Emulation is one of the many nifty things you can do with Android devices, allowing you to play hundreds of games originally made for different devices right on your smartphone. And now, an official version of the Citra CDS emulator app is out, so you can play 3DS games from your phone.
What is emulation?
When you emulate another person, you imitate them. This definition of emulation also applies in the computing world, only slightly different.
An emulator, like Citra’s, essentially allows one computer system to act like another system. It tries to imitate another system with minimal glitches, but sometimes that’s hard to accomplish.
Didn’t Citra already launch on Android a few years ago?
The app that launched a few years ago in 2018 was not an officially licensed app by Citra. This initial app was developed by SachinVin, an independent developer outside of the official Citra team. Although the app was a great start to what Citra users had been requesting, it had a few performance issues.
The Citra team said that the performance issues with the app developed by SachinVin “led to an increase in support and feature requests of the team – who had nothing to do with that unofficial Android port” and that “while the team applauded the efforts of this developer, [they] had to deny providing support for it because it was unofficial.”
Though the Citra team could not provide support to this app, they invited SachinVin to collaborate with them to produce an app that Citra users would love (and actually be able to use).
What’s new about the official Citra 3DS Emulator?
There were multiple issues that needed fixing after Citra brought SachinVin to the team. Settings within the app didn’t save, the button overlay was clipped, and there were many graphical and layout issues as well. These issues had to be fixed, then tested, then fixed again, and so on. Android is a finicky system to work with. So a lot of work had to be put into the app before presenting it to the public.
In addition to fixing technical issues, Citra also implemented quite a few features that help with performance. To list a few, GPU emulation on one of the CPU cores, OpenGL ES tweaks, the ability to use your phone keyboard in games that need it, motion control support, and camera/mic functionality.
One of the best additions was the ability to use an external gamepad with the app. One member of the Citra team realized how many people would want gamepad support, so they worked it in. It works with almost all gamepads. So if you have one, you won’t have to worry about using pesky touchscreen controls. The Citra team even says that if your gamepad doesn’t work, you can reach out to them on their Discord server; they’ll try to figure out what the problem is and get your gamepad working. How cool is that!
Wrapping it up
It’s clear that the Citra team wants to deliver a fantastic product to fans of Citra on other platforms. They are consistently updating the app (at the time of writing this, last update was 8/16/2020). Although the app is still in its beta phase, it seems to be working great. And you can be sure that even after the app moves out of its beta phase, the Citra team is going to be doing everything they can to improve and enhance the app for its users.