Texture Packs

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For when original low-res sprites, or ugly muddy pixellated textures don't cut it anymore, there are some emulators which allow for texture replacement - so that you can play your old games with shiny HD/4K textures to go with HD rendering. It's nice to play more of the retro games in the style of Super Mario All-Stars, the Ducktales remaster, or the N64 Zelda remakes.

Only problem: it's not as widely supported among emulators. This may be slowly changing, though. You'll need to get (or make) a texture pack in addition to the ROM. Goes without saying the game logic won't be altered. Also, this doesn't actually change the data inside the ROM proper, making this enhancement emulator-specific.

Currently, 2D sprite replacements are not as popular, so much of what's available among replacement packs is quite bland in the same fashion as Final Fantasy 6's iOS "remake" or RPG Maker stuff, but they're meant to be proof-of-concept, no more.

Sprite Replacement (2D)[edit]

NES[edit]

  • HDNes: an emulator that allows you to overlay custom sprites at 4X resolution over in-game NES sprites. These custom sprites are in true color without any of the palette restrictions inherent to the NES (alpha + 3 colors picked from around 50 possible colors). It can also do music replacement.

Gameboy[edit]

  • GB Enhanced+: Works just like HDNES, with custom resolutions up to x10. Can be used to colorize monochrome GB games this way when used with x1 sprite replacements. Doesn't have a stable release yet.
  • GameOBJ: Based on the Unity3d GB Emulator code "UnityGB". It replaces GB graphics with 3D objects and the result is... unique, certainly worth it. Video here and here.

Master System[edit]

  • HiSMS: Master System emulator with sprite replacement in HD resolutions.

Texture Replacement (3D)[edit]

Nintendo 64[edit]

Notable texture packs:

Zelda Ocarina of Time: Community Retexture Project V7, Cel-Shaded
Zelda Majora's Mask: Cel-Shaded, Realistic

Dedicated forum: Link.

  • Project64: You will need a plugin such as Glide64, Rice, or GLideN64 to replace textures. GLideN64 is the only plugin that can do widescreen hacks and custom textures at the same time, though it has a high system requirement.
  • Mupen64Plus (standalone PC version): Both Glide64 and Rice plugins support texture replacements, though not enabled by default. To enable the custom textures, change "LoadHiResTextures" to true and "ghq_hirs" to 1 in your mupen64plus.cfg. Note that the custom texture related features are removed from RetroArch port of Mupen64Plus.
    • Custom Texture folder location:
      • Windows XP and older: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Mupen64Plus\hires_texture
      • Windows Vista and newer: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Mupen64Plus\hires_texture
      • Mac, Linux, and others: ~/.local/share/mupen64plus/hires_texture
  • Mupen64Plus AE: This Android fork of Mupen64 also have texture replacement, but only on Rice plugin. The setting file does have "ghq_hirs" for Glide64, but changing it to 1 has no noticeable effect.
    • Custom Texture folder location:
      • Google Play Free Version: /sdcard/Android/data/paulscode.android.mupen64plus.free/data/hires_texture
      • Google Play Donate Version: /sdcard/Android/data/paulscode.android.mupen64plus/data/hires_texture

GameCube/Wii[edit]

Example of WW HD UI
  • Dolphin: Has a game-specific directory somewhere under "user\textures\load" with your game's ID (check the ISO properties to what it is) where you can put your custom sprites. Under "Graphics", go to the "Advanced" tab and enable "Load Custom Texture", then set "Texture Cache Accuracy" to "Safe". While running, it will replace that texture when the game loads it with the image files under that directory. Texture packs for Dolphin come as tons of image files to put in that directory.

Notable texture packs:

Zelda Wind Waker HD
Zelda Twilight Princess HD
Super Mario Sunshine: HUD, Textures
Xenoblade HD
Tales of Graces Wii
Resident Evil 4 Wii HD
No More Heroes 2: PS3/360 Button Replacement

Dedicated forum: Link.

External Links[edit]

  • An article by the GB Enhanced+ dev about the technical aspects of replacing 2D graphics.