MK3 feature request: square pixels (= black bars on widescreen monitors)

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Don't Panic. Please wash hands.
  • I got my Indivision AGA MK3 last week, and I really like it. However, there is one missing feature that really makes it harder to work with the MK3 than I think it needs to be.


    That feature is the ability use a regular Amiga resolution such as PAL or NTSC with the native or common resolutions of today's widescreen monitors, for example 1920x1080 without the image looking stretched.


    Currently, the MK3 will always fill the selected monitor resolution with the selected part of the Amiga resolution. For PAL, that means a resolution of 640x512 will be stretched to fit in 1920x1080. However, that doesn't look right because the Amiga uses a (roughly) 4:3 aspect ratio and the monitor a 16:9 aspect ratio.


    My feature request is to add a setting that makes sure that the image is scaled to the same degree in the X and Y directions. So with 640x512 -> 1920x1080, that means the Amiga's 512 lines are scaled by a factor 2.11 to fit the 1080 lines of the monitor, and then the horizontal scaling is also a factor 2.11 so 1350. That means 1920 - 1350 = 570 pixels per line aren't used, so 285 pixel wide black bars are added to the left and the right of the Amiga's picture.


    (Of course the black bars could also be above and below the Amiga's image, for instance NTSC 640x400 on 1280x1024 would be 1280x800 + 112 line black bars above and below.)


    It would be even better to fill the bars with the Amiga's border color or perhaps a user-definable color, but letterboxing/pillarboxing is normally done with black bars so black only is totally fine.

  • That feature is the ability use a regular Amiga resolution such as PAL or NTSC with the native or common resolutions of today's widescreen monitors, for example 1920x1080 without the image looking stretched.

    If you want that you set the Amiga number of pixels to 1350 in the config tool.

    It would be even better to fill the bars with the Amiga's border color or perhaps a user-definable color, but letterboxing/pillarboxing is normally done with black bars so black only is totally fine.

    Some of the pixels on the side will be background color. Further away it will be black. The PAL screen isn't really 640 wide, that is just the number of pixels that have graphics, that actual screen is more like 720-ish with part of it background color.

  • I got my Indivision AGA MK3 last week, and I really like it. However, there is one missing feature that really makes it harder to work with the MK3 than I think it needs to be.

    If you want that you set the Amiga number of pixels to 1350 in the config tool.


    That didn't quite work, the image was much too narrow. But for some reason that I don't understand 960 does work:



    (This is with 1920x1080@50.)


    However, the little yellow line on the right is not great. When using the Workbench it's hidden by borderblank, but when playing games it's visible. Another slight annoyance is that the background color (if not black) is much wider on the left than on the right.


    I would still really appreciate a way to make all of this easier to set up and make look nice even when not using borderblank.

  • However, the little yellow line on the right is not great.

    Yeah that is on my todo list to fix (or automatically hide at least). Not sure yet if the Amiga is really generating that yellow pixel or if it is a bug in the scaler logic.


    Another slight annoyance is that the background color (if not black) is much wider on the left than on the right.

    Yeah well that is what the Amiga is generating. Hard to tell all the game developers retroactively to center their picture better.


    I would still really appreciate a way to make all of this easier to set up and make look nice even when not using borderblank.

    Well the fact that a utility like borderblank even exists, kinda shows this is not easy to solve on the "monitor/display" side. The danger of introducing something like a cropping feature (adding artificial blackness) that users will start complaining about missing pixels in their games. As about none of the games will exactly match whatever WB is setup as all games and demos just do basically whatever they want position wise (within the hardware limits).

  • That didn't quite work, the image was much too narrow. But for some reason that I don't understand 960 does work:

    Yes 1920 / 1080 = 1.777

    And 960 / 540 = 1.777

    So 960 does indeed gives you square pixels. Maybe not or not exactly matching the Amiga aspect ratio, which can be all over the place depending which mode you use. PAL vs NTSC while both 4:3 modes but will have different pixel "squareness" as one has 512 and the other only 400 active scanlines on the screen.

  • It does look like the extra pixel happens somewhere in the MK3 as the Amiga's native RGB output doesn't show it:



    This is a closeup of the RGB output:



    And the MK3 HDMI output:



    You can also see that the MK3 shows a lot more overscan on the left, and all of the gray is usable, the maximum overscan I can get is 724 pixels.


    (Oh, and did I mention how much I love the sharpness of the MK3 but with the scanline effect so games look the way they should? The second closeup is so much better than the first.)


    Yes, it is true that it's not easy to set up a mapping that shows everything you want to see and show nothing you don't want to see even for all these games doing their own thing.


    What I've tried to do is set things up such that with no overscan settings, the actual image is centered with the same amount of border on both sides. Unfortunately, that setting reduces the maximum amount of overscan you can use. But fortunately you can use modes that provide 960x540 or 1280x720 all the way to the edges of the screen.


    And if only a few titles do weird stuff it's easy enough to adjust using the live edit mode. Too bad though that this won't let you select a different preset on the fly.

  • And if only a few titles do weird stuff it's easy enough to adjust using the live edit mode. Too bad though that this won't let you select a different preset on the fly.

    Pressing 'X' in live mode cycles through all compatible modes for that specific screen mode. So you could define a config for a specific game and put it at the end of the list so it isn't selected by default and then use the X in live mode to cycle to it when needed.

  • Pressing 'X' in live mode cycles through all compatible modes for that specific screen mode. So you could define a config for a specific game and put it at the end of the list so it isn't selected by default and then use the X in live mode to cycle to it when needed.

    Thanks for the info. Could you add that to the documentation? If I‘m not mistaken it mentions that one‘s able to „zap“ through presets but doesn‘t explain how to achieve it.

  • This issue has been solved in the firmware (20201014) included with the configtool version 1.7

    That's great!


    However, I'm not having any success upgrading the firmware. I've tried just "flash firmware" as well as "flash firmware from file" and using the flash tool, but I keep getting back the 20200930 version that was previously installed, even after reboots.

  • There appears to be the old firmware file in the V1.7 archive - I've already e-mailed Timm to double-check if it's also compiled into the V1.7 tool, or if you can resolve it by just deleting the firmware file. Not sure if Timm is already headed for the weekend - he works from home. Peter can upload the right firmware file here.