Vitor Vilela has just released a new SA-1 hack for the Super Nintendo Game Race Drivin’ that might be one of the most impressive performance boost’s I’ve ever seen! To try the game yourself, download the patch from Vitor’s github and get yourself a rom of the original game. Then use either beat or FLIPS to patch the rom and use it on real hardware (*see below), via software emulation, or on the MiSTer FPGA.
The original console version of Race Drivin’ has always been notorious for it’s terrible performance! I distinctly remember loving the game in the arcade (although I may be remembering Hard Drivin’), simply because it was the only sit-own arcade game that featured a full gearbox and clutch. The game’s goal of creating a more accurate driving simulator, mixed with fun tracks that include loops and sideways turns was something so much fun to experience as a little kid…
…and I remember being horrified when I tried the home port. The framerate was impossibly low, to the point that the game was unplayable! Vitor’s patch utilizes the speed of the SA-1 chip to offload a lot of the SNES’ processing power, however it seems a lot of tweaks were made to the game’s code as well. This is a truly impressive patch and if you’re as big of a fan of Vitor’s work as I am, please check out his Patreon for the whole story behind the development!
*Playing on real hardware can be achieved by either using an SD2SNES / FXPak Pro, or you could also find a donor SA-1 game and patch the ROM with this hacked Race Drivin’ ROM. That’s a lot of trouble to go through and was really better used as a proof of concept – I’d strongly suggest just using the aforementioned ROM cart.
Today I'm glad to release the SA-1 optimized version of Race Drivin', after around 13K lines of ASM code and a lot of research. Unlike other conversions, the main focus was making the game run smoother and improve gameplay.
— Vitor Vilela (@HackerVilela) February 20, 2021