Atari 2600 (NTSC) RGB => OSSC Recommended Settings

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  • #45476
    ikrananka
    Participant

    I have an NTSC 2600 Jr. modded with a Tim Worthington RGB video mod that I pass to an OSSC to get HDMI to my monitor. Recently, I’ve been exploring the 2600’s game library and I found quite a few games that didn’t work well with this setup using the default OSSC settings. So, I started searching the Internet for answers. Unfortunately, I really didn’t find them. The Classic Console Upscaler wiki states that both H=PLL pre and post coast should be set to 3. However, I have so far only found ONE game (Air Raid ‐ PAL) that benefits from these settings and even then the game is still unplayable.

    So, I decided to explore this in more detail to try and figure out what settings do in fact work best. So far, I’ve worked my way through around 35 to 40 games and the results are quite interesting. I’ve found that only a few settings have a beneficial effect to get problematic games working. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a suitable combination of OSSC settings to fix some games and they remain unplayable.

    The Google sheet linked below details my findings so far, along with my recommended OSSC settings for widest game compatibility. I plan on testing more games and adding to the table over time. I’ll also update the recommended settings as necessary.

    2600 RGB => OSSC Recommended Settings

    If you have a similar setup and want to contribute to this then please let me know. What settings do you use and why?

    Any suggestions for other settings to try are most appreciated.

    #45505
    BuckoA51
    Keymaster

    Running PAL software on an NTSC machine is known to be problematic but I didn’t realise 2600 games played so hard and fast with timings as that.

    A lot would come down to how tolerant your display is too. I’d like to give mine a try but my setup is in bits at the moment (I reached peak cable chaos and had to admit defeat and start again).

    #45514
    ikrananka
    Participant

    Air Raid is a strange one. Although it was sold in very limited numbers in North America, it only has 290 scanlines, which is why I think it has been labelled as PAL (even though I guess it technically isn’t either).

    It would seem the 2600 is a rare breed of console where the programmers of each game had direct control over how many scanlines a game had and at what frequency. Despite Atari making it clear in their Programmer’s Guide that “a single television frame consists of 262 scanlines”, many programmers flew in the face of that and strayed from this. In some cases they strayed way away. I’ve seen others refer to this as bad programming but I guess if CRTs displayed this okay then………

    I can empathise with you regarding your cable chaos. A symptom of our hobby 🙂

    If you do get a chance to check out my settings I’d really like to know what you think. Also, if you have any suggestions what settings might help with the few games I’m still having issues with then I’d be most grateful. Thanks.

    #46815
    MrZarniwoop
    Participant

    My setup is a “Light Sixer” with 2600RGB and OSSC, currently to a 2020 Sony X800H TV.

    While the settings in your guide are great, I’ve found some changes that produce a significantly better display that fills my screen:

    Output opt. > 240p/280p proc = Line5X

    I’m not sure what to test with H. samplerate but if I use the same ratio as your recommended guide, I can set it to 2044 (from default 2046).

    Following the same logic, to shift the display to the center in Line5X:

    Sampling opt. > Adv. timing = 1600×240 (because of Line5X above) > H. synclen = 198

    I have issues with games that cause the OSSC to resync after the number of scanlines or refresh rate is changed. Some are noted in your guide, like Buck Rodgers transitioning between title and gameplay. Some new homebrews are more aggressive in playing with scanlines or refresh rate. , like the PlusCart(+) menus between selections, or Talvisota – a sniper game which seems unplayable.

    I’ve been playing around with other settings, and not totally sure if these are making a difference in reducing the “black screen time” between sync, but it feels like it helps just a bit:

    Sampling opt. > Allow TVP HPLL2x = Off

    Doggone It! (homebrew)
    Amoeba Jump (homebrew)
    Keystone Kapers
    Pac-Man 4K (homebrew)
    Space Invaders
    River Raid
    Circus Convoy (2021 commercial release)

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