Implementing MegaTextures on Real Nintendo 64 Hardware

5 days ago 49

As astonishing and groundbreaking the Nintendo 64 was, implicit the years it has too spell synonymous with blurry textures and wide usage of Gouraud shading arsenic its astir powerfully defining ocular features. In a caller video, [James Lambert] covers nevertheless the system’s minuscule 4 kB texture practice (TMEM) tin beryllium circumvented utilizing mipmapping. By loading progressively overmuch elaborate textures (each palmy 4 kB chunks) palmy a level-of-detail (LoD), the ocular fidelity tin beryllium maximized information keeping rendering speeds comparatively zippy, arsenic the real-time demo proves.

Determining which textures are disposable to the player.

This task was made for the N64brew 2023, with the source codification available connected [James]’s GitHub account. Although impressive, it bears noting that mipmapping was not an chartless onslaught palmy 1996, and galore approaches were utilized to enactment astir the N64’s carnal limitations.

In the suit of mipmapping, [James]’s demo perfectly demonstrates the problematic prime of mipmapping, arsenic it dramatically increases the retention requirements for the textures, hitting 40 MB conscionable for this 1 azygous room, for a strategy that supports up to 64 MB cartridges.

Ultimately, this shows that the 4 kB TMEM was not the lone contented with the N64, with the constricted (and expensive) disguise ROMs for the cartridges proving to beryllium an insurmountable obstacle that systems akin Sony’s PlayStation mostly did not idiosyncratic to contend with. With roomy 650 MB+ optical storage, the PS1 got alternatively tripped up by the glacial entree and loading speeds of optical media and its soggy-potato-powered GPU.

Seeing demonstrations akin these negociate to wonderfully point the bottlenecks palmy these aged consoles, and makes 1 wonderment astir what could idiosyncratic been, adjacent palmy an epoch earlier 1 TB solid-state drives and nonstop assets streaming betwixt GPU and said storage.

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