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Old 15-Aug-2011, 03:50   #1
pwnsweet
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Default The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess 480p PAL Wii vs 480p NTSC GCN resolution

Hi,

I've looked online and I can't think of a better place to ask this question. Beyond3D seems to have the most technically minded people I can find who might be able to explain this strange phenomenon I've noticed.

I own both the NTSC GCN version of Twilight Princess (TP) and PAL Wii version of TP. I played the PAL Wii version through first and acquired the NTSC GCN version at a later date. When I finally got around to playing the game again, I played the GCN version (on my Wii). I immediately noticed the graphics were sharper. Every texture looked higher res, and all the edges were less 'fuzzy' and more defined.

I tested by doing the following: I have two Wii's and hooked both consoles up to the same TV and compared the title screen intro (Link riding Epona on Hyrule field and then turning into a wolf) of the two games by switching between inputs and the difference was immediately obvious. Note, both inputs on the TV were configured exactly the same, both Wii's were using official Nintendo component cables and both Wii's were set to display at 4:3 480p (to eliminate any possibility of image quality loss due to anamorphic widescreen on the Wii PAL version).

Whilst the textures were sharper and the edges more defined on the NTSC GCN version, I did noticed one area where the GCN NTSC version was worse than the PAL Wii version. During the title screen sequence, there's a section where Link is riding toward the screen and plumes of dust are being kicked up by Epona. This section occurs at the end of the riding sequence, right before Link is shown in wolf form. On the NTSC GCN version, horizontal lines are visible in the plumes of dust. On the PAL Wii version, no such lines are present. Initially I assumed the lines were visible in the NTSC GCN version and not visible in the PAL Wii version because NTSC has only 480 lines of horizontal resolution whereas PAL has 576 horizontal lines, and thus, the lines were only visible on the NTSC version because of the reduced resolution. But this cannot be true because both games are running at 4:3 480p and, thus, 640x480.

Now the question I have is, why? Can anyone explain what Nintendo may have done between these two version that explains the differences I've seen despite the fact that they both should look identical?
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Old 15-Aug-2011, 06:08   #2
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I have just confirmed that the above does NOT apply when comparing the NTSC GCN TP with the NTSC Wii version of TP. In other words, there's something weird going on with the PAL conversion of TP.
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Old 15-Aug-2011, 08:27   #3
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Sounds like the PAL Wii version doesn't turn off the flicker filter in progressive mode as one would expect.

The flicker filter blurs the picture vertically to avoid flicker on interlaced displays. There should be no reason to use it with progressive out, except it also helps in hiding the horizontal lines you can get from dithering if the game is running in 6:6:6:6 color mode instead of 8:8:8 color mode.
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Old 15-Aug-2011, 09:44   #4
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Well, I don't have an answer, but PAL isn't 480p but 576p. If the game originally rendered 480p and upscaled to the PAL display, that'd make the PAL version softer. In the case of Wii outputting a 480p of a PAL game, does it downscale? A downscaled upscaled game should look a little soft.
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Old 15-Aug-2011, 10:44   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shifty Geezer View Post
...PAL isn't 480p but 576p.
I do apologize and I don't mean to be presumptuous, but I'm pretty sure PAL is 576i. In any case, the Wii was set to EDTV (480p) for all testing.
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Old 15-Aug-2011, 10:48   #6
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To elaborate further, the PAL standard is 576i at 50Hz. My PAL Wii has three display output settings: PAL 576i, PAL60 (480i) and EDTV (480p). The Wii was set to EDTV (480p) during all testing.
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Old 15-Aug-2011, 11:11   #7
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You're right, but I used 'p' just to show the rendering resolutions. NTSC is also an interlaced standard and by default, save a few exceptions, GC games rendered 480i. The PAL version of the game may be rendering to a 640x480 framebuffer as they are unlikely to change the rendering format between the NTSC and PAL versions of the game. This would then need to be upscaled to PAL resolution. That's what the GC would be doing. If the Wii is set to output 480p, then it would have to downscale the higher resolution GC output.

Unless the GC game has a way of registering that the hardware it's running on 480p, it won't know to render and output at that resolution on a PAL game. And as PAL GC's didn't support progressive scan, there may not even be that option in the game code. I dont know how source code is changed from one region to another to know if a progressive scan flag would be left in or not, but this would be one explanation for the visual differences you're seeing.
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Old 15-Aug-2011, 15:19   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwnsweet View Post
To elaborate further, the PAL standard is 576i at 50Hz. My PAL Wii has three display output settings: PAL 576i, PAL60 (480i) and EDTV (480p). The Wii was set to EDTV (480p) during all testing.
What brand TV do you have? My Panasonic plasma is a lot shaper with the Wii set to 480i even through component, it's odd but I guess Panasonic's deintelacer must be better or something. Try testing with your Wii set to 480i and compare.
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Old 16-Aug-2011, 02:20   #9
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OK first of all thanks for everyone's input. I have done further testing based on your comments and have discovered something new, which may explain what it happening with the PAL Wii version of TP.

Before I go ahead, I just want to respond to the post above me. In fact, it's this post that led me to my new discovery. To answer your question, I have a Panasonic TH-L37G10A (LCD). As you suggested, I tested at 480i and the PAL Wii version was still a blurry mess - no better and no worse. However, I also tested at 480i on the NTSC Wii version (which, as stated in post #2 above, is identical to the NTSC GC version) and, interestingly, it looks like the PAL version - a blurry mess.

This can only lead me to believe that the PAL Wii version is displaying at 480i even if the Wii is set to EDTV 480p.
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