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 Post subject: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:14 pm 


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Hi, apologies for this not directly being a hardware question - but I'm looking to use an advanced CRT shader in the vein of CRT-royale and the like that would do a great job at emulating a 480p CRT for use with the Dolphin emulator. I don't know enough about shaders so I'm not sure if shaders like CRT royale can emulate 480p of if I'd need to look elsewhere. Can anyone help me with this?


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:01 am 


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I don't think even a 4k set has enough pixels / resolution to give a decent effect for 480p content with a crt shader.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:01 am 


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I think both HLSL and Royale let you adjust the number of lines you want but yeah as tom says you won't see any of the shader's intended effects, maybe only a messy blur.

Or you can look the other way around and simply apply grid-style .png artworks to reduce the number of 'phosphors' horizontally.
A couple of tries for 224p stuff in the pics below, of course to use the same method for 480p you'll need at minimum a 1440 real estate, any lower and it'll be hard to draw a convincing pattern on your png (yeah 'pattern' because a simple grid will look a bit too raw, you can shape the cells a bit rounder by using various shades in paint)
Also you'll need interger scaling both ways turned on in the mame.ini (intoverscan 1) minding that you'll have either black borders or a number of lines hidden outside of the screen area depending on the display resolution you're working with.

This method doesn't use any filtering nor shaders as they break the integer and the grid anyway, so the resulting picture is sharper which is a plus on LCDs during motion, clearer and brighter assuming you've worked the pattern correctly on the png using the right tones adjusted to your display's brightness.
As you can see below; same source with two different png artworks, the second one has better shaping more fit for imitating an old monitor, but it makes the picture too dark.

TBH I haven't tried this with 480p sources myself, just assuming the same method will work. Unfortunately I'm lacking a WQHD or 4K display at the moment.

Image
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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:58 pm 


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Thanks for taking the time - Sounds like we're not ready for 480p shadow mask emulation yet - like you say, the second image looks more authentic but a little dark. I stumbled across a few screenshots of PS2 + Sweetfx that look interesting:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mjqwzk97mamc22m/Sweetfx.jpg?dl=0

It's a much simpler approach obviously but it does seem to give a little texture to the image that draws away from the harsh polygon edges.


I'm planning on getting a PC for the Dolphin emulator to play on a 46" flat panel & the reason I'm looking into this is because at when running the games at high resolutions, I don't like the way the sharp edges of game elements and the joins where in game objects meet other objects overemphasizes the low-polygon makeup of the games. I'm looking at Mario Galaxy on Youtube & watching the game at 720p really reduces this effect - but the image doesn't look quite defined enough.

I'm thinking that as an alternative to emulating a 480p CRT, using a filter like the one in the image above might a create an overall look that, combined with the relatively low 720p resolution, doesn't over emphasize the low polygon look but looks nicely defined compared to a straight 720p image. The effect would have to be used quite subtly though I think. I'm not sure what the name of that that effect is, but it looks like a combination of light vertical and horizontal scanlines at varying intensities. I think it's possible to use Sweetfx with Dolphin - but I don't know how. I'll look into it - if anyone knows of any other methods to produce a finely textured look in Dolphin I'd appreciate any pointers :)


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:12 pm 


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andykara2003 wrote:
I'm planning on getting a PC for the Dolphin emulator to play on a 46" flat panel & the reason I'm looking into this is because at when running the games at high resolutions, I don't like the way the sharp edges of game elements and the joins where in game objects meet other objects overemphasizes the low-polygon makeup of the games. I'm looking at Mario Galaxy on Youtube & watching the game at 720p really reduces this effect - but the image doesn't look quite defined enough.


YouTube compression ruins what the actual emulation looks like so I wouldn't use that as a reference point.

Even a budget gtx 1050 will be able to play dolphin at an internal resolution of 1080p or higher with anisotropic filtering, anti aliasing and per pixel lighting. I promise that once you see how good 3d content looks you will never want to go back viewing it at 480p, with or without a shader. If anything rendering in higher internal resolutions brings out detail in the 3d models and textures that is completely lost in 480p, its amazing how good the models really are in a lot of cases.

Image

I can understand you wanting to make 2d sprite work look better and more akin to how it would have been displayed on a crt but for 3d content it really isn't necessary. Still, it all comes down to personal preference for this stuff.......


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:41 pm 


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tomwhite2004 wrote:
YouTube compression ruins what the actual emulation looks like so I wouldn't use that as a reference point.

Good to know, thanks.

tomwhite2004 wrote:
I can understand you wanting to make 2d sprite work look better and more akin to how it would have been displayed on a crt but for 3d content it really isn't necessary. Still, it all comes down to personal preference for this stuff.......

I appreciate the input - I just look at Mario Galaxy in 1080p and it just looks off to me. Another example is an N64 game emulated in high resolution - it goes from looking like a contiguous image to a collection of super sharp-edged polygons. The effect in Dolphin isn't as pronounced as that of course, but from what I see it's still enough to be distracting to me. Like you say, I guess it's just down to personal preference..


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:04 pm 


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andykara2003 wrote:
I appreciate the input - I just look at Mario Galaxy in 1080p and it just looks off to me. Another example is an N64 game emulated in high resolution - it goes from looking like a contiguous image to a collection of super sharp-edged polygons. The effect in Dolphin isn't as pronounced as that of course, but from what I see it's still enough to be distracting to me. Like you say, I guess it's just down to personal preference..


Agree with you about N64 content, I like to use the original 3 point bilinear filtering and native resolution as the console had such a unique look which I don't want to go away from. Personally I only increase the internal resolution on 3d content that was originally 480p or higher, so for example with Saturn and PS1 3d games I just use integer scaling and sometimes a simple crt shader.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:53 pm 


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andykara2003 wrote:
Hi, apologies for this not directly being a hardware question - but I'm looking to use an advanced CRT shader in the vein of CRT-royale and the like that would do a great job at emulating a 480p CRT for use with the Dolphin emulator. I don't know enough about shaders so I'm not sure if shaders like CRT royale can emulate 480p of if I'd need to look elsewhere. Can anyone help me with this?


well you probably want to decide what kind of mask you'd like to emulate. (shadow mask, aperture grille, slot mask) as a 480p signal looks different depending on the tube type and technology used. what kind of display are you going to use for the emulation? (LCD, OLED, plasma or an HD CRT).


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:02 pm 


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I'd like to emulate a shadow mask & I use a 1080p plasma at the mo.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:03 pm 


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andykara2003 wrote:
I'd like to emulate a shadow mask & I use a 1080p plasma at the mo.


on a plasma it could be a little tricky, as they don't have the same light reserves as other types of display technology (although since it's 480p your after instead of 240p brightness loss should be minimal, but still noticeable). in my experiments it's always been a little bit easier to emulate the look of aperture grille displays especially with modern hardware. emulating the dot structure of a shadow mask can be difficult because 1920x1080 is thought to be too low of a resolution to properly resolve all the details of the mask. ( the capabilities of the human eye and what it perceives also kind of plays into the formula)

as I recall somebody was working on some very convincing recipes with earlier versions of CRT Royal to emulate the look of high-quality shadow mask displays outputting 240p content. I believe the author of the filthy pants technical blog has the details on those and he would probably be able to help you with adjusting the various settings to achieve the proper look of 480p. but it would probably be helpful to have a real 480p shadow mask display to compare with during the adjustment and calibration. (but with plasma you might not be able to safely achieve the same look of pixel blooming and transition because of brightness limitations)

I've also heard of some users experimenting with dynamic super resolution and downscaling from a 4K rendering to a 1080p display. but I haven't personally messed with that myself to give any impressions.


Last edited by Blair on Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:24 pm 



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andykara2003 wrote:
tomwhite2004 wrote:
YouTube compression ruins what the actual emulation looks like so I wouldn't use that as a reference point.

Good to know, thanks.

tomwhite2004 wrote:
I can understand you wanting to make 2d sprite work look better and more akin to how it would have been displayed on a crt but for 3d content it really isn't necessary. Still, it all comes down to personal preference for this stuff.......

I appreciate the input - I just look at Mario Galaxy in 1080p and it just looks off to me. Another example is an N64 game emulated in high resolution - it goes from looking like a contiguous image to a collection of super sharp-edged polygons. The effect in Dolphin isn't as pronounced as that of course, but from what I see it's still enough to be distracting to me. Like you say, I guess it's just down to personal preference..

It doesn't look "off" you just aren't used to seeing how these games ACTUALLY look. Low resolution and aliasing are artifacts from the limitations of hardware. (Undersampling)

A high res image with good texture filtering and AA is as close to the ground truth as possible of what the rendering is intended to look like.

If you want that 480p look that badly, emulating at native res. Just get a PC VGA CRT and run the games at 480p.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:43 am 


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Blair wrote:
I believe the author of the filthy pants technical blog has the details on those and he would probably be able to help you with adjusting the various settings to achieve the proper look of 480p.

Thanks - I just discovered his blog, he seems to be a good place to start. Actually an aperture grille look would be fine as well, I just mentioned shadow mask as that's what I'm used to.

BONKERS wrote:
It doesn't look "off" you just aren't used to seeing how these games ACTUALLY look. Low resolution and aliasing are artifacts from the limitations of hardware. (Undersampling)

A high res image with good texture filtering and AA is as close to the ground truth as possible of what the rendering is intended to look like.

Sure, of course I do realise this, but there is an argument here for not rendering earlier 3D games at the highest resolution. Take the examples above of the N64 for example - you could say that rendering the games at the highest resolution possible gives you the best representation of how the games actually look, but the resulting image just looks odd - like a bunch of simplistic polygons. That's why people often want to emulate that console using shaders.

Dolphin does expose this low polygon look a little as well but it's much less pronounced so I think I need to just use it and see if I get used to it. I'll look into the various effects, filters etc. as it's fun to play around with that stuff & I might find a great filter in the process.

On another note, I managed to find a VGA module for the Loewe Aconda which is amazing as those things are almost impossible to find these days. I'm also picking up an (apparently) little used 16:9 Aconda tonight so I'm thinking that might actually solve the problem as it'll give me progressive scan on a CRT using real hardware. I already have a couple of great 480p CRTs but those are 4:3 and there are a few Wii & GC games I'd like to play in 16:9, especially the Galaxy games. It's very nice to have the emulator option as well as the Loewe is just 32" - which is about the largest I'd go to still have a nice tight image from the console.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:15 am 


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Loewe Aconda sounds like an excellent choice for 480p gaming, I unfortunately had to pass up on a brand-new one recently because I had no one to help me lift it. (far too heavy to lift on my own and, I don't have a car). if you do end up getting it and setting one up, please take some pictures. I would love to see it in action.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:35 am 


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Brand new?? That's amazing, what were the circumstances around it never being used? I once found a E3001 chassis Loewe new as well - someone had kept it as a backup.

Trouble is with the Acondas is that they're absolutely useless without the VGA card - the 100hz processing is horrendous. The only way to get a good image for gaming is by using 480p via the VGA module. These are very rare now but I was lucky to pick one up from a guy in Australia. I picked up a couple of the Acondas (Q2400 and Q2500/H chassis) and the VGA card should arrive in a few days. Looking carefully at the Loewes I can see why people say it's hard to replicate the 480p shadow mask at the moment - it's so fine and subtle.

To be honest, after some thought and the advise from here & the Dolphin forums I'm leaning towards the idea of using CRTs for 4:3 GameCube games and getting a Dolphin PC for Wii & 16:9 GC. The high res Dolphin image is very nice and I think I could get used to the trade off between the more basic polygonal look and being able to pay in high resolutions on a much bigger screen. The other reason is because as you say these Acondas are incredibly heavy! I can lift my 29" NEC monitor no problem but this is something else.

Also I already have quite a few CRTs in the house - I'll probably keep an Aconda in my garage in case I change my mind one day but I'm thinking for ease of use I'll give Dolphin a spin, especially now ubershaders have finally arrived.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:15 pm 


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ah, that interesting since I'm in America the Acondas here almost always come with VGA ports on the back, and they don't use 100Hz processing (60Hz only).

as for the model I was looking at, I believe it was a backup unit for some of the mechanic and engineer teams at the local airport, that's probably why it was never used. similar to the nearly brand-new Sony E-400 I received from an engineer that no longer wanted to store his extra equipment since he was retiring.

I haven't used dolphin much because of all the problems with micro stuttering (have those finally been fixed?)


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:13 pm 


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Jesus I would have snapped that up! You guys were lucky you didn't get 100Hz.

Yes, a solution called Ubershaders has finally sorted the micro stuttering - It's just gone official and was a massive breakthrough. There's a 'hybrid' mode that gets rid of most of the stuttering and an 'exclusive' mode that completely sorts it but needs quite a powerful PC. Here's an explanation from some of the devs with some really interesting info on the history of the problem and the journey they took to sort it:

https://dolphin-emu.org/blog/2017/07/30/ubershaders/

The other option is just to be satisfied in playing these games in 4:3 on my NEC XV29+ or 480p Metz. Do people here care about playing 16:9 games like Mario Galaxy in 4:3?


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:19 pm 


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thanks for the article link. was a very interesting read. the Ubershaders development definitely makes Wii and GameCube emulation a much more attractive option. the only other question I would have after that that is how much input lag is added versus actual hardware? ( I haven't been able to find any data on this). but if the stuttering and graphical glitches have been fixed this might be the way I replay Mario galaxy (as I've been
wanting to do that lately).


Last edited by Blair on Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:46 pm 


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Blair wrote:
the only other question I would have after that that is how much input lag is added versus actual hardware.

Good point, I haven't got a definitive answer on that either - I'll post a thread on the Dolphin forum to see if I can find out..

EDIT: Just heard from a developer that the latency is actually less than original hardware for most games - amazing!

https://forums.dolphin-emu.org/Thread-base-latency-in-best-case-scenario


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:10 pm 


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andykara2003 wrote:
EDIT: Just heard from a developer that the latency is actually less than original hardware for most games - amazing!

https://forums.dolphin-emu.org/Thread-base-latency-in-best-case-scenario


A side effect to turning off real xfb is that a few games (Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes comes to mind) can chuck out junk frames which normally would have not been displayed on a real console.

Ubershaders is cool but even hybrid mode runs like ass on my gtx 950 and still stutters. Its a big step up in gpu requirements to run exclusive mode even at 1080p. The ishiiruka build isnt perfect but i will stick with it for the forseeable future as its method of getting rid of the shader cache compilation stutter is still pretty good.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:27 pm 


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tomwhite2004 wrote:
andykara2003 wrote:
EDIT: Just heard from a developer that the latency is actually less than original hardware for most games - amazing!

https://forums.dolphin-emu.org/Thread-base-latency-in-best-case-scenario


A side effect to turning off real xfb is that a few games (Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes comes to mind) can chuck out junk frames which normally would have not been displayed on a real console.

Ahh OK - but after that comment the developer Josjuice said that the latency would still be lower than original console even with stock settings..


tomwhite2004 wrote:
Ubershaders is cool but even hybrid mode runs like ass on my gtx 950 and still stutters. Its a big step up in gpu requirements to run exclusive mode even at 1080p

Sure - although the developers recommend a 1050 or 1050ti for Dolphin as a baseline, even without ubershaders. I haven't had a gaming PC in years so I'm thinking of stepping up to something a bit more powerful for the longer term so maybe a GTX 1080ish.


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 Post subject: Re: CRT shader for 480p?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:33 pm 


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Thats because the real xfb being disabled is the stock setting, but yeah even with it on the increase in lag is pretty negligible.

A gtx 1080 will smash through everything you throw at it, wish i had the cash!


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