News Article

Nintendo Relicenses SC Texture Technology

Posted by Zach Kaplan

Unwilling to let GameCube compression tech go

Nintendo recently renewed their license with S3 Graphics to continue using their S3 Texture Compression technology. They explain the tech as follows:

S3TC texture compression uses an advanced compression algorithm that achieves up to six-fold compression of complex textures and images that are used in today's hardware accelerated gaming titles. This reduces memory bandwidth and expands the amount of texture imagery that can be stored and processed through onboard graphics memory, without compromising visual clarity.

Those interested in a more in-depth explanation of the software can check out the Wikipedia article discussing how it works. S3 is a company with which Nintendo has worked with already for over ten years, first using this technology on the GameCube platform.

This renewal could mean a few things. The fun speculation is that this could be used to power the upcoming 3DS, which is rumored to have GameCube-level graphics. It's also possible that Nintendo plans for future platforms to be backwards-compatible with GameCube titles, a prospect that would surely please fans with significant collections from that generation. Whether this is relevant to a Wii successor or the 3DS, or neither, is all speculation at this point, but keep your Internet tuned to Nintendo Life for all future updates.


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User Comments (26)



pixelman said:

On the surface this sounds like a bad thing, but after reading what it does it doesn't sound bad at all. I just hope the next Ninty console isn't the GameCube 1.75.

But seriously though, this does sound like it could be related to the 3DS.



Yosher said:

It might as well be BOTH. For use with the 3DS, AND backwards compatability with Cube games for the Wii successor. Sounds good to me, at least!



Supermegaman said:

What if you can put gamecube games into the 3ds!
That would be cool, unlikley though (not enough buttons?)



jangonov said:

@Objection_Blaster OBJECTION! No no no. I don't want that. Look at the PSP. It has UMD's and not only does that suck the battery life trying to spin the disk and use the laser, but more moving parts means more to break. I am all for playing gamecube on the go, but I would rather download the game and have it on flash memory, SD, or something else.



Corbs said:

I'm hoping this has more to do with the 3DS and less to do with the next Nintendo home console. Untitled



Cia said:

who would want to play GC games with 3DS when you can play them with Wii.. i don't think that that's the case.



Slapshot said:

Im with your Corbie.... I Really hope this isnt concerning the next home console. The Gamecube is dated and Nintendo doesnt need to release another dated system. X360/PS3 graphics cant get much better and its gotten a LOT cheaper to make a HD console at a reasonale price. If Nintendo doesnt release a home console that is HD capable, Im afraid the 3rd Party Support will remain few and far between.



99er said:

I agree Chunky Droid, being a entirely new portable hand held system the housing might be large (even larger then the original DS unit). I could see them adding GameCube disc compatibility into it just for the heck of it. It definitely wouldn't be the selling point to the unit, but a nice addition is all.



Ravage said:

Maybe the 3DS is just going to be a 3-D screen with a Gamecube hanging off the bottom.



moomoo said:

It's more about having the technology behind the gamecube. The N64 couldn't handle the amount of things going on that a Gamecube can (AI amount, particle effects, actual amount of detail in game, etc.) All of this can enhance a game experience, especially because it would help the 3D effects pop (look at Jaws 3's 3D effects and Avatar's 3D effects to see what I mean.)
I can see it being applied to the new system, seeing the Gamecube controller works for some games, like Brawl, even though that would only mean the new system, if it had backwards compatibility, would need the controller ports. Also, it works well for a lot of VC games, and I can see Nintendo easily continuing that trend.



Klapaucius said:

GCN backward compatibility = good
Handheld with GCN graphics = good
This news is all good



Token_Girl said:

How much more expensive would the handheld be to produce if they had GCN backwards compatibility, a DS slot, and another slot for 3DS games (unless 3DS games are done on a GCN disk?)?

I'm thinking backwards compatibility with GCN won't happen. They just want to use the compression tech on 3DS games, because they'll be about the same size. Why reinvent the wheel? Besides, I can't see it being a bigger selling point than backwards compatibility with the DS.

I would hope if they dropped backwards compatibility for GCN on the next home console, they'd still offer those games for download on the VC. My only issue would be not being able to play my LoZ:OoT/MQ disk with rumble (I have not memorized every pit location, Nintendo). Maybe it'll get added back for Wii2?



Stuffgamer1 said:

To think that Nintendo, the company that cheaped out with an utterly pathetic 256 MB Flash storage in the DSi, would put something as costly as a GCN disc reader in the 3DS is absolutely absurd. As has been said, this technology could have other applications which are FAR more likely.

@Token Girl: Y'know, rumble isn't NECESSARY to play OoT. I've completed the entire game on N64 three times, and I've never even OWNED a rumble pack!



Token_Girl said:


I know it's not NECESSARY, and I do know where MOST of the important pits are, but it's really more of a thing of principle to me. Why, oh why, would I pay $10 to download a game I already own without full functionality (when that functionality can be obtained for free online)? Even without that, the odds are Master Quest would be made as a download are slim, so I'd probably need to pick up a used gamecube to play it (assuming I'll sell my Wii to help pay for Wii2). I know not many people are really in that situation, but it would be nice to not have to keep a GCN around for one game.

It just ticks me off, because I feel like it's not something that would have been overly difficult for them to do (again, roms/emulators online support force feedback along with my GCN controllers that work with Wii).



StarDust4Ever said:

It all makes sense. The Game Boy Color could reproduce NES graphics (Super Mario DX), the Game Boy Advance could reproduce SNES graphics (Mario Advance Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island), and the DS could reproduce N64 graphics (Mario 64x4). So if that trend is to continue, the 3DS should be able to reproduce Game Cube graphics, much the same as a PSP was likened to the PS1.

If non-volatile flash memory drops much more in price as it has in recent trends, then is is very likely that we may see remakes of Game Cube games on the 3DS. I've been seeing 2Gb flash cards for $10, and a ROM is kinda like a write-once flash in a way. Historically, flash memory has been far more expensive than ROM. Textures and polygon geometry make up the bulk of data for 3D games, so reducing the texture res and poly count, you could easily fit a Game Cube game onto the next gen DS



TingLz said:


This tech has to be used in the 3DS. Why would they use it in the next home console?



Stuffgamer1 said:

@Token Girl: I do think it's stupid that the rumble isn't supported on'd think it would've been super-easy to do. But I've never liked rumble, so I don't usually worry about it.

@StarDust: Actually, the PSP was likened more to PS2. If you play it, it does feel closer to that than PS1.



Capt_N said:

N just wants to hold on to the code that made up a part of the Gamecube's library of horse-power. Or stable might be a better word.

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