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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:03 pm 
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93143 wrote:
tepples wrote:
So if you're targeting a Super NES game to NTSC TVs made since 1995, I propose these parameters:
  • Visible area: 256x176
  • Title safe area: 240x160

Why?

Agreed -- I have the same question. These seem like very extreme limitations/proposals compared to full 256x224 (speaking strictly about NTSC). I could understand 240x200 or something of the sort, but...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:14 pm 
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As byuu wrote: "If more games did this, then we'd have an easier time scaling games to fill widescreen monitors, too."

TVs made in the past decade aren't shaped the same as old boxy CRTs. I just ran 240p Test Suite for Super NES on my Vizio VX32L TV, and it shows all 256 pixels across and 169 scanlines up and down when in "zoom"/de-windowbox mode. 256x176 active will ensure the full visible area of the widescreen TV is covered, and 240x160 safe gives a bit of margin for differences in exact cropping position from one TV to another.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:03 pm 
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Why not play at 4:3? :lol: It looks like crap if you zoom it up, or at least on my TV (I switched to a CRT recently, I'm talking about my older TV, although that one was a cheap Emerson TV so that probably doesn't help.) Even on something like a GameCube game, I don't select widescreen because it only magnifies that the original resolution is 4:3, 480p. Most of the text becomes unreadable then. I don't know, does anybody else play older games either stretched out or zoomed in?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:16 pm 
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I had a feeling tepples' recommendation related to aspect ratio. Yeah, sorry, I don't really agree (difference in opinion, neither of us are wrong!). I'd rather run at 4:3 and have black bars on the sides/top/bottom if need be; Espozo and I seem to have the same opinion.

Aspect ratio scaling is always a PITA these days anyway. At least TVs now are pretty much 16:9 across the board; computer monitors are a completely different story (4:3, 16:9, 16:10, 21:9, etc.). I feel bad for anyone having to deal with scaling though -- one of the reasons why I think kevtris' Hi-Def NES is such an amazing creation, things look so good despite the aspect ratio change.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:58 pm 
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The point isn't to throw pixels away just so you get widescreen support.

It's to ensure compatibility with those of us (like myself) still running classic 4:3 CRTs with the edges cut off due to overscan, and also to buy extra Vblank time, which the NTSC SNES was very much starved of. PAL SNES was fine, the 50hz refresh rate ensured plenty of Vblank time. The widescreen support is the icing on the cake.

Of course, it's completely pointless to discuss (let alone debate) how things "should have been done" twenty years later. They didn't know we'd have widescreen TVs that couldn't properly display progressive analog signals.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:28 pm 
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byuu wrote:
The point isn't to throw pixels away just so you get widescreen support.

It's to ensure compatibility with those of us (like myself) still running classic 4:3 CRTs with the edges cut off due to overscan, and also to buy extra Vblank time, which the NTSC SNES was very much starved of.

I'm a little confused by this statement. Your 4:3 CRT has overscan that doesn't apply to width (i.e. 256 pixels wide is completely visible), while height-wise its overscan so extreme that it justifies losing 64 pixels (224 vs. 160) or 48 pixels (224 vs. 176)? I know overscan amounts vary per screen, but usually there's a ratio between how much is lost vertically and horizontally. Sorry if I'm being pedantic about this, it just caught me by surprise!

My point was that losing 64 or 48 scanlines worth of on-screen real estate is pretty severe (64 scanlines = 28%, 48 scanlines = 21%). The resolutions discussed so far (focusing solely on NTSC), including the original/stock resolutions, aren't really 4:3 (1.33333) or 16:9 (1.77777) anyway, right?

256/224 = 1.14285 (native SNES resolution NTSC)
256/176 = 1.45454 (tepples' proposed "visible area")
240/160 = 1.50000 (tepples' proposed "title safe area")
240/200 = 1.20000 (the res I made up off the top of my head)
224/192 = 1.16666 (mentioned by 93143, re: Super FX titles)
256/208 = 1.23076 (Yoshi's Island)

Totally 100% agree that it's pointless to discuss how things "should've been done" back then. Every time I see a thread spiral downward into that subject I think "Still waiting on that nesdev forum-invented time machine..."


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:05 pm 
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As near as I can tell, the suggestion being presented is:
IF you are writing a new game
AND you need lots of extra vblank time for I/O to PPU memory
THEN you might consider explicitly targeting modern HDTVs' "de-windowboxing" zoom mode.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:51 pm 
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koitsu wrote:
The resolutions discussed so far (focusing solely on NTSC), including the original/stock resolutions, aren't really 4:3 (1.33333) or 16:9 (1.77777) anyway, right?

Factoring in the 8:7 PAR for an NTSC SNES:

SNES native (256x224) - 1.30612
tepples visible (256x176) - 1.66234
tepples title safe (240x160) - 1.71429
koitsu random (240x200) - 1.37143
Stunt Race FX (256x191) - 1.53179
Yoshi's Island (256x208) - 1.40659
Doom, Dirt Trax FX (216x176) - 1.40260
Super Mario Kart (256x216) - 1.35450 (closer to 4:3 than SNES native...)
Star Fox (224x190) - 1.34737 (even closer)
93143's shmup port (240x206) - 1.33148 (closer still - but the height is driven by DMA requirements and isn't final)
Vortex, Star Fox 2, Wolfenstein 3D (224x192) - 1.33333

If you want 16:9, you're looking at roughly 256x165 at full width. 248x160 is pretty close too, in addition to being divisible by 8 in both axes. 224x144 is exact (as are 252x162 and 238x153).

PAL is of course a whole other ball of wax...

...

I agree that 48-64 lines is a lot of real estate to lose if you aren't specifically targeting HDTVs, and it's really quite a lot of DMA bandwidth to need if you aren't doing FMV. If I were writing a SNES game for HDTV users, which I'm not, I'd consider using Mode 5 with interlace - the huge increase in DMA bandwidth from trimming the screen to 16:9 would help offset the increased data requirements...

Besides, 16:9 on CRT tends to look worse than 4:3 on HDTV, partly because CRTs are typically smaller and partly because the 16:9 image is inevitably lower resolution (which hurts on HDTV too). Perhaps a software-selectable "widescreen mode" could be useful here?

(Anybody up for designing a whole game in both Mode 1/2 and Mode 5/6, so as to offer a widescreen mode that doesn't look like a wall of Lego on a 70" HDTV without needlessly sacrificing features and overstressing the limited DMA bandwidth in 4:3 mode?)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:41 pm 
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> its overscan so extreme that it justifies losing 64 pixels (224 vs. 160) or 48 pixels (224 vs. 176)?

Oh, tepples was providing some 16:9-equivalent resolutions, and I wasn't very clear, sorry.

I'm advocating for removing one or two tile froms the top and bottom. So either 256x208 or more extremely, 256x192. After aspect correction, it's of course not 16:9, but it's much better. If you combine it with something like half-scale, half-zoom, you could probably fill a 16:9 monitor without cutting off any critical gameplay sections without distorting the aspect ratio much.

Again, the point isn't to make games look good on widescreen TVs. It's because the SNES is severely starved for Vblank time in NTSC mode. I've had to resort to prerendering proportional font tiles for all items/spells/names/etc in games to compensate for the slower CPU speed; and then multi-frame DMA tricks with very difficult tilemap/tiledata buffering to prevent artifacts onscreen during these uploads.

> My point was that losing 64 or 48 scanlines worth of on-screen real estate is pretty severe

Agreed.


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