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Adventures in CRT's


40 replies to this topic

#26 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:29 AM

 

I use DosBox-SVN-Daun to play DOS games with a CRT shader.  There's still scanlines but they're thinner than the RetroArch shaders so they still look like a VGA monitor.

 

Thanks for the scr$. But the scanlines still look a bit too fat for me, though this is getting into "personal preference' zone.

 

But, to take it even further, there's lots of people saying that there were actually no scanlines at all on VGA monitors, at least not from that particular era (say, late Eighties to mid Nineties). I think they may be correct. Check that reddit thread  Ilinked to, I also heard it on Vogons before.

 

Even so, I would still like to see some actual, decent quality photos (it's a bit shocking none exist) and will probably use scanlines even if there weren't any originally. For two reason: one,  I always disliked the raw computer-monitor look...especially when comparing my Amiga on a TV to my mate's 386 VGA back in the day. This is after all one of the big reasons we use advanced GPUs...to get rid of jaggies.  And two, the DOS era games were made mainly for 14-15" monitors. When I display them full-screen on bigger sized modern screens they look awful. Scanlines help with that but not the thicc sort which looks good on arcade/console games. Here's my little comparison gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/u6jnde4s/



#27 JFD62780 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:53 AM

erm, there were scanlines, for the (S)VGA crowd (and up). The catch was, they were doubled for the low-rez modes. The 320x200 mode was really displayed in 640x400, for example.

Nowadays, in my case, the modern graphics cards (that prefer VGA (DVI-I Dual Link) over HDMI) display the BIOS/Textmode in artificially blown-up 1280x1024... (Dunno if I'm in the meh, or BLECCH!, crowd...)

It is nice to see Doom displayed as if through a 15KHz monitor tho! :D

Edited by JFD62780, Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:55 AM.


#28 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:05 AM

erm, there were scanlines, for the (S)VGA crowd (and up). The catch was, they were doubled for the low-rez modes. The 320x200 mode was really displayed in 640x400, for example.

 

from my reddit thread:

majority of Dos games despite being rendered at 320x200 were line doubled to 640x400. Otherwise no VGA monitor would accept the signal. Typical PC monitor back in the day was 14"-15" and had max resolution of 1024x768. Even in the late 90s many windows games were locked at 800x600 (Baldurs Gate, Fallout, Diablo). There are no visible scanlines on a 15" PC CRT from that era at 640x480 period. Later PC CRTs designed for professional use (graphic design etc) or gaming capable of much higher resolutions do show scanlines at 640x480.

 

 

This is the problem with this topic: it seems impossible to find a definitive answer. That's why I would really love to see some photos, it's mindboggling (and sad) that I can't find any.



#29 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:41 AM

I can see scan lines on my 17" diamondtron with an ms-dos text screen but less so with vga graphics. (Photos attached) It's hard to see scan lines on my 15" crt monitor. I have a hard time seeing scanlines on my crt television at 240p, unless I put my face up close to the TV. I think scanlines will show better on a high resolution monitor with a fine dot pitch. I wouldn't expect to see scanlines on a standard vga monitor.

Attached Files


Edited by mr_me, Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:44 AM.


#30 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:12 PM

I can see scan lines on my 17" diamondtron with an ms-dos text screen but less so with vga graphics. (Photos attached) It's hard to see scan lines on my 15" crt monitor. I have a hard time seeing scanlines on my crt television at 240p, unless I put my face up close to the TV. I think scanlines will show better on a high resolution monitor with a fine dot pitch. I wouldn't expect to see scanlines on a standard vga monitor.

 

Nice!...thanks for the photos. Now I really wish I had a PC monitor :)

 

It's already been said on reddit and I've dug out a couple of photos too, which do show scanlines in text mode, so that's kinda established. They are there for sure.

 

Now, about the games...it really seems to have been dependent on the monitor (size, dot and resolution). Any chance you (or anybody else) could take a few more shots from games? (preferably some static cRPGS, but any would do for me really). One of these NHL shots is too blurry but the other is pretty good. You can see the fine detail and what I believe is shadow mask.

 

CRTs are famously dificult to photograph, here are a few tips ( I did enquire about this before: https://shmups.syste...hp?f=6&t=60225)

 

-keep the shutter speed close to the refresh rate - 50/60 to match the Mhz is one opinion, I personally go for as low as 15.

-the lower values will introduce blur unless you have a super steady hand so it's worth it to try and put the cam on a hard surface  (or use a tripod of course)

-it helps to switch off external lights and take shots when its dark

 

Of course it's still possible to just grab your phone and point and shoot, it's just then you need to take several shots and make sure it "caught" the right sharpness/detail level.



#31 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:36 AM

My 17" monitor has a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200. So when displaying only 480 lines there's lots of space for black scanlines as the beam is fine enough. My 15" does 1024x768 max and is smaller and lower quality; black scanlines were not visible to the eye. Obviously a standard vga monitor of 640x480 is not going to show any scanlines when displaying 480/400 lines. And that's what people had in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Edited by mr_me, Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:42 AM.


#32 juansolo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:17 AM

 

Any chance you could take a few close up photos of some games in action? Basically I'm trying to set up a Retroarch shader for my DOS games as close as possible to the real thing..but don't have access to any rigs like yours (only CRT TV, but it's a different beast). Most shaders are made with consoles/arcades in mind with heavy scanlines and so on...and PC games did not look like that.

 

Made a thread on reddit but didn't have much luck: https://www.reddit.c...m_a_working_pc/

 

Better late than never... I'm running an 14" IBM SVGA monitor here as it's a bit more period correct than the 19" Taxan (which is a way better and bigger monitor...). Also taking photos of it are a nightmare. But this is what I've got.

Final pic of the PC, for me the golden era of PC gaming. About 1997-2000, a PII and a 3DFX card. Just solid awesome games.
 

Attached Thumbnails

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  • PC.jpg


#33 juansolo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:19 AM

Hmmm, the big Taxan murders the IBM in terms of picture (thought I'd get it out to compare). I'll try and get some pics of that...



#34 juansolo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:58 AM

Righty. I'm installing some games I picked up between last time I had the PC out. Where on the IBM things are a blurry mess, on the Taxan, we can actually see the scanlines. They're fine, but they're there. Full res piccage...

Attached Thumbnails

  • Dune1.jpg
  • Dune2.jpg


#35 juansolo OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:44 AM

Last round.

Attached Thumbnails

  • BG1.jpg
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  • Fallout1.jpg
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  • Fallout3.jpg
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  • Torment1.jpg
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#36 youxia OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:37 PM

Wow, man, thanks for that! That's a lot of material to pore over! Also, incredible nostalgia punch haha. Bit busy now but will come back and analyze them later :D



#37 MrMaddog OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:36 AM

Well I'm convince to buy a real CRT monitor now...  :-D

 

I found out that Windows 10 lets you assign each game to use a different GPU, so I when get a new video card I'll keep my old one and use it on a VGA monitor for old games that were meant for 4:3 displays.



#38 juansolo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:14 AM

Just for contrast I picked up a BenQ BL702A (multi/dual sync LED monitor) to experiment with. I've only plugged it into my Dreamcast so far, but yep, certainly does run at both 15khz and 31khz. However my monitor on the DC is a LaCie Electron Blue (pretty much a graphics workstation CRT, very high quality) again just murders it. That said it can't do 15khz for the very few games that won't run on VGA. Need to get a cable to try it with my Amiga as they apparently work better on those. But again, that's plugged into a 14" PVM, so I'm not expecting it to be better. Still fun little experiment and the first multisync I've managed to grab. Really want to get my mitts on a Dual/multi-sync CRT...



#39 atarilovesyou OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:22 PM

Never pass up PVMs at sensible money when they are available. I went to pick up a 14" PVM recently and found out the dude had a 20" that was potentially slightly iffy, so he let me have that also at the same price... Long story short they both work perfectly and now I have a spare 20" PVM (which will get a Mister through it when I get around to it). I still look out for them. Sensibly (I consider anything less than say £90 to be sensible) priced PVMs are becoming a rarity and worth snagging while you can.


Nice set up! Organized, clean and accessible. Well done!

Edited by atarilovesyou, Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:23 PM.


#40 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 9, 2019 1:35 PM

I keep seeing CRTs in the electronics drop-off bins in the city that I'm in. And I'm willing to bet they work just fine. 

 

So that's definitely a possibility. Perhaps scout out where all the 'drop-points' are in your area and visit them once every couple of weeks.



#41 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 9, 2019 2:23 PM

I remember when I first got into emulation and discovered artificial scanlines. I turned them on 110% overdrive! So k-kalico-kool man. Over the years, and now, I keep them at a minimum, something like 10-15%, just for texture and "vintageness".

 

When photographing LCD or CRT, I find that most cameras and phone overexpose. So I turn the settings down on the camera - or bracket the images and pick from the best. And it's easy to see overexposure because the colors tend to fade toward white rather than get actually get brighter.






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