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Thoughts on "Sprite Flicker?" Love it? Hate it? Don't care?

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#26 Tursi OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:22 PM

Our Scart Consoles are not PAL , but SECAM.

 

I retract my question then. ;)



#27 SiLic0ne t0aD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2016 12:11 AM

I'm pretty used to CV sprite flicker since I grew up with it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm a fan of it. If there's a way to reduce or eliminate flicker, I'm all for it. That said, I've finally upgraded one of my spare CV's today with the F18a mod, no flicker is great! :)

I'll always have and use my OG, plain vanilla console but I like to keep a couple modded ColecoVision's around to tinker with and deck out. Here in the near future, I'll probably be using a Ultimate Flashback for gaming mostly (as soon as I finish building it). That way I'll have pretty much every option available, with flicker being optional and still being able to use real hardware.. or emulation via the Pi, depending on what I'm in the mood for/what's convenient.
On another note, I'm looking forward to some F18a enhanced games! ;)

 

I uploaded a few pics to my gallery


Edited by SiLic0ne t0aD85, Thu Dec 1, 2016 12:39 AM.

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#28 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2016 1:54 AM

 

I would kill to have a Scart console!

Well.... maybe not 'kill' .... but hey, you get the point

 

To Collect or to use?   I don't think you can use it in Canada or US.   All TV screen i saw in your countries was not able to display SECAM  . and in addition we have different power supply.



#29 Bmack36 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2016 8:54 AM

They do make SCART to HDMI converters that have SECAM input.

http://www.ebay.com/...B-/112105349375

 

But you would need a power converter as well.



#30 Kiwi OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2016 1:26 PM

Sprite flickering routine is one of the first thing I put in building a game engine.  I have to predict how many sprites could be on a scan line, worst case 16+ in one project, objects priorities(Like shots are higher priority than stationary enemies), and sprite colors are important(like sprite colors are bright, while use dark colors for the background).  Also take advantage clipping the sprite like using 4 sprites to make it seem like it is going under the HUD bar.  

 

I find using 1 color sprite and 1 black outline sprite is best on a color background.  Still be visible on screen when there's more than 2 of them on a scan line.

 

I just come to accept the 4 sprites on a line limitation and I don't feel like breaking my Colecovision open to put in F18A in.  If I really want better graphic, I would develop for SMS or other system.  For right now, I like working with Colecovision and Intellvision console.  Only technology I would use is bankswitching cartridge.



#31 retroillucid OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2016 2:01 PM

To Collect or to use?   I don't think you can use it in Canada or US.   All TV screen i saw in your countries was not able to display SECAM  . and in addition we have different power supply.


To use

There's SCART to HDMI adapter

#32 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 1, 2016 2:29 PM

To use

There's SCART to HDMI adapter

 

Look on Ebay.fr  there is some quiet often.   You can check also leboncoin.fr

 

All Colecovision sold in france in the 80's were SECAM with Scart cable.



#33 Darkhog OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 3, 2016 8:16 AM

While I'm sure there are purists out there who want everything as "authentic" as possible, give me the Special Edition with all the bad stuff removed (and nothing new added in)!

 

The new Atari Flashback volumes on PS4 and Xbone have an option to remove this kind of flickering from Atari 2600 games like Asteroids. It really changes the look of those old games for the better in my opinion. 

While we're at it, and if someone will want to make a new ColecoVision, they could also fix the BIOS (and remove idiosyncrasies such as sound data being at the start of ram, while everything else is at the end of it), while also giving the possibility to run on OS7 for compatibility. I'm serious here.

 

Anyway on spriter flicker issue I don't really have an opinion, especially since sprites are so limited on CV (no multiple colors per sprite). I guess sprite flicker is part of charm of the old systems like Coleco or NES, but wouldn't mind if it was gone.

 

I've read something on some nes dev site that there is a physical hack possible for the PPU (not remember details though, you'd have to look for it - either it involves soldering something in or cutting something out of ppu) that increases sprite per line limit on it. Maybe something like that could be done to VDP? I dunno.

 

Also wouldn't ROM of the game needed to be hacked to remove flickering or do Coleco add flickering on its own when it detects too many sprites on a line? I know on NES it has to be hardcoded into the game, then again, NES doesn't have a BIOS (unless we're talking FDS).



#34 Kiwi OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 3, 2016 12:13 PM

If there's more than 5 sprites on a line, then the vdp status flag will raise and tell you the sprite number, and the CPU will have to read that status and handle it.  I hard coded flickering routine to reorder the sprites every frame since sprite 0-3 have the highest priority.  I assume with F18a with the jumper to enable 32 sprites on a line, the sprites will remain solid unless they are overlapping each other.


Edited by Kiwi, Sat Dec 3, 2016 12:14 PM.


#35 matthew180 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2016 2:30 PM

I assume with F18a with the jumper to enable 32 sprites on a line, the sprites will remain solid unless they are overlapping each other.


There is a physical jumper that selects between original compatibility (4 visible sprites per scan line) and showing all 32 sprites per scan line.  The number of sprites visible per scan line is also configurable via software that is written to use the F18A's enhancements.

 

Note that even though the F18A can display all 32 sprites on a scan line, some sprite reordering methods cause sprites to not be displayed at all.  In those cases, there is nothing the F18A can do to display those sprites.  Most games will benefit from the F18A being able to display all 32 sprites.



#36 matthew180 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2016 3:13 PM

I'm just talking for me , i guess other developers did not have the same view.  Your chip is really impressive and if a new console is created around the F18A i  think would be very motivated to develop for that console.


Curios. I wonder what such a new console would be like from a hardware standpoint? I assume you are talking about something not necessarily compatible with any existing consoles? From a developer's perspective, what would motivate you to code for a completely new console? And what would separate this new console from the sea of other such consoles?
 

But as "retro-developer"  what i like it is fighting with console original limitation. Even if , sometimes, it is really frustrating .   It is more challenging and more satisfying when you manage to do what you want.


This is the typical sentiment I have seen expressed from people about the F18A vs original VDP.  It is fun to push the original VDP / system for sure.  However, IMO when you are done pushing the system to get your desired feature, you have little CPU cycles, RAM, ROM, etc. left to make a game around the feature(s).  Thus, you have cool effects but game play suffers.
 

It make no sense for me to specifically develop for SGM or F18A on a colecovision today.
 
As opposite , in 1982-1983  i would have been the first one to buy a SGM or chip and develop for it!!!.


Yes, very ironic.
 

A side that, i will surely buy one day a F18A to put it on one of my colecovision , but just as replacement of a old VDP and have better support for modern screen.


This was the original primary design goal of the F18A, i.e. to just be able to plug my 99/4A into a modern monitor and eliminate the composite video artifacts.
 

Another thing if you want promote development around your chip for colecovision, it would really help  if one CV emulator emulate it.
 
If an emulator does that, i think you will see new games using the chip.


I suppose that is true, however I have never been approached by anyone asking for an F18A reference or to get F18A functionality into their emulator.  I guess waiting from someone to approach me may be a little presumptuous, but promoting the F18A is not a personal goal.  I'm hardly covering my costs in producing the F18A, and I'm certainly not able to make a living selling them (as great as that would be).  I simply promised to keep producing the F18A as long as there is a demand from the community.  I think I did actually send some emails to a few emulator devs back in 2012, but never received any response or a desire to add F18A support.  Rasmus and Tursi added F18A support to their emulators on their own accord, I only provided technical details about the functionality.
 
Of course it is always really nice to see your creation used and appreciated, and it is really a treat for me when a developer uses the enhanced features and comes to the forum to talk about it.  Hearing from a developer about how much they enjoy programming the hardware is the biggest reward, but also the feedback I rarely get.  Most devs argue that the F18A is not original hardware and "not many people have one", so they should not develop for it.  I guess devs making new software are trying to make a lot of money selling their games and are trying to attract the largest audience?
 

Does CoolCV support it?


I don't know, but I don't think so.



#37 Tarzilla OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2016 3:45 PM

Nanochess said he will be looking into adding F18A support to coolcv soon than later.

With respect to flickering sprites, has there been an attempt to list which of the original CV games have flicker management routines that hide the low priority sprites so that the F18A can't help as opposed to the games that just ignore the issue and thus the F18A is effective?

#38 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:07 PM

A tie then? Half care, half doesn't care it seems. Hdmi is probably more important, right? In fact I can think of more important features like hardware scrolll and color palettes. No flicker in such a old and limited hardware makes no sense from a real hardware point of view and sometimes can kind of break a game

#39 ten-four OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:22 AM

Our Scart Consoles are not PAL , but SECAM.

 

Hi.

 

SECAM is not an independent tv system longer, and I have heard that SECAM will be phased out.

Another thing is, I have the French CBS ColecoVision with Scart and I live in PAL land without no problems with this console.

A French CBS Console in SECAM with its output via SCART, has no Tuner, and can therefore shows the signal directly.

The first French CBS console were in two different versions, one with large built-in tuner, and a version with external combined tuner if I remember correctly.

 

But flickering is also on our French console, and I have always hate it, not so much with my first games, but It was first with Roc 'n Rope it was clearly.

So if a new quality CV board with support of the F18A will be released, I would buy one immediately.

 

And last: the new upcoming 2017 version of the SGM will work with the French CBS console.

 

:-D 



#40 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:19 AM

Actually the current version of the SGM (3rd run) that starts shipping tomorrow handles the French SCART CV just fine.
Other than that, stay tuned for Hector.
 

Hector.jpg


Edited by opcode, Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:20 AM.


#41 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:05 AM

 

Hi.

 

SECAM is not an independent tv system longer, and I have heard that SECAM will be phased out.

Another thing is, I have the French CBS ColecoVision with Scart and I live in PAL land without no problems with this console.

A French CBS Console in SECAM with its output via SCART, has no Tuner, and can therefore shows the signal directly.

The first French CBS console were in two different versions, one with large built-in tuner, and a version with external combined tuner if I remember correctly.

 

But flickering is also on our French console, and I have always hate it, not so much with my first games, but It was first with Roc 'n Rope it was clearly.

So if a new quality CV board with support of the F18A will be released, I would buy one immediately.

 

And last: the new upcoming 2017 version of the SGM will work with the French CBS console.

 

:-D

 

Yes, ideed the SECAM standard is dead now.    I think you have no issue with your SECAM console because you TV is PAL/SECAM (most of TV  after 1990 in europe was) otherwise it won't work.

 

The first French CBS console were in two different versions, one with large built-in tuner, and a version with external combined tuner if I remember correctly.

 

 

What you mean by tuner here?  ...  are you talking about the PAL/SECAM converter?    We saw PAL Console sold (import) in France with an external PAL/SECAM converter , but it is different that the "pure" SECAM version.

 

So if a new quality CV board with support of the F18A will be released, I would buy one immediately.

 

 

Me either.  Or better a full new console with new power supply. :)

 

But flickering is also on our French console,

 

 

Yes, it is even worst...because it flickers at 50hz... instead of 60Hz.







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