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What was the N64 game with the overall best graphics?

Robin64

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Some people played Super Mario Bros. like this image below, but nobody would expect screenshots of NES games to look this just because of that. You should show a console's output without taking display into account, as everyone's display (especially back then, less so now) gives a slightly different look.

 
Jun 19, 2013
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Rayman 2 was awesome on the Dreamcast.

Super Mario 64 is such a downgrade from the 2D games. I love Majora's Mask in concept but it looks like garbage now!
I mentioned it on one page but I think out of the first party games, Animal Crossing, Paper Mario, Wave Race 64 and 1080 Snowboarding hold up best from an art direction and general design and balance point of view.

For example, with Animal Crossing, the textures used for the animal faces defined their look for the series' future, and stuff like the grass textures are similarly identity defining.

Personally I'd also include Mario 64, for its character models and environment designs, which, while off what we see today, have a certain charm to them.

DK 64 is probably the most aesthetically pleasing Rare game, I think.
 

fastkilr

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I mentioned it on one page but I think out of the first party games, Animal Crossing, Paper Mario, Wave Race 64 and 1080 Snowboarding hold up best from an art direction and general design and balance point of view.

For example, with Animal Crossing, the textures used for the animal faces defined their look for the series' future, and stuff like the grass textures are similarly identity defining.

Personally I'd also include Mario 64, for its character models and environment designs, which, while off what we see today, have a certain charm to them.

DK 64 is probably the most aesthetically pleasing Rare game, I think.
Never played Animal Crossing on the 64 but Wave Race and 1080 had an attractive style that I'd say haven't been met in their genre...

Paper Mario is my favorite 64 game aesthetically. Most of them look awful, as the thread shows...

Would say those are the only the games worth playing on the system but have a soft spot for Ogre Battle. Whether or not it has aged, I do not want to know.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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Yeah, a lot of them haven't held up well aesthetically, even if they were impressive from a technical perspective.

I guess some of Factor-5 games, F1 World Grand Prix, and of course, World Driver Championship, are examples of games which targeted realism that still look pleasing today. I wonder if Blast Corps has held up well too.

Ogre Battle still looks nice today, though like FF Tactics on the PS1 doesn't look quite right when played away from a CRT - like the choice of font and icons were designed to be blurred out as such.
 

Italia64

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As many have written, Conker's Bad Fur Day is the best graphic, not only on N64, but of the entire 5th generation of consoles too. Not only the best graphics but also the greatest technical achievement.

- High quality textures (probably the best of the entire 5th generation of consoles)
- Top notch draw distance, no fog, no pop-ups
- Facial, ears, fingers, foots,arms, tail, etc animations, not only during the cut-scenes but also in-gaming
- Perfect lip sync
- Real time light effects, with real time shadows, multi-layered transparencies
- Extensive particle effects system
- The impressive graphics match with a great character design and level design
- The quality of the sound is so clean (you can appreciate it in in full Dolby Surround Sound)
- More than two hours of voiced cut-scenes
- Huge sample of sound effects (also sounds change if you're in open or closed spaces, there are echoes, etc.)

CBFD shows all the advantages of the N64 hardware without compromise, in fact it also has all the advantages of the CD format: great quality sounds, hours of speech dialogues. And it also has fantastic textures and huge polygonal complexity. If the 5th gen of consoles has a king, Conker is the king (like in the game hehe).
 

Italia64

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In these kind of posts, post images or link YouTube video is not very useful in my opinion. In fact actual console captured images and videos shows a quality too low, not comparable with the original quality. And emulated versions images are useless because they don't show the actual graphic. The best way to judge the graphics is to play N64 in the best possible way:

- Original NTSC hardware (even better with S-video cable or RGB modded if you want to be amazed by some games).
- Good CRT, something like a good Sony Trinitron or Panasonic Quintrix maybe
- Expansion Pak when the game supports it

By the way, I use YouTube videos for indicative purpose.

There are many other graphical proudest aside CBFD on the console.

If Conker is the best, probably Perfect Dark reaches the same level,even more impressive if you think that is harder to realise realistic graphics. Frame rate issues and not facial and fingers animation let me chose to put it in 2nd place


Banjo-Tooie is very near to Conker's Bad Fur day, with even larger environments, but with a slightly lower overall quality in fact of textures, animation and cut-scenes, and worst frame rate in huge spaces.

Jet Force Gemini and Donkey Kong 64 are other two great graphics made by Rare. Goldeneye 007 was incredible for 1997 but it looked a bit aged after Turok 2, and above all Perfect Dark, releases.

Nobody mentions Mickey's Speedway USA, but it has a really good graphic, followed by DKR in its genre.

In the middle of 1998 there was nothing near Banjo-Kazooie on home console. It settled new standards. Tooie is more crispy, with better textures, hugest worlds and upgraded in every aspect, but BK has a much better frame rate and still today it's a beauty.

Nintendo never pushed the hardware like Rareware did, but this doesn't mean that Nintendo N64 games have bad graphics, not at all. They're just more focused in more fluid frame rate over the "wow" factor.

Majora's Mask is without doubt the best looking Nintendo game. With an impressive draw distance (really impressive) and new special effects.
Ocarina of Time was great in 1998 but Majora is much better. OoT is a bit blurry.

Super Mario 64 was something never seen before in 1996,and it's aged well in my opinion. But from a merely graphical standpoint is nothing special compared to the best Rareware games. But it still looks good, due its marvellous level design, clean visuals, smooth frame rate and huge draw distance.

Games like Wave Race 64, Excitebike 64 and in a lesser way 1080° Snowboarding was really impressive when they come out. WR64 water is still now perfect, and the game physics are very well implemented in all the three games. Excitebike 64 is probably the most impressive of the three sport/racing games.

World Driver Championship is something unbelievable if you play it on CRT. I spent a lot of hours watching my saved replays. High poly count (30% more than the highest PS1 high poly count game), clean graphics with nothing blurry, great frame rate, plenty of special effects and great draw distance. Play this game in Hi-Rez on CRT and you won't believe to your eyes.

San Francisco Rush 2049 in another game who pushes the hardware, I don't know how they did, the complexity of the track structure, the fluid frame rate matched with animated background elements and the immensity of the render distance...it's something hard to believe:
https://youtu.be/ZCfmmVgUPp0

Turok 2 is an oddity, it shows beautiful textures, an impressive graphics, great polygonal models of weapons and enemies, mind-blowing light effects, animations never seen before. But it's also has a not good draw distance (something annoying) and if you play it in Hi-Rez you're going to have frame rate heavy issues with more enemies on the screen. By the way, still spectacular:
https://youtu.be/0RcKkqmjb4M

Turok 3 is often mentioned as one of the best in terms of graphic, but it doesn't actually reach Turok 2 in fact of animations and textures. But it's very impressive for its draw distance. It's also lip synced during cut-scenes.

Vigilante 8 and Vigilante 8 2nd Offence are top stuff in graphical terms. Here a video of V8 in Ultra Resolution Mode, it looks a Dreamcast game, incredible:
https://youtu.be/cB-Pi1sua_c

For different reasons, three Star Wars games are among the best N64 graphics: Rogue Squadron, Battle for Naboo (probably the most impressive draw distance of the gen) and Episode 1 Racer.
Here SWE1R on action, compared with the DC version:
https://youtu.be/j8NbnZFlKvs

Rayman 2 was very near to the DC version, and much better than the PS1 port (very downgraded, less polys, worst textures, trembling graphics, lower resolution, no AA, less levels, worst and less cutscenes with no close-ups like the N64 version in order to hide flaws, worst frame rate, also the level's structure is modified in order not to show too much large enviroments,and of course, loading times). Visually it's a beauty, also Rocket Robot on Wheels and Donald Duck aren't bad at all (they use the same engine but Rayman 2 is really top class).

Almost 100% of the things that I wrote for Rayman 2 are also valid for Shadow Man.

Sin and Punishment is perfect example of great graphic who meet beautiful design for a functional gameplay.

F-1 WGP and F-1 WGP2 are really impressive, back in days I thought I was watching a real grand prix when I started the broadcast mode. Unfortunately the graphics are a bit too blurry, and that's a real pity because the poly models are very good and the game looks real.

Play All Star Baseball 2001 or NFL Quarterback Club 2001 on CRT is even today visually very rewarding. They move tons of polys, showing the best animation ever seen in sport games of the generation. Other N64 sport games have good graphics with top notch animations. Two of them are definitely ISS2000 and International Track & Field.

Despite the fact that RE2 was blessed with the Hi-Rez and smoother polygonal models, I never been impressed by it. I'm not a fan of pre-rendered background graphics, I love vulgar displays of power.

There are many others N64 very good and impressive graphics. N64 was a graphical beast. Unfortunately a lot of developers didn't pushed (for different reasons) the system, so there's a lot of myth about the fact that N64 always shows blurry graphics and fog. YouTube videos don't help, as the original quality of the console is not capturable in modern screen. But play the games that I mention on CRT, and you'll be amazed.

Said that, yes, there are many blurry and/or foggy games on the console.
 

Timu

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In these kind of posts, post images or link YouTube video is not very useful in my opinion. In fact actual console captured images and videos shows a quality too low, not comparable with the original quality. And emulated versions images are useless because they don't show the actual graphic.

-
Quality too low...wait...what? All the screens I show all in PNG format, there's nothing low quality about that. Also, what original quality? It is the original quality because it's being captured from the original hardware, I don't understand this original quality comment.

Seriously, this reliance on CRTs is getting out of hand. I'm trying to make a point here and people act like CRTs are the only way to see how N64 games look when that's not true. If 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080p consoles are great ways to do direct feeds on console games with no one complaining, why not 240p consoles? Are we not allowed to use direct capture? Because I am not recording off a CRT with a camera or camcorder, that's hilarious.

I swear some people are just making up stuff now to make direct capture worse than it actually is even though they most likely never tried it.
 

Italia64

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Quality too low...wait...what? All the screens I show all in PNG format, there's nothing low quality about that. Also, what original quality? It is the original quality because it's being captured from the original hardware, I don't understand this original quality comment.

Seriously, this reliance on CRTs is getting out of hand. I'm trying to make a point here and people act like CRTs are the only way to see how N64 games look when that's not true. If 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080p consoles are great ways to do direct feeds on console games with no one complaining, why not 240p consoles? Are we not allowed to use direct capture? Because I am not recording off a CRT with a camera or camcorder, that's hilarious.

I swear some people are just making up stuff now to make direct capture worse than it actually is even though they most likely never tried it.

I mean: if you look YouTube videos or photos, the images are much worse than the images you can admire playing the games on CRT. This is a thing that every gamer can easily check, no need to be expert in order to see the difference.
I talked about this several times in forums, nobody disagreed with this because everyone knows that it's truth. This is the first time I heard about someone who doesn't know it. I was talking about this problem even the other day with the Youtuber WatchmeplayNintendo, the guy recorded from the original hardware the entire gameplay of games like CBFD, PD, OoT, MM, GE007, V8, Excitebike 64, WDC etc. His videos are among the best in YouTube in terms of N64 games well displayed, and he's agree with the fact that the quality that you can see on CRT is still unreached using other ways. This an undeniable truth.
I don't want to argue, I'm just advising you to get information about this. Believe me, the difference between good CRT and videos in modern screen in huge.
 

Wowfunhappy

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I feel like in this generation, it's really difficult to separate art style from pure technical prowess, which makes this a difficult question to answer.
 

Italia64

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If someone thinks that this is the actual WDC graphic that you would see on a CRT...he's definitely wrong. WDC is much better.
https://youtu.be/vkPU9I4Pals

Even this video with the Hi-Rez mode. Try to watch it on full screen, much worse than the actual graphics that you can admire on CRT.
https://youtu.be/tSNsUFAf1po

Not even with Ultra HDMI cable it's possible to reach the CRT quality.
 

Sixfortyfive

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I mean: if you look YouTube videos or photos, the images are much worse than the images you can admire playing the games on CRT. This is a thing that every gamer can easily check, no need to be expert in order to see the difference.
I talked about this several times in forums, nobody disagreed with this because everyone knows that it's truth. This is the first time I heard about someone who doesn't know it. I was talking about this problem even the other day with the Youtuber WatchmeplayNintendo, the guy recorded from the original hardware the entire gameplay of games like CBFD, PD, OoT, MM, GE007, V8, Excitebike 64, WDC etc. His videos are among the best in YouTube in terms of N64 games well displayed, and he's agree with the fact that the quality that you can see on CRT is still unreached using other ways. This an undeniable truth.
I don't want to argue, I'm just advising you to get information about this. Believe me, the difference between good CRT and videos in modern screen in huge.
You sound so full of yourself.
 

Italia64

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You sound so full of yourself.
Naa, I just like when people see the actual N64 graphic. I'm not saying that N64 graphics always are bad on modern screen. Me too use to watch YouTube videos and sometimes I play on HDTV (when I want to play staying in the bed, as the CRT is in another room), it's not the end of the world :p and sometimes in smartphones' screen some videos seems at the same level of CRT graphics. But unfortunately when you watch them on bigger screen...the difference is undeniable.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a CRT maniac, I can't wait to admire N64 graphics without the need to have an old, huge and heavy TV in my house. I'm sure that the technology one day will reach and overtake the CRT quality in modern screens too.
 

Robin64

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Playing via CRT may be more aesthetically pleasing, especially if you have an excellent setup, but that doesn't mean direct capture isn't more accurate at showing what the N64 is producing. Direct capture is the "actual graphics". A CRT is doing extra things to that image the N64 is producing.
 

Italia64

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Playing via CRT may be more aesthetically pleasing, especially if you have an excellent setup, but that doesn't mean direct capture isn't more accurate at showing what the N64 is producing. Direct capture is the "actual graphics". A CRT is doing extra things to that image the N64 is producing.
If you want to check the draw distance,frame rate, animations, polys complexity, etc direct capture is very good. Simply the graphics look worse, and the graphical gap between N64 and the other consoles of the 5th doesn't emerge.

Please link me one video which shows the N64 graphics like I would see it on CRT.
 

Sixfortyfive

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If you want to check the draw distance,frame rate, animations, polys complexity, etc direct capture is very good. Simply the graphics look worse, and the graphical gap between N64 and the other consoles of the 5th doesn't emerge.

Please link me one video which shows the N64 graphics like I would see it on CRT.
You are lecturing people who regularly post in the CRT/RGB thread. Most of the things you could possibly say about display technologies related to retro games, including deinterlacing, upscaling, native resolutions, fixed-pixel displays, color spaces, video formats, cable types, geometry, overscan, dithering, dot pitch, and more, are things that people like Timu have already read about at some length.

Your insinuation that a high-quality direct capture is "worse quality" than a run of the mill CRT connection or "not representative" of the thread subject is simplified and subjective at best.
 

Italia64

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Things are going off topic. No need to re-write what I already wrote, I can just advise that if you want to see the difference, check your Sony Trinitron hooked up to a N64 RGB modded, put in a graphical beauty (like WDC for instance) and compare what you see with the best YouTube videos (there are a lot of WDC videos directly captured on YouTube, and I watched them all, and I mean all haha).
Or please, link me a video wich in your opinion reach the same level of the CRT quality. Believe me, I would happy to discover that it exists.

By the way, let's return to speak about N64 best graphics games :p that's why I'm here
 

Timu

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Playing via CRT may be more aesthetically pleasing, especially if you have an excellent setup, but that doesn't mean direct capture isn't more accurate at showing what the N64 is producing. Direct capture is the "actual graphics". A CRT is doing extra things to that image the N64 is producing.
Yep, this is the point I'm trying to make, but it seems some don't understand that even though it's easy to tell!
 

Italia64

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Don't worry, I never meant that direct capture isn't the actual N64 graphic. Would be stupid say that, if you understood that I'm sorry, probably it's due my language barrier, I'm not a native English speaker. What I meant is the images on CRT are much better.
But please, link me a YouTube video which shows the N64 graphic at its best like on CRT. I'm always ready to change my mind, I watched hundreds of N64 YouTube videos and I never seen one good as on my CRT, but I'm ready to change idea when I will see one.
 

Robin64

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You misunderstand. When it comes to actually playing N64 games, most of us here will prefer to play on a good CRT. We have a whole community here on GAF dedicated to finding and tweaking amazing CRT setups. Heck, even those who choose to play via emulator love to find the most accurate CRT shaders for the proper look.

We're only using direct capture to show what the N64 can do at a raw level.
 

Italia64

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You misunderstand. When it comes to actually playing N64 games, most of us here will prefer to play on a good CRT. We have a whole community here on GAF dedicated to finding and tweaking amazing CRT setups. Heck, even those who choose to play via emulator love to find the most accurate CRT shaders for the proper look.

We're only using direct capture to show what the N64 can do at a raw level.
I hope to have understood now. So nobody wrote that it is possible to find the same level of quality of N64+CRT in other ways?

By the way guys, I always talk about the difference between CRT and YouTube for two reasons:

1) Often you find great graphics N64 games showed very poorly by YouTube videos (find a good quality Banjo-Kazooie, DK64, JFG, etc video is impossible for instance) and you can read a lot of comments like "bad graphics, aged very bad" and stuff like that. So, due this fact, people forget or simply don't know how good the N64 looks on CRT with a good set up.

2) And this is more bad because is done by "experts": people use YouTube for deeply comparisons. For instance, take a look at the very poor work on YouTube about comparison between RE2 PS1 vs N64. Only a blind would say that the N64 is like that on CRT, it looks a different game.

I use YouTube for indicative purpose, but the graphics have to be compared in the best possible way.
 

Nerrel

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I love Majora's Mask in concept but it looks like garbage now!
Obviously it's very polygonal and the textures are blurry, but I still think it's a beautiful game. If you simply render it to HD with minimal enhancement, there are times when it's actually pretty stunning for a N64 game. The art style holds up really well, and the blockiness actually lends a lot of charm to it:
 

rjc571

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You misunderstand. When it comes to actually playing N64 games, most of us here will prefer to play on a good CRT. We have a whole community here on GAF dedicated to finding and tweaking amazing CRT setups. Heck, even those who choose to play via emulator love to find the most accurate CRT shaders for the proper look.

We're only using direct capture to show what the N64 can do at a raw level.
In that case it makes more sense to use hi res emulator screenshots (without any other enhancements) because a lot of the details rendered by the actual hardware are masked by the low resolution output. If the goal is strictly to show what the N64 can do at a raw level, emulated screenshots are the best way to show it.
 

Sixfortyfive

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In that case it makes more sense to use hi res emulator screenshots (without any other enhancements) because a lot of the details rendered by the actual hardware are masked by the low resolution output. If the goal is strictly to show what the N64 can do at a raw level, emulated screenshots are the best way to show it.
An N64 can't output anything higher than 480i though.
 

Mega

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Some people played Super Mario Bros. like this image below, but nobody would expect screenshots of NES games to look this just because of that. You should show a console's output without taking display into account, as everyone's display (especially back then, less so now) gives a slightly different look.

That's a pretty silly thing to declare as a definitive statement. I say leave it up to the user to determine whether or not the image he/she is showing is the best representation of the game as they see it. In truth, the game's artists didn't create content in a vacuum and hope for the best once it was in the wild. I'd say they often, if not always, took the common displays of the time into consideration (pros, cons, quirks, whatever) when designing in-game visuals. An analogous example is the work that video professionals did when mastering shows for broadcast TV... they worked on high end, sharp professional monitors that out of factory had dimmer brightness and neutral/warm tones, but then they calibrated for the output of a typical consumer-owned set: a low-end, super-bright CRT with bluish color temps.

N64 is my prime example of a console whose graphics were made to look best on a low-mid range consumer CRT, whether in Composite or S-video (preferably the latter). It is maligned as one of the ugliest consoles in hindsight by people viewing emulated or upscaled games on HD displays. Even a high end CRT like a sharp Sony PVM with prominent scanlines fucks with the image in unintended ways. My modest 325TVL, low-tier pro CRT, that has a pristine consumer CRT-like picture, paired with stock S-video N64 produces the hands-downs best, most aesthetically pleasing image I have ever been able to get out of N64 across numerous displays. That includes 9 CRTs - Sony PVMs, Sony BVMs, JVC SD/HD CRTs, Ikegami SD CRT. And at least a dozen computer and HDTV displays over the years -720/768p, 1080p, 1440p, various LCDs, IPS, plasma, AMOLED smartphone. That includes the use of emulators, Wii, Wii U and Ultra HDMI mod.

Lots of pics ahead, but each is only about 120KB.

 

Italia64

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Finally some very nice photos. I'm impressed by the 3rd Resident Evil 2 pic. It looks almost like I'm there watching the game with my eyes.
I often record videos and take photos from my CRT in order to prove my times and gaming achievements, so I know how much the pics are often worse than the reality: with flickering, not vivid colours, problems with luminosity, etc.
 

Mael

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Mega, I think this is probably the best pictures I've ever seen of n64 games since I last booted my n64 on my old CRT.
It's the closest to what I remember having back in the day across all the shots and vids I've seen.
 

Celine

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Crt for the win <3

EDIT:

Star Wars : Battle For Naboo looks really exceptional with good lightning and weather effects, long draw distance and solid framerate.
The music and sound effects are also of high caliber which isn't always the case for the games that pushed N64 (looking at you World Driver Championship).


 

Mega

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Thanks, all. FYI -- I'm not enhancing the images in any way. I strive to capture as closely as possible what I'm seeing IRL. I too believe that this is ideally what the developers intended the games to look like... not BVM with stark scanlines, not blown to hell with a cheap HDTV's bad upscaling, not 1080p 16x AA emulator shots. All of these are fine, I don't begrudge anyone who uses emulators as I was and am still a huge fan of stuff like RetroArch, Mednafen, SNES 9x, etc. but I think it's pretty clear that something is really OFF with the cold, stark clarity of N64 emulation for example. The games don't stand up well to it and I personally find it can look unpleasant next to what my CRT can accomplish.

No, those consoles could in fact produce all the colors necessary natively. This is not the "native" frame he is talking about. This is indeed the final output framebuffer, but it is produced by reducing the color depth from 18/16/whatever bpp the originally rendered frame was at to 8bpp, which is what causes the dithering. he's asking if is possible to get at the original frame before the reduction in color depth occurs, and in some cases it is.
I've read this a few times in your past posts, but I can't find anything anywhere that states the PS1 framebuffer outputs a 8bpp image. All the documentation and online discussions I've come across state that the hardware strictly has 24bit (mainly FMV and stills) and 15 bit color modes (in-game graphics).

http://psx.rules.org/gpu.txt
The Frame Buffer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
The frame buffer is the memory which stores all grpahic data which the GPU
can access and manipulate, while drawing and displaying an image . The
memory is under the GPU and cannot be accessed by the CPU directly. It is
operated solely by the GPU. The frame buffer has a size of 1 MB and is
treated as a space of 1024 pixels wide and 512 pixels high. Each "pixel"
has the size of one word (16 bit). It is not treated linearly like usual
memory, but is accessed through coordinates, with an upperleft corner of
(0,0) and a lower right corner of (1023,511).

When data is displayed from the frame buffer, a rectangular area is read
from the specified coordinate within this memory. The size of this area can
be chosen from several hardware defined types. Note that these hardware
sizes are only valid when the X and Y stop/start registers are at their
default values. This display area can be displayed in two color formats,
being 15bit direct and 24bit direct.
Furthermore, a 8bpp image by itself would not lead to massive full-screen dithering by itself... and this is just my observation, but common dithering techniques on a 8-bit image itself is subtle enough not to be as blatant as what's happening in PS1 screengrabs. Something else in the hardware would be applying that ugly dithering separately. I took one of your "8bpp" GT pics and changed it to GIF or PNG-8 (256 color limit) and hundreds, if not thousands, of colors are dropped on close-up inspection. How then can that be if the image output by the framebuffer is supposed to already be 8 bits/256 colors? Unless I'm missing something obvious, that doesn't make any sense. From what I've seen and read others say, the GPU outputs a 24-bit image that is then reduced to 15 bits in the framebuffer and at some point dithering is OPTIONALLY applied to mitigate the possibly resulting color banding (all depending on the game developer).

If this is completely wrong, please let me know. Just curious and trying to make sense of it.
 

Timu

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Thanks for the screens Mega.

For capturing screens and footage directly from the console itself only direct capture through capture cards does that but for in person CRT is meant for that.
 

Mega

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NOLA, that's the same 13" CRT you have. That's perfect for me. If I need 4 players, I have the Ultra HDMI N64 in the living room.

Timu, your earlier post deserves a shout out too. I would want my 64 games like that on a portable, maybe with a nice CRT filter.
 

Timu

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NOLA, that's the same 13" CRT you have. That's perfect for me. If I need 4 players, I have the Ultra HDMI N64 in the living room.

Timu, your earlier post deserves a shout out too. I would want my 64 games like that on a portable, maybe with a nice CRT filter.
Thanks, yeah I do my best, though those screens are scan doubled, I was going to capture them in 320x240 like I do with Genesis and SNES but...I'll do it anyways!!!



I wonder which looks better.
 

Italia64

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Thanks, all. FYI -- I'm not enhancing the images in any way. I strive to capture as closely as possible what I'm seeing IRL. I too believe that this is ideally what the developers intended the games to look like... not BVM with stark scanlines, not blown to hell with a cheap HDTV's bad upscaling, not 1080p 16x AA emulator shots. All of these are fine, I don't begrudge anyone who uses emulators as I was and am still a huge fan of stuff like RetroArch, Mednafen, SNES 9x, etc. but I think it's pretty clear that something is really OFF with the cold, stark clarity of N64 emulation for example. The games don't stand up well to it and I personally find it can look unpleasant next to what my CRT can accomplish.
I completely agree, N64 games emulated are visually bad in my opinion. They look so cold and with no "wow" factor.
 
Jun 19, 2013
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Okay, so I watched some footage of Conker's Bad Fur day, footage captured from an actual N64. Haven't really looked into footage of the game since playing it a looooong time ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYTMebSC-fk

I was blown away, though. The lighting, the soft-looking shadows, the impeccable draw distances, the character animation (especially Conker's lip sync), the detail in the environments.

Was the framerate always that smooth as well? To me that looks perfectly playable, it's not really chugging during gameplay outside of a few stress points. Sure, it's not a rock solid 30, but the times where the framerate isn't smooth are times where the trade-off for better graphical fidelity is worth it in my opinion. Anyway, really impressive tech.

This could easily pass for a modern bigger budget PSP title, and actually looks better than some PSP titles due to how they've employed lighting to bring some of the worlds to life.
 
Dec 11, 2012
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Gonna say Shadow Man, which managed to leverage hi res from the expansion pack without totally screwing the gameplay with low framerates (hello Turok 2).
Yup, Shadowman was gorgeous. The only frame rate drop with the expansion pak was when you killed an enemy and ran through the cloud of blood spatter they left behind. They did a great job optimizing it.
 

Celine

Member
Oct 4, 2009
12,568
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Mystical Ninja always reminds me of what '90s Squaresoft could have done on N64.
It's a pity we didn't see much japanese support on N64 cause I consider that system an evolution on the NES and SNES concept wise.


 

D.Lo

Member
Aug 20, 2006
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Mystical Ninja always reminds me of what '90s Squaresoft could have done on N64.
It's a pity we didn't see much japanese support on N64 cause I consider that system an evolution on the NES and SNES concept wise.
Yeah I always remember playing Goemon and Zelda 5 and exploring the towns and thinking how I would have loved to see Final Fantasy towns like this.

We never really did get a Final Fantasy game with their old style in an actual 3D world. By the time it was fully 3D on PS2 we were in non-SD Meg Ryan with 50 belts characters.

Also the town square in Zelda was the most disappointing part of the game because it was pre-rendered like Final Fantasy.
 

Celine

Member
Oct 4, 2009
12,568
9
830
Yeah I always remember playing Goemon and Zelda 5 and exploring the towns and thinking how I would have loved to see Final Fantasy towns like this.

We never really did get a Final Fantasy game with their old style in an actual 3D world.By the time it was fully 3D on PS2 we were in non-SD Meg Ryan with 50 belts characters.

Also the town square in Zelda was the most disappointing part of the game because it was pre-rendered like Final Fantasy.
lol

While different from the main Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is the closest you could've had at the time.
 

bones123

Member
Jun 24, 2015
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That's a pretty silly thing to declare as a definitive statement. I say leave it up to the user to determine whether or not the image he/she is showing is the best representation of the game as they see it. In truth, the game's artists didn't create content in a vacuum and hope for the best once it was in the wild. I'd say they often, if not always, took the common displays of the time into consideration (pros, cons, quirks, whatever) when designing in-game visuals. An analogous example is the work that video professionals did when mastering shows for broadcast TV... they worked on high end, sharp professional monitors that out of factory had dimmer brightness and neutral/warm tones, but then they calibrated for the output of a typical consumer-owned set: a low-end, super-bright CRT with bluish color temps.

N64 is my prime example of a console whose graphics were made to look best on a low-mid range consumer CRT, whether in Composite or S-video (preferably the latter). It is maligned as one of the ugliest consoles in hindsight by people viewing emulated or upscaled games on HD displays. Even a high end CRT like a sharp Sony PVM with prominent scanlines fucks with the image in unintended ways. My modest 325TVL, low-tier pro CRT, that has a pristine consumer CRT-like picture, paired with stock S-video N64 produces the hands-downs best, most aesthetically pleasing image I have ever been able to get out of N64 across numerous displays. That includes 9 CRTs - Sony PVMs, Sony BVMs, JVC SD/HD CRTs, Ikegami SD CRT. And at least a dozen computer and HDTV displays over the years -720/768p, 1080p, 1440p, various LCDs, IPS, plasma, AMOLED smartphone. That includes the use of emulators, Wii, Wii U and Ultra HDMI mod.

Lots of pics ahead, but each is only about 120KB.
I don't even understand how the games look better on a CRT, they just do.

Also my vote absolutely goes to Paper Mario. That game looks like it could be released today. Just look at Tubba Blubba's face. He's easily my most memorable and favourite boss too, the whole mechanic of his invulnerability blew my tiny little child mind the first time I played this.

 

Italia64

Neo Member
Jun 2, 2015
127
1
0
Okay, so I watched some footage of Conker's Bad Fur day, footage captured from an actual N64. Haven't really looked into footage of the game since playing it a looooong time ago.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYTMebSC-fk

I was blown away, though. The lighting, the soft-looking shadows, the impeccable draw distances, the character animation (especially Conker's lip sync), the detail in the environments.

Was the framerate always that smooth as well? To me that looks perfectly playable, it's not really chugging during gameplay outside of a few stress points. Sure, it's not a rock solid 30, but the times where the framerate isn't smooth are times where the trade-off for better graphical fidelity is worth it in my opinion. Anyway, really impressive tech.

This could easily pass for a modern bigger budget PSP title, and actually looks better than some PSP titles due to how they've employed lighting to bring some of the worlds to life.
And that video is very blurry too, try to figure it on CRT. If you watch a Rare Replay video on YouTube is definitely more near to how CBFD looks on CRT.
CBFD is pure magic, it's even better than the Disney cartoons of that era.
I don't know how they did it with a 1996 hardware, but they did.

By the way, if Dinosaurs Planet had been released, probably it would been even better, judging by what I saw.
 

Mega

Banned
Oct 31, 2007
3,689
1
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At the time I thought Jet Force Gemini looked outstanding...but I've gone back recently and it hasn't aged so well. Still a great game in terms of gameplay in my opinion though!
I always thought it looked like ugly mush... very blurry, smeared to hell, desaturated and choppy. Not trying to exaggerate, but the game had an unpleasant and nauseating look to me.

I think Banjo Kazooie was the best looking Rare game, taking frame rate and eveything else into account. Tooie in motion looked worse to me as did the later Rare games. Mario 64 deserves to be in the running because it's still so highly playable, runs great and aged well visually.