Yuzu PC Emulator Can Now Run Nintendo Switch Games Like Super Mario Odyssey at 8K Resolution

Jul 19, 2019 12:00 EDT

Nintendo Switch games have had an even faster time to PC emulation than previous Nintendo platforms such as the Wii U and the 3DS, with the Yuzu emulator (made by the same team behind the Citra Nintendo 3DS emulator) introduced less than a year after the Switch launched.

Since then, Yuzu managed to run games like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Maker 2, Pokémon Let's Go and more.

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However, Nintendo Wii U emulator Cemu had one major advantage over Yuzu, its ability to run Wii U titles at a far higher resolution (4K and above) to improve visual fidelity. That has changed with a new feature coming soon to Yuzu, the resolution scaler, based on an AI program.

Yuzu's resolution scaler multiplies the width and height of render targets based on a profile. This means that if the original render target was 1080p 1920x1080, multiplied by 2, it's 19202 x 10802 = 3840x2160 = 2160p = 4K. Render targets are thus increased in size and more fine detail pixels can be rendered to them. This is exactly what other emulators do (Dolphin, Citra, Cemu, etc). The core difference in yuzu is that a profile is needed because not all render targets can be upscaled (some are used to render sides of a cubemap, for example).

However, Yuzu will include a resolution scanner which is an evolutive AI program, which can learn which render targets can be rescaled and which can't be rescaled It works by the evolutive building of an answer based on a set of rules. You start normally with two groups of candidates: blacklisted and entries. Blacklisted are those that can't be upscaled and entries are those that can be upscaled. When there's no profile both groups start empty. Afterwards, as you run the game it will find render targets. If the render target is not blacklisted it will register it to entries. Then there's the blacklisting and AI part With your registries you follow a set of rules.

Rule 1. If a render target is flushed, it is blacklisted. Rule 2. If a render target is rebuild, it's rebuild is also registered unless it's black listed, if the rebuild is blacklisted the original render target is blacklisted too. Rule 3. If a render target is used to compose a texture, it is black listed. Rule 4. If any of the rendering render targets is blacklisted then all the rendering render targets are blacklisted. You then keep going under those rules and build the database as you play your game with the Resolution scanner active.

YouTuber BSoD Gaming, who's very much focused on games emulation, was the first to test this new feature thanks to his partnership with the developers of Yuzu. Below you can watch his attempts at running Super Mario Odyssey and other games at 8K resolution with his PC rig (i7 8700k @4.9Ghz, 16gb DDR4 3200Mhz, RAM GTX 1080Ti 11gb Overclocked, 256gb NVME M.2 SSD).

There's no ETA on when this will be available to regular Yuzu Patreon backers, but we'll let you know when it happens. Even at this early stage, the future of Nintendo Switch emulation on PC looks very promising.