Who Needs Widescreen Resolutions?

Displaying aspect ratios properly — please don’t stretch my pixels


This is a quick post. I haven’t had much tender loving time with the Amiga lately due to busy work and family schedules.

Life can be quite hectic for man in his late-thirties 😉

I went thrifting and obtained an 19″ 4:3 ViewSonic VP930 LCD/TFF monitor for the Amiga. I got it cheap — seems that people are just happy to unload this stuff these days. I almost got paid to take it.

ViewSonic VP930

I was looking for a very basic 4:3 monitor, because Amiga was originally designed to support these classic TV friendly aspect ratios and resolutions.

Note, you can also create proper 16:9 widescreen Workbench resolutions.

Making a modern 16:9 monitor work properly with the Amiga can be achieved quite easily, but especially with games you are always confronted with the massive black borders around your gaming screen — alternatively your screen gets forcibly stretched to widescreen. That gets ugly.

The VP930  is pretty capable monitor — albeit the contrast ratio and sharpness are not comparable to today’s high-end monitors.

Maybe this actually is a good thing?

I think that original Amiga games should be played with CRT monitors (having visible scan lines etc.), but it is not very practical anymore.

Commodore 1084S
Commodore 1942
Classic CRT monitor screen rastering

The original graphics were drawn by the artists using the available CRT display hardware of the time — pixels were expected to blur a little. That became part of the process of managing the limited 32 colour palette.  [Photo credits ilesj’s blog]

With the ViewSonic VP930 Workbench looks as I remember it.

Workbench screen

Quick circle test with Cloanto’s PPaint in PAL 320×256 resolution.

Drawing circles with PPaint

It is a circle — not an ellipse.

Testing a few favourite classic games.

Superfrog
Worms – The Director’s Cut
Captive in 320×200 (NTSC)

I am using the Indivision AGA MK2cr for VGA / DVI output, see my previous post.

Additionally — I can use the monitor as a second screen for my daily setup. The VP930 is tilt-able and supports multiple inputs, so it can be effectively used for browsing and coding.

Browsing
Browsing Deluxe Paint source code

By the way, the classic Deluxe Paint source code has been made available at the Computer History Museum. Check it out!

Memories 🙂

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