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Author Topic: Could Older Games Be Modified For Widescreen?  (Read 2507 times)

lilbud

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Could Older Games Be Modified For Widescreen?
« on: October 14, 2018, 12:48:04 pm »
A little while ago, someone made a widescreen patch for Alundra. Widening the play field to a widescreen aspect ratio (16:10). I was wondering if the same treatment could be applied to older games, like NES and SNES. Like, shrinking the window size to a wider aspect ratio while repositioning everything to be in that new playfield.

In a 256x240 window, the game display would be shrinked to 256x144.

Kind of a random idea I had, but I wanted to know if it would be possible.

KingMike

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Re: Could Older Games Be Modified For Widescreen?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2018, 10:48:07 pm »
You might want to look at the difference between Master System and Game Gear to get an idea of how gameplay would be affected by shrinking the window. :P
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Psyklax

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Re: Could Older Games Be Modified For Widescreen?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2018, 05:15:37 am »
Here's the thing: you couldn't just make it 16:9 by extending the screen because, as you said, you'd have to crop the top and bottom. Which, to be honest, is pretty dumb. On the other hand, emulators for later consoles like the Dreamcast can play in 1920x1080 and expand the viewing window, which introduces artefacts like objects popping up, but you don't miss anything and it looks cool.

Going back to the NES and SNES, it wouldn't be difficult per se to remove stuff from the top and bottom, but why would you? Extending the playfield is great, but shrinking it is pointless. The only way to fix it is to do like Outrun Cannonball, which is a port of the original game with a new engine.

In a 3D game like Shenmue, you can extend the viewing area and see things that aren't normally in your immediate view, but you can't automatically do that on NES because... they don't exist. They'd need to be put into VRAM first. Actually, come to think of it, you COULD kind of extend the viewing area because the nametable has enough for two full screens. But more than likely the sprites will pop in on the edges, unless you modify the code to make them appear off screen.

What I'm saying is, theoretically, yes, you could make an emulator that could extend the NES screen, but the results would be very variable. But forget about doing it on real hardware.

mz

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Re: Could Older Games Be Modified For Widescreen?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2018, 05:43:15 am »
you could make an emulator that could extend the NES screen, but the results would be very variable.
Someone recently did this: http://prilik.com/blog/wideNES
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KingMike

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Re: Could Older Games Be Modified For Widescreen?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2018, 12:44:52 pm »
In a 3D game like Shenmue, you can extend the viewing area and see things that aren't normally in your immediate view, but you can't automatically do that on NES because... they don't exist. They'd need to be put into VRAM first. Actually, come to think of it, you COULD kind of extend the viewing area because the nametable has enough for two full screens. But more than likely the sprites will pop in on the edges, unless you modify the code to make them appear off screen.
Someone did exactly that once on a GBA emulator as I recall, using Pokemon as an example, and sprites suddenly appearing on the screen is exactly what happens.

Thing is that games probably expect that one screen will not be visible at a time.
Mega Man's distinctive vertical scrolling feature I believe is a result of it writing the nametable one row at a time as it scrolls.
You would almost certain get weird things happening. Not to mention games that use mid-frame CHR-ROM bankswitching. (or MMC2/4 which even use mid-scanline bankswaps)
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ShadowOne333

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Re: Could Older Games Be Modified For Widescreen?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2018, 12:46:52 pm »
Just as an extra, I believe you can achieve something akin to this with the Gameboy/GBC emulator for GBA, named Goomba Color (I think).
The emulator has an option to enable something similar to Super Gameboy borders for games.

However, if you disable the borders, you will get a nice widescreen effect on some games.
For example, Metroid II gets a widescreen view by default, only thing is that enemies/items won't spawn when outside of the usual 4:3 view, but the backgrounds and map layout is active in widescreen, it seems it's just sprites that won't appear outside the 4:3 view.

Here's an example with Super Mario Land with the border set to none:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDxF5ALKU0g

toruzz

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Re: Could Older Games Be Modified For Widescreen?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2018, 01:38:59 pm »
Just as an extra, I believe you can achieve something akin to this with the Gameboy/GBC emulator for GBA, named Goomba Color (I think).
The emulator has an option to enable something similar to Super Gameboy borders for games.

However, if you disable the borders, you will get a nice widescreen effect on some games.
For example, Metroid II gets a widescreen view by default, only thing is that enemies/items won't spawn when outside of the usual 4:3 view, but the backgrounds and map layout is active in widescreen, it seems it's just sprites that won't appear outside the 4:3 view.

Here's an example with Super Mario Land with the border set to none:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDxF5ALKU0g
Awesome, I didn't know Goomba had this feature :O

I'm actually experimenting with that idea but changing the emulator to emulate a console with a bigger screen and then hacking the games so they work properly. That comes with timing issues and solving them may be beyond my knowledge, but I think it's a cool PoC.

Working example: https://twitter.com/toruzz/status/1048364190942093312