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Atari machine or emulator?


JohnW
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I have real Atari's but packed away because of space so I use Altirra these days, I like many here started out with A800 then Atari800win came out which for me was easier to use, I went on to WinPlus and then Altirra which is SUPERB..

 

Because of Altirra's multitude of features I prefer it over a real machine but in the end some prefer the real machine because it feels right and I don't blame them. For me Altirra offers a plus that the real machine can't, its instantly changeable without the soldering and hassle, I can go from any configuration of hardware.

 

But the hardy real machine folks see that as the only faithful way to play the 8 bit is on the real thing which is also true..

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I use both.

 

Altirra is THE emulator.

 

Advantages of the real thing:

1. Correct colors

2. Correct fine scrolling

3. Correct look of pixels on CRT

 

But isn't it true that the colours vary from machine to machine and TV to TV so what is correct to you may vary even a tiny bit to the next person?

 

What is different with the scrolling, seriously I play most games in US format full screen and vsync on a 60Hz crt monitor, looks pretty good to me?

 

Same with the pixels, I use square pixels for the UK stuff and standard for US stuff, is it really that different?

 

Just curious, its not a pro Altirra thing, just would like to hear the differences.

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But isn't it true that the colours vary from machine to machine and TV to TV so what is correct to you may vary even a tiny bit to the next person?

 

All true; but what I've found is that even with a fair amount of tweaking there are things that just don't match up well with how Altirra renders its colors. It should be possible to match them fairly well with enough adjustment, even considering what you mention.

 

 

What is different with the scrolling, seriously I play most games in US format full screen and vsync on a 60Hz crt monitor, looks pretty good to me?

 

Fine scrolling on the real thing is butter smooth, on Altirra it is not.

 

 

Same with the pixels, I use square pixels for the UK stuff and standard for US stuff, is it really that different?

 

I'm not just talking about the general shape of pixels on different systems, I'm talking about how pixels look on a CRT. Pixels of different colors will look wider or narrower, usually depending on the luminance, Pixels will bleed differently depending on which colors they are next to. Also scanlines look correct. Altirra looks correct in full screen, but it's not always convenient to be in full screen, depending on what I'm doing.

Edited by MrFish
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Thanks for answering those, is your monitor 50 / 60Hz and I wonder if the frame rate / speed options in altirra might affect the fine scroll effect.?

 

Just tried Astro Chase on NTSC (as my monitor only does 60 & 75hz and thought it looked pretty damn smooth..Well good enough for me :)

Edited by Mclaneinc
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I use the atari800 emulator. I don't use Windows much so I'm not on the Altirra train. Atari800 is still a very very good emulator that runs virtually everything I throw at it.

 

Yup its a damn fine multi OS emu, I just hate the DOS interface :)

 

Certainly one for anyone who does not like Windows much..

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Thanks for answering those, is your monitor 50 / 60Hz and I wonder if the frame rate / speed options in altirra might affect the fine scroll effect.?

 

Just tried Astro Chase on NTSC (as my monitor only does 60 & 75hz and thought it looked pretty damn smooth..Well good enough for me :)

 

Play something like Super Cobra, that has a constant rate of scrolling, and see if you don't get some stutter in Altirra.

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Play something like Super Cobra, that has a constant rate of scrolling, and see if you don't get some stutter in Altirra.

 

Oh I don't doubt you, I'll give it a shot just to see what happens though..

 

Just had a play on NTSC Windowed and FS, definite shudders at times under Window mode, FS was pretty good, think I had 1 or 2 very minor snatches, for the most part it was silky smooth but its never going to beat the real thing on the right monitor.

 

As said, good enough for me although I don't have much choice unless I want my wife amputating bits of me for making more mess :)

Edited by Mclaneinc
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DOS interface?

 

It may have changed since you used it. It now has an "ATASCII menu" interface if you hit F1

 

I'm just looking at the SDL version 3.1.0 (The actual DOS one isn't 64bit so won't run), when I say DOS I mean its all keyboard use for menu's, you could see it as me meaning DOS like..

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I'm just looking at the SDL version 3.1.0 (The actual DOS one isn't 64bit so won't run), when I say DOS I mean its all keyboard use for menu's, you could see it as me meaning DOS like..

Ah ok, I get what you mean now. I thought you meant the command line interface it used to depend on.

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Also scanlines look correct. Altirra looks correct in full screen, but it's not always convenient to be in full screen, depending on what I'm doing.

 

I take that back about scanlines. You can make scanlines look right (evenly spaced) in Altirra's windowed mode if you use "fixed multiples" for your "stretch mode".

 

[Edit] I will say that "fixed multiples" is not always practical, though. Most times I'd like the window to be a particular size, and that size usually doesn't correspond to a fixed multiple.

Edited by MrFish
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Atari 800 Emulator 3.1.0 has superior Blargg CRT effects compared against Altirra.

 

It's rather simple. If you want versatility, speed, convenience, reliability, and less frustration, go with an emulator. Otherwise you'll forever be mussing & fussing with recalcitrant hardware.

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What happens if you don't use "fixed multiples"? I can't tell the difference when switching between "fixed multiples" and "Preserve AR".

 

Nothing, until you resize the window to something that's not a fixed multiple. :)

 

Then you get something like this.

 

[Edit] Basically, it has to be something that is sufficiently small enough that "even spacing" is not possible to simulate (even with bilinear filter, etc.).

 

post-6369-0-58170800-1521565465_thumb.png

Edited by MrFish
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You're right, "Sharp Bilinear" helps a lot, particularly if you set the "Filter Sharpness" to "Sharper",

and prevents banding in most situations.

 

[Edit] [Note: I was using normal "Bilinear" in the screenshot above.]

 

But I can still get banding if I size the window small enough, as shown below -- though definitely not as pronounced as above.

 

post-6369-0-32260200-1521566747.png

Edited by MrFish
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Yeah: still doesn't look too great. What graphics API are you using in Altirra? I'm using D3D9 with a crappy old GeForce 210. I do see moire effects from time to time with stuff like dithered hi-res patterns but changing the filtration method can make a big difference.

 

EDIT: Note my display window is always fairly small (about 1000 x 700) since I have the debugger open on a second 1080p monitor 100 per cent of the time.

Edited by flashjazzcat
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Same here for display method, D3D9, with an NVidia GeForce GTX 260.

 

I prefer the softness of the straight-up "Bilinear" filter, but I'll probably use the "Sharp Bilinear" option now, when I want to see how some things look with scanlines (I usually just sized the window large enough to eliminate banding before).

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They still look evenly spaced to me. The banding looks like a moire effect created by the filter.

 

It is directly related to uneven spacing. If you set your "Filter Mode" to "Point", and go about resizing your window, you'll hardly find it possible to eliminate the banding at any window size. The filters only help to minimize the banding.

 

Actually, I just tried out "Bicubic" filtering and it looks like it's also quite good at eliminating the banding.

Edited by MrFish
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I get the same issue with WinUAE, the banding is pretty bad but they have the option of overlays or masks which are much better. With Altirra I just leave the PAL artifacting or NTSC artifacting, I'm the only guy who likes his picture to look as least sharp as possible.

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