What is Project Slippi?

Posted on June 8, 2021

If you’ve been keeping an eye on your favourite esports betting sites recently, you might have noticed some odds on Super Smash Brothers: Melee. It seems a bit confusing, how can an over a decade old game for the GameCube have a competitive life during the pandemic? Well, players have been using Project Slippi to play online.

What is Project Slippi?

Project Slippi is a third party tool designed by a crew of Super Smash Brothers: Melee fanatics that wants to deal with the many issues surrounding the games online play.

Given the fact that Melee was never meant to be an online game, the developers had a pretty big hurdle to overcome. According to the developers themselves:

“The goal of Slippi is to bring Melee into the future and invigorate the sport surrounding the game. So far this has come in the form of enabling:

  • Portable replay files
  • Complex gameplay stats
  • Improved streaming video quality
  • Improved online netcode
  • Online matchmaking
  • And more”

This isn’t the first project that wants to include online play for older games using emulators. Slippi is built on the back of Netplay, a service that allows emulators like Dolphin to approximate the feeling of online multiplayer.

Of course, this hacked together, volunteer-made service is nowhere near good enough to please the competitive player base of Melee. The game requires precision and speed to be played at the top level, if you’ve ever tried out any Super Smash Bros betting sites and watched the games, it looks like a completely different game.

By using “rollback netcode”, the team behind Project Slippi has significantly reduced the input lag and made the game far more playable when online match making.  This hugely expanded the competitive Melee scene and has been the backbone of many esports events during the coronavirus pandemic.

How to download and set up Project Slippi

So, you want to dive into the Melee competitive scene? Then it is very important that you understand how to download and install Project Slippi. If you rely on the delay based netcode of Netplay, you will be at a serious disadvantage.

Before you start Project Slippi, you are going to need a few things:

  1. An unmodified Super Smash Bros. Melee ISO file: This is the game file that the Dolphin emulator needs to run the game. To get a legal ISO file, you will need to rip it from a copy of the game that you personally own to make sure you aren’t pirating the game.
  2. The Slippi app: This is a free app for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
  3. A gamepad: You will need a compatible XInput gamepad, the simplest and often best gamepad for PC gaming is an Xbox controller, no need to get the newest one out there, just find one that is in your budget.

Here comes the tricky part. It may sound a bit confusing but if you follow these steps, you will be playing in no time.

  1. Create a folder in your documents. Make sure you name it something memorable so you can find it later.
  2. In the first folder, create a second folder for your Melee ISO file. Name it accordingly, you’ll need to find it when you want to play.
  3. Download the Slippi app from their website and place the zip file in the first folder.
  4. Extract the zip file into the first folder
  5. Open the FM-Slippi folder
  6. Click on Dolphin.exe to launch it
  7. When Dolphin launches you should see Melee in your list of games.

You have now launched Dolphin with the Slippi netcode!

Project Slippi Super Smash Brothers: Melee

How to use Project Slippi

Now that you have set up Project Slippi, you will want to get into a game and try it out for yourself.

  1. Open Dolphin and find the Melee ISO file.
  2. Select the game and press play. At this point you won’t see the standard netplay dialogue.
  3. If the installation has worked, you should see a log in button. Open it with the A button.
  4. You will be directed to a slippi.gg page and prompted to log in.
  5. Once you are finished, you are ready to play.
  6. Use Direct mode to play specific players or Unranked mode to find nearby opponents automatically.

Is Project Slippi Legal?

Project Slippi is legal. They do not provide pirated copies of Melee or any other illegal service. Emulators and their related net code are completely legal. The issues will arise if you use the service with a pirated version of the game. In that instance, you are using a pirated game on a legal service. The onus is not on the company, instead, it is on you. We recommend sourcing a legal Melee ISO if you want some guilt-free online play.

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Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a passion for video games. His latest hobby is watching people speedrun Super Mario 64 and realising how bad he is at platformers.

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