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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:39 am 
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Below is a comparison of some emulators i have at hand. I also tried nnnesterj after the screenshot was taken.

SPOILER ALERT - contains a WIP of the background layer use in the ending of Project Blue.
link to screenshot. Both bits R & G are set.

-Mesen is the most accurate. Its presentation is practically exactly the result i'm getting on hardware*, and it seems to me the result is also agreeing with the description on the wiki page.
-While NESST isn't an emulator, i'm happy to have found that it's accurate enough to trust as a previewer.

-nnnesterj is somewhere inbetween fceux and mesen - decent, but not accurate enough to be used as a previewer.
-NDX is more saturated and a bit darker than hardware relative to the normal palette.
-FCEUX seems to behave as if all three bits were set, brightness-wise. (it also defaults xd colours to x0, but that's beside the point).
-Jnes seems to do additive blending, which is what i'd expect from a vs. system or playchoice, but not a famicom/NES

Posting it here in case someone else is looking to use the effect of 2 emphasis bits and need to know what tools/emulators to test it with.


* reference photo of hardware presentation here. It's not completely trustable as it is subject to interpretations made both by the phone camera and the computer screen, but the brightness and saturation is in the ballpark of my ocular observation. Spoiler alert, again. Link.

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Last edited by FrankenGraphics on Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:26 am 
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This is an interesting research for me when I get back to working on my NAW tool. I plan to have these properly emulated/simulated.
Mesen never ceases to amaze.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:26 am 
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Can you evaluate Nintaco?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:54 am 
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Here's a comparison of how nintaco, mesen and nnnesterJ handles the same screen side-by-side. Link.

Nintaco:
I think the desaturation is somewhere in the ballpark - maybe a little heavy - but it displays the widest contrast of all; biased downward. The latter makes it hard to evaluate what the desaturation would be with different contrast/brightness. My bet is that if it was a little less dimmed, that would also nudge the saturation in the right direction. Hue is a little cold, but not terribly so.

nnesterJ, by comparison, has the most squashed contrast. Its master palette varies quite a bit from mesen, but i think the effect is a little warmer.


Evaluating of warmth/coldness is a bit tricky, but the gray (now beige-tan) surface around the letters "omni" and white (now bright yellow) inner field of the sun should be good indicators

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:02 am 
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Thanks for running that test.

It's very difficult to compare it against your photo of a monitor though. None of the emulators look like that photo.

For a valid comparison, we need a capture card image and one of those palette matrices test ROMs.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:09 am 
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Oh yeah, definitely. That photo doesn't help much at all. Using mesen as a point of reference is contingent on ocular comparison between it and my tv screen, for better or worse. The tv screen in itself is a filter i can't do anything about at this point, except perhaps compare it to several screens.

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Last edited by FrankenGraphics on Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:13 am 
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FYI, what Mesen does for this is very basic. When an emphasis bit is active, it multiplies the corresponding RGB component by 1.1 and multiplies the other 2 by 0.9.
So when all 3 are active, you get 1.1*0.9*0.9 = 0.891 for all components (which results in the screen getting darker as it is meant to).

It's something I came up with without giving it too much thought, to be honest. Someone with actual knowledge of how the bits affect the NTSC signal would probably be able to make a better approximation.


Last edited by Sour on Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:13 am 
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Looks like an HDTV, as the Hyundai TV is marked as having at least an HDMI input. Could you plug your computer's VGA, DVI, or HDMI output into the TV's VGA or HDMI input?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:18 am 
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Yeah probably! I'll try taking a few photos at a time tomorrow when the light conditions are the same and enough to help the camera but not too much to cause glare, if that helps make a more accurate assessment.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:19 am 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
-FCEUX seems to behave as if all three bits were set, brightness-wise. (it also defaults xd colours to x0, but that's beside the point).

The xD greys in FCEUX's default palette aren't exactly the same as x0, but they're way too close. The default FCEUX palette has always sucked, and I recommend changing it.

As for the brightness, that too can be customized with the palette. You can use a 512 entry palette file to specify whatever is your preference for the emphasis.


As for what is correct brightness... I don't think that's an entirely objective question. We can measure voltages maybe, but the brightness / gamma curve / colour response is going to be highly dependent on the monitor used, and its settings. This is as much an open/unanswerable question as "what's the true palette".

That said I don't think FCEUX's default / automated emphasis colurs are any better than ballpark (and its variation is compounded by how terrible the default palette is). As of 2.2.3 it gets red green and blue in the correct places, and can support multiple emphasis settings per frame now, but I think you expect too much if you think this should already be matching your idea of standard emphasis brightness.

We can probably do better than the information we have now, but there's really no standard for this. We have a reasonable amount of collected data on the base palette by now, at least, but it really doesn't extend thoroughly to the emphasis bits. If you want emulators to start agreeing with you, you're going to have to do a survey and publish some good information about it, I think. (But just keep in mind how much very valid room for variation there is for palettes already with the information we have.)

Otherwise if your art is depending on a very specific gamma curve or colour response... this is probably never going to be robustly similar across many TVs or emulators no matter what you do. Too much deviation even among the original hardware, I think.


Last edited by rainwarrior on Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:20 am 
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We need this guy's rig.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:33 am 
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Thanks for bringing up good points.

The best i can do currently is to compare the two units i have at hand (not a guarantee against deviation, but 2 cases are better than one) + the emulators through the same tv.

I'm not really looking for my art to be depicted "accurately", but it is nice when yellows/tans get more precense than blues, in the case of R+G. For getting to the end screen on emulators, i'd say mesen, nnnesterJ and nintaco will work fine. jnes especially and fceux are off the charts, though.

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Last edited by FrankenGraphics on Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:49 am 
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What Zeroone linked above is a good approach. I'd suggest doing like Firebrand did, and publish a palette, but go to 512 instead of 64 colours. Actually maybe Firebrand would be interested in making such a palette. Having a few sets like that would really help establish a consensus/average idea.

It's interesting that despite being so interested in meticulously finding a matching palette, Firebrand neglected to address emphasis. I think it's just symptomatic of the root issue here: there were hardly ever any games that used emphasis for any meaningful effect. So, the feature is unstudied and mostly untested in emulators at present. IMO at this point it's a miracle if an emulator even gets the RGB order correct for PAL region setting.

This was part of my motivation for writing these simple palette test ROMs, BTW, to make this easier to test across hardware and emulators:
http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?t=13264

Wanting to do emphasis better was also why I helped implement 512 colour palette support in FCEUX. The capability to customize it is already there, just there's no available data sets to use it with at present, except the RGB PPUs which already inherently had RGB data ready.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:17 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
I think it's just symptomatic of the root issue here: there were hardly ever any games that used emphasis for any meaningful effect. [...] This was part of my motivation for writing these simple palette test ROMs, BTW, to make this easier to test across hardware and emulators
It's also part of my motivation to (carefully) use emphasis bits in games. We need more eggs to eventually get to the chicken.

Quote:
IMO at this point it's a miracle if an emulator even gets the RGB order correct for PAL region setting.

On a tangent... The following is probably subject for another thread, but i've found emulator master palettes for PAL region a bit exaggerated and more wildly varying; even in so much that PAL hardware might actually look closer to NTSC emulation in that regard. I suspect this might have to do a bit with the very human phenomenon to understand the world through difference-making and exaggerate differences to make order, ie. understanding PAL as not-NTSC and therefore different-from. Or maybe reliable data has just been more sparse, or likely both. The less data, the more room for interpretation.


edit: wrote firebrand a few lines.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:58 am 
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How's Nintendulator? It has a very nice palette, and seems to respect the emphasis bits correctly.

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