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It’s possible to add modern visual effects to Super Mario 64’s unofficial PC port, including primitive ray tracing.
Real-time ray tracing – which allows for realistic reflections similar to those seen in CGI movies – is the flagship visual feature of next-gen consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X and is already available via high-end PC video cards.
Released this weekend, the fan-made Super Mario 64 PC port supports the third-party Reshade software via DirectX 12, which allows users to plug in modern shader effects including ray tracing.
The video below shows what the 24-year-old N64 game looks like with additional modern effects enabled such as advanced depth of field, ambient obscurance and screen-space reflections.
The PC port was made possible by a 2019 recompilation project which saw fans reverse engineer the game’s source code.
Unlike PC emulators which imitate the conditions of the original N64 hardware, the DirectX 12-powered port allows players to run Mario 64 at far higher resolutions without compromise, such as native 4K or in ultra-widescreen mode.
The native PC port should also have significant implications for Mario 64’s active mod community, which had previously required an emulator for its projects.
As first revealed by VGC, Nintendo will reveal plans to re-release most of Super Mario’s 35-year back catalogue this year, remastered for Nintendo Switch, including Super Mario 64.