[DuckStation Core] Difference between MSAA and Downsampling+upscaling

Hi all,

I was tweaking around with Duckstation core settings and I was wondering:

“What’s the difference, visually or else (perf wise?) between upscaling the game, let’s say 4x and downsampling, and keeping resolution 1x and using 4xSSAA or MSAA?”

Visually, it seems to give the same result, a nice anti-aliasing effect while keeping PSX native resolution, which matches better with CRT shaders. Is there a preferred settings?


I think 4x scale downsampled to 1x should be identical to 4xSSAA in appearance and function, since they’re doing the same thing.

According to wikipedia, “In graphics literature in general, “multisampling” refers to any special case of supersampling where some components of the final image are not fully supersampled”, so I would guess MSAA is possibly a little faster but may not apply to certain items (for better or worse)…?

MSAA uses a technique to approximate higher resolution rendering. Also, because of how it works, it can introduce graphics issues in some games.

Actually higher rendering resolution is better, both in compatibility as well as image quality.

Also, the Duckstation core is outdated and has unfixed bugs. Use Swanstation instead, which is up to date.


Actually higher rendering resolution is better, both in compatibility as well as image quality.

You mean setting higher resolution and downsampling? Actually, this is the visuel end effect I’d like to get.

Thanks for Swanstation suggestion, I’ll give it a shot. I guess this is Duckstation but for a long-term maintainability? So no point of keeping using DS?

Yes. It’s going to give much better results than MSAA, since it also improves color gradients in shaded polygons. MSAA only affects edges. There’s really no reason not to use high resolution internal rendering, as even 6x runs perfectly fine even on very weak GPUs.

Yes. The Duckstation core is abandoned and will probably be removed at some point. Swanstation is the actively development core.

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Indeed, I noticed that even if visually they look alike, MSAA/SSAA gives buggy 2D elements, where 4x+downsampling doesn’t.

So definitely the way to go!

Cheers all for your kind answers

Actually it is Swanstation that is “outdated and has unfixed bugs”. Swanstation is behind in performance and optimizations. It is based on an older version of the Duckstation libretro core. Swanstation did not have access to the most recent source code for the libretro Duckstation core.

Where did you get that information?

This is a quote from Stenzek, the creator of Duckstation:

“SwanStation is several months out of date … The DuckStation core has several new features added, including lightgun, mouse, multitap, plus all the compatibility improvements and enhancements from the standalone emulator.”

Unfortunately, there is a lot of drama currently that I don’t want to be part of. My post is only intended to be helpful for those who might have a better experience with the Duckstation core. Try both, use the one you like better.

That quote is from 8 months ago when the official Duckstation core was brought back. Since then the Duckstation core was abandoned again some months ago while Swanstation has been brought up to date.

Swanstation is up to date with the latest available stand-alone duckstation release. The duckstation core is now the outdated one and it’s been abandoned.


Libretro Response

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Okay so let’s check Swanstation then

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I like how SSAA softens the edges of objects more than just using a higher than native internal res:

Also, it seems to have an interpolation effect on nearest textures, making the pixels look more evenly scaled:

Unless I’m missing something when downsampling to 1440p from 14x internal. I didn’t enable the downsample option, since that seems to be for downsampling to PSX native res.


As far as I know it’s not possible to render at a higher res than your monitor supports without downsampling to 1x PS1 res. The screenshot you posted is clearly being rendered at 6x (1440p), not 14x.

I thought setting a higher internal res setting than your display’s would automatically downsample it, but I guess not.