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Project64 Tutorial

By Alejandro Rodriguez. Last revised July 8, 2017.

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About Project64

This tutorial is to help you with Project64 for Windows. Project64 is the top Nintendo 64 emulator. Game compatibility is pretty good. It conveniently comes equipped with its own plug-ins, which can be customized. Although the emulator still has a ways to go. Popular games such as Legend of Zelda run perfectly, but others are buggy.

*If you would like to download Project64, I have it in my emulators page. Take note that the version I have for download does not include malware. If you download Project64 from its official homepage, that version contains malware.

Installation

If you download Project64 from its official homepage, it is an install wizard that includes malware. I recommend downloading Project64 from my site. My version is a standalone program so it does not have an install wizard. Installation is simple: just extract Project64 from its zip file. Not sure how to extract zip files? Here's a video tutorial showing you how: how to unzip files on Windows.

IMPORTANT! Project64 must be placed in a common folder on your computer. I recommend Documents, Downloads, or create a folder on your desktop. If you place Project64 somewhere else on your main C drive, then you may be restricting it to read-only access. Doing so prevents Project64 from saving anything.

To open Project64, double-click on Project64's EXE

Setting up the keyboard or gamepad

Click on Options > Configure Controller Configuration:
Project64's Input Configuration

Then depending on what version of Project64 you're using determines the window that pops up.

v2.2 N-Rage

Project64 v2.2 default input plug-in: N-Rage

By default, Project64 v2.2 uses N-Rage for controller management. To reassign a button to another keyboard key or a gamepad button, click on the button circled in red. Then press the new keyboard key or gamepad button.

v2.0 Jacob's DirectInput

Project64 v2.0 default input plug-in: Jacob's DirectInput

By Default, Project64 v2.0 uses Jacob's DirectInput for controller management. If you want to assign keys to a gamepad, select your gamepad under Game Device . So to reassign a button to another keyboard key or a gamepad button, click on the button circled in red. Then press the new keyboard key or gamepad button.

Loading a game

Project64 offers two ways for you to load games. You can load ROMs the traditional way, just as you would with any other emulator. Or you can load your ROM directory into the main window.

Traditional loading

  1. Click on File > Load Game; or press Ctrl+O:
    Loading a game
  2. The “Open” window will pop up with the “Roms” folder in view. From this window click on the game you want to play, then click Open - as shown here .
  3. The game will begin playing immediately.

The ROM list

  1. Right-click the white area and select Choose ROM Directory, as shown below:
    Choosing the ROM directory
  2. Select the folder where your N64 ROMs reside.
  3. You should see all your ROMs appear in Project64 like this . Double-click on a game to play it.

Q: Project64 gives me the blue screen of death!

When using Windows 10, upon loading a game Project64 might crash Windows and give you the blue screen of death. Don't panic! Restarting the computer will bring everything back to normal. I don't know exactly why this happens to some people (it has never happened to me). I can only assume that Project64 doesn't play nice with some video cards.

This issue has a simple fix. All you need to do is set Project64 to run under Windows 7 emulation. Here's how:

  1. Right-click Project64.exe and left-click Properties.
  2. Click on the Compatibility tab. You will end up here .
  3. Put a check in “Run this program in compatibility mode for”. Select Windows 7. Click OK. That's it!
  4. Lastly, there's a small annoyance that might happen upon setting Project64 to emulate under an older version of Windows. From now on, every time you open it you might be prompted by this message: “Do you want to allow the following program from an unknown publisher to make changes to this computer?”. Every time you will have to choose to accept that message.

Full screen

Press Esc or Alt+Enter to enter full screen. Press them again to go back to window mode.

Q: Full screen is flickering!

Using Windows 10, Project64 may flicker like crazy when you enter full screen mode. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this. All you need to do is enable graphics buffering. Here's how:

  1. Go to Options > Configure Graphics Plugin.
  2. You'll arrive at the “Settings” configuration, as shown here . In the “Full Screen Sync” drop-down menu, select Double buffer.
  3. Click OK. That's it! If you have a game currently running, restart it.

Save states

Save states is a feature that saves the exact spot you are in any game. You can use this feature manually by going into the File menu or by quick keyboard shortcuts.

Using the save state feature via the File menu
  • Capturing a state: To capture a save state go to System > Save, or press F5.
  • Loading a state: To load a state you previously saved, go to System > Load, or press F7.
  • Ten save slots! Project64 lets you save up to 10 different save states. Go to System > Current Save State to change the slot.

Improving display of 2D games

Automatic vs Force 4:3

Project64's graphics plug-ins are primarily designed for 3D games. 2D games, however, have the back seat. Some games such as Ogre Battle 64 have graphic glitches around menus and dialogue boxes. There's no complete fix for this, but the glitches can be reduced.

  1. First, load the game.
  2. With Jacob's Direct3D8 plug-in (which is set as default), go to Options > Configure Graphics Plugin.
  3. In the Graphics Configuration window, for “Aspect display” select Force 4:3, as shown here .

Fast forward

Fast forward is the feature that speeds up the game. You need to be using Project64 version 2.0 or below. To access it, press the F4 key. To turn off fast forward press F4 again.

Using cheats

Project64 does things differently than other emulators. You don't need to enter GameShark codes, because Project64 already comes equipped with all the best cheats! Just pick the cheats that you want enabled. Cool, huh? Here's how:

  1. First, load the game.
  2. Go to System > Cheats, as shown below:
    Entering the Cheats window
  3. Put a check in the box for the cheats that you want, as shown below:
    The Cheats window
  4. That's it! Close the window and enjoy the cheats.

Capturing screen shots

Capturing screen shots

While a game is open, go to System > Generate Bitmap, or press the F3 key. Project64 will dump the screen shot into the “Screenshots” folder.

Finding ROMs

In my links page, I have some good links to sites where you can download ROMs. If you want to try to find more sites than what's in my collection of links, just Google around. For example, if you want to download Legend of Zelda just Google “download legend of zelda 64”.

Q: I get 'Fatal Error: Stopping emulation'!

Fatal error: Stopping emulation

This is Project64's most common and most frustrating error. It's annoying because it's a “catch all” error message. Meaning your issue could be one of many things. There are a few troubleshooting methods you can try to resolve this.

Attempt #1: Rollback versions

The easiest method to resolve this is to simply use an older version of Project64. For example, if you're using version 2.2, try version 2.0 instead. You can download it from my emulators page.

Attempt #2: Try another ROM

Still not fixed? Maybe the ROM you're using is partially corrupt. Try other ones.

Attempt #3: Google

Still not fixed? Try Googling for an answer. Some threads have suggested tweaking the configuration of the graphics plug-in.

Q: Project64 isn't saving anything!

If you're using Project64 for the first time and you're finding that you have all these problems:

  1. Save states aren't working. You save a state, then when you try to reload it nothing happens.
  2. In an RPG when you save your game at a save point and close/re-open Project64, you find that the save is lost.
  3. Emulator configurations that you changed aren't saved. When you close/re-open Project64, you have to make those configuration changes again.

Then your problem is that you currently have Project64 in a read-only location on your computer. You must move Project64 to a more common location such as Documents, Downloads, or a folder on your desktop.