A completely wild mod has given the SNES real-time ray detection

Ray detection technology, available for a few years on PC, has finally come to consoles: it has the PS5, it has the Xbox S and X Series, and, 30 years after its release out, the SNES is getting it. No joke – the 1990 Nintendo console has been following a ray of light, thanks to an amazing mod by programmer Ben Carter (via Gizmodo). And it’s made with a chip called SuperRT.

Ray radiation is usually used to make games look more realistic by simulating the way light kicks off a surface, leading to blowing of color from bright objects and appearing. clear surface. As you can see from the video demonstration above, the tech on the SNES doesn’t push any graphical boundaries, but come on – it’s SNES.

Well, technically, it’s Famicom, which is the same hardware in different packages for Japan. The real magic, though, is that it’s a completely stocked console (except the roof has been removed to make room for a ton of wires): all the processing is done with a Carter chip that is programmed and added to game carding.

Adding processing power to the SNES by adding another processor to the game card is nothing new: Nintendo did it with both Star Fox and Yoshi Island. (Of course, it added 3D capability and special effects, not ray tracing.) To achieve real-time ray tracing, Carter could not use the old Super FX chips made by Nintendo.

Instead, he had to use a field-programmed gateway (FPGA) chip, which allowed him to take information about the view provided by the SNES and process the radiation for it. If you want an in – depth look at how it ‘s made, Carter’ s blog post explains how he did it. He also has a video explaining his approach, rooted below.

This mod is pretty cool, not only from an engineering and hockey standpoint, but because it looks at another star – not the one where ray tracing was magically created in the 1990s, but one where 90s low-poly 3D games are in the 90s. revamped but keep the art style. As someone who grew up around that time, I really like to see 2D and 3D games get modern memories, but I would also like to see the art style come back with the tricks of the game. today as a ray detector and anti-aliasing. And if I had to imagine what it would look like, it would be very similar to a Carter demo.