Thanks for starting this topic. It’s 2016 and we still have input lag in 1990 console emulators. If I can act entitled and rant a bit, this the last major “compatibility” issue in modern emulation. Regardless of how accurate, fast, pretty, etc. an emulator is, it’s not a proper emulator unless it is emulating input timing to a perfect or near-perfect resemblance of the original console. Jump timing in Mario brothers is still impossible for me and I have very decent hardware. Yes, I can adjust to the delay after a few deaths, but it is never the same intuitive input that existed on a real NES.
But the major issue that I think is misrepresented is that this is somehow caused by modern displays and controllers. Any such explanation is a red herring. The counterargument is that the Wii and Wii U virtual consoles emulate classic Mario brothers and other games with near-perfect input. It is not my TV, because I have tried it connected by the exact same HDMI cord on both my PC and my Wii (though my PC is generally on VGA). The Wii handles input perfectly without any configuration, stuttering, screen tearing, or anything. (Perhaps the Wii is not perfect for a speed runner, but I can definitely make my jumps!). For sake of argument, one can press back against this position and say that it must be my TV, my controller, my settings, my imagination, etc., but many people know exactly what I’m talking about here, and it is an issue with EMULATION in general. I wish I could do more to solve it, and if there’s anything I could do, I would. I know that Byuu has introduced extensive sync options into Higan to address this issue, and though I haven’t tried it yet, perhaps that is a step forward.
In any case, the fact that Wii handles things perfect lets us know the gold standard of what emulation should be capable of achieving in 2016. If Nintendo can do it, then the emulation community, among which are some of the most talented programmers in the world, ought to be able to do it. Effortless, perfect input emulation should not be just a pipe dream (though, I would put in a ton of effort if thats what it took.)
Of course the reason I’m posting here is because I LOVE retroarch. I mean I “love love” retroarch. And I wish it could be perfect. I greatly admire the effort that the Retroarch development team has put into it, and hope that this sort of feedback helps to create a greater Retroarch. Hopefully this is something that can be solved. After all, as I stated, you are not truly emulating an old console in the strictest sense unless timing is at least nearly-perfectly accurate, which I have yet to experience. If your kids can’t get the same visceral rush of making Mario jump at just the right time, they are never truly “experiencing” the classics.
I’m preparing to try out Lakka in hopes that it will help (I’ve often heard Windows graphics implementation as the blame of input lag, which is the only explanation that seems reasonable to me). Then perhaps following up with a barebones Linux distro if that doesn’t work (I have no idea on the progress of Lakka).