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Emulating New Super Mario Bros. Wii At 1080p

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  • Good start (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:37AM (#30333140)

    This is a great start. The advantage of the Wii to the emulator community is that it is greatly underpowered compared to 360 and PS3. I don't mean underpowered in that it can't play games, but that the requirements to emulate it are much lower. Since people have already hacked the Wiimote to work as a mouse [wordpress.com] then there is no reason why the emulator community would not be able to incorporate this to use the real controllers.

    The benefit to Nintendo is that they would still be able to sell their hardware add-ons to the emulator world. The downside is that this will act as a modded Wii and so people will probably just download the Wii games, which will still mean that Nintendo will try to shut them down eventually.

    Perhaps by the time this emulator works with enough games to make it viable, they will have already come up with the Wii2 and then they won't care so much about people emulating the old system.

    I think that Nintedo should have preempted this. The best solution for them would have been to release their own PC version of the Wii which can run the legit games and use the official peripherals. The pressure for other people to write an emulator would have reduced.

    I stopped buying games for my PC when copy protection got intrusive and sometimes destructive. These days, I don't trust any games that insists on running as administrator and I always research the copy protection system. If Nintendo created a software Wii that sandboxed itself from the rest of the computer, I would happily play the games knowing that my system would be (mostly) safe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kagura (843695)
      Interesting idea, especially since specialized hardware hasn't really been needed for console gaming/emulation since the early 2000s. I would pay half the price of the console for an official Nintendo/Xbox/PS emulator, and I would also pay money for controllers.

      Too bad. :(
    • Re:Good start (Score:4, Insightful)

      by denmarkw00t (892627) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @05:10AM (#30333608) Homepage Journal

      I think that Nintedo should have preempted this. The best solution for them would have been to release their own PC version of the Wii which can run the legit games and use the official peripherals. The pressure for other people to write an emulator would have reduced.

      Wait what? Let us start at "Nintendo should have preempted this." Nevermind. "PC version of the Wii" - I gather what you mean is "Software for computers capable of running Wii games." While not at all a bad idea, and one I've wanted for a long time to be official from Nintendo for things such as NES, SNES and 64 games, its not going to happen...probably. Considering that one of the Wii's competitors is owned by the company most known for having a stranglehold on the OS market, I don't know that Nintendo would like this. Suddenly, they lose profit on hardware in exchange for adding to their competitor's gaming market share? Nah, though MS would probably welcome the idea with open arms. You can sell a Wii for a lot more than you can software that emulates (and not always predictably accurate) said software, whats the point? You don't want to invest in a console rollout so that you can bleed out of every chopped off limb by running your software on PCs.

      "The pressure for other people to write an emulator would have reduced." - Kind of backwards - its much easier to pirate something that already runs on your target system. Granted, piracy isn't emulation per se, you stand to lose way more by allowing your games to be run natively on systems you don't own, service, upgrade and control. Demand for emulation would obviously drop, but demand for piracy of games and software to run them would skyrocket.

      I stopped buying games for my PC when copy protection got intrusive and sometimes destructive. These days, I don't trust any games that insists on running as administrator.

      I'll be honest, I haven't gamed on a computer in a while - at least not on a PC and mostly OSS games. But, last time I can think of, not many games out there require Administrator rights to run. Maybe you have Windows Vista? And you're thinking of the installation process? And even then I don't know if I believe you. Games, more than most any other software on your computer, should have no issues running in userspace, and companies like MS probably see it in their interests to give average users access to DirectX-related hardware.

      • Suddenly, they lose profit on hardware in exchange for adding to their competitor's gaming market share?

        You are assuming that people haven't already got a computer and paid money to Microsoft. You are also assuming that Nintendo couldn't make their emulator work on the Mac as well. This would not really add anything to Microsoft's market share.

        Suddenly, they lose profit on hardware in exchange for adding to their competitor's gaming market share?

        They can still charge for the software and quite probably still make exactly the same profit on the software that they do on the hardware. Besides, there is more profit in the Wii Fit board that costs a third of the price of the Wii for just a few sensors in a plastic c

        • Re:Good start (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @09:50AM (#30334532) Homepage Journal

          Suddenly, they lose profit on hardware in exchange for adding to their competitor's gaming market share?

          You are assuming that people haven't already got a computer and paid money to Microsoft.

          It's a valid assumption considering Microsoft's lead over Apple in the market for desktop computer operating systems.

          You are also assuming that Nintendo couldn't make their emulator work on the Mac as well. This would not really add anything to Microsoft's market share.

          Both Microsoft and Apple are "their competitor" in video gaming: Xbox 360 in video game consoles and iPod Touch in handhelds, especially with Apple's recent ad campaigns promoting it as a DS replacement.

          They can still charge for the software

          Not once pirates thoroughly crack the emulator to play ripped copies. If you've been following gbatemp or maxconsole, you know how easy it became for a PC to run pirated DS games. It's still a bit more work to run pirated games on a Wii than on a PC.

          People write an emulator so they can run a Wii game on their PC.

          Does the emulator run well on the $300 entry-level PC from Dell? If not, the PC needs an upgrade. Think of how much it would cost to upgrade the PC with a faster CPU and a non-Intel video card and then add on a Wii Remote ($40) and a Nunchuk ($20). Now compare that to the retail price of a Wii ($200). Besides, you still need the Wii in order to dump your game discs, which use a slightly rearranged format for physical sectors that PC DVD-ROM drives' firmware can't recognize.

          • It's a valid assumption considering Microsoft's lead over Apple in the market for desktop computer operating systems.

            You have that backwards. How can it be a valid assumption that people don't already have a computer? Let me state it plainly. 99.999% of people who get a Wii emulator already have a computer on which to play it. They do not need to pay Microsoft or Apple just to run that software.

            If you've been following gbatemp or maxconsole, you know how easy it became for a PC to run pirated DS games.

            Absolutely. I wrote about DS piracy recently [slashdot.org]. Despite the large amount of DS piracy, DS titles still sell really well. The fact that some people will do the wrong thing doesn't mean that everyone will. And you know, it still is pos

            • by hedwards (940851)
              Well, some of us don't have any of those new fangled computers, or DVD players. Or CD players. We don't buy any media, so clearly we're pirating the media we don't buy.
              • Well, some of us don't have any of those new fangled computers, or DVD players. Or CD players. We don't buy any media, so clearly we're pirating the media we don't buy.

                Well if only I owned a telephone, I would report you to the authorities.

            • How can it be a valid assumption that people don't already have a computer?

              I assume people already have an office computer, not a games computer. Also, a sufficiently old games computer becomes an office computer due to system requirements creep.

              Let me state it plainly. 99.999% of people who get a Wii emulator already have a computer on which to play it.

              A years-old used computer or even a brand-new computer with Intel graphics isn't going to be able to emulate a Wii at anywhere near 60 frames per second.

              That is about average for a games computer these days.

              The fact that you had to specify "games computer" tells a lot. There is no "games Wii" vs. "office Wii"; if you have a Wii, you know you can play games carrying the Wii logo. This isn't tr

              • I assume people already have an office computer, not a games computer. Also, a sufficiently old games computer becomes an office computer due to system requirements creep.

                I...I..I really don't get why people do this. Do you really think that just because some software won't run on every computer in the world that it shouldn't be made. You might as well close the entire games industry because the Amish wouldn't be able to play the games.

                I never suggested that Nintendo should stop producing the Wii in favour of an emulator. It would just be an option for those people who want it. We don't need to start having telethons to buy a powerful enough PCs for all the destitute African

                • by tepples (727027)

                  I...I..I really don't get why people do this. Do you really think that just because some software won't run on every computer in the world that it shouldn't be made.

                  I don't remember having said that it shouldn't be made, only that Nintendo won't make it. I apologize for writing so unclearly.

                • I...I..I really don't get why people do this. Do you really think that just because some software won't run on every computer in the world that it shouldn't be made.

                  I...I..I really don't get why people do this. Do you really think that just because some software could run on a computer that it should.

                  I never suggested that Nintendo should stop producing the Wii in favour of an emulator.

                  "Just give me what I want, neeeeooowwww."

                  You might as well close the entire games industry because the Amish wouldn't be able to play the games.

                  "PC game market:PC market::World:Amish"

                  It would just be an option for those people who want it.

                  "I want it so you should make it for me."

                  We don't need to start having telethons to buy a powerful enough PCs for all the destitute African children before you can start making the software. It wouldn't have to run on that 8086 that still running in the Romanian technology museum.

                  "Fuck you, I'm gaming."

                  PC gamers understand that they need to look at the system requirements when they buy any software. We have had to do this ever since Ada Lovelace asked Charles Babbage whether his computer could play Solitaire.

                  "It's good enough for me, it's good enough for everyone else."

                  We have had to do this ever since Ada Lovelace asked Charles Babbage whether his computer could play Solitaire.

                  "I love cabbage."

                  The fact that some people (who obviously aren't that interested in games) wouldn't be able to run it would not be a major factor.

                  Your problem is you're making it seem that people who can't run it are not interested in it. People who want to but can't are a MAJOR problem.

                  If you ha

          • Does the emulator run well on the $300 entry-level PC from Dell? If not, the PC needs an upgrade.

            Actually, depending on the quality of the emulator, it very well might not. For a long time, emulating PPC on an x86 platform was considered the "holy grail" of hardware emulation. There's just no way to do it simply or efficiently.

            PearPC can emulate a PPC macintosh, although it employs some clever tricks to make it run at a vaguely usable speed. Even then, you still take more than a tenfold performance hit. Apple's Rosetta software is the first (and only AFAIK) successful PPC emulation solution out the

          • I can't take anyone who has a Netflix ad in their signature seriously. Or most any other blatant billboard bs.

            -1 Shameless Shill

      • But, last time I can think of, not many games out there require Administrator rights to run.

        Unlike retail Wii games, most retail PC games don't run directly from the disc, even though a lot of newer PCs have enough RAM to hold a DVD game's "minimal install". The installer needs administrative privileges; otherwise, it can't even write to Program Files. It's like on Linux: ordinary users can't write to /usr/bin, but root can (and thus so can anyone who can sudo). Where should a user without administrative privileges install the game?

        Maybe you have Windows Vista?

        I'm not sure what you mean by this. Are you implying that Windows

        • The installer needs administrative privileges; otherwise, it can't even write to Program Files. It's like on Linux: ordinary users can't write to /usr/bin, but root can (and thus so can anyone who can sudo). Where should a user without administrative privileges install the game?

          And also, much like Linux, after root installed the application and set permissions to 755, everybody can run it, which is what the OP was talking about. Except, of course, many games do stupid shit like having their config files in their installation directory rather than in the user's home (which means it needs admin rights to write configurations), and many more games use really low-level stuff to make their DRM work, which, once again, requires admin rights.

          • by tepples (727027)

            Except, of course, many games do stupid shit like having their config files in their installation directory rather than in the user's home (which means it needs admin rights to write configurations)

            Where should a program place a config file shared by all users? My first guess would be inside %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\%publisher%\%title%, but who can ordinarily write there?

            ObWii: Wii handles this by making the equivalent of a separate user account for each application, and individual applications manage accounts within that, possibly using Mii names.

    • Perhaps by the time this emulator works with enough games to make it viable, they will have already come up with the Wii2 and then they won't care so much about people emulating the old system.

      Nintendo has already come up with the Super NES, N64, GameCube, and Wii, yet it still cares about use of its copyrighted games in Free emulators because it competes unfairly[1] with Virtual Console.

      The best solution for them would have been to release their own PC version of the Wii which can run the legit games and use the official peripherals.

      They did: it's called a Wii console connected to a TV-in card.

      I stopped buying games for my PC when copy protection got intrusive and sometimes destructive.

      Do you still buy indie games, whose copy protection is far less intrusive? Nintendo is proudly unfriendly to small-time developers.

      [1] "Unfairly" as decided by legislators elected by voters throughout the developed world.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Nintendo has always been like that, well at least since the days of the NES. Of course they still care about copyright on their games, they insist on making people buy a new copy if they wish to use their old copy on a new console or if the original gets damaged. Sure it's not as evil as what the RIAA and MPAA do, but it's not really that much better. Fortunately for us, MS and Sony don't seem to be quite as bad in that respect, probably because they don't have that much legacy software to resell to people.
      • by rtechie (244489)

        competes unfairly[1] with Virtual Console.

        [1] "Unfairly" as decided by legislators elected by voters throughout the developed world.

        Um, the logic here is flawed. The copyright laws (such as the DMCA) and enforcement actions against emulators long predate the existence of the wii and it's Virtual Console, so it's not possible that legislators intended to protect the Virtual Console in creating those laws.

        • The copyright laws (such as the DMCA) and enforcement actions against emulators long predate the existence of the wii and it's Virtual Console

          Fair use in a given country may be broader for out-of-print works than for in-print works. When a copyright owner takes a work out of print, that action says something about the copyright owner's own assessment of "the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work" (17 USC 107 [copyright.gov]). In fact, I remember reading that some countries include out-of-print status explicitly in their counterparts to the effect on market test.

  • A Trend, Perhaps? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dancingmad (128588) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:54AM (#30333186)

    A lot of these 2D games for these Wii seem to look great at 1080 (well, by a lot I mean this and Muramasa; The Demon Blade). I wonder if this is proof that there may be in fact a Wii HD in the works. I thought they were just the normal fanboy rumors but perhaps Nintendo is already planning on it? Between the motion controls on the other two machines (especially the PS3's) it seems like the 3 major consoles are reaching for parity with each other.

    • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:38AM (#30333332)

      Nintendo wouldn't put in extra large textures because they don't have the RAM to load them into. Even if they did put them in, they wouldn't load them because loading the extra large textures would make load times worse to absolutely no advantage on the Wii.

      You're seeing a few items that look good because at times they are viewed zoomed in. And the rest of the stuff is just stretched and it still looks pretty good because cartoony graphics are very amenable to stretching. And then some other stuff (like the coins) still don't look that good.

      I wouldn't be surprised to hear Nintendo did plan ahead and draw their textures in higher res for future HD use. But I would be surprised to hear the put them on the disc, let alone loaded them in.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by marcansoft (727665)

        I'm pretty sure the routinely draw stuff in high-res anyway, for promotional material. However, the versions on the disc are always downsampled to more reasonable levels, to save disc space and RAM.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Most emulators can upscale, even if that just means rescaling the buffer to fill the current window / screen resolution. The more sophisticated ones can also translate vector / 3D draw instructions. For example if the emulated device thinks its drawing a triangle into a 640x480 buffer, the emulator could draw the corresponding rescaled triangle into a 1280x960 buffer. And the same for other primitives such as lines, triangle fans etc., and any texturing. It means smoother edges on polys although there might
    • by rabtech (223758)

      The super mario game in question is rendered in full 3D, it just has a locked point of view to simulate the 2D side scroller/platformer. This is actually a fairly common tactic these days; even "true" 2D games themselves are rendered in 3D space as ordered sprites, which is why you see some of them using shaders or other effects. In fact the Mac OS X and Windows 7 desktops are also rendered as a texture over a 3D polygon. If you could change the "camera" on the desktop you'd see a two triangles forming a re

  • Nice to see that all the game's resources aren't suffering from being upscaled. The model and texture data are meant for 480p but look just lovely at 1080p.

  • by qazadex (1378043) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:52AM (#30333542)
    About a year or two ago, before Dolphin was open sourced, it was a buggy, slow emulator that couldn't run games very well. After it was open sourced, improvements were made extremely rapidly, and even though the rate of increase has designed slightly recently, it's still progressing at a very fast rate. I've been following the project since it was open sourced, and I have to say props to the Dolphin team
  • This video will be flagged because Nintendo doesn't like emulation videos [slashdot.org].
  • however interesting this is, there was another slashdot story of a video of SSBB played in 1080p. That was news. (this story is more salt in a cut that is the powerPC let go. do you know how much faster this would go if it was virtualized instead of emulated! the wii has a PPC in it
    • by nxtw (866177)

      One thing I've wondered: could the Rosetta PowerPC translator in OS X Intel be used as the virtual CPU to emulate systems with PowerPC, assuming it's able to provide better performance than what's already out there?

  • Does it runs in linux? yes, it does [google.com]
  • by master_p (608214) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:33AM (#30334730)

    The Nintendo console is quite cheap anyway.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Because it does 1080p and the wii doesn't?

    • by Ant P. (974313)

      This gives you the same advantages as pretty much any other emulator: higher resolution + upscaling, use of more input devices, the ability to save at any point, and having your games on a hard disk instead of needing to go through an entire shelf of physical media boxes to find what you're looking for. Oh and using it as a development environment for homebrew, I guess.

      Of course most people are dicks and just use it for the free warez.

      • Oh and using it as a development environment for homebrew, I guess.

        GBA and DS homebrew were welcome because PDAs sucked for gaming at the time. (Apple has since introduced a competent gaming PDA with semi-open development following Microsoft's XNA model.) But the Wii isn't a handheld. So what's the advantage of Wii homebrew over simply developing for PC? For the price of a Wii, I could buy a Wii-sized Acer Aspire Revo and connect it to the same LCD TV, and I'd get a preinstalled copy of Windows without any sort of lockout hassles. I see no reason why indie games can't be d

    • Watch the video. Everyone knows that Mario games move too fast to be fun. Here you can relish every glorious, floaty leap as Mario carves a slow, graceful arc through the air. Those pesky Goombas are easier to visually track now that they're moving at about 3 pixels per hour--just remember that Mario is slower too!

      Maybe this emulator will be worth looking at in the future, but the video I saw showed a game that is quick and snappy on the Wii running slow and with buggy sound. But it's 1080p! Yawn.

      • by ServerIrv (840609)
        Unfortunately you posted to undo bad moderation with bad content. The video is of a game playing quick and snappy (60 fps), but according to TFA there was a video creation problem. *speculation* One possible reason could be due to youtube only allowing 30fps. If the content is created at 60fps and it is displayed at 30fps, it would be twice as slow. *end speculation*
        • I don't buy it. Compare that video with this one [youtube.com]. If the game was playing at full speed on the emulator and it is only the video that is slow, then why does the background music play at the same speed in both videos? The only way for that to happen is if the game is running slow.

      • @FiloEleven: Whoever made this video was probably using the OpenGL plugin in Dolphin which is more "technically" complete but extremely slow compared to the Direct3D9 one. Use that and the game runs at full speed. The only problem is that the blue coins that appear when you hit a P-switch are invisible. Fixing that (which can be done in the settings) will slow the game down even more so it's hardly worth it (does not matter though since this game feeds you enough 1-ups already and thus those extra coins are

    • by Eil (82413)

      You obviously wouldn't.

      However, there are people out there who make it their goal to understand the inner workings of all sorts of interesting technology, including mainstream video game consoles. The best way to understand a system is to re-implement it, even if only in software. For example, there's really no good reason one would one to implement an NES on a FPGA [bradley.edu], but someone has done it anyhow. It's simply the hacker mentality at work.

  • I recently fired up super Mario 64 on the PC in an emulator on 1920x1200 which is higher than full hd, and the game looked gorgeous, it simply looked amazing like a new version. Why Nintendo does not even use upscaling on the Wii in any of the emulated games is beyound me.
    Especially the N64 games with their blurry textures scale up really well given the fact that they rely more on shading than textures.
    Now back to the Wii, Nintendos emulators on the wii are desastrous, they try to emulate the original modes

    • Why Nintendo does not even use upscaling on the Wii in any of the emulated games is beyound me.

      Actually they do on the N64 games.

  • Someone might want to mention that New Super Mario Bros. doesn't work with the precompiled Dolphin, you've gotta compile the latest build for this game to make it past the title screen. So there, I mentioned it.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.

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