NuLA demos

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simonm
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NuLA demos

Postby simonm » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:11 am

Those of you with the NuLA now installed might enjoy what I've been cooking up this weekend - some nice MODE2 pix to show off your new shiny mod! :D
The demos are best on a Master, but should work fine on regular beebs too.
If you run them on a machine without the NuLA be prepared for a horror show of primary colours!! :lol:
Huge thanks to Rob for making this hardware happen, and also to Kieran for the B-Em hack. I've wanted a decent palette on a Beeb for soooo long!

Here's a few tasters:
swiv.PNG
flash.PNG
gng.PNG
sonic.PNG
terminator.PNG
spidey.PNG
birds.PNG
beeb.PNG
trooper.PNG


I'll chuck up the source & stuff to GitHub soon.
Enjoy!
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bbc-nula-demos.zip
Image gallery demo disks for NuLA hardware mod
(379.25 KiB) Downloaded 41 times

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FourthStone
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby FourthStone » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:51 am

Amazing! Is that using a 16 colour palette?

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simonm
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby simonm » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:02 am

Yes, these are all images converted to Mode 2 format, but using the optimum 16 colour palette from the nulas 4096 colour range - goes to show what the beeb could have been capable of!

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kieranhj
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby kieranhj » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:36 am

These are all amazing, great work Simon! Funny how much more important bit-depth is than screen resolution when it comes to the kinds of things we're interested in, i.e. games, demos, graphical effects. I guess the Beeb was designed and intended primarily for educational / business use so the higher-resolution screens were a requirement over colour depth for word processing etc.

Here are a couple of demos I knocked together adapting the linear mode video player to use grey scale - works OK in b-em w/ NULA support but no idea whether this works on real NULA hardware!
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totoro_nula_grey.zip
Totoro ad in grey scale
(267.78 KiB) Downloaded 17 times
starwars_nula_grey.zip
Star Wars intro in grey scale
(390.04 KiB) Downloaded 20 times

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1024MAK
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby 1024MAK » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:36 am

@ Simon - Excellent conversions :D

Mark
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1024MAK
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby 1024MAK » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:43 am

When using CRT displays (and some LCD monitors/TVs), either a high colour depth and a high, but not that high resolution works, or a much higher resolution with lower colour depth and the artist using stipple to simulate all the extra colour shades that they want.

But with just the eight colours the Beeb has, unless your name is Pixelblip, it's difficult to make the later work well...

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trixster
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby trixster » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:47 pm

Blimey, these look incredible. I never thought I'd see a beeb output colour and graphics like that. Amazing.
A3020 | A3000 | BBC B + 128K RAM/ROM + 20K Shadow + Pi0 + VideoNuLA
BBC Master Turbo + DC | Atom | A1200 060 | A500 | Jaguar | A420/1
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martinw
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby martinw » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:26 pm

Ditto =D>

RobC
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby RobC » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:23 pm

These are fantastic =D>

Seeing them coming out of a Beeb still takes some believing and really illustrate why I wanted to get 16 proper colours and a decent palette on the Beeb :D

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Re: NuLA demos

Postby SimonSideburns » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:13 pm

I am in agreement that these pictures look fabulous.

Shame I'm limited for funds at the moment or I would have ordered one.

Will save up and get one later in the year hopefully.
I'm writing a game where you can change your character from a Wizard to a monkey to a cat.

Well, Imogen that!

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sydney
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby sydney » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:30 pm

Looking every bit as good as I thought it would! Is there any chance someone could have a go at recreating the amiga Tutankhamun image?

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Re: NuLA demos

Postby RobC » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:17 pm

sydney wrote:Looking every bit as good as I thought it would! Is there any chance someone could have a go at recreating the amiga Tutankhamun image?

Already been done - it's on disk 2 and looks amazing on screen :D

This is from B-Em as I've lost my DVD recorder remote!

tut.jpg

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sydney
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby sydney » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:47 pm

Ooohh! I've just gone weak at the knees!

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1024MAK
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby 1024MAK » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:28 pm

sydney wrote:Ooohh! I've just gone weak at the knees!

No need to kneel :lol:

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simonm
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby simonm » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:55 pm

I might tweak that Tute image; not happy with how the dithering came out. :D

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Re: NuLA demos

Postby RobC » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:11 pm

simonm wrote:I might tweak that Tute image; not happy with how the dithering came out.

When my wife saw it, she said "That's better than anything you've done with your board!" :shock: :oops: :D

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Elminster
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby Elminster » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:24 am

As I tell my wife, 'not all geniuses are artists'.

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trixster
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby trixster » Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:59 pm

RobC wrote:
sydney wrote:Looking every bit as good as I thought it would! Is there any chance someone could have a go at recreating the amiga Tutankhamun image?

Already been done - it's on disk 2 and looks amazing on screen :D

This is from B-Em as I've lost my DVD recorder remote!

tut.jpg


This is amazing. Imagine if the Beeb had been released with this kind of capability!
A3020 | A3000 | BBC B + 128K RAM/ROM + 20K Shadow + Pi0 + VideoNuLA
BBC Master Turbo + DC | Atom | A1200 060 | A500 | Jaguar | A420/1
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Elminster
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby Elminster » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:47 pm

That would have added a fair amount to the cost though. Assuming lots of extra ICs and such like, and therefore bigger MB or daughter board etc. Any one hazard a guess how much that would have added to the costs doing it 80s style in the 80s?

Edit: Fixed some typos. Although you can see them in Rob's quote still.
Last edited by Elminster on Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

RobC
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby RobC » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:29 pm

Elminster wrote:Any on ehazard a guess how much that would have added to the costs dpings it 80s style in the 80s?

As a point of reference, the Palettemate was advertised for £99 in October 1986. Assuming it replaced the original ULA, you'd recoup some of the cost.

Had Acorn decided to do it, it would have needed a slightly larger PCB and a bigger ULA - the original ULA implementation is about 1/3 the size of the full VideoNuLA. Or they could have just put out the flash bit and used an off the shelf RAMDAC. Anyone know what a 16 x 12-bit RAMDAC cost?

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Elminster
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby Elminster » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:41 pm

I expect it could have been done cheaper than the after market £99 but then that was 5 years later anyway, so maybe not.

Say it was £100 that would have added 30% on the cost of the BBC B, When no other machine was doing that. I guess it might have made sense to do it on a master (shame they didnt) but probably not on an original Beeb. Unless they did a BBC model C (with all the shiny bits they could have done with 80s tech but was too expensive for the 'average' consumer)

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simonm
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby simonm » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:49 pm

If anyone has any images or photos they want adding to the next volume just share here or PM me a link!

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Re: NuLA demos

Postby kieranhj » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:57 am

Without wanting to hijack Simon's thread again :- here's a quick raster bars demo for NULA. It's like having an Amiga, except with out the 16-bit CPU, RAM and all the custom chips. :D
Attachments
raster-bars-nula.zip
Quick raster bars demo for NULA
(5.11 KiB) Downloaded 31 times
nula-rasters.png
12-bit bliss

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tricky
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby tricky » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:42 am

Are there any demos from the original palettemate?
Maybe I just missed them.

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Re: NuLA demos

Postby RobC » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:47 am

kieranhj wrote:Without wanting to hijack Simon's thread again here's a quick raster bars demo for NULA.

Wow - I really need to find my DVD recorder remote so that I can make some videos of these! =D>

tricky wrote:Are there any demos from the original palettemate?Maybe I just missed them.

The 1986 advert says that it includes some example software but I've never seen the hardware or software. I sent an e-mail Pete Wild some time ago but didn't get a response.

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Re: NuLA demos

Postby dominicbeesley » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:44 am

RobC wrote:
Elminster wrote:Any on ehazard a guess how much that would have added to the costs dpings it 80s style in the 80s?

As a point of reference, the Palettemate was advertised for £99 in October 1986. Assuming it replaced the original ULA, you'd recoup some of the cost.

Had Acorn decided to do it, it would have needed a slightly larger PCB and a bigger ULA - the original ULA implementation is about 1/3 the size of the full VideoNuLA. Or they could have just put out the flash bit and used an off the shelf RAMDAC. Anyone know what a 16 x 12-bit RAMDAC cost?


It depends when it was brought out, prior to VGA I suspect real RAMDACs were too expensive.

I was thinking about this a while back, before I decided to cheat and use a VGA RAMDAC, three 74XX189's (around £3 a pop in 1985, or 82S25 at around £2) and a couple of 8 bit latches would probably do the trick but only just, timing wise. Palette writes would have to occur during DISEN=0. I suspect the palette RAM itself takes up a lot (most?) of the ULA space, whether your other funky (attributes, smooth scroll) effects would all fit is another matter...

This would have added a fair chunk to the cost of course! Also, analogue composite/UHF generation circuitry would need to have been added though I suspect that the beeb's chroma circuit could be much simplified...

D

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BigEd
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby BigEd » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:55 am

(Random price datapoint: Brooktree's responses to Inmos' G171 were reported as $20 in quantity, in 1987.

EDN, Electrical Design News - Volume 32, Issues 16-21 - Page 105 1987 - ‎Snippet view - ‎More editions
Because the chip is compatible with the VGA at the register level, you can program the graphics hardware directly instead ... Although IBM uses the Inmos G171 RAMDAC on its PS/2 graphics-controller boards, you have an alternative: You can use ... The Bt478's 80-MHz frequency eliminates the flicker that some viewers have complained about in the 8514/A. The Bt471 and Bt478 each cost under $20 in OEM quantity. Brooktree Corp, 9950 Barnes Canyon Rd, San Diego, CA 92121.


)

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Re: NuLA demos

Postby RobC » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:11 pm

dominicbeesley wrote:I was thinking about this a while back, before I decided to cheat and use a VGA RAMDAC, three 74XX189's (around £3 a pop in 1985, or 82S25 at around £2) and a couple of 8 bit latches would probably do the trick but only just, timing wise. Palette writes would have to occur during DISEN=0.

This is essentially how Mike Cook's Chameleon works - some latches and three 74LS189s.

BigEd wrote:Random price datapoint: Brooktree's responses to Inmos' G171 were reported as $20 in quantity, in 1987.

Sounds like it could have been viable around the time of the Master 128/Compact then. However, I guess the Arc was on the horizon at that point and Acorn would have wanted a clear differential between its graphics capabilities and the 8-bit machines. Also, they may well have had a stockpile of original ULAs to use up!

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Re: NuLA demos

Postby simonm » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:34 pm

kieranhj wrote:Without wanting to hijack Simon's thread again :- here's a quick raster bars demo for NULA. It's like having an Amiga, except with out the 16-bit CPU, RAM and all the custom chips. :D

Tip top Mr Kieran - very cool. I need to up my game now. :lol:

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simonm
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Re: NuLA demos

Postby simonm » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:07 pm

Ok folks, for anyone who is interested, I've put the source code for the NuLA gallery program up on github:
https://github.com/simondotm/bbc-nula

There's a big old readme with some details of how it all works and how to make your own galleries etc.

Have fun!


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