Thursday, February 18, 2021

New Nintendo Switch Console Tech: Furukawa Continues To Talk (Why?) + Nintendo Direct Impressions

 

 

 New Nintendo Switch hardware and tech is again is talked on by Nintendo President Furukawa. We discuss something odd about this and the timing of it all along with his comments. We go over my impressions of the first Nintendo Direct for 2021.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

New Nintendo Switch 4K Console: Two New LED Part Suppliers Revealed + GTA V Switch Rumors Analyzed

 

 

 The New Nintendo Switch Hardware that has been reported and rumored for a while has yet another update that we'll discuss here in this video. More parts suppliers have been reported by credible sources in the production line. We also discuss various things related to this New Switch in this video, along with GTA V for Switch and the reasons why now it's looking like it might actually happen at some point soon.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Metroid Prime Trilogy Nintendo Switch HD GRAPHICS Development Secret Found? + Gigapixel MOD Tutorial

 



This is the 2 year anniversary week of when Metroid Prime 4 was delayed and restarted development, so in light of that I have some interesting information here I’ve been working on to share with you. This will be a graphics preview of sorts and expectations for the heavily rumored and extremely likely to be revealed soon,  Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Nintendo Switch and a Tutorial on how you can play Metroid Prime Trilogy better than ever before in 2021 both in visuals and resolution on the latest Mod for Dolphin using mouse and keyboard controls along with an amazing Gigapixel Texture Mod. We’ll explain how it works, what Gigapixel does and how you can use it along with the best settings to make it run for you with the least amount of glitches. 


Metroid Prime Trilogy has had extremely credible rumors from vetted and trusted sources dating back all the way to early 2018 that a Metroid Prime Trilogy HD Collection would be released before Metroid Prime 4 was released. The reveal of this collection seemingly was pushed back after the big delay of Metroid Prime 4 on January 25th, 2019, two years ago where various reliable sources indicated that the game was in fact ready to be shown, but due to the nature of the incoming long delay of Metroid Prime 4 at the time, Nintendo decided to hold off until a much later time. Now that we are in 2021 and from indications seeming to be getting clearer and clearer that we’ll be seeing Metroid Prime 4 perhaps in trailer form this year, it does make a lot of sense to take a deeper look at Metroid Prime Trilogy since it would be very logical to conclude that Nintendo would reveal and even release this collection in 2021 to not only get new fans introduced to Metroid Prime, but also to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Metroid, which started in 1986. 




The question that remains however, is just in what way will Nintendo release this Metroid Prime Trilogy Collection? Will they fully remaster all 3 games, all getting new textures and upgraded models? Or will they take the Super Mario 3D Collection approach and just make them HD emulated ports cleaning up some rough edges here and there? For me, what I think would be great, which seems unlikely of course due to Nintendo’s current way of re-releasing games, but as we’ve been covering here for the past year or so Retro Studios has been working on a new engine of sorts for Metroid Prime 4, using various elements and hiring for experience in working with Unreal Engine and CryEngine. Since Metroid Prime Trilogy seems very likely to release before Metroid Prime 4, it would be very interesting if Retro Studios remastered the original Trilogy running on this New Engine from Metroid Prime 4 since no doubt they already have this engine working and could theoretically run better on the Switch or of course this heavily reported/rumored New Switch coming and may run it better than just emulating those old games with updated textures. In my opinion would be the best and most preferred way to relive those games with newer tech running them. However for this video, and based on Nintendo’s recent actions, we’ll take a look at what appears to be the most likely scenario, which would be some kind of HD port or emulated port of the Metroid Prime Trilogy.  


After doing some digging on what the best possible way to play Metroid Prime Trilogy is on Dolphin, I found some amazing mods that use the original textures of all 3 games, and a Modder in the community did a texture dump of the files and re-output all the textures using a program called Topaz AI Gigapixel. 



Here is the definition of it from the Topaz A.I. Gigapixel site: “Topaz A.I. Gigapixel is the first A.I. standalone application for superior Image up sampling, made for batch resizing your images up to 6x! It uses the power of Topaz’s proprietary Artistic Intelligence engine to make sharper and clearer upscaled images more than traditional upscaling tools. Because A.I. Gigapixel models calculate over a million calculations per pixel, this software is standalone only(it does not work as a plugin or studio adjustment) that inherently takes a long time to process your image, but the quality of the end result far surpasses our competitors.”



 

None of the textures in Metroid Prime Trilogy using Gigapixel were redone by a graphics engineer or artist, and if it were, that might be a large amount of work and would take a Modder or fans probably years to make. The Modder who used Gigapixel simply fed all the textures from Metroid Prime Trilogy, all 3 games, and the program re-scaled and up sampled all them on it’s own, which likely took the program many hours to complete, but it wasn’t done by remaking textures, which is a huge key point here. As you can see in the comparison, it does show a noticeable improvement in clarity and detail while maintaining the same look as the original game. It’s really an amazing technology and I could easily see Nintendo or Retro Studios doing something similar for the Switch and just running the 3 games at 1080p 60fps. The file size for the Gigapixel textures for the Trilogy was about 16GB, so it’s something very doable for the Nintendo Switch with no remaking of textures, and no remaking of assets or character models. This would be the most barebones way Metroid Prime Trilogy could be ported to HD and still look great with the least amount of effort for Nintendo, and like we’ve been pointing out with the recent Mario 3D Collection, this technique could be exactly what Nintendo would prefer to do, and of course maximize the most profits from development time and charging likely the full $60 for a collection like this.


The question is now, how easy or difficult is it to have your own Metroid Prime Trilogy HD so to speak while we wait for Nintendo to announce it? Well first of all, you do need to own Metroid Prime Trilogy on actual hardware, which I do, and I have gameplay videos of me playing the original Metroid Prime Trilogy on the Wii U on this channel which you can find in my Metroid Prime playlist. There are also various methods and tutorials online on how you can backup your game files either from disc or SD card from the Wii and Wii U, which I won’t be getting into here. However if you have all those things already taken care of, you can in fact enjoy Metroid Prime Trilogy just like this on a decent spec PC. My recommendation is to have at least a GTX 1060 and above, any i5, i7 or Ryzen CPU from the last 3 years and at least 16GB of system RAM along with the Dolphin Emulator, an emulator that has been around since 2003, it’s  nearly 20 years old has had amazing upgrades over the years and currently is the best way to play GC/Wii games on your PC. 



To get this Mod working correctly you will need to play Metroid Prime Trilogy with it’s own custom version of Dolphin made specifically for the game, called PrimeHack Updater. I will have links in the description for the files you need to make this work. Here is an easy step by step way to get this working and a very important setting tip in the Dolphin PrimeHack that should help minimize or eliminate bugs and glitches, so pay attention closely or you can always pause the video and repeat. 


After you download and install PrimeHack, it can be put in any file location you wish, but for me I already had regular Dolphin installed so I just put it into my Dolphin file located by default in your Documents folder, and here I put a shortcut on my desktop to show you. I found this easier since regular Dolphin already creates certain file folders for you that you’ll need to install the texture pack in and any other hacks you’d like to try as well. You just click on PrimeHack Updater and it will create the Metroid Samus Crosshair Red Ball that will then become your own Custom Metroid Prime Dolphin Emulator. Before you start the game though you need to install the Textures. The link that I will provide in the description has all the textures in a file named “Trilogy” once you download that file you’ll move it into your Dolphin Emulator folder and you’ll open it up and copy the files named “Common” “MP1” “MP2” and “MP3” and you’ll then navigate into the “Load” folder and then to the “Textures” Folder and then you’ll paste those files into the name I.D. file folder of Metroid Prime Trilogy which in the United States should be named “R3ME01” and then you’ll paste those 4 files into that folder which should overwrite anything that was there before, basically the old textures from Metroid Prime Trilogy are being overwritten with these Gigapixel textures. To find the name I.D. of your version of MPT just go to the game directory in PrimeHack Dolphin, right click on the game and go to Properties the name of the ISO will be at the top of the Properties selection area. Make sure the name of the file you paste the textures in matches the name of the ISO or the textures won’t be recognized in the game or the game will crash. 





Now that you’re ready to start the game, using Mouse and Keyboard could seem like a huge problem for Metroid Prime, especially for Metroid Prime 3 right? Well you can take a look at my control scheme and see if it works for you. One thing I’ve found that works for me is making the middle mouse scroll wheel act as + and - to zoom in and out on the Map really helps. All this took a lot of time and trial and error to make it feel right for me, or basically “good enough” so it’s very playable and feeling good. 


The most important option that you should make sure is disabled is in the config settings under general, make sure you have the Dual Core box UNCHECKED,  meaning blank, also go into the Metroid Prime Trilogy ISO properties under Game Config and make sure Dual Core is UNCHECKED there as well. Leaving it checked causes freezing, visual glitches like the aspect ratio getting warped and crashes so make sure Dual Core is blank and unchecked for the best running experience on your PC. As far as graphics are concerned, most of the default options are fine to leave alone besides things like resolution, AA and AF. For my PC setup, which is a Ryzen 3900X and 1080Ti, I’m playing it at 1440p with 4x MSAA and 16AF and it pretty much runs at 60fps with the occasional loading pauses which are almost impossible to get rid of in a game like this running custom textures. 


I hope this information was interesting, informative and helpful, especially now as we wait for Metroid Prime Trilogy to be announced and revealed by Nintendo, if you just can’t wait to get some HD Metroid Prime Trilogy action right now,  doing this here, just might quench your thirst for it in the meantime. 




Wednesday, January 06, 2021

New Nintendo Switch OLED Screen + New SOC with 4K Support Leaked?

 

 
New Nintendo Switch hardware leaks are already happening yet again, this time within the firmware Datamine of the Switch. All kinds of things to discuss in this video including some new insight here you probably won't find other places.

Monday, December 28, 2020

NEW Metroid Prime 4 Update: Nintendo Switch Demo Build | Retro Studios Hidden Change + Darker Story?

 

 

It’s been a bit of time since our last update, but there has now been some changes going on behind the scenes that warrant a new update before we head full into 2021. In our last update it was discovered and revealed first on this channel that Retro Studios had started hiring 3 different Game Testers to play test a Pre-Alpha Build of Metroid Prime 4 and that the game was going to start testing for bugs and quality control, along with tracking defects during gameplay and updating development hardware for the staff. 


The new update for Metroid Prime 4 is that it appears we can confirm that Retro Studios has in fact now officially started the Demo Build testing with these game testers they hired. If you look at Retro Studios hiring page all of the Game Testers they were hiring for before and to now, have been removed, meaning that they are now joined up with the Retro Studios staff and have begun full testing of Metroid Prime 4, and this is an exciting update because the sooner demo testing starts, which it appears now that it has, the sooner it is that we will be seeing the game in action in a trailer. 



We’ve been following and tracking every part of the development of this game of course more closely this year in 2020, and as we’ve been hearing those reports of new Switch hardware getting ready to be revealed as soon as early next year, and the fact that they have started fully play testing builds of Metroid Prime 4, no longer hiring, but now officially begun testing before the end of 2020. 

At this point it’s only a matter of getting through the holiday time period and getting into 2021 so the plans that Nintendo may have intended for 2020 but had to delay can finally be revealed, since as we know in terms of games for 2020 Nintendo 1st party and getting big AAA third Party games has been almost non-existent, besides for the very late, but of course better late than never all Digital Version of DOOM Eternal for the Switch, which is my Switch game of the year for 2020. However, besides that, in terms of games, it’s been an off year for Nintendo with a lot of games/plans being pushed into 2021 no doubt due to the Pandemic situation. 


So in terms of debuting new hardware, Nintendo normally has some kind of 1st party game it either shows off the hardware with or launches the hardware with, the New 3DS had 3D Majora's Mask with graphical upgrades and the Nintendo Switch Lite had Link's Awakening Remake. So with the quiet nature of how 2020 was for Nintendo’s 1st party, it lines up with previous actions by Nintendo that they may in fact be holding back software for debut on this reported new Switch, and while I don’t expect Metroid Prime 4 to come out in the first half of 2021, it would make sense to show it’s first trailer for this New Switch when they debut the console in conjunction with something like a Metroid Prime Trilogy HD and perhaps an updated Definitive Edition for Breath of the Wild with all DLC included and upgraded graphics and performance to then lead into a holiday release for Breath of the Wild 2, that is something I could easily see happen in 2021, not necessarily in not this particular order, but it would set the momentum for 2021 for Nintendo moving forward in the year as PS5 and Xbox Series X will be entering in their second holiday season in 2021.

PS5 and Xbox Series X have some really big games hitting their consoles in Horizon Forbidden West, God of War Ragnarok, Gran Turismo 7, Ratchet and Clank and Halo Infinite, all of which is competition for Nintendo whether gamers view it that way or not, since all these companies are competing for market share, your time and your dollar and a lot of the PlayStation games for example lately, have been crossing over into “Nintendo-like” territory with games like Astros Playroom, Sackboy and evergreen games that appeal to everyone like Spider-Man.

Nintendo no doubt in 2021 will be putting up quite a big fight in terms of making sure they re-secure their fanbase to be locked in for years to come with core 1st party games that continue to push new gameplay innovations and appeal to all gamers, something I think they’ve gotten away from in recent years. Usually though new hardware from Nintendo does bring some new innovation with it, so I’m very excited to see what Nintendo has up their sleeves in this aspect. 




Also as a secondary update for Metroid Prime 4, and for Nintendo in general, it appears Nintendo has quietly changed how they list their job postings. They have now updated and removed the dates of when they posted publicly their job hiring's. Normally when Nintendo or Retro Studios posts a new job for hire, they list the date in which it was posted at the very bottom, and now, for reasons unknown,  they both, Nintendo and Retro Studios, if you check their job pages, have removed all dates for which jobs were posted. We have been closely looking at these job hiring's for a while now and other websites have been doing the same thing, so the only logical reason to remove the dates of posting a new job or previous job is that Nintendo wants more secrecy in terms of public information on how far along their game progress is and to have more of a generalization of interpretation of what they are hiring for and for what.


However, I want to make clear that there is a way around this, at least for now, and that is by looking at Nintendo’s and Retros jobs on their LinkedIn account pages, which does still in fact post the dates of when new jobs start getting listed for hire. The combination of simply frequently visiting their job pages to see what you notice that has been added or wasn’t seen before can tell you what is new, however it will make it a bit more difficult to tell since many job hires are similar to other ones, so I do think Nintendo is trying to be more secretive than before, but I’ll be keeping an eye on this very closely moving forward. 


Another aspect I wanted to touch on with Metroid Prime 4 is that recently Retro Studios was hiring Storyboard Artists to and I quote: “define emotional scenes that will resonate with audiences,” and “explore interesting and innovative scenes that elevate the narrative.” and while some Metroid fans may have been worried that this could mean another Metroid Other M situation with over dramatic and drawn out cutscenes and perhaps putting way too much emphasis on Samus Aran's inner thoughts that many fans expected or wanted, I personally don’t think Metroid Prime 4 needs to shy away from such aspects, since the idea of Samus being a person of deep thought, leading a life of isolation, independence and searching for a bigger, deeper meaning in the grand scheme of things for her life and purpose has long since been established in years past before Metroid Other M even existed as far back as the publishing of the graphic novels of Metroid: Volume 1 and Volume 2  first released in 2003.



The evolution of Samus it seems was always intended to be something that was going to happen sooner or later, much like how in Tomb Raider, Laura Croft as a character started out as a Indiana Jones type of explorer/archaeologist and action hero, but also had a lot of character development that started being explored more deeply in the 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot, and continued with Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which gave Laura Croft a much deeper, more human nature with emotional connections/friendships, and dealing with loss and mistakes made, but overall still being the very strong character fans associate with. 



While it is true that some fans may be afraid of Retro Studios examining more of the internal feelings of Samus, the fact of the matter is, in Metroid lore, that aspect of Samus is very much already there ready to be told, but perhaps in more of a “less is more approach” giving acknowledgement and some exploration to her inner struggle without making her seem degraded as a strong character. There is an argument of course that the faults that we do share as humans, can actually make us appear as stronger people to others and be respected more. 

In regards to Metroid Prime 4, if they do go down that route, balance will likely be the key to make it a success or a failure in terms of how the story and her inner character is explored. However, if Retro Studios handles it similar to how Laura Croft was done, I think it will be extremely successful. All of us as humans have dealt, no doubt, with past struggles, but in the end it depends on our own choices on how we deal with those struggles and how we decide to lead our lives, since ultimately the choices we make are always our own, and no one can decide for you that what happened in your past will decide how you are as a person in the future, only we as individuals can make that choice. A lot of that comes from self determination and strength of will; like how are strong are you? Will you give up or keep on fighting? So in terms of Samus Aran, we know she’s an extremely powerful person, it’s been established greatly already, and perhaps, just maybe her inner struggles that she’s experienced or does experience from time to time is what fuels her strength to keep fighting, and these kind of aspects can only be explored if we get to see those things examined in a game or story element.  


In the next part of the discussion, you may have noticed that there is always some kind of Darkness that follows Samus, whether it’s in Dark creatures, Dark Samus herself or with the Dark atmosphere she seems to inevitably find herself in. I see this Darkness of tone continuing with Metroid Prime 4, it seems to always find its way in with how Samus is explored as a character and how Metroid games are set. The term “darkness” gets thrown around a lot, but something to keep in mind is that “darkness” doesn’t have to mean Scary, darkness can mean tone or emotion or feeling. An interesting thought that can come up with Metroid games and Metroid Prime games is the thought that the Darkness that surrounds Samus in each game is something that actually draws fans to those games. People like dark themes, they enjoy dark atmosphere, dark storytelling, dark and immersive music, and why is that? Well perhaps it’s due to those themes being set before you that bring a sense of reality to the game world since without the dark you can’t have the light, and a world that is always shown in the light tends to be less interesting. Darkness in storytelling, when it does bring the light into it, can evoke even more emotions to the gamer than something without it. It’s the never ending pursuit of this goal of storytelling that separates successful movies, games and novels from each other. 



In a lot of things, less is actually more, like with the ending of Super Metroid, there was no dialog at all, but the message was very sad and dark for Samus and the relationship between her and the once Baby Metroid was extremely powerful. So for Metroid Prime 4, since Retro Studios wants to evoke emotions in cutscenes and story, I can see them using both spoken narrative and silence with how they want to convey emotion, and usually Metroid games are not these happy types of games, so most likely they are going to be reaching out for a dark theme to tell and to convey emotions for that.  


We all know we haven’t yet seen the actual game (Metroid Prime 4), and we haven’t seen even it’s art or heard it's music, but we do have the essence of Metroid that lives inside each fan and the desire to see this finally be revealed. No doubt all of this can be both frustrating and exciting since we now know how close Metroid Prime 4 is to being finally shown from the latest information.



Tuesday, December 08, 2020

DOOM Eternal Nintendo Switch vs PC (Low Settings) Graphics Comparison + MClassic Graphics Review

 

 

DOOM Eternal for Nintendo Switch is finally here. We tested it out in both regular HDMI vs PC Low Settings and with the MClassic Graphics processing cable for the best possible image quality. Just how well does DOOM Eternal look and play on the Switch? The answer is here.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

New Nintendo Switch Hardware Updates: New SDK Ready + New Design Coming Soon?


 

Nintendo is ramping up for something big for Switch in terms of both Hardware and Development Software. There is even more new info recently discovered to discuss, plus a telling update which seems to be confirmed to be happening with Nintendo's development tools for their hardware. Exciting times