You might have picked up on two recurring topics around these parts: ancient PC games, and ancient bitmap fonts. This installment combines the two for fact-finding purposes, and possibly sets some new records in going down silly rabbit holes, but it's all about what you learn along the way!
This is what happens when you don't resist the urge to poke at old games with sharp sticks. You get 1 (one) ancient Asteroids clone for the IBM, a whole bunch of variations on a positively bonkers video mode, and a complimentary detour on the trail of a non-PC version, because that's how we roll.
This was publicly released over a month ago, so it's old news by now; but the IBM PC has waited over 4 decades to be emulated quite this faithfully, so what's a little holdup between friends? MartyPC is the latest breakthrough in emulating the 5150 and 5160 - here's why I like it, and so will you.
We've seen how the MC6845 CRTC can produce unintended, 'phantom' vertical sync pulses if R7 is rewritten during active display time. How about the HD6845? Well, Hitachi's 6845 variant appears to be more sensitive, and will glitch in even more cases than its Motorola counterpart.
A dive into an obscure hardware glitch in the 6845 CRTC chip, which has to do with register rewriting, and only seems to really have a noticeable effect on IBM CGA boards (so far). Let's see what it is, why it occurs, and how to avoid it. There's bonus fractals, too!
CGA can output 16 digital RGBI colors, and there's a well-known standard palette which translates them to (s)RGB values - but that palette isn't a very good approximation of the colors you actually get on IBM's original CGA monitor. Why is that, and can we do better?
Another old riddle bites the dust: why did some 16-bit ISA PS/2 machines have an extra set of four alternate fonts tucked away in their firmware? What on earth were those fonts good for? And what's one thing you should never do when you're a PC developer 35 years ago?
A little hack of Space Commanders from last year gets an unexpected (and awesome) makeover, courtesy of someone else's talent.
Believe it or not, it's possible to transport ancient CRTs across continents, even with today's shipping services pulling out all the stops on incompetence. Here's how an IBM Color Display was packed, shipped, and lived to tell the tale.
CRTs get all the retro-hype, but oldschool portable PCs had slimmer alternatives: monochrome/grayscale LCDs, orange plasma panels, and yellow electroluminescent ones. Why not add those too, and throw in a little bonus tool to emulate how some of them faked grayscale "shading" on 1-bit monochrome?
As Kermit the Frog and his IBM 5151 display once commiserated with Greta Thunberg, "it's not easy being green". This update here should make it less difficult - and there's also amber, various shades of white, and a few more settings you can tweak.
...or: Who needs shaders - just do it the slow way! A Windows batch file with a bunch of tunable options, so you can apply the effect to a still image or a video, and still be back in time for dinner (or the next geological epoch, whichever comes last).
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