This Portal demake runs on actual Nintendo 64 hardware

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,132   +154
Staff member
In brief: Programmer James Lambert is working on a Portal demake that runs on real Nintendo 64 hardware, an impressive feat considering the complexity of Valve's puzzle platformer. The latest video in the Portal demake series is the first to feature a working portal gun with recursive portal rendering.

It's still a bit rough around the edges but there's a good reason for that. Lambert said he wanted to verify the N64 could even do portals before trying to do things he knows it can do.

Now that he knows the N64 is up to the task, he can add more details to sell the effect like the animation of the gun firing and the portal growing. Audio will also go a long way.

Lambert was unsure how many layers deep he could go with the portal and though even two might strain the hardware too much. In testing, however, he was able to go up to 15 layers deep without any noticeable slowdowns. It's largely pointless to go that deep as the final layer is just a few pixels across, but it's impressive nevertheless.

Portal arrived as part of The Orange Box compilation in late 2007 for Xbox 360 and Windows PC, more than five years after Nintendo's 64-bit home console had been discontinued.

Lambert has posted the latest version of the build over on GitHub for those interested in giving it a spin. The next update should feel much bigger, he said.

Nintendo, meanwhile, is working on Portal: Companion Collection for the Switch. The bundle includes Portal and Portal 2, and is scheduled to arrive later this year.

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Image credit: Joshua Sukoff

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
PORTAL's sheer complexity is stunning. I have no idea how a game like that even gets coded without hardware crashing repercussions.

To make it run on N64 is even more impressive considering it's a cartridge system, but I wonder if it could be done on Playstation 1?

I'm fairly certain it could be done on PS2 or Xbox.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,027   +720
To make it run on N64 is even more impressive considering it's a cartridge system, but I wonder if it could be done on Playstation 1?
Allow me to answer that: No. The Playstation does not have the CPU power nor the available RAM to run any version of Portal, even if the resolution were dropped to 240x160 and all of the textures were removed. The N64 has 5x the CPU processing power(3x the clock but the MIPS CPU had a higher IPC), 4x the graphics power and 2x the RAM(4x with the expansion pack).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_technical_specifications
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_64_technical_specifications
I'm fairly certain it could be done on PS2
Oh yeah, for sure. By that point in tech advancement the basic concepts of the game could be replicated because the computation power was sufficient and the amount of system+video RAM was large enough to provide enough space for the game engine to do work in, at the resolutions of the time. PS1 was not enough, but the PS2 had approx 15x the CPU processing power, 20x the graphics processing power and 10x the RAM.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_2_technical_specifications
 
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Dd663

To make it run on N64 is even more impressive considering it's a cartridge system, but I wonder if it could be done on Playstation 1?
To add to what ZedRM said above, cartridge vs. CD would have no bearing on something like this. Cartridges were seen as inferior at the time due to much lower capacity and being considerably more expensive to produce. The higher capacity of CDs allowed for things like pre-rendered cutscenes, which take up a lot of space. But cartridges were a lot faster to read from, so loading times were much lower.

But storage capacity and loading speed are irrelevant to getting the basic mechanics of Portal working.

I'm fairly certain it could be done on PS2 or Xbox.
Definitely the Xbox, for sure. The weird thing about the Xbox is that it's much more powerful than the PS2, practically a generational gap even though it was part of the same generation. It was also more powerful than the Gamecube, which was more powerful than the PS2. It was also more powerful even than the Wii, which was famously two Gamecubes duct-taped together.

GPU performance (in gigaflops, for a rough, imperfect, but simple way of comparing)
PS2: 6.2
Gamecube: 9.4
Wii: 12
Xbox: 20
 
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