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Atari Lynx was superior over GameBoy.

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The Game Gear, honestly, has some of the most boring audio hardware I've ever seen. You have to be really creative to get good tunes out of it.

 

Yeah, the same simple 3-channel square wave +1 noise, TI PSG as the Master System (almost identical to the GG), and preceeding SG-1000, Colecovision, and similar to that used in the Intellivision and Atari ST.

 

Too bad they didn't add the YM2413 to the Gamegear as was done with the Japanese Master System (and as an add-on for the Mk. III) It's a shame the ST had such limited sound hardware as well, an FM synth chip probably being the cheapest option there too. (though I suppose they could have used some POKEYs or a modified derivative thereof)

Edited by kool kitty89

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@kool kity89

Not quite as bad as the GameBoy's though. Lol! If you want to hear poor audio, and I mean poor audio play a Epoch Game Pocket Computer or worse still a *choke* Milton Bradley Microvision, needless to say, they served there purpose, and I dunno if this is sad or what, but I still enjoy playing them. Lol!

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@kool kity89

Not quite as bad as the GameBoy's though. Lol! If you want to hear poor audio, and I mean poor audio play a Epoch Game Pocket Computer or worse still a *choke* Milton Bradley Microvision, needless to say, they served there purpose, and I dunno if this is sad or what, but I still enjoy playing them. Lol!

 

 

What's not as bas as the Gameboy's audio? The SMS/GG or the ST?

 

kool kity89: The one thing about the GB's processor, is that it's not a real z80. It's a hybrid between an 8080 and a z80. Also, like the 8080, it take 4 clock cycles to do one machine cycle (M) and unlike the z80 which is variable and uses T cycles. That's a constant. So while you'll see it rated at 4mhz, a lot of docs will also rate it at 1mhz. 1mhz for GB and 2mhz for GBC. Which is more accurate. I did some dev on the GB/GBC years back. It's a fun little system. Very simple and easy to use hardware too.

Edited by malducci

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To me, the backlight was one of the best features, not having backlight is why the Gameboy was awful. Still don't understand why people bought it. Lynx and Game gear were superior for playing. You could see the Da** game!

 

Yea I agree... The backlight was very much an asset to the Lynx.

 

 

 

 

I don't know about that, the Gameboy went up against 3 backlight systems, and won against all (within a few years even) Seems the Gameboy line did rather well without it for what? 14 years or something like that? My biggest problem with lighting on the gameboy, wasn't that there was no light, but that there was no light in the dark, in a well lit room, or during the day (where it happens, the average human being exists) then the Gameboy did perfectly fine against the competition.

 

Even if Lynx TE, and GG could have competed with price, those batteries the system use were quiet expensive to just throw away for a couple of hours on a toy, and you gotta remember, MOST of thses systems were in fact bought by parents, and therefor they bought with their pocketbooks, not with their tech knowledge, or brand fandom. I know, I know, some of you may have legitly bought the system yourself way back when, but remember, you represent a minority, not a majority.

 

As for sound, they all sound like boiling crap, the only reason they are tolerable is because of the sheer brilliance of the artists who made music on the things. I don't care about the internal hardware, I care about the end result, and to that end, a good musician could make good music on even the poorest of instruments. That being said, all systems have games with poor soundtracks and games with great soundtracks.

Edited by Video

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@Video

 

Well... That's a more realistic point of view. Nintendo just had the muscles to pull it off because of the restrictions they placed on the developers. I think Nintendo made most of not all of their developers require exclusive rights to certain games that couldn't be duplicated the same way on any other system, which is why most NES games never played the same as their arcade counterparts. The Genesis was really the company to help break the trend in market more so then Atari for whatever reason... I remember the Game Gear costing as much as the Genesis back in 92 or 93; I took mine back and traded it for a Geny because the GG used batteries quickly.

 

I don't know about that, the Gameboy went up against 3 backlight systems, and won against all (within a few years even) Seems the Gameboy line did rather well without it for what? 14 years or something like that? My biggest problem with lighting on the gameboy, wasn't that there was no light, but that there was no light in the dark, in a well lit room, or during the day (where it happens, the average human being exists) then the Gameboy did perfectly fine against the competition.

 

The Gameboy did seem like it should've had some kind of light to it similar to how the old whirst watches were made at that time. Of course watches back then didn't have the type of back light it have today but they did have a small light where you could press a button and it lights a yellowish night light. The Gameboy looked like that kind of portable system until you paid for it and played.

 

Even if Lynx TE, and GG could have competed with price, those batteries the system use were quiet expensive to just throw away for a couple of hours on a toy, and you gotta remember, MOST of thses systems were in fact bought by parents, and therefor they bought with their pocketbooks, not with their tech knowledge, or brand fandom. I know, I know, some of you may have legitly bought the system yourself way back when, but remember, you represent a minority, not a majority.

 

Well I do have to admit that over the years past my youth I did become some what of a techy. Although from a technical standpoint the Lynx was/is supperior, that just wasn't enough to pull developers from the comfort zone of the Nintendo franchise.

 

As for sound, they all sound like boiling crap, the only reason they are tolerable is because of the sheer brilliance of the artists who made music on the things. I don't care about the internal hardware, I care about the end result, and to that end, a good musician could make good music on even the poorest of instruments. That being said, all systems have games with poor soundtracks and games with great soundtracks.

 

True enough... It seem like Tim Follin could make a crap tune chip sound like a full fledge keyboard workstation. That was a bad dude. :)

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The Gameboy did seem like it should've had some kind of light to it similar to how the old whirst watches were made at that time. Of course watches back then didn't have the type of back light it have today but they did have a small light where you could press a button and it lights a yellowish night light. The Gameboy looked like that kind of portable system until you paid for it and played.

 

Umm, how about this:

 

light_light_on.gif

 

Yeah, that's more like a modern watch light and it came out in '97. They should have used some kind of sidlightng like earlier LCD watches, particularly if they used a couple LED's (many of those watches used little incandescent bulbs which used substancially more power and will eventually burn out)

 

Of course they did endo up more or less doing this with the GBA SP years later... (granted with diffusers to better approximate real backligining and elliminate glare)

 

There were of course lighting accessories as well, I've got a couple for the GBP (which can be forced on the GBC as well), basicly a clip on device with a maginifying lense and 2 lights that shine onto the screen, a bit awkward and requiring seperate batteries, but for what it's worth it works fairly well. (still, onboard switchable lighting of a similar type should have been relatively cheap and simple, while limited in quality, it would provide a bit of an advantage in dim lighting and for the time it should be decent)

 

True enough... It seem like Tim Follin could make a crap tune chip sound like a full fledge keyboard workstation. That was a bad dude. :)

 

Yeah, and I recently found this:

0_0 I wonder if anthing similar has been done on the ST... (same chip after all, but much more resourses) Edited by kool kitty89

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The Spectrum Demo community really just pushes the Sinclair to the limits... I'll be glad when the new USB flash carts are released for the Lynx to see what kind of demo will come from that.

and
really pushed the Lynx it'll be cool to see more graphical demos.

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The Spectrum Demo community really just pushes the Sinclair to the limits... I'll be glad when the new USB flash carts are released for the Lynx to see what kind of demo will come from that.
and
really pushed the Lynx it'll be cool to see more graphical demos.

 

Yeah, though I thnik it shows more what you can do with tracker on a little 4 (3.58) MHz Z80 and a bit of RAM for samples (that one was with Spectrum 48K), the sound chip is just being used as a DAC (as he mentioned, even the beeper could be used instead) doing the rest in software with the CPU; so the Genesis should be capable of that stuff too through the channel 6 DAC of the YM2612, though the Z80 only has direct access to 8 kB (32 K of main RAM is accessible through bankswitching, but that'a a bit cumbersome), of course you could expand things by using the 68k instead, working with the main 64 kB of work RAM. (though this would be of limited utility in an actual game, unlike using the dedicated Z80; I'd immagine the Atari ST would have been in a similar situation) Still, there is some nice music using some limited samples (particularly drums) with the 2612 DAC on the Genesis.

 

With the Lynx, you could probably do some nice synth work for a demo using the resourses available. (i's got the 4 8-bit DAC's available to use and 64K of main RAM) THat would be something interesting to see, if only from a technical standpoint.

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Too bad they didn't add the YM2413 to the Gamegear as was done with the Japanese Master System (and as an add-on for the Mk. III)

 

Any idea why they didn't? I can't imagine a 5 year old chip would have cost Sega much; was power consumption the issue?

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Any idea why they didn't? I can't imagine a 5 year old chip would have cost Sega much; was power consumption the issue?

 

Yeah, and it was designed to be low cost in the first place (probably the most cut-down Yamaha FM synth chip available), though any small cost can be significant. Granted the backligt was probably the biggest expense, but I suppoe they had to draw the line somewhere. Could have been a nice feature to considder putting in a true successor to the GG, had they developed one.

 

Several people already expressed they feel the backlight is a critical feature (at least for the lynx), but I really think having color is a pretty big advantage alone over the monochrome GB, an advantage lasting until 1998. (and, of course, backlit screens are prectically invisible in bright light/sunlight, where the GB thrives, and any unlit reflective backed LCD screen will as well) In addition to cost, the backlit screens added somewhat to bulk (which alone would increase cost somewhat), and much more significantly, it sucked a ton of power (power hungry flouro tube), it probably cut battery life in 1/2, at the very least.

 

At least they should have offered non-lit screens "lite" versions of these. (cheaper and probably a bit more compact) Given the battery life, they may have become more popular.

 

I'll bet a big reason Nentendo went so long without a backlight was largely due to the power hungry nature of commonly available lighting mechanisms availble as well as the added cost. Hence, when they finally came out with the GBA SP, it still only had a "sidelit" screen using side mounted LED's with diffusers. Not until the very late models with the SP+ did they have true backlighting.

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Any idea why they didn't? I can't imagine a 5 year old chip would have cost Sega much; was power consumption the issue?

 

I imagine they wanted to keep some sort of compatibility with the Master System. Some of the same games appeared on both systems.

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I imagine they wanted to keep some sort of compatibility with the Master System. Some of the same games appeared on both systems.

 

Umm, it would be included in addition to the simple PSG, as mentioned the Japanese SMS had the YM2413 built in, and the earlier Sega SG-1000 Mk.III had it available as an add-on. There are several SMS games that utilize it, most of which support PSG and switch to FM only when the 2413 is present, but at least one title use both together. (as many genesis games use the SMS's PSG in addition to it's YM2612)

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Umm, it would be included in addition to the simple PSG, as mentioned the Japanese SMS had the YM2413 built in, and the earlier Sega SG-1000 Mk.III had it available as an add-on. There are several SMS games that utilize it, most of which support PSG and switch to FM only when the 2413 is present, but at least one title use both together.

 

As far as I'm aware, there's only one thing that uses both the FM chip and the master system's native sound ability together: the 'insert a cartridge' screen on the Japanese SMS. If there's another, I'd love to hear it.

 

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Has anyone mentioned the c64's SID chip yet? Now that's what I call a great synthetic sound chip, probably the best of tha era (?) Beatiful variation and soft/subtle sound (bass type sounds were esspecially amazing!). I always wished Commodore had included that chip alongside the A500/A600's PCM Paula. Having the option of the two would have been great! :)

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As far as I'm aware, there's only one thing that uses both the FM chip and the master system's native sound ability together: the 'insert a cartridge' screen on the Japanese SMS. If there's another, I'd love to hear it.

 

 

I think it was wonder boy III. (I'll go check)

 

Yep, definitely that one. (I think most/all music and sfx are retained from the PSG only mode, but the YM2413 adds some percussion insruments and probably more, I only tested the first level)

It's one of those games that only seems to work with the 2413 when in a JP SMS. (at least that's what Fusion is doing)

Edited by kool kitty89

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Wonder Boy III is FM only. I disabled the FM in Fusion during gameplay and can't hear anything.

 

On the other hand, games like Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars and Captain Silver use FM for music and sound effects, but PSG for voices, alternating between the two chips. If you disable the FM during those games, you'll only hear the voices.

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Has anyone mentioned the c64's SID chip yet? Now that's what I call a great synthetic sound chip, probably the best of tha era (?) Beatiful variation and soft/subtle sound (bass type sounds were esspecially amazing!). I always wished Commodore had included that chip alongside the A500/A600's PCM Paula. Having the option of the two would have been great! :)

barf o! A pokey would have been better for arcade sounds

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The Lynx's audio actually is somewhat similar in structure to the TIA and POKEY. Each of the four channels is composed of a down counter, polynomial counter, waveform generator, and DAC. The heart of everything is in the polynomial counter, which allows you to (cheaply) make a wide variety of waveforms instead of just square waves. So the sound programmer can easily use square, saw (ish), triangle (ish), and noise waveforms with varying duty cycle and "accuracy." The strength of the Lynx audio is that you have all of this waveform variety, but the hardware has no volume or pitch sweeps built into it, so you must do complex envelopes in software (Which isn't too big a deal, the PC Engine is in a similar situation, albeit with much greater capability per channel). You can also shut off the audio hardware for any of the four channels and write directly to the DAC(s) for sample playback, but this of course takes some CPU time.

 

OK, I read this well back durring this discussion, but one question now. Could the DACs in the POKEY be written to directly for sample playback or are the similarities limited to the sound generation?

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OK, I read this well back durring this discussion, but one question now. Could the DACs in the POKEY be written to directly for sample playback or are the similarities limited to the sound generation?

The DACs can be written to directly by the Lynx's CPU. You simply disable the audio hardware for a given channel and write directly to the 8-Bit DAC using the volume register. Pretty much the same thing as a regular Pokey or the PC Engine's DAC setup except with greater accuracy (than good old Pokey, that is). But of course, if you're doing anything but playing back single samples per channel (mixing, etc) you have to do it in software. So things like software MOD playback will use large amounts of CPU time. But even just playing a single sample requires the CPU to write to that DAC. If you're doing something very busy on the CPU, DAC playback isn't always the best idea. The PC Engine is much faster than the Lynx, so it's less of a burden over there.

 

If by "similarities" you mean my comment about the PC Engine audio hardware:

I meant that the Lynx and PCE are in a similar situation sound hardware wise, since they can both create a multitude of waveforms, have free DAC playback on each of their channels, and (in the case of the Lynx II) support panning and attenuation. But there is no envelope hardware, which means they require more CPU fiddling. In terms of actual sound generation hardware, the two are very different, and you can actually use a simple FM-like sound mode on the PCE with the first two channels. But the comment was purely to illustrate that the two pieces of hardware are capable of a variety of interesting sounds, and the lack of envelope hardware isn't particularly going to hurt either.

Edited by TailChao

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If by "similarities" you mean my comment about the PC Engine audio hardware:

I meant that the Lynx and PCE are in a similar situation sound hardware wise, since they can both create a multitude of waveforms, have free DAC playback on each of their channels, and (in the case of the Lynx II) support panning and attenuation. But there is no envelope hardware, which means they require more CPU fiddling. In terms of actual sound generation hardware, the two are very different, and you can actually use a simple FM-like sound mode on the PCE with the first two channels. But the comment was purely to illustrate that the two pieces of hardware are capable of a variety of interesting sounds, and the lack of envelope hardware isn't particularly going to hurt either.

 

I menat specifically compared to the POKEY, I wasn't sure if the analogy was limited to the polynomial based sound generation or if POKEY's DAC's could be written to directly as well. (rathter than using tricks to play samples like on some contemporary sound chips) You mentioned TIA as well, was it basicly in the same situation as pokey in terms of the DAC's?

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I menat specifically compared to the POKEY, I wasn't sure if the analogy was limited to the polynomial based sound generation or if POKEY's DAC's could be written to directly as well. (rathter than using tricks to play samples like on some contemporary sound chips) You mentioned TIA as well, was it basicly in the same situation as pokey in terms of the DAC's?

Pokey has a "Direct Volume" mode (I think that's the term used in some manuals) where you write 4-Bit values to a register and those are directly output ala a DAC. You can do this on each of Pokey's four generators. The TIA's only similarity to the Lynx and Pokey is that it uses a poly counter setup, it has no "DAC Mode."

 

For all intents and purposes consider the Lynx's audio Pokey with greater accuracy, more waveforms, better DACs, and stereo sound (in the Lynx II).

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Pokey has a "Direct Volume" mode (I think that's the term used in some manuals) where you write 4-Bit values to a register and those are directly output ala a DAC. You can do this on each of Pokey's four generators.

 

For all intents and purposes consider the Lynx's audio Pokey with greater accuracy, more waveforms, better DACs, and stereo sound (in the Lynx II).

 

Does POKEY feature 4-bit DACs or is that just a limitation of the "DAC mode" and when using the DACs in this manner can the channels be configured comobined into higher resolution ones. (wikipedia's page on POKEY mentiones it featuring 4x 8-bit channels that can alternately be configured as 2 16-bit channels or a single 16-bit plus 2 8-bit channels)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POKEY

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Does POKEY feature 4-bit DACs or is that just a limitation of the "DAC mode" and when using the DACs in this manner can the channels be configured comobined into higher resolution ones. (wikipedia's page on POKEY mentiones it featuring 4x 8-bit channels that can alternately be configured as 2 16-bit channels or a single 16-bit plus 2 8-bit channels)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/POKEY

"4x8-Bit Channels" refers to the down counter per channel. In order to reduce cost, Pokey (and the Lynx) use a simple down counter to generate a frequency to feed into the polynomial counter. This is why Pokey has the capability for channel pairing in the first place, since an 8-Bit divider does not always supply a very tuned set of frequencies for notes, so the 16-Bit pairing increases the down counter size. The Lynx has larger counters and thus avoids this problem but still looses accuracy at high frequencies.

 

Pokey uses 4-Bit DACs, I don't know if there's any way to creatively get higher quality sound out of it. But 4-Bit is fine for what it is.

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