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bhall408

Emulators with F18a Support?

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Are there any Coleco emulators with F18a support?

 

If not, would that be worth doing?

 

(We're currently adding SGM support to Project Argon)

 

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The big win for the old hardware is VGA.

 

The big win for both hardware and emulation is the extra sprites. Is that just a matter of not capping them?

 

Anything else you get feature/benefit wise with F18a?

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Posted (edited)
On 5/24/2020 at 9:42 AM, bhall408 said:

The big win for the old hardware is VGA.

 

The big win for both hardware and emulation is the extra sprites. Is that just a matter of not capping them?

 

Anything else you get feature/benefit wise with F18a?

Lots - there are extra graphics modes, dual planes, scrolling, multicolor sprites, character attributes, a bitmap overlay, and a high-speed 16-bit GPU with direct access to the video memory.

 

Have a look at JS99er, a web-based TI emulator with full support. http://js99er.net/

 

If you go down to "Software" at the bottom, there's a folder called F18A Specific - there you can select a number of demos to see what it can do.

 

Edited by Tursi

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1 hour ago, Tursi said:

Lots - there are extra graphics modes, dual planes, scrolling, multicolor sprites, character attributes, a bitmap overlay, and a high-speed 16-bit GPU with direct access to the video memory.

Ok, that is encouraging - there is some meat to it!

 

Is there a list/web page with all the Coleco games that will take advantage of it?

 

I tried a google search (nada) and also the games database at cvaddict (where f18a enhanced would be a great additional field, but no go - feature request @Kamshaft?)

 

(I did find the nice list of SGM titles there though -- https://cvaddict.com/list.php?filter=8)

 

If there is a critical mass of games that are f18a enhanced, or home-brews underway that would take advantage of it if it had a wider audience, then it should be worth the extra work to add it to our emulator...

 

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Not sure. @digress has used it in some of his titles, and the CollectorVision Phoenix supports it natively.

 

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Posted (edited)

 

25 minutes ago, bhall408 said:

Is there a list/web page with all the Coleco games that will take advantage of it?

 

If there is a critical mass of games that are f18a enhanced, or home-brews underway that would take advantage of it if it had a wider audience, then it should be worth the extra work to add it to our emulator...

From the CV Collectors Database (see below), there are currently only 4 homebrew games that have been released that make specific use of some of the enhanced features that the F18A provides (other than the sprites per line limit - see below).  These are:

  • Bosconian (Opcode Games)
  • Tank Battalion (Opcode Games)
  • Tank Mission (CollectorVision)
  • Warp & Warp (Opcode Games)

There is also another game in development called Tank Mission by Eris Creations (digress) that makes use of the F18A enhancements (http://eriscreations.com/index.php/video-games/colecovision-tank-mission-new-homebrew/)

 

Other than that, there are numerous games that benefit from an increase in the sprite per line limit from 4 to 32 to eliminate sprite flicker.  However, there are exceptions where this can cause issues, e.g.  with games that use sprite masking.  It is therefore important to be able to switch between the original sprite limit of 4 and the F18A enhanced sprite limit of 32.

 

 

 

Edited by Ikrananka

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1 minute ago, Ikrananka said:

Am I correct in guessing that more games from CollectorVision will use F18A features?

Definitely! :)

  • Like 2

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Posted (edited)


At least 6 that I know of and probably more. It'll be double digits for sure soon.

 

  • Dead Tomb (small gameplay preview above)
  • Bosconian (Opcode Games)
  • Tank Battalion (Opcode Games)
  • Tank Mission (CollectorVision) this is the same game as I was developing under Eris creations .
  • Warp & Warp (Opcode Games)

 

  • I'm also working on HEX with f18a (my capture card sucks)

 

Edited by digress
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On 5/25/2020 at 3:48 PM, Ikrananka said:

Other than that, there are numerous games that benefit from an increase in the sprite per line limit from 4 to 32 to eliminate sprite flicker.  However, there are exceptions where this can cause issues, e.g.  with games that use sprite masking.  It is therefore important to be able to switch between the original sprite limit of 4 and the F18A enhanced sprite limit of 32.

Is this noted/collected anywhere? If not, we'll do it and then share later on. I seem to recall from when I first got my Phoenix that Frogger may have been one that didn't like the enhanced sprite limit.

 

Related, is the increase to 32 or 64? I'd seen the Phoenix developer mention 64. And is that per scan line, or total anywhere?

 

At the least, I think we'll want to do enhanced sprite support.

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And the total number of definable sprite patterns in VRAM is 64, if I'm not mistaken. There's often some confusion about this (definable versus displayable sprites).

 

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so at least 7

 

  • Circus is also using F18a mode
  • Dead Tomb (small gameplay preview above)
  • Bosconian (Opcode Games)
  • Tank Battalion (Opcode Games)
  • Tank Mission (CollectorVision) this is the same game as I was developing under Eris creations .
  • Warp & Warp (Opcode Games)
  • HEX with f18a

 

technically I have a mr turtle redone using f18a as well but i'll probably never release it.

Also a barbarian with f18a game that might be abandoned

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4 hours ago, Pixelboy said:

And the total number of definable sprite patterns in VRAM is 64, if I'm not mistaken. There's often some confusion about this (definable versus displayable sprites).

Ah, that would explain why both 32 and 64 get mentioned.

What are the similar limits for stock hardware? 4 displayable out of <X>?

 

1 hour ago, digress said:
  • Circus is also using F18a mode

Circus Charlie?

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1 hour ago, bhall408 said:

What are the similar limits for stock hardware? 4 displayable out of <X>?

You can display 32 sprites on stock hardware (which can use up to 32 of 64 different sprite patterns), but on any particular TV screen scanline, only 4 sprites can be displayed. Anything over the first 4 sprites (for that scanline) will be ignored by the VDP.

 

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18 hours ago, Pixelboy said:

And the total number of definable sprite patterns in VRAM is 64, if I'm not mistaken. There's often some confusion about this (definable versus displayable sprites).

 

... I suppose, if you assume double-size sprites.... but that has nothing to do with the F18A...

 

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15 hours ago, digress said:

Also a barbarian with f18a game that might be abandoned

That'd be a shame - I hope you'll reuse that dragon somewhere...!

 

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4 hours ago, Tursi said:

... I suppose, if you assume double-size sprites.... but that has nothing to do with the F18A...

 

:? 

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7 hours ago, Tursi said:

That'd be a shame - I hope you'll reuse that dragon somewhere...!

 

i ported the zombies to hex from bararian so maybe the dragon too.

 

 

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So, we have experimented with lifting the limit entirely (rather than raising it from 4 to 32).

 

So far, so good. Makes the expected improvement with Burgertime as you see with the Phoenix.

 

In mucking with that code, we noticed a hardware bit is set when the sprites exceed the max. In our current case, that will never get set. Hoping that doesn't cause problems!

 

If there is a list of games that *depend* on the 4 sprite per scanline limit, that would be handy to have. ie, the ones where if you had an F18a, you'd need to disable it for that particular game. We can flag them in our server side database, and then default the feature to on unless black listed in the db.

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55 minutes ago, bhall408 said:

If there is a list of games that *depend* on the 4 sprite per scanline limit, that would be handy to have. ie, the ones where if you had an F18a, you'd need to disable it for that particular game.

I do believe Antarctic Adventure (at the least) is problematic w/ F18a present.

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3 minutes ago, mumbai said:

I do believe Antarctic Adventure (at the least) is problematic w/ F18a present.

Also, the homebrew game QBIQS (published by Team Pixelboy) uses sprite masking and so is best with the 4 sprites per line limit.

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