Re: [stella] 2600 emulators vs. MAME

Subject: Re: [stella] 2600 emulators vs. MAME
From: Stephen Anthony <stephena@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 17 May 2004 20:51:36 -0230
On May 17, 2004 08:17 pm, Albert Yarusso wrote:
> Hello,
> On May 17, 2004, at 4:50 PM, Stephen Anthony wrote:
> > I think this is a case where some people will like it, and others
> > won't.
> > Personally, I don't use the bilinear filtering option either.  I
> > just added it since it only took a few lines of code.
> >
> > My real reason for using OpenGL was the alpha-blending, and more
> > importantly, the aspect ratio.  I think everyone can agree that
> > picture 1 looks a lot more authentic than picture 3 (which is way
> > too wide).
> Just so we're clear, I wasn't criticizing you for adding this
> feature, I'm all for adding new features.  I was just stating my
> opinion that I don't much care for bilinear filter when used like
> this.  :)  I do agree that the corrected aspect ratio image does look
> much better.

Oh, I know.  I just wanted to add that the bi-linear filtering modes 
aren't to my taste either.  But seeing how it only took about 10 lines 
of code, it would be foolish not to add it.

> Yes, some in-game GUI's would be nice.  Ideally what I'd like to see
> is the ability to load a new game without having to jump out of
> full-screen mode, as the mode switch is jarring and always takes a
> few seconds (not because of the software, but because of the
> monitor).

Right now, Stella is structured to run one game per instance.  So that 
means that the program has to shut down and then start up again to load 
another ROM.  This is basically a side effect of Stella being a 
commandline program.  I would consider adding an in-game GUI to load 
other games in the future, but at this point my concentration is on 
using the in-game GUI to change settings, not ROM's.

As for the monitor re-syncing taking time, that happens when the 
fullscreen mode and the windowed modes are at different resolutions.  
It would be easy enough to add an option that said 'use desktop 
resolution' when switching to fullscreen mode.  It might not be as nice 
as never having to leave fullscreen, but at least it would be faster 
and easier on the monitor.

> It would also be nice to have a built-in UI to examine or 
> change various emulator settings on the fly, change the display mode,
> view and fiddle with difficulty and b&w switches,
> keyboard/mouse/joystick mappings, and so forth.  :)

Right now, there are in-game hotkeys to change do the following:

1) change window zoom level (Alt+'+' or Alt+'-')
2) change color/b&w mode (F3 and F4)
3) change difficulty (F5, F6, F7, F8)

As well as many others.  For example, in OpenGL mode you can switch 
between filtered/non-filtered with Alt+'f', or between different Stella 
palettes or the z26 palette with Ctrl+'p'.  I don't know if there's a 
need to have an in-game GUI to change those when there are already 
hotkeys to do it.  Also, most of the changes are saved for future 
sessions, so you don't have to do them again.

As for the event mappings, there *is* an in-game GUI to do that.  In 
fact, that was one of the primary reasons for adding a GUI.  Right now, 
you can change the mappings for Atari joysticks and driving controllers 
to any button on any gamepad or keyboard you have.  You can also remap 
most of the Stella commands (F1 - F12, Pause, Snapshot, etc) as well.  
For example, I like having 'Select' and 'Reset' mapped to 'Select' and 
'Start' on my gamepad :)

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