Sunday 21 April 2019

Virtua Fighter in HD

Virtua Fighter needs no introductions and would be a prime candidate for a full-on remastered collection for modern systems, but until SEGA delivers we can always improvise and try to make it ourselves. For the second entry in the "REMASTERED" click-bait titled series I picked every numbered entry in the VF series and tried to make it look as good as possible, meeting the modern standards of Full HD resolution (1920x1080) and widescreen 16:9 picture format.

You can watch the results above and read more about the particular setup and challenges for each game below:


There wasn't much choice in regards of version or emulator for VF1. The original arcade version ran on the Model 1 board, which can only be emulated at native resolutions in MAME, so that was a no go. The only other option was the Saturn version and the only recommended emulator for HD resolutions was YabaSanshiro (or one of its many forks).

For the widescreen hack I relied on the community effort from the folks over at the Assembler Games forum, something I've covered before in this article.


For this one the choice was obvious. Not only does the original arcade version, running on the very powerful Model 2 board, looked much better than the Saturn port, but the emulator support is amazing.

The aptly named Model 2 Emulator does everything we need, from upping the resolution to running in widescreen, and it just looks stunning. For the widescreen mode, as with other games running on this emulator, you'll need to create a special file and put it into the scripts folder. Just create an empty text file (I recommend using Notepad++) and copy and paste this into it:

 require("model2");   -- Import model2 machine globals

function Frame()

Then rename it to [name of the game rom].lua (so, for Virtua Fighter 2, it should be vf2.lua) and put it into the scripts folder.


My first choice was the original arcade version running on the Supermodel emulator, but quickly ran into a problem. When forcing a widescreen mode the background would remain in 4:3 with black borders on either side, which was both distracting and completely ruined the immersion.

Fortunately there is the Dreamcast version. Just like with The House of the Dead, my emulator of choice for this particular purpose is Demul, thanks to the usually flawless way that widescreen hacks work with it. Unfortunately it's a very tiresome process, that involves using CheatEngine while the game is running to change memory addresses in real time, but the result speaks for itself.


As with VF3 before it, I tried the arcade version with Demul, but unfortunately the old video plugin - the one that allows for higher resolutions - crashes the game on boot, so that went nowhere fast

The obvious second choice was the Playstation 2 port and the rather solid PCSX2 emulator. Increasing the resolution is a breeze and the game even detects and applies widescreen hacks automatically for you. Unfortunately an keen eye will notice that the whole image seems blurred despite the high resolution. I've tried switching hardware renderers and messing with other configuration options, but in the end nothing worked, which left me thinking it might simply be some kind of filter, like a very aggressive form of antialiasing or interlacing, hardcoded into the game.

Still, it looks pretty.


By far the least dramatic change, since the original game already ran in HD-ish resolutions and in widescreen, but it looks even better in true 1080p. My choice was the Playstation 3 version running in RPCS3. Unlike other, very demanding games, VF5 runs at fullspeed even on a midrange CPU and has almost no graphics glitches.

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