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 Post subject: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:40 am 



Joined: 02 Mar 2017
Posts: 996
So I've been wanting a modded RGB Xbox 360 for a long time now so I can play all the (mostly Japan region only) Shmups I've been hearing about so much for a LONG time now. So when I finally got one I compiled a list of games I wanted to try, and tried them. I was taking notes about which have TATE mode - since I want to downscale these (with the 360's VGA cable) to 240p on my TVOne Corio2 scaler for CRT use, and when trying them on my nice TCL 4K flatscreen TV I'm absolutely astounded with the absolutely horrible quality the majority of these games have (not talking gameplay and mechanics and such, but how they visually look).

I'm making this post to see if I'm missing something. I mean, my $35 Raspberry Pi 3, running FBA/MAME (which won't play most games like these, but it does play a few, and several of the earlier versions which are near-identical), and that RP3 absolutely destroys the Xbox 360 in terms of how much better it looks (and highlights even more how bad the Xbox 360 looks on these ports).

Was I expecting too much? I even tried keeping the scaling stock (since it looks like a game or two even tells you what the integer scale is, so I wanted to keep it at a proper multiplier with hopes that the games would look a bit better), and they still looks pretty miserable if I'm to be honest.

Here's my spreadsheet, with the especially awful games highlighted in yellow on the right:

Image

Sorry if my notes might come across as a little too blunt if there's fans of these ports - they weren't meant for public consumption, just my personal notes to myself. To their credit some of them did re-do the graphics of the ships flying across the screen so they're a bit higher-definition, but then they seem to leave the backgrounds as 240p still?

Now I did build a MAME computer, which can play some of these (still trying to figure out that whole hot mess TBH - keeping 4x fightsticks mapped 100% of the time between reboots is like pulling teeth...), so this might be a moot point, and I also want to try these Xbox 360 games downscaled to my CRT's (just as a fun exercise to learn more about the Corio2 scalers basically), but I'm really curious why they would look so bad, if there's anything I can try, or if that's just how it is (and if it is 'just how it is', then it kinda blows my mind with how much people talk about these as being awesome, especially with the absolutely crazy prices theseJapanese 360 games go for...I mean, of my ~40 or so Xbox 360 NTSC/USA games, I think the highest priced one was literally $13 lol).


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:15 am 


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i don't know what you expected from stuff that was specifically upgraded and reworked for HD resolutions, with a primary focus on normal players (who would use e.g. a 720p panel).
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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 3:02 am 



Joined: 02 Mar 2017
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trap15 wrote:
i don't know what you expected from stuff that was specifically upgraded and reworked for HD resolutions, with a primary focus on normal players (who would use e.g. a 720p panel).


What I'm specifically getting at is I thought the majority WOULD be re-worked for HD resolutions. But a high percentage of these games don't seem to be reworked at all - they seem to be straight 240p with a bad scaling engine (which you would have thought developers for the Xbox 360 would be able to do half-way decent scaling - especially with the 360's triple-core 3.2GHz processor with pretty good for the time video capability too). But they don't seem to be reworked much at all.

i tried it on my older 720p HD flatscreen too. Going to try a CRT PC monitor via VGA (tomorrow most likely) and see if it improves.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:35 am 


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OVERALL the technical experience on the 360 is alright.

Of course I dislike the fact the fact that most of the Caves "HD" (well, they now have ED (480p) native graphics, so they're not really HD) don't contain the 240p originals. Well I guess Cave didn't want to devalue their arcade PCBs at this early point in time.

To add a little into to your table:

Deathsmiles has scaling issues when set to 720p because it works with an internal linedoubled 480p resolution. So you basically have to use a 1.5x zoom for 720p, but this doesn't give you proper 3x240p, but 1.5x480p instead.

The two 5pb ports (DDP DaiOuJou and Ketsui) are heavily filtered. Filtering is required because of the weird CPS2 arcade resolution of 384x224 for 4:3. You can tweak the settings on those to get rather artefact free scrolling, but they won't look great. DDPDOJ on PS2 looks better.

On M2's fantastic Futari port you can switch between the original 240p graphics assets and the 480p "Hi-res" ones. When Cave took over the conversions with ESPGaluda II they ditched the option. This is why you might want to use a scan converter with true 240p output on your 360p. This way you can get true 240p from all the Cave titles, that didn't ship with a "low-res" option.

MMP/Pink Sweets has perfect and completely artefact free integer upscaling. Not sure what you're seeing on your setup.
If you're using a 768p panel (like 99% of the 720p HDReady sets), you get BAD upscaling on the TV's side. Keep this in mind.

And I just wanted to add that DeltaZeal plays and looks awesome on the 360 and that Raiden Fighters Aces still has the very best graphics options I've ever seen for a 240p conversion/emulation title on a HD systems. Don't forget to update though. Many of the options were only added later on.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:55 pm 


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Im playing SDOJ on my Xbox 360 which is connected with a Lemony Vengeance Box to my Egret 2. Looks fantastic in my opinion. But maybe thats just me..
https://youtu.be/rcx2HkE3Pr8


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:22 pm 



Joined: 02 Mar 2017
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Thanks for the very informative breakdown!

So I guess first things first: for the best picture, should I leave my Xbox 360 set to output 1080p or change that setting? It's being played on a TCL 65R617 (65" 4K TV many gamers like). My 720p set is like 10 years old and has seen better days so I won't be using that.

When I run this on my CRT (downscaled via Corio2), through VGA cables, I will set the Xbox 360 to 480p (and maybe there's a 4:3 option there? I'll have to see - just getting all my ducks in a row now).



Fudoh wrote:
On M2's fantastic Futari port you can switch between the original 240p graphics assets and the 480p "Hi-res" ones. When Cave took over the conversions with ESPGaluda II they ditched the option. This is why you might want to use a scan converter with true 240p output on your 360p. This way you can get true 240p from all the Cave titles, that didn't ship with a "low-res" option.

Can you explain this a little more please? This game looks pretty good in HD so my 4K TV use is all set, but for downscaling, since 480p to 240p (with my TVOne Corio2 downscaler) comes out the cleanest, I'm assuming when I'm hooked up to my CRT (or the scaler exactly) I would set the resolution on the Xbox 360 to be 480p, then downscale that to 240p with the Corio2?

P.S. Just played this and beat it....with literally like 40 credits...lol, I suck at it, but fun game!



Fudoh wrote:
MMP/Pink Sweets has perfect and completely artefact free integer upscaling. Not sure what you're seeing on your setup.
If you're using a 768p panel (like 99% of the 720p HDReady sets), you get BAD upscaling on the TV's side. Keep this in mind.

It's pretty darn bad - took a couple (blurry) pics if you want to see them. Literally looks like composite - not even kidding. Tried smoothing off too (which is a little better, but more jagged pixels of course). The TCL's are supposed to play nice with everything (including upscaling - although the 360 is set at 1080p so it's just going from 1080p>4K).


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:30 pm 



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OlDirty wrote:
Im playing SDOJ on my Xbox 360 which is connected with a Lemony Vengeance Box to my Egret 2. Looks fantastic in my opinion. But maybe thats just me..
https://youtu.be/rcx2HkE3Pr8


It looks great to me too! - that's why I marked it in my spreadsheet above as being HD (and no problems with how it looks).


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:42 pm 


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Quote:
So I guess first things first: for the best picture, should I leave my Xbox 360 set to output 1080p or change that setting?

no, leave the 360 at 720p - for two reasons: a) some games perform a little better when the system does only output in 720p and not 1080p and b) all the 240p titles and Cave ports are made for 720p, since they assume you use a 480x640p window within a 720p frame.

Quote:
When I run this on my CRT (downscaled via Corio2), through VGA cables, I will set the Xbox 360 to 480p (and maybe there's a 4:3 option there?

yes, there's a 4:3 option on the 360, but some games like Guwange don't really support it, so you end up with a small letterbox image.

Quote:
Can you explain this a little more please? This game looks pretty good in HD so my 4K TV use is all set, but for downscaling, since 480p to 240p (with my TVOne Corio2 downscaler) comes out the cleanest, I'm assuming when I'm hooked up to my CRT (or the scaler exactly) I would set the resolution on the Xbox 360 to be 480p, then downscale that to 240p with the Corio2?

If you want to downscale any of the Cave ports, you set your 360 to 480p 4:3 and you rotate the games, so they're displays hoizontally. This way you get a pretty nice 240p coming from a Corio2 processor.

Quote:
It's pretty darn bad - took a couple (blurry) pics if you want to see them. Literally looks like composite - not even kidding. Tried smoothing off too (which is a little better, but more jagged pixels of course). The TCL's are supposed to play nice with everything (including upscaling - although the 360 is set at 1080p so it's just going from 1080p>4K).

Set the 360 to 720p and make sure the games is NOT filling your screen top to bottom. Instead make sure it's 480x640p window inside the 720p canvas. This way the output is 100% clean and artefact free. Your 4K TV will upscale this just fine. If it's too sharp, don't use the TV's smoothing function, but mabye decrease your TV's sharpness option.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:05 am 



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Thanks, when I get the time I'll experiment with downscaling these as well!


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:41 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:11 pm 



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So I have the Xbox 360 hooked up via VGA cables and it's outputting 480p in 4:3. It's downscaling pretty well to the 240p TATE CRT's via a TVOne Corio2, but it looks pretty bad on the TCL 4K 49S517 flatscreen TV I just picked up for the game room (which has a rotatable TV mount to go from landscape to portrait mode). My goal is to run both types of TV's at the same time and get the best picture quality from each, FYI.

The 480p to the TCL is going through an OSSC right now (tried passthrough, and 2x mode), since the TCL only has HDMI inputs that's the only way I could get from VGA to HDMI (have a XRGB-mini too though). Now this could be completely normal - I haven't tried a 480p signal on this TV before so that could very well be just what it looks like, but I wanted to ask what people think the best way to go about this is.

For other options to go from VGA to the TCL's HDMI, I have other Corio2's which can upscale as well, but I doubt those would do a better job. I have a Kramer FC-49 DVI to HDMI box. I have a Tendak VGA to HDMI dongle or the HDFury2, but I think those can only go from HDMI to VGA and not the other direction. I also saw I can pry the casing off the 360's AV/VGA cable's port (which is blocking the HDMI port) so I can physically fit the HDMI cable and AV cable in at the same time, and think (please correct me if I'm wrong), that I can have the 360 output both VGA and HDMI at the same time?




One last thought: Since my premise is three-fold: I want to play regular 720p games on the Xbox 360 on my TCL flatscreen, I want to be able to play the Xbox Shmups (which are programmed for 720p Fudoh said) on my TCL flatscreen in 720p, AND I want to play the 360 Shmups in 240p on my TATE CRT's....I was thinking about if it's possible to keep the 360 in 720p at all times. The CRT's and the TCL flatscreen would be run at the same time BTW. I know I would have to majorly mess with the Corio2's 240p scaling to get the image to be 4:3 edge-to-edge on those CRT's, and I might loose a little bit of quality when going from 720p > 240p (versus the better 480p > 240p), but what do you think? I think this might be the only way to display these games on the TCL flatscreen in proper 720p, AND get them to downscale to the TATE CRT's at the same time (and would rid me of my problem of 480p 4:3 looking really bad on the TCL flatscreen too). Thoughts? I'm honestly not a stickler if the 720p to 240p looks minutely worse than 480p > 240p (as long as I can get the image to fit on those CRT's).




Sidenote, for when I want to try other 480p consoles on my TCL flatscreen (Dreamcast via Toro/RGBHV, GameCube on Wii via YPbPr, Original Xbox via YPbPr or RGBS with Frozen cable, PS2 via RGsB over SCART), what's the best device to go from those connection types straight to HDMI? The Kramer FC-44? Its manual says "Auto Format Detection for digital RGB or YPbPr", so I wouldn't even have to convert YPbPr to RGBHV or RGBS I don't think.


Last edited by Dochartaigh on Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:08 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:26 pm 


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An RGB Modded Xbox 360!?? What is there to mod since the Xbox 360 already outputs RGB? You can get RGB on the 360 with VGA and HDMI, heck you can even get RGB from the official Microsoft Xbox 360 scart cable that was officially released in Europe.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:38 pm 


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Lawfer wrote:
An RGB Modded Xbox 360!?? What is there to mod since the Xbox 360 already outputs RGB? You can get RGB on the 360 with VGA and HDMI, heck you can even get RGB from the official Microsoft Xbox 360 scart cable that was officially released in Europe.


It's also really easy to hack a component/composite combo cable to output RGBS. I think it's just a matter of shorting or disconnecting two of the pins.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:49 pm 



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Lawfer wrote:
An RGB Modded Xbox 360!?? What is there to mod since the Xbox 360 already outputs RGB? You can get RGB on the 360 with VGA and HDMI, heck you can even get RGB from the official Microsoft Xbox 360 scart cable that was officially released in Europe.


I was editing my post to make it more clear while you guys posted, but I don't think at any time I was talking about RGB(S?) out of the Xbox 360 directly. I was always talking about using the official Microsoft Xbox 360 VGA cable which outputs RGBHV of course. Or am I misunderstanding something?


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:37 pm 


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Maybe the easier answer first: Your best option for ANY of your soures is the OSSC. You can use the OSSC as a pure analogue to digital converter and output 480p HDMI to your display or you can use it to double the resolution to 960p (if your TV's compatible with that). In theory it's possibly to add another processor in between to upscale the OSSC's output even further, but it's unlikely that you gain much by doing so (with 960p in particular).

Trying to use 720p from your 360 to get a 240p signal isn't worth it. The loss in quality compared to using 480p is rather huge. Do you REALLY need the best possible video on the CRT and on the LCD at the same time ? I mean it's quick and easy to change between 480p and 720p and depening on which display you're actually using you can choose what you need. The lower quality of the 240p conversion is only one reason. You might also want to use filters for your 720p image (like scanlines) which will render any down conversion impossible.

Setting the 360 to 480p instead, then running through the Corio2 for 240p and through the OSSC for 960p will deliver very nice results though. Should be pixel perfect on both displays, but you lose compatibility with some titles that aren't really made for 480p (like Guwange or Akai Kaitana Arrange with it's locked 16:9 AR), you lose quality on anything that's 3D rendered (like Mamourou-kun or Death Smiles 2) and you lose the ability to use scanline filters made for 3x modes in 720p.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:19 pm 



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I was hoping you were still up in Germany Fudoh. So I tried to get it to output 720p through the AV/VGA port and the HDMI port at the same time and it won't do it - you can plug both in, even get audio through the AV port I believe, but NOT video at the same time so that just won't work.

480p seems to be what I'll stick with then, and just switch to 720p/1080p through the control panel when I want to play regular 360 games (on the TCL). On a sidenote, for regular Xbox 360 gaming, is it better to leave it on 720p vs. 1080p? (read most games render at 720p, then 360 upscales it to 1080p if you set it to 1080p...). Also looking for a grid I can pull-up on the 360 so I can center/scale my image correctly on the CRT's – any tips?

For the OSSC, I think I'm going to stay with passthrough mode - the scanlines on 2x mode are simply not right at all (probably because there's twice as many of them?). Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:50 pm 


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On a sidenote, for regular Xbox 360 gaming, is it better to leave it on 720p vs. 1080p? (read most games render at 720p, then 360 upscales it to 1080p if you set it to 1080p...).

there are only a few titles that actually render in 1080p and some of the 720p titles can take a performance hit if you run them at 1080p. The 360 uses an upscaling enging that's seperated from the games, so games are internally rendered in 720p and then upscaled, but the 360 seems to redirect a bit of performance towards the upscaling, so you can get a little more framerate problems in gameplay.

Quote:
Also looking for a grid I can pull-up on the 360 so I can center/scale my image correctly on the CRT's – any tips?

I don't remember. One of the shoot'em up titles did have a test pattern as well. But I think you can simply add pictures to an USB stick and have them displayed. Should work.

Quote:
For the OSSC, I think I'm going to stay with passthrough mode - the scanlines on 2x mode are simply not right at all (probably because there's twice as many of them?). Thanks.

Scanlines in 2x 960p output mode are made for genuine 480p titles, so yes, there are too many for 240p content.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:32 pm 



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Everything is up and running pretty beautiful now. Even got the TVL TV in a rotating mount. Just wanted to double check on one thing though:

The only way to run the Xbox 360 on my TCL 4K TV, in 720p mode (for regular non-shmup 360 games), is to unplug the AV/VGA cable, and plug in HDMI, right? Whenever I set the Xbox 360 to 1280x720 (through the VGA cables, running to the OSSC) the picture gets really dark, and of course the OSSC doesn't have a 720p passthrough mode (just 480p and 960i/1080i mode). This will be a pain so if there's any work around please let me know.

On the 360, there's also a "Reference Levels" menu item with Standard, Intermediate, and Expanded - that doesn't seem to do anything. I read that Expanded is for VGA with 0-255, but still looks the same to me...(and STILL dark when i try to run it in 720p over VGA cables).


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:37 pm 


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Quote:
The only way to run the Xbox 360 on my TCL 4K TV, in 720p mode (for regular non-shmup 360 games), is to unplug the AV/VGA cable, and plug in HDMI, right? Whenever I set the Xbox 360 to 1280x720 (through the VGA cables, running to the OSSC) the picture gets really dark, and of course the OSSC doesn't have a 720p passthrough mode (just 480p and 960i/1080i mode). This will be a pain so if there's any work around please let me know.

easiest way would probably be a HDMI splitter plus a HDMI to VGA converter dongle for your analogue path. This, or rapidly changing cables or just getting a another 360.

Quote:
On the 360, there's also a "Reference Levels" menu item with Standard, Intermediate, and Expanded - that doesn't seem to do anything.

it shouldn't do anything with a VGA cable connected. It's for setting the RGB levels for HDMI RGB output.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:23 pm 


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Dochartaigh wrote:
On the 360, there's also a "Reference Levels" menu item with Standard, Intermediate, and Expanded - that doesn't seem to do anything. I read that Expanded is for VGA with 0-255, but still looks the same to me...(and STILL dark when i try to run it in 720p over VGA cables).


If you are using VGA set the Reference Levels to "Expanded" IF your TV can support Full Range RGB (0-255), if it doesn't you'll notice that the picture is so dark that you'll have a hard time seeing details in dark scenes.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:39 pm 


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Dochartaigh wrote:
Now I did build a MAME computer, which can play some of these (still trying to figure out that whole hot mess TBH - keeping 4x fightsticks mapped 100% of the time between reboots is like pulling teeth...),


In case you've not already figured this out, set MAME "default.cfg" file to read-only after configuring all the controls to your liking. That generally helps a lot.
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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:16 am 



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Late to the party, but Akai Katana in 480p (sadly only available in the classic mode/Origin) looks gorgeous on a CRT monitor using VGA cables, it fits 4:3 perfectly. Make sure to set the X360 to 640x480!
Sadly, most other games look better in 720p or dont benefit from 480p, and Espgaluda II just looks terrible no matter what.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:34 pm 


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Fudoh wrote:
The two 5pb ports (DDP DaiOuJou and Ketsui) are heavily filtered. Filtering is required because of the weird CPS2 arcade resolution of 384x224 for 4:3.


Old post, but wanted to correct this information:

Both DOJ and Ketsui are on the PGM hardware and not CPS2, hence they have the absurdly strange 448x224 resolution (and an even stranger 59,17Hz refresh rate to boot).

This is why they they had to be so heavily filtered.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:50 pm 


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No filter, and a DVDO in-between, the only way to make many of the 360's shmups look good.
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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:22 pm 


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you're right. Don't really know why I wrote CPS2. Porbably just thought of stretched arcade resolutions and CPS2 was the first to come to mind.

Quote:
Sadly, most other games look better in 720p or dont benefit from 480p, and Espgaluda II just looks terrible no matter what.

I don't recall EPSGaluda II looking bad. I mean 640x480p is the native resolution of the active game window. Of course you need a TATE setup to play it like this, but it should be great. I mean Futari was a dream on a 480p screen and Galuda II came next and I recall that it was missing the options (M2 did Futari, but Cave did Galuda2 by themselves), but at its core it was a nice conversion with perfect 1:1 mapped graphics.


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 Post subject: Re: Xbox 360 Shmups - REALLY bad 240p scaling?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:50 pm 



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Xyga wrote:
No filter, and a DVDO in-between, the only way to make many of the 360's shmups look good.


Or downscale to 240p and enjoy on a CRT - look pretty tasty that way too ;)


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