Authors: Christopher Thibeault and Jean-Yves Hervé
Video game console emulators have long had a need to improve the quality of their graphical output to accommodate higher video resolutions and increased consumer expectations. Previous attempts at providing improved visual quality have relied on interpolation-based scaling filters. Recent attempts at conversions to vector graphics can produce high-quality results, but at a high computational cost. In all cases, these algorithms work on the full frame of graphical data at once, and cannot introduce content that was not present in the original graphics.
This paper investigates the modification of an existing game console emulator to achieve the goals of high-performance and higher-quality enhancement than what has previously been available. To achieve this, state information about the virtual game console hardware is accessed and used for the purposes of rendering new graphics onto the display.
The system developed as part of this research uses a modified version of the FCEUX emulator for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The performance of using virtual hardware state information as a means of object detection and localization of sprites has been found to be more efficient and accurate than traditional object detection algorithms. Using this system, a substantial visual upgrade is made to the appearance of two commercially released games.
Keywords: object detection, emulation, video games, sprites, 2D, pixel art, computer graphics