'Bannister's Blitter' Gives Emus a New Look
12:41 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Richard Bannister has long been one of the most prolific and creative figures of the Mac shareware/freeware scene, cranking out one amazing emulator (or port of a PC emulator) after another. His ports aren't mere copies of the original; he often goes out of his way to add Mac-specific technologies, features and interfaces. However, Bannister's latest creation may change the way you look at all of his emulators, and several others besides.
This revolution in emulator visuals is known as Bannister's Blitter, and it takes the form of a plug-in library which is currently supported by 15 of his emulators. The library adds 24 video modes (some only available at 2x setting) which can be combined with 12 "filter" settings to create a radically different appearance for all your favorite emulated games. Want to see what a Neo Geo Pocket game would look like on a 80's-era RGB arcade monitor with a broken "green" gun? Want to replicate that experience from your youth with your Nintendo hooked up to the fuzzy TV in the basement? The settings for these are just the tip of the iceberg. And the blitters can also be used to greatly enhance the visuals of so-so gaming systems by adding interlacing, blurring the blocky edges of low-rez graphics and even blowing up the image to 5x its original size.
Here is a list of what is included in this version of the Blitter:
Blitters:The modes that simulate an RGB monitor and Arcade mode are quite impressive; anyone who has stared at the blurry picture of the low-quality monitors and televisions used in many arcade games will no doubt find the image quite familiar. The RGB setting slightly offsets the red, green and blue pixels of the image to create a grainy look, while the Arcade mode simulates the look of an early color Trinitron appearance. The Interlaced modes are similar to the line-skipping modes in MAME; interlacing was a common method of increasing game performance by skipping every other line when drawing the image and then just relying on the slight blur and brightness of the arcade monitor to cover up the missing lines.
- Arcade Mode (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Arcade Mode 25% (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Arcade Mode 50% (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Arcade Mode 75% (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Blur (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x)
- Interleaved (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Interpolated (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Interpolated 25% (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Interpolated 50% (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Interpolated 75% (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- RGB Mode (2x, 3x, 4x, 5x)
- Inversion - All colours are reversed.
- Broken Red, Broken Green, Broken Blue - Simulates the effect of a broken electron gun in a monitor, or for preference, the end display on a monitor that has been left on for years. Quite a lot of the monitors in my local arcade look like this :)
- Red Only, Green Only, Blue Only - Gives you one channel of the video image only.
- Flip Horizontal, Flip Vertical, Flip Both - Ever tried watching the Konami animation backwards?
Full Screen Modes
- RAVE Blocky, RAVE Smooth - Uses the RAVE API (only available under MacOS 8/9) to scale the video to full screen rapidly. Uses ATI-specific calls where possible to provide maximum possible speed.
What is even more interesting about this library is that it works with MacMAME (and other offspring such as CPSMAME and GeoMAME) thanks to a plug-in created by Ian Patterson. Currently the Blitter only works with 16-bit games (such as Capcom, Neo Geo and others) but this is an early version of the plug-in.
MacMAME News and Info
Bannister's Blitter is $10.00 shareware. Jump to his web page to download a trial version which will work for 10 launches. You can grab the Blitter library with the plug-in that enables MacMAME use from the link below. MacMAME Carbon users might want to watch for a slight bug; after you launch the emulator and the message appears warning you that this is a trial version of the Blitter, the "Warning" message that you get when launching MacMAME is hidden. Just switch to the Finder and back to MacMAME to continue.
Download MacMAME/Blitter Enabler (392k, .sit)
Bannister's Blitter Library
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