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Atari Lynx hardware based rotation?


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#1 Tidus79001 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:23 PM

Does the Atari Lynx hardware have built in rotation capabilities? I ask because over the years I have heard it stated that it did but the in more recent years heard people say that it doesn't have hardware based rotation capabilities and that this was misinformation or assumptions that the Lynx had it because of the SNES hype about Mode 7 features & capabilities.

Also at https://atariage.com.../faq/index.html it states "Hardware high-speed sprite scaling, distortion, and tilting effects". Is tilting effects the same as rotation and if not can someone give me an example of its use so that I can better understand what tilting effects does and its capabilities?

Edited by Tidus79001, Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:24 PM.


#2 karri OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:39 PM

The Lynx does not have rotation.

 

It can mirror sprites along horizontal and vertical axis.

 

The tilt-effect can be used for making perspective transformations.



#3 Tidus79001 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:47 PM

The Lynx does not have rotation.
 
It can mirror sprites along horizontal and vertical axis.
 
The tilt-effect can be used for making perspective transformations.

Would an an example of the tilt effect be the license plate that is flipping at the California Games title screen or is that just a software programmed effect?

#4 enthusi OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:53 AM

Yes. Some game engines even used it to create pseudo 3D graphics by drawing triangles via stretched sprites.

Further things that are probably introduced by advertising rather than specs:

- the lynx is 8 bit (8bit CPU) not 16bit, but here opinions differ ;-)

- the Lynx has no Hardware sprites at all. Instead of calling it 'unlimited' as in some lists, it rather should say 'none' or 'software sprites via blitter'.

- the Lynx has no actual hardware scrolling. You CAN scroll (only) vertically with a hardware register but that is not useful for games.

If you want things scrolled, the Lynx has to draw them again (which is not the point of hardware scrolling such as i.e. the C64 has)



#5 Turbo Laser Lynx OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:48 AM

@enthusi It would be interesting if you could give examples on some positive sides of the Lynx from a technical point of view? Some games like Blue Lightning and Electrocop looked very impressive for the time. There was some interesting discussions earlier in the programming forum. I remember the quote that "on paper the Lynx should melt the C64". :grin: 

 

Personally I like a lot of things about it that is about the feeling and the things that make it unique, like the industrial design, the big pixels, the chip sound of Mikey, sometimes the scaling stuff and also its max 16 colors simultaneous colors on screen is limited enough to give it some personality (of course not as much as a static palette though).

 

I find the Lynx to have some more "freedom" when it comes to programming, compared to some older computers/consoles, that might be just because it's newer and have less features ;D Do you guys think the design philosophy of the Lynx was nifty in some/many ways?



#6 enthusi OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:34 AM

Surely the Lynx is technically more advanced than the C64.

Many Lynx games look bad because of the low frame rate today in emulators or modded LCD screens.

But for the original displays there was no reason to go beyond 20 or even 15 FPS.

A downside of the software sprites is that you can not easily get good framerates when you have unscaled full screen graphics.

There is MUCH left that could be done for/on the Lynx. I find it awesome :)

I think only the Gameboy Advance surpassed the Lynx (by far) almost 10 years later in terms of handhelds.

A memory mapped cartridge access (that SUSY could adress) would have been a (literal) gamechanger.

The SUSY Math isnt really helpful since they are not particularly fast. Certainly not the division.

Colors + handling are great in my opinion.

The Lynx is a unique step inbetween the C64 and the PC-Engine.

Both among the very last 8bit systems.



#7 Turbo Laser Lynx OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:05 AM

Hey, thanks for sharing your thoughts on it from a technical standpoint! Yeah I really like the "advanced"-/late 8-bit feeling of it (although I love the old 8-bitters too), it feels like it would land straight in between the 8-bit and 16-bit era.


Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx, Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:08 AM.


#8 Cyprian_K OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:01 PM

Really cool thing are four 8-bit DACs, unfortunately there is no DMA channel for them. Therefore they are CPU driven, which is CPU time consuming.

#9 akira666 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:18 PM

I think it's really nice to read facts from a technical point of view here.
With the 15-20hz also makes sense in my opinion. The stupid is the FPS comparison on various Youtube videos.



#10 karri OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:21 PM

There is also a smoothness of movement when you choose a fixed lower frame rate. With a higher rate the movement stutters when there is more going on.



#11 Cyprian_K OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:32 AM

Does higher frame rate affects on CPU performance? If yes, how much?

Edited by Cyprian_K, Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:32 AM.


#12 enthusi OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:18 AM

It affects how much time the CPU has to get things done before starting a new frame again.

#13 LordKraken OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:28 AM

As a result it is true that when you compare side-by-side, let say 2 platform games on the game gear and on the lynx, the lynx framerate looks poor.

 

But then consider this: it is absolutely impossible to have games like warbirds, or stun RUNNER, or Electrocop, on the game gear. Maybe not even on the PC Engine.

 

Also, ok this is a bit stretched, but the Lynx actually provides "free" hardware rotation if you use the mirror flag. It's just that they are 180 degrees only :D


Edited by LordKraken, Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:31 AM.


#14 Cyprian_K OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:08 AM

It affects how much time the CPU has to get things done before starting a new frame again.

yep, thats obvious.

I guess the more frame per seconds, the more video chip takes over the bus from the CPU.

Therefore I wonder how CPU affected not per frame but per second.



#15 karri OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:35 AM

yep, thats obvious.

I guess the more frame per seconds, the more video chip takes over the bus from the CPU.

Therefore I wonder how CPU affected not per frame but per second.

 

This is really very much dependent on what you do. A game requiring collision detection use Suzy a lot compared to a static screen where nothing happens. An example is playing out digitized sound. I focus on delivering audio and don't touch the screen before the clip has played. In an extreme case with lots of linked sprites you just run out of power. Most developers have seen that happen. So the answer can be anything between 0 to 100 %.



#16 Turbo Laser Lynx OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:44 AM

I would like to bring up the feeling and the "artistic side" of things again too, because the big picture is sometimes forgotten. The Lynx really feels and looks like it's something special. If it would be all about the tech specs and the power of these machines there would obviously not be thousands, if not tens of thousands of retro gaming / retro computer / retro console enthusiasts still playing around with them all over the world. Both the industrial design and the hardware design plays a huge role in the perception of these machines, not to speak of the graphics, music and game design of the games. (P.S. the Game Gear looks like an old lady's hand bag) :grin:

 

I hadn't ever noticed / thought of that the framerate was low on some Lynx games (except paperboy) before that video, neither with old or new screen. I firmly believe that appeal, and design are as important as fps :) 20 fps is fine for most people if the game has other strengths. Same thing with a 60fps game with clumsy graphic design or animation looks and feels worse than a 20fps game with nice graphics and animation. (Not that I don't like for example silly 8-bit animation as much as "perfect" stuff now a days).

 

As a practical example of screwed up animation/design we discussed vikning child earlier. I thought it looked horrible earlier, but after playing wonderboy in monsterland I at least got that they were trying to emulate -> the speed of that game. The biggest reason why VC looks weird is because of a too slow animation of the main character. That could've been easily fixed without a higher frame rate. If they just had sped up the animation there it would have looked much better and more belieavable (in a cartoony way) and it wouldn't have looked like he's mooving through molasses. Same with the jump speed of the main character. Some weird design choices made the game worse than it could've been.


Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx, Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:47 AM.


#17 ZylonBane OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:57 PM

Does higher frame rate affects on CPU performance? If yes, how much?


This question is hopelessly vague. It's like asking, "Does higher car speed affect gas mileage? How much?"

#18 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:01 AM

As a result it is true that when you compare side-by-side, let say 2 platform games on the game gear and on the lynx, the lynx framerate looks poor.

 

But then consider this: it is absolutely impossible to have games like warbirds, or stun RUNNER, or Electrocop, on the game gear. Maybe not even on the PC Engine.

 

Also, ok this is a bit stretched, but the Lynx actually provides "free" hardware rotation if you use the mirror flag. It's just that they are 180 degrees only :D

 Not so if you look at Shadow of the Beast parallax scrolling which is very smooth. And the Lynx really trounces the GG in terms of sprite count and animation per frame. A game like Slime World was not possible on any other handheld system until the GB Advance arrived, IMO. Those side by side comparisons are useless amnd inherently flawed as it is just about frame rate numbers and nothing else . There was absolutely no obsession with frame rate benchmarks when these games were made. However for a new game like Zaku its nice to see it running at an high frame rate flawlessly with huge sprites and detailed graphics. 

The Game Gear def. had a wider selection of platform games than the Lynx and popular IPs like Sonic or Mickey Mouse. Sega had far better developers for that type of games too. However the Lynx has some gems like Toki, Shadow or Slime World which I think are superior (technically)


Edited by agradeneu, Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:13 AM.


#19 agradeneu OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:05 AM

Yes. Some game engines even used it to create pseudo 3D graphics by drawing triangles via stretched sprites.

Further things that are probably introduced by advertising rather than specs:

- the lynx is 8 bit (8bit CPU) not 16bit, but here opinions differ ;-)

- the Lynx has no Hardware sprites at all. Instead of calling it 'unlimited' as in some lists, it rather should say 'none' or 'software sprites via blitter'.

- the Lynx has no actual hardware scrolling. You CAN scroll (only) vertically with a hardware register but that is not useful for games.

If you want things scrolled, the Lynx has to draw them again (which is not the point of hardware scrolling such as i.e. the C64 has)

Then Jaguar was a 16 bit system because it's CPU is 16 bit. ;-)

The Lynx GPU is 16 bit and sets it apart from "real" 8 bit systems. It's more close to the PC Engine than the NES or MS.



#20 Cyprian_K OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:11 AM

Then Jaguar was a 16 bit system because it's CPU is 16 bit. ;-)
The Lynx GPU is 16 bit and sets it apart from "real" 8 bit systems. It's more close to the PC Engine than the NES or MS.


Jaguar: the Bus: 64Bit, internal chips 64bit (OP, blitter), the main processor - GPU - 32bit; the control processor - 68000 - 16bit internally; 32bit math, 32bit registers;
Lynx: the Bus: 8bit; internal chips 16bit; the main processor 8bit

TT: the Bus: 64Bit; the main processor 32Bit with ability to deal with 64Bit math

actually, who caresa about bitness

#21 Nop90 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:57 AM

actually, who caresa about bitness

 

Coders :)






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