Hacker Rewrites Crappy SNES Racer To Enhance Its Framerate Sevenfold

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Gif: Atari / THQ / Vitor Vilela

Brazilian software program engineer Vitor Vilela has, for nearly a decade, sung the praises of Nintendo’s SA-1 enhancement chip, however by no means earlier than have the advantages of the souped-up Tremendous Nintendo processor been extra apparent than when utilized to Race Drivin’, the lackluster 1992 SNES port of Atari’s 3D arcade racer that initially ran at a single-digit bodyprice on the house console.

In a video launched yesterday, Vilela reveals simply how highly effective the comparatively widespread SA-1 chip might be by evaluating footage from the unique Race Drivin’ to a conversion they developed to be used with the extra highly effective sub-processor. The upgraded {hardware} boosts the sport from round four frames per second to upwards of 30, making it look extra like an precise online game and fewer like a slideshow.

Not like current makes an attempt to add ray-tracing to SNES video games, nonetheless, these enhancements don’t come from trendy know-how however a chip that already exists in a good few cartridges of the period. A complete of 34 SNES video games used the SA-1 “Tremendous Accelerator” chip, which options a lot quicker clock speeds and RAM, between 1995 and 1997, together with classics like Kirby Tremendous Star and Tremendous Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.

Vilela has spent the previous few years displaying how the SA-1 chip can profit video games that didn’t already embody it of their cartridges, implementing equally spectacular efficiency upgrades for Gradius III, Contra III, and Tremendous R-Kind. Every conversion, Vilela says, takes over 100 hours of labor reverse-engineering current code, remapping RAM, and adjusting the sport to verify it doesn’t run too rapidly on the SA-1. On this case, Vilela estimates they touched some 90% of the sport’s code.

All of Vilela’s work up so far is offered through Github, appropriate with a number of SNES emulators in addition to actual {hardware} in the event you can handle to get the hacked code onto a cartridge.

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