RPCS3 - Playstation 3 Emulator

Jarret B

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I know the PlayStation 5 is out, but emulators are usually years behind the console. But for some users, the old games are the ones they love the most.

In this article, I’ll cover the installation and setup of RPCS3 and starting a ROM file. The process is a fairly quick 5 steps:

  1. Download RPCS3
  2. Prepare and Run RPCS3
  3. Set up RPCS3 Firmware
  4. PS3 ROMs
  5. Run a PS3 ROM
So, let’s get to it. Let’s look at the System Requirements.

System Requirements

I will list the minimum requirements and hope you have more than these specified:

  • AMD - Any x64 CPU
  • Intel - Any x64 CPU
  • AMD - OpenGL 4.3 compatible or newer
  • NVIDIA - OpenGL 4.3 compatible or newer
  • 4 GB of RAM or more
  • 512 MB for base emulator data, 5 GB for virtual console dev_hdd1 cache
  • 128 MB for emulator cache and console user data per installed game
Keep in mind that these are the bare minimum and will probably cause the games to run sluggishly.

Download RPCS3

To get the latest version of RPCS3, go to the site https://rpcs3.net/download. Here, you should see two download options. The first is for Windows and the second is for Linux. Click on Linux and save the file, preferably in your Home folder.

NOTE: At the writing of this article, the current file is https://github.com/RPCS3/rpcs3-bina...rpcs3-v0.0.19-12982-af3ef02c_linux64.AppImage. The version is 0.0.19 Build 12982.

Within your Home folder, you will have permission to make changes to files easier.

You should probably notice that the download is an AppImage file. We’ll get into that next.

Prepare and Run RPCS3

The file I downloaded is called ‘rpcs3-v0.0.19-12982-af3ef02c_linux64.AppImage’. Since the file is an AppImage it is a single file that is executable.

AppImages are a single file that contains all necessary files to be run. No extra system dependencies are necessary. The only requirements needed are that you have the required hardware and drive space.

Since the file was copied to the system, it is not set as executable. To do this, drop to a Terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) and switch to the folder to which you save the RPCS3 AppImage. For me, it was ‘cd ~’ to the Home Folder.

Now, to make it executable, use the command ‘chmod a+x rpcs3-v0.0.19-12982-af3ef02c_linux64.AppImage’.

You can then run RPCS3 with the command ‘./rpcs3-v0.0.19-12982-af3ef02c_linux64.AppImage’.

The program should start and a window should appear. Check the box for ‘I have read the Quickstart guide’ and also ‘Do not show this again’. Once both are checked click on the ‘Continue’ button.

At the bottom of the screen, you should see a list of items that are found or missing. Hopefully, all but one item are messages that hardware has been found. The last item should specify that the Firmware is missing. Now, we need to get that message taken care of.

Set up the RPCS3 Firmware

Sony has a firmware file on their website here. The current version is 4.88 and can be found here. The file you want is 'PS3UPDAT.PUP'. You can also find various files from other sources that have been modded (modified). Just search the file name. Getting the file directly from Sony will guarantee the actual firmware. You can also find links for previous versions at the bottom of the Sony Download page.

Download the file and save it to a folder of your choosing. You may want to place it in the same folder as the 'RPCS3' file.

From RPCS3, select ‘File → Install Firmware’ and then go to the location of the firmware file and select it.

RPCS3 should compile the Firmware. Once done, it will be ready to continue.

Now, we need a game.

PS3 ROMs

Unfortunately, RPCS3 cannot load a game from a disc. The game must be in an ISO format with special file naming and layout. There is no easy way to do this in Linux, it is best done in Windows, but requires a specific brand of Blu-ray drive to properly support the PS3 disc.

For any PS3 game you own, you can download the ISO file for the game, or create your own from the disc (if you have all the required hardware and software).

Perform a search on the Internet for the ISO file. These can get higher than 15 GB depending on the game.

Once you have the ISO file, place it in a special folder where you can place all the game ISO files you have in your PS3 library.

Run a PS3 ROM

Once you have your ROM on the Linux system with RPCS3 you are ready to play. From RPCS3, click on the 'Open' icon in the top left corner. Browse for the location of the ISO file and select it. Let RPCS3 load and compile the file.

Once the game is compiled, you can click on ‘Pads’ to set up a controller to play the game. Use some type of device that connects to a USB port, a PS3 controller is fine. The newer controllers are better. You will need to make sure any drivers necessary for Linux to recognize the controller will be needed. Open ‘Pads’ and configure the buttons as you need. If you have no controller, then you can configure a keyboard to use instead.

Conclusion

It seems to be harder and more expensive to find consoles these days. Using your PC to emulate a PlayStation 3 saves money.

Be aware that not all games are playable on RPCS3. You should check the compatibility list at: https://rpcs3.net/compatibility.

I hope you find this a straightforward process. Once you get your first game set up and running, configuring the device you use as a controller, the rest should be easy.
 
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