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Let's Talk About the SNES' Aspect Ratio
Forum Index - Donut Plains - Gaming - Let's Talk About the SNES' Aspect Ratio
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I want to make a thread to talk about the SNES' actual aspect ratio, as I've never seen a thread talking about this in SMWCentral before.

To clarify, I'm not talking about BSNES-HD or any other widescreen emulator solution. I am talking in terms of the real SNES hardware.

Graphical SMW hacking tools like Lunar Magic currently do not have the option to use 8:7 rectangular pixels, which are the pixels that NTSC SNESes actually output.

Thus, if you play an SMW hack on a real NTSC SNES, the graphics are going to look a bit stretched, though this stretch is slight enough for me to be able to get used to it.

Now sure, Nintendo's own SNES games do not take the actual NTSC console's aspect ratio stretch into account. But this means the actual TVs, by default, showed the game stretched to an aspect ratio it was not designed for, since it's the console hardware that stretches the pixels to 8:7 each in the 1st place.

I know that different TVs have different geometry, and some have the option to tweak the proportions(none of mine do), but I don't think NTSC people back in the day generally squished their SNES games on the TV to an 8:7 aspect ratio.

So anyways, I want to know what you people think about the NTSC SNES' actual 64:49 output aspect ratio.

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Move this over to gaming since it's more broad than just SMW.
Originally posted by Ninja Boy
Move this over to gaming since it's more broad than just SMW.


Oh yeah, that's right. Thanks.

Though I think this knowledge should go into SMW hacks too.

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SoundCloud

My work not in progress hack Kubakku.

Honestly don't really have much to say on this topic. I've always considered the difference so small that it never really bothered me. I usually play the games at 4:3, simply because that's how they look on actual hardware, even though some things might be weirdly stretched out in that case because they don't really take the resolution into account.

Of course PAL consoles are an entire beast of their own, because they usually have black bars at the top and bottom, stretching the aspect ratio even wider.

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I usually play SNES games with square pixels because displaying a 256x224 image with 8:7 pixels usually requires non-integer scaling, which is way uglier than the slight distortion you'll get by playing at the wrong aspect ratio. The ratios are pretty close anyway. It's not as bad as playing a 4:3 movie at 16:9.

On a "4K" (2160p) monitor there's actually enough room to draw the screen at 2048x1568, making every SNES pixel 8x7 without any weird compromises*. I actually have such a monitor and I was initially excited to try it out, but bsnes-plus nor higan will actually allow me to make the image that size, so I've been living the square pixel life anyway. Truly an endless source of mild irritation.

*you still need to make some weird compromises for games that use the SNES high-res mode, but the SNES high-res mode itself is a weird compromise so whatever

It's honestly pretty annoying that the hardware doesn't produce square pixels. Most games are designed as if they were square and I can't blame them. You'll occasionally find an exception (I noticed that Tales of Phantasia has some effects that draw a slightly tall ellipse, probably so the aspect ratio will turn them into a circle), but I feel like the work people put in to account for the aspect ratio is mostly a reminder that the world can be a complicated place with difficult problems rather than a big improvement to their games. Romhacks maybe ought to be designed as if they were square because so few people are going to be playing them on the combination of real hardware + CRT screen that will result in the original non-square pixels.
I don't even own a SNES so I have no fucking clue about this.
Originally posted by Katrina
I usually play SNES games with square pixels because displaying a 256x224 image with 8:7 pixels usually requires non-integer scaling, which is way uglier than the slight distortion you'll get by playing at the wrong aspect ratio. The ratios are pretty close anyway. It's not as bad as playing a 4:3 movie at 16:9.

On a "4K" (2160p) monitor there's actually enough room to draw the screen at 2048x1568, making every SNES pixel 8x7 without any weird compromises*. I actually have such a monitor and I was initially excited to try it out, but bsnes-plus nor higan will actually allow me to make the image that size, so I've been living the square pixel life anyway. Truly an endless source of mild irritation.

*you still need to make some weird compromises for games that use the SNES high-res mode, but the SNES high-res mode itself is a weird compromise so whatever

It's honestly pretty annoying that the hardware doesn't produce square pixels. Most games are designed as if they were square and I can't blame them. You'll occasionally find an exception (I noticed that Tales of Phantasia has some effects that draw a slightly tall ellipse, probably so the aspect ratio will turn them into a circle), but I feel like the work people put in to account for the aspect ratio is mostly a reminder that the world can be a complicated place with difficult problems rather than a big improvement to their games. Romhacks maybe ought to be designed as if they were square because so few people are going to be playing them on the combination of real hardware + CRT screen that will result in the original non-square pixels.


Understandable. Fixed pixel displays are not great at scaling for non-square pixels, unlike CRTs, which are analogue and don't have pixels of their own.

Honestly even if you play the real console on an HDTV, if you're using the TV's 4:3 video mode, you'll still see the original non-square pixels there too. I know most people use emulators anyway, but yeah, I've basically talked about the majority of real hardware users in 2021.

I agree that integer aspect ratio correction scaling in fullscreen for SNES emulators should be an option for people with luxurious UHD monitors and TVs so that they can get the best of both worlds.

I myself care more about aspect ratio than about getting perfect scaling, and it doesn't help that aspect ratio preservation is in my opinion an important part of proper scaling. Even if so many SNES games are designed on square pixel grid paper and computers with square pixel video modes anyway.

One advantage of aspect ratio correction in graphics is that you can fit a bit more horizontally within, say, a sprite, since 16x16, 32x32, and 64x64 start to look like rectangles, and rectangular proportion gets more obvious when it comes to bigger objects on the screen.

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YouTube

SoundCloud

My work not in progress hack Kubakku.

I'm not actually sure that I even knew about the pixel stretching. I might have noticed it at some point on both the SNES and NES (I remember Mega Man games looking slightly stretched, I think) back when I actually had a CRT TV set up to play them on, but I'm not sure. I have all my consoles hooked up to an HD TV now, and I don't know if it replicates the effect with the setup I have (which basically just consists of plugging the RCA cables into the component ports and setting the input mode to "Video").
Originally posted by imamelia
I'm not actually sure that I even knew about the pixel stretching. I might have noticed it at some point on both the SNES and NES (I remember Mega Man games looking slightly stretched, I think) back when I actually had a CRT TV set up to play them on, but I'm not sure. I have all my consoles hooked up to an HD TV now, and I don't know if it replicates the effect with the setup I have (which basically just consists of plugging the RCA cables into the component ports and setting the input mode to "Video").


In NTSC, the NES uses the same 8:7 pixel aspect ratio as the SNES' 256-pixel modes.

In fact, 8:7 was a pretty common pixel aspect ratio back then, used by the Master System, the Mega Drive's 256x224 mode, and pretty much any console or computer that uses the TMS9918.

It seems the TMS9918 is the reason 8:7 pixel aspect ratio became common, as the Master System's VDP was directly based on it, the NES' PPU taking inspiration from it, and so on.

Like I said before, if you connect your console directly to an HDTV using something like RCA cables, and the video output of the TV is in 4:3 mode, you are already viewing the non-square pixels exactly as the console outputs.

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YouTube

SoundCloud

My work not in progress hack Kubakku.

Using an OSSC does also produce a 4:3 resolution, at least by default. I think it might be configurable, but I never bothered, because the image quality already looks amazing at 4:3, 720p.

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Feel free to visit my website/blog - it's updated rarely, but it looks pretty cool!
Pages: « 1 » Link
Forum Index - Donut Plains - Gaming - Let's Talk About the SNES' Aspect Ratio

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