Slippi is a custom version of the Dolphin emulator suited for Super Smash Bros. Melee netplay. Here’s what sets it apart from other ways you can play Super Smash Bros. online, and how to play the Nintendo classic online on your PC.
What Is Netplay?
Netplay enables online play in emulators, but it isn’t quite the same as traditional online play in video games. Since the original console being emulated wasn’t made for online play (and netplay is a hack on top of it), what’s happening is the emulator’s “state” is constantly being synced between players.
While this is fine for some games, Super Smash Bros. Melee for Nintendo GameCube is still being played after all these years because of its vibrant competitive scene. This requires a great deal of reflex and precision. Dolphin’s Netplay solution simply wasn’t good enough for competitive players, but Slippi has changed that!
What Is Slippi, and How Does It Beat Regular Dolphin Netplay?
What Slippi adds to the equation is something called “rollback netcode.” This means Melee under Slippi now functions like a game that’s properly made for online play. The input lag is greatly reduced to the levels SSBM players are used to. Due to the world events of 2020, this was necessary to keep the scene alive.
The craziest thing about Slippi for the Smash Bros. community is, at this time, it’s actually the best way to play Smash Bros. online. Not even the official online play in Smash Bros. Ultimate for Nintendo Switch has rollback netcode!
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to set this up:
- An unmodified Super Smash Bros. Melee ISO file: To legally create one from an official game disc you own, check the “How to Get GameCube and Wii Games Legally” section in our Dolphin emulator guide. Place this ISO in the “Games” folder after we create it later in this guide.
- The Slippi app: Available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- A compatible XInput gamepad: This can be an Xbox controller, another gamepad with an XInput wrapper, or a proper GameCube controller.
First, we’re going to make a few folders for this process. Start by pressing Windows+E to open File Explorer, and then click “Documents.”
In the “Documents” folder, create a new folder called something like “Dolphin and Slippi”; it doesn’t matter what you name it, but we recommend you make it something easily recognizable.
In this folder, create another for Melee or any other game files you might have; we’ve named ours “Games.”
Place your Melee ISO file in this folder and remember where it is—you’ll need it later to launch the game.
Now, visit Slippi’s download page and click “Download for Windows.” Place the downloaded ZIP file in the “Dolphin and Slippi” folder you created earlier.
Now, head to the folder in which you downloaded the ZIP file. Right-click and extract the ZIP file into the “Dolphin and Slippi” folder, and then open the “FM-Slippi-X.XX-Win” folder.
You can skip the folder organization step if you have 7-Zip by clicking “Extract Here” in its context menu.
From this folder, drag and drop the “FM-Slippi” folder into the “Dolphin and Slippi” folder for better organization.
Delete the “FM-Slippi-X.X.X-Win” folder, and then open the “FM-Slippi” folder.
Double-click “Dolphin.exe” to launch it.
When Dolphin launches, Melee will appear in your games list. If you already have a real GameCube controller with a regular Dolphin installation on the same machine, skip to the “Playing Slippi Netplay” section.
Otherwise, don’t launch the game yet; you’ll need to complete the steps in the next section first.
Setting Up Your Controller (Config Included)
If you want to use a proper GameCube controller for a vintage experience, here’s how to set one up.
If you’re using a standard XInput gamepad (Xbox controller or similar), you’re in luck! We’ve provided a preconfigured file for you to use instead of setting up the controller yourself. (Slippi is based on an older version of Dolphin in which it was more difficult to set up analog control.)
First, download and extract our Config file, which is called “xinput gamecube.ini.” Right-click it and select “Copy.” Then, navigate to the FM-Slippi folder and double-click “Sys.”
In the “Sys” folder, double-click “Config,” double-click “Profiles,” and then double-click “GCPad.”
The profiles that are already inside this folder are for the specialized B0XX controller. Right-click an empty space in the window, and then select “Paste” to paste our Xbox controller Config file in the folder.
Close File Explorer. The following are the button mappings in the Config file (you can change them in the Controller Settings if you want, just don’t touch the analog settings):
- GameCube A = Xbox A
- GameCube B = Xbox X
- GameCube X = Xbox B
- GameCube Y = Xbox Y
- GameCube L = Xbox LT
- GameCube R = Xbox RT
- GameCube Z = Xbox RB
- GameCube Start = Xbox Menu button
- GameCube Left Analog = Xbox Left Analog
- GameCube C-Stick = Xbox Right Analog
- GameCube D-Pad = Xbox D-Pad
Once you’ve placed the Config file in the “Config” folder, you’re ready to start playing! Launch Dolphin now, and then open the “Controllers” panel.
Now, open the “Port 1” drop-down, select “Standard Controller,” and then, click “Configure.”
This opens a “Controller Configuration” window. Fortunately, you don’t have to do much work here; just click the drop-down on the far right and select the “Xinput Gamecube” profile.
Click “Load” to the immediate right of the drop-down to load the profile, and then select the “Background Input” checkbox near the bottom right. Click “Close” and you’re all set!
Playing Slippi Netplay
Once you’ve set up your controller and file structure, it’s time to get playing! Open Dolphin, click “Melee,” and then click “Play.”
From here, Slippi walks you through the rest of the process!
After you follow the instructions, you’ll be ready to play Slippi online against randoms in matchmaking, or friends in direct fights, as long as you have their code.