why a so stupid mistake?

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By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9896)

wolf_'s picture

06-10-2017, 22:03

Consider the fact that back in the days, people were playing these games on a blurry tv. Also, as long as things keep moving, I'm not bothered by fat pixels. In fact, I consider it a good trade-off if that means you gain performance and possibilities elsewhere.

It's a case of the classic 'versus'

MSX1:
normal pixels
no scrolling
no multilayer
dull sprites
more bright 'n candy colours

C64 (Flimbo's Quest):
wide pixels
scrolling
multi-layer
full-colour sprites
colours are a little bit more desaturated

By Grauw

Ascended (10065)

Grauw's picture

06-10-2017, 22:18

Anyway there’s no argument that the C64 VDP (or PSG) is overall more powerful (though also different, and I’m personally really not a fan of fat pixels). The reason why the MSX has no custom VDP until MSX2 is clear, they were late getting into the market while Commodore had been developing home computers for years. They didn’t have the time nor the experience to develop a custom VDP. Also the goal of the system was different, by using standard components which were widely available, the machines could be easily built by many manufacturers.

Not sure why we need to spend 7 pages bashing ASCII / MSX for that Big smile.

By hit9918

Prophet (2905)

hit9918's picture

06-10-2017, 22:15

the only question of MSX is pixel scroll
the other points I disagree after fatpixels AND dithering hit me

By hit9918

Prophet (2905)

hit9918's picture

06-10-2017, 22:40

when last time seen a C64? youtube?
long time there was this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLxrN03QYyE&t=2m20s
if the screen really was smoothened that fatpixels are no more visible,
then cant read letters anymore in BASIC -> nobody had this, fake
this one is nearer to truth
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBdVV_BCZoA&t=20m30s
my envy drops

By yzi

Champion (444)

yzi's picture

13-10-2017, 20:09

Don't be envious. Get yourself a C64 if you don't have one, every self-respecting retro hobbyist should have at least one. Wink I have two. (but seven MSX machines)

For those who are interested in the design process and decision-making around the same time when the MSX1 standard was created, here's a very interesting link to an article on the C64 in the March 1985 issue of the IEEE Spectrum magazine.
http://csdb.dk/forums/?roomid=7&topicid=126006
And direct PDF link:
https://spectrum.ieee.org/ns/pdfs/commodore64_mar1985.pdf

The C64's graphics and sound chips were basically designed in 9 months, to create a state-of-the-art "video game", which I think would be called a video game console today. The designers did all that with pretty much complete freedom to do what they wanted and no budget - and they achieved incredibly ambitious results in an incredibly short time. But after the chips were ready, they decided to create a home computer instead of a game console after all... and THAT was done in five weeks so it could be shown at the CES fair.

This story is just so far from MSX in every way. About the only thing that's in common is that a home computer came out of both processes.

I'd describe the creation of the C64 as chip design and engineering artistry, with a high uncertainty, it could even be called gambling. The chip designs themselves were uncertain "let's see what happens" projects - although and maybe because it didn't cost the company too much, because they were utilizing excess capacity. But they were gambling on RAM prices falling very quickly, so they could put 64k RAM as standard. And when designing the chips, it wasn't even supposed to be a home computer. All of the manufacturing was in their own control, so they could tailor the computer's internals (including the chips internals) to just their own culture and environment, without worrying about other companies which have their own manufacturing cultures each with their own strengths and weaknesses and peculiarities.

By hit9918

Prophet (2905)

hit9918's picture

14-10-2017, 20:40

so commodore had a very good budget. and they wanted to sell the chip to someone who wants to make the worlds best video game.
but thank goodness consoles dont have the ugly resolution, instead they all base on the 9918 Big smile

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3471)

sd_snatcher's picture

14-10-2017, 21:04

Just correcting some misinformation:

The TMS9918A wasn't "6-7 year old" when the MSX was released. It debuted in the TI-99/4A, that was released in June of 1981. So it was pretty new when the MSX project begun. The VDP that was 4 years old was the TMS9118 (without the "A" letter) that was part of the TI-99/4 computer. It didn't have the screen-2 and screen-3 modes, so it can't be used as a reference because the vast majority of MSX1 games wouldn't run on it.

And I don't think that it's surprising that the C64 and NES VDPs can beat the TMS9918A, given the fact that both designs were clearly designed to beat it. Commodore had a well known long story of rivalry with Texas Instruments, and Nintendo knew that their competitors were going to use the TMS9918A, as it happened with both the SG-1000 and the MSX. Not to mention the ColecoVision, that was already on the market.

IMHO, the main design mistake of the TMS9918A was not to have added some simple 3-bit offset registers like the C64 and the NES have. If they were so worried about the transistor count, those registers would have been much more useful than the useless screen-3. And not even the left border masking was necessary, as the majority of the TVs of the era had an enormous area wasted in overscan. But this design flaw can be blamed on Texas Instruments alone. The MSX just needed affordable, ready to use, off the shelf components, and their choice could have been either the TMS9918A, or i.e. the horrid MC6845 used in the PC CGA video card or the MC6847 used in the TRS-80 Coco.

The Motorola CRT controllers required a lot more external components to work, even more to output video to a TV, and didn't have the superimpose feature that the Japanese felt that was important for the LaserDisc support.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6543)

ARTRAG's picture

14-10-2017, 21:13

The vic ii can use all 64KB of ram of the c64, 16KB at time.
It can have 8 multicolor sprites per line multiplexed up to 32 or 64
It has hw scrolling, line interrupts, hw scaling per sprite....
I cannot see any tms9918 superiority

By hit9918

Prophet (2905)

hit9918's picture

14-10-2017, 21:38

the 9918 superiority simply is the resolution
and the gradius knightmare zanac sprite moves.
easy.
but I think you saw it as a coder.
all the nice C64 bells and whistles.
but copy color RAM costs 50% cpu, copy nametable costs another 50% cpu
at this point the typical 9918 critic has to say that the C64 is uncodeable

By Grauw

Ascended (10065)

Grauw's picture

14-10-2017, 21:41

Talk about transistor waste: blink mode in the V9938. So useless... could've used those transistors for horizontal scrolling. Or a better sprite mode 2.

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