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Emulator palettes vs real NTSC TVs
http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=7261
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Author:  clueless [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Emulator palettes vs real NTSC TVs

I know that this question has potential for hotly contested debate, but...

Which NES emulator has a palette that best matches a properly tuned TV? I test my game in FCEUX, as I like its debugger. But my beta-tester uses nestopia and says that the colors are too dark (I'm about to download and test nestopia myself). I also test in nintendulator. What looks bright blue in FCEUX look purple to nintendulator.

I'd like to know which emulator I should use to tweak my game's palette choices with.

ps- I've experimented with FCEUX's "config -> palette -> NTSC Color Emulation", but I can't get it to match nintendulator's without loading a custom palette.

So what are the thoughts of the NTSC world?

Author:  tepples [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

My Vizio TV has picture-in-picture that can be set to inset or side-by-side mode. So I hooked a laptop up to VGA input and an NES up to composite input and ran an "all colors" demo on both. I was able to get Nestopia to make a nearly indistinguishable image.

The problem with the game you're talking about is that $01-$0C are very dark colors. Their luminance is halfway between $0D (superblack) and $00 (medium gray), so small areas of them are hard to notice on a $xF (black) background.

Author:  clueless [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:49 pm ]
Post subject: 

Would you kindly post/share/email your nestopia PAL file?

I want to try to load it into FCEUX.

Author:  tepples [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:26 pm ]
Post subject: 

1. Download Nestopia
2. Options > Video > Palette > Editor > YUV > Save As
result is this

And remember that the NTSC filter in Nestopia kind of blurs things, much as an actual TV would.

Author:  tokumaru [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

Even if it's not for the colors, you should run your software through Nestopia. In my own personal experience it has proven to be very accurate, sometimes even more so than Nintendulator. Combined with the NTSC filter, it makes a great tool for previewing programs, losing only to the real thing.

Accuracy-wise, FCEUX sucks, the only reason I use it is because of the debug tools. Nintendulator's CPU debugger is pretty good too, but PPU debugging not so much (and it's slow as hell).

Anyway, I think all 3 emulators have an important part in development, and I always use them during all my development sessions, and every week or so I test on real hardware, just to make sure everything is OK.

Author:  clueless [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you both for your input.

Are there any other emulators worth trying on?

I know that nesticle has a horrible reputation for accuracy. But I did like that one could use it to real-time visualize the wave forms on the 5 APU channels. Are there any better emulators that can do the same (in real-time)?

ps- I have used audacity to analyze sounds before, but never in conjunction with a NES emulator. Its kinda funny.. My company has a Sun (now Oracle) J4400 disk array. It began making a high-pitch beeping sound, but it was in a server room filled with other servers, so the entire room sounded like a jet engine. Sun support had no idea why the J4400 would beep. The tech said that he was unaware that it could. So I had a support tech at the colo record the sound with his cell phone. I used audacity to separate the white noise from the background and submitted the wave-form to second level support. The J4400 was making a 2600 Hz tone (which I found funny for other reasons).

Author:  tepples [ Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

clueless wrote:
I know that nesticle has a horrible reputation for accuracy. But I did like that one could use it to real-time visualize the wave forms on the 5 APU channels. Are there any better emulators that can do the same (in real-time)?

Some NSF players can.

Author:  thefox [ Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:46 am ]
Post subject: 

tokumaru wrote:
Accuracy-wise, FCEUX sucks, the only reason I use it is because of the debug tools. Nintendulator's CPU debugger is pretty good too, but PPU debugging not so much (and it's slow as hell).

I think the PPU debug window performance problems were fixed in the latest beta. FCEUX nametable viewer causes a BSOD on my Windows. :)

Author:  dlock [ Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Emulator palettes vs real NTSC TVs

You should try out Jnes. I loved nestopia I used to use it a lot but the sound on Jnes blows it out of the water. Other then that it looks a lot more bare (not as many features as nestopia). Like it can only do a 8 pixel wrap while nestopia can like configure the screen.
But overall it just sounds more crisp, Nestopia sounds slighty muffled when you compare it. Try it yourself with Tetris Theme: #1 you'll be rocking out in no time to Jnes :D.
Also it has a video filter that looks identical to Nestopia and zsnes. You need to select under drawing method: 'HQ4X'. The Nestopia YUV palette does look sweet I ain't gonna lie, I tried to match it with Jnes the best I could. Under custom palletes select: BMFFINER3.pal, most games look exactly the same minus maybe one color will be slightly different. Honestly If you dont have them side by side you wouldn't be able to notice a difference from openeing them both.
Im not sure what other features you would need other then better pixel wrapping.. Video and sound are my biggest gripes. Anyway check it out, I would also recommend 'ZSnes' for super nintendo and DosBox for any windows games thats are to old to install onto your computer. With DosBox you might need to adjust the 'cpu emulation speed'. By default it starts off pretty low like 3000 cycles, but i remember my games running faster (depending on how fast your cpu was) so I would crank it up to around 8-10k cycles. Hope this info helps :)

-Game on brotha, game on

Author:  Dwedit [ Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Emulator palettes vs real NTSC TVs

Necrobumped a thread just to promote an emulator with known inaccurate audio?

Author:  blargg [ Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Emulator palettes vs real NTSC TVs

I just tried Jnes and the audio has noticeable aliasing. Tried Nestopia and it's clean.

Author:  3gengames [ Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re:

thefox wrote:
tokumaru wrote:
Accuracy-wise, FCEUX sucks, the only reason I use it is because of the debug tools. Nintendulator's CPU debugger is pretty good too, but PPU debugging not so much (and it's slow as hell).

I think the PPU debug window performance problems were fixed in the latest beta. FCEUX nametable viewer causes a BSOD on my Windows. :)


It did that on my schools PC's too.

I use FCEUX for general development because of ease of debuging, and Nintendulator and Nestopia (Mainly nestopia) for accuracy tests. Mainly Nestopia as Nintendulator doesn't do right bankswitching sometimes, and has a Bankswitch and PPU andCPU problem with one of my current projects that works perfect on an NES (iirc, haven't worked on it in a little), Although Nestopia also has the PPU problem oddly. Fceux gets the splits wrong on the same project, but bankswitches and runs perfectly. Weird combo between all 3 "best" emulators. :)

Author:  dlock [ Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Emulator palettes vs real NTSC TVs

Meh maybe but old nestopie still sounds a tad muddy to me. 'To each their own'.. As for the necro work, these roms have been long dead and need all the help from google web searches for their revival. :D

-Game on None-Troll-Brothas, game on

Author:  mikejmoffitt [ Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Emulator palettes vs real NTSC TVs

dlock wrote:
Meh maybe but old nestopie still sounds a tad muddy to me. 'To each their own'.. As for the necro work, these roms have been long dead and need all the help from google web searches for their revival. :D

-Game on None-Troll-Brothas, game on


For many versions, Nesticle used the wrong waveform entirely for the 50% duty cycle square.

Author:  Drag [ Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Emulator palettes vs real NTSC TVs

mikejmoffitt wrote:
For many versions, Nesticle used the wrong waveform entirely for the 50% duty cycle square.

I wonder if that was a stylistic choice... it still bothered me though.

On the subject of emulator palettes vs real palettes:
Forget it. A 100% accurate reproduction of the NTSC NES's palette is impossible because the NTSC NES runs on the YIQ color space, and most computers I know of use RGB. YIQ is capable of generating colors that cannot be reproduced with RGB, and indeed, the blues and purples of the NES are out of gamut.

The only reason I'm so pessimistic on this is because I spent way too long trying to make it work anyway. This is what I came up with, and although it's not perfect, it looked close enough when I compared it against my CRT TV which is sitting right next to me.

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