A new update for the popular emulator Dolphin has arrived, introducing a graphics mod infrastructure that will make improving the graphics of Wii and GameCube games much easier.
The graphics mod feature is the work of a single developer known as iwubcode, and it effectively introduces a way for modders to make graphical changes while a game’s images are being rendered. You can get a breakdown of the technical details over in the latest Dolphin progress report blog (opens in new tab), but in short, this means that it’s going to be much easier to make classic Wii and GameCube games look better.
As an example, the Dolphin devs point to Super Mario Galaxy 2, which has bloom effects that glitch out when the game is rendered at higher resolutions than its original, native image quality. Graphics mods can either remove the faulty bloom effect or replace it with one that’s been remade for higher resolutions.
The initial list of graphics mods includes games like Galaxy 2 alongside the likes of Xenoblade Chronicles and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The mods mostly are targeted toward the aforementioned sorts of bloom effects, though some have options to affect in-game UI, too.
But the devs promise much more robust effects are in store, too. “This is just a taste of what Graphics Mods can do, and we can promise that there is more coming in the future. This is a massive undertaking being powered by a single person, so for now things are very barebones on purpose. It was a necessary evil to scale things back so that the system itself could be reviewed and merged.”
It’s probably time to revisit some of the best GameCube games out here.