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LentFilms
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RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by LentFilms Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:26 pm

Why do people do this?
https://youtu.be/r3QNALuSkLA?t=368
Your basically throwing the NES's original YIQ color space out the window and replacing it with an eye balled RGB palette that emulators use (it uses the default color palette of Nintendulator and FCEUX).

These palette's are literally made by comparing colors produced on a CRT and finding an RGB equivalent (AKA, not an exact science). In effect, your paying $100 for less accurate colors.WHY?

Why not use a CRT? You can get more authentic colors and their basically free.
If you want to use an HDTV, emulate the NES on a Raspberry Pi and enjoy perfect audio and (less accurate) RGB video.
There's no need to spend all this money cannibalizing your NES and only get original hardware emulating emulation.
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Anapan
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by Anapan Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:27 am

I went the more expensive route of using the PPU of a PC10 arcade board, and the PC10 palette is *way* off. Doesn't bother me as much as looking at the color fringing and artifacting visible if you view NES output on a large acreen viewed through composite video.
On a big screen (CRT via RGB or Component or Flatscreen with a scaler) the RGB modded systems look incredible.
Besides NTSC means "Never The Same Color". A slight variation in some colors tint is barely notable.
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KalessinDB
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by KalessinDB Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:40 am

Except... it's not emulating emulation? It's original hardware running the games perfectly, with the highest quality video you can get?

First off... the NES only outputs Composite, so say what you will about YIQ vs RGB (and there's formulas to convert one to the other - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YIQ among others - so it's certainly not "eyeballed") but you need to mod your NES to get decent video quality out of it one way or another.

Second, plenty of people do use their RGB modded NES's on CRTs - PVMs, BVMs and the like. Heck, I use my RGB modded toploader to play on my 36" Wega via YPbPr (with Tim's RGB -> YPbPr converter board) and it's a significant upgrade from composite on that same TV.

Finally, and this is just my opinion, but playing an NES via YPbPr on a large CRT (which requires an RGB mod) or via RGB on an HDTV (routed through an XRGB Framemeister for scanlines) are absolutely sublime experiences. I've done both, and it is nothing but a massive upgrade from RF or composite.

If you don't like it for your personal tastes, that's cool! But there were a couple factual inaccuracies in your original statements.
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Ghegs
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by Ghegs Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:17 pm

I used to have a PC-10 PPU modded AV Famicom that's been relegated to backup system status now. It was still pretty damn good and better than composite. There were a few games where the colors made things look funny, but most looked really nice.

Now I have a NESRGB modded AV Famicom that I use on a CRT. It's pure awesome.
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LentFilms
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by LentFilms Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:48 pm

KalessinDB wrote:Except... it's not emulating emulation? It's original hardware running the games perfectly, with the highest quality video you can get?
Yes, but it is making original hardware adapt the estimated RGB colors that emulators use. Which in turn is an estimate of real hardware YIQ colors.
See what I'm getting at? It's going full circle.

KalessinDB wrote:it's certainly not "eyeballed"

It's an estimate.
http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?t=9027
I understand this allows video quality to be significantly clearer, however, it is not perfect color reproduction. AKA, it's not the same thing but clearer; it's something else entirely that's made clearer.

I often play NES games emulated on the Wii these days (using FCEUX). This displays 240p component and uses the same palette's the NESRGB board does.
It looks great (not debating this fact). However, if I'm going to use original hardware, I would want original hardware. Not a half step of original hardware running emulated colors.

EDIT: Again, we live in an age were we can run cycle accurate NES emulation on our toasters. The only advantage to real hardware, that I see, is 100% authentic colors (This is something emulation can't do). Removing the above advantage to original hardware makes no sense to me.
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Ghegs
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by Ghegs Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:48 pm



From what I can understand, the information from your link seems to confirm what was already touched upon here. Because the system doesn't natively output RGB from which color values could be taken from (and the PC-10 which does output RGB has a different palette), it's indeed difficult if not impossible to have accurate colors in emulation.

However, that also means because of the same reasons it's impossible to have accurate colors to begin with! It doesn't exist even with real hardware, crazy as that may sound. If we take your standard-issue, non-modded NES and plug it into two CRT TVs of different makes and models, the image will appear to have slightly different colors on either TV. Which one is correct?

There's an article about this very issue at http://emulation.gametechwiki.com/index.php/Famicom_Color_Palette, worth a read. And check out those palette examples. Even the palettes from Wii Virtual Console and 3DS Virtual Console (both Nintendo's own services, they have to be considered official, right?) are noticeably different, I'm guessing the latter which is brighter has to compensate for the screen.

So, since there is no clear baseline, no "100% authentic colors", we can pretty safely say that the NESRGB's palette is just as valid as a non-modded system's. And from there we could go to the usual advantages of RGB over composite: sharper picture, no color-bleed, etc. Also, have you read the NESRGB page, especially the features list:

*User selectable palette. Three palettes available, I call them Natural, Improved, and Garish. The Natural palette has the same colours as the normal composite video output. It comes from the Nintendulator NES emulator. Improved is from the FCEUX emulator. There is more variety in the colours. Some games look significantly better with this one. Garish is also from the Nintendulator but it is a palette from the Nintendo Playchoice PPU. It's very colourful indeed. More of a curiosity than anything else. There is a fourth choice - if no palette is selected the NESRGB board will 'turn off' and just pass data through. This way the NES will output composite video as if the board was not installed at all.

*Outputs RGB, S-video (encoded from RGB), composite video (encoded from RGB), and composite video (original from PPU).


Not only does the mod give you three palettes to choose from, you can actually turn it off, so to speak. So even with the mod installed it's still possible to get your "accurate" NES colors. That sounds like a "best of both worlds"-situation to me. So there's no reason to NOT install the mod.

I'd say there are still other advantages to using real hardware over emulation even discounting the color thing, but that'd be another topic completely.
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LentFilms
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by LentFilms Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:37 pm

Ghegs wrote:So, since there is no clear baseline, no "100% authentic colors", we can pretty safely say that the NESRGB's palette is just as valid as a non-modded system's.

Yes, as Anapan said, the original hardware will never give you the same color twice.
However, I consider this inconsistency to be "100% authentic colors". It's just how the technology was at the time.

The way I see it, if your going to use real hardware at all (for the NES) you need to be a hardcore purist. Converting to a new RGB palette is revisionism (whether for the better or worse) and if you go that route, you might as well emulate.
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chuckster
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by chuckster Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:55 pm

I've went through phases of Original Hardware purity, RGB Everything, and Emulation Domination, and I came to realize the experiences weren't noticeably different (for me) no matter small differences in presentation. The differences are definitely there, no question, but when I went back to emulation through the Wii, I kept looking for things that were missing that just weren't (for me).

I'm not throwing off on this though, I prefer composite for my Genesis because there are small changes when going to a sharper output. If color accuracy is more important that clarity, I say go for it, it's not like you're missing anything really, especially if you're shooting for how it would have looked on the old living room set your parents probably had in '86.

We're lucky to be able to play these games at all, really
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KalessinDB
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by KalessinDB Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:35 pm

See now I'm slightly understanding your opinion (and it's an opinion, same as mine, not the fact that you made it out to be with the thread title) more. I've definitely encountered the extreme purists before, and while I don't agree with them I can understand them. Question though: how does the existence of the Famicom Titler affect your assertion that NES/Famicom games shouldn't ever be RGB officially?

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LentFilms
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Re: RGB Modding a NES is a Terrible Idea

by LentFilms Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:59 pm

KalessinDB wrote: Question though: how does the existence of the Famicom Titler affect your assertion that NES/Famicom games shouldn't ever be RGB officially?

Famicom Titler was produced by Sharp. It uses the same RGB from the PlayChoice-10 and it is wonky at best. It even brakes certain games due to not applying correct gray shading.
http://wiki.nesdev.com/w/index.php/PPU_palettes
EDIT: To answer your question, the Famicom Titler nor PlayChoice-10 are doctrine to the NES's color. Just a feature incorporated out of necessity.
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