Intel is pushing out a new graphics driver with support for integer scaling, a feature that could come in handy when playing retro video games. Appropriately enough, Intel is calling the feature "Retro Scaling" in its Graphics Command Center utility. This is intended to make classic (read: old) PC games render better on today's higher resolution displays.
"We're listening to our community. You wanted a way to experience pixel-art games at their best so we created Retro Scaling. Enhance the latest indie releases and timeless classics so they look their best on modern HD displays," Intel explains.
At its best, Retro Scaling can take a blurry or fuzzy image and restore the graphics to their pixelated glory. It is basically an upscaling technique, resulting in sharper images that look better on today's displays. It is best implemented on older games that were not designed for higher resolutions that may not have existed at the time. As Intel points out, it can also come in handy for some indie titles.
Intel's latest driver offers support for both pure integer scaling, which scales up existing pixels by a whole number multiplier, and nearest-neighbor interpolation, which fills in missing color values in the upscaled image with that of the coordinated-mapped nearest source pixel value.
"Both IS and NN preserve the clarity of the original image. In contrast, traditional upscaling algorithms, such as bilinear or bicubic interpolation, result in blurry upscaled images because they employ interpolation techniques that smooth out the transition from one pixel to another. Therefore, integer scaling is particularly useful for pixel art games that rely on sharp, blocky images to deliver their distinctive look," Intel explains.
The new Retro Scaling feature is in beta, and is only available on Intel's latest Gen11 integrated graphics found on its 10-namometer Ice Lake processors. Those are in short supply at the moment. Meanwhile, NVIDIA offers similar functionality on its Turing GPUs, leaving AMD as the odd man out as it pertains to integer scaling.
Follow this link to grab the driver.