Earlier this month, it was reported by Ars Technica that hackers found that PaRappa the Rapper Remastered was in fact emulated from the PSP version. A newly published patent that was applied for by Sony Interactive Entertainment America reveals how it was done.
The patent is called ‘Remastering by Emulation’, and describes the process behind how PaRappa the Rapper uses the PSP version as a base. It was filed back in November 2016.
What occurs during the emulation of the PSP game is that each of the assets in the original version is redrawn at a higher resolution, but the assets are then stored in the emulator engine using the same identifiers as the original assets. When the game software is played, the high-res assets are called out by the emulator engine instead of the original low-res textures in the software.
The benefit of this operation is that this means remasters can be done without touching the underlying software that could accidentally ‘break’ things. It is essentially real-time swapping out new textures, and as we can see above, also applies to remastered audio clips as well.
If the emulator encounters an asset that does not have a ‘remastered’ equivalent, all it does is then call out old textures instead. These, according to the patent, are usually textures mainly present for a short period of time, so that they aren’t too distracting.
Basically, what Sony have done is created a simple way to create HD versions of previously non-HD games, such as those on the PSP, without touching the code and changing how it plays at all, thanks to the power of emulation. What other games might we see remastered using this new method? LocoRoco Remastered and LocoRoco 2 Remastered may perhaps be other Sony games that already use this particular method.