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Thread: Mega Drive FPGA by Analogue and 8bitdo

  1. #151
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    After a month with the thing, I have to say I really love it. Can't wait for the GG adapter, but the Jailbreak is serving me fine in that regard for now.


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  2. #152
    For great justice! Outrunner Tor Landeel's Avatar
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    With the latest update, Mega-sg now optionally supports CRAM dots.
    I'd say that in accuracy it's become close to 100% to the real thing!

    Firmware update notes

    v4.5 notes:

    - Player 2 controller can run the menu if it is a 3 or 6 button controller, and player 1 controller is not a 3 or 6 button controller.
    - Different size font files are supported. If the file is 1K or larger, the first 32 characters are cut off.
    - DVI Mode was added.
    - Fixed scaler bug where the top scanline or two might not be visible.
    - Scanlines have been totally redone. There are now more options to tweak and width is now adjustable.

    (gen/md)
    - fixed CD games that regressed in previous fw
    - Some graphic issues on Mickey Mania CD and others fixed.
    - Fixed bugs with Japanese Sega CDs.
    - Silpheed and Vay bugs fixed.
    - Popful Mail "CPU ERROR" fixed.
    - CD bus timing improvements.
    - Pier Solar cartridge + audio CD works and tested on US model 1, US model 2, and Japanese CD units.
    - Added an option to automatically enable CD audio when CD unit plugged in.
    - Fixed FM sound bug on Streets of Rage percussion on certain tracks.
    - Fixed PSG sound bug (Phantasy Star IV).
    - CRAM dots option added.
    - X-Men 2 random character select on start is now random.

    (sms)
    - SMS Cropping setting added to crop the left side when a game used left cut.
    - Fixed PSG sound bug (Alex Kidd in Miracle World).
    - CRAM dots option added.
    - VDP palette option added to select SMS or original TMS9918a palette for video modes 0-3.
    - All 240 scanlines are now visible. Before, only 239 were visible.
    ***** トル・ランディール ******
    Cadash Arcade Colors hack:
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    Out Run Arcade Colors hack:
    https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/3940/
    *****************************

  3. #153
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    Do we have to wait for a jailbreak update (i have jailbreak) or can we update regularly?

  4. #154
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    Just picked one of these up. What a lovely thing. Not only is it sleek, sexy and beautiful, but luckily it also just happens to play Sega Genesis games in HD flawlessly, with a ton of adjustable settings. OH MY GOD. And that 8BitDo 2.4g wireless controller is simply the best Genesis controller Iíve ever used; perfect D-pad, perfect buttons, zero lag, feels great in the hands, and even looks sexy just like the Mega SG. Iím in absolute Genesis paradise over here.
    Jeff Nelson
    Video gaming since 1979 (I was an Atari Baby)

  5. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by PreZZ View Post
    Do we have to wait for a jailbreak update (i have jailbreak) or can we update regularly?
    Iím currently on the latest official firmware, but would definitely jailbreak if an update were made that included the latest official firmware improvements.
    Jeff Nelson
    Video gaming since 1979 (I was an Atari Baby)

  6. #156
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    This console has overclock option ?

  7. #157
    The Gaming Gangsta Master of Shinobi profholt82's Avatar
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    I've really come to appreciate the dither bending feature. So many games have that checkerboard shading that really stands out sharply in hd. With the dither blending feature engaged, it blends right in and looks great. Pausing a game and clicking it on and off, the difference is often dramatic.

  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by profholt82 View Post
    I've really come to appreciate the dither bending feature. So many games have that checkerboard shading that really stands out sharply in hd. With the dither blending feature engaged, it blends right in and looks great. Pausing a game and clicking it on and off, the difference is often dramatic.
    Absolutely this. I don't get why people praise RGB output (as opposed to the crappy composite, I guess) when it completely destroys this effect, and that was NOT how programmers intended their games to be viewed. Worst of all is that some people actually claim that it is the authentic retro look (and is inspiring some parts of the present-day retro aesthetic!) and love how sharp the pixels are etc (they were not meant to be that sharp!), oh well.

    AFAIK there is not a single dither blending option on original hardware... even on emulation it is quite sparse and convoluted to config (no filter for Fusion or Blastem that I know of, some options on ARM emulation only AFAIK). I would rather trade my RAD2X cable for any option that does this instead of the usual smoothing filters (like the one on the RAD2X) which do NOT blend checkered patterns, unfortunately (and the smoothing is a bit excessive; but leaving it off is way too sharp).

    So as of 2020, if playing on original hardware, your only option is using a CRT + composite output, which is less than ideal. RGB on CRT does NOT dither, even on small and crappy CRTs. IMHO around half of the best games do use dithering heavily. Also Sega could have implemented this on the Mini but didn't bother and we got crappy scanlines that still do NOT dither blend anyway.
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  9. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by chilled View Post
    Absolutely this. I don't get why people praise RGB output (as opposed to the crappy composite, I guess) when it completely destroys this effect, and that was NOT how programmers intended their games to be viewed.
    This is not true for all games though.
    Arcade-related developers would mostly still use the same kind of art and design tools they used for their arcade games (which were pretty much RGB-based setups).

    In France the Mega Drive would come with a SCART cable from factory.
    You can't say Delphine Software, for an example, was developing for composite; no.

    This is more of a US-developed games issue. And even so I wouldn't lump all the games in the same category.
    Some games only had mild use of dithering patterns (Aladdin, Robocop Versus Terminator, etc.) some others are ridden with it to the point that would need to play them using RF and smear the screen with vaseline to "hide" the nasty dithering (Eternal Champions, Dinosaurs for Hire, etc).


    Quote Originally Posted by chilled View Post
    So as of 2020, if playing on original hardware, your only option is using a CRT + composite output, which is less than ideal. RGB on CRT does NOT dither, even on small and crappy CRTs. IMHO around half of the best games do use dithering heavily.
    Some models of the Sony Trinitron Wega series have a chroma trap setting in the service menu which results in a more blurry image with S-Video and thus allow you to make dithered patterns "work" with S-Video too.

    Some of the Philips Real Flat CRT TVs (the later models) can smooth out dithering to some extent for component video input. But it has to be a certain kind of pattern, such as the one Pyron used in his Super Hang-On color improvement hack.
    It will produce a smoky/dreamy looking effect.


    Quote Originally Posted by chilled View Post
    Also Sega could have implemented this on the Mini but didn't bother and we got crappy scanlines that still do NOT dither blend anyway.
    The hardware they used doesn't have enough processing power for more advanced filters (at least when implemented in high level) such as the dither blend one.

  10. #160
    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Part of the issue with dither blending is that it's extremely easy to get wrong. Too weak and many dither patterns don't get blended, too strong and you start blurring things that were supposed to stay sharp. You usually need to configure this on a game-by-game basis and even then games weren't always consistent (not to mention any games that used it for "translucency", which is the worst case scenario as it hits both extremes and often caused rainbow issues on RF/composite too). Also even stuff that may seem "sharp" at first may have not been intended to look so (e.g. many fonts are "bold" with 2px-wide strokes, but after the blurring is taken into account it doesn't look as bold and the stroke thickness is a lot more even across the font).

    And yeah, even ignoring all that, pixels were never supposed to be sharp anyway. A single dot is meant to look round (as if you drew a dot on paper with a pen or a marker), not like a square with well defined sides.

  11. #161
    The Gaming Gangsta Master of Shinobi profholt82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    Part of the issue with dither blending is that it's extremely easy to get wrong. Too weak and many dither patterns don't get blended, too strong and you start blurring things that were supposed to stay sharp. You usually need to configure this on a game-by-game basis and even then games weren't always consistent (not to mention any games that used it for "translucency", which is the worst case scenario as it hits both extremes and often caused rainbow issues on RF/composite too).
    Well, the Mega SG does include a generous slider to dial in the dithering effect to your liking. Personally, I find that the lowest setting usually does the job to a satisfactory degree, but some games may require you to play with the setting.


    The fact is that most of these old games were designed with RF connections into standard consumer level CRTs in mind (that was the connector Sega included in the box), not these new high definition cables into HD monitors. Heck, in the US at least, composite was considered a quality video signal throughout the late 80s and 90s, and s-video was a luxury that was only included in high end televisions and expensive S-VHS decks. So on a modern HD television, without any dithering at all, you're left with an image that wasn't what the designers intended. On many games it's not much of an issue, but on games which use transparencies and progressive cross-hatch grading to simulate depth and shading, the lack of dithering destroys the intent of the image, and looks like crap to me.

    I'm a big proponent of dither blending done right, not only because I think it makes these games look infinitely better, but also because it helps recreate the designers' original artistic intent. While it's not perfect, it's a huge improvement and a welcome addition to modern fpga and emulation in my opinion.

  12. #162
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    I tried the dither blending on Final Fight CD (though it doesn't work on my Sega CD 2 on mega sg with the latest firmware) and Twinkle Tale, two games with dither patterns and, even on the lowest setting, it would distort part of the image that wasn't supposed to be blended. Vectorman is another game that looks wrong on LCD displays (and even some collections that could be played on older screens got it wrong by not supporting lower resolutions and adding a blurry filter).

  13. #163
    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Final Fight CD doesn't look good no matter how hard you try lol (the shading is just not great, period)

    That said, since Vectorman was brought up: good luck making a filter that can somehow filter out these bars but not blur the heck out of everything else.



    Heck, the title screen is particularly bad in that they used the bar dithering even in areas where they could have easily used the in-between shade instead:



    Also earlier today somebody brought up Game Boy and that gets me thinking about how artists kept drawing with the same style despite the pixels being obviously sharp on that screen (all blurring is motion induced, not from surrounding pixels). I think we're overestimating how much "intent" actually went into this stuff, a lot of the time they probably went with "good enough" and moved on. Especially when there's a deadline to worry about.


    EDIT: though the real worst cases may be where the dithered patterns are used as part of a gradient like here, as there are bound to be several lone pixels/bars and it's hard to tell what's supposed to be blurred and what not.


  14. #164
    Mega Driver Hedgehog-in-TrainingMaster of Shinobi Gryson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    I think we're overestimating how much "intent" actually went into this stuff, a lot of the time they probably went with "good enough" and moved on. Especially when there's a deadline to worry about.
    This times a million. A lot of these artists were in their early 20s, just figuring out how to use computers, often working on their own without detailed guidelines or clear guidance. Dithering was a known technique that they could take advantage of, but it's exceedingly doubtful many artists were checking everything on CRTs over RF/composite to see how it looked. They drew it on the computer with mouse or stylus according to the correct dimensions and colors and moved on to the next thing.

  15. #165
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    While I think a part of the disdain towards Eternal Champions is caused by this, Vectorman 2 and Lion King title screens are popular and instantly reachable examples of dithering that looks awful when not done properly.
    EDIT: oh I wrote this before seeing latests posts just up here
    Lists of MD games: officially licensed (~925) @ cart sizes @ Top 5 @ Top 250 @ Sonic hacks @ best title screens @ Arcade ports (150) @ best European games

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