It’s not bad if you are willing to buy Greatest Hits versions of games where applicable. Chrono Cross, for example could be had brand new for $10 on Amazon, for example.
Well, after playing a bunch of Chrono Cross over the past month (and having admittedly very little familiarity with PS1 software over the years) I have to conclude that the polygons on this system can actually look pretty amazing.
I am playing this game for the first time and cannot conclude that PS1 games “haven’t aged well” and people who love them are just “nostalgic.” The artwork, animations, and overall presentation of the game in most ways is actually better than some modern RPGs I’ve played.
Sure the polygons are low res and warble a bit, but when viewing the game in native res on a proper CRT, it all looks completely coherent and, frankly, amazing. The battle animations and environments are perfectly stylized too. And the background art when navigating the towns/dungeons is all hand drawn and delightfully detailed.
When you view the polygons from far away in certain environments, certainly, some of the character detail is muddled and not visible at this res. But it never was supposed to be. When viewing the character models up close either in battle, menu screens, or environments that feature close-ups, all the detail fits the scene perfectly.
Long story short, playing the game at the right resolution is pretty key for this generation of games. But when you do so, it’s easy to appreciate how talented the artists were back then.
So well put.
Would it have been possible for Sony to have solved PS1 on HDTV in a way that would have been sympathetic to the era? CRT filter? Or would that have required much more powerful hardware?
I can’t imagine blanking out some pixels to create faux scanlines requires too much power.
I was imagining full CRT phosphor simulation, rather than just simple scan lines. RetroArch has a shader that does this. I’m not sure how much GPU that requires though
Yea, that would likely be more computationally intensive.
Game choice could have worked wonders. There are a lot of games that are more timeless, but mostly they weren’t selling points of the system at the time.
In general I agree that PS1 games played on a great CRT look fantastic, but a new feature to the Retroarch Beetle PSX HW core has made the decision a little harder:
This new Vulkan-only option, SSAA, is a completely new approach. The image is rendered at the internal resolution you set it at (2x/4x/8x/16x, you name it). It then downsamples it at the final output stage back to a resolution somewhere in the ballpark of 240p. What you get is a low-resolution image with very clean anti-aliased 3D, kinda similar to the N64 actually which had native 8x multi sampled anti aliasing of some sort.
I’ve been playing around with the Super Sampled Anti Aliasing option a bit and the results have been quite impressive. It seems to be hitting a sweet spot between graphical improvements and system authenticity.
No videos at the moment, but I did have a chance to take a few quick pictures. (Hopefully doing it justice)
This is Beetle PSX HW at 4x resolution with SSAA turned on and CRT-Royale-Kurozumi shaders being displayed on a 1080p plasma TV:
For reference, here’s a couple shots of the game running on my PS2 over component cables and an FV310 (probably could do a better job on the photography here, but should give you an idea):
Glad that they’re continuing to make strides in this area of emulation. That actually does seem to do the game justice more than I would have expected.
It’s not a great picture but here’s Tronne Bonne running in beetle @16x internal resolution output@240p on my VGA monitor.
This was before the new methods listed above .
It runs great and my $1 ps-usb adapter links up no problem. It’s becoming harder and harder to want real hardware
I only watched the Gran Turismo part but the resolution x16 looks much, much better than SSAA x16 + Resolution x1 (not surprisingly). The SSAAx16 Resx1 looks like a muddy mess, worse than ps2 smoothing IMO. There still is some blurriness in res x16, but playing a game in real time I’m not sure if I would notice it as much as watching a video.
Impressive stuff though!
SSAA 16x produces far too soft an image, you loose too much detail from what is already a very low res source. Below you can see a few stills without youtube compression to more easily see what is happening. SSAA 8x and 16x both look identical on a 1080p screen so only included the 8x screens.
It works quite well on diagonals but I don’t like how the sharp vertical edges of for example the left hand building become blurred at anything but native res (SSAA2x is the sweet spot in game imho), you really see the anti-aliasing in action because of the large pixel size on your flat panel.
I’m happy to take everyone’s real hardware off their hands
Those look uninspiring, but @fester shots with CRT effect look great.
I’m not a fan of 16x upscaling the geometry alone.
Looks great to me. Being able to to see more detail in a racing game is especially useful. When I go back to GT in 240p I have troble parsing WTF I’m even looking at some times. lol
The SSAA does indeed look like N64! It weirds me out on PS1 games!
I’m still unsure as a whole. High res low poly pretty much looks a bit jank, like a lot like 90s PC games - if the games had a PC port they would most likely look close to the higher resolution shots (pretty much the case with Tomb Raider in the video)
The biggest issue with low res is it not being native. The games still look best in original form on a CRT in many cases IMO.
On another note, I find it so weird that at the time, Gran Turismo was the most ‘photorealistic’ game around, but it has dated so badly. The background detail and skyboxes are crap the lighting is non-existent, and the fake windscreen reflection thing looks like a cheap trick. The likes of Ridge Racer and World Driver Championship look far far better now.
Well, it was realistic on consoles. I was playing the incredibly realistic Grand Prix Legends in 1998 on PC. Viper Racing was out that same year from Monster Games on PC too for something kinda similar.
What GT really brought was the survey style car racing game with a really approachable “campaign” mode. I think that sold it as much as the looks. No one knew anyone cared to drive a street legal Toyota Celica in a video game until Gran Turismo came along.