[Tutorial] Using HD texture packs in Mupen64Plus core & how to convert texture packs to .htc format
I spent an entire day trying to figure out how to do this, banging my head against my desk, and getting frustratingly vague answers/result from countless google searches. So I decided to write up this guide, I apologize for how long it is, but I wanted to be as detailed and as clear as possible. It may seem like a lot, but once setup, it’s quite a quick process. I hope this helps someone!
At the time of writing this, only the Mupen64Plus core allows the use of HD texture packs (ParaLLel N64 does not).
In RetroArch, download Mupen64Plus core via the online updater, launch an N64 game with it, open the Quick Menu and navigate to Options. Make sure “Use High-Res textures” and “Use High-Res Full Alpha Channel” are both set to true, then exit RetroArch to save your changes.
For Mupen64Plus core to read texture packs, they’ll have to be in .htc format (and most N64 texture packs do not come in this format to start), so we’re going to need to load the texture packs into the stand-alone version of the emulator ‘Project64’ and generate a .htc cache file of the texture pack.
Download and install Project64 (I used v2.3.2 and, during the install process, chose the portable option) https://www.pj64-emu.com/public-releases
Download GLideN64 plugin, NOT to be mistaken with Glide64 (I used v3.0) https://github.com/gonetz/GLideN64/releases
Extract GLideN64, navigate to “\GLideN64_Public_Release_3.0\bin\Zilmar-specs” and copy “GLideN64.custom.ini”, “GLideN64.dll”, and “GLideN64.ini”
Navigate to where you installed Project64 and paste those 3 files into “\Project64 2.3\Plugin\GFX”
Run Project64.exe, click Options > Settings > Plugins, then click the “Video (Graphics) Plugin” drop-down box and select “GLideN64” (NOT Glide64) and pick Apply/OK. Click on Options again and this time pick “Configure Graphics Plugins” and click the “Texture Enhancement” tab and then the “Texture Pack” tab. Check the “Use texture pack” box.
While still in this window, you may want to change the destination folders for “Texture pack path” (this is where you’ll copy texture packs that you want to convert into .htc format) and “Texture cache path” (this is where the generated .htc file will be created). I changed mine to “D:\Project64 2.3\Plugin\hires_texture” and “D:\Project64 2.3\Plugin\cache” respectively and I’ll be using these locations for this guide. Once you’re done, click “OK” to save your changes and go ahead and close Project64.
Download a texture pack from Emulation 64 or from Emulation King (I prefer Emulation King)
I’m going to download “Super Mario 64 by Mollymutt” http://www.emulation64.com/files/info/1073/
This particular texture pack will come in two parts, and both will need to be extracted. The resulting files will all need to be put into a single folder named “SUPER MARIO 64” (each texture pack needs to be named very specifically to the name of the game or else it won’t work).
Copy the texture pack to your Project64 texture pack path, for me it’ll look like this: “D:\Project64 2.3\Plugin\hires_texture\SUPER MARIO 64”
Launch Project64.exe again and click File > Open Rom, and navigate to the rom (Super Mario 64 in this case, duh). It should take a moment, and then a window should pop up and in yellow text you should see all the textures loading in (if you get an error at the point complaining about memory, you’ll need to apply a Large Address Aware patch, see the comment section of this reddit post for more information). Once in-game - and you can see the new HD textures are working - go ahead and close the emulation. When you close the emulation a .htc file will be created in your texture cache path. I’ll navigate to “D:\Project64 2.3\Plugin\cache” and copy “SUPER MARIO 64_HIRESTEXTURES.htc” (Warning: Even though the .htc file is created, you may need to give it a few minutes to fully finish generating, if you copy it preternaturally, some/all of the textures might not work).
Navigate to “\RetroArch\system\Mupen64plus\cache” (you may need to create the “cache” folder) and paste your new .htc file into this location, so for me it looks like this: “\RetroArch\system\Mupen64plus\cache\SUPER MARIO 64_HIRESTEXTURES.htc”
Finally, run RetroArch, launch the N64 game using the Mupen64Plus core and the texture pack should automatically load in. Enjoy your new N64 texture pack in RetroArch. You may also want to increase the resolution and MSAA level in your core options.