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Princess in the Kingdom of Subpixels   [2011]

Princess in the Kingdom of Subpixels Released by :

Release Date :
6 February 2011

Type :
C64 Demo

Released At :
Datastorm 2011

Achievements :
C64 Demo Competition at Datastorm 2011 :  #3

User rating:*********_  8.5/10 (17 votes)   See votestatistics

Credits :
Code .... Mahoney of Visa Röster
Music .... Lft of Kryo
Idea .... Mahoney of Visa Röster

SIDs used in this release :
Allt under himmelens fäste (v2)(/MUSICIANS/L/Lft/Allt_under_himmelens_faeste_v2.sid)

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User Comment
Submitted by Sith on 17 February 2018
The visuals and story are so cute. <3
User Comment
Submitted by terric on 31 July 2011
Nice pictures and a most nice melody to it. I really like it. :D

( Anyhow when running this on my c128 and on my old c64 it bugs after some time, stops loading on the 1541-2( i have an ide64 in the cartridge port aswell ). Could be a bad disk. Wrote disk many times though. No idea if someone is intressed in it. :? )
User Comment
Submitted by redback on 1 July 2011
Sheer brilliance - For trying something new and pulling it off. I have nothing but respect for Mahoney, your a real asset to the scene!
User Comment
Submitted by ZZAP69 on 15 February 2011
I need to learn more of the technical details, but I still enjoy this demo simply for what it is. In about the same way I enjoyed http://csdb.dk/release/?id=51346.

Perhaps a cooperation with you two gentlemen would be prosperous? ;)

Did I mention that I loved the music?
User Comment
Submitted by enthusi on 12 February 2011
It's cute and I like the fact that a demo without much bangbang can claim its fame.
User Comment
Submitted by PAL on 12 February 2011
A pure brilliance of a demo...

...the only thing I really wonder about is that you say 25 hour to do this demo... wow I meen wow... I used about 5-7 hours on getting the text right just for the scroll text for the man thinking(that is me in that part so it were special and personal) in our demo Another Beginning... I think you must be a massive force in designing and doing demos... respect to you. When I think of it and multiply the hour rate of the involved in our demo we used about 4.5+ million NOK (75-85 thousand US dollars)to make Another Beginning... that is massive... and you just created this gem of a demo in such a short time, I am really impressed... Love it!

I really love this demo because it is all the way true to its original idea and it stays there... impressive! 9 of 10 from me!
User Comment
Submitted by HCL on 9 February 2011
Yeah!!! So wonderful!! I wanted to do some of this also, maybe i will.. later :).

Those lines :DDDDD
User Comment
Submitted by chatGPZ on 9 February 2011
no, you dont get higher resolution (the luma resolution is halved infact). the effect is based on the fact that if the video signal contains a high frequency component (such as a high contrast luma change), then it will be decoded as color (due to the way color encoding works). the color then depends on where in the color-wheel the color carrier is at the respective vertical position. that also means the effect is in place in ntsc _and_ pal (and secam) - it is just much less practical to exploit on the later (the phase change every line makes it much less predictable and practically useless for anything but still images). another thing is that the pixel clock and the color subcarrier must be in perfect sync to make the effect predictable - which is the case for the apple2, but eg not for the c64 (whose video output was infact designed to avoid color artefacting).
deekay: their display was a standard ntsc monitor (it was apple afterall, everything they used was standard components and as simple and cheap as it could be =D). their idea basically was that if, like said above, pixel clock is in sync with the color subcarrier, then you can create colors (on the tv) without actuall generating a color video signal (in the computer) - which at that time was a great way to save money (by omitting the color encoder circuit) :)
User Comment
Submitted by JCB on 9 February 2011
It doesn't work on PAL but on NTSC (at least according to that linked article, by someone who probably knows what he's talking about) you DO get higher (sub pixel) res because you can pair the colours in either order (even/odd or odd/even) and still get white. You get the other 2 colours depending on if the pixel is odd or even when doing a single pixel pair, don't know how else to word that, (rather than the 2 pixels for white).

And I'd always wondered why when I was taking screengrabs from Apple emus the res was double what I expected...

afaik it's also still the same pixel "size" it's just it can start at double the res so diagonals can be smoother which is basically what the subpixel font rendering does.
User Comment
Submitted by DeeKay on 9 February 2011
Hm. I've never checked out an Apple II display myself, I was just assuming from the Apple-patent Gibson cites - which clearly does deal with subpixels, from what I understand their CRT had 2 color columns that could be adressed individually by using the respective subpixel colors...
User Comment
Submitted by STE'86 on 9 February 2011
/agree with groepaz (bet you never thought to see that :)) the apple pixel placement is to create color artifacting (the generation of pseudo colors blues/greens and reds etc by generating chroma noise on ntsc displays) you can also see this technique on TRS80 COCO 1 and Dragon 32 and indeed some A8 games from the early 80s. it doesnt work in PAL as all you get is a vague "stripey" look. (i had a a Dragon 32 and was very familiar with this from US software)
User Comment
Submitted by chatGPZ on 9 February 2011
the gfx in choplifter and bards-tale uses, as many other apple-ii gfx, so called "artefact color", which is a technique to get colors on a ntsc screen although you are not outputting an actual color signal. this has nothing to do with "cleartype" at all, not even theoretically :)
User Comment
Submitted by DeeKay on 9 February 2011
Really nice! I had the idea of doing a subpixel-scroller some 14 years ago or so, made an AniGIF, sent it to xbow but he wasn't interested in coding it! <:-) But this is much better and more than what I had in mind anyway, combining subpixels/antialiasing with scrolling resolution doubling! I fail to see the cleartype aspect though, with the c64s fixed palette this is rather pointless anyway. Though I do know that Cleartype was basically first made for CRTs, it's used in the Apple II and also the four CGA colors are testament to it: cyan+pink = white. To see remains of Apple II cleartype on c64 (though due to a full color display the effect doesn't work on c64 anymore!) take a good look at the pixeplacement in games with ported Apple II gfx, such as Bard's Tale or Choplifter!


Edit: Haha, diggar already posted the very same link, wtf? ;-) Steve Gibson ftw! It does work for CRTs, too, though, depending on the CRT itself. Read that article again, especially the Apple II bit!..

Edit 2: wtf??? Steve Gibson was the guy behind the Koala Pad! I totally missed that bit.. Also make sure to check out his 35k (!) Windows EXE written in Assembly (Free & Clear)! ;-) This guy is quite hardcore!..
User Comment
Submitted by wacek on 7 February 2011
Hey, I think we should maybe move the discussion on subpixels to a forum thread :) but anyways, the subpixel rendering meaning improvement on LCDs mentioned in the article linked by Digger won't work on real C64 hardware for one basic reason, which is lack of digital video output. To work with the method described, you need pixel-to-pixel precision, and working with LCD in native resolution. This means you can try work some of that in fe. Vice-oriented routine, but not something that will work effectively outside of the emulator domain.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Mahoney built something based on the old interlace/movement principle, with something extra there... right??
User Comment
Submitted by The Phantom on 7 February 2011
Sub-pixels. Man.. All these years using LCD's and I always knew, FELT, there was "something" out of place when drawing. There IS a difference between CRT and LCD and I'm not being cocky, but an untrained eye wouldn't be able to see the difference. I'm not saying my eyes are trained either.

With the latest logo's I've been drawing, I always ask what they look like or if they look proper.

The article was on key!

I'll edit this once I view the actual demo.. Off to work for now.. . .


This demo isn't bad at all. Has great music, nice graphics and a cute story behind it.
One thing though, moving these pics seemed to "show" more of what the subpixel was trying to hide (or make smoother), if that makes sense.
User Comment
Submitted by ne7 on 7 February 2011
absolutely loved this - really reminded me of some story books I read as a child. great stuff! <3
User Comment
Submitted by Digger on 7 February 2011
Some info on subpixel rendering, although the whole thing only makes sense on LCD panel http://www.grc.com/ctwhat.htm

Need to try this demo on CRT TV and take a photo.
User Comment
Submitted by lemming on 7 February 2011
Tac-2, bah :D Competition Pro is the one and only choice. Still, quite an excellent demo this one!
User Comment
Submitted by Archmage on 7 February 2011
I'm not sure I get the technical aspect of it, but as a demo it was nice and relaxing and stylish. And Tac-2 ftw!
User Comment
Submitted by Isildur on 7 February 2011
WOW! 9 for anrialiasing.
User Comment
Submitted by enthusi on 6 February 2011
slow but very nice.
subpixel are not just interlace. Its mapping high resolution data to a low resolution display. It's what happens in real life with cameras etc or in render engines that do at least 2x2 AA. Knowing the usual work of him, I strongly suspect he did just that: real subpixels, not just two nicely fitting hires maps interlaced.
User Comment
Submitted by Wile Coyote on 6 February 2011
Slow. Some good hires images. The interlaced text looks very smooth.
User Comment
Submitted by Steppe on 6 February 2011
Could someone explain to the non coders out there what is so revolutionary about this little demo? It looks nice and cute, but hasn't this been done before in several other demos before? Krestage 2 has one of these subpixel interlace parts with a 640x400 resolution, IIRC. Just from the top of my head.
User Comment
Submitted by TheRyk on 6 February 2011
Well done and cute! :)
User Comment
Submitted by Jammer on 6 February 2011
the best anti-aliasing in c64 demoscene history \o/
User Comment
Submitted by iAN CooG on 6 February 2011
motion: it's the same cover but a newer version of Lft/Allt_under_himmelens_faste.sid, even the player is slightly different
User Comment
Submitted by FATFrost on 6 February 2011
User Comment
Submitted by Motion on 6 February 2011
Isn't that 'Allt under himmelens fäste' playing by LFT with a different start position? Lovely prod, but then I've always been a huge M+K fan! Very clever stuff as always.
User Comment
Submitted by Conrad on 6 February 2011
A bit slow-paced for my taste, but great ideas and graphics. The anti-aliasing on the border effect is superb!
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