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PCE/TG16 tidbits


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On 10/16/2023 at 12:42 PM, Mittens0407 said:

That's interesting! I wonder if the developers were used to stacking sprites to dodge color limits like on the Famicom (even though it's not necessary on the PCE). Or maybe they had some planned easter egg in mind lol.

Yeah! Some hucard early-ish games use 3bpp for tiles/cells instead of 4bpp.. but then layer them with sprites to get past the 7 color limit when needed. And that layered sprites allowed for more animation for less storage, so might as well do them as 3bpp anyway. Some SNES games do this as well (using 3bpp instead of the full 4bpp) - Zelda ALttp.

 

 But they could have made it so that as they took damage, the armer came off hahah. Who knows.. maybe there's a cheat that allows it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been trying to find uses and think of ways PC-Engine' High Res mode could be used for things.. I mean other than it being high res. For things like the original composite video, high res mode is nice in that you can make some serious high color and high res images. And I made an image converter and demo roms to show it off. But.. stills or such.. meh.

 

 You can only get soo excited over still images or such. What about action? So playing some Zelda 2 remake in wide screen got be thinking how PCE could handle this. I'm not the first person to think about tailoring graphics from that era console to work on wide screen TVs. The problem is that the pixels get stretched (anamorphic wide screen). SNES and low res PCE/MD/etc 256px get really stretched out. Even when you do correct for this aspect ratio.. them are fat pixels. Personally, not a fan (even on c64 or 7800). MD has a 320px mode, and they're still kinda wide. Wider than normally 256px res pixels on a 4:3, if that gives an idea (1.22 PAR in WS... ehhh. Doable, but ehhh). PCE's mid res is.. okay... in wide screen about the same low res 256px mode in 4:3 (1.14 PAR in WS).

 

But high res mode!!! The pixels get stretched out, but they're still pretty slim when viewed in wide screen ratio. Like, CPS-1 arcade slim on a 4:3 monitor.... slim (0.767:1 PAR)! If the pixel height was 1 unit, then the width would be 0.761 of a unit on PCE high res viewed as wide screen. And it would fill about 90% of the wide screen area too. Or make it wider if you wanted to (pce can do overscan). Anyway, so high res and full wide screen support! The real calling for PCE's high res mode hahah. A unique position where it can do something the other consoles can't really come close to. Hopefully you can see the Zelda 2 mockup pic from the twitter post. I converted it to PCE colors, and scaled/adjusted the image for PCE high res wide screen aspect ratio viewing. I mean hey, the last PCE game came out in 1999 (Dead of the Brain).. they had wide screen TVs by then. I think a Zelda 2 remake or clone/homage homebrew would work nicely.

 

 PS: Just for Kirk.. the snes can't do this. The "512px" wide mode he loves to tout about, is only for the background layer. It doesn't apply to sprites - they are always in low res mode. For some reason, he always leaves this detail out hahah. I wonder why...

 

 

Edited by turboxray
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Excellent thread to have 💪😤

 

Yo @turboxray, so I've had interest in targeting the PCE + Super CD-ROM, as it's a pretty beefy and seemingly  popular configuration (with many alt ways to reach compatibility with this form, such as upgrading the regular cd-rom rom, or getting the all-in-one Duo if you don't own a pce base console). Extra work ram, more audio options, and large media storage (I'm a stickler for hardware authenticity that I can compare to any era of a system's commercial life, including available ROM sizes). Maybe in the future I can design something that can work on multiple configurations, but just one for now.

 

Another one that seems fun is a SGX + regular CD Rom combo

 

I was wondering what are your thoughts on the kinds of set ups that would be a good place to develop on 😎

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On 11/7/2023 at 12:38 PM, JurassicDope said:

Excellent thread to have 💪😤

 

Yo @turboxray, so I've had interest in targeting the PCE + Super CD-ROM, as it's a pretty beefy and seemingly  popular configuration (with many alt ways to reach compatibility with this form, such as upgrading the regular cd-rom rom, or getting the all-in-one Duo if you don't own a pce base console). Extra work ram, more audio options, and large media storage (I'm a stickler for hardware authenticity that I can compare to any era of a system's commercial life, including available ROM sizes). Maybe in the future I can design something that can work on multiple configurations, but just one for now.

 

Another one that seems fun is a SGX + regular CD Rom combo

 

I was wondering what are your thoughts on the kinds of set ups that would be a good place to develop on 😎

 The only thing I would probably add to those combos, is either an upgraded SuperCD Bios/config to at least 512k ram instead of the on-cart 192k of added ram, just because the original memory foot-print becomes a limitation.. and not in a fun way, or target the Arcade Card (now that TeD emulates it, but someone else recently made an AC compatible hucard too). Many have talked about an SGX+AC+CDROM combo, and it definitely would be amazing (showing off what it's capable of)... but so far no one has done it. I personally like working with the arcade card because most of the time the memory is just graphics or maps, etc. I.e. not code. And the Arcade Card gives you a really nice set of what basically amounts to 4 beefy address registers to directly access that memory without "mapping" any of it. It's a qualify of life thing, very convenient, and makes code design a little cleaner/easier too.

 

 I would love to see an all out SGX+AC+CD project. But you can also do a bi-compatible projects that detects SGX. Not as exciting, but would reach a wider audience, and also hasn't been done in the homebrew scene.

 

 On top of that, Mesen 2 has come along and added PCE/SGX/CD support.. with an amazing debugger. PCE tools and development is in a much better state these days. If you have some ideas and would like to put together a proof-of-concept demo (single level or such), send me a PM. I'm pretty busy with work at the moment (been working OT over the past year), and I have a HuTrack music engine that I'm finishing up for a few people using it on their projects by the end of this year - but I'm planning out next year. And I'm looking to get stuff out the door and into PCE retro fans hands (playable stuffs).. and looking to put together a larger project. 

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20 hours ago, turboxray said:

 The only thing I would probably add to those combos, is either an upgraded SuperCD Bios/config to at least 512k ram instead of the on-cart 192k of added ram, just because the original memory foot-print becomes a limitation.. and not in a fun way, or target the Arcade Card (now that TeD emulates it, but someone else recently made an AC compatible hucard too). Many have talked about an SGX+AC+CDROM combo, and it definitely would be amazing (showing off what it's capable of)... but so far no one has done it. I personally like working with the arcade card because most of the time the memory is just graphics or maps, etc. I.e. not code. And the Arcade Card gives you a really nice set of what basically amounts to 4 beefy address registers to directly access that memory without "mapping" any of it. It's a qualify of life thing, very convenient, and makes code design a little cleaner/easier too.

 

 I would love to see an all out SGX+AC+CD project. But you can also do a bi-compatible projects that detects SGX. Not as exciting, but would reach a wider audience, and also hasn't been done in the homebrew scene.

 

 On top of that, Mesen 2 has come along and added PCE/SGX/CD support.. with an amazing debugger. PCE tools and development is in a much better state these days. If you have some ideas and would like to put together a proof-of-concept demo (single level or such), send me a PM. I'm pretty busy with work at the moment (been working OT over the past year), and I have a HuTrack music engine that I'm finishing up for a few people using it on their projects by the end of this year - but I'm planning out next year. And I'm looking to get stuff out the door and into PCE retro fans hands (playable stuffs).. and looking to put together a larger project. 

OT for the past year sounds rough! I sometimes have a lot of downtime myself due to a lousy medical illness I've been fighting the past 4 or 5 years, but luckily I still have my mental health so I can be able to handle a project or 3 at a time 😎

 

Well, now you mention it, it sure does look like it's high-time for an original project that focuses only on the SGX+AC+CD... and that variation is a monster... we get a taste of the 32x CD here and there (namely Doom Resurrection)... but I have a hard time finding anything for the SGX+AC+CD, not even fan ports 🙀

 

It would be sick if it ends up being something with qualities of a Sharp X68k and Neo Geo CD. Lots of Sprites per scanline, 2 bgs that can use raster tricks, high res mode, the already built-in massive quantity of palettes, XE1-AP controller compatibility, Software Rendering*, CD quality music, and you mentioned a Snes-like Window feature???

 

Mesen 2 sounds it'll really smooth out debugging hardships! So far I am imagining something a bit on the simpler side of presentation and gameplay, with this approach we can figure out a workflow easier before trying to do demoscene-level insanity. I look forward to those projects you are working on, I will keep an eye out for news on the HuTrack music engine! I'd also like to mention to anyone I collaborate with to not feel caged in or anything. If you like doing sidequests during a collab (like a sudden idea to experiment or doing a little work on a personal project), feel free and have fun, gamedevs will most likely need breaks from their main projects, you'll come back sharper, more energetic, and refreshed morale💪


* I know PCE isn't known for that (SW rendering), but I wonder if the 128kB VRAM and 2mB RAM can alleviate some processing using some baked gfx or double buffering. Plus PCE in general has that capability of writing to Vram during active display?... My CompSci skills are barely existant, but I'm in my late 30's trying to learn to be a technical artist for retro systems 😅 hopefully I can help bridge brilliant programmers and artists to really push graphical limitations by 2026, but I still have a ways to go.

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