In a nutshell: Modder turned software developer Darío is working on a Nintendo 64 emulator plugin that'll add ray traced lighting, motion blur, widescreen support and more to several classic N64 games. Darío was also responsible for adding ray tracing to the Super Mario 64 port for PC. In fact, it was that project that inspired the dev to start working on a generic emulation solution capable of applying enhancements globally rather than on a case-by-case basis.
Darío teased some of what is already possible on Twitter, noting that the project is still several months away from launch. The dev also conceded that it'll be impossible to get every N64 game to work, but a whitelist of compatible titles should help to minimize confusion among players. The list is small right now but expect it to grow substantially in the coming months.
I'd like to reveal that RT64, the path tracer behind sm64rt, is evolving into an N64 emulator plugin.— Darío (@dariosamo) June 3, 2022
Here's a small reel of footage I've captured from games that are already showing results.
Ray traced lighting, object motion blur, widescreen, DLSS and 60+ FPS. pic.twitter.com/qLJHzGfKUc
Further work could lead to additional improvements such as higher frame rates on games that never got 60 FPS patches, HD texture replacements and a detailed graphics debugger that could come in handy for romhackers and homebrewers.
It's worth reiterating that this project is in the very early stages of development as there are hundreds of unresolved issues and loads of features that have yet to be added. Still, I suspect some retro gaming fans will be excited about the possibility of playing classic games with enhanced performance and visuals.