Topic: What's this / Index

In a nutshell -- this is a place to document how to properly use your computer and the emulators of old video-game systems for the topmost fidelity.

In a more elaborated answer -- we discuss here the technicalities of both, hardware and software involved in displaying (and running, and playing) emulated video-games on personal computers exactly like they did on their original hardware from the user's perspective, by subduing (most of) the limitations associated to the standard usage of PC-related technology.

That carries two direct implications:

a) Usage of old 15~31 kHz CRT technology (tube TV sets, arcade-cabinet monitors...) as display medium with the dedicated (usually Windows-based) computer.

b) Customization of the computer's graphic card so that not only can it properly display all kinds of low resolutions at full screen like the old emulated systems did, but also time the image's frame rate virtually at the same speed as the original hardware. In other words -- getting the games displayed at their original speed and resolution with no artifacts or alterations, which is not feasible under standard PC configurations.

This latter part is this place's main focus since it's not extensively documented anywhere else and we will be using the specific tools developed by Calamity, to which this forum serves as the official site. They're totally free and their latest versions will always be found here, but keep in mind they're still a work in progress, even if they already have full functionality.

Of course, your first question now if you're not really used to video-game technicalities but do use video-game emulators is what for?, which should be answered with care and depth in another thread, but which, essentially, involves the belief that a video-game is always made for a particular hardware, and any change in the way it gets displayed (either, resolution-wise and/or speed-wise) implies altering the original game, usually enough as to consider it another different piece to the one conceived by the authors, which, in the end, is never the point of any proper emulation software and may even ruin the game's mechanics or the overall experience. And also -- we just like purity.

What follows as the next post is an index to this site's content, divided into chapters, each corresponding to one thread here, with the suggested read order. Notice that, while the site's conceived for any level of expertise so that any person who is familiar just with the Windows environment can understand the essential theory and make proper use of the tools, the site's own content is also a work in progress and only part of it is released for now. We will be adding further content as we have the time to do it properly, but for general usage of every emulator program we suggest to read the respective manuals released by the authors. Also, note that the Documentation subforum is not open to participation since we want to keep it as clean and clear as possible. Think of it just as a documentation archive. For discussing, making questions, or participating somehow, please use the Discussion subforum. Anything related to emulation is welcome there, with special interest in the topics listed here, though keep in mind there's a dedicated Support subforum for everything directly related to Calamity's tools.

As a final note, let us give Absolutego a big THANK YOU for his website technical support and patience; without him, this Forum just wouldn't exist. Another big THANK YOU goes to Abubu for hosting the binary files in his ftp.


Re: What's this / Index

Documentation index (cursive writing denotes the chapters not yet published)

1. Technicalities of video-game displays

1.1. Definitions for digital picture, resolution, digital scaling.

1.2. How a CRT works. The analog display. Scanlines and video-games.

1.3. The vertical frequency.

1.4. Classification of analog displays according to the horizontal frequency. Interlaced and progressive display.

1.5. The RGB signal. Shadow mask, Trinitron and the different grilles.

1.6. Digital displays and today's drama.

2. Computers and gaming

2.1. How a computer handles the video. Graphic cards and their configuration. Notes about Windows and latency.

2.2. Video syncronization and effects in PC gaming. Tearing. Tripple buffering and other artifacts.

2.3. V-sync.: the good one and the bad one.

2.4. Input lag and its possible causes.
   2.3.1. Definition of display lag. Human perception and its limits. 
   2.3.2. Proper hardware and optimal configuration.
   2.3.3. USB vs. PS/2. Polling rate.
   2.3.4. Raw Input API vs. Direct Input.

3. Emulation of old video-game systems on modern computers

3.1. Profane emulation vs. advanced emulation vs. real hardware.

3.2. Gaming controllers.

3.3. Solving the video issue. Hardware needed.

3.4. Why you need Calamity's application software for your ATI Radeon card.

3.5. Other 15-kHz-focused applications.

3.6. A hardware dilemma. The extinction of analog video technology: CRT's, VGA output.

4. CRT Emu-Driver

4.1. Purpose.

4.2. Supported cards and performance.

4.3. Installation and usage.

4.4. Results.

4.5. Interaction with other software.

5. Video Mode Maker and Arcade OSD

5.1. Purpose.

5.2. Usage.
   5.2.1. Installation.
   5.2.2. Generating video modes.
   5.2.3. Tweaking the video modes and screen geometry.

5.3. Defining monitor specifications.

6. Extra documentation

6.1. General usage of emulators with Video Mode Maker. Optimal settings.

6.2. List of relevant modelines and the associated systems.

6.3. List of relevant home systems and their video modes.

6.4. List of arcade games which dynamically change the modeline attending to MAME.


7.1. Introduction.

7.2 How MAME handles the video emulation. The different video and sound options.

7.3 The "New Video System" and where it lead us.

7.4. How to restore audio and video synchronization in modern MAME.

8. Switchres project

8.1. Purpose.

8.2. Why Linux.

8.3. Linux-based 'live CD' for non-Linux users.

8.4. Groovy MAME.

9. CRT's

9.1. RGB compatibility and cables. Digital and analog chassis and optimal features.

9.2. Why you need analog scaling controls. The TV's service menu.

9.3. Sony TV's and their ability to deinterlace.

9.4. Rotating a TV for vertically-displayed games.

9.5. Adjusting a CRT at expert level.