Jump to content
  • 0
iljitsch

Border option

Question

One thing that's not very retro about the X16 is that it fills the screen all the way to the edge, with no border. I'm not a fan of that, as letters sit only a pixel away from the left edge of the screen and often there's an enormous amount of unused space to the right.

So it would be great to have a more C64-like border around the active part of the screen. For instance, the VERA could be set up to output an 800x600 signal with within that the 640x480 image, so 80 pixels of border on the sides and 60 pixels of border on the top and bottom.

I'm not sure if it's feasible to run in 1920x1080 with the X16 image at 2 x, so 1280x960 with 320px borders on the sides and 60px borders top/bottom, but I think that would look really great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

21 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0
One thing that's not very retro about the X16 is that it fills the screen all the way to the edge, with no border. I'm not a fan of that, as letters sit only a pixel away from the left edge of the screen and often there's an enormous amount of unused space to the right.
So it would be great to have a more C64-like border around the active part of the screen. For instance, the VERA could be set up to output an 800x600 signal with within that the 640x480 image, so 80 pixels of border on the sides and 60 pixels of border on the top and bottom.
I'm not sure if it's feasible to run in 1920x1080 with the X16 image at 2 x, so 1280x960 with 320px borders on the sides and 60px borders top/bottom, but I think that would look really great.

What’s great about a border?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Two things: it harkens back to computers like the C64, and it avoids that claustrophobic feeling where the text is bunched up against the edge of the screen. Like printed text, that always has margins.

I am of course not advocating for a mandatory border, just for an option to have one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Two things: it harkens back to computers like the C64, and it avoids that claustrophobic feeling where the text is bunched up against the edge of the screen. Like printed text, that always has margins.
I am of course not advocating for a mandatory border, just for an option to have one.

What does a nostalgic feel have to do with anything unless it has a function. If you feel like your text is too close to the edge of the screen, adjust your screen. The feature is there, it’s just your screen does it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Adjusting the monitor only gives you a black border, which results in the same claustrophobic feel unless the background color is also black. So that's not a solution.

And a general tip: it's not helpful to tell people to not want what they want.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Posted (edited)

I'm a bit confused when you say "often there's an enormous amount of unused space to the right".   Do you mean unusable space, outside of the screen area?   Or just screen space that isn't being used at the moment?  I *think* you mean the latter, which seems like an odd complaint, being that more space to potentially do things is better, no?

But I do understand what you say about the retro feel of borders and it makes me wonder, since the X16 is going to have analog output(s), how overscan is going to be handled with CRT monitors.  This may be answered elsewhere, but it's 5am and I'm only up because I can't get back to sleep, so forgive me if I don't feel like digging 🙂

So yeah, if there are going to be borders (I imagine) with analog outputs, why couldn't those mode(s) be available on digital outputs, if one so desired?  It's possible that doesn't even make sense, again, the 5am thing. 🙂

Edited by x16tial

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I'm a person that is often critical of some "retro" not being really retro.     For example, I have some frustration at folks that develop a VIC20 game in a cross-development environment using modern tools and platforms and then are audacious enough to disparage the original "80s era" devs who were using graph paper and note charts!

But some 'retro' things only EXIST because of limitations of the time, and the Commodore Border is one of them.    It was a function of CRT televisions and the overscan left, right, top, and bottom along with the fact that the analog tubes were often adjusted differently (often by the consumers themselves using knobs at the bottom!) to adjust H width and V height.     Further, in the late 70s and early 80s, CRT tubes were not the "flat" screen type, the tubes were more rounded and beam geometry meant that closer to the edges there would be some blur/distortion.    Faced with the risk that using the "whole screen" would doom some users to having an unusable machine that printed some of the text off the screen or blurred and distorted, the Commodore devs dealt with that.     

It some areas, especially games, it was either lost space or had to be overcome with timing-perfect stuff. 

That's not something that is necessary to recreate in a 'modern retro' machine like the X16 and, lets face it, most of us will probably be viewing the output on an LCD screen of some type.    I generally oppose bike-shedding ongoing projects in terms of an entire community debating features on internet forums and then expecting volunteer development teams to try and synthesize a thousand different wish lists.   Still, on this issue, if someone gave me a vote... I'd say no.    If you really must have a border, I think there may be other projects that are integrating a border on the display. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Well, there's the technical stuff and the esthetic stuff.

Technical: this is VGA = analog, so on an actual VGA CRT monitor you will need to have borders. These will be quite tiny compared to the 8-bit computers on a TV, but CRTs just aren't that square and can't be adjusted exact enough to have no borders but also not clip the visible image.

(However, the 8-bit computers used much larger borders than necessary because of CRT limitations, probably to a large degree because of memory constraints.)

Esthetics: having text begin one pixel from either the physical edge of the screen (with a 4:3 LCD monitor) or one pixel from a border that is always black even if the visible image background is another color just doesn't look good. Like I said, margins exist for a reason.

If I remember correctly, on the C128 there was an option to restrict the part of the screen that BASIC would use to an arbitrary rectangle. That would also be a good option.

The way the X16 boots up now just doesn't look good. Anyone disagree with me on that point?

Taking feature request at all yes/no is a separate question that needs to be addressed elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
5 minutes ago, iljitsch said:

The way the X16 boots up now just doesn't look good. Anyone disagree with me on that point?

I disagree. Not violently, but I think a border can be easily synthesized if one has an application that would benefit from the look, and it is not necessary for applications which do not benefit.

It is better to be able to have it both ways depending on the use case instead of everyone being forced into the same option.

I would have loved to have had a full screen on my TV monitor without a border (or a much smaller border). The border was a concession, not a feature.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, iljitsch said:

Well, there's the technical stuff and the esthetic stuff.

Technical: this is VGA = analog, so on an actual VGA CRT monitor you will need to have borders. These will be quite tiny compared to the 8-bit computers on a TV, but CRTs just aren't that square and can't be adjusted exact enough to have no borders but also not clip the visible image.

I can't argue on esthetic stuff, bacause it's too individual preferences. But I don't quite understand your technical stuff.

I had 15" VGA CRT monitor in 90's, and I used it with Windows 95. I often used DOS in fullscreen. I remember that visible area of my monitor was pretty square (or better say rectangle), and text was really close to edges of visible area, and I don't remember it being cut off or blurred. And I read it quite nicely. Are you talking about some older CRTs, which had rounded visible are like in 70's or 80's?

Edited by Cyber
typos fixed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I don't know... I've always considered the border to be a take it or leave it kind of thing. The PET didn't have a border. The TRS-80 Z80-based machines didn't have a border. The Apple II didn't have a border. The Atari 400/800/XL/XE machines didn't have a border.

There were some machines that had a border only because the text screen was dark-on-light, like the TRS-80 Color Computer, or the Sinclair ZX series. You couldn't do anything with the border, though, like set its color or anything.

So it's really only the TI-99/4A, the VIC-20, the 64, and the 40-column mode in the 128 that had borders that could be set to a different color.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Nope. Do not want. 

In my PC analog monitor days, I always strove to adjust my monitor to get rid of as much border as possible. And now that we have LCD monitors with rectangular edges, there's no need for  any border. 

And while, yes, some 8 bit systems had borders, there were many systems in the 80s that did not have colorful borders... although most of them were associated with business applications and not video gaming. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Posted (edited)

If you really want a border, add one. You have full access to VERA and can make it do what you want.  The VIC-20 only had 23 rows of characters with 22 columns. Set your H_scale to $33 and you'll have 255 pixels wide, enough for 32 characters.  Set V_scale to $44 and you'll also have 255 rows of pixels: a 32x32 tile map of 8x8 tiles. 

Then just make the top 4 and bottom 5 rows and the leftmost and rightmost 5 columns all spaces, with a cyan background color. The rest of the screen, a 22x23 tile part in the center, that you have a white background and blue letters. Voila, the familiar VIC-20 screen with border. 

 

Edit to add: I just tried it and the screen looks right, but one couldn't use the normal kernel print subroutine (or the BASIC one), at least not without a lot of fooling around with the cursor placement. But it can be done.

Edited by Ed Minchau
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I really don't understand all the pushback. Having the text start the second pixel from the physical edge of the screen just looks terrible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Posted (edited)

Try poking some values into the h_start/stop values and h_scale values while running screen in 40-col mode. (And the vertical values too)

Edited by ZeroByte

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
1 hour ago, iljitsch said:

I really don't understand all the pushback. Having the text start the second pixel from the physical edge of the screen just looks terrible.

To you and likely some others. However,  people are allowed to prefer a different aesthetic - I can't say I was too fond of borders even in the mid 80s, but I'm sure some of my friends back then liked them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

The point is not to select the option that looks best to 51% of people, but to have the option to adjust the way things look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
4 hours ago, iljitsch said:

I really don't understand all the pushback. Having the text start the second pixel from the physical edge of the screen just looks terrible.

It's not pushback, it is differences of opinion. It's why some people swear by Windows and others swear at it. Ditto Linux and every other system ever created.

Multiple people have suggested ways one can have a border if one wants, without it being a mandatory part of the system.

When the X16 is released and we have the ability to flash the ROM, you or someone can modify the initial parameters of the hardware so that a border is provided by default.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

From my first post I asked for a border option. And yet I find people coming out and saying an option they don't have to use is a bad thing.

Flashing a custom firmware is unlikely to be a good solution because it will very likely cause incompatibilities with other software.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, iljitsch said:

From my first post I asked for a border option. And yet I find people coming out and saying an option they don't have to use is a bad thing.

Flashing a custom firmware is unlikely to be a good solution because it will very likely cause incompatibilities with other software.

Adding a border, especially as an option would require additional 6502 and FPGA code. Since the design of the FPGA is now finished, there's simply no chance that the team is going to add new features. So pushing for the option be added is fruitless, as it's not going to happen. 

If you want to have an "I like colored borders" discussion, which is fair, then let's have that discussion. But as a feature request, this is going nowhere. 

 

 

Edited by TomXP411

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Well, unless this project will end up a huge failure, there will be a second version/revision, so a border option can be added then.

But if feature request aren't going to be considered anyway, why not close this part of the forum for the time being?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please review our Terms of Use