VOGONS


Best CGA & Hercules games

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Reply 80 of 99, by Grzyb

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dr.zeissler wrote on 2020-05-05, 22:07:

SIMEGA

Does it even exist?
I would say no, as the hardware is too different: EGA modes use memory range A0000..AFFFF, while Hercules memory is placed at B0000..BFFFF, and that's not all...

Reply 81 of 99, by OldCat

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dr.zeissler wrote on 2020-05-05, 22:11:

sorry for the "raw" material...native hercules via sometimes tweaked cga-emulation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vix4DRCoNHM

First of all, thank you for adding information and participating in this thread. This is very useful! Also, I feel like a part of a fanclub of Hercules card, it's nice. Niche of niches, but nice.

As for the CGA emulation in the games you show in that movie - it seems to be running without visual glitches, which I have in most of my emulated CGA games. Would you be able to share which emulation program and with what parameters you are using?

I will share some of mine, but I need to find a wee bit of time to actually turn that amber beast on and check things.

Reply 82 of 99, by dr.zeissler

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My goal is, find the best version of the game, find the matching emulator, get no glitches.
Beside that I try to rip the games as much as possible, to get the most out of the limited space.
I use "kgb" and this shows me, what separate files the executable is demanding.
If I see similarities in the name-scemes of the files, I delete the unnecessary ones. (e.g. EGA/VGA Version-files.)

CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000

Reply 84 of 99, by digger

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This thread made me think about this old YouTube video of Flight Simulator 4.0 running on a 700 MHz Pentium III machine with a Hercules Graphics Card clone, connected to an IBM 5151 monochrome monitor. It runs incredibly fluently, with the monitor hardly able to keep up, due to the phosphor-induced ghosting:

https://youtu.be/BEkDRa--YaY

It's fascinating to see what performance the Hercules monochrome graphics cards were actually capable of when all the other bottlenecks of the PC were removed.

Bonus points for the instrumental version of Broken Wings by Mr. Mister as the chosen background music. Seems reasonably era-appropriate (apart from the PC in which the card is running). 😊

Do you think graphics performance boost tools such as FastVID or MTRRLFBE would make such old cards perform even faster in Pentium III systems, or would those only have a noticeable affect with (S)VGA cards?

I know this isn't entirely on-topic, but such combinations of old technology with newer technology just fascinate me for some reason. Maybe there should be a separate thread for this.

I guess Flight Simulator 4.0 doesn't really count for this topic either, since it also supports more advanced graphics cards, huh?

Reply 85 of 99, by Pierre32

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Arctic Fox blew my mind back in the day!

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digger wrote on 2020-05-10, 11:13:

This thread made me think about this old YouTube video of Flight Simulator 4.0 running on a 700 MHz Pentium III machine with a Hercules Graphics Card clone, connected to an IBM 5151 monochrome monitor. It runs incredibly fluently, with the monitor hardly able to keep up, due to the phosphor-induced ghosting:

https://youtu.be/BEkDRa--YaY

It's fascinating to see what performance the Hercules monochrome graphics cards were actually capable of when all the other bottlenecks of the PC were removed.

What an excellent video 😀

Reply 86 of 99, by Jo22

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Pierre32 wrote on 2020-05-11, 07:41:
digger wrote on 2020-05-10, 11:13:

This thread made me think about this old YouTube video of Flight Simulator 4.0 running on a 700 MHz Pentium III machine with a Hercules Graphics Card clone, connected to an IBM 5151 monochrome monitor. It runs incredibly fluently, with the monitor hardly able to keep up, due to the phosphor-induced ghosting:

https://youtu.be/BEkDRa--YaY

It's fascinating to see what performance the Hercules monochrome graphics cards were actually capable of when all the other bottlenecks of the PC were removed.

What an excellent video 😀

It's a classic really. 😀 Watched it first time about ten years ago, when YT still used Flash Video..

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 87 of 99, by OldCat

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Yes, that video is dope. Really wish it was in higher resolution (and possibly amber... 😀 ).

Pierre32 wrote on 2020-05-11, 07:41:

Arctic Fox blew my mind back in the day!

Thanks, I didn't know this game!

In other news, I have recalled that Gobliiins had Hercules graphics option, but not every copy available on the internet still does (similarly to Targhan, StarBlade, Electro Body, Heartlight PC etc.). I'll post a screenshot if I find the right copy of the file - I own the GOG copy, but I believe it is VGA only.

Reply 88 of 99, by liqmat

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OldCat wrote on 2020-05-12, 08:56:
Pierre32 wrote on 2020-05-11, 07:41:

Arctic Fox blew my mind back in the day!

Thanks, I didn't know this game!

Not to get off the subject of this thread, but try the Amiga version of Arctic Fox for the best experience IMO.

Reply 89 of 99, by OldCat

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liqmat wrote on 2020-05-12, 15:12:

Not to get off the subject of this thread, but try the Amiga version of Arctic Fox for the best experience IMO.

Yo, I'm happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Amiga version of Arctic Fox is the best experience of all time. Of all time!

Reply 90 of 99, by dr.zeissler

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I remember playing artic-fox on cga on my euro-pc. Today I think hercules is the better gaming-gfx on xt.

CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000

Reply 91 of 99, by digger

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dr.zeissler wrote on 2020-05-12, 16:33:

I remember playing artic-fox on cga on my euro-pc. Today I think hercules is the better gaming-gfx on xt.

I second that. The limited color palettes of CGA in graphics mode just looked so bland and depressing. Back in primary school in the '80s, I remembered visiting a classmate and seeing the older Sierra adventures in EGA for the first time, on his Dad's PC. I still remember how incredibly lush, vibrant and atmospheric it looked to me. Here were all the 16 colors of text mode, and they were used together in graphics mode, and it looked amazing! And this was EGA, which compared to VGA was quite limited and didn't look nearly as good as that. But for the cartoon-like graphics of those Sierra adventures, it just popped out of the screen, especially for someone who until then was used to having only CGA graphics in games. Yes, my classmate's Dad's screen showed scanlines in 320x200 mode, whereas my Dad's Olivetti M24 did not, but between no scanlines CGA and EGA with scanlines, I would definitely have preferred the latter.

I also clearly remember that classmate's Dad starting up a version of Mahjong that ran in 640x350 hi-res EGA mode. That looked even more amazing to me at the time, with the sharp graphics and without any scanlines. Back then I didn't know that that mode also supported custom 16-color palettes out of a selection of 64 colors. I'm not sure if that version of Mahjong made use of that.

I ended up resenting CGA even more since then. In hindsight, even monochrome graphics in games would have been preferable to that. Better no color than the "wrong" colors, as weird as that may sound. It just messes up the atmosphere of a game somehow, especially a game that was designed for 16 color graphics.

Reply 92 of 99, by digger

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-05-11, 19:45:

It's a classic really. 😀 Watched it first time about ten years ago, when YT still used Flash Video..

Come to think of it, I may actually have happened upon that video through a link shared by someone at Vogons at the time. Perhaps that was you. 😅

OldCat wrote on 2020-05-12, 08:56:

Yes, that video is dope. Really wish it was in higher resolution (and possibly amber... 😀 ).

Perhaps it's time for someone to record something like that on YouTube again. Get the fastest possible PC that still has a sufficiently compatible ISA slot, stick a Hercules Graphics Card (or a 100% compatible) clone in it and run some games on it in Hercules monochrome mode. This time with a higher resolution recording and showing more games.

I happen to have a Dell Pentium III downstairs in my bike shed, as well as an actual IBM 5151 monochrome monitor, albeit with the video cable cut off (not by me), and I'm not sure if even still works. But I don't have a Hercules card.

I do however have an ATI EGA Wonder 800 EGA card, which I specifically ordered to get EGA graphics to finally work on my Dad's Olivetti M24 and it's non-standard 640x400 monitor (a life-long mission). But that's on-hold, since the Olivetti didn't boot the last time I tried it, presumably because of a defective power supply that I hope to fix one day.

Doesn't the EGA Wonder 800 also support monochrome monitors? Perhaps even with Hercules compatibility? If so, I could try installing it in the Pentium III, fix a new cable on the monitor and hook it up.

It would be cool if I could get such a set-up working. Even more so if the EGA Wonder 800 would unlock some kind of EGA 16 color emulation in monochrome mode. If I can get such a contraption to display any video output at all, I'll gladly make a YouTube video of it. 😄

In other news, I have recalled that Gobliiins had Hercules graphics option, but not every copy available on the internet still does (similarly to Targhan, StarBlade, Electro Body, Heartlight PC etc.). I'll post a screenshot if I find the right copy of the file - I own the GOG copy, but I believe it is VGA only.

That must be amazing to see. I always assumed the Gobliiins series were VGA-only on PC.

Reply 93 of 99, by Grzyb

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digger wrote on 2020-05-12, 17:49:

That must be amazing to see. I always assumed the Gobliiins series were VGA-only on PC.

Not amazing at all.
Like in many other games from that era, they just took the CGA 320x200 4-color graphics, and dumped it into Hercules framebuffer, resulting in 640x200 2-color graphics, occupying only a small portion of the screen.

If you want something amazing on a Hercules, you need stuff created specially for its native 720x348 mode, like Blockout or Spacewar.

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Reply 94 of 99, by OldCat

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All right, I confirm, Gobliins works on Hercules graphics card (don't mind orange tint, that's my phone's camera playing tricks):

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I also took some other games for a ride, so here are screens of Drakkhen on Hercules:

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Didn't know Frédérick Raynal worked on it!

One of my old-time favourites, StarBlade by Silmarils, title screen:

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And the first planet:

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I also tried Korean Dungeon Boy, but it resulted in botched up screen, as if the video signal frequency was off. I didn't have the time to dismantle the computer (Vsync and Hsync controls are hidden inside, monitor is integrated with chassis), so unfortunately no confirmation on this one.

Last edited by OldCat on 2020-05-20, 11:26. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 95 of 99, by OldCat

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Grzyb wrote on 2020-05-12, 20:18:
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Same screen but on a real Hercules monitor:

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You can notice the difference in aspect ratio - read more about it here: http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2014/02/m … ics-aspect.html (by fellow VOGONS user Great Hierophant ).

Grzyb wrote on 2020-05-12, 20:18:

If you want something amazing on a Hercules, you need stuff created specially for its native 720x348 mode, like Blockout or Spacewar.

Is there a list of these titles available anywhere? Alternatively, would you be able to list some good examples?

Last edited by OldCat on 2020-05-19, 09:26. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 96 of 99, by dr.zeissler

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What is the hercules-switch of the cga version of defender of the crown? I do not get the game in native hercues-mode, but there is one that I remembered...

CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000

Reply 98 of 99, by dr.zeissler

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I have tested several switches...none worked, but I had it working a longer time ago, but I can't remember it.

CPU: PII 133-333 MOBO: SNI-D981 RAM: 512- FDD: Dualfloppy 3,5"HD/5,25"HD - 3,5"HD - 5,25"DD ISA-Catweasel HDD: 2x40GB - DVD
ISA(3): Audician32-S2Dreamblaster - GusACE PCI(3): Monster3D- Intel NW AGP(1): 3dfx V3-3000

Reply 99 of 99, by Grzyb

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OldCat wrote on 2020-05-19, 09:06:
Grzyb wrote on 2020-05-12, 20:18:

If you want something amazing on a Hercules, you need stuff created specially for its native 720x348 mode, like Blockout or Spacewar.

Is there a list of these titles available anywhere? Alternatively, would you be able to list some good examples?

I've never seen such a list, but I'm sure it would be pretty short.
Hercules wasn't a gaming card.
In fact, the entire IBM PC platform was hardly gaming back then, but even considering this fact, the Hercules was special - it was the exact opposite of gaming hardware!

So, no wonder that game publishers didn't put much effort into supporting Hercules.
Many games didn't support it at all.
And vast majority of those that did, actually treated Hercules as CGA - both cards have similar memory layout, so 320x200 4-color graphics data automagically becomes 640x200 2-color, some games also additionally upscaled that to 640x300 by simply copying every other scanline.

Again, there's very few games running in 720x348 - aside from those I already listed, I only know about Sim City, and I think there's some flight simulators worthy of looking at.

And even Sim City isn't perfect on Hercules - obviously its monochrome graphics was designed for 640x350 EGA Mono, note that the title graphics doesn't occupy the entire 720x348 screen:

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Gameplay, however, is OK, full 720x348:

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Now, I realized what a masterpiece Blockout is - more on this later, as it well deserves a separate post!