Game Font Forensics

Game Font Forensics

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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!
Astro-Dodge's Dirty Video Tricks

Astro-Dodge's Dirty Video Tricks

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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.
Raising the Bar for IBM PC/XT Emulation: MartyPC

Raising the Bar for IBM PC/XT Emulation: MartyPC

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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.
More CGA CRTC Glitching: HD6845(R) vs. MC6845

More CGA CRTC Glitching: HD6845(R) vs. MC6845

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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.
Old Chips, New Glitches: the CGA/CRTC "Phantom" VSync

Old Chips, New Glitches: the CGA/CRTC "Phantom" VSync

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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!
The IBM 5153's True CGA Palette and Color Output

The IBM 5153's True CGA Palette and Color Output

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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?
About the PS/2 30-286's Hidden VGA Fonts

About the PS/2 30-286's Hidden VGA Fonts

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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?
'Space Covidders' Goes to the Arcade?

'Space Covidders' Goes to the Arcade?

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A little hack of Space Commanders from last year gets an unexpected (and awesome) makeover, courtesy of someone else's talent.
Simulating NON-CRT Monitors with FFmpeg: Flat Panel Displays

Simulating NON-CRT Monitors with FFmpeg: Flat Panel Displays

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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?
Simulating CRT Monitors with FFmpeg (Pt. 1: Color CRTs)

Simulating CRT Monitors with FFmpeg (Pt. 1: Color CRTs)

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...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).