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Not ntsc, not pal, it is pal-m! What problems should I expect?


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#1 LidLikesIntellivision OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2012 8:15 PM

Oh, I just bought my atari 2600 and it's going to arrive this week.

I also ordered Boulder Dash and I'm plannig to buy a harmony cart.


Only now I remembered. Here, in Brazil, we use PAL-M. :mad:

The M comes from the American RMA (Radio Manufactorers Association), so we also use the same frequency and, I think, same number of lines 525. But the colors aren't ntsc, it's like european PAL.

Now I'm worried. Will my Boulder Dash be only black and white? And the harmony cart, will it only display black and white too?

#2 LidLikesIntellivision OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2012 9:11 PM

hmm... I remember all the games were on colors with my original Atari (in the 80's).

So I bet Boulder Dash won't be in Black and White, although I'm not sure...

And I have any clues for the harmony cart...


In the worst scenario, I think an AV mode could be a solution. Modern tvs can handle many input formats.

#3 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 1:19 AM

BD is switchable between PAL 50 (50Hz and PAL colors) and NTSC (60Hz and NTSC colors).

PAL-M is 60HZ but maybe your TV can sync to 50 Hz too, then you can play the game with correct colors. If not, you will get wrong colors.
I think we could quite easily create a binary which supports NTSC with 50Hz, but maybe you better try first if your TV can display PAL 50 games without rolling.

The same goes for Harmony. Note: Colors would be wrong in the menu only not inside the games you play (if they are PAL-M).

#4 Rastignac OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 1:40 AM

Afaik, PAL-M games are just standard NTSC60 games...

#5 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 7:04 AM

BD is switchable between PAL 50 (50Hz and PAL colors) and NTSC (60Hz and NTSC colors).

PAL-M is 60HZ but maybe your TV can sync to 50 Hz too, then you can play the game with correct colors. If not, you will get wrong colors.
I think we could quite easily create a binary which supports NTSC with 50Hz, but maybe you better try first if your TV can display PAL 50 games without rolling.


Yes, I'm a bit confused here. Because Boulder Dash *also* supports PAL with 60Hz. That is, we support NTSC, PAL and PAL-60.
Thomas, isn't this effectively PAL-M ??
Cheers
A

#6 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 7:09 AM

Yes, I'm a bit confused here. Because Boulder Dash *also* supports PAL with 60Hz. That is, we support NTSC, PAL and PAL-60.
Thomas, isn't this effectively PAL-M ??

It is.

I completely forgot that I had added that option last minute. :)

#7 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 7:10 AM

I completely forgot that I had added that option last minute. :)


Me, too! Fortunately the game has a really good manual to refer to :)

#8 LidLikesIntellivision OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 7:56 AM

I think PAL-60 won't help in PAL-M case: http://en.wikipedia....ki/PAL-M#PAL_60

But I was reading the history of Brazilian Ataris and discovered that cartridges wasn't build here until circa 82-83. Consoles came first.

All cartridges was from America, so I believe the Ntsc version will work.
I also remembered trying to read that strange language as a little kid in the cartridge manuals, probably I didn't even know what English was.

Afaik, PAL-M games are just standard NTSC60 games...


I think you're right!

Edited by Liduario, Sat May 5, 2012 7:59 AM.


#9 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 8:33 AM

I think PAL-60 won't help in PAL-M case: http://en.wikipedia....ki/PAL-M#PAL_60

But I was reading the history of Brazilian Ataris and discovered that cartridges wasn't build here until circa 82-83. Consoles came first.

All cartridges was from America, so I believe the Ntsc version will work.
I also remembered trying to read that strange language as a little kid in the cartridge manuals, probably I didn't even know what English was.


Afaik, PAL-M games are just standard NTSC60 games...


I think you're right!



Since it is the console, not the game cartridge, that determines the location of the colour signal in the output TV signal... then all the game cartridge has to do is put out the correct number of scanlines AND the correct colour #s to match what the console is using to interpret colour. Since it's a PAL colour numbering scheme with a NTSC scanline count -- and this is exactly what Boulder Dash is doing for the PAL-60 switch, I'm telling you that it WILL work and WILL look perfect. Boulder Dash is compatible with PAL-M Brazil consoles. There, be happy.

#10 LidLikesIntellivision OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 8:58 AM


I think PAL-60 won't help in PAL-M case: http://en.wikipedia....ki/PAL-M#PAL_60

But I was reading the history of Brazilian Ataris and discovered that cartridges wasn't build here until circa 82-83. Consoles came first.

All cartridges was from America, so I believe the Ntsc version will work.
I also remembered trying to read that strange language as a little kid in the cartridge manuals, probably I didn't even know what English was.


Afaik, PAL-M games are just standard NTSC60 games...


I think you're right!



Since it is the console, not the game cartridge, that determines the location of the colour signal in the output TV signal... then all the game cartridge has to do is put out the correct number of scanlines AND the correct colour #s to match what the console is using to interpret colour. Since it's a PAL colour numbering scheme with a NTSC scanline count -- and this is exactly what Boulder Dash is doing for the PAL-60 switch, I'm telling you that it WILL work and WILL look perfect. Boulder Dash is compatible with PAL-M Brazil consoles. There, be happy.


Yeah, I'm very happy now :-D :-D :-D :-D Thanks to make it clear.

#11 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 11:48 AM

If you have a PAL-M 2600 then you just need a standard NTSC 2600 cart.

Mitch

#12 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 3:42 PM

If you have a PAL-M 2600 then you just need a standard NTSC 2600 cart.

Mitch


This comment is wrong, I think. Otherwise it would simply be identical to a NTSC 2600. The difference is the location of the colour signal in the TV output. It's PAL. So the colours are PAL-centric. Numbering of colours is different between PAL and NTSC so my best-guess is that yes, NTSC carts will work just fine -- but they will be the wrong colours. Boulder Dash, on the other hand (when the switches are configured to PAL-60) actually produces the PAL colour numbers and the NTSC frame-rate. In other words, it's perfect PAL-M compatible. Other NTSC cartridges are not.

Cheers
A

#13 eshu OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2012 4:29 PM


If you have a PAL-M 2600 then you just need a standard NTSC 2600 cart.

Mitch


This comment is wrong, I think. Otherwise it would simply be identical to a NTSC 2600. The difference is the location of the colour signal in the TV output. It's PAL. So the colours are PAL-centric. Numbering of colours is different between PAL and NTSC so my best-guess is that yes, NTSC carts will work just fine -- but they will be the wrong colours. Boulder Dash, on the other hand (when the switches are configured to PAL-60) actually produces the PAL colour numbers and the NTSC frame-rate. In other words, it's perfect PAL-M compatible. Other NTSC cartridges are not.

Cheers
A


From the "Items for Atari 2600 manufactured in Brazil" thread - http://www.atariage....ured-in-brazil/

In Brazil the system of color is called 'PAL-M' (only country in the world that I know), It's similar to the NTSC system (the frequency is 60 Hz or 60 cycles / second).
The carts were usually manufactured here in NTSC system, in consoles manufactured here existed a internal 'transcoder' (NTSC>>PAL-M).


Mr. Ferraz, I'm study about PAL-M system.
I think in China and Thailand uses this system too.

Its not PAL running at 60 Mhz (NTSC Speed) and yes Ntsc speed and resolution with PAL colors.

This means all Ntsc carts work perfect in Brazil, the TIA change all 128 colors information to PAL format.

I don't know the reason, maybe becouse Atari not release Pal-M system at same time of Ntsc and PAL, and Pal-M system start to be sold in 80/81, too late, but the creators had better knowledgement of PAL TV colors information.

This means is possible create a PAL game using 128 colors, but only run in PAL tv and in 2600 Pal-M system.

Don't have "Pal-M carts". All carts in Brazil are pure NTSC, obviously, we call Pal-M carts becouse it's had potuguese labels and manuals, internally is NTSC.
Pal-M naturally not run PAL carts, only if your TV support switch to PAL image.

O Atari 2600 suporta 128 cores na tela, mas no sistema PAL europeu só são mostradas 64.



#14 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 6, 2012 12:48 AM

Yes, the PAL-M 2600 is basically an NTSC 2600 with a small circuit board inside to modify the NTSC colors to PAL colors.

There was a message on usenet many years ago from the Atari engineer who worked on it with a more detailed explanation. It's possible you may be still be able to dig it up from some archive if you are really interested.

Mitch

#15 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 6, 2012 7:46 AM

the PAL-M 2600 is basically an NTSC 2600 with a small circuit board inside to modify the NTSC colors to PAL colors.


That's awesome.

The upshot is that Boulder Dash running as NTSC will display perfectly on nthe PAL-M TV (well, as perfect as the inbuilt colour-coversion allows).
What would be really weird would be running the PAL-60 version. There, the PAL colours would be interpreted as NTSC colours which would be realtime converted to PAL colours (different!) and displayed on PAL-M TV.
Because of the nature of Boulder Dash "C1/C2/C3" triplet colour lines, and because intensities essentially are the same for NTSC/PAL, the game should look fine -- just in totally different colours.
In other words, in my opinion, everything would be fine in both PAL-60 and NTSC mode on PAL-M machines. Just non-objectionable colour differences.
Cheers
A

#16 walterg74 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:21 PM

Answering this old thread to add a curiosity to the subject! :)

I live close to Brazil, in Argentina. Here, our tv system is PAL-N ! :)

Just today I tried a Harmony cart in a "light" sixer I have, that looked to be from the US, but when I tried a couple of games (harmony is ntsc, roms are ntsc) the colors seemed off and dull...

Tried the card in a heavy sixer, 100% US and NTSC, and sure enough the colors looked just as I remembered them, accurate and vibrant!

So it seems the light sixer had a mod done at some point to be used on our PAL-N systems (probably for older tvs that only had this system, since newer ones had PAL-N,PAL-M and NTSC).

So I guess this is normal behaviour??




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