Alex Mitchell

N64 emulation takes a step forward with paraLLEl-RDP rewrite

Emulation developer Themaister has just released a complete rewrite of their N64 emulation core, paraLLEl N64. If you’re looking for the Coles Notes on the implications of this re-write, here’s a summary:

  • A significant bump in performance. On average you can expect to double your frame rate, but improvements range from a 50-200% depending on the game and the settings you use.
  • An equally significant bump in accuracy and game compatibility. No numbers are posted here, but Themaister claims that compatibility should be “quite high”.
  • Robust control of the N64 Video Interface (VI). While there are a host of reasons that N64 games look the way they do, the VI’s image processing is a big part of what makes N64 games look so blurry in comparison to the PSX or Saturn. Users looking for a way to get the sharpest picture from the N64 library will have a field day toggling these.
  • Basic de-interlacing support for games that can run in 480i modes.

For a discussion on the current state of N64 emulation and how this new release changes the landscape, Daniel De Matteis wrote an excellent follow up post for LibRetro. Looking at the roadmap for future updates, I’m excited for subsequent releases that will support higher resolution rendering and improved deinterlacing. The N64 is a flawed but fun platform, and having new ways to experience its games with improved fidelity is an exciting prospect.