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Nathan Strum

Member Since 3 Dec 2002
OFFLINE Last Active Today, 5:49 AM

#4280106 New Atari Console that Ataribox?

Posted by Nathan Strum on Yesterday, 1:10 PM

And why did not Thanos not use the gauntlet to make the infinity Taco machine? everyone would have enough to eat, even Galactus.



That would be awesome. Snap your fingers - BOOM! A taco.


Now then... how does one go about finding some Infinity Stones?

#4279858 Amoeba Jump

Posted by Nathan Strum on Yesterday, 5:00 AM

Wow, that is some very thorough testing, Nathan!


Do you think that using a 2600-daptor helped to reduce the lag a little, and that there could be a difference in lag between the 2600-daptor and the default RS323 ports on the R77?


In my testing, I don't think there was any difference between using the Stelladaptor on the laptop and the joystick ports on the RetroN 77. At least none that I could discern.


When I experienced any lag, I experienced it equally on both systems, and it was always in line with amount of lag seen using the HDMI lag tester.


I only used the Stelladaptor on the laptop. For the RetroN 77, the joysticks were always plugged in directly. In either case, the responsiveness felt identical between them across all tests. (I should note that I only tested joysticks - not paddles. I don't have the necessary cables to test a Stelladaptor on the RetroN 77.)

#4279831 Amoeba Jump

Posted by Nathan Strum on Yesterday, 3:50 AM

Would you mind repeating those tests with Stella running on a Laptop or PC attached via HDMI to the same TV set, and maybe even with different HDMI display? If you are connecting a computer, make sure that the display is driven at 60Hz (as opposed to 30Hz); this may depend on the resolution. Also, look for settings on your TV that put it in game mode and try those. Real hardware on a CRT displays instantly, but modern LCD TV sets do image postprocessing, and this usually introduces a few frames of lag. HDMI may behave differently to analog input, too. This doesn't show when watching a movie as audio is delayed accordingly, but it will manifest as a lag between controller input and gameplay when playing games.


Okay... for those who want the short answer: the problem is with your TV.


For those who want the long answer, here we go!


Test laptop:

15" Retina MacBook Pro, Mid-2015
OSX 10.13.8
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7
AMD Radeon R9 M370X, 2GB VRAM
Stella 6.1 (pre-release build)


To test Stella on the laptop, I connected each display with an HDMI cable, and shut the laptop so it was only running the external display. I connected a keyboard and mouse to navigate Stella, and a 2600 joystick using a Stelladaptor to play the games (I tested both a CX-40 and the Hyperkin Trooper). For each display, I set the resolution to 1280x720 at 60fps to match the RetroN 77 as close as possible.
Test RetroN 77:
Uses the 6.1 beta 2 community build, as described in this thread.
I used the same HDMI cable and controllers that I used in each laptop test.
Test displays:
Panasonic BT-LH2550 (production monitor)
Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 (professional graphics monitor)
Dell U2104 (computer monitor)
Sony 48W600B (consumer HDTV)
LG 24LF454B (consumer HDTV)
Sony KDL-46XBR2 (consumer HDTV)
Lag test results (see this page for a breakdown of where these would rank):
Panasonic BT-LH2550 9.8ms
Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 10.9ms
Dell U2104 27.3ms
Sony 48W600B (Game Mode) 29.4ms
LG 24LF454B (Game Mode) 30.8ms
LG 24LF454B (Standard Mode) 31.2ms
Sony KDL-46XBR2 (Game Mode) 33.4ms
Sony KDL-46XBR2 (Standard Mode) 46.5ms

The lag test results were taken using the middle bar measurement, and represent several tests with the lowest repeatable number listed here (best-case scenario).

The Panasonic is a high-end video production monitor, which is why its lag is so low.

Similarly, the Cintiq is a pen-based display for professional graphics work, so it has to have minimal lag as well.

The Dell monitor is about 10 years old.

The Sony 48W600B wouldn't return consistent lag test results in Standard Mode, so I only tested it in Game Mode. But at one point it was showing around 65ms. This was purchased in 2016.

The LG monitor was a $99 Best Buy special that I bought last year for my kitchen. It's about as cheap as they get.

The Sony KDL-46XBR2 is my main HDTV, and it's from 2007. My 2600 is plugged into its S-Video input, and I've never noticed any lag there. It seems its analog inputs aren't affected.


Test binaries:

As suggested by Dion, I used Test Cart to check the responsiveness of the joysticks and fire buttons.

I also tested the latest version of Amoeba Jump, and the final version of Scramble (lag will kill you flying through the Base).

Also tested (but not on all setups) were: Mappy, Stay Frosty 2, Galaga and Space Game. 



In every case, there was no discernible difference between the responsiveness of the laptop running Stella and the RetroN 77 when tested on the same display. At times I would have to look over to see which one I had plugged in.

Lag was undetectable on the Panasonic and Wacom.

Nearly imperceptible lag was present on the displays ranging from 27.3ms to 30.8ms.

Negligible lag was present on the LG in Standard mode, and the Sony XBR2 in Game Mode. They were still perfectly playable.

Unacceptable lag was only present on the XBR2 when in Standard Mode. At that point, the controls felt sluggish and unresponsive, with some games becoming effectively unplayable. This is the mode my TV is usually in, since I have it set up for watching video, rather than gaming (and as mentioned before, lag isn't an issue on its analog inputs).



I couldn't tell any difference between the performance of the RetroN 77 and Stella running on a laptop. On a fast enough display, there's no noticeable lag. It's all down to how sluggish your display is. The Stella team did an amazing job on the RetroN 77.



One last thing though... Stella on the laptop does a weird thing sometimes, where it will put a red background on screen, instead of a black one. It did this on every display I was testing with, and I have no explanation for it. I never saw this on the RetroN 77.








I blame Apple. ;)

#4279194 Amoeba Jump

Posted by Nathan Strum on Tue May 21, 2019 9:29 PM

Does the Bodnar box display a number on the display that's been tested?  I like how the Cnet review that mentions using the tester says that it's "dead simple," but doesn't bother to tell what the box does.

On the product page I linked to, there's a "How to use" tab:
How to Use

1. Plug an HDMI lead into the TV and Lag Test device. (HDMI to DVI cable may also be used.)
2. After selecting the correct input on the TV or screen (refer to manufacturer handbook) hold down the button and wait a moment for test screen to appear.
3. Place device on the screen so that the photosensor is facing over one of the three displayed reference marks.
4. Read measurement result from the screen.


Edit: I was thinking... it shouldn't be too hard (for someone moderately well-versed in electronics and programming) to build a similar device that plugs into a 2600. A cart would have a program that would send a signal to the screen, a photosensor attached to a DB9 connector would plug into a joystick port. You'd hold the sensor to the screen and the 2600 would detect the lag and display the results on the TV.


Unfortunately, for a RetroN 77, this still wouldn't tell you where the lag was coming from. But by comparing it to real hardware, you'd quantify how much lag you were getting. At least as far as video is concerned.

#4279090 New Atari Console that Ataribox?

Posted by Nathan Strum on Tue May 21, 2019 4:56 PM

But really, before you read the medium.com dev blog you should read the last full paragraph first:


Since this is hardware manufacturing, before signing off we must always add that everything stated above and displayed in the accompanying photos and illustrations are technically works-in-progress. Everything remains subject to additional changes and finalization before finished products reach users’ hands. We have done, and always will do, our very best to provide the most complete and accurate updates possible. When the time comes, we hope that you will love these products as much as we do.



For some reason, I totally read that as "Everything remains subject to additional changes and fictionalization"...

#4278988 2019 Harmony Games Round 3- Space Game (best Bbasic Game)

Posted by Nathan Strum on Tue May 21, 2019 1:35 PM



Managed to destroy one boss. Pretty fun game!



#4278979 New Atari Console that Ataribox?

Posted by Nathan Strum on Tue May 21, 2019 1:16 PM

I keep clicking "refresh" on this page: https://www.ign.com/...ames_at_E3_2019


But I'm still not seeing the Ataribox or any of its games on it.


Maybe I need to click more.

#4278738 New Atari Console that Ataribox?

Posted by Nathan Strum on Tue May 21, 2019 2:58 AM

I never tasted the butter.


While the Ataribox project may be full of struggles, we haven't seen a lot of the hard work yet.



And none of the backers will ever taste the butter.

#4278554 ZeroPage Homebrew Twitch Stream

Posted by Nathan Strum on Mon May 20, 2019 5:01 PM

:-o Wow :-o   Those are some amazing scores!

I'm pretty sure those scores are going to result in some changes to the game, so that I can't achieve those sorts of scores. ;)


I wouldn't say I've figured out an exploit, but I will say there are some techniques which effectively make it so you can play the game indefinitely. Clearly, we can't release a game like that. :ponder:

I had not been interested in a Retron 77, but I am interested in this one, and can't wait to get on with the bidding. :thumbsup:

Cool! I'll be reaching out to other programmers and seeing how many goodies we can load this up with. The odds are these will all be ROMs that have been publicly released (since once on the RetroN 77, they're easily copyable), but a least they'll all be gathered up in one place.

#4278191 ZeroPage Homebrew Twitch Stream

Posted by Nathan Strum on Mon May 20, 2019 4:13 AM

Nice effort James! Of course, if you weren't distracted by being on camera, narrating what you were doing, keeping an eye on chat, and having a lovely redhead sitting next to you, I'm sure you'd do even better. :)


So of course I'll donate the RetroN 77. PM me and let me know the best way to get one to you. It might work best if I ordered it so it shipped straight to you, and then I could file share the image for the SD card (or mail an SD card all ready to go). But let me know, and when you'll need it by. Meanwhile, I'll gather up permission from some other homebrewers, and get a list of the games that will be on it.


I watched the rest of the stream later, and you asked how I was approaching the game - whether I went for maximum points by hitting things in flight, or something else. My sole strategy is to avoid getting hit, and shoot whatever is safe to shoot, regardless of where it is. If you stay alive long enough, you'll score enough points anyway...





#4278094 Champ Games - Galaga 2600

Posted by Nathan Strum on Sun May 19, 2019 8:43 PM

Personally, I'm not a fan of attributing homebrews to Atari, even just as a nod to nostalgia. Atari didn't make it, therefore they don't deserve the recognition. Even if it's just a catalog number.


I've never been a fan of using Atari style labels (or any other vintage company) for homebrews either. I think homebrews should have their own unique identity, and stand apart from what was created back-in-the-day.


I know there are collectors who would really like to have an Atari style Galaga box on their shelf, and some homebrew authors really achieve a sort-of wish fulfillment by having an Atari style label on their games, but I think it does them a disservice, by making their games look more generic.


But that's just my 25¢. :)

#4277637 ZeroPage Homebrew Twitch Stream

Posted by Nathan Strum on Sat May 18, 2019 11:43 PM

And it has to be tomorrow for the donation...



Well... they'll be some leeway with that. :) We'll see how far you get tomorrow.


Just to sweeten the deal a little, I'll load up the RetroN with homebrew games that I've worked on over the years (pending permission from the programmers, of course).

#4277621 ZeroPage Homebrew Twitch Stream

Posted by Nathan Strum on Sat May 18, 2019 10:33 PM




ZeroPage Homebrew is back to play stream some more of Champ Games' Galaga TOMORROW (Sunday) at 11AM PT on Twitch!


Twitch Stream: https://www.twitch.t...ropagehomebrew/


We'll be playing head to head the Arcade vs 2600 versions of Galaga hunting for bugs and gameplay accuracy. John Champeau has just sent over a NEW WIP version of Galaga to ZeroPage that updates a number of things including the ship capture bug. He's also added in Savekey support so we'll be able to retain our high scores!


Join us LIVE tomorrow (Sunday) on the ZeroPage Homebrew Twitch livestream at 11AM PT | 1PM ET | 6PM GMT for some more Atari 2600 Homebrew Gaming!


Cool! Seems like you're slightly enjoying John's new game. ;)


I don't think I'll be able to watch live. But here's a score (on Standard) for you to take a shot at tomorrow...




Although, if you'd rather play Advanced...




Beat either top score tomorrow, and I'll donate a Stella 6 updated RetroN 77 to the Stella Marathon Auction. :)


Have fun!  :D

#4277570 New Atari Console that Ataribox?

Posted by Nathan Strum on Sat May 18, 2019 7:44 PM

Why is there a fork in the picture? :ponder:



The fork is there to stab people in the hand who try to touch your tacos.

#4277569 Amoeba Jump

Posted by Nathan Strum on Sat May 18, 2019 7:43 PM

As a suggestion, would it be possible to add the option to the main screen selection or as a difficulty switch instead so the button isn't needed to be held down the whole time? Unless your intent is to play with a mixed game of short and long jumps?


I just played a few games of the new build and found I ended up holding down the button instead of switching back and forth between long and short jumps. What does everyone else think?



I found I did the same thing, although I like the short jumps at times. Maybe the difficulty switch toggles between two modes where either long jump is the default or short jump is the default, and the button lets you use the other.