Emulation News: mGBA gets Hi-Res mode which allows 3D games to be run at higher resolutions, David Miller working on porting more emulators to the PlayStation 4 including Reicast/PCSX-R and Yuzu (Switch emulator) receives Boxcat which allows for dynamic content addition!
As usual, the emulation scene always has something interesting going on and the last few days have been no exception. This time around, we have mGBA getting a high-resolution mode, Yuzu adding Boxcat and the PlayStation 4 on the path of finally getting some emulators!
mGBA gets a high-resolution mode allowing 3D portions of games to look nicer
Nowadays, many emulators like Dolphin (GameCube/Wii) and PPSSPP (PSP) implement functionality for rendering games at a higher resolution thus making them look much better. This functionality is possible because games on these systems typically make use of a lot of 3D assets/objects which can be rendered at pretty high resolutions provided that the machine the emulator is running on has sufficient power.Until a short while ago, high-resolution modes were mostly restricted to emulators for more recent consoles with ones for older consoles having screen filters to make games look better but with the recently released HD Mode 7 technology, that changed. This is because some SNES/GBA games contain some 3D assets which can indeed be up-scaled and now, mGBA received a high-res mode feature which is similar to HD Mode 7.
Through this, assets in 3D games which have affine transformations can be upscaled to pretty impressive resolutions (like 3120×2080) which makes parts (not all) of certain GBA games look much nicer. To see this in action, check out this video by the mGBA folks which shows F-Zero: Climax’s tracks looking much nicer.
If you want to try this out for yourself, grab the latest Nightly build of the mGBA emulator from this link and enable the high-res mode in the Enhancements part of the Settings window!
David Miller porting emulators to the PlayStation 4: PS1, Saturn, Dreamcast, GBA and Genesis emulators may be coming soon for your hacked PS4!
If you thought that the PlayStation 4 doesn’t have an awful lot of emulators, then you’re right and David Miller has decided to matters in his own hands to rectify the situation.
This former Reicast developer, who was very active in the earlier days of the emulator and who still does some occasional commits on GitHub, is currently on a path to bringing a good deal of popular emulators to hacked units of Sony’s current home console which include:
- Reicast which is a Sega Dreamcast emulator so that your PS4 can turn into a Crazy Taxi machine
- Yabause, a Sega Saturn emulator for some good ol’ Sega Rally
- Blast-Em which does Sega Genesis emulation
- GameBoy (Colour/Advance) through mGBA
- PlayStation 1 through PCSX-R
As of right now, there are no public builds available but he’s been posting numerous screenshots/videos of the PCSX-R and Yabause ports which means that something may be landing pretty soon as the Yabause port is fully working sans audio! To get more updates, make sure to check out his Twitter account and as usual, don’t pester him for ETAs as he’ll surely deliver considering his reputation in the emulation community.
Yuzu team adds Boxcat, an open-source version of the BCAT, which is used to dynamically download extra content on the Switch
When we hear the word ’emulation’, our mind usually goes to consoles that are at least a decade old but in the Switch’s case, emulator progress made big strides early on in the system’s life with some games already being playable with Yuzu. However, this emulator is still in development and so, new features and improvements are being added on a regular basis with the latest one being Boxcat.
Boxcat is an open-source implementation of the BCAT service found on the Nintendo Switch which allows games to download extra content from Nintendo’s servers without having to update the game’s binaries themselves.
Such extra content includes Super Mario Odyssey hints/costumes and Splatoon 2 items among other things. Yuzu’s version of this service makes use of high-level emulation to intercept game calls to Nintendo’s servers which it redirects to yuzu’s which means that users can add some more in-game content which would be available to users of the emulator.
As of right now, there is some extra content for Zelda BotW, Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey but more might come in the future. As of right now, there are no public builds available which have this functionality included in them but in the near future, it should be added to Yuzu’s public Canary builds. Furthermore, Zach Hillerman who is a Yuzu developer has said on Reddit that it’s possible for this feature to be ported to hacked Switch consoles which might create some interesting stuff in the future like community-run events!
If you’re interested in more emulator-related stuff, you can check out this recently published documentary about M2 who are the people that brought a lot of retro games to modern consoles via emulation like Space Harrier to the PS2 and Galaga to the Nintendo DS! Finally, you can donate the folks mentioned in this article by following the links below:
mGBA’s Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mgba
Yuzu’s Patreon (has some perks like early access to some features): https://www.patreon.com/yuzuteam
David Miller’s Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/znullptr