40 Column Text Mode Issues

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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby Great Hierophant » 2005-12-09 @ 14:38

While this is somewhat off topic, there is a possibly-fully upgraded IBM EGA card on eBay right now with a decent buy-it-now price.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Original-IBM-EGA-wi ... dZViewItem

Although the picture is somewhat hard to make out, there is a dipswitch block accessible through the system backplane. Interestingly, the daughterboard has three rows of chips. Now, the stock IBM EGA card comes with 64KB of RAM, and I would guess that each row of IC sockets on the daughterboard hold 64Kx1 RAM modules. If a bank of those modules is left unfilled as it would be if you just bought the card and daughterboard, that can probably be rectified by purchasing the appropriate modules. Then the card would be fully upgraded.

I would hope someone on this board would buy it for future study and testing. I would but have no way to use it.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby Kaminari » 2005-12-09 @ 15:43

canadacow wrote:Not many games used 640x350x16...


Add Spellcasting 101/201 and Timequest to the list.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby Great Hierophant » 2005-12-09 @ 17:53

SimCity uses it. Interestingly, SimCity can also do CGA, Hercules, low-res EGA, Tandy, and MCGA in the 640x480x2, which almost no game used. Very versatile.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby HunterZ » 2005-12-09 @ 19:12

NewRisingSun wrote:
Great Hierophant wrote:But what about the grays? I hear that on some digital monitors the difference between black and dark gray or dark gray and light gray are nigh indistinguishable.
That's a question of monitor gamma, not of the digital signal applied to it. I think every monitor has a "brightness" control, which should rectify the problem. Also keep in mind that as the picture tube ages, the gamma relationship worsens; so what you see on these ancient monitors today is maybe not how they originally looked.

This is true. However, I've successfully opened a half dozen CRT devices (TVs and monitors) up to 15 years old and adjusted their flyback transformers to produce the proper brightness again. It's a very easy adjustment that only requires a dark room and bravery around high voltage electronics ;)
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby SirGraham » 2005-12-14 @ 22:40

NewRisingSun wrote:What's there to say about it? AGI games shake the screen, yeah. SQ2 shakes the screen on EGA and CGA when you get knocked out after boarding the shuttle; same with KQ3, I suppose.

Well, what I wanted to know is if DOSBox emulates it, because I didn't see it happen in KQ3.


I tested the CVS that was released on December 11 to see what was changed regarding the subjects that were discussed in this thread:

1. I've found two regressions - when machine=vga, and you're booting Serenia/Ulysses or AGI booters, or using the -cga or -rgb switches with DOS AGI games, the text will be corrupt. In previous CVS builds the text was fine. Here are two screenshots:

ImageImage

The second regression can be seen when b&w CGA graphics are displayed when machine=cga. Graphics appear completely corrupted. Here are screenshots from Maniac Mansion (old version) and Spellcasting 101:

ImageImage

2. SQ3 now works with Tandy DAC (you can hear Roger saying "where am I"). Sampled sounds sound like they do on a SoundBlaster, but the music doesn't. The music sounds like it does on a regular Tandy speaker. I don't know how it's supposed to sound, but I was told that the Tandy DAC should sound like SB. I attached two WAVs of the music from the very beginning of SQ3 (after the intro).
By the way, the Tandy speaker is indeed not activated when machine!=tandy.

3. I'm saving the best for last:
The hue control :)
When machine=cga, the DOSBox "intro" says that while in composite mode, the colours can be changed by using (ctrl-)F11, which means that you should press F11 to change the hue in one "direction", and Ctrl-F11 to change it the other "direction". I don't see why Ctrl-F11 was used instead of F12, for example, because along with the color change, Ctrl-F11 also reduces the emulation speed, which then has to be increased by using Ctrl-F12. The DOSBox hue control is cyclic, however, so all of the possible palettes can be reached by only using F11. Other than that, the hue control emulation seems really great to me (although I've never seen the real thing :disapproving: )
Another thing that would be nice to add, although I wouldn't know how and if it's worth the effort, is some sort of an indicator for the hue setting number (e.g. hue=0, hue=-15, etc.). It can be usefull if someone founds his perfect setting for a specific game, and wants to return to this setting each time he starts the game in DOSBox without having to look for it again. It will also be helpful for tests and for knowing what the "auto-guess" sets.
I tried to find the closest hue setting to MESS, which supposed to be hue=0, but I don't know if I quite found it. I know there are other differences between MESS's and DOSBox's composite emulation, but I wouldn't know how they effect the palette. Here are the screenshots I generated:

DOSBox CVS, KQ1 booter using auto-guess (hue=-15)
Image

DOSBox CVS, three Ctrl-F11 strokes (hue=0?)
Image

MESS 0.102 (hue=0?)
Image

after seeing all the possible hue settings for KQ1, it really does seem that in this game the "auto-guess" chooses the best one (most of the rest look like "KQ1 through the eyes of an LSD user" :happyhappy: )

However, in The Black Cauldron the situation is different. The auto-guess chooses a hue setting which makes Taran's hair purple, instead of the reddish-brown it should be. I've found that four strokes of Ctrl-F11 are enough to get the desired palette:

Black Cauldron (DOS) using auto-guess hue setting
Image

Black Cauldron after four strokes of Ctrl-F11
Image

It seems that most of the colors are actually nicer when auto-guess is used, but it doesn't matter, because Taran's hair can't be purple. By the way, it seems that in this game MESS "fixed hue=0" is the best setting:

Image

Incidentally, if the hue is changed, the auto-guess will not work until DOSBox is restarted.


EDIT: Well, it seems there is an indicator for the hue setting number, I just missed it because it's in the "background window" of DOSBox. However, this indicator seems to ignore the effects of the "auto-guess" and always starts from hue=0.
It also seems that the auto-guessing will return to work if you change the hue back to hue=0 (according to the DOSBox indicator, that is), but I'm not sure, it's very confusing :confused:
EDIT #2: I forgot to mention that, because of the cyclic nature of the hue control emulation, the hue setting number can potentially reach +/- infinity, so any specific palette can actually have an infinite numbers of "hue=" settings!
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby Kronuz » 2005-12-15 @ 01:32

SirGraham wrote:1. I've found two regressions - when machine=vga, and you're booting Serenia/Ulysses or AGI booters, or using the -cga or -rgb switches with DOS AGI games, the text will be corrupt. In previous CVS builds the text was fine. Here are two screenshots:

That's right I've also noticed this "messed text" in some games... I hope it can be easily fixed. :)
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby NewRisingSun » 2005-12-15 @ 07:31

SirGraham wrote: I don't know how it's supposed to sound, but I was told that the Tandy DAC should sound like SB.
The DAC part, not the synthesis part. The music will of course sound like a regular Tandy. D'OH!
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby Qbix » 2005-12-15 @ 07:33

Hmm there were some changes to those things.
I think wd is to "blame" for the broken text issues.
I'm sure they will be fixed.

The ctrl-f11 /f11 thing is my doing.
I will change it to alt-f11 /f11 instead.

The reason I choose for this because of the possible f12 for the composite/regular graphics switch. (although I have no plans to add it at this moment. (future thinking)

The autoguesing value isn't displayed.
The hue value is basicly : autoguesvalue + your offset set by f11.
While this might confuse an occasional expert I think it's much clearer for a newbie when there is only one hue value to think about.)

Unlimited amount of hue values: Yes, what wrong with that ? The thing self is offcourse 360 degrees cyclic.

The default colours/hue were changed to some slightly different values based on newrisingsun observations of screenshots of the real thing.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby NewRisingSun » 2005-12-16 @ 21:05

A quick update to our previous discussion "why does the same IBM CGA card produce slightly different hues when installed in a 5150 and a Tandy"... found this on Wikipedia's discussion page for the "CGA" article:

Original IBM PC motherboards (8088 processors) had a small trimmer capacitor on the 14.318318 quartz oscillator labelled "Color Adjust" - since the IBM CGA card derived its 3.58 MHZ NTSC color subcarrier frequency from the motherboard clock, which was distributed on the original XT expansion bus. All that to save a 39 cent crystal on the CGA card!
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby SirGraham » 2005-12-18 @ 15:33

I looked at the CVS ChangeLog and I noticed quite a few PCJr updates. Is the PCJr emulation already active in the CVS? If it is, what should be written in the machine= line to activate it? I tried machine=pcjr and machine=jr but got nothing.

Qbix wrote:Hmm there were some changes to those things.
I think wd is to "blame" for the broken text issues.
I'm sure they will be fixed.

Is it possible that the two regressions I found are related? I thik it's unlikely because one is when machine=vga and one is when machine=cga.

Qbix wrote:The reason I choose for this because of the possible f12 for the composite/regular graphics switch. (although I have no plans to add it at this moment. (future thinking)

Ah, that's great. Then the alternative composite mode could be integrated.

Qbix wrote:Unlimited amount of hue values: Yes, what wrong with that ? The thing self is offcourse 360 degrees cyclic.

Yeah, so hue=0 is identicle to hue=360 and hue=-360 (and obviously hue=720, ad infinitum).

Qbix wrote:The default colours/hue were changed to some slightly different values based on newrisingsun observations of screenshots of the real thing.

Changed from what?


I played with the hue switch some more, and found something odd about the nature of composite monitors (assuming this is how the real hardware behaved). In KQ3, the autoguessing feature produces a purple floor, and we know that this floor should be red. However, outside the house the ground has a nice and correct-looking shade of brown:

ImageImage

Now, after 5 strokes of Ctrl-F11, the house floor gets the correct red color, but, the ground outsides becomes greenish!!

ImageImage

I also checked to see what MESS 0.102 will produce, and it also showed the red floor and greenish ground appearance (so I guess that's the real hue=0):

ImageImage

So that's what it was like for composite monitor users? In certain games, they couldn't get an "exactly right" colors setting? Sounds frustrating.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby NewRisingSun » 2005-12-18 @ 15:59

If you look back several pages in this thread, you'll see I talked about Sierra mixing up red/orange and purple in their games. I think it was you I talked about this with... :roll:

Servo has posted composite screenshots of Leisure Suit Larry to MobyGames. Again, you can clearly tell from the title screen that they mixed up red and pink for composite. No hue setting can correct that, because it's an error in the original games. And considering that you can always use EGA or Tandy mode, DosBox authors need not be bothered about it, nor do you need to post even more screenshots about it.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby Qbix » 2005-12-18 @ 16:14

The regression. I don't know I only tried the cga variant to be honest.

the pcjr support isn't active yet.

the machine check has been omited. so no line machine= is going to work
aside from that it works nicely with sierra games.
(you have to compile the source in order to activate it.
In the future the machine= line will work. but not at the moment.

Changed from what

From the previous values.
Not sure what you want with them.
here they are:
old case:
default hue: 55
autoguess: 33

new case:
default hue: 50
autoguess:35
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby NewRisingSun » 2005-12-18 @ 18:32

If you're going to add PCjr support, make sure you also add the ability to boot from .JRC cartridges. Should be very simple --- just load the cartridge to the segment specified at offset 1CE in the .JRC file, then jump to that segment offset 0003. The "BOOT" command, currently used to boot from disk images, could be used for that purpose --- JRC images all have an identifiable header.
The "Retrograde Station" website has a few cartridge ROM images.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby wd » 2005-12-18 @ 21:26

PCJr cartridges booting already works, at least with all the carts
available on retrostation except the basic version (seems to require
some additional rom, most likely that one at 0xf?00).


> Is it possible that the two regressions I found are related?

No, but both should be fixed.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby DosFreak » 2005-12-18 @ 23:38

Yeah, I was playing around with DosBox the other day and was suprised to see that the "Boot" command had support for PCJR. I couldn't load the cart because I couldn't set machine= but it was still pretty neat to see that.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby Great Hierophant » 2005-12-22 @ 04:52

Speaking of booters, I thought that the Wizardry booters were among the few booters that would never support color composite graphics because they use Mode 05h. However, if you hold down Ctrl while any of those games are booting, the games will use Mode 04h and color composite graphics will be available (I don't think they will look very good, but I was testing on MESS.) Interestingly, hold down the (left) Alt key and you will get Mode 06h monochrome graphics, no composite color available either.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby Great Hierophant » 2006-1-15 @ 01:26

Also, I believe I have finally found an answer to the question of which color does the IBM 5153 Monitor show for color 6. My source finally came through with captures of the 5153 with a digital camera, and here is what he shot:

Image

The screenshot is from Digger, Level 1. He took it using an IBM 5150 with a true IBM CGA card. Now, does that look brown to anybody? Here are DOSBox screenshots to show the comparison. I think you will be able to determine which is closer to the screen capture:

Image

This screenshot is what DOSBox, MESS and just about every modern display device shows, the normal brown.

Image

This is the same screenshot modified to boot the green value from 84 to 168. As you can see, this gives a dark yellow color that is far closer to the capture than the previous screenshot.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby eL_PuSHeR » 2006-1-15 @ 09:55

Trivia: Did you know that there are at least two remakes from Windmill Software DIGGER? I think this one is freeware and it's small.
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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby jal » 2006-1-16 @ 11:26

Great Hierophant wrote:Also, I believe I have finally found an answer to the question of which color does the IBM 5153 Monitor show for color 6. My source finally came through with captures of the 5153 with a digital camera, and here is what he shot:

...

This is the same screenshot modified to boot the green value from 84 to 168. As you can see, this gives a dark yellow color that is far closer to the capture than the previous screenshot.


Ha! That's what I remember the color to be, even on my clone CGA monitor! Thanx for clearing this up, I'm not loosin' it after all... :)


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Re: 40 Column Text Mode Issues

Postby robertmo » 2006-1-16 @ 16:18

What is the colour of the background waves? I somehow see more than 4 colours (yellow, green, red, black). The waves seem to be dark yellow and grey?
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