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Capcom vs SNK 2/Emulation and Netplay

From SuperCombo Wiki
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Currently, emulation is the only way to play Capcom vs. SNK 2 online. CvS2 once had console online play, first on the Dreamcast and PS2 in Japan (with crossplay!) and then on the original Xbox via Xbox Live. However, these services have long been discontinued. Over the past few years, CvS2 netplay has improved dramatically thanks to the tireless work of the FGC and CvS2 communities.

Today, CvS2 is playable online with high-quality GGPO rollback netcode through the Flycast emulator. Since October 2021, the most popular way to play online is with Fightcade, although there are alternatives that may fit different use cases.

Fightcade and Flycast Dojo

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Fightcade is a matchmaking and networking platform that allows people to play virtually any MAME-compatible game, most notably old-school arcade fighters, with GGPO rollback netcode, rankings, spectator support, and replay viewing. Its upgrade to the Fightcade2 platform in August 2020 allowed it the ability to hook in outside emulators and add netplay support for games that Fightcade couldn’t do on its own, such as CvS2 on NAOMI.

Early support for CvS2 used the outdated NullDC emulator, which did not mesh well with Fightcade. Eventually, developer blueminder created a fork of Flycast called Flycast Dojo that offered better compatibility with FC, the ability to play online outside of Fightcade, and the potential for modern features.

Those features were realized when flyinghead created a build of Flycast that incorporated GGPO rollback on the system/emulator level using save states, suddenly enabling quality online play for hundreds of NAOMI, Dreamcast, and Atomiswave games. Blueminder incorporated these improvements into Flycast Dojo and before long, CvS2 had rollback netplay, complete with the matchmaking and replay playback Fightcade provides.

Fightcade is the most popular and easiest way to play CvS2 against people online. Its matchmaking service is unrivaled, and has the bonus of supporting thousands of other games. The only downside to using Fightcade and Flycast Dojo is that some experienced players report that inputs may occasionally drop. The development team is aware of this and is working to improve it. However, the issue is minor and the majority of players don't care to notice it. Given the massive advantages Fightcade brings to CvS2 netplay, it's well worth playing.

Fightcade Setup

Download and install Fightcade from their website, fightcade.com. (Sign up for an account if you haven't already.) Take note of the directory you installed it to. You will be adding files there in a moment.

Fightcade does not come with game ROMs or system BIOS files. You will need to download and install them yourself.

The BIOS file you will need for CvS2 is naomi.zip. You can download it here. DO NOT unzip this file! Place it into the \Fightcade\emulator\flycast\data\ folder on your computer.

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For the game ROM, there is a script available that will automatically download and install the correct files for a game when you first enter its lobby in Fightcade. To get it, download the fc2roms.zip file from this website, following the instructions in the how-to section at the bottom. For CvS2, you will ultimately want to make sure at least the flycast_roms.json file is in the \Fightcade\emulator\ folder, though you might as well put all the other .json files extracted from the zip in there as well.

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IMPORTANT: The autodownload script will show a percent complete number as it is downloading. However, this may not always display correctly. It is probably downloading just fine, but it may take some time as it is a 150 MB file. Be patient!

If for some reason the autodownloader does not work, you can add the correct ROM files manually. Flycast requires NAOMI ROMs from the MAME 0.218 romset, which you can access here. You will need to download BOTH the gdl-0008.chd file in the cvs2/ directory on the website; AND the full cvs2.zip file (don’t unzip it!) further down the page. The proper folders for them are:

  • cvs2.zip goes into \Fightcade\emulator\flycast\ROMs\
  • gdl-0008.chd goes into \Fightcade\emulator\flycast\ROMs\cvs2\ (you will need to create this folder)


Launch Fightcade and join the Capcom vs. SNK 2 NAOMI lobby. You can do this by clicking the search icon on the left toolbar and typing out the name of the game. (Both the full name or the short "CvS2" name will work fine in the search.) The game should be the first one to pop up in the list. Hover your mouse over it and click the "+JOIN" button. The game will appear on the left toolbar at that point, after which you can click it to join the lobby.

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At this point, the game will load when you launch it. However, you will still need to set up your controller and make a few other settings changes to play.

Flycast Dojo Controller Configuration

First, make sure your controller is plugged in. Then, in the CvS2 Fightcade lobby, find the Test Game button in the upper-right corner and click it. That will open the Flycast Dojo launcher, from which you will eventually load the game. Before that, though, you will want to click Settings to map your controller.

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NOTE: Don't forget to change your name in Flycast from "Player" to your desired Player Name in the first options in the Dojo menu tab. This needs to be configured and saved separately from your Fightcade username. As you play, the Player Name will appear at the top of the game overlay to you, your opponent, on replays, and maybe even on a livestream!

Find your controller/fightstick/hitbox/whatever in the Controls menu tab. Hit the Map button to open the controller mapper. Because we are playing the NAOMI arcade version of CvS2 online, it is very important you switch the controls dropdown menu to Arcade Controls!

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Once the panel switches to Arcade Controls, map the buttons shown below. For CvS2, Buttons 1-3 are the punches and Buttons 4-6 are the kicks. Use the D-Pad or Thumbstick for movement, to your preference. Start is Taunt in CvS2, so make sure it is accessible. In case you want to play the arcade version offline, you may find assigning Coin useful.

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Click Done to save your controller mappings, and again to exit out of Settings. You will more than likely not need to change anything else from default, so don't mess with it. Now you can play CvS2 online against real life humans through the magic of GGPO rollback netplay!

Flycast Dojo Graphics Settings

Most computers should be able to play online smoothly without further tweaking needed. However, if you are seeing a high number of rollback frames during decent connections, you may want to try limiting the framerate of the game on your end to make sure your computer isn't fighting with the netcode to keep things smooth. Players using monitors with high refresh rates and/or G-Sync/Freesync may be more susceptible to this.

The easiest way is to go into your graphics card settings and set Flycast Dojo to a maximum frame rate of 59.94 (if able) or 60 fps. For Nvidia cards, you can set this in 3D settings, as shown below. If it is not in the programs list, add \Fightcade\emulator\flycast.exe (NOT Fightcade.exe!) and set the Max Framerate to 60.

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If you do not have or cannot find an equivalent setting for your video card, you can use an external frame rate limiter such as RivaTuner. Regardless of how you do it, keeping the game running at its native framerate should smooth out most apparent network issues.

Finally, if you want to play in fullscreen, toggle it off and on with Alt+Enter after the game loads. If you prefer to play in a window, move and resize the Flycast Dojo launcher window before launching the game; doing so during gameplay may cause undesired hitching.

Looking for Training Mode?

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Don't use the "Training Mode" button when the game NAOMI arcade version launches! It is meant for games that do not have one built-in or in a home version. For CvS2, you will want to use the training mode in the Dreamcast version of the game instead.

As NAOMI and Dreamcast hardware are fundamentally the same, there is basically no difference between the versions. Everything you learn on Dreamcast training mode will work on NAOMI. In fact, you can even use the CvS2 Dreamcast lobby on Fightcade to play Training Mode online!

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If you had installed the .json files during Fightcade setup, the Dreamcast ROM will automatically download when you enter the Fightcade CvS2 Dreamcast lobby. Remember that the autodownloader may sometimes stay stuck showing 0%, but it is downloading. The file is 177 MB so let it do its thing.

If this does not work for some reason, you can add the file manually. The name of the needed file is exactly Capcom vs. SNK 2 - Millionaire Fighting 2001 (Japan).chd and can be found via Google Search. The single .chd file will need to go in the \Fightcade\emulator\flycast\ROMs\ folder.

Since you will be using the Dreamcast version of the game, you will want to go back into Flycast Dojo settings before launch and map your controller/fightstick/hitbox/whatever in the Dreamcast Controls dropdown. The punch and kick buttons are arranged as in the image below:

FightcadeDCcontrols.jpg

If you are using a stick configuration or controller with analog triggers, you may need to map the Trigger buttons (as shown) instead of the C and Z buttons.

Flycast Dojo Extra Training Mode Features

Thanks to the power of LUA scripting, Flycast Dojo is able to add additional, modern features to CvS2's training mode. These include:

  • Quick save state/load state options for easy position resetting
  • Three input recording slots, and the ability to use a specific or random input playback slot
  • More precise and longer input history display with per-input frame counts
  • Option to use absolute (L/R/U/D) or numpad (4/6/8/2) notation for input direction
  • One-button switching between player controllers to reposition a human dummy or train with two characters in one training mode session

These features can work in any game supported by Flycast Dojo, but for CvS2 they are best used with the Dreamcast version and its training mode.

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To use them, first go into Flycast Dojo settings. Select the options you would like for FC Dojo's Training Mode on the main Dojo settings tab, then map any desired controller buttons or keyboard keys for the FC Dojo Training Mode options, as both shown here. Be sure you are still adjusting Dreamcast Controls on the controller mapping page for this, not Arcade Controls!

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There are two ways to launch Flycast Dojo with its extra Training Mode features enabled:

  1. From Fightcade, in the Dreamcast CvS2 lobby, hit the Test Game button in the upper corner, then select Training Mode from the launcher menu, or
  2. From flycast.exe (in the \Fightcade\emulator\flycast\ folder, if you want to make a shortcut to it without having to open Fightcade) select TRAIN from the dropdown menu in the corner, then select and launch the Dreamcast version of CvS2.
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Once in game and in CvS2's Training Mode, go to the Dummy Settings pause menu option and set Dummy Action to "Human" so you can use the Switch Player function and best take advantage of the input recording slots. Input recordings are bound to the player side (1P/2P) they were recorded on and will repeat the action of that player side upon playback, regardless of which player side you are currently in control of.

For more information on the Training Mode features in Flycast Dojo, see here for a video overview, and here for the overview on the Flycast Dojo website.

Fightcade/Flycast Dojo Troubleshooting and FAQ

If you would like a video guide, refer to SilentScope's Fightcade Flycast Setup video.

Something not working right? Refer to the Fightcade Flycast Dojo GGPO Day 1 FAQ and Flycast Dojo FAQ. The vast majority of any issues you may be experiencing will be answered there.

Completely lost? The Fightcade Official Discord has loads of resources, including the #flycast-emulator channel, where Flycast Dojo developer blueminder hangs out to help out with questions. You can also refer to the Fightcade FAQ if you have any general questions about how Fightcade itself works.

You can also visit the CvS2 Discord for additional help and any general questions you have about CvS2 netplay.

BEAR

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BEAR (Beat ‘Em All Raw) is an all-in-one launcher for multiple arcade and home console emulators, from the NES all the way up to NAOMI and the Dreamcast. It has become a popular client for CvS2 netplay by prominent FGC streamers due to its dead-simple installation process, easy configuration, built-in game downloads, and support for netplay spectators and game replays for all its included platforms. BEAR is in continuous development by RossenX. As a part of this development, a special fork of the GGPO Flycast build has been implemented into BEAR, bringing rollback netplay to the launcher.

Flycast sits alongside NullDC, which was the original emulator of choice for CvS2 in BEAR. NullDC BEAR was created in the middle of 2020 when a delay-based netplay breakthrough was made. During this time BEAR exploded in popularity, raising the profile of CvS2 and MvC2 netplay for players and garnering enough interest in the development community to ultimately lead to rollback netplay in emulation.

Although superseded by Fightcade in terms of popularity after the GGPO Flycast update, BEAR still has compelling features that can make it more useful in certain cases. One advantage over Fightcade is that you can use BEAR to set up private networks (lobbies) so that stream chatrooms or Discord servers have their own matchmaking hub. This requires a separate (but free) VPN program to connect to a network, however. Also, random matchmaking is basically a dice roll when connected to public BEAR networks, since there are no specific game lobbies, just everyone with BEAR open.

But the biggest feather in BEAR's cap, at least for the time being, is that it was designed from the ground up to minimize emulation input lag. While nothing beats offline play, many users prefer Flycast BEAR to Fightcade/Flycast Dojo because the inputs just work. RossenX is working with blueminder and flyinghead to bring these optimizations to the Fightcade side of things, however. Until then, you may want to consider using BEAR for Training Mode play.

BEAR Setup

Download the latest version of BEAR from RossenX's github page. The readme on the main BEAR page includes a full install guide and instructions for use.

After downloading, move the NullDC.BEAR.exe file from any “download” folder or subfolder (you will get an error otherwise) and put it in its own folder before initially launching it. BEAR will automatically install the necessary emulator files in the same folder.

Once installed, open NullDC.BEAR.exe again to launch BEAR. The General Options panel should initially appear, from which you can set a color theme, controls (refer to the BEAR Controller Setup Guide for more information), open up your firewall for netplay (click the big green button), and more.

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No games come with BEAR, but installing them is as easy as hitting the Free DLC button in the main window. BEAR supports a metric buttload of games and emulators. If you're looking to get CvS2 setup, the easiest way is to search for it by name. Be sure to get both the NAOMI (NA) and Dreamcast (DC) versions, as highlighted below. (Note that the "2000" games are CvS1, not CvS2!)

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From here, you're pretty much good to go playing CvS2 offline. To launch a game, click the Play button at the bottom on the BEAR main window. This will open the game selector, where you can choose the game (or version of the game) you want to load. Note the three options below the game list, especially the Emulator option. BEAR has two emulators for NAOMI and Dreamcast games—Flycast and NullDC—so select the one you would prefer before hitting LETS GO! to get going.

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Radmin VPN and BEAR Netplay

We highly recommend sticking to Fightcade for general CvS2 netplay, given how much easier it is to matchmake with random players. But if you are still extremely particular about not wanting any inputs dropped, knowing how to go online with BEAR is useful, especially if you want to use training mode online with a friend.

BEAR itself does not include any networking functionality. To play online with BEAR you will need to connect to an outside network through the use of a free VPN client, such as Radmin VPN. The BEAR github page includes a full setup guide for VPN installation and BEAR netplay if you need the full walkthrough. Just remember to select the Flycast emulator in game select if playing CvS2 online to enable rollback!

Most of BEAR's supported emulators and games can be played online once you are connected to one or more public networks. However, since BEAR does not have specific game lobbies, other people online in BEAR are not necessarily looking to play the same game that you are. If you are looking for random games, you may find it useful to change your display name (in BEAR General Settings) to include what game(s) you are looking to play in. While you can join several public networks at once to widen the search pool and increase your chances of finding a game, note that having too many open network connections at once may cause network issues on your computer.

The best way to play games online through BEAR is through community rally points, such as Twitch streams or Discord channels, to organize games. The CvS2 Discord server has #netplay-bear to help facilitate regional or skill-based (beginner) matchmaking. You might also find a streamer wanting to organize a private group session among their followers, for example.

BEAR Troubleshooting and FAQ

BEAR is extremely straightforward to install and use. However, if something isn't going right for you, here are some resources to help.

If BEAR is crashing when launching the .exe or an emulator, make sure you have the required programs installed. See also the BEAR FAQ on the same page for answers to common issues and complaints.

Silentscope has a tutorial video if you would like a visual setup walkthrough.

RossenX has an official NullDC BEAR Discord Server. He regularly answers tech support questions and other calls for help. If you don't know what else to do, he's your guy.

You can also visit the CvS2 Discord for additional help and any general questions you have about CvS2 netplay.

Legacy/Other Emulation

Dolphin

Dolphin is far and away the best emulator for GameCube and Wii games. It has excellent compatibility and good delay-based netplay complete with spectator support. It is also the best and only real way to play CvS2EO, which was released on GameCube and Xbox.

Dolphin was the emulator of choice for the CvS2 online community until the netplay breakthroughs made in early 2020 rendered it obsolete. We thank Dolphin for its service!

Download Dolphin and download the GameCube ISO file for CvS2EO.

The GameCube controller was a weird old beast, so there are considerations for when you set up a controller for Dolphin and playing CvS2EO. Refer to this controller setup guide (PDF) for more information.

Silentscope has a YouTube tutorial for start-to-finish Dolphin setup.

PCSX2

PCSX2 is the best emulator available for the PlayStation 2. Long in development, it is highly compatible and offers the possibility of netplay, though without rollback support the experience is poor. We have never really used it to play CvS2 online, but PS2 emulation of CvS2 is still useful because it has a hitbox viewer tool. As far as we know, it is the only way to extract hitbox data from the game. The hitbox data (that will eventually be) on this wiki was extracted from the PS2 version of CvS2.

Download PCSX2 and download the PS2 ISO of CvS2.

Information on the CvS2 hitbox viewer tool is here. Make sure to check the README for the specific version of PCSX2 you will need to run it. (The developer, Jesuszilla, has said they would eventually like to make a similar tool for the Dreamcast version.)

Silentscope has a video PCSX2 setup and netplay guide.

CvS2 Wiki Navigation

General
Controls
Notation
HUD
Glossary
System
Combo
CvS2 Versions
Netplay/ Training
FAQ
Grooves
Groove Overview
Groove Subsystems
C-Groove
A-Groove
P-Groove
S-Groove
N-Groove
K-Groove
Capcom Characters
Akuma (Gouki)
Balrog (Boxer)
Blanka
Cammy
Chun-Li
Dan
Dhalsim
Eagle
E.Honda
Guile
Ken
Kyosuke
Maki
M. Bison (Dictator)
Morrigan
Rolento
Ryu
Sagat
Sakura
Vega (Claw)
Yun
Zangief
SNK Characters
Athena
Benimaru
Chang
Geese
Haohmaru
Hibiki
Iori
Joe
Kim
King
Kyo
Mai
Nakoruru
Raiden
Rock
Rugal
Ryo
Terry
Todo
Vice
Yamazaki
Yuri
Boss Characters
Shin Akuma
Ultimate Rugal
Evil Ryu
Orochi Iori