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The PS1 games and the question of the aspect ratio

Mopey bloke

Neo Member
Mar 9, 2021
The PlayStation can only output 240 lines progressive and 480 interlaced. I think Duckstation always reports 224 lines because it cuts the overscan area, and even if you select not to cut anything, it still reports the number subtracted 16/32 scanlines.
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Sep 8, 2018
I just wanted to check something for the Tomb Raider games :pie_thinking:

I tried to see how the BizHawk emulator displays the 1st Tomb Raider for example with the system's recommendation for the aspect ratio.

I wanted to check under MS Paint if the size of a squared texture in pixels is perfectly squared. In this case it is, with a size of 424 x 424 pixels:

And then I checked with DuckStation and the aspect ratio on "4:3" and crop on "All Borders" (the good settings for the majority of the PS1 games). Of course the texture is not squared as we have previousy seen it. The size is 371 x 424 pixels.

It's why I suggested to choose a "3:2" aspect ratio in the settings and "All Borders" for the crop option. But in fact, surprise, even here the texture isn't perfectly squared. It's close, but not perfect! The size of the texture is 417 x 424 pixels.

And here is the PC version that I consider as the reference for the aspect ratio, with perfectly squared squares.

In fact, if we want to know the exact right aspect ratio for the Tomb Raider games with DuckStation, we should calculate it like this:

We are starting from a 4:3 resolution of "1440 x 1080" and we wanted to know how to go from a texture of "371 x 424 pixels" to "424 x 424 pixels".
We just have to do this calculation :

(4/3) x (424/371)
= (4/3) x (8/7)
= 32/21

So it's close to a 3:2 aspect ratio, but the exact aspect ratio for the Tomb Raider games should be "32:21"!

And to find the adapted resolution we just have to do:

1080 x (32/21) = 1645,7

So the correct resolution must be "1646 x 1080", exactly the resolution used by BizHawk in this case.

I will try to find a way to get this aspect ratio... ☺️
Sep 8, 2018
Thanks! :messenger_winking:

But I'm not a fan of RetroArch, because it's a kind of library of different emulators. I prefer to have all emulators separated. And otherwise DuckStation is so good and simple, regularly updated, etc. A great discovery! :messenger_smiling_with_eyes:
In fact, for the Tomb Raider games, it isn't really a problem for me, because I always played the PC versions. I just want to see if it's possible to get the correct aspect ratio for those who are interested.

But in this case, they can use RetroArch too yes ! :messenger_winking_tongue:


Jun 8, 2019
The PlayStation can only output 240 lines progressive and 480 interlaced. I think Duckstation always reports 224 lines because it cuts the overscan area, and even if you select not to cut anything, it still reports the number subtracted 16/32 scanlines.

It's more accurate to say "most NTSC games set up the hardware to output 240/480 scanlines" - this isn't a restriction in the hardware since the actual active display size can be set to any number you like (GP1, command code 0x07, IIRC) - PAL games also obviously support more than 240/480 scanlines (theoretically full overscan is 288 lines, but a lot of PAL titles use 256 so they don't overflow into the next VRAM page).

Although the horizontal display active area is restricted to a small number of predefined values the number of pixel clocks in a line is also freely programmable (GP1, 0x06) - this is part of the reason that trying to get the correct aspect ratio is hard, since (especially in PAL land) developers often stuffed fairly random numbers into these registers and relied on the wide tolerance of old analog TVs to non-standard signals. Hence there is no universally correct answer to the question "what is the aspect ratio of a PS1 pixel".
Sep 8, 2018

I just wanted to say that I noticed some big FPS drops with "Soul Reaver" and DuckStation. It was with the warp gates when we change the destination (for those who know the game).
In fact, it was the antialiasing which had a big impact at this moment.

But I tried to enhance this and did some tests, and I have to say that I'm really impressed by the performances of the Vulkan renderer :messenger_smiling_with_eyes:

I tried with a 2160p resolution and SSAA 8x:

The difference with D3D is enormous! :messenger_open_mouth:

Here is the framerate with D3D11 with the warp gates in Soul Reaver in 2160p (but I have FPS drops in 1080p too):

With Vulkan it's perfect! :messenger_winking:

I just wanted to say that, because if someone has big problems of framerate, try Vulkan!
Sep 8, 2018

I discovered that in fact the correct aspect ratio for the Tomb Raider games is defined by the resolution of the 2 first games which is "366 x 240 pixels" :messenger_hushed:
So the right aspect ratio isn't "32:21" but "1.525:1"!

But the resolution of the episodes 3, 4 and 5 is different with "512 x 240 pixels". However, the correct aspect ratio seems to be the same with "1.525:1".

So the only solution to correctly display Tomb Raider 1 and 2 is to choose a PAR 1:1 (thanks to the guy who suggested this to me on GitHub). But for Tomb Raider 3, 4 and 5, I have no solution for the moment, except to choose a 3:2 AR which is close.

Update : In fact it's only for the 2 first games, because the resolution of the episodes 3, 4 and 5 is different with "512 x 240 pixels".
Last edited:
Sep 8, 2018
Hi everbody,

I have news for the Tomb Raider games! 🙂

First, as I said, a contributor to the development of DuckStation suggested to me on GitHub the idea that the aspect ratio is related to the resolution for the 2 first games. And he was right! The aspect ratio is defined by the resolution of "366 x 240 pixels", so the correct aspect ratio is "366:240" or "1.525:1".

With a 4:3 aspect ratio, Tomb Raider I and II haven't the good proportions:

By chance, after having bored a lot the developer of DuckStation, he accepted to add a "custom aspect ratio" feature in the last build of the emulator :messenger_grinning_smiling:


Now, this emulator is really perfect! The developer really did an excellent job! It's amazing! :pie_grinning_big_eyes:
It will be very useful and also indispensable for Tomb Raider 3, 4 and 5!

So, for Tomb Raider I and II, we need to choose a custom aspect ratio of "366:240" to match the aspect ratio of the PC version:

It totally matches the PC version (even if the FOV is different):

For Tomb III, IV and V, it was less obvious, because the resolution of the game is of "512 x 240 pixels" and can't defined the aspect ratio as the 2 first episodes. Otherwise we get an excessively large image:

And with a 4:3 aspect ratio, we already know that it's not correct either:

But for me, there was necessarily a logic! In fact, I thought that the most logical thing was that the aspect ratio was defined by one of the resolutions accepted by the console too. I supposed that the developers chose to develop their games on another resolution than the final resolution of "512 x 240 pixels" and then they optimized the game for this resolution.

The closest resolution which can match the good aspect ratio was "384 x 240 pixels"!

After having made some researches about the resolutions of the PlayStation, I found these interesting informations:

In terms of resolutions, the console was constrained by the NTSC and PAL Television standards. For US and Japanese markets, a developer could pick an horizontal resolution of 256, 320, 384, 512, or 640. Vertical resolution was either 240 pixels (by skipping every other scanline) or 480 pixels interleaved. Both vertical modes ran at 60Hz. The only difference between NTSC and PAL is the increased vertical resolution (256/512 instead of 240/480) and the lowered refresh rate (50Hz).

Mode - NTSC (60Hz) - PAL (50Hz) - Remark

0 - 256 x 240 - 256 x 256 - Non-Interlaced
1 - 320 x 240 - 320 x 256 - Non-Interlaced
2 - 512 x 240 - 512 x 256 - Non-Interlaced
3 - 640 x 240 - 640 x 256 - Non-Interlaced
4 - 256 x 480 - 256 x 512 - Interlaced
5 - 320 x 480 - 320 x 512 - Interlaced
6 - 512 x 480 - 512 x 512 - Interlaced
7 - 640 x 480 - 640 x 512 - Interlaced
8 - 384 x 240 - 384 x 256 - Non-Interlaced
9 - 384 x 480 - 384 x 512 - Interlaced

Notice the 384 pixels wide modes (8 and 9) which seem to have been a late addition based on their id.

(source : https://fabiensanglard.net/doom_psx/ )

And if we choose an exact aspect ratio of "384:240" or "1.60:1" for Tomb Raider III, IV and V, it perfectly match the aspect ratio of the PC version (I checked under MS Paint, and the squared textures are perfectly squared to the nearest pixel)!

The PC version:

It's strange, because with these resolution modes, there isn't any mode with "366 x 240 pixels". I don't really know how the PlayStation works, but I suppose that Tomb Raider I and II used maybe the mode "384 x 240 pixels" and then the console cropped some lines of pixels to achieve a resolution of "366 x 240". In fact, there are some chances that all the Tomb Raider games were developed with this resolution of "384 x 240" and then adapted them to a different final resolution for the renderer.

OK! That's it! All mysteries have been solved! :pie_grinning_big_eyes:(y)

I just want to add something off-topic! I had some difficulties at the beginning to find how to enable the vibrations of the gamepad.
I noticed some lags in some games like Tomb Raider III too, but there weren't relative to my configuration, because the emulation speed was at 100%. So I decided to try the overclocking of the CPU of the console.

I will explain you these 2 things, because it can be useful :messenger_winking:

To allow the vibrations of the gamepad to function, you need to assign a button for this:

I personally chose the "PS" button on my DualShock4.

Then, you need to enable the vibrations in the game too (if this one accepts them):

To finish, you just need to push the right button in the game. Generally one time is enough if the emulator has saved the state (it automatically does this when you quit the fullscreen mode).

If you have some lags in games and the emulation speed is at 100%, you can enable the overclocking of the CPU of the console (I think 150% is enough):

But warning! It can render some games unstable!

To finish, I just want to show you some beautiful screenshots in 2160p of the Tomb Raider games with the correct aspect ratios! :messenger_smiling_with_eyes:

Last edited:


Dec 26, 2016
How about testing another Core Design game released for both PC and PS1 like Fighting Force? That's asumming they used the same "framework" to develop all their games from that era.
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