Using Project64

Project64 2.2 (and every versions before) doesn’t support 64DD at all, so you need a development version that you can find on the Download page.

You can either download the original dumps, or the cartridge ports (but I don’t recommend those); both work.
I will assume you know how to set the controls and stuff. What I’m interested to talk about are the Graphics plugins, the N64 Mouse support and how to load 64DD IPLs, required to play the games.

This page will assume you are using Project64 v3.0 or later.

64DD IPL ROMs and how to boot a disk game

64DD IPL contains fonts and sounds, and is what allows 64DD functions to work as most games relies on it for 64DD region detection.

You do not need to use these if you download the zipped build from 64dd.org.
There are two ways to load them:

You can then load your 64DD disk game (*.ndd or *.d64 files) just like any other N64 ROM, via the game list, drag ‘n drop, and all that.

When it comes to combo load Cartridge + Disk at the same time, there are now several ways:
- Via Game List: Right click a N64 Game in the list, and select “Load Game with Disk”, then select the 64DD Disk file to load alongside it.

- Via Main Menu: Select File, then Open Combo. Select the N64 ROM, then select the 64DD Disk file.

- Via Command Line: Project64.exe --combo [64DD Disk Filepath] [N64 ROM Filepath]

This is useful for loading F-Zero X + F-Zero X Expansion Kit and Dezaemon 3D + Dezaemon DD prototype for exemple.

Swapping

Swapping disks is very easy, however, it has be known: You have to swap when the game tells you that you can.
Simply use “Swap Disk” option under the System menu (or Ctrl+D), and load the disk you want. The previous disk you have used will be saved beforehand.

If Ctrl+D (or any shortcut that has messed up) does not work, close Project64, go to Config folder and delete Project64.sc3. The shortcut list will be reset properly.

Saving

There are two save formats, which can be set up in the 64DD tab in the Settings:

Full Disk Copy

A new file is created alongside your 64DD NDD / D64 file, named [filename].ndr / [filename].d6r.
NDR/D6R files are identical to NDD/D64 files on every aspect. It contains the saved data while the NDD/D64 file is unedited. You could rename the NDR/D6R file back to NDD/D64 and it will work properly.
You will notice they are invisible to Project64. Basically upon loading a NDD disk file, it will load the NDR file that’s with it first.

Save Area Only

The new default setting for 64DD saves for the latest builds, produces files that will only contain the RAM Area of the disk, as in, the save data.
Therefore unlike the other format where the save file is as big as the disk file, this one can be up to the size of almost 32MB total.
The save file will be named [filename].ram, which is identical to the file format from the Nintendo 64 SDK.

If you want to convert your *.ndr file to a *.ram file, please rename the *.ndr file extension to *.ndd, and then load it as a regular disk.
The resulted RAM file should be compatible with the original *.ndd file.

Graphics Plugins

It is heavily recommended to use GLideN64 or parallel nowadays for compatibility, performance and ease of use.

GLideN64

The defacto HLE graphics plugin, it provides support for upscaling, as well as texture packs. It is recommended to use with Graphics HLE enabled, and with RSP plugin set to RSP plugin (that’s the name you will find) for proper HLE experience.

To not be confused with Glide64. The N is important to spelling.

There are however some problems with GLideN64, such as Mario Artist Polygon Studio’s modeling features not working properly.
Mario Artist Paint Studio also has a few issues with transparency if you want to import content in other games.

parallel

The compute shader GPU based LLE graphics plugin, it also supports upscaling (requires more RAW GPU performance), it is the closest to attempt accurate N64 graphics emulation, there should be no issues with the graphics for pretty much every game.
If combined with ParaLLel RSP Plugin (this plugin only allows LLE usage), it is even more performant.

If you can use this one for every game, go for it.
Accurate graphics emulation is required for Mario Artist Polygon Studio.

angrylion-rdp-plus

The base plugin for parallel; angrylion is responsible for the most accurate N64 graphics emulation so far. It leverages the CPU for rendering, meaning that you need a beefy CPU to handle things, like an Intel Core CPU, AMD Ryzen or better.
You can combine it with ParaLLel RSP Plugin for better graphics calculations.

Accurate graphics emulation is required for Mario Artist Polygon Studio.

Project64 Video Plugin

This is a HLE graphics plugin to use if all else fails, it provides reasonable features like upscaling, but the plugin is not as compatible, some 64DD games will not work properly. Do not use this plugin if you don’t have to.
It is recommended to use with Graphics HLE enabled, and with RSP plugin set to RSP plugin for proper HLE experience.

Jabo’s Direct3D8

This is the last resort plugin, it is compatible with pretty much all PCs. However this plugin’s development has stopped, and is definitely not going to work best with most games; Do not use this plugin if you don’t have to.
It is recommended to use with Graphics HLE enabled, and with RSP plugin set to RSP plugin for proper HLE experience.

N64 Mouse

To use the N64 Mouse, you need to use N-Rage Input Plugin.

**I have included a controller profile inside latest Project64 builds, you can download it here as well:
N64_MOUSE.cpf

**For games that supports it, I highly recommend also plugging a regular controller alongside the mouse on another port.
The following games natively supports the N64 Mouse:

Setting the N64 Mouse is a bit tricky but doable. I should note that you do not need N64 Mouse to play Mario Artist.
Get to the Controller Plugin’s settings and check “N64 Mouse”. You will then need to set the mouse controls.
I suggest to use Config 2 for Analog Stick. Change the analog stick controls, and move the mouse accordingly to the direction.
Button A should be Left Click, and Button B should be Right Click. These can be set like usual.

Go to Devices tab. Set the X/Y sensitivity to 30% (it’s too sensible at 100%), feel free to find the correct % that you like.
And also set them to Buffered. It’s important.

Go to Controller Pak tab. Set the box to “None” and check Raw Data.

And in the Shortcuts tab (upper part), feel free to set (or leave it as is) the Lock/Unlock Mouse shortcut. By default it’s TAB.

And there you go. If you want to play again with the N64 controller, uncheck N64 Mouse and set the controls again (and use Config 1 for Analog Stick if you used Config 2 for mouse).