same game on NES and MSX, the best version?

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By erikd

Master (255)

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11-02-2015, 20:41

syn wrote:

or a way faster blitter or DMA would have been nice as well Big smile

The V9938 was indeed quite slow with blitting.
But perhaps MSX2 was a bit punching above it's weight there with having 4bpp graphics. I mean I'm no hardware guy, but I could imagine the V9938 having to run at higher clocks than it did already which I suppose would complicate things/make it possibly significantly more expensive.
Just having V9958's horizontal scrolling is perhaps more realistic, and possibly having a screen mode in between screen 4 and screen 5 to allow more 'performance-per-pixel' so to speak (something like having 4 colours per character line or some such as opposed to screen4's two colours). The jump between screen 4 and screen 5 seems to big.

By Grauw

Ascended (8457)

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11-02-2015, 21:23

I think with hardware scroll capabilities the blitter speed is sufficient for most cases. Its speed limitations are mostly noticeable in those full screen scrolling games (SD Snatcher, Ys, Xak, etc.), and those would benefit greatly from hardware scrolling.

Also a faster blitter would be a quite significant upgrade for the V9938 which with its 21 MHz clock speed was already quite high spec for its time as I understand. Whereas the hardware scrolling seems to have been a relatively minor addition which could’ve made it into the V9938 if ASCII hadn’t had such a strong focus on business applications.

And yeah I agree a better pattern mode would’ve been pretty cool as well. Very cool actually. Look at what amazing stuff people are doing with screen 4 already (man, SMW looks so good). With 4 colours per character it would be virtually limitless. Combined it with hardware scrolling…

By Sandy Brand

Master (156)

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11-02-2015, 22:18

Support for horizontal scrolling and hardware sprite mirroring would have made a real difference I think.

And maybe bigger sprites.

Then you have a machine that more closely matches arcade hardware at the time and you could have done a lot more ports a lot more easily.

By erikd

Master (255)

erikd's picture

12-02-2015, 20:52

Grauw wrote:

And yeah I agree a better pattern mode would’ve been pretty cool as well. Very cool actually. Look at what amazing stuff people are doing with screen 4 already (man, SMW looks so good). With 4 colours per character it would be virtually limitless. Combined it with hardware scrolling…

Exactly! And while we're at it, a priority bit per 8x8 tile so that sprites can appear behind tiles Smile
Also sprites in the V9938 are a bit disappointing. In such an improved pattern mode for games, sprites could have done with 3 colours per pixels instead of just one. As a trade-off, different colours per sprite line could perhaps have been omitted if necessary.
And yeah, sprite mirroring, like Sandy Brand said would've been real nice.
If only... Smile

Thinking about it, the V9938 was arguably quite unbalanced for gaming.
Even MSX1's TMS9918 had some strange choices. I mean, screen 1 is a bit neither here nor there; why does it even exist?

Anyway, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

By kanima

Master (192)

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12-02-2015, 21:22

erikd wrote:

Thinking about it, the V9938 was arguably quite unbalanced for gaming.
Even MSX1's TMS9918 had some strange choices. I mean, screen 1 is a bit neither here nor there; why does it even exist?

If I'm not mistaken you can fit an entire screen 1 (including sprites) into 4K and the TMS9918 was designed to work with either 4K or 16K of VRAM (I think there's a bit in one of the VDP reigsters where you can configure it for either 4K or 16K operations). Now, if there's only 4K of VRAM then you can't have screen 2 (that really needs 16K), but with screen 1 you'd still have at least some color support and sprites.

By erikd

Master (255)

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12-02-2015, 21:37

Ah I see, I didn't know that, thanks!
Were there any platforms with 4KB of VRAM that used the TMS9918 though?

By PingPong

Prophet (3449)

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12-02-2015, 23:20

the problem with v9938 is that had to be compatible with crappy msx1 vdp.
sprites with limitations in colors are the perfect example of this.

By Sandy Brand

Master (156)

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13-02-2015, 00:35

That doesn't explain the lack of proper horizontal and vertical scrolling though.

By erikd

Master (255)

erikd's picture

13-02-2015, 12:35

PingPong wrote:

the problem with v9938 is that had to be compatible with crappy msx1 vdp.
sprites with limitations in colors are the perfect example of this.

Sega Master System's VDP was based on the TMS9918 (although not compatible), and that had proper sprites and scrolling.

By gdx

Prophet (3040)

gdx's picture

13-02-2015, 13:19

Are you sure that Sega Master System's VDP are not compatible? The Sega Mark III can run SG-1000 cartridges. The Mark III is very close of the SMS. I think VDP are same.

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