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Thread: N64 in high resolution

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    Banana (Level 7) SkiDragon's Avatar
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    Default N64 in high resolution

    So, since Virtual Console N64 games run at a higher resolution, as do ROM images in an emulator, I am wondering just how completely impossible it would be to make them run at a higher resolution on the original console. If the video is only compressed in the video processor, than it seems to me to be within the realm of possibility to change that processor and have the games run at a higher resolution.
    I just want to play the games in a higher resolution legally, and without paying to download a game I already own.
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    Crono (Level 14)
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    The N64 hardware isnt powerfull enough to run Mario64 in 640x480. Wikipedia says that N64's resolution is native 320x240, but another site i checked said its 640x480, maybe this is the max.

    Anyway, to run a game at a higher resolution requires more hardware. If Mario64 is originaly runned at 320x240 it will require much more hardware to run it at the double resolution.

    Talked to a friend whos a programmer about it, he said that higher resolution requires more cpu and it draws on a bigger memory. Like if you run 320x240 in 32bit you must calculate it like this: 320*240*4 (4 is 4bit pr. pixel). So if you want to run it at 640x480 its 640*480*4, which means its alot more pixels to be drawn and that requires more hardware.

    So in other words, the hardware isnt strong enough. It might be possible somehow tho, but you must overclock the N64 hardware then so its fast enough
    Last edited by jajaja; 02-06-2007 at 05:22 PM.

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    Looking into it further, it seems that the N64 can display a range of resolutions, up to the 640 480 that the Virtual Console apparently uses. (I know PC emulators can display even higher resolutions.) This explains the "high def" mode in Perfect Dark, and why some games seem clearer than others. I am wondering if there is a list somewhere that says which games run in which resolutions. I wonder if it is possible to force the video processor to display at 640 480? Or is this even how it works?
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    I don't know anything about N64 programming, but speaking in general terms I doubt it would be that simple. There are probably different color depths and image formats used in the different screen modes. If you tried to use graphics data from a lower mode in 640x480, it probably would come out looking like garbage. It might even crash the GPU.

    Also, the game logic is programmed around the assumptions of a different screen mode, so lots of things could be drawn in the wrong places and maybe other bugs. It most likely just wouldn't run, but even if it did, it would be a complete graphical mess most likely.

    Memory would be another problem. One thing I do know about the N64 is that it has to load graphics data into console RAM - it doesn't render directly from the cartridge. If you want the graphics to work in a higher mode, the graphics data might have to be expanded into a larger format, and there wouldn't be enough RAM in the console to hold all of it... unless it will just automatically use the expansion pack, then you might have a chance.

    However, you do say that emulators make this conversion all the time. My guess is that the emulator actively intervenes to make it work. But maybe I'm wrong and it "just works" without any special involvement once the mode has been set. An emulator author would probably know the answer to what you're trying to do.

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