Megatextures Tech Demo

Megatextures Tech Demo (or more simply, “Megatextures”) is a homebrew demo for the N64 which has you walking around and admiring the detailed graphics of what looks like a small church. It was released for the 64brew Game Jam 2023 and won 2nd place. Nice!

You can get the ROM from the download page using the password thatsabigtexture or through Drive. The source code is also available on Github.

Megatextures style and gameplay

This is a demo so there’s not much gameplay to speak of. You move around in a 1st person perspective and take in the atmosphere. That’s all there is to it.

The demo takes place in the Church of Summer, with some decorations like pews, stained glass windows, an altar and decorated walls. There’s no movement, just an empty room to explore and admire.

What makes this demo stand out above the rest is its high-resolution textures. The Nintendo 64 is known for having a very small TMEM of only 4KB, so managing a few MB worth of textures was a pretty difficult challenge.

The church itself has a few features:

  • A central stain glass window with four people on the beach raising their hands towards the sun
  • Three stained glass windows on the side:
    • Watergun and two water balloons
    • Bonfire in the forest
    • Three kinds of ice cream at an ice cream truck
  • A marble altar upon a blue pebbled floor
  • Six wooden pews
  • A door in between two carvings
  • Sun mosaic tiles along the bottom of the walls
  • Wooden roof supported by a large beam
  • Vines growing along the wall

There is also this creepy ambient audio playing throughout.

‘Summer’ theme

The team already had planned to make a demo involving large textures for a while, particularly a church with stained glass. When the jam was announced, they decided to make the setting be summer-themed with the windows depicting various summery objects and themes.


Megatextures was done by Team Ultra Rare which consist of:

  • James Lambert (lambertjamesd) – Programming
  • Jeff Nichter (jtn191) – Music
  • Kaitlyn (sapphiretactics) – Stained glass windows

Review and conclusion

Strangely enough, Megatextures Tech Demo is the first tech demo that has been submitted to a 64brew game jam. I mean, there are some incomplete games released in the past that could be considered to be demos, but this is the first one that set out without the intention to be a complete game. This would disqualify it from winning first place, but it’s still an interesting entry in the competition.

There is no gameplay to it, so it does feel a bit more like a walking simulator than anything else. Though it does feel a bit like walking through a museum, moving slowly and taking in the atmosphere and details.

It does feel quite surreal, seeing all these high res graphics on the Nintendo 64. It’s almost like playing a Gamecube game for a little bit.

On the down side, Megatextures does have some frame rate drops and some of the mipmapping (different texture resolution loading) does become a bit obvious as you move around the room. But if you stand still after moving, it still does look pretty good. The ROM size is also pretty big at around 47MB, mostly filled with worth of texture files.

James Lambert did make a video about how the demo was built. He does mention that it’s probably unlikely that you could make a full game out of this, but I can see it happening. Though it would be something that would all take place within the same room, like a murder mystery or an escape room. It would definitely be interesting to see how this kind of technique could be used in the future on the Nintendo 64.

Articles across the web

Megatextures Tech Demo is a tech demo by Team Ultra Rare where you explore the Church of Summer with some impressive hi-res visuals.
Article published on N64 Squid


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