex areas may see larger FPS dips. Some fluctuation from scene to scene is to be expected.
Experiment with resolutions and graphics options in each game to hit your target framerate. Ryujinx’s performance continues improving, expanding playability across more hardware configurations.
Ryujinx Best Settings Guide
One of the benefits of emulating Switch games on PC is being able to customize configurations for an enhanced experience. Here are some of the best settings to enable in Ryujinx:
- Higher resolutions like 1440p or 4K enable crisper visuals and detail. But ensure your GPU can maintain target FPS.
- 16x AF smooths out texture details at steep viewing angles. Minimal performance impact.
- Smooth out jagged edges. 2x generally ideal balance. Higher levels cost more FPS.
- If not capping FPS, enable VSync to eliminate screen tearing.
Texture Filtering – Anisotropic Sample Optimization
- Points texture more directly forward rather than sides for a sharper look.
- Improves graphical effects and accuracy. Minimal FPS impact for most GPUs.
- Fixes rare graphical glitches. Negligible performance cost.
- Saves compiled shaders to disk for faster load times on subsequent loads.
Allow Custom Textures
- Enable modding texture packs. Allows for the enhancement of many games.
- Prevents audio glitches when FPS exceeds 30 in 30 FPS games.
- Enables controller force feedback effects. Requires supported controller.
These settings help realize Ryujinx’s full potential for enhancing the Switch game’s visuals and accuracy beyond the original console’s limitations. Stable FPS is a priority, but crank settings as far as your hardware can manage.
Ryujinx Best Graphics Settings
Ryujinx offers an extensive array of graphics options to help optimize performance or enhance visuals for individual games. Here are some of the most beneficial graphics settings to adjust:
- Higher values enable crisper details and textures but require sufficient GPU power to maintain FPS.
- Eliminates screen tearing if not limiting FPS otherwise. Some input lag tradeoff.
- Sharpens textures viewed at steep angles. Up to 16x improves image quality.
- Smooth out jagged edges. MSAA and SSAA impact FPS heavily in higher settings.
Texture Filtering Options
- Improved texture filtering removes blurring and flickering on surfaces.
- Mathematically correct results for visual effects. Minimal performance impact.
- Caches compiled shaders for faster load times on subsequent launches.
Finding the right balance depends on the target FPS, resolution, and GPU strength. Features like higher anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, and accuracy options deliver visual improvements with minimal FPS sacrifice. Resolution and FPS limits can then be set accordingly. Testing different combinations is the best way to dial in an optimal experience for each title.
Some other useful tips:
- Enable Enhanced Reflections if supported by the game.
- Increase the Draw Distance slider for further viewing distances.
- Lower Shadow Resolutions finely adjusts shadow quality.
- Match the FPS limit to the game’s original framerate.
- Undocked Mode for handheld-specific settings.
Ryujinx provides an extensive toolbox of graphics settings for users to customize. Maxing everything out may not always yield the best results. Finding the right settings balance for each game brings Switch games to life on PC.
Ryujinx Best CPU Settings
In addition to Graphics settings, Ryujinx includes a range of CPU emulation options to optimize in the Advanced settings tab. Adjusting these can potentially fix various game issues or boost FPS.
- Higher values increase CPU utilization but can affect timings. Auto, or 100,000-1,000,000+
- Accurately saves the Switch state on each thread context switch. Fixes rare crashes.
Enable Multicore CPU Emulation
- Spreads workload across CPU cores instead of just one core. Big FPS boost.
- Saves memory cache lookups. Lower may fix crashes. High or disabled for performance.
Ignore Missing Services
- Fixes crashes related to missing OS services. Enable if games crash on boot.
- Set accurate system clock time if incorrect in the game. Auto, or specified time.
There are many other toggles for timers, accuracies, and debugging features. Some key options like Multicore enable significant performance lift by fully utilizing modern CPUs. While auto settings work for many games, adjust as needed if issues arise. Proper configurations here help Ryujinx efficiently tap into your CPU power.
Ryujinx Best Audio Settings
In addition to graphics and CPU settings, Ryujinx includes several audio options to adjust under the Audio tab for optimal sound quality:
- Choose the most performant option for the system. WASAPI has overhead, Auto/SDL is better.
- Stereo has better performance, and Surround enables multi-channel audio.
- Prevents crackles when FPS exceeds 30 for 30 FPS titles.
Enable Audio Docked
- Outputs audio as if the console is docked for clarity. Even in handheld mode.
- Can be increased beyond 100% if desired. Too high may distort.
Dynamic Rate Control
- Automatically adjust the audio rate to prevent static and cracks.
The Switch itself has limited audio capabilities. By selecting options like Docked audio mode and enabling stretching, Ryujinx can overcome these hardware limitations to deliver much clearer-sounding audio on PC. Testing different backends like XAudio2 and SDL will determine which works best for your system. Paired with the graphical enhancements possible, games truly come alive on Ryujinx across visual and audio experiences.
Ryujinx Controller Setup
Ryujinx offers full customization over controller inputs, allowing the use of Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and other gamepads. Follow these steps to get controllers working properly:
- Connect Controller
Connect the controller to the PC via cable or wireless adapter. Make sure the controller is detected by Windows first.
- Configure Profile
Under Input settings, select a controller profile matching your devices like Switch Pro Controller or DualShock 4. Generic Gamepad works too.
Use the Calibration tool to verify buttons, sticks, and triggers are detected properly by pressing them.
The Controls page allows remapping every possible button to keyboard keys or controller inputs.
Enable Rumble under General settings so games activate force feedback.
Motion controls can be mapped to controller sticks under the Motion tab.
With profiles selected and controls calibrated and mapped correctly, your controller will mimic a Switch Pro controller in Ryujinx. Multiple controllers can be configured for local wireless multiplayer too. Enjoy proper gamepad control for any title!
Fixing Ryujinx Errors and Crashes
As with any emulator, users may encounter crashes, black screens, or other errors either on the game boot or randomly during gameplay in Ryujinx. There are a few general troubleshooting steps to try resolving common crashes:
- Update Graphics Drivers– Update to the latest GPU drivers. Graphics driver crashes are common sources of issues.
- Update Firmware– Download the latest Switch firmware file for the Ryujinx version. Firmware mismatches cause crashes.
- Toggle Settings– Disable GPU debug features or toggle CPU options like Fastmem. Fixes some game-specific issues.
- Change Graphics API– Swap between Vulkan, OpenGL, and DirectX. Different backends may prove more stable for certain hardware.
- Clean Install– Fully delete the Ryujinx folder and do a fresh install of the emulator and firmware. Eliminates corrupted old files.
- Game Update– Install the latest game update or DLC. May contain compatibility fixes.
- Different Dump– Test different dump sources of the same game. Bad dumps cause crashes.
- Discord Help– Ask for assistance in the Ryujinx Discord troubleshooting channels.
With trial and error testing combinations of these solutions, the specific culprit causing instability can usually be narrowed down. Ryujinx also logs detailed crash reports to review.
Ryujinx Known Issues
While Ryujinx development is progressing rapidly, some lingering known issues remain across certain games and features:
- Minor graphical glitches in some games during cutscenes or transitions.
- FPS stability in certain graphically intense areas due to unoptimized shader compilation.
- Online gameplay connectivity and stability issues.
- Saving and loading inconsistencies in some games.
- Performance is slower than native hardware in CPU-heavy titles.
- Screen freezing requires reloading the game after extended sleep mode.
- Rare crashes when changing graphics settings without restart.
- Audio crackling when using WASAPI backend.
- Missing graphical effects, textures, or content in a few games.
Workarounds exist for many of these such as using an alternate graphics API, dumping game updates, or adjusting CPU thread settings. Significant improvements across stability, compatibility, and accuracy arrive with each Ryujinx update. Following development blogs shows steady progress towards solving most edge case flaws.
The Ryujinx developer roadmap gives insight into planned features and focus areas for future updates. Some highlights of upcoming emulator improvements:
- Multi-threaded CPU emulation– Continued optimizations for using all CPU cores, boosting performance.
- Shader caching– On-disk shader cache and asynchronous shader building for smoother gameplay.
- Texture handling– Improvements for GPU-side texture copies and compression converting textures.
- Graphics debugging– Enhanced graphics debugging tools for testing and issue diagnosis.
- HLE audio– Hardware-accelerated High-Level Emulation audio output for cleaner sounding audio.
- Input handling– Overhauling input code for lower latency and better controller support.
- Mod support– Expanding mod loading support for gameplay modifications.
- UI refresh– Updated user interface with new features and theming support.
The Ryujinx roadmap demonstrates a continued focus on improving the core performance and accuracy of the emulator first and foremost before expanding into more bonus features. As Ryujinx usage continues to grow, the development team is committed to steadily enhancing the experience towards the goal of flawless Switch game emulation.
Ryujinx has rapidly emerged as a leading Nintendo Switch emulator, demonstrating fantastic progress in just a couple of years. With its high performance, expanding compatibility, and bonus features, Ryujinx is an appealing option for Switch enthusiasts looking to graduate their gaming experience beyond the console’s limitations.
As Ryujinx continues maturing towards full stability and compatibility across the Switch library, it solidifies itself as the future go-to emulator for reviving your favorite Nintendo Switch classics on PC for years to come. With a passionate team of contributors and community support behind it, the future looks bright for Ryujinx upholding the essence of the Switch well beyond the actual hardware lifespan.
So give Ryujinx a try if you haven’t already, and witness your Switch game collection in a whole new light. It may just become your new favorite way to re-experience the Switch classics you know and love.
Mustafa Al Mahmud is the Founder of Best Emulators and also a professional Blogger, SEO Professional as well as Entrepreneur. He loves to travel and enjoy his free moment with family members and friends.