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FBA vs. MAME



  • Just saw this note in the mame2003 compatibility list: game plays fine yet sound is barely audible

    Hoping this is corrected in mame2003+.



  • @johnodon No mention of ROM sharing sites, please.



  • you need to go to service mode and put the volume up

    @johnodon not sure why its not just nbahangtime other midway games seem to be gone from fba now dont know what the reason is



  • @grant2258 @johnodon those games were never in fba, we don't remove games.



  • @barbudreadmon rampage used to be in fba im sure it was





  • @barbudreadmon they seem to not work in the mainline anymore either didnt realise the drivers where buggy. At least i know now was wondering why they vanished



  • @grant2258 the author of the driver never finished the work (iirc there were various graphical issues + no sound) and has been away for a few years, i guess having this driver included in standalone releases was probably never intended.



  • @pussyfoot said in FBA vs. MAME:

    Like I said earlier, if I ever had to do another emulation "box," I'd look into using a x86 solution where I could just use the latest MAME and be done with it and also be assured whatever other emulators used would run better than on any other platform.

    I just now caught this blurb. I have been running RP on an x86 platform for months now. It never even dawned on me to run a current mame version. :-\



  • By the way, i'll mention it since it is something people have been asking about : next fba release will feature a lot of vector games, and the old williams hardwares (the pre-midway ones). There is no release date atm though.



  • @barbudreadmon said in FBA vs. MAME:

    will feature a lot of vector games

    Great news!
    Will vector games be rendered at actual screen resolution (e.g. 1080p) ?



  • @udb23 said in FBA vs. MAME:

    Will vector games be rendered at actual screen resolution (e.g. 1080p) ?

    I don't think so, fba always renders games at original resolution. But i know there is some kind of "anti-aliasing vector drawing" technique involved. Not sure if it will need some kind of rework to the rendering part of the libretro port though (i hope not, i doubt i'll find time to work on this).


  • Global Moderator

    @barbudreadmon i guess technically vector games have 'infinite' native resolution :) since they don't rasterize there's no pixels are whatever.

    yeah i can tell you it's a little tricky for the core to find the screen resolution via the libretro API. i looked into it for mame2003 but couldn't find a nice way (and the vector games crashed when i put the resolution too high anyway!)



  • Here's an "interesting" if not grueling read from one of the guys behind Atari vector games The Secret Life of Vector Generators.

    It seems lower resolutions are a "safe" way to ignore orientation and higher resolutions become dependent on refresh rates.

    The concept of resolution makes perfect sense in a raster game/monitor, but isn't directly applicable to a vector monitor/game. There are a finite number of start/end positions, but the lines between (in an analog VG) are essentially straight lines, not "pixel" representations of them.

    In a Digital Vector Generator, each XY position comes from the output of a counter so the result is similar to what you would get by using a frame buffer. Since the Digital Vector Generator in Lunar Lander and Asteroids used 10-bit DACs we have a screen resolution of 1024 x 768. (We actually could use 1024 x 1024 but then the 4:3 aspect ratio of the CRT produces different X and Y scaling values.)

    There's some interesting facts about vector games in the article toward the end.

    In 1978 when the Digital Vector Generator was developed for Lunar Lander, memory was much too expensive for a frame buffer in a video game. The first game to use a frame buffer was several years in the future (Missile Command) and even then, it was low resolution. (It may have been 512 x 384, but I'm not sure.)

    Quantum (November 1982) was not designed by Atari. It was one of the two games that came out of a legal settlement with General Computer Corporation of Cambridge, Mass. (The other game was Food Fight.) GCC got into the game business by reverse engineering the Missile Command program and coming out with a new and improved version. Unfortunately, their version still said 'Missile Command' and they got sued. (They were also accused of including some code from the original Missile Command in their ROMs.) Fortunately for them, Atari had an amazing habit of suing people, winning the lawsuit, and paying the (losing) defendants a bunch of money.

    BattleZone was the first game to earn $500/week on field test. The company gave a party to commemorate this accomplishment. The game was hit of the Amusement and Music Operators Association (AMOA) show in the Fall of 1980 and was released in November 1980. (There was another game at the show that attracted very little attention at the time called Pac Man.) BattleZone sold about 25,000 units.

    Red Baron was released in May 1981. It didn't do quite as well as BattleZone; it sold about 300 units. One of those units was in an airport when Wild Bill Stealey and Sid Meier played it and decided they could do better, so they went on to found Microprose.

    There was also a rumor that U.S. Army Recruiters used to hang around arcades and when they saw a likely-looking candidate playing BattleZone, would go up to him and ask, "How would you like to drive a real one?"

    The first 'video game' that I know of was developed in 1946. (U.S. Patent 2,455,992 Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device Thomas Goldsmith and Estle Mann). Although it used a sawtooth circuit it was essentially an XY game.

    The first video game of the modern era (Computer Space) was invented in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn. Since the first microprocessor (Intel's 4004) was still in the process of being born, the game was a completely hardwired machine. Different operations were performed at different times according to the Counter used to produce Vertical Sync. The Motion Objects were stored in a diode matrix. The objects were created by stuffing the diodes in the appropriate holes in the PC board.

    Computer Space was not very successful. The next game, Pong, was.

    Tempest was the first color vector arcade game.

    At some point in the early 1990s, the demand for PC graphics became hot. People wanted the games on their PCs to be as good as the ones in the arcades.


  • Global Moderator

    @riverstorm said in FBA vs. MAME:

    In a Digital Vector Generator, each XY position comes from the output of a counter so the result is similar to what you would get by using a frame buffer. Since the Digital Vector Generator in Lunar Lander and Asteroids used 10-bit DACs we have a screen resolution of 1024 x 768. (We actually could use 1024 x 1024 but then the 4:3 aspect ratio of the CRT produces different X and Y scaling values.)

    hmm i think this is talking about a slightly different thing - whilst the vectors may have 1024x1024 possible coordinates (or however you want to articulate it), the resultant output has effectively infinite resolution. ie there's no stair-case stepping or whatever on diagonal lines displayed on a real vector CRT.

    i think the lower 'coordinate' resolution of the vectors would neccesarily already be handled in the emulation, so if you had, say, a 4k display, you would still see the vector lines judder across the screen slightly at the 1024x1024 'coordinate' resolution, rather than moving smoothly across the screen (although this would be mitigated and made more realistic by a CRT blur shader), but the lines should still be at crisp 4k.

    it's kinda like how PSX emulators can run at super high resolution but if that's all you change, you see the polygons jitter around even at 60fps, because the vertex calculations are at a low resolution (there are emulation hacks that can fix this)



  • Yeah vector displays do not suffer from pixelation really, more so B&W vs color due to their nature.

    I was thinking more along the lines of vector games and limitations of current day monitors; if you are using a real vector display then all this discussion would be non-applicable mostly.

    Basically the endpoints of "infinite resolution" line segments are on a say a 1024x1024 "grid" or whatever your monitor display resolution is and there's pixels between those points. The pixels between point A and B are what makes that stepping apparent. It isn't present on vector displays because there's no pixels on vector displays.

    The DACs that generated the signal back in the day were 10-bit, so 1024x1024 is possibly the native/original intended resolution, one could surmise, for Atari games like Lundar Lander, Asteroids and Asteroids Deluxe. After all a 10-bit binary number has a max value of 1024 (1111111111 = 1,024).

    Vector displays are still bound by physics and need basic information like the coordinates of the ends of the segment line, even if the line itself is considered infinite resolution; the end points are finite and bound to some unit of measurement. In theory there's infinite resolution but in practice we're still bound by our monitors max resolution being completely different technology from a vector display.

    I know there's some additional information on refresh rates calculated into the capable max resolution too. Well there's a whole lot of information in there. Just pick a reasonable resolution for today's monitors and go with it!

    Anyway I think that article was incredibly technical, the math alone was fairly complex but it had some interesting tidbits. It looks like it required considerable effort to develop the technology of a "vector generator" and "XY monitor" due to the cost of memory alone being more than manufacturing the entire PCB is pretty interesting. They had to dump the idea of frame buffers. All that work for a cost effective solution in the name of vector gaming. :)



  • Some nice additions and fixes in FBA recently, including use of Taito C-Chip dumped code and vector games; check here.

    @barbudreadmon Any date for releasing a new lr-fba version ... to get all this nice stuff in Retropie ?



  • @udb23 said in FBA vs. MAME:

    @barbudreadmon Any date for releasing a new lr-fba version ... to get all this nice stuff in Retropie ?

    lr-fbalpha will be updated when standalone will be released (generally the same day). Standalone will be released when it will be ready, dink mentioned it should be soon.



  • @barbudreadmon soon seems a good timing ;-)


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