Enhancing via CRT shader


First, congrats and thanks to the great Strand Games team for the remastering of Magnetic Scrolls titles!

I just wanted to point out that another way to enhance graphics is simply to use a CRT shader.
Original graphics are far better on old CRT screens, especially Jinxter pointillism style:

Pixel art scaled "on the bus":

Same image with CRT shader, playing with SuperCRT:

While the first image looks bad on our modern HD monitors, the second gives a better and nicer result (which, by the way, is closer to what the artist saw while editing). Maybe that's just me, but I do like this second picture. That's what is printed in my memory, from the times I played this game on my Atari ST!

It's great to have new graphics for old games, but CRT is cool too for nostalgic fans ;)
Maybe a new option for the future?!



  • edited January 2019


    Thanks for posting this.

    It's definitely something we were going to look into. There are a number of CRT style shaders written as pixel shaders that we might be able to use. Looks like the "superCRT" you have there is a DX thing. Instead we'd need vertex and fragment shader versions.

    But, there are some around. I keep meaning to try one out and see how it looks.

    Nevertheless, i think this is going to be a desktop only thing because whenever i try anything but a trivial shader on mobile, it stalls badly.

    In other discussion with @nGFX, a plan to make the original images a bit more "pure" by preventing modern smoothing was talked about. Perhaps this combined with a crt shader would look really quite nice.

    I'll have a poke about and see what i can find. If you know any good crt vertex/fragment shaders, let me know and we can try it out.

  • Following this thread, I've came along CRT-Royale but I did not have the chance to play with it yet.

    This web GL demo of an Unity plugin might be of interest too.

    For mobile versions, you may just end up providing still pictures with the CRT effect applied. The only drawback would be the impossibility to fine tune the effect, but I guess mobile users wouldn't care too much. It would be my choice, because shaders generally hit too much the performance of games on my old iPod (and I would love to disable the dripple effect on The Guild of Thieves welcome screen for that reason).

  • I discovered that the libretro shaders have also been converted to GLSL here,

    Thinking of trying out perhaps the "easymode" one.

  • Maybe a quicker way to add this to the games would be to pre-compute all screens offline (in the end, nothing is moving, we're talking about still pictures) with two presets for NTSC and PAL if it really matters...


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