How "Old School" Graphics Worked

auntjemima

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I am glad I watched it all the way through. Pretty interesting. Goes to show you the amount of information in some peoples brains. Always amazes me.
 

pxc

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The Atari 2600 looks like a nightmare to program graphics. I remember the mess with bit planes on the Apple II (extended 80 column card) graphics if you wanted any kind of performance. It was amazing that any character animation was possible with draw, erase, draw... cycles. Commodore 64 was so easy in comparison, especially with sprites.
 

Nytegard

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I always find this type of stuff interesting. It's amazing at what could be accomplished with old hardware.

The Atari 2600 looks like a nightmare to program graphics. I remember the mess with bit planes on the Apple II (extended 80 column card) graphics if you wanted any kind of performance. It was amazing that any character animation was possible with draw, erase, draw... cycles. Commodore 64 was so easy in comparison, especially with sprites.

Ah. One of my current pet projects that I've been working on is taking Atari VCS ROMS and disassembling and recreating native C applications for the device rather than emulation. Yeah, it's pointless, but a fun project for me. I've been using Stella to help with the debugging and see what it really should do, but I've learned quite a few things that I never knew when I actually did play on the Atari, such as play field mirroring. (It makes so much sense looking at it now, but I never really realized before that the left half of the screen was the same as the right half).
 

Youn

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It's also important to note that we still do tons of these kinds of "tricks" today, but in a much higher degree of complexity, and the need for these kinds of innovations will probably never die as long as there is a spirited amount of competition among everyone. Huge respect to all the folks attempting something new to push things to the next level, no matter if it becomes obsolete in the long run or not, it still ultimately helps maintain some momentum.
 

Anemone

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Now project out "today" and picture what future screens will look like when what we have today looks like the Apple and Atari did back then.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

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I remember in college they had us learn C by programming on a Game Boy emulator (or was it a game boy).

Final project we had to incorporate ponies exploding into a game in order to get extra credit.

Naturally this was my first time touching a programming language after "Matlab", and no one had any fricken clue how to use sprites. Was interesting, just... a bad idea of a way to teach a class. =_=;
 

gamerk2

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I remember in college they had us learn C by programming on a Game Boy emulator (or was it a game boy).

Final project we had to incorporate ponies exploding into a game in order to get extra credit.

Naturally this was my first time touching a programming language after "Matlab", and no one had any fricken clue how to use sprites. Was interesting, just... a bad idea of a way to teach a class. =_=;

The irony is though, that's typically how you learn in the real world. 90% of the time, you aren't going to have someone to hold your hand and teach you how to do advanced coding properly. Literally the first job I had out of school was "go code a new CSCI for one of our embedded systems. In Assembly". Annoying, but how the world works.
 

Dawill

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There are so many hacks these days to achieve better fidelity. Few examples that come to mind are mipmaps with texture filtering, and lighting (non raytracing). There are plenty of others though. So tricks have changed but there are still plenty in todays games.

Regardless, interesting video. I never realized all the tricks from my childhood, I just enjoyed the games back then.
 

Stoly

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The commodore 64 could also do cpu graphics, case in point Karateka and flight simulator, but man that was slow.

The VIC chip was way advanced for its time, programmers found ways to get around its limitations like more than 8 sprites and new multicolor modes.
 

pxc

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The commodore 64 could also do cpu graphics, case in point Karateka and flight simulator, but man that was slow.

The VIC chip was way advanced for its time, programmers found ways to get around its limitations like more than 8 sprites and new multicolor modes.
The video did cover bitmap graphics in addition to sprites for the C64. It's very different from the CPU control of graphics that's required on the 2600.

I still have some demos I wrote on floppy that got around the 8 sprite limit using the raster interrupt method. Technically the VIC-II graphics chip could support 8 sprites per *scan line*. The VIC-II chip was pretty advanced for the time.
 

Ur_Mom

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The Atari 2600 looks like a nightmare to program graphics.

Yea, and you had to make sure you got it before the screen synced, apparently. Timing was real important with the VCS. Looked like it would be easy to program for, but when I started looking into it, it was a nightmare. So, I went for the 68000 (Sega Genesis) and assembly. Slow going, but it's fun.

I did C64 stuff back when I was a kid, then BASIC on the IBM's. Then, I went into networking and stuff and am just now getting back into game programming for fun.
 

hkcavalier

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Lol I had that Spy vs. Spy game on C64.

Back then C64 gamers (well, before the Amiga) looked at everyone else much the same way as a modern PC gamer looks at console gamers. The Nintendo was cute but there were no games of the caliber of, say, Bard's Tale, Wasteland, etc on there. Even the later PCs with 640k couldn't compete until EGA. Gaming in monochrome or CGA definitely sucked.

Anyone else get Compute! and code in those ML (yecch) or BASIC programs by hand?
 

Ur_Mom

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Lol I had that Spy vs. Spy game on C64.

Back then C64 gamers (well, before the Amiga) looked at everyone else much the same way as a modern PC gamer looks at console gamers. The Nintendo was cute but there were no games of the caliber of, say, Bard's Tale, Wasteland, etc on there. Even the later PCs with 640k couldn't compete until EGA. Gaming in monochrome or CGA definitely sucked.

Anyone else get Compute! and code in those ML (yecch) or BASIC programs by hand?

Computes Gazette. The MLX and BASIC stuff is where I learned programming. My parents would enter in the code (until I could take over!) and when it didn't work, I'd find the bugs. I was good at that and finding the errors in the patterns. Eventually, I learned what the code was doing and started making my own. I love my C64.
 
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