bsnes HD beta core – Pushing the limits of the SNES! Widescreen and Ultrawide support!

DerKoun shares with us a special new core called bsnes HD beta. This is a cutting edge version of bsnes that is jam packed with enhancement features! Note that many of these enhancement features, such as the widescreen features, might require specific tweaking and finetuning in order for specific games to display right, and some games might just not display right at all with these enabled, so experiment at your own risk.

With this emulator core, emulator developers are moving far beyond the limitations of original hardware and FPGA clones, putting the extra horsepower of modern PCs and cellphones to judicious use.

This core is already available on our buildbot for Windows, Linux and Android, and should be coming to Switch (libnx) soon as well! Note that all these enhancement features operate on the CPU, so the faster your CPU is, the better the results will be.

Changelog (beta 10)

  • Based on latest bsnes (114, 2020-01-09)
  • Experimental libretro core
  • Changed Show Overscan setting, replacing Soft Crop. Changed widescreen values accordingly
  • Corrected widescreen object wrap-around point to 352
  • Changed storage paths from “bsnes” to “bsnes-hd beta”
  • Automated Linux build is now CPU neutral
  • Various minor bsnes-hd specific modifications to GUI
  • Fixed setting Ignore Window Fallback X-Coordinate via settings dialog

Core Options

Let’s explain some of the core options this core provides:

HD Mode 7 Scale

Perform Mode 7 transformations (incl. HDMA) at up to x times the horizontal and vertical resolution.

TIP: HD Mode 7 can be set to 1x scaling aka original resolution, with any combination of perspective correction, widescreen and supersampling.

HD Mode 7 Perspective Correction

Optionally, for games with pseudo 3D perspectives, some limitations of the integer math used by the SNES can be avoided by more aggressive averaging.

This setting also allows you to set the width for the perspective correction.

Auto – Auto detection for perspective correction. Quite primitive implementation, but worked out surprisingly well. Covers “Super Castlevania IV” (tube), “Terranigma” (underworld) and “Final Fantasy III” (credits), but not the “Mohawk & Headphone Jack” title screen (levels are fine).

[On / Auto] Narrow – Fixes black flicker in “Tales of Phantasia” Mode 7

[On / Auto] Wide – Use “wide” when there is no issue.

HD Mode 7 Supersampling

Super sampling can be combined with higher scale factors as a sort of anti-aliasing. Please remember that the CPU load is the product of the two factors.

HD Widescreen

Mode 7 – Disables widescreen for non-Mode 7 scenes (default now), fixing menus and widescreen-incompatible 2D levels with no setting switching during gameplay. The widescreen areas in that case can either be black or adopt the background color.
All – Enables widescreen for both Mode 7 and non-Mode 7 scenes.
None – Disables widescreen for all modes.

HD Mode 7 HD -> SD Mosaic

1x scale : Mosaic mode for HD Mode 7, using 1x scale, providing a good compromise between SD Mode 7 and no Mosaic at all, and also allowing widescreen, e.g. for the “Terranigma” underworld.

Ignore: – This setting disables mosaic effects for mode 7 scan lines. See top part of screen in the Terranigma safe state. When not checked (i.e. mosaic enabled) lines that have mosaic enabled do not use the HD mode (as the intentional pixelation that is mosaic would negate it anyway), but others still do.

WideScreen Background 1 to 4

To avoid HUDs repeating and other unwanted effects, this setting allows you to disable widescreen for the separate background layers and even just the top or bottom of a layer.

The default for all 4 is “auto horz and vert”, which is a simple auto detection based on the sizes and positions of the backgrounds. This works e.g. for the HUD in “F-Zero” or “Super Mario Kart”. You can also force each one “on” or “off”.

Some games require more complex settings, e.g. “HyperZone”: BG2: “>80”
You can also “disable” any of the 4 background layers entirely.

WideScreen Sprites

Unsafe – This allow sprites to enter widescreen areas further if the game keeps updating them. This will however cause significant artifacts in many games. If ROM-hackers want to discuss optimizing games for this, feel free to contact DerKoun.

Disable entirely – option to sprites, e.g. for screenshots for wallpapers (also see “Ignore Window”)

WideScreen Aspect Ratio

Ability to set the widescreen aspect ratio to a variety of different ratios (16:10, 2:1, 21:9, 16:9, 4:3)

WideScreen Ignore Window

Setting to ignore outside window, allowing for widescreen in Terranigma and Final Fantasy III/VI. Please test any other games that had no widescreen for no obvious reason in the previous beta. This fixes Mode 7 widescreen specifically in the mentioned games and results may vary in other ones for Mode 7, other backgrounds and objects.

Some settings allow for more widescreen e.g. in “Final Fantasy III” (no good results) and ability to disable some shadows or similar effects (for use with layer disable feature below, e.g. for “F-Zero”).

WideScreen Marker

Line – optional markers for the widescreen areas, in the form of lines at configurable translucency. Also sprites can now be clipped at the edges of the widescreen areas.
Darkening – optional markers for the widescreen areas, in the form of darkening at configurable translucency. Also sprites can now be clipped at the edges of the widescreen areas.

HD Background Color Radius

Smooth (true color, high resolution) gradients for color math from fixed color, e.g. for pseudo perspectives. This combines the new true color support and high resolution smoothing of HDMA effects to turn approximations of gradients into real ones. This is noticeable in many games with Mode 7 perspectives, often in the top/distant part, which often fades to black or another color. Enabled by default, on medium setting “4”. (see image: left side before vs. right one with this improvement)

HD Windowing (Experimental)

Smooth (high resolution) Window effects, like shadows or spells. This is considered a preview, as the top and bottom edges of such effects still look SD and therefore stand out. It is disabled (“0”) by default. You can set “1” or higher values to give it a try.

Widescreen patches

No matter the amount of options available, some games will likely require manual patches for the best possible widescreen experience. Fortunately, already talented modders are hard at work at tackling some of the games out there that could really benefit from widescreen resolutions.

If you want to discuss widescreen ROM-hacking please join #widescreen-hacks at the bsnes-hd Discord.

What’s Next

DerKoun says:

Primarily I’m looking into optimizations.

There also some fixes and improvements I want to include, like better HD Window effects.

I’ll also work with the libretro team to improve the libretro core.

SIDENOTE: RetroArch 1.8.4 will be coming out soon. Unlike 1.8.3, it will resemble somewhat more of a maintenance release.

RetroArch 1.7.8 (v3) released + big core updates! (bsnes HD, Flycast, Android, etc)

RetroArch 1.7.8 was a very ambitious release, and as a result, it is taking some time to iron out some of the kinks. Instaed of leaving you waiting for a month again to fix some crucial bugs, we’d rather release these point fix releases first instead so that we leave you with a rock-solid 1.7.8 in the end while we then shift our focus and attention to 1.7.9.

In light of that, we are releasing version 3 right now, which will be especially beneficial for Mac users. The future-proof Metal Mac version should now work flawlessly on Macs with an AMD graphics card (they previously produced heavy graphics glitches inside the menu). It has just been released! Grab it here.

If you’d like to show your support, consider donating to us. Check here in order to learn more.

For all other details surrounding version 1.7.8, we refer you to our original article here.


  • GLCORE: Ensure correct scaling of menu texture (with RGUI)
  • IPS: Soft-Patch any IPS size
  • METAL: Fix overlay issue – setup correct viewport before rendering overlay
  • METAL/STB: Fix font driver issue with AMD GPUs on MacOS.
  • MENU/RGUI: Correctly rescale menu when resizing window if aspect ratio lock is enabled.
  • OSX: Remove OSX suffix in window title
  • PSP: Fix audio conversion code
  • REMAPS: Fix analog remapping regression -analog remapping would break controls

bsnes HD – Released for Windows/Linux/Android, and soon iOS and Mac!

bsnes HD should now be available on Linux, Windows and Android for RetroArch users! It’s based on the latest version of bsnes, and it should be significantly faster than previous bsnes versions.

In this video, we show you some of the HD Mode 7 features that are unique to this version. They make for a fairly significant difference overall as we’re sure you’ll agree!

This core is not fully complete yet and might still have some omissions. Also, the ‘bsnes HD’ name is temporary, and we will be doing some house cleaning of the various bsnes cores we are maintaining soon. The plan is to have an improved Core Updater in later RetroArch versions that allows for better categorization and filtering in the future so that users can more easily manage their cores.

On Android for the first time!

This is the first time the latest version of bsnes will appear on Android, courtesy of Libretro/RetroArch! Our core version of this is called bsnes HD, and you can grab it from the Core Updater right now! Just make sure to update the core info files first (by going to Online Updater, then selecting ‘Update Core Info Files’). bsnes HD should be a fair bit faster than the other bsnes cores already available, plus it has enhanced overclocking features and the acclaimed HD Mode 7 features.

In this video you see it running on a Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Exynos model) with 3x HD Mode 7 scaling applied, and it runs at fullspeed all the way.

User and contributor harakari has reported that he can run HD Mode 7 at 4x scaling and still have games run at fullspeed on his iPhone XS Max, so if anything, expect even better performance on high-end iDevices!

Flycast – WinCE core now 30% faster on average and sound improvements!

The FlycastWinCE version should now be 30% faster on average for non-Windows CE games! We have figured out a way to have the Windows CE code additions no longer affect the main performance of the emulator. For that reason, after we have ironed out some of the final kinks, you can expect there to be only one Flycast core moving forward. On top of that, flyinghead has really gone to town with some much needed audio improvements on the AICA and DSP side. Witness this long standing audio sample bug that is now finally fixed with the game Resident Evil: Code Veronica. This and many other sound bugs (such as the audio samples continuing to be repeated during the battle loading scenes in Soul Calibur) have been fixed now.

World-first – Windows CE Dreamcast games running on Android!

The Flycast WinCE core is now available for Android users!

  • 30% speedup in non-Windows CE games thanks to extensive optimizations made to the dynarec by flyinghead. No more performance reduction of non-Windows CE games.
  • Windows CE support further improved.

It is now possible to play Dreamcast Windows CE games on Android! Please be aware that this is very CPU intensive and that you should probably expect 15 to 25fps on high-end Android phones right now.

Note that Windows CE games could still be unstable on Android, and that you need a real BIOS for Windows CE to work. It won’t work with the HLE BIOS.

NOTE: We anticipate that after the final kinks has been ironed out, that we will merge the Windows CE parts of this core back into Flycast, and that the separate Flycast WinCE core will disappear from there on. So this separate core is only a temporary thing for now. We will let you know when this will happen. Video was recorded on a Galaxy S10+.

Mupen64 Plus Next – No more 10 second startup times on Windows!

Thanks to an important bug fixed by mudlord, Mupen64 Plus Next should no longer take up to 10 seconds to start up any game on Windows.

Mupen64 Plus Next is an up to date version of Mupen 64 Plus with the latest GlideN64 renderer.

More progress reports on other cores soon

Cores are often updated on a daily basis, and a lot of the times, all the amazing enhancements and improvements they receive go underreported because we’re so busy with development. We feel it is time to shine more of a light on these changes, so we will be doing more periodic updates on core updates as they come along.