A developer on Reddit going by the handle of Retroenhancer has teased their proof-of-concept emulator that converts NES games to a playable ultra-widescreen format. We have seen projects like this in the past with consoles such as the SNES, Gameboy, and the Sega Saturn. While they are never 100% perfect implementations, they are usually at least worth checking out.
There is a proof-of-concept video that shows off an early demo of the emulator which I have conveniently linked for your viewing pleasure.
There is no sound in this video, and if you pay attention, you will notice that enemies are still constrained within the main active 4:3 screen space.
How it works is still a bit of a mystery, but it seems that games will need to be either patched or “trained” in a manner similar to 3dSenVR in order to get the desired effect.
“The technique behind how Retro Enhancer achieves it is certainly unique. The games are trained based on a method I call “Stateful Learning”, where it is able to learn features and relationships probabilistically. Previously I had to play a game for it to train, but now I have set it up with an image loader so I can simply google the level maps and drop it into the training program. It takes several minutes and outputs all of the data that the Retro Enhancer (inside of the emulator) needs to translate and create the widescreen experience. I plan to streamline the process between the trainer and the player, but as far as delivery of new games (when this is ever distributed), it will probably be a situation where the emulator downloads the training models, or maybe the user downloads the latest training models.
As for sprites, as I said it learns the features automatically by training, but I will have to put in extra effort to enable offscreen enemies, objects, and state changes. I don’t expect that to be a barrier that it can’t overcome, but one step at a time for now.” – Retro Enhancer (via Reddit)
Other features that are being considered are zoom in/out capability as well as the possible integration into other emulators. (Snes/Retroarch)
If you would like to learn more about this project as it develops, then free to visit the thread over on Reddit.
There is also an image gallery with more pictures located here via imgur.