Questions tagged [graphics]

For questions regarding graphical - as opposed to text - processing and display.

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17 votes
2 answers
1k views

Which computers used the Intel 82786 graphics chips, and what sort of commercial success did that chip attain?

In the late 1980's, Intel offered the 82786 graphics chip, with specific support for windowed environments. I remember it being covered in Byte magazine, but don't remember seeing any applications of ...
1 vote
0 answers
236 views

DirectX 8 Win32 GUI Not Appearing/Flickering While Running

I am programming a game with DirectX 8, and I am trying to use the GUI options that are provided by the Win32 window that I am using. However, when I try to render a button or, in this case, a textbox ...
16 votes
6 answers
3k views

Which 8 bit computer could display the most colors?

Which 8-bit computer could / can display the most colours on screen? Please take into account undocumented/newly discovered video modes and other hacks. For example, static sprites supposedly allow ...
7 votes
2 answers
963 views

How were sprites handled on the IIgs?

The Apple II series including the IIgs did not have hardware sprite handling, though the IIgs did have high resolution graphics (compared to other Apple II machines). However people did manage to ...
59 votes
7 answers
17k views

Why do old games use flashing as means of showing damage?

When you play old games, especially platformers, a common "special effect" is rapid blinking of your character when they are hit. Also, enemies often blinked before dying. Not all games did this, but ...
37 votes
6 answers
13k views

Is there a simple way to display ANSI art and animation files in a modern terminal window?

ANSI art and animations were prevalent on BBS systems in the late 80s and early 90s, and the ANSI art scene continues to thrive today. There are thousands of ANSI art files, with usual extension .ans, ...
37 votes
7 answers
26k views

Why did older computers and OSes use UPPER case instead of lower case?

Memory constraints in ye olden days meant that text-mode display adapters had room for either upper or lower case, but not both. Why was this universally uppercase and never lowercase? I remember ...
51 votes
4 answers
6k views

Was AGP only ever used for graphics cards?

Reading on the AGP spec, the little bits I've found on sites like AGP interface pinout and wiring @ old.pinouts.ru, say: The Accelerated Graphics Port (also called Advanced Graphics Port) is a high-...
40 votes
4 answers
9k views

What determines the color of every 8th pixel on the Apple II?

On the Apple II there's an interesting way to add a little color to the bitmap, since the high bit selects the palette used for the three-and-a-half pixels represented by the byte. Like this: 0: Black,...
32 votes
5 answers
5k views

Does every retrocomputer and console with NTSC composite output have 'artifact color' ability?

Artifact color is heavily associated with the Apple ][, since that is the only method the machine had to produce a color display. I was looking at the fantastic demo for IBM PC + CGA, 8088MPH, and I ...
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Were printed manuals for HP PCL or GL ever published?

If one wants to learn about PostScript, it's possible to find copies of the "Red", "Green" and "Blue" books, which were published by Adobe. Were similar manuals ever ...
2 votes
0 answers
349 views

Trying To Understand DOS Game Assembly Instructions [closed]

I am trying to understand assembly language instructions, for a DOS Game. I have looked at the following Link :- https://atrevida.comprenica.com/atrtut07.html reading about how VGA Graphics work in ...
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

What were the alternative graphic cards for the Apple II?

In this question, it's mentioned the Apple II's slot 7 was used by third party graphics cards. Is there any documentation on those? What were those cards and what were their capabilities?
1 vote
0 answers
309 views

Was hardware scrolling patented?

One of the most valuable graphical features on early computers that had it, was hardware scrolling, that allowed the horizontal position of the screen to be adjusted by one or more pixels, thereby ...
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

How were individual bit planes scrolled on the Amiga (OCS)?

Back in my early Amiga days (A500), I remember coding simple demos that would use the dual-playfield mode and scroll them around (at a sweet 60FPS). It was pretty trivial to do with languages like ...
8 votes
3 answers
728 views

Did the Sega Saturn support homogeneous transformations for graphics or only affine transformations?

Warning: My question contains some assumptions and mumbo jumbo. I attempt to learn how this stuff works and its correct terminology. And though I've implemented some of it (not all) from scratch over ...
2 votes
1 answer
981 views

How do I compile C code with the IRIX X Window System?

I have typed out a rather large file in C code that is defining OpenGL graphics and will draw a triangle on the screen. While I know all of the functions of the X Windowing System, I do not know how ...
19 votes
0 answers
451 views

Is an X Window System older than release 10 available online?

I'm looking for any copy of the X Window System older than release 10. The oldest on x.org is X10R3. Bob Scheifler doesn't have anything. Jim Gettys may have something, but has yet to retrieve it ...
9 votes
2 answers
712 views

BBC Micro split mixed graphics modes, could Mode 7 teletext be mixed with them?

The Elite computer game was one example of different graphics modes being on the screen at once: Mode 4 (monochrome, 320x256) for the main wireframed vector graphics game play and Mode 5 (4 colour ...
14 votes
2 answers
557 views

How does the Atari ST's VDI polygon filling algorithm work?

I recently noticed something in Neochrome as well as Larry Mears' "Instant Graphics and Sound" programs: Polygons have slightly different shapes depending on whether an outline is drawn or ...
11 votes
2 answers
565 views

Which plotter used these commands?

I've found a BESM-6 binary of a Pascal program which plots pretty pseudo-random pictures, like this A date is given as the seed for the RNG, in a "horoscope"-like fashion. After decompiling,...
4 votes
1 answer
246 views

DPI resolution of Epson MX-80 vs IBM graphics printer 5152 different in quadruple density mode?

I have been trying to figure out why the IBM graphics printer has a higher dpi in quadruple density , than the Epson MX-80 since technically the IBM graphics printer is a rebranded version of the MX-...
19 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to use the "darker" CGA palette using x86 Assembly?

For those of you retro developers out there, I am having a hard time figuring out how exactly to select the "darker" color palette in 320x200 CGA mode. Here's what I have so far: setup_cga_graphics: ...
4 votes
3 answers
681 views

How was "clipping/culling" of graphics with the screen edges handled efficiently on PC demoscenes (scrollers in particular?)

What'd especially piqued my interest with respect to demoscene scrollers was how they had implemented asset clipping (as in the culling of assets once they 'move' past screen edges/boundaries) An ...
57 votes
7 answers
18k views

How did old MS-DOS games utilize various graphic cards?

Nowadays each graphic card has some driver in operating system that translates some (typically) standard API such as OpenGL, so that programmers use some standardized API code to tell graphics cards ...
22 votes
3 answers
6k views

Are pixels on the Commodore 64 square?

Are "tile pixels" the same size as "sprite pixels", and are they both square (ignoring the rule that multicolor sprites can only be colored in groups of two pixels)? By "square" I mean that the ...
29 votes
5 answers
9k views

Why did old IBM-PC-compatible computers only have 16 colors available?

In the MS-DOS Editor, the only choices for colors were a collection of 16 colors: That's 16 colors: Black Blue Green Cyan Red Magenta Brown White Gray Bright Blue Bright Green Bright Cyan Bright Red ...
6 votes
1 answer
371 views

Why can't the VIC-II handle ECM and Multicolor at once?

On the Commodore 64 there are a few different graphical mode selection bits we can enable. This question is about three of them: Multicolor mode (hereinafter MCM), where pixels are joined pairwise ...
7 votes
1 answer
541 views

Best 4-color palette for dithering arbitrary images [closed]

While 8 or 16 colors can offer a relatively satisfying result of dithering, 4 color palette results varies. Below are some acceptable results. BBC micro mode 2 8 colors NES 4 color full screen CGA ...
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do most of my games have graphics errors on my Windows ME retro PC?

I've built a retro PC with Windows ME, a GeForce 2 MX 400 (drivers installed) and DirectX 8.1. But it seems many of the games have graphics errors. In most cases these are black areas. (See ...
7 votes
1 answer
397 views

Origin of PALMPC.ZIP "Palm PC emulator"

The program PALMPC.COM, which is available on an old link in the Internet Archive, and also on e.g. S.U.P.E.R., apparently provides graphics emulation, including interrupt 0x5F used by the HP/Lotus ...
14 votes
1 answer
743 views

Where did the # (hash, number sign) notation for hexadecimal RGB colour triples originate?

The hexadecimal notation #RRGGBB for RGB colour triples has been popularised by HTML and is commonly associated with it, even though nowadays it is not usually used in HTML directly, but rather ...
3 votes
4 answers
2k views

What did game programmers and journalists mean by a "hardware trick"? [closed]

Recently, I've been hearing a good deal about hardware tricks. For instance, the YouTuber Ahoy (see A Brief History of Graphics) mentions that some game programmers resorted to "hardware tricks&...
13 votes
3 answers
4k views

What DOS games used Mode X as described by Michael Abrash?

In Michael Abrash's Graphics Programming Black Book, many chapters are dedicated to fast drawing of primitives, fills and copies using the 320x240 256-colour Mode X. What MS-DOS games used Mode X? ...
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why do we need to acknowledge the interrupt from VIC-II?

A page on how to do raster interrupts includes the following code Irq: LDA #7 STA $D020 ; Turn screen frame yellow LDX #90 Pause: DEX BNE Pause ; Empty loop that &...
15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why did the PlayStation 2 implement backward compatibility that way?

It is well known that the PlayStation 2 implemented compatibility with the previous console by essentially incorporating a PS1 on a chip. The fact of backward compatibility is unremarkable as far as ...
10 votes
1 answer
367 views

What is the timeline of vertical cursor usage?

As there have been some questions about vertical cursors: What is the timeline of vertical cursor usage? This includes anything that is positioned between characters. It doesn't have to be a vertical ...
31 votes
2 answers
11k views

What is a subpixel in Super Mario Bros, and how does it relate to wall clipping?

What are "subpixels" in Super Mario Bros on the NES? How does it relate to wall clipping? At 4:42 in the following video, the notion is mentioned in the context of how it relates to "wall clipping": ...
3 votes
1 answer
373 views

How to change graphics modes from BASIC on a Timex/Sinclair 2068?

I've got the Timex/Sinclair 2068 emulation working under MAME and wanted to play with its extra graphics modes the original version of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum didn't have. But despite an hour of ...
7 votes
1 answer
502 views

Software that emulated VGA high res mode on an EGA board

I have this very faint recollection from my late elementary school days back in the end of 1980s of a very specific piece of MS-DOS software that claimed to do what was an incredible thing to an ...
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the size of the border of the ZX Spectrum in scanlines/pixels/bytes?

The bitmap area of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum is exactly 256 x 192 pixels. Surrounding the bitmap is quite a wide border area which is generally just one colour but loading and saving from tape changes ...
19 votes
2 answers
5k views

How do high-resolution graphics work on the ZX81?

The ZX81 has a display file which is treated rather like a serial file. And the CPU generates addresses which the ULA uses to look up the characters' bitmaps from the ROM (Yes, I know the actual ...
6 votes
1 answer
959 views

When were other inexpensive computers able to recreate "The Amiga Juggler"?

The Amiga Juggler was the 2nd very popular demo to appear for the Amiga Computer early in its lifespan. The demo was created by Eric Graham (who went on to develop Sculpt3D) using raytracing to both ...
38 votes
4 answers
5k views

How did "Ballblazer" pull off fast, smooth, first-person, solid-model 3D on Atari 8-bits?

I remember the first time I saw Ballblazer, the 1984 game, running on a friend's Atari 800. The split-screen 3d graphics and fast action blew my socks off. Looking back, I get the impression there ...
21 votes
12 answers
7k views

640x480 color display in 1980

I'm working on an alternate history story in which the protagonists, Silicon Valley computer entrepreneurs, are trying to release a graphical workstation in 1980, with the capability of displaying ...
13 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why does OpenGL use counterclockwise order to determine a triangle's front face by default?

OpenGL by default determines a triangle to be facing towards the camera if the triangle's vertexes are ordered in a counterclockwise order from the perspective of the camera. This seems to have been ...
11 votes
2 answers
874 views

Information about the Hollywood Hardware Graphics Card for Apple II+

I still have a Hollywood Hardware graphics card that I used in my Apple II+ back-in-the-day. It was my understanding that this was the graphics card used for the special effects in the first three ...
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

What was the first games console to be as powerful as the Sega Model 2 board? [closed]

Back in the day, Sega's Daytona USA was the king of arcades. All those polygons flying around at 60 frames per second, it was incredible. It was also hugely expensive. What was the first games console ...
0 votes
2 answers
419 views

How do programmers take advantage of programming languages to make graphics? [closed]

I was wondering for a pretty long time about graphics in all programming languages(no code available). Back in the rise of programming languages, such as C, Assembly, C++, and others, they had no ...
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Recommendations for high quality cheap RF demodulator

Does anyone have recommendations for a specific inexpensive RF demodulator that's higher quality than your standard VCR (and maybe a little bit smaller)? Like any old equipment floating around that ...

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