Screenshot fixes

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Nomad
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by Nomad » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:18 am

When there loading screen is animated perhaps having a link to a youtube video might be more useful? Or is that wrong-think :lol: Get enough views.. get the Shekels?
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by R-Tape » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:26 am

Ralf wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:03 am
I'd say it's a bit crazy to have 9 loading screens for a game.
And what about Technician Ted? Are we going to capture any position of these little walking guys? ;)
Fair point, though personally I think 9 is somewhere in a fuzzy zone betwen crazy and not crazy. Technician Ted would definitely be the latter.

Maybe it is most sensible to have the first iteration of the animation (as Ralf suggests), the one with 'Heavy on the Magick' at the top left.
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by Nomad » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:44 am

That's what makes this kind of thing interesting, is the outliers that break policy.

I figured showing a loading screen is supposed to give as best an idea as possible to someone who has never seen the program before what sitting in-front of a TV in the 80s with the tape was like. Sure for most loading screens a static image is going to be perfect but for the animated screens. Especially stuff with subtle stuff going on or multiple changes it starts to break down.

One thing that kind of pulls at the back of my mind is - what if there was data from the raw wav file that didn't get encoded during preservation? We have no idea what people might want to study in the future, so far as I can tell the raw wavs were not retained. (And I can understand why). I would need to look it up but there was a huge issue with this with the Atari preservation of specialized encrypted tape formats.
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by Ralf » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:28 am

One thing that kind of pulls at the back of my mind is - what if there was data from the raw wav file that didn't get encoded during preservation? We have no idea what people might want to study in the future, so far as I can tell the raw wavs were not retained. (And I can understand why). I would need to look it up but there was a huge issue with this with the Atari preservation of specialized encrypted tape formats.
I can confirm - yes, tzx images don't capture everything.
I have seen cassettes with some tones or music marking start or end of the programs. I have even seen programs with some human voice announcing program title. It's lost when converting to tzx.

But as we said before we need to do always some sanity check. Keeping 10 MB big .wav files instead of 40 kB .tzx files for such effects is probably too big perfectionism.
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by druellan » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:48 am

Ok. Today I'm a bit sick so, sorry if I'm babbling nonsense but:

Loading screens:

I don't think you need to be so accurate about the loading screens. Removing a pirated version is, of course necessary, but after that, the screen is kind of a quick reference for people that already know the game, so, a static frame is good enough IMO.

Said that, zxinfo.dk has a cute section showing some loading schemes.

Image

This are animated GIFs and they look excellent. There are just a few, but I wold love to have those somewhere on the DB, and perhaps create more in the future.

Pirated copies

I was willing to open a thread about this. I'm from Argentina, pirated copies were rampart here. From completely trashed games, to somehow competent releases that I feel worth preserve:

Image

So. I'm still thinking what to propose about this. I don't want to have this mixed with the legitimate copies, we can piss someone, those are illegal after all.
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by Nomad » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:55 am

I think its sad that its not a accurate representation of the object being preserved. I get why its not done. but will suck for the future researcher trying to document this stuff. To know that it once existed but was cast aside is sad. We can't know the context why someone would look for that information or why it would gain relevancy that we at the moment can't foresee.

if there are 9000 titles say, and each was 10mb were talking 87 gigs ($2.61). That figure is going to look smaller and smaller each decade that passes. I wouldn't say its impossible to do now. What I am saying is it seems that preservation mindsets are stuck in a late 90s thinking of memory cost.
I get the clock can't be turned back and that many of the tapes are no longer available to be archived in this way but for the future it would seem to be a good thing to at least start preserving as much as possible.

The final thing is there are still features of titles that are not understood, encryption techniques, imprecise emulation issues that might eventually come down to information that has not been preserved with regular preservation files. I guess the obvious one is Easter eggs left on the tape as audio data.

The other cool thing would be the difference between pirate cassette, different production runs would become obvious under analysis in a way that in not possible at the moment.
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by richl » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:50 pm

Maybe some of us don't bin their samples after they've converted them to TZXes and maybe they have hard drives rammed to the gills with RARed up samples, just in case they come in handy at some point in the future. Just sayin'... ;)

Also, as much as I try not to mention "that other place" if possible, they seem to have got round the Heavy on the Magick loading screen problem by having it as an animated GIF. Would that be possible here or are they generated as PNG on the fly or something like that?
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by Ast A. Moore » Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:21 pm

richl wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:50 pm
Would that be possible here or are they generated as PNG on the fly or something like that?
My understanding is that the strive for “authenticity” can sometimes outweigh usefulness, practicality, or representativeness. So, no animated GIFs, I’m afraid. The long, short, and curly of it is that loading screens (and in-game screens) are not necessarily what the user would see on the screen, but rather the 6192 bytes that occupied the emulated display file at the moment of capture. There are some exceptions of course. For example, MLT files are used instead of SCR for capturing some tricky (mostly multicolor) screens. Still, there’s no way to retain the border or some other special effects.

I think it’s best to take ZXDB for what it is—a database, rather than a preservation archive. Some compromises have to be made.
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by richl » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:18 pm

Ast A. Moore wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 2:21 pm
I think it’s best to take ZXDB for what it is—a database, rather than a preservation archive. Some compromises have to be made.
I agree but aren't the screenshots we're talking about just those that are hosted by Spectrum Computing (i.e. part of the archive here), they're not actually part of zxdb as such... right? By that I mean anyone can set up their own site based on zxdb and choose to do whatever they want with regard to screenshots etc... or have I goofed? I thought the database just holds info on the titles such as author(s), publishers, all that sort of thing; it doesn't have anything to do with specific screenshots, inlays etc. and any archive is just a separate entity that uses zxdb as a sort of index or whatever a better term may be. I might not be explaining myself very well but hopefully you'll get what I mean! :)
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Re: Screenshot fixes

Post by Ast A. Moore » Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:43 pm

richl wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:18 pm
I thought the database just holds info on the titles such as author(s), publishers, all that sort of thing; it doesn't have anything to do with specific screenshots, inlays etc. and any archive is just a separate entity that uses zxdb as a sort of index or whatever a better term may be.
Mmm. You might be right in that it works this way internally. I don’t think that’s how it’s meant to be distributed, though. I think it’s meant to be distributed as a whole package. Don’t quote me on that, though.
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Every man should plant a tree, build a house, and write a ZX Spectrum game.

Author of A Yankee in Iraq, a 50 fps shoot-’em-up—the first game to utilize the floating bus on the +2A/+3,
and zasm Z80 Assembler syntax highlighter.

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