The Legend of Dolphin: A Lens Between Worlds

Chapter 1: The Will of the Old Gods

Within the Kingdom of Dolphin, a legend has been passed from generation to generation. While many of the facts have long turned to myth, fragments of this tale are echoed to this day.

This tale began way back in the ancient times known as "2003" when the Old Gods sought to create a wondrous tool that would allow denizens of the PC realm to peer into that of the GameCube dimension. Behind the iron curtain of closed source they toiled away on the foundation that would become "Dolphin Emulator."

A year later, their tool was released to the masses in an experimental state. Its powers were limited, but it showed great potential and a small group of followers used it to see their favorite games in a new light.

In order to wield this powerful tool, a mighty tome with instructions and settings would need to be written. Without such a thing, only the mightiest of sages would be able to wield the magic lens that could peer into other realms.

For this task, the Old Gods prayed upon the altar of wxWidgets. For their tribute, it bestowed upon them an elaborate tome that would hold all of the secrets necessary to wield the magic lens. This tome became known as DolphinWX. Alongside this tome, Dolphin was able to grow to unimaginable strength! When the Old Gods opened up Dolphin to all architects in 2008, it did not take it long to sprawl out into a gigantic kingdom filled with followers. Part of its success was that DolphinWX allowed followers of all skill levels to control the mighty lens that could see into other dimensions.

Chapter 2: An Influx of Power: The Open Source Era Marches On

As the years marched on, Dolphin's abilities grew even greater. Every day followers could look forward to a clearer lens that would allow them to peer into the GameCube dimension with even greater clarity. This power, while wondrous, came at a cost - Dolphin was becoming increasingly complicated and more difficult to wield. Amateur dimensional observers would often have to fall to documentation left by those with greater knowledge. And even when handled by a veteran, some of Dolphin's behaviors were erratic.

DolphinWX acted as a stabilizing force among this, with a compendium of information and notes added to allow those peering into other dimensions to have a pleasant experience. Even as Dolphin grew more complicated, the tome was able to expand and grow as new passages were written and spells were added.

Together with the Old Gods, these architects brought Dolphin into a new era of progress that allowed it to transcend generations. Rather than just the GameCube dimension, followers could now access the motion heavy Wii dimension! With a slew of new worlds at the fingertips of all, Dolphin entered its first golden age.

These robust additions made Dolphin more useful and more powerful, but it put an incredible strain on wxWidgets it was stretched to fit Dolphin's growing needs. Dolphin had grown far beyond what DolphinWX was originally designed to handle and what it had become were two very different things. The worlds that Dolphin could peer into grew from hundreds to thousands! It was no longer a curiosity scoffed at by the others that surveyed dimensions, but an equal that they must respect.

In exchange for this great power, wxWidgets crept deeper and deeper into Dolphin, fusing itself deep within its core. Limitations were worked around and the golden age pressed onward unhindered. But, unless one was a wizard that could wield Dolphin blindly, all relied upon DolphinWX. In a sense, wxWidgets was no longer just a servant of Dolphin, it was an integral part of its being.

Chapter 3: The Dark Prophecy

Among the architects of the project, there were those that were more than mere contributors. They were sages that held great power: the very power to morph and alter Dolphin directly.

One of these sages closely watched the way Dolphin was progressing. While all signs pointed toward a bright future, this one instead foresaw a great calamity. Through the looking glass, they wondered if perhaps Dolphin were relying too much on its faithful servant. For all that wxWidgets did well, it was an aging beast. Dolphin's needs had grown over the years, and while there was much success molding DolphinWX in the past, it was reaching its limits. The stars they read foretold a story in which Dolphin would become a slave to wxWidgets, and if it could not overcome this trial, it may be destroyed by it.

The sage dove through the project and looked in despair. Throughout Dolphin he could see the tendrils of wxWidgets limitations hampering parts of Dolphin that it never should have reached! But, what choice was there but to simply watch on? Without wxWidgets, Dolphin's followers would have no way to wield it.

This sage and many architects realized the threat wxWidgets posed. They vowed to create a weapon so great, that it could cleanly part Dolphin from wxWidgets, without isolating followers from their worship of Dolphin.

Their plan was simple: use modern alchemy to create a more modern way to wield Dolphin. Deep within the confines of the Kingdom, they worked tirelessly to forge a tome within a new runic manuscript. Within inner circles rumors swirled around power known as "Qt".

While several sages and architects had minor successes toward completing this new tome, DolphinWX showed no signs of weakness toward it. It was clear to separate Dolphin from wxWidgets would be an incredible effort, but very few architects saw the need. For all of its flaws, DolphinWX did everything they wanted. The architects working on Qt struggled under the burden and began to despair, even fighting amongst themselves. Slowly, one by one, they fell away.

Their mighty efforts acted only as a reminder of the insumountable power that wxWidgets held upon the Kingdom.

Chapter 4: The Darkness That Came to Pass

With the fifth rebirth of Dolphin a great success, Dolphin's golden age extended into a new era. It seemed as though it would never end, as more architects and sages kept perfecting the ways it could peer into worlds. Those that had traveled from the GameCube dimension to the Dolphin Kingdom even remarked that when peering through the lens, it felt like they were back home.

But behind the glory, the prophesy foretold years ago was slowly coming to fruition. DolphinWX struggled under the weight of its past. The architects kept trying to heal it and morph it as they always had, but the cantankerous old beast refused them at every turn. It was taking more and more alchemy to hold it together, and it cracked and bled with every shift. It was clear that DolphinWX was now a monolithic burden.

Many valient architects dove into the problem, and much progress was made to heal the old monster, but all the repairs left it frail. And if it were to fall, so would Dolphin alongside it. In order to preserve the status quo, most architects did anything they could to minimize their interactions with wxWidgets, some going so far to hide their options away from the ancient behemoth where most followers feared to go.

With the tome they needed to free Dolphin from wxWidgets still incomplete, all the architects could do was try to keep it placated as long as they could.

Chapter 5: The Legendary Hero

Whenever a great evil had threatened Dolphin in the past, a hero always rose to oppose it. When the Metafortress clan attempted to wall off their worlds from those attempting to peer in, a spy snuck within their walls and brought back their most holy of secrets. When the Disney Trio of Destruction threatened to destroy their own worlds, two heroes fought for years to defeat their three headed monster with both accuracy and cunning. Dolphin's history is filled with mighty foes and fearsome battles. No one will forget The Great Wars of HLE audio, the worlds ravaged with the zFreeze Plague, or even the world with the terrifying Dynamic Block Address Translation curse. Each time all hoped seemed to be lost, a hero rose at the darkest hour.

Yet, though many had opposed wxWidgets, no one had managed to break its hold on Dolphin. It seems that the prophecy of Dolphin's doom was inescapable.

Then a new architect suddenly appeared, armed with nothing more than a green hat and pointy ears. In his eyes was a determination to spare Dolphin from its likely fate. He knew his odds, and he knew the battle may consume him, yet spycrab0 took it upon himself to fight against the mighty DolphinWX. He openly opposed the monstrosity it had become and took it upon himself to complete the tome that had been designed many years ago to defeat it.

What made DolphinQt so necessary was that this tome was written in a more modern manner and had the flexibility Dolphin needed. Yet it was incomplete. In order to find the missing pieces, spycrab0 would need to set out on a journey that would lead him all across the Kingdom that Dolphin became. Throughout his travels, he faced many trials, some that were last unearthed when the Old Gods were still writing DolphinWX.

  • The Labyrinth of The Twilight Processes
  • Lost City of the Skyward Sourcecode
  • Ever Changing Walls of the Graphics Configuration Page
  • The Faraway Fortresses of the Netplay Menus
  • The Invisible Realm of the Disc Exploration Page
  • The Haunted Bikeshed

All of these trials and more helped bring power to Qt, and it became a force that wxWidgets would have to respect and fear. But, despite his successes, spycrab0 was pushed to the brink. The battle was ravenous and DolphinWX mocked him endlessly. Yet he never gave up. Even in his darkest of moments, he traveled across the land, helping those in need by adding their requests to DolphinQt.

Slowly, he gained support from the other architects of Dolphin. While there was much love for DolphinWX and all it had done for the project, they realized that in this corrupted state it was dangerous to the longevity of the project. The seeds of stagnation had grown into twisted labyrinths that few developers were willing to tread.

Chapter 6: The Climactic Clash at the Debug Stronghold

With all of the trials of the standard tome completed, one final trial emerged from within the deep recesses of DolphinWX. This trial dwarfed everything before it - it was a second tome used only by developers! By using special commands, DolphinWX could be morphed into a more complicated tome that allowed the very manipulation and analysis of the worlds it peered into. Despite being used by only the elite, it was something that DolphinQt needed to be able to do to truly free Dolphin from wxWidgets.

Spycrab0 did his best to start conquering this gigantic maze, but many of the trials and mysteries within it were foreign to even him. He found himself lost in the labyrinthian halls long abandoned, long forgotten. It appeared as though wxWidgets had claimed yet another who dared defy it.

As DolphinWX prepared the final blow, a beam of light seared across through the halls. In the darkest hour, the architects and sages united around spycrab0's cause, and joined him to solve the mystery of the labyrinth. Some of the architects were more familiar with the twists of this advanced tome and assisted spycrab0 in unraveling their secrets. Others assisted with reading through the tome to see if the new spells worked their magic as needed. Better yet, a few brave architects even assisted with brewing their own spells to add to the mighty collection.

Chapter 7: The Mirrored Tomes

With the Advanced Tome progressing at a decent pace, spycrab0 began to wonder if the tool was now powerful enough to execute their grand plan. The DolphinQt Tome was powerful and could control Dolphin with the greatest of ease, yet, even when offered the option, most followers were more than happy to stick with the older tome. As such, DolphinWX retained its grip on most of the followers. Seeing this, the sages knew they could not outright exorcise DolphinWX without instilling a great panic across the kingdom. So they sought to first weaken its hold.

But this was something that Spycrab0 and the architects had planned for. Thanks to the failures of the past, he very carefully wrote the DolphinQt tome in a very specific way. While deep within its core it was more flexible and powerful than DolphinWX, to the normal follower reading it, it would be exactly the same. The spells, the curses, and the hacks would all be right where they would be with DolphinWX! DolphinQt not only mirrored every feature of DolphinWX, it mirrored its very look and function as well! Together with the sages and architects, spycrab0 attempted to break DolphinWX's seal.

On the 21st day of April, 2018, one of those with the sagely power of merge rights activated DolphinQt. It would now be the default tome that users opened when attempting to control the mightly lens! DolphinWX was now pushed to the side, though still accessible in case of emergency. When the followers began to try this new tome, complaints and issues were shouted across the kingdom. Despite everyone's best efforts, the mighty Qt Tome was still fraught with minor errors and problems. In order to prevent a reversion, spycrab0 worked tirelessly to correct each flaw as they surfaced. With each bug fixed, DolphinQt only grew stronger, and the cries for help quickly quieted as the magic lens began to function normally under the Qt tome.

While the initial switch can be called a success, the fight is far from over. Until the day that DolphinWX is finally excised from the kingdom, there is always the threat that it will rise again. Together, we will continue our battle to create the greatest lens that peers across dimensions for today and the days yet come. And when the next threat rises, the prophesy only fortells but one thing: once again a new hero will rise to oppose it.

Epilogue: TL;DR

Now that story time is over, let's get into what's actually going on right now. Our Qt Graphical User Interface has finally advanced to the point that we have switched Qt to the default! It's basically feature complete and is totally usable for regular play, however there may be some missing functionality and little bugs here and there. This was a big change after all! Please report any issues you may find on our Forums or Issue Tracker. If you run into any UI issues and just don't want to deal with them, DolphinWX.exe has the old wxWidgets GUI in the latest builds. However, note that the wxWidgets GUI is now deprecated so it will not be seeing any new updates from now on, and will be removed before the next stable release.

Now that we are no longer being held back by crusty old GUI, we've already started getting some features we've wanted for a long time coming!

  • Auto Updater - Dolphin can now automatically update itself! There are three update tracks available: Development (every change), Beta (recommended, updates alongside Progress Report releases) or Stable (every stable release). Dolphin will update all files necessary, including DolphinWX.exe to the latest version (for as long as WX is still around).
  • Proper Search Functionality for the Gamelist - If you have a gigantic gamelist, you can now use the search function to narrow down the games.
  • Automatic Game List Updating - You no longer need to press "refresh" after dumping a new game! The Game List will just detect it and update itself on the fly!
  • Much More Flexible Windowing System - Resize multiple windows, swap between configuration windows without having to close the previous, Toolbar can be repositioned, Gridview for the Game List, Resizeable and Reorderable columns in the Game List, and more!
  • Better HiDPI support
  • Improved Cheat Search
  • Adding Gecko Codes in the UI
  • Improved Memory Card Manager

There will be some growing pains, but we are only just beginning to see the payoff for the tons of work the move to Qt has been! Stay tuned!

As a final note, we'd like to thank everyone who contributed to the Qt GUI over the years to help make this possible. It's been a project we've seen bouncing around since before the blog existed, and without past efforts, it's very unlikely the GUI (or this article) would have ever happened!

Zelda images used in this article are from the archives of History of Hyrule.

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