SNES hacker speeds up a game that originally ran at 4 frames per second

The Atari arcade cupboard recreation Race Drivin’ was ported to the Atari ST in the summertime of 1991, after which ported once more to the SNES a 12 months later. It was the sequel to 1989’s Exhausting Drivin’, and whereas it boasted quite a few enhancements over its predecessor — it may mannequin a automotive with 4 wheels, versus Exhausting Drivin’s two — it was nonetheless not significantly quick.

The SNES console port ran at a slideshow-y 4 frames per second. And when the Genesis port arrived in 1993, Digital Gaming Month-to-month’s January 1994 concern gave the sport a capsule overview. It reads in full:

That is one other so-so entry within the driving scene the place the really progressive titles (Chase H.Q. II and Rock & Roll Racing) have a tendency to face out, whereas others like this get misplaced within the crowd. The scrolling could be very uneven.

It obtained largely fours and fives (out of 10) from the journal’s workers. (This in a difficulty with an editor’s letter concerning the California legal professional normal threatening to do one thing about violence in video video games! Night time Entice was terrifying on the time!)

Anyway, Race Drivin’ ran at 4 frames per second on the unique Atari ST {hardware}. Software program engineer Vitor Vilela thought that wasn’t adequate and determined to do one thing about it utilizing contemporaneous {hardware} — the Nintendo SA-1 processor. As Kotaku reports, the outcomes present precisely how way more highly effective the SA-1 chip was; Vilela managed to get round 30 frames per second utilizing a conversion they developed particularly for it. Right here’s what that appears like in motion.

Within the description of the video on YouTube, Vilela writes a bit about how they managed to get this frankly very spectacular feat working. “Similar to my different conversions, this one strikes the complete reminiscence to the SA-1 aspect and strikes virtually the entire processing to the SA-1 CPU aspect,” they write. “With all optimizations included, the sport runs as much as 1000% sooner in contrast with authentic.”

All of the code Vilela wrote for this hack is accessible on Github, together with the supply code for the opposite hacks they’ve pulled off. It’s a disgrace that EGM couldn’t have gotten its arms on this model of the sport — it seems like one thing ported immediately from an alternate future.

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