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Standardized Title Screen


GreenLion
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On 9/16/2022 at 1:36 PM, Johan Kårlin said:

A16x16 sprite with 16 colors requires 128 bytes. Let say it is animated with 8 frames, that is just 1 KB. Code for displaying it and move it around will be less than 1 KB even if you include maybe a sine table for help when trying to imitate how a butterfly flies. In other words this can fit easily in a RAM bank and also in golden RAM (4 KB).

Ooh, a sine wave table ... have it start at a random location at a fixed distance away from its "settle" point, and fly on a straight line path to the settle point except cycling through a sine wave offsets, with the X/Y offsets translated based on where the starting location was ... that would be really striking, and the random location is starts from every time would make it feel even more "alive".

And regarding the other reply, that is exactly correct, CX16 Golden RAM is indeed 1KB, $0400-$07FF. C64 Golden RAM is 4K, $C000-$CFFF.

 

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I don't really see how proposed "standard" would be possible with a variety hobbyst developers we have.

But let's try to view the topic form the other side. Let's take NES examples from first topic of this thread. Anybody know how they turned out to be similar in the old days? Did they just not have time and imagination to make their own splash screen designs and decided to safely copy one from another?

Same question also bothers me with NES character fonts. It looks very similar in different games, but NES itself does not have a default font. So how it turned out that way? Also different NES games use pseudographics similar to PETSCII lines and rounded corner lines. When I was a kid I thought that these fonts and pseudographics were built into console itself. It was a logical guess. Later I was very surprised to know that every cartridge had its own character ROM, but for some wierd reason it was very similar on different cartridges.

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I would assume there were style guides all developers had to adhere to. Otherwise they didn't get official approval. And then I'm not sure who actually produced the cartridges? Only Nintendo? Or if others, then they only got a license if the software on them complied with the style guides etc. Nintendo wanted to ensure a certain level of quality.

But that's guesswork from my side - does anybody here know?

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On 9/17/2022 at 6:41 AM, AndyMt said:

I would assume there were style guides all developers had to adhere to. Otherwise they didn't get official approval. And then I'm not sure who actually produced the cartridges? Only Nintendo? Or if others, then they only got a license if the software on them complied with the style guides etc. Nintendo wanted to ensure a certain level of quality.

But that's guesswork from my side - does anybody here know?

Even at the time of the NES, unlicensed games were sold that worked on the NES. And you don't even have to look on the label for the fact that the "Licensed by Nintendo" stamp is nowhere to be found, since they typically come in cartridge cases that look different from an "official" NES cartridge - black, silver, blue, often with slightly different details in the shell shape and label shape.

The thing is, this comes from the plastics production technology at the time. To get uniform look and feel, you'd need to use the same injection molds, and to get uniform color, you'd need to get the plastic produced by the same production process. If color match is important today, we can get it by having cameras that take a picture of the product as it is passing through the line and a robot faulting parts that are out of match, so that the line can be taken down and the color adjusted ... but they didn't have that system available back then.

Anytime the cartridge shell from that era has a uniform look and feel, and especially uniform color, we can be confident that the production of the games was under the control of the console manufacturer ... not necessarily at a factory owned by, say, Nintendo, but in any event at a factory that Nintendo contracted with to supply Nintendo 1st party games, so they would not be willing to get Nintendo angry by making the cartridges for someone unless they had a Nintendo license for their game. Those are the games with the Licensed by Nintendo stamp if they come from a 3rd party game developer.

I don't know first hand that Nintendo had an official splash page look and feel guide for games applying for licensing ... but I do know that they had an approvals process, and from Nintendo's reputation, it's hard to imagine they didn't have an official style guide.

Edited by BruceMcF
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On 9/17/2022 at 6:41 AM, AndyMt said:

I would assume there were style guides all developers had to adhere to. Otherwise they didn't get official approval. And then I'm not sure who actually produced the cartridges? Only Nintendo? Or if others, then they only got a license if the software on them complied with the style guides etc. Nintendo wanted to ensure a certain level of quality.

But that's guesswork from my side - does anybody here know?

For the NES in North America, Nintendo at first required third-party publishers to agree to onerous terms including Nintendo itself being the sole manufacturer of the cartridges themselves.

Atari / Tengen manufactured their own cartridges anyway, causing litigation.

 

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On 9/17/2022 at 8:40 AM, BruceMcF said:

The thing is, this comes from the plastics production technology at the time. To get uniform look and feel, you'd need to use the same injection molds, and to get uniform color, you'd need to get the plastic produced by the same production process. If color match is important today, we can get it by having cameras that take a picture of the product as it is passing through the line and a robot faulting parts that are out of match, so that the line can be taken down and the color adjusted ... but they didn't have that system available back then.

I worked in the early 2000's on updating the automation a plastic plant making Lexan. While making other plastics may be different, I'd suspect that they are very similar in processing/manufacturing.

Basically the start is to make plastic resin from petrochemicals which results in a powder like material (think like flour) which has a consistent default natural colour - off white. This stage was done in a separate plant on the facility. It was then blown over via a pipe to the extruding plant which was the factory I worked on re-automating. Other chemicals are added for various properties, such as colour following a pre-determined recipe, measured by weight.

All the chemicals in a batch are then mixed in powder form. It then goes into a melting pot together to create something that had the constancy of a thick glue - think like candle wax. This process occurred in basically a heated tube with an auger in it called an extruder. if you've ever used a meat grinder that's what to think of. It comes out hot and gets put into a water bath the cools and sets the strands forming a hard continuous plastic rod. These strands then get chopped up into little pellets, dried and off to storage bins.

Here is where the pellets get checked for colour against a standard. Scrapping it doesn't make sense given the effort and cost of the raw materials. If there is off-product (ie not matching the standards - not the right colour) the batch of pellets are sold to a customer who doesn't require  a specific tolerance on a property. Colour doesn't matter if the part isn't going into a piece that isn't visible, or the end customer doesn't care about it. Off-product is sold at a discount, but I assume not at a loss. There were certain regions that were known to want the cheapest product rather than an exact colour (or property.)

In making pellets, the next batch might be of a different colour for a different customer. Rather than shut the extruding line down, attempt to clean the extruder out (if possible) then start up the next batch, the next batch would go in just after the last one. This method saved time and money, but created pellets with"in-between" colour (and other properties) which were off-product but still desirable by some customers. This in-between was sent to a different storage bin, which might have pellets from another transition between batches.

The in-spec coloured pellets are then sold to a customer who uses them to mold whatever they want. I'm assuming that Nintendo had a manufacturer mold the cartridge for them rather than make it themselves, much like they would buy the burnt/masked ROMs from a supplier. If the molder didn't meet Nintendo's colour spec, I assume that Nintendo would not purchase the shipment. 

Robot colour quality control is rather expensive and difficult especially with vision systems, or at least in the time I was in the automation field. I worked in several industries over a wide range of manufacturing such as automotive, food processing and pharmaceuticals and only saw a few in my time. The issues with lighting, production speed and other factors made it costly to automate. In the computer assembly plants I worked in humans did the assembly of parts to make a machine. An automated robotic system could be built to do the assembly, but one would have to be making mass amounts of computers for a long period of time for it to be cost effective. With case changes, technology advancements (how many processor form factors have you seen since CPUs came in DIPs?) and other items, the time to design, develop, build and roll out would far exceed the lifespan the resultant product would have. On the other end of the spectrum bottling is a process that automation makes sense given the quantity and consistency of the product. Cans and bottles don't frequently change in size or shape; just the contents. Anyone for an "old" Coke verse "new" Coke flame war?  

All of the above may be more than you ever wanted to know, and just vaguely related to retro computing but you did get it for free though 😜

Edited by Edmond D
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On 9/19/2022 at 12:51 PM, Edmond D said:

... Here is where the pellets get checked for colour against a standard. Scrapping it doesn't make sense given the effort and cost of the raw materials. ...

Yes, this depends heavily on the type of plastic. If it is a plastic that can be ground up, melted and re-used you may fault it out and use it in a line where the color doesn't matter, but not with a plastic that cannot be reused in that way.

But it doesn't really change the the point I was making still stands ... back in the 1980's, the way you got consistent color was by getting it from the same producers. Or do it like the car factory did it, where all of the resin parts are black.

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