I'm going through some emulation of WiiWare games using Dolphin. Disabling all graphical enhancements, the quality/accuracy appears to be fine. Now, I'm letting the game have its default resolution. Mostly it defaults to widescreen mode, 640x480, but that is shown with a horizontal black bar near the bottom and the top of the screen. What would be the best course of action here: leave it at 640x480 or remove the bars to get 640x360?
In my opinion, you shouldn't remove the bars. They must appear when you play the game on the original console, right? Then they are part of the game.
On another note, what version of Dolphin are you using, and what are your sound settings? I keep getting bad and missing sounds in Gamecube games...
I'm using the latest version (r7588) with the default sound settings. I just use an on-board Realtek card, nothing fancy. I haven't tried any GameCube games, though.
I'm not quite sure what the emulator is doing. No Wii games I tried display with the black bars so no, that is not how the real system looks (I can't find an option to letterbox a widescreen image on a 4:3 tv, seems to only support full screen on 4:3). However, 640x360 is also not correct for widescreen mode as you are losing vertical resolution doing that. The real resolution would be 640x480 but in widescreen mode the pixels aren't square so you would have 854x480 screenshots, in 4:3 mode you would have 640x480 screenshots but no black bars. Unless there is an option I missed (or some games have their own options) I couldn't figure out how to make my Wii do either one of those.
There will be a few games where you'll get small black bars around part or all of the image as they don't use the full resolution available; Metroid Prime 3 is a good example of this. It's not noticable on many tv's as that's in the overscan area but I would expect it would usually show in screen captures.
edit: Does Dolphin have any aspect ratio correction options? I wonder if that's what's going on; if enabled/disabled can you get either an 854x480 shot or a 640x480 shot the has no bars but appears stretched vertically? If the latter can be done, that should be able to be resized horizontally to 854x480 as that's basically what a widescreen tv does...
Forcing a 4:3 640x480 messes up the dimensions (it uses the image shown above, but stretches it vertically), and altering any of the resolutions (there is 848x480 for instance) does not change the source image radically, it just extends with black bars. There is an option to manually resize the window to alter the resolution, but that leads to loss in quality.
What I don't get is how the emulator would be able to reformat the game's resolution, without losing horizontal or vertical space.
I've been reading up a little. The technical terms are complicated, but it appears that Dolphin takes the source image and is able to process it in various ways for a non-TV screen, often also in ways to enhance it. The question is of course what we do if we cannot reach a native 854x480 as Servo suggested. I've been toying with some of the settings, and I can get the native 640x528 to be displayed as 848x480. The image is however not completely correctly shown. Because the width is slightly decreased, the emulator adds a few additional horizontal lines / black bars (overscan?) to make up for it. So if I cut out the real image, I end up with this (848x473):
And manually adjusting it to 854x480, it becomes this:
It's a samurai toaster =)
So it's not a perfect native capture, but this may be the closest we're going to get with Dolphin. Would that be good enough, or do we rely on TV captures, which will of course severely limit the amount of screenshots we'll have? This is just talking 480p Wii games.
Also, isn't 854x480 just an estimate by the way, handled differently through anamorphic widescreen depending on the type of TV (16:9 / 16:10 / 2:35.1 / ... )?
Yes, exactly! There's really no way to be pixel exact with anamorphic widescreen mode on a modern computer display since it doesn't use square pixels so the expansion to 16:9 will be more of a black art than science (unless you have a crt, this is true with the real system too). These look better than the previous shots, I think this would be good enough.
Thanks, I'll use those settings as a guideline for all incoming Wii shots.
I would say that you should avoid manipulating the image in both dimensions. Get as close to the native height as possible, then adjust the width for 16:9 dimensions. If you get black overscan area, either cut it and adjust the image for 16:9 or leave them in and adjust for 16:9 with some added overscan if necessary.
I eventually ended up with 848x476 (cutting two horizontal rows of black overscan (?) at the bottom and the top, from 848x480). I've decided to leave it at that then, without manipulating it further.
848x476 to a 16:9 ratio is 99,79% accurate (53 - 52.8888), so let's call it close enough.