Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Developer Makes Ray-Tracing Work On Super Nintendo Via Modified Cartridge

 Ray-tracing. While the technology itself has been around since the 1970s, the technology recently began seeing widespread promotion and adoption – on no small part by NVIDIA – as a must-have feature in PC gaming and next-gen consoles. For one hobbist, he thought it would be fun to bring ray-tracing to another console: the Super Nintendo.

The hobbist in question is Shironeko Labs and he recent released a video demo, showing ray-tracing working on the Super Nintendo console. Yes, really. Specifically, Shironeko got the feature working on the nearly three decades old console through the creation of a heavily modified SNES cartridge.

Shironeko cites the inspiration behind his project as a desire to create something akin to the Super FX chip that was originally introduced in SNES titles like Star Fox, where the cartridge handled the visuals, while the console handled game logic.

To be fair, the end result of Shironeko’s endeavour does look plausible and working, but it’s also clear that he isn’t seeking widespread adoption of the technology, given how obviously primitive the visuals are by comparison.

In any case, Shironeko has also released a breakdown of his project and posted it online, should there be other tinkerers and hobbists that are interested in it. Alternatively, you could just watch the YouTube video we’ve embedded, if you simply want to see what ray-tracing looks like on 8-bit graphics.

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