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Wii U Upscale Explained: Wii Games do in Europe with HDMI, Doesn't Up-Render

Wii U Upscale Explained: Wii Games do in Europe with HDMI, Doesn

There have been confusing reports this week on the Wii U video rendering Europe - does it upscale, the use of HDMI cables and all that pixels malarkey - leading to conflicting reports across the board.
 
The main issue spawned from the Wii mode in the PAL/European Wii U console, where options available to players on a standard Nintendo Wii aren't present in the Nintendo Wii U, such as 576i. Using components cables produces the maximum 480p image by default.
 
For European Wii gamers, the consensus is that certain titles, like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and virtual console games, look better and run smoother in 576i instead of 480p.
 

Important AV options are omitted from the Wii menu, with the PAL console unable to upscale to HD resolutions or run in progressive scan over component - an issue that doesn't seem to impact NTSC hardware.

This quote was misinterpreted by some reports this week, stating that "Wii U doesn't upscale in Europe" - this is only partially true. It does certainly run in progressive scan at 480p.

The Wii U doesn't upscale Wii games with component cables, but does upscale with HDMI cables.
 
The term "upscaling" shouldn't be confused with other terms like "uprender" or "re-render", however.
 
Regardless of which region your Wii U hails from, the actual source image of Wii games can't be re-rendered on the new console - and this is the key point to be aware of.
 
The below screenshot of Super Mario Galaxy (image credit Zelda Informer) shows both an upscaled image and re-rendered shot with anti-aliasing applied.

Image for Wii U Upscale Explained: Wii Games do in Europe with HDMI, Doesn


Upscaling Wii Games

Image for Wii U Upscale Explained: Wii Games do in Europe with HDMI, Doesn
"Upscaling" keeps the original presentation - textures, polygons, native resolution - but adjusts the picture to try and better suit the resolution of high definition TVs. This can produce a potentially sharper (but in some cases possibly worse) image that's supported by your HDTV - for example 720p or 1080p. The source content is still exactly the same as it was on the original Wii, however.

Original Wii games upscaled without added effects have tended to look visually clearer though, like Super Mario Galaxy or Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but some like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess do show their age more so.

Re-rendering or Up-rendering Wii Games

The terms "uprender" or "re-render" could involve the use of higher resolution textures and added anti-aliasing/smoothing to produce a visually improved image. These techniques are employed by Wii emulators, like Dolphin, to create a vastly superior image compared to the original Wii and what the Wii U can do.

Redoing all the assets within a game to better suit high definition is something that simply requires a great deal of work and better suited to a re-release or dedicated team of fans.

But what the Wii U is capable of doing, in theory, is applying a small amount of anti-aliasing to create a smoother image along the lines of the Super Mario Galaxy comparison above, but Nintendo isn't doing so with Wii games at the moment.

Why do Wii Games Look Better using HDMI?

Image for Wii U Upscale Explained: Wii Games do in Europe with HDMI, Doesn
Any game in theory should, using HDMI.

But looking specifically at Wii games in particular, using HDMI cables allow a digital signal to be transmitted from the Wii U console to the TV, where as older cables like component and composite transmit it an analogue format. Analogue has a varying rate and can degrade when the image and audio signals are zipped along the cable to the TV, where as digital is regarded as a far more consistent and practically loss-less format.

The improved signal with HDMI also has the potential to produce deeper colours, improved clarity in places which leads to a generally better picture when playing Wii games.

This is why Wii games over HDMI tend to look improved, but they are not a true HD image.

HDMI connectivity is certainly something to consider, if not insist on, when purchasing a TV/display for gaming and media playback. If the option is available, then without a doubt - HDMI cables should be used over component, and as for composite, perhaps used as decoration on a Christmas tree.

Have you tried original Wii games up-scaled on the Wii U with HDMI?

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09.12.2012 02:45

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Great little article, cleared up a few things for me :3 Thanks!

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I saw that when transferring my Wii stuff... it's worse than anything, it doesn't output progressive scan at all through component cables when the technology is capable of doing it... Can't play Wii games upscaled in my bedroom since I don't own a HDTV and am playing on a computer monitor via a VGA cable... and computer monitors don't support interlaced signals.

Thanks a lot, Nintendo

Using components cables produces the maximum 480p image by default.

This is not true. The VGA cable I use is basically a component cable with an adapter in the middle that transforms it to VGA... if it was 480p, I would get a picture on my computer monitor, but I don't. It's an interlaced signal.

Important AV options are omitted from the Wii menu, with the PAL console unable to upscale to HD resolutions or run in progressive scan over component - an issue that doesn't seem to impact NTSC hardware.

You have your contradiction right there, 480p is a progressive scan signal, but PAL WiiUs don't give you that over component. So the default signal over component is either 576i or 480i, but certainly not 480p.

( Edited 09.12.2012 07:41 by RudyC3 )

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Staff Member

I've had a really handy Wii2HDMI adapter doing this perfectly for me for well over a year now, so thankfully I have no reason to care about this at all. Smilie My Wii saves will definitely stay on my Wii, partly because I don't want to lose the ability to play some games with a GameCube controller.

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LukeD (guest) 09.12.2012 14:46#4

This article is only half correct. It is somewhat correct in its distinguishing of 'uprender'  and 'upscale' which has been confusing some uninformed people recently.

But this is plain incorrect:

The terms "uprender" or "re-render" could involve the use of higher resolution textures and added anti-aliasing/smoothing to produce a visually improved image. These techniques are employed by Wii emulators, like Dolphin, to create a vastly superior image compared to the original Wii and what the Wii U can do.
Redoing all the assets within a game to better suit high definition is something that simply requires a great deal of work and better suited to a re-release or dedicated team of fans.

Firstly, Wii game textures tend to be higher res than necessary. Dolphin does not edit them and they look just fine at 1080p. Secondly, anti-aliasing (aka multisampling) is just the use of a higher res render in any case; it's not a special technique. The higher res itself is what gets rid of jaggies. Dolphin does not use any special techniques; it just flips a switch in the code, effectively, to increase the size of the render.

Nintendo could very well do this, but for the fact that a) it might produce some weird unintended artefacts that would have to be fixed on a case by case basis and b) they want to make money from re-releasing key titles in 1080p. It has nothing to do with the effort involved. It does not require a 'great deal of work'.

Aaron (guest) 09.12.2012 17:32#5

I own a japanese wii and it does output in 576p so who ever said it does not your full of besnd..

I am located in Bangkok thailand where my tv is 576i/p to 1080p

and 576p does look slightly better then 480p.

RudyC3 said:
I saw that when transferring my Wii stuff... it's worse than anything, it doesn't output progressive scan at all through component cables when the technology is capable of doing it... Can't play Wii games upscaled in my bedroom since I don't own a HDTV and am playing on a computer monitor via a VGA cable... and computer monitors don't support interlaced signals.

Thanks a lot, Nintendo

Using components cables produces the maximum 480p image by default.

This is not true. The VGA cable I use is basically a component cable with an adapter in the middle that transforms it to VGA... if it was 480p, I would get a picture on my computer monitor, but I don't. It's an interlaced signal.

Important AV options are omitted from the Wii menu, with the PAL console unable to upscale to HD resolutions or run in progressive scan over component - an issue that doesn't seem to impact NTSC hardware.

You have your contradiction right there, 480p is a progressive scan signal, but PAL WiiUs don't give you that over component. So the default signal over component is either 576i or 480i, but certainly not 480p.

You could get an adapter to convert HDMI to VGA, make sure to get one with an audio out on it though.

The only people this would bother are Graphic Whores, of which Nintendo fans ARE NOT!

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422

Vorash Kadan said:
The only people this would bother are Graphic Whores, of which Nintendo fans ARE NOT!

Getting standard definition content to look decent on an HD display is important. The number of pixels between the two displays don't work out evenly, so if it's not handled right, standard definition material looks like garbage. When my family first bought an HDTV, I thought it might be fun to hook up my SNES to it. Of course, the SNES has no upscaling, and the TV's own upscaling was apparently poor, so the SNES looked awful.

I have been holding on to a couple of old standard definition CRT TVs just so I can revisit old games in the resolution they were designed for. People just give those old TVs away now, so why not?

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

I agree for 15+ year old games but for titles that came out on GC Xbox & ps2 then NO I do not think rerendering/upscaling is important. For N64 & before then yes rerendering is important because people need to see what the heck they're doing.

Super Mario Galaxy is already a great looking game so whoever chose to use that as example made a poor choice. Super Mario Sunshine STILL looks impressive to this day!! Top notch water & lighting effects...still the ONLY game that makes me crave a glass of water when playing.

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Why is it a problem that people just want their games to look the best they possibly can? This graphic whore nonsense gets spread around too often by some people.

Some of my PS2/GC games look pixellated and simply not the perfect image they should be on my HDTV as compared to SDTV. No, they're not unplayable, but it doesn't mean I can't be allowed to want them to look the way they were intended. Sure, it's a sacrifice you live with once you buy an HDTV, since games aren't made for SD any more, but I don't see why people that want the best images from all of their games should be ridiculed.

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Because there are Elitist Pigs out there that say nonsense like "the game on MY system is better because it LOOKS better", causing titles that take unique art directions to be judged unfairly like Psychonauts on Xbox or MADWORLD on Wii, 2 GENUINELY GREAT & creative titles that got needless flack & were over all ignored because of their graphical quality & art direction.

Once these morons stop their needless poppy cock of judging a game based on looks alone I'll have no need to make these comments in the defense of art form.

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

The main reason game like those fail is no marketing. Seriously, do you remember any ads for those games?

Regardless, your argument makes no sense to the topic in discussion. This has nothing to do with the art direction games take.

The discussion is about people wanting their SD games to look great on their HDTVs. Nothing to do with what graphics style a certain failed game has.

You need to calm down and stop taking any given opportunity to shit stir about people that don't play Nintendo games.

Cubed3 Staff :: Senior Editor
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As Wii on the WiiU is literally just down-clocking into a seperate 'Wii' mode (like the Wii did with 'GameCube mode'), it makes sense that there's no fancy stuff being done on the hardware, and nobody should expect anything like Dolphin or other re-render emulators could do.

However, with added graphical power available and unused whilst playing Wii games, it should be feasible to apply some kind of post-processing techniques like FXAA or SMAA. And with homebrew already available in 'Wii Mode', it wouldn't surprise me if someone actually makes a better upscaler than Nintendo has implemented...

( Edited 09.12.2012 22:55 by ~phil )

Upscaling should just be called Resizing, its a term I think the industary introduced to deliberately confuse things.
If they absolutely must they could call it resampling.  

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I don't think anyone who plays any game, regardless of system, would turn down a little extra visual clarity - whether it's just slightly stronger colours, more consistent framerate etc.

The main reason for this feature is to try and clarify that yes, the Wii U can upscale regardless of what region you're in by using HDMI cables. What it doesn't do is re-render those games - the improved picture (in most cases) is down to the use of a digital cable instead of analogue.

Dolphin does not edit them and they look just fine at 1080p. Secondly, anti-aliasing (aka multisampling) is just the use of a higher res render in any case; it's not a special technique.

I admit I needed to be a bit clearer in that - Dolphin allows games to be retextured, but of course doesn't when there aren't any texture packs applied to the games its running. Sure you can increase the render size, but resampling the assets to better suit the resolution - i.e. literally going through and re-rendering textures - would be a time consuming process.

I didn't say that antialisaing is a special technique - the Wii U can do low level antialiasing, but Nintendo isn't using it in the Wii U upscaling as far as I can tell.

I own a japanese wii and it does output in 576p so who ever said it does not your full of besnd..

Your Japanese Wii or Wii U is an NTSC machine. European and Australian players have PAL unit, so you may need to look it up before "besnd"...

Super Mario Galaxy is already a great looking game so whoever chose to use that as example made a poor choice.

Well why not? Galaxy was a good one to show - sorry I didn't upload full size images - but when you do view those two screenshots full size, the upscaled one is pretty darn jaggy, yet the Dolphin version with anti-aliasing applied imo, looks far better.

I'm not questioning whether it looks good or not, Galaxy looks great regardless, but just illustrating the difference between "upscaling" and "uprendering" because reports have gotten it wrong without even trying a Wii game on the Wii U (i.e. misread the Eurogamer report)

( Edited 10.12.2012 02:01 by jb )

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Joddy (guest) 30.12.2012 01:15#16

I tried to play Last Story using component cables on PAL Wii U. It wont play, when entering Wii mode, TV switches to 576i and game requires 480i/p @ 60hz. I then get returned ti Wii menu. Any ideas?

Joddy (guest) said:
I tried to play Last Story using component cables on PAL Wii U. It wont play, when entering Wii mode, TV switches to 576i and game requires 480i/p @ 60hz. I then get returned ti Wii menu. Any ideas?

Use a HDMI cable.

Barry (guest) 21.02.2013 22:22#18

The Wii2HDMI is the best 'video' device for the Wii. The games look better with this device on the Wii than when they are played on the Wii U. I definitely reccommend the Wii2HDMI device to anyone for 30 dollars. http://www.neoya.com/shop/wii2hdmi/

Yaro (guest) 28.02.2013 17:08#19

Just because the WIi U has better graphics hardware and HDMI support doesn't magically cause WII GAMES to suddenly support them, period.

You wanna know the key difference between the Wii U and the Dolphin emulator? Dolphin is an EMULATOR. It's not the actual hardware the Wii game runs on. It takes ALL the instructions and hardware calls and pretends to execute them. It can do stuff like recalculate polycounts and vertexes on the fly. Emulators are not hardware, they can fudge their simulation of hardware a little to make a game "nicer."

The Wii U is trying to run Wii games NATIVELY on the hardware. There's zero emulation involved in Wii mode. The Wii U is LITERALLY becoming a Wii when you drop into the Wii menu. And there's a huge difference between what a hardware system is capable of and what the software that runs on it actually SUPPORTS. Wii games were developed for hardware that supports at most 480p resolution without nearly as much anti-aliasing and filtering as the Wii U can do. Even if there are high-res textures or even "better models," the Wii U can't magically alter how the game's own renderer is programmed. Ever. The most the Wii U could have done was override anti-aliasing effects and filtering. Unless Nintendo was willing to emulate (Dumb idea.) or put a graphics layer between game and hardware that REINTERPRETS OpenGL ES calls (Dumb idea.), there's nothing the Wii U can do to make the game better.

Get a clue about how software works before you start complaining, people.

ish.
Id guess you know any Direct X game can be rendered on the fly from two camera viewpoints, allowing 3d view?
Or that you can add anti-alaising to games that never had it? Nvidias drivers let you do this in a few clicks.

On PC its perfectly possible, without emulation, to improve rendering or do different things after the fact. The GPU handles the rendering, and in theory its perfectly possible to render higher then the original code says. All the information it needs is there. Unlike on PC, however, it would need to be a 100% hardware solution, not via drivers.

But it certainly isnt *impossible*, or even a bad idea. It would, however, take decent investment and co-operation with the gpu makers, and is probably not worth the effort.

Please give our little random review show a try;
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Wii ukuramu (guest) 08.05.2013 23:53#21

I have a Pal Wii U. I've spent most of today revisting Tenchu Shadow Assassins via the Wii mode. I have to admit in 1080 the game seemed a little odd but in 720?

Wow. Just sheer wow man.

The Wii U itself doesn't look too bad and seems to run faster in 720. Of course all this will change once the gold hdmi cables turn up...

RudyC3 said:
I saw that when transferring my Wii stuff... it's worse than anything, it doesn't output progressive scan at all through component cables when the technology is capable of doing it... Can't play Wii games upscaled in my bedroom since I don't own a HDTV and am playing on a computer monitor via a VGA cable... and computer monitors don't support interlaced signals.

Thanks a lot, Nintendo

Using components cables produces the maximum 480p image by default.

This is not true. The VGA cable I use is basically a component cable with an adapter in the middle that transforms it to VGA... if it was 480p, I would get a picture on my computer monitor, but I don't. It's an interlaced signal.

Important AV options are omitted from the Wii menu, with the PAL console unable to upscale to HD resolutions or run in progressive scan over component - an issue that doesn't seem to impact NTSC hardware.

You have your contradiction right there, 480p is a progressive scan signal, but PAL WiiUs don't give you that over component. So the default signal over component is either 576i or 480i, but certainly not 480p.

VGA & Componant are simalar but not the same they both support RGB but the way it does the signal is diffrent so just converting in to VGA will always give you problems Nintendo never once stated that it supports VGA if it did they would make a cable, Component & VGA have diffrent ways of syncing up the picture so unless Nintendo build support in to the hardware to supprt VGA then its luck that it works at all on VGA, there is no point in bitching over a feature that nintendo didnt build in to the console.

BigZimm (guest) 30.09.2013 10:21#23

Vorash Kadan said:
I agree for 15+ year old games but for titles that came out on GC Xbox & ps2 then NO I do not think rerendering/upscaling is important. For N64 & before then yes rerendering is important because people need to see what the heck they're doing.

This is because N64 and earlier systems rendered in 240 not 480. The Gamecube and Wii output 480 signals. HDTVs are not designed to accept signals lower than 480 so they improperly render the image, making it look horrible.

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