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Author Topic: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320  (Read 880 times)

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tisurame

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I would like to force MAME to use a 1:1 pixel size, without any stretching (digital or analog). For example: games that use 256x240 or 288x240 should be displayed with black borders when using a 320x240 display resolution.

I think the regular MAME don't allow this kind of thing, because the image is always stretched. So, I would like to know what kind of option would allow GroovyMame to always select 320x240 when playing games with a horizontal resolution below 320. But, at the same time, select the the correct resolution for games above 320 - like CPS1 and CPS2 games which uses 384.

I don't need GroovyMAME to generate modelines on the fly. I just want GroovyMAME to pick the correct resolution already created for Windows.

That's because I think any resolution below 320 analog stretched to fill the screen looks bad, even on a CRT monitor. But any resolution above 320 shrinked to fill the screen looks much better.

Is it possible? How?

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That's because I think any resolution below 320 analog stretched to fill the screen looks bad, even on a CRT monitor.

Weird request... you understand that the original games were intended to fill a 4:3 display even though many didn't have square pixels (i.e. 1:1 width and height ratio) right?
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buttersoft

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Weird request... you understand that the original games were intended to fill a 4:3 display even though many didn't have square pixels (i.e. 1:1 width and height ratio) right?

I thought he just meant if you take lower-than-320 and stretch it into 320, not that his lower-than-320 should be narrower natively.

EDIT: Oh no wait, you're right! that's a weird thing to want.

Hmmm, i don't think i know the answer to the original question though, but i'll have a think. Someone else probably does, if only calamity :)

What do the stretch commands look like now? There used to be "unevenstretch_x" and more, but now i'm not sure. How are you getting GM to pick the correct above-320-wide non-super resolutions as it stands? By simply setting resolution to auto?
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 12:01:33 am by buttersoft »

tisurame

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 10:44:22 am »
That's because I think any resolution below 320 analog stretched to fill the screen looks bad, even on a CRT monitor.

Weird request... you understand that the original games were intended to fill a 4:3 display even though many didn't have square pixels (i.e. 1:1 width and height ratio) right?

Yes. I understand. But my conviction is that the lower resolution was a technical limitation and the analog stretch of CRTs was the trick used to get around this limitation. Some artists took in account the stretch, but from the way it looks, it was a minority. So, most games looks better with square pixels. See for yourself.

People in general don't like black bars, but I don't mind. I think 256 (8:7 aspect) stretched to 320 (4:3 aspect) looks as bad as 4:3 stretched to 16:9.

For reference: https://www.videogameperfection.com/forums/topic/43-87-aspect-ratio-correction-for-snes/

So, even popular games from big companies looks better with square pixels.

I know it sounds weird, but I prefer square pixels even on a CRT.

The exception are games that use a higher resolution than 320, like Capcom CPS1/2/3 games, because you are shrinking, not stretching.

tisurame

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 10:51:18 am »
Weird request... you understand that the original games were intended to fill a 4:3 display even though many didn't have square pixels (i.e. 1:1 width and height ratio) right?

I thought he just meant if you take lower-than-320 and stretch it into 320, not that his lower-than-320 should be narrower natively.

EDIT: Oh no wait, you're right! that's a weird thing to want.

Hmmm, i don't think i know the answer to the original question though, but i'll have a think. Someone else probably does, if only calamity :)

What do the stretch commands look like now? There used to be "unevenstretch_x" and more, but now i'm not sure. How are you getting GM to pick the correct above-320-wide non-super resolutions as it stands? By simply setting resolution to auto?

For anything above 320 GM is picking the right resolution (as it should) simply setting resolution to auto and enabling "switching resolutions to fit". But for resolutions below 320 (like 256x240), if I remove 256x240 from the windows driver (like I did), it will pick the wrong resolution (for example, 640x240) instead of 320x240.

Calamity

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 11:17:20 am »
For anything above 320 GM is picking the right resolution (as it should) simply setting resolution to auto and enabling "switching resolutions to fit". But for resolutions below 320 (like 256x240), if I remove 256x240 from the windows driver (like I did), it will pick the wrong resolution (for example, 640x240) instead of 320x240.

Well, actually both resolutions are wrong. Neither 640x240 nor 320x240 are correct for the case. But... GM, picks 640x rather than 320x because assuming it's going to require fractional stretching, 640x will produce a much better result. This behaviour is hardcoded and can't be reverted, e.g. by telling GM you don't plan to use fractional scaling.

I understand you must have a good reason for deliberately excluding 256x240 from your modelist, so I won't discuss that. GM automation won't work nicely without a mode list that's designed following certain rules.

So probably your only chance is to do the configuration manually for the required systems. In this sense, GM doesn't offer much advantage over baseline. Basically the options you need are:

-unevenstretch 0
-intscalex 1
-intscaley 1

This will force integer scaling, centering the picture and leaving the required black borders around.
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Recapnation

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2019, 12:52:37 pm »

Weird request... you understand that the original games were intended to fill a 4:3 display even though many didn't have square pixels (i.e. 1:1 width and height ratio) right?

Yes. I understand. But my conviction is that the lower resolution was a technical limitation and the analog stretch of CRTs was the trick used to get around this limitation. Some artists took in account the stretch, but from the way it looks, it was a minority. So, most games looks better with square pixels. See for yourself.

Lower display res. was indeed a way to get everything physically bigger as well as less stuff on-screen at once and therefore, save up some memory and processing requirements, but the artists who took into account the "stretch" were not a minority at all. For every supposed circle which turns into a oval, you'll find another which doesn't. Anyway, that shouldn't be an argument to think that they didn't take the "stretch" into account -- they just didn't care enough given that, in the world of analog displays, the aspect ratio and geometry regards were never an exact science, so an intended circle which got a bit flattened wasn't a concern if that allowed them to get the work done much earlier.

For a moment I was thinking that you just find more pleasant the way 320-width looks against say, 256-, to which I can sympathize with to an extent depending on the display you use, but this:

Quote
People in general don't like black bars, but I don't mind. I think 256 (8:7 aspect) stretched to 320 (4:3 aspect) looks as bad as 4:3 stretched to 16:9.

is in fact a weird way to understand the issue.

pubjoe

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 01:33:33 pm »
While itís true that some graphics donít scale as well as they should to a 4:3 ratio, this is usually due to inconvenient perimeters such as 8x8 tiles, combined with data optimisation (rotating a sprite to make 4 corners), sensible judgement (an 8x8 circle just looks more wrong when stretch is accounted for correctly), or just plain laziness.

But the graphic designers DID design for 4:3 output.  This is the finished product which was tested and tweaked, and while they might have arguably been a bit off with some small details the overall result is definitely most correct at 4:3.

pubjoe

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2019, 01:40:52 pm »
Well put Recapnation.  Sorry, I was typing the above while distracted by a few things (most of which also on my phone - stupid modern life) so I hadnít seen your reply.

And I donít mean to gang up on you, Tisurame.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 01:49:16 pm by pubjoe »

tisurame

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2019, 03:15:38 pm »
Lower display res. was indeed a way to get everything physically bigger as well as less stuff on-screen at once and therefore, save up some memory and processing requirements, but the artists who took into account the "stretch" were not a minority at all. For every supposed circle which turns into a oval, you'll find another which doesn't. Anyway, that shouldn't be an argument to think that they didn't take the "stretch" into account -- they just didn't care enough given that, in the world of analog displays, the aspect ratio and geometry regards were never an exact science, so an intended circle which got a bit flattened wasn't a concern if that allowed them to get the work done much earlier.

For a moment I was thinking that you just find more pleasant the way 320-width looks against say, 256-, to which I can sympathize with to an extent depending on the display you use, but this:

Quote
People in general don't like black bars, but I don't mind. I think 256 (8:7 aspect) stretched to 320 (4:3 aspect) looks as bad as 4:3 stretched to 16:9.

is in fact a weird way to understand the issue.

I sure find 320-width to look more pleasant than 256 because 320 fills the screen without stretching on a 4:3 TV screen.

I agree with you that designers didn't care enough. Then, if it was easier to design everything with square pixels, most games were designed with square pixels.

While itís true that some graphics donít scale as well as they should to a 4:3 ratio, this is usually due to inconvenient perimeters such as 8x8 tiles, combined with data optimisation (rotating a sprite to make 4 corners), sensible judgement (an 8x8 circle just looks more wrong when stretch is accounted for correctly), or just plain laziness.

But the graphic designers DID design for 4:3 output.  This is the finished product which was tested and tweaked, and while they might have arguably been a bit off with some small details the overall result is definitely most correct at 4:3.

Well, they designed for a 4:3 output in the same way that classic consoles were designed with composite or RF video connection in mind. But you can improve the picture using RGB.

Lots of people are playing classic games using profissional video monitors, and getting a much better picture quality than an old TV, but nobody designed the games back then thinking that people would be using a Sony PVM or something similar. Doesn't mean it won't look better on a PVM.

I'm sure that stretching the picture to fill the whole screen looks more authentic. But I'm not looking for authenticity. I just want the best picture quality and I think the picture looks objectively better without stretching, even if some small graphics details may look wrong for games that took the stretch into account. 
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 03:17:38 pm by tisurame »

Recapnation

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2019, 04:55:42 pm »
I sure find 320-width to look more pleasant than 256 because 320 fills the screen without stretching on a 4:3 TV screen.


"Stretching" what? You aren't "stretching" when using a CRT to display whichever pixels are being rendered by the hardware at the full screen width. A pixel doesn't have to have the same physical width as its heigth nor it's defined by this. Seems you have this LCD-era misconception which is doing no good to you.


Quote
I agree with you that designers didn't care enough. Then, if it was easier to design everything with square pixels, most games were designed with square pixels.

Even if that were true, "being designed with" doesn't equal to "being intended for".




Quote
Well, they designed for a 4:3 output in the same way that classic consoles were designed with composite or RF video connection in mind.

That's another popular misconception which seems nobody dares to counter once that water effect in whatever Sonic game you can't display with RGB got an internet homepage or something. But the thing is that even non-RGB consoles (which aren't that many, to begin with) were designed with RGB "in mind", even if in their minds was also the idea that they wouldn't include the RGB output/hardware in the consumer-level product in order to save costs. It's a matter of electronics. RGB is the only clean, pure signal, the only one which had a place in the professional fields. The rest are just derivative solutions which existed in the domestic areas and had to be contemplated due to unfortunate standardizations and retrocompatibility reasons. It's... interesting how the PC Engine, for instance, without an RGB output as everybody knows at this point, had pretty clear "RGB" screenshots in the software manual and boxes.



Quote
Lots of people are playing classic games using profissional video monitors, and getting a much better picture quality than an old TV, but nobody designed the games back then thinking that people would be using a Sony PVM or something similar. Doesn't mean it won't look better on a PVM.

I'm sure that stretching the picture to fill the whole screen looks more authentic. But I'm not looking for authenticity. I just want the best picture quality and I think the picture looks objectively better without stretching, even if some small graphics details may look wrong for games that took the stretch into account. 

The problem is that you have built this whole "picture quality" mindset around a false prerrogative (see above). There are technical reasons to state that RGB has more quality than composite video or S-video, no matter the case. That's "objective", but then again, tastes are not and you still find people defending the latter. They won't say "objectively", though.

tisurame

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2019, 06:56:41 am »
"Stretching" what? You aren't "stretching" when using a CRT to display whichever pixels are being rendered by the hardware at the full screen width. A pixel doesn't have to have the same physical width as its heigth nor it's defined by this. Seems you have this LCD-era misconception which is doing no good to you.

Stretching the picture through analog ways. You are certainly loosing some quality doing so (and facing a lot of graphical elements not looking the way it should because a lot of developers didn't care about the "stretching".

Quote

Even if that were true, "being designed with" doesn't equal to "being intended for".

That's another popular misconception which seems nobody dares to counter once that water effect in whatever Sonic game you can't display with RGB got an internet homepage or something. But the thing is that even non-RGB consoles (which aren't that many, to begin with) were designed with RGB "in mind", even if in their minds was also the idea that they wouldn't include the RGB output/hardware in the consumer-level product in order to save costs. It's a matter of electronics. RGB is the only clean, pure signal, the only one which had a place in the professional fields. The rest are just derivative solutions which existed in the domestic areas and had to be contemplated due to unfortunate standardizations and retrocompatibility reasons. It's... interesting how the PC Engine, for instance, without an RGB output as everybody knows at this point, had pretty clear "RGB" screenshots in the software manual and boxes.

The problem is that you have built this whole "picture quality" mindset around a false prerrogative (see above). There are technical reasons to state that RGB has more quality than composite video or S-video, no matter the case. That's "objective", but then again, tastes are not and you still find people defending the latter. They won't say "objectively", though.

About RGB vs composite: "being designed with" (RGB) doesn't equal to "being intended for" (RGB). The same way as "being designed with" (square pixels) doesn't equal to "being intended for" (square pixels).

There are people that defends composite (or some kind of filter that creates a similar effect) just because it looks better with certain graphic elements, ignoring it will look worse for everything else that looks better with RGB.

And how come a sharper and more defined picture doesn't look better? People may prefer the picture filling the whole screen because it's more immersive, looks bigger or something else. But you are definitely loosing some quality, even if it looks more authentic.
 

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2019, 09:34:10 am »
Quote
Stretching the picture through analog ways. You are certainly loosing some quality doing so

Analog stretching doesn't affect picture quality in a perceivable way -- you did that to adjust the picture everyday with CRT monitors, and they're meant to be used like that. What the monitor does when it's displaying at full-screen width sub-320-px resolutions is not "analog stretching", it's just a more "relaxed" way of placing the pixels of every scanline. If anything, you need to worry when the picture's horizontal res. is bigger than the number of "TV lines" your display is capable of, since the pixels start merging together. But not when it's smaller.



Quote
(and facing a lot of graphical elements not looking the way it should because a lot of developers didn't care about the "stretching".

If the artists didn't care about the "stretching", how come can you say that whatever object is not looking the way it should when "stretched" a bit?




Quote
About RGB vs composite: "being designed with" (RGB) doesn't equal to "being intended for" (RGB). The same way as "being designed with" (square pixels) doesn't equal to "being intended for" (square pixels).

What I tried to explain to you is that, 'cept for your mandatory anecdote, they indeed were ultimately intended for RGB, even for those few cases without the required RGB output.




Quote
And how come a sharper and more defined picture doesn't look better? People may prefer the picture filling the whole screen because it's more immersive, looks bigger or something else. But you are definitely loosing some quality, even if it looks more authentic.

And because, for most instances, that's the way you keep the intended pixel aspect ratio. And also, because they have better monitors than yours for displaying sub-320-px-width pictures, it seems.



« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 09:41:23 am by Recapnation »

tisurame

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2019, 09:39:43 am »
Analog stretching doesn't affect picture quality in a perceivable way -- you did that to adjust the picture everyday with CRT monitors, and they're meant to be used like that. What the monitor does when it's displaying at full-screen width sub-320-px resolutions is not "analog stretching", it's just a more "relaxed" way of placing the pixels of every scanline. If anything, you need to worry when the picture's horizontal res. is bigger than the number of "TV lines" your display is capable of, since the pixels start merging together. But not when it's smaller.

Stretching or not, it's just a matter of semantics. The horizontal size of the picture is changed. Squares becomes rectangles. Everything looks fat (or almost).

Arcade games that use 256, like NES and SNES games, looks nicer with square pixels. Proportions look right.

It just looks better.

Quote
If the artists didn't care about the "stretching", how come can you say that whatever object is not looking the way it should when "stretched" a bit?

Because to compensate the "stretching", the artists needed to go out of their way. So, if most artists didn't care, the way it should look is without "stretching".

Quote
What I tried to explain to you is that, 'cept for your mandatory anecdote, they indeed were ultimately intended for RGB, even for those few cases without the required RGB output.

You can use the same argument to say square pixels were their true intention, considering the graphic proportions in a lot of games looks right only with square pixels.

I really doubt (most) artists made a conscious decision to draw differently either the system were capable of display a horizontal resolution of 256 or 320.

I know there are exceptions, but overall square pixels looks better.

I just don't like when the graphics looks "fatter". But I can tolerate looking "taller".

Quote
And because, for most instances, that's the way you keep the intended pixel aspect ratio. And also, because they have better monitors than yours for displaying sub-320-px-width pictures, it seems.

I'm more like a collector, so I'm very used to all kinds of CRT monitors.

Recapnation

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2019, 01:24:57 pm »
I'd say it's a matter of misconceptions. And of making general rules from exceptions. And of going too far with presumptions. But hey.

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Re: Always choosing 320x240 for games using a horizontal resolution below 320
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2019, 02:50:39 pm »
Arcade games that use 256, like NES and SNES games, looks nicer with square pixels. Proportions look right.

Nooo... this is the exact reason that Street Fighter 2 looked weird on the SNES compared with the arcade. The proportions were wrong, wrong, wrong.

This hobby is interesting because people can pursue interesting things armed with only a novel idea and a spreadsheet.

By all means you should use whatever setup that makes you smile but I definitely believe the mainstream agenda was to simply fill the screen rather than getting out a calculator and ruler.
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