Question on Dolphin Emulator and Wii U

#1mistermerkPosted 3/9/2012 11:37:10 AM
Can someone explain to me how the Dolphin Emulator works?

Looking at pics like these (https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=AE3B5583D7854EAB&id=AE3B5583D7854EAB%21968&sc=photos) it doesn't just look like a 1080p upscale. Is it a mod?

Assuming it does something to the graphics and resolution, how hard would it be for Nintendo to re-release games that look like the pics above on the Wii U? Would it be quick, with little resources invested, or would it be like making the game all over again essentially?

Thanks.
#2NyyarkPosted 3/9/2012 11:47:00 AM
The dolphin can render the actual game at various multiples of the natural resolution. At 2x native resolution the game is around 1080p. As the Wii games often have high(er) resolution textures than are rendered to sample from it makes everything look much clearer, and the models look much more defined. Furthermore you can run anti-aliasing (which removes jaggies). There are also some lighting/shading/filter enhancements/alternate methods (I love the disable fog option), but they can have compatibility issues.

Doing this just has a much higher demand on the hardware, and emulators have compatibility issues, and even more hardware overhead.

Never pirate! It's neat to see stuff you own rendered much nicer than the official hardware can do it though.
#3mistermerk(Topic Creator)Posted 3/9/2012 12:09:23 PM
Nyyark posted...
The dolphin can render the actual game at various multiples of the natural resolution. At 2x native resolution the game is around 1080p. As the Wii games often have high(er) resolution textures than are rendered to sample from it makes everything look much clearer, and the models look much more defined. Furthermore you can run anti-aliasing (which removes jaggies). There are also some lighting/shading/filter enhancements/alternate methods (I love the disable fog option), but they can have compatibility issues.

Doing this just has a much higher demand on the hardware, and emulators have compatibility issues, and even more hardware overhead.

Never pirate! It's neat to see stuff you own rendered much nicer than the official hardware can do it though.


Thanks. So how hard would it be for Nintendo to do something similar with the Wii U? Like if they licensed the tech, couldn't they make HD ports with virtually no effort on the Wii U that look like those screenshots above?
#4nintendomaniacPosted 3/9/2012 12:50:38 PM
If GameCube games do end up on the virtual console, it's extremely likely that those will be rendered in HD (since N64 games on the Wii are rendered in 480p).

And it's likely for N64 games as well, but they don't really look too much better in HD due to low-res textures.
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#5meiyukiPosted 3/9/2012 1:28:20 PM
Thanks. So how hard would it be for Nintendo to do something similar with the Wii U? Like if they licensed the tech, couldn't they make HD ports with virtually no effort on the Wii U that look like those screenshots above?

it's not really "tech" per se. They're basically just upscaling the image(kind of like how you can change the resolution of pc games) and applying after effects to it. The problem is emulators are much more intensive on hardware than the normal machine, you can generally assume you need a system roughly 10x more powerful than what you're emulating.

Granted the wii U is backwards compatible so I doubt it's doing pure software emulation so it probably could upscale some stuff. It's hard to know for sure without knowing what's all going on inside the wii U.
#6mistermerk(Topic Creator)Posted 3/9/2012 1:37:47 PM
nintendomaniac posted...
If GameCube games do end up on the virtual console, it's extremely likely that those will be rendered in HD (since N64 games on the Wii are rendered in 480p).

And it's likely for N64 games as well, but they don't really look too much better in HD due to low-res textures.


Yeah I don't mean just rendered in HD, I mean like how those screenshots look. Oh well, I guess just HD will look better at least...
#7mistermerk(Topic Creator)Posted 3/9/2012 1:39:25 PM
meiyuki posted...
Thanks. So how hard would it be for Nintendo to do something similar with the Wii U? Like if they licensed the tech, couldn't they make HD ports with virtually no effort on the Wii U that look like those screenshots above?

it's not really "tech" per se. They're basically just upscaling the image(kind of like how you can change the resolution of pc games) and applying after effects to it. The problem is emulators are much more intensive on hardware than the normal machine, you can generally assume you need a system roughly 10x more powerful than what you're emulating.

Granted the wii U is backwards compatible so I doubt it's doing pure software emulation so it probably could upscale some stuff. It's hard to know for sure without knowing what's all going on inside the wii U.


I see now. So, the Wii U prob won't be able to easily reproduce what's in those screenshots. It would be nice though...
#8ozfunghiPosted 3/9/2012 1:57:48 PM(edited)
The problem is that backwards compatibility does not equal emulation. In order to upscale the game, you need emulation as it involves a "mod" from the software side. Doing BC through hardware, would not "up" the resolution (because it would just play the game just as the wii did, at 480p).

So what's the problem with emulation? Because you're not going through hardware (BC) that means some hardware functions of the specific original chipsets need to be emulated, but each game uses the original hardware in a specific way. That basically means, each game needs specific code for emulation and in order to get the job done, Nintendo would need to provide mods for each individual game. More likely, they will just rerelease some key titles (both GCN and Wii) and make some extra money in the process.

WiiU would be plenty powerful to emulate the Wii, that's not the problem. But even Dolphin can't emulate all the games like they were originally intended. I remember they had quite a few problems getting Skyward Swords to look like the original game did on Wii. Textures weren't where they were supposed to be and the entire game didn't have the same "painted" effect like the actual Wii game did.

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#9meiyukiPosted 3/9/2012 1:55:51 PM
I see now. So, the Wii U prob won't be able to easily reproduce what's in those screenshots. It would be nice though...

It's hard to say without knowing exactly what's going on inside the wiiU. A gc wouldn't require quite as much power to upscale as a wii game, so it might be able to do it. Those shots are probably done either on a high end computer or they're not real in the sense that the game is running at like 5fps.

There's just too much unknown about the wiiU at this point to know if it could do it or not.
#10NyyarkPosted 3/9/2012 2:32:02 PM
I think Dolphin is Free and Open Source, so no license needed, but they'd probably have to share their improvements, and that might be a bigger holdup than paying for a license. The upscaling is not the same in it as post produced upscaling with the emulation.

Theoretically they could do something like dolphin that leverages the original hardware, or atleast the Power PC chip being present in the Wii U to produce a much better emulator, but it'd still be an emulator. Dolphin is horribly unoptimized for that, even in its Power PC port . Usually Nintendo does BC by having enough of the older hardware present that they can just run it natively.

I wish they'd include an experimental emulator as well as normal BC. They they could do Dolphin like stuff. They could release patches to improve compatibility with certain titles, and perhaps even sell them. I'd pay another $3-$5 dollars to get a upscale patch per title I already own. You could run the unpatched stuff as is, and it would work as well as it does. I doubt they'd do it though as it would be too weird for the average consumers. It would let them sell old wii games with the patch built as well, extending lifetime sales for alot of games.