Indivision ECS V2 overscan problems in the games Disposable Hero and Arkanoid

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Don't Panic. Please wash hands.
  • So when using profiles that shows full or partly overscan area I get issues in Disposable Hero and Arkanoid. I have the latest firmware and tool for the ECS2. I have tried the two overscan profiles that comes with it. Like 736x548 50Hz and 720x548. Including profiles I have made myself for full overscan.


    In Disposable hero I get a blinking border on the right side when playing the game. Adjusting the picture right with the ECS2 tool will eventually cause a blinking border to be on both left and right side of the picture.


    For Arkanoid a small part of the right side of the picture still does not show fully. overscan became a bit better after the last few firmwares but still not fully showing as it's supposed to. I know how it's supposed to look because the Indivision ECS V1 shows the full overscan correctly and I have connected my screens directly to the RGB aswell.


    I want you devs to try these games using overscan profiles. I hope this will get fixed eventually. Thanks


    Edit: Turns out I had already mentioned these issues in september last year and they never got resolved Indivision ECS V2 720x576@50Hz

  • So I built myself an Amiga 500 Plus. I bought a 500 plus motherboard with no chips and also bought an Agnus 8375 NTSC from icomp. Then took the rest of the chips from a Rev.6A motherboard I have minus the kickstart. Using it together with my ACA 500 + ACA 1221. Also forcing PAL with my ACA 500.


    So at first I installed the regular denise from the 6A board. Then I was thinking I should install my Indivision ECS V2 for full Super Denise support on the A500 Plus board. To my surprise the issues with Arkanoid and disposable hero was also present when using the RGB output instead of the VGA output! So what I discovered when I swapped the real Denise for the ECS V2 was this and that my previously centered image had a small black bar on the right side of the screen even though the picture was still centered. Noticed this in workbench. So this small black bar is probably the missing pixels in Arkanoid. It seems the ECS V2 is missing part of the overscan area on the right side. Keep in mind, still using the RGB output.


    I was under the impression the ECS V2 could be a direct replacement for the real Denise and that it should work like the real Denise. Especially when using the RGB output?


    Here is a picture of the missing pixels on the right side in Arkanoid, taken when using the RGB output. Same thing happens with VGA output aswell, no matter what adjustments or profile I use (externally-hosted picture removed - please upload pictures here)


    I would need to film the flashing vertical bars on left and right side of picture in Disposable hero. And as I said, this is even when using the RGB output. I haven't even installed the ECS V2 software on this A500 Plus yet. This is clearly beyond a software problem. We need a new firmware


    So have this been looked into yet?

  • The game Skidz has the same problem as Disposable Hero. Flashing bars on left and right sides. Again, when using Amigas RGB output. I'm gonna see if I can try some older firmwares or something


    Tried all firmwares from 1.7 and onwards. The first 1 or 2 firmwares have an even bigger border (missing overscan on the right side. Then from there on all of them have a small missing right overscan area. They all have blinking/flashing borders in games like disposable hero and skidz. There could be more games with this issue.


    And this is tested using RGB. The software will do nothing when in RGB mode. But the same issues are there when using VGA. We need a new firmware and fixes for these issues.


    Have you stopped supporting this product?

  • Tried all firmwares from 1.7 and onwards. The first 1 or 2 firmwares have an even bigger border (missing overscan on the right side. Then from there on all of them have a small missing right overscan area.

    That is correct. We have implemented a fix for overscan in the past so very old firmwares will show more overscan issues as newer firmwares. Those fixes were for the game "Siedler" if I remember correctly. For some games it is only a few pixels that are missing and don't impact the game play. We do understand that a flashing border is undesirable and so we need to look into that. As the bug is likely located in the Denise emulation part of the product it will impact both RGB and VGA output in the exact same way.

    Have you stopped supporting this product?

    No, as this product is still produced and sold. It is still under support. We have been testing the games you mentioned last week.

  • That is correct. We have implemented a fix for overscan in the past so very old firmwares will show more overscan issues as newer firmwares. Those fixes were for the game "Siedler" if I remember correctly. For some games it is only a few pixels that are missing and don't impact the game play. We do understand that a flashing border is undesirable and so we need to look into that. As the bug is likely located in the Denise emulation part of the product it will impact both RGB and VGA output in the exact same way.

    No, as this product is still produced and sold. It is still under support. We have been testing the games you mentioned last week.

    Thank you for answering. Even though some games like Arkanoid only misses a few pixels, would it be that hard to change it so we get the full overscan area in a future firmware, if you're gonna look into the flashing border issue anyway?

  • Sure, when we look into it, we will consider both bugs. I can't tell how difficult it will be to fix at this point in time. It could be that both issues share the same underlying problem and the different visual appearance is just the way the games configure the screen. So fixing one also fixes the other. However it could just as well be two different bugs. You can never tell with these emulation issues, it is often a complex interplay between the chip-set behavior and the game code.

  • Sure, when we look into it, we will consider both bugs. I can't tell how difficult it will be to fix at this point in time. It could be that both issues share the same underlying problem and the different visual appearance is just the way the games configure the screen. So fixing one also fixes the other. However it could just as well be two different bugs. You can never tell with these emulation issues, it is often a complex interplay between the chip-set behavior and the game code.

    Thanks for the answer. I really hope you get this fixed


    Edit: Menace also has the flashing borders. Finding more and more classic games with the issue. Last firmware for the ECS V2 came out almost a year ago. This really needs to get fixed.


    Edit2: Skidz (Only tried whdload version) actually had flashing borders with the original Denise aswell. The rest of the games I mentioned only had blinking borders with the ECS V2.

  • I have scheduled looking into this issue later this week. From what I get from Timm's first check into this, it's really only happening on the far right of the overscan where no important information is displayed. On a setup with real Denise and 1084 monitor, it's even likely that that part is not seen at all, which is probably the reason why you've been the only one to report this issue. However, we'd like to be 100% compatible with the original Denise, so yes, this issue should be fixed.

  • I have scheduled looking into this issue later this week. From what I get from Timm's first check into this, it's really only happening on the far right of the overscan where no important information is displayed. On a setup with real Denise and 1084 monitor, it's even likely that that part is not seen at all, which is probably the reason why you've been the only one to report this issue. However, we'd like to be 100% compatible with the original Denise, so yes, this issue should be fixed.

    I was actually thinking the same. I use LCDs so they will show more of the overscan area than CRTs. Thanks for confirming you will be working on this and that you want it to be 100% compatible with the original Denise! Hopefully you get the flashing bars in various games sorted and maybe the full overscan. I use this ECS V2 as a Super Denise replacement in an A500 Plus build I did recently. Bought the motherboard with no chips and donated chips from a 6A board I have. Had to buy the 8375 NTSC Agnus from you guys (icomp) since the PAL version is not in stock and also wanted to have the full Super ECS so that is where the ECS V2 comes in so 100% compatability with a real Super Denise would be awesome.

  • A possible fix for the reported overscan issues. Seems the flickering borders and the missing pixels in Arkanoid do have the same underlying cause.


    Unpack the archive and transfer the included rbf file to your Amiga. Then use the "Flash firmware File..." under the "Firmware" menu in the IndivisionECSv2 configuration program. I've tried to minimize the impact of these changes. So I hope it doesn't create any regressions in the functionality. Let me know if it solves any of observed over-scan issues.


    indi_ecs_v2_20200326.zip

  • Hi,


    We'll wait on Turrican 9's response, but on system the issue with Disposable Hero seems to be fixed. He should be able to confirm if his experience is the same and if Arkanoid is OK as well. I do have another issue though. I use a utility called BBLank, It blanks the overscan area on Workbench (black borders). With the Indivision ECSV2, only the sides of screen are black, the top and bottom remain gray (or whatever the default colour is).

  • A possible fix for the reported overscan issues. Seems the flickering borders and the missing pixels in Arkanoid do have the same underlying cause.


    Unpack the archive and transfer the included rbf file to your Amiga. Then use the "Flash firmware File..." under the "Firmware" menu in the IndivisionECSv2 configuration program. I've tried to minimize the impact of these changes. So I hope it doesn't create any regressions in the functionality. Let me know if it solves any of observed over-scan issues.


    indi_ecs_v2_20200326.zip

    Wow. That was fast customer support! It seems to have fixed the issues from my testing thus far. Arkanoid shows the full horizontal overscan area, the games that had flashing borders now seems to work as they should, with no flashing border! Great work! Thanks!


    Did my testing using a BenQ BL 702A connected directly to RGB and at the same time a BenQ BL912 connected to VGA and using overscan profile with full horizontal overscan (736 pixels). Tested in PAL.


    I tested what Drewlio mentioned. I tried the feature called 'BorderBlank' in classic workbench. For me it shows black borders on top, left and right side. But the bottom is not blanked and still has the grey background colour. Minor issue which I'm sure is easy to fix. I believe the older firmwares do not have that specific issue if I remember correctly. I normally don't use border blank.

  • I'm aware of the blanking behavior, no easy fix I'm afraid.

    The Denise chip only really knows about single lines, which is also true for the emulated one in the Indi ECS v2. The vertical blanking is controlled by the Agnus chip and there is a signal called CSync/Blank, this is not connected on the Indi ECS v2. That either is an oversight or more likely done to make the product compatible with more Amigas, so it can live on a Paula adapter for example. I might have to ask Jens about his reasoning there. That said I did implement an emulation of a part of the Agnus sync logic to get video modes like the SuperPlus mode to work. Those mode kinda creep in into what normally would be sync area (and therefore require the ECS chipset to work). I only implemented the minimum there to get those mode work. And that is the very top part of the screen. So yes the bottom part doesn't have proper blanking behavior at the moment.

  • Ok discussed issue with Jens. Signal was indeed omitted on purpose to make it compatible with more Amiga models. We looked together in design of the Indi ECS v1, and there we found an alternative implementation for border blanking without requiring the sync/blank input of the chip. So I've implemented that method in the v2 firmware now. Let me know if that solves the blanking issues you observed.


    indi_ecs_v2_20200327.zip

  • I'm aware of the blanking behavior, no easy fix I'm afraid.

    The Denise chip only really knows about single lines, which is also true for the emulated one in the Indi ECS v2. The vertical blanking is controlled by the Agnus chip and there is a signal called CSync/Blank, this is not connected on the Indi ECS v2. That either is an oversight or more likely done to make the product compatible with more Amigas, so it can live on a Paula adapter for example. I might have to ask Jens about his reasoning there. That said I did implement an emulation of a part of the Agnus sync logic to get video modes like the SuperPlus mode to work. Those mode kinda creep in into what normally would be sync area (and therefore require the ECS chipset to work). I only implemented the minimum there to get those mode work. And that is the very top part of the screen. So yes the bottom part doesn't have proper blanking behavior at the moment.

    So I know from a youtube video I saw the other day that trying to use a real Super Denise in an older Amiga 500 motherboard would not work. Because one of the pins on Denise was not connected on the older A500 motherboard. I think it had something to do with clock signal (probably the Csync/Blank pin you are talking about) or something. So a bodge wire would be needed. However, the Indivision ECS V2 would work just fine without that wire and at the same time run as a full Super Denise in that same motherboard (Rev.3 motherboard). So I think that is probably what you are talking about here. The missing pin, compatability and the emulation you made.


    So if this is true I would guess Jens did this to get wider compatability as you said.


    So maybe it would be possible to emulate the border blank fully and make it work properly. Only you would know. 100% Denise compatability would be nice of course.


    Thanks

  • Ok discussed issue with Jens. Signal was indeed omitted on purpose to make it compatible with more Amiga models. We looked together in design of the Indi ECS v1, and there we found an alternative implementation for border blanking without requiring the sync/blank input of the chip. So I've implemented that method in the v2 firmware now. Let me know if that solves the blanking issues you observed.


    indi_ecs_v2_20200327.zip

    wow. I had just finished replying to your last post and here you are with a possible fix for Border Blank! Will test it and report back!


    Thanks

  • wow. I had just finished replying to your last post and here you are with a possible fix for Border Blank! Will test it and report back!

    Yeah I had the A500 setup still on the development desk, so before I all put it back in the box, I was like.. lets try this fix first.

  • Yeah I had the A500 setup still on the development desk, so before I all put it back in the box, I was like.. lets try this fix first.

    Border Blank seems to work just fine now! Thanks!


    The right overscan area is still missing a few more pixels compared to an original Denise. I can see it when using my BenQ BL 702A connected to RGB. With the original Denise, if I adjust the picture to the left as far as possible until the blank area starts to show itself on the right side it does indeed have more pixels VS ECS V2. However, this is no longer critical because it will not affect any games or anything as far as I've seen thus far. But if it's easy to fix it would be nice to have it replicate the exact same overscan area the real Denise have. If not, I'm happy with how it is now :)


    So as it stands now I am really happy with the ECS V2. Only thing I am not super happy with is the ghosting in the picture when using VGA (no ghosting using RGB). But I'm not sure anything can be done about that. I know VGA is prone to ghosting on higher frequencies. Anyway, with scanlines enabled it's not too bad.


    One thing to note, allthough the BenQ BL 702A will show the 15KHz RGB picture about perfectly when pixel and phaseclocks are tuned it's just easier to look at a scandoubled picture. And especially with 13% or 25% scanline intesity. It's just easier on the eyes.