Creating pixel art

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By DarkSchneider

Paladin (939)

Аватар пользователя DarkSchneider

20-03-2018, 13:21

msd wrote:
Quote:

Available VRAM is the bigger concern I think...

. Finnaly make use of the extra 64KB vram Wink

The extra VRAM is useless. I remember an article about it and can't be used for VRAM copy commands due to parity of the VRAM system.

@Grauw look carefully, it has the same problems. The tiles usually are same color based changing only tone (per line), and look carefully at this one:

Look at the mini-columns over water, don't you see the artifacts at the corners? Is like some color mixing. And that is normal, due to the 64x212 color resolution, each 4 px share the same color, only changing the tone. So everything is something like so "squared". Look it like some kind of super-SC4 mode, with its limitations. But SC4 is tile-based mode, SC11-12 are bitmap modes, with their clear disadvantages because that and not counting with the main advantage of bitmap, the pixel color precision.

If SC8 has that problem, what about SC7? I like much all that I see on SC7, like Xak, or Valis 2 cinematics. Can even use pixelated mixing colors to get new simulated ones (i.e. for shadows).

By msd

Paragon (1400)

Аватар пользователя msd

20-03-2018, 13:34

Quote:

I remember an article about it and can't be used for VRAM copy commands due to parity of the VRAM system.

As far as I know the only limitation was that you can't use as 'display' vram. But copies work (or is there some restriction in screen7/8)

By Grauw

Ascended (9340)

Аватар пользователя Grauw

20-03-2018, 14:10

DarkSchneider wrote:

The extra VRAM is useless. I remember an article about it and can't be used for VRAM copy commands due to parity of the VRAM system.

What extra VRAM are you guys talking about? About that the MSX2+ standard guarantees 128K instead of 64K on MSX2? (Even though in practice almost all MSX2s have 128K.) In that case there are no problems. Or are you talking about the possible 64K "expansion VRAM" that the V9938 and V9958 support? Indeed that can’t be displayed, but can still be accessed and copied from, so it’s pretty nice, but no MSX computer produced has it, so it’s kinda moot.

DarkSchneider wrote:

Look at the mini-columns over water, don't you see the artifacts at the corners? Is like some color mixing. And that is normal, due to the 64x212 color resolution, each 4 px share the same color, only changing the tone. So everything is something like so "squared". Look it like some kind of super-SC4 mode, with its limitations. But SC4 is tile-based mode, SC11-12 are bitmap modes, with their clear disadvantages because that and not counting with the main advantage of bitmap, the pixel color precision.

I do see the artefacts on the sides of the yellow columns, but that’s because the graphics have been auto-converted. If they are manually retouched, one could just use the slightly more greenish shade of yellow for the entire column, and it would look as if it was totally intentional. Or you could tweak the water colour. Or use a darker shade of blue which is compatible with the yellow, and add some disturbation around the columns which obfuscates the artefact.

That’s what I mean with my SC4 comparison, there you’ve also got to make smart trade-offs. Images auto-converted to screen 4 tend to look pretty bad, but if you design the art around the limitations then you can get graphics as sweet as in e.g. Space Manbow or Super Mario World.

And there’s also examples in that image where you see that green-brown and gray-brown are on compatible colour ramps, and there are no artefacts there.

DarkSchneider wrote:

If SC8 has that problem, what about SC7? I like much all that I see on SC7, like Xak, or Valis 2 cinematics. Can even use pixelated mixing colors to get new simulated ones (i.e. for shadows).

Screen 7 doesn’t have palette limitations on the sprites, though the sprite pixels are square. Another fun fact, screen 6 supports high-res pixels in the sprites, except for the transparent colour.

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (939)

Аватар пользователя DarkSchneider

20-03-2018, 14:29

What you are describing are limitations to design, so I would discard them. Think that YJK color mode you have the tiles splitted in two parts of 4-4 px, and each 4 have the same base color value. Limitations and bitmap, don't like.
Try to do your tree trunk part of your RPG with this 4-4 split with trunk over grass, of tree top over different types of contructions...many issues, driving to many head aches and pulling hair considering that we are working with a bitmap mode, no good.

I see SC8 with the sprite color limitation as the image mode for V9938. Only 16 fixed colors for sprites can be good for some program OSD controls, not for game sprites. Then another mode discarded unless using software sprites, but I think that can't be used you would see it redrawing unless using a turboR.

By Grauw

Ascended (9340)

Аватар пользователя Grauw

20-03-2018, 14:41

Of course they are limitations to design, that’s no reason to discard it. Screen 8 also has limitations to design (only 256 colours, weak for blues). Screen 4 has severe attribute clash limitations. Screen 5 has strong limitations in terms of colour count, and also only 512 possible shades. All headaches that require careful design and smart choices, and practice makes perfect.

Since screen 11 is a superset of screen 5, with screen 11 I could make much more colourful and varied scenes than I can with screen 5. You could even make your tiles in screen 5, and then port them to screen 11 and only use the YJK colours in specific places to add more colour and smoother gradients without sacrificing palette colours for it.

My tree trunk would work I think, because the greens and browns are compatible colours as we see in the picture above, plus I can have some brown or green in the palette to cover up colour spill if it is there after all. Or I could only use YJK colours in the interior of the tree trunk and leaves, to add more detail, but keep the outline as is.

Idk, it’s starting to sound more and more appealing to me Smile. I was not planning to really look at screen 11 until the next project, to keep the scope limited and not throw away existing work, but considering that I can use it to supplement the detail of the existing tiles rather than draw complicated new ones... If I have time remaining...

One downside of screen 8 and up I just realised though, is that it’s not compatible with palette effects, like fades, daytime and weather transitions, etc.

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5595)

Аватар пользователя NYYRIKKI

20-03-2018, 14:52

I think you guys are too pessimistic... I vote for Grauw Smile

DarkSchneider wrote:

I think you could use SC8, I see it more indicated for gaming type data processing. You have 256 colors plus the 16 colors palette for sprites.

I think SC11 is at least equally interesing option compared to SC8... and that sprite palette for SC8 is just awful. You can use much better hardware sprites in SC11 and SC12.

wolf_ wrote:

I'd personally skip any 1-byte-per-pixel screenmode, unless we're talking G9k. On MSX2(+), such modes cost twice as much memory and CPU-time compared to standard SC5.

Maybe so, but on the other hand you have a lot less to copy compared to MSX2 SC5-game when you can use hardware scroll.

DarkSchneider wrote:

Yes, the VRAM is IMO the main problem. You only have 1 page to store all the graphics, limiting the design.

Yes, but I think that it is fair to use a bit more RAM to compensate that. (IMO not every game needs to run on 64K RAM in 2018) When you use hardware scroll you have more than enough time to stream your tiles from RAM just as well.

msd wrote:

Finnaly make use of the extra 64KB vram Wink

If you are talking about 192KB VRAM, then no... This is not usable in any practical way in screen modes 7-12. (Same interleaving problem as with 64KB VRAM equipped MSX displaying these modes) For SCREEN 5 & 6 it works like extra two pages that you just can't display.

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (939)

Аватар пользователя DarkSchneider

20-03-2018, 14:53

All have limitations, but SC4 compensates being a tile-based mode (with all that implies), and for bitmap SC5 is the most balanced one, as the simultaneous colors is the best known limitation. SC7 is like SC5, I really don't mind if sprites looks a bit thicker, usually they also looks different because color limitation, are sprites, after all. The main issue for SC7 the VRAM size.

Palette effects is another good reason, very used on games. I see clearly that the (typical) game modes are SC4, SC5 or SC7. Typical because typical games, generic. If the game is one screen, playing with sprites over a digitized background, then go for SC11 or any other like that.

By Grauw

Ascended (9340)

Аватар пользователя Grauw

20-03-2018, 14:55

NYYRIKKI wrote:

Yes, but I think that it is fair to use a bit more RAM to compensate that. (IMO not every game needs to run on 64K RAM in 2018) When you use hardware scroll you have more than enough time to stream your tiles from RAM just as well.

Well since all (right?) MSX2+ computers come with 64K, it’d be a shame not to support the standard configuration. However, there’s no issue if the game is built in ROM format. No loading either Smile.

NYYRIKKI wrote:

If you are talking about 192KB VRAM, then no... This is not usable in any practical way in screen modes 7-12. (Same interleaving problem as with 64KB VRAM equipped MSX displaying these modes) For SCREEN 5 & 6 it works like extra two pages that you just can't display.

Ah, I see, I can understand how that would be the case. But it’s not available on MSX2+, is it?

By DarkSchneider

Paladin (939)

Аватар пользователя DarkSchneider

20-03-2018, 15:06

NYYRIKKI wrote:
DarkSchneider wrote:

Yes, the VRAM is IMO the main problem. You only have 1 page to store all the graphics, limiting the design.

Yes, but I think that it is fair to use a bit more RAM to compensate that. (IMO not every game needs to run on 64K RAM in 2018) When you use hardware scroll you have more than enough time to stream your tiles from RAM just as well.

I precisely vote for that. Is exactly what I was thinking about. But, the Z80@3,58Mhz is fast enough? As the MSX is a computer, there is no rare to use that method, on PC is used, put the most used items on VRAM (elements cached) and less used into AGP memory (well, currently is placed into RAM and transferred through PCIE). And the same, when we need something out of VRAM, the performance drops.
If the MSX2+ would have been made like originally designed, for faster CPUs and the VDP WAIT signal correctly connected, it would have been very possible.

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5595)

Аватар пользователя NYYRIKKI

20-03-2018, 15:18

DarkSchneider wrote:
NYYRIKKI wrote:
DarkSchneider wrote:

Yes, the VRAM is IMO the main problem. You only have 1 page to store all the graphics, limiting the design.

Yes, but I think that it is fair to use a bit more RAM to compensate that. (IMO not every game needs to run on 64K RAM in 2018) When you use hardware scroll you have more than enough time to stream your tiles from RAM just as well.

I precisely vote for that. Is exactly what I was thinking about. But, the Z80@3,58Mhz is fast enough?

It is not exactly CPU that is the limiting factor here... VDP is the slow one that limits the maximum throughput.

If I calculate correctly you should have no problem scrolling the screen 4 pixels / frame while filling the VRAM from RAM. This should be fast enough for any game that does not want to make you dizzy. I think you could go even double speed, but you need to save some CPU time for game play and music as well.

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