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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Hi folks. I've been working to get my old Apple 22" ADC (plastic bezel) Display working as _the_ display for my KVM'd machines, including my Octane2.

When I first started this whole project I had no idea idea that the old ADC display would be such a PITA to use. But dang-it... it is just so purdy looking. So, one Apple ADC-DVI adapter later, and then one DVI-D-VGA adapter even later... I was ready to start trying to get some visual output from yay-old-Octane2.

So I i've been looking for a display setting to feed into my V6 that would make the display usable. Out of the box, the V6 1280x1024_60 mode(s) work to at least drive the display, but the porch calcs are all skewed, such that the image on screen is shifted so far right and down that the right/bottom 100-200px of the display are hidden.

The native resolution of the display, as some may know, is 1600x1024. As some may also have found, this resolution requires a pixel clock inside the black hole for the v6/v8 boards, so the built-in VFO for that resolution will not actually work (why did they even ship it?).

I am still working on the right settings to accomplish the native display resolution, and may or may not ever get them. I know I can get close, but I won't accept an image with any portion cut-off. So, that is on-going. But I did find that the display will work fine enough at a resolution of 1344x1008. It gets some extra width over the 1280x1024, while sacrificing a little of the height. After _much_ toying around with SwitchResX on my Mac, I was able to get working porch settings, frequencies, etc. for this resolution that put it splat in the middle of the screen (or, well, darn close) and do not crop any edges.

Here are those settings.
Code:
Horizontal:
-----------
Active: 1344
Front Porch: 184
Sync Width: 144
Back Porch: 120
Blanking 448
Total: 1792
Scan Rate: 60.547

Vertical:
---------
Active: 1008
Front Porch: 20
Sync Width: 3
Back Porch: 13
Blanking: 36
Total: 1044
Scan Rate: 57.995

positive sync? Yes
interlaced? No

Pixel Clock: ~108.5Mhz (something like 108.49999...)


In theory, with reduced blanking, and with an accepted slight hit to refresh rate (maybe 56hz or 57hz instead of 60hz) I should be able to get a working 1600x1024 resolution. I have one that is mighty close on the Mac, but it still needs tweaking before I try to compile for the SGI.

I am still experiencing an unrelated issue where it appears the monitor or one of the adapters is not happy about SoG... the display color is all green tinted. I know it is not the KVM (NTI ST-4U) - it has worked fine with other displays. I have sorted out custom gamma settings that fix this, but I am not sure how to load them at login... or before...

If anybody has any war stories about these displays, I'd be interested to hear.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:35 pm 
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ZoontF wrote:
... the built-in VFO for that resolution will not actually work (why did they even ship it?).

To cut them a little slack, lcd's were not common then and the good crt's all refreshed at much higher rates than 60 ...
Quote:
In theory, with reduced blanking, and with an accepted slight hit to refresh rate (maybe 56hz or 57hz instead of 60hz)

Will the Apple display synch at 50 hz ? And does that get you out of the V6 hole ? If so, 50 hz is fine, you won't even notice the difference. I ran my 1600sw at that for years and now using 48 hz refresh, can't tell it's a slow refresh rate, shows video fine, etc etc.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:15 am 
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ZoontF wrote:
I am still working on the right settings to accomplish the native display resolution, and may or may not ever get them. I know I can get close, but I won't accept an image with any portion cut-off. So, that is on-going. But I did find that the display will work fine enough at a resolution of 1344x1008. It gets some extra width over the 1280x1024, while sacrificing a little of the height. After _much_ toying around with SwitchResX on my Mac, I was able to get working porch settings, frequencies, etc. for this resolution that put it splat in the middle of the screen (or, well, darn close) and do not crop any edges.
I wasn't quite sure if you needed a 1344x1008 format for your V6. So if you already compiled your own you can stop here. :D

If you don't already have a 1344x1008 format for your V6, I extrapolated a modeline directly from your SwitchResX numbers and made one. As you noted, the resulting pixel clock is 108.5, so the format will be right on the cusp of your V6's forbidden 109-193MHz pixel clock range. I don't have a suitable monitor to test against, but hopefully the format will be usable with your V6 - it compiled without complaint and the VFC generated analysis looks OK and seems to match up against your SwitchResX info fairly well:
Code:
VPro_1344x1008_57.995.vfo:
 Total lines per frame:   1044
 Total pixels per line:   1792
 Active lines per frame:  1008
 Active pixels per line:  1344
 Frames per second:       57.9949
 Fields per frame:        1
 Swaps per frame:         1
 Pixel clock:             108.5 MHz, period = 9.21661 nsec
 Hardware pixel rounding:  every 1 pixels
 Line analysis:
  Length:                 1792 Pixels, 1 Lines, 16.5162 usec; (line 0)
  Frequency:              60.5467 KHz, period = 16.5162 usec
 Horizontal Sync:         144 Pixels, 1.32719 usec; (line 16)
 Horizontal Back Porch:   120 Pixels, 1.10599 usec; (line 16)
 Horizontal Active:       1344 Pixels, 12.3871 usec; (line 16)
 Horizontal Front Porch:  184 Pixels, 1.69586 usec; (line 16)
 Field Information:
  Field Duration:           1.87085e+06 Pixels, 1044 Lines, 17.2429 msec; (line 0)
  Vertical Sync:            7168 Pixels, 4 Lines, 66.0647 usec; (line 0)
  Vertical Sync Pulse:      7312 Pixels, 4.08036 Lines, 67.3919 usec; (line 0)
  Vertical Back Porch:      21504 Pixels, 12 Lines, 198.194 usec; (line 4)
  Vertical Active:          1.80634e+06 Pixels, 1008 Lines, 16.6483 msec; (line 16)
  Vertical Front Porch:     35840 Pixels, 20 Lines, 330.323 usec; (line 1024)
ZoontF wrote:
So I i've been looking for a display setting to feed into my V6 that would make the display usable. Out of the box, the V6 1280x1024_60 mode(s) work to at least drive the display, but the porch calcs are all skewed, such that the image on screen is shifted so far right and down that the right/bottom 100-200px of the display are hidden.
There's a very basic outline of how to correct for vertically or horizontally shifted display formats towards the bottom of this post.

*IF* the 1344x1008 format works, if you'd like I'd be happy to try again with whatever you can workout with SwitchResX or VFC with a 1600x1024 format.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:30 pm 
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ZoontF wrote:
In theory, with reduced blanking, and with an accepted slight hit to refresh rate (maybe 56hz or 57hz instead of 60hz) I should be able to get a working 1600x1024 resolution. I have one that is mighty close on the Mac, but it still needs tweaking before I try to compile for the SGI.
I don't know for sure which Apple 22" display you have, but as long as the build environment was still set up for the VFC Makefile, thought I'd take a shot at making a 1600x1024 format for your Apple display.

Managed to turn up an ancient xFree86 modeline for an Apple 22" Cinema Display at 1600x1024 (with no refresh rate implicitly mentioned, but *with* a Pixel Clock just under the V6 Black Hole):
Code:
Modeline "1600x1024"   108.0   1600 1616 1656 1704 1024 1027 1030 1056 -Hsync -Vsync
That modeline turned up in a number of places, if we're lucky it won't be an example of the internet's Achilles Heel (self-replicating bad info).

Used that to generate two 1600x1024 formats, one at the 50Hz refresh rate mentioned by hamei, and the other with a 60Hz refresh rate. The format with the 50Hz refresh rate has a Pixel clock of just 89.9712 MHz (well below the V6 black hole). if the Apple Display seems not to like the 89.9712 MHz clock rate, the 60Hz version has a Pixel Clock of 107.965 MHz, much closer to the 108 MHz specified in the Modeline (but still below the 109 MHz to 193MHz range denied to the V6).

VFC Analysis of the 50Hz format:
Code:
VPro_4-Apple-22inch_1600x1024_50.vfo:
 Total lines per frame:   1056
 Total pixels per line:   1704
 Active lines per frame:  1024
 Active pixels per line:  1600
 Frames per second:       50
 Fields per frame:        1
 Swaps per frame:         1
 Pixel clock:             89.9712 MHz, period = 11.1147 nsec
 Hardware pixel rounding:  every 1 pixels
 Line analysis:
  Length:                 1704 Pixels, 1 Lines, 18.9394 usec; (line 0)
  Frequency:              52.8 KHz, period = 18.9394 usec
 Horizontal Sync:         40 Pixels, 444.587 nsec; (line 29)
 Horizontal Back Porch:   48 Pixels, 533.504 nsec; (line 29)
 Horizontal Active:       1600 Pixels, 17.7835 usec; (line 29)
 Horizontal Front Porch:  16 Pixels, 177.835 nsec; (line 29)
 Field Information:
  Field Duration:           1.79942e+06 Pixels, 1056 Lines, 20 msec; (line 0)
  Vertical Sync:            6816 Pixels, 4 Lines, 75.7576 usec; (line 0)
  Vertical Sync Pulse:      6856 Pixels, 4.02347 Lines, 76.2022 usec; (line 0)
  Vertical Back Porch:      42600 Pixels, 25 Lines, 473.485 usec; (line 4)
  Vertical Active:          1.7449e+06 Pixels, 1024 Lines, 19.3939 msec; (line 29)
  Vertical Front Porch:     5112 Pixels, 3 Lines, 56.8182 usec; (line 1053)
VFC Analysis of the 60Hz version:
Code:
 VPro_4-Apple-22inch_1600x1024_60.vfo:
 Total lines per frame:   1056
 Total pixels per line:   1704
 Active lines per frame:  1024
 Active pixels per line:  1600
 Frames per second:       60
 Fields per frame:        1
 Swaps per frame:         1
 Pixel clock:             107.965 MHz, period = 9.26222 nsec
 Hardware pixel rounding:  every 1 pixels
 Line analysis:
  Length:                 1704 Pixels, 1 Lines, 15.7828 usec; (line 0)
  Frequency:              63.36 KHz, period = 15.7828 usec
 Horizontal Sync:         40 Pixels, 370.489 nsec; (line 29)
 Horizontal Back Porch:   48 Pixels, 444.587 nsec; (line 29)
 Horizontal Active:       1600 Pixels, 14.8196 usec; (line 29)
 Horizontal Front Porch:  16 Pixels, 148.196 nsec; (line 29)
 Field Information:
  Field Duration:           1.79942e+06 Pixels, 1056 Lines, 16.6667 msec; (line 0)
  Vertical Sync:            6816 Pixels, 4 Lines, 63.1313 usec; (line 0)
  Vertical Sync Pulse:      6856 Pixels, 4.02347 Lines, 63.5018 usec; (line 0)
  Vertical Back Porch:      42600 Pixels, 25 Lines, 394.571 usec; (line 4)
  Vertical Active:          1.7449e+06 Pixels, 1024 Lines, 16.1616 msec; (line 29)
  Vertical Front Porch:     5112 Pixels, 3 Lines, 47.3485 usec; (line 1053)

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:31 am 
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Sorry for the silence here - I've been too sick to look at my computers. I'll be trying out these VFO attempts and let y'all know what happens.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:05 am 
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ZoontF wrote:
I'll be trying out these VFO attempts and let y'all know what happens.
If none of 'em work out (who knows if that xFree86 modeline is accurate or not), if you can grab the SwitchResX parameters for a stable 1600x1024 display, we can try dumping that info into a vfc source file. Something with a pixel clock of less than 109MHz would be nice, but barring that we can always try tweaking the refresh rate.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:34 am 
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as a side-issue... I noted before that the display is tinted green suggesting some part of the whole thing is not SoG compatible (I wonder if it is the display... or maybe just the analog to digital converter box?). So I found that by adjusting the color channel gamma settings in the display properties control panel of the Octane, I could compensate and make the picture appear correctly coloured (or close to).

What I am not clear on is how to load those gamma settings whenever the machine logs in, or better yet, when it boots? I can save the display properties to a file, and re load manually... but can I just load that file automatically?

Thanks,
Z

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:50 pm 
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Hiho!

So, the 60Hz VFO ~mostly~ works. Image displays and is useable. However, the picture does not fit on the display - the sides are cropped off, and I'm not sure but the bottom might be cropped. Meanwhile, the top of the picture does not reach the top of the screen. I believe at this point I need to futz with the 'porches' and see if I can squeeze the picture onto the display. Would you mind posting the VFS files for the VFOs you put up? I have successfully hacked together VFS files before, but I'm still not 100% of what the syntax is because I can't find any documentation other than the sample files themselves. So if I have your VFS files it should be easier to go about tweaking.

To those other owners of old ADC Apple 22" displays, note that you should try the VFO above first. I think that my display's picture issues are partially caused by the KVM and Analog-Digital converter between the Octane and the DVI-ADC converter... and then the display. In other words, too many boxes are mucking up the signal from one end to the other. But if you, for example, take the KVM out, the one above might work fine.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:05 am 
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ZoontF wrote:
Would you mind posting the VFS files for the VFOs you put up? I have successfully hacked together VFS files before, but I'm still not 100% of what the syntax is because I can't find any documentation other than the sample files themselves. So if I have your VFS files it should be easier to go about tweaking.
Sure - the values in the VFC source file are derived from the modeline. Here's that xFree86 modeline again - the second line identifies each of the values and how they're used to calculate what's needed to complete a VFC source file (Hn are horizontal values, Vn are Vertical values):
Code:
Modeline "1600x1024@60.00"   108.0   1600 1616 1656 1704   1024 1027 1030 1056 -Hsync -Vsync
         "X+Y Res@Refresh"  PixClk    H1   H2   H3   H4     V1   V2   V3   V4


The values needed to complete a video format source file (.vfs) are:
Code:
FormatName  (intended name of format enclosed in quotes)
FieldsPerFrame (1 - unless you're creating a format with more than one frame per field)
FramesPerSecond  (the desired refresh rate)

TotalPixelsPerLine  (directly equal to the H4 value from the modeline)
HorizontalBackPorch (is the sum of H4 minus H3)
HorizontalSync   (is the sum of H3 minus H2)
HorizontalFrontPorch    (is the sum of H2 minus H1)
ActivePixelsPerLine  (directly equal to H1; and is the horizontal display resolution in pixels)

TotalLinesPerFrame   (directly equal to the V4 value from the modeline)
VerticalBackPorch (is the sum of V4 minus V3 minus 2; the extra minus 2 is a VFC requirement)
VerticalSync    (is the sum of V3 minus V2)
VerticalFrontPorch   (is the sum of V2 minus V1)
ActiveLinesPerFrame  (directly equal to V1; is the number of lines in the visible portion of the vertical display)

Using the values from the xFree86 modeline (listed above) gives:
Code:
FormatName  = VPro_4Apple-22inch_1600x1024_60 (always enclosed in quotes)
FieldsPerFrame  = 1
FramesPerSecond  = Desired Refresh Rate

TotalPixelsPerLine = 1704
HorizontalBackPorch = 48 pixels (1704 - 1656 = 48)
HorizontalSync  = 40 pixels (1656 - 1616 = 40)
HorizontalFrontPorch  = 16 pixels (1616 - 1600 = 16)
ActivePixelsPerLine = 1600

TotalLinesPerFrame = 1056
Vertical Back Porch = 26  (1056 - 1030 - 2 = 24)
Vertical Sync   = 3 (1030 - 1027 = 3)
Vertical Front Porch  = 3 (1027 - 1024 = 3)
ActiveLinesPerFrame  = 1024
The resulting VFC source file is attached as "Vpro_4Apple-22inch_1600x1024_60.vfs.txt. The text extension was added so the nekochan interface would allow the file as an attachment. To use the file remove the ".txt" portion.
ZoontF wrote:
However, the picture does not fit on the display - the sides are cropped off, and I'm not sure but the bottom might be cropped. Meanwhile, the top of the picture does not reach the top of the screen. I believe at this point I need to futz with the 'porches' and see if I can squeeze the picture onto the display.
To decrease the width of the display image (where the image extends off both sides of the monitor), increase the TotalPixelsPerLine by values of 8 (adding to the overall (total) number of pixels on the LCD panel "squeezes" the visible active pixels, decreasing the width of the display image); to shift the image up increase the vertical front porch and decrease the vertical back porch (by increasing the numerical value of V2 and V3 *equal* amounts.

Unfortunately it isn't always as simple as changing just the sync or porch values. To avoid fundamental coding errors and subsequent display anomalies, the values expressed in the modeline *must* remain balanced. As seen in the above examples, because of the underlying calculations each of individual horizontal or vertical values has an effect on the value of the others. So if the combined horizontal or vertical values exceed the total pixels or lines, VFC will stop with a "shorten your format" error, if the combined horizontal or vertical values are less than the total pixels or lines, VFC will fill the frame with valueless transitions that may have an undesired effect on the resulting display format.

To avoid head-scratching issues with compiled formats, I'd suggest following a few basic rules:
  • Each subsequent value in the horizontal or vertical portions of the modeline (H1 though H4 or V1 through V4) must be numerically higher than the previous value.
  • The horizontal values ActivePixelsPerLine, HorizontalFrontPorch, HorizontalSync and HorizontalBackPorch must equal] the TotalPixelsPerLine, and each of the horizontal values (H1 through H4) must be multiple of 8;
  • the vertical values ActiveLinesPerFrame, VerticalFrontPorch, VerticalSync and VerticalBackPorch must equal the TotalLinesPerFrame.

I went ahead and took a shot at adjusting your image by editing the modeline:

The original:
Code:
Modeline "1600x1024@60.00"   108.0   1600 1616 1656 1704   1024 1027 1030 1056 -Hsync -Vsync
         "X+Y Res@Refresh"  PixClk    H1   H2   H3   H4     V1   V2   V3   V4
and the editied version:
Code:
Modeline "1600x1024@60.00"   108.47   1600 1616 1656 1712   1024 1030 1033 1056 -Hsync -Vsync
         "X+Y Res@Refresh"   PixClk    H1   H2   H3   H4     V1   V2   V3   V4



Using the values from the modified modeline gives:
Code:
FormatName  = "VPro_4Apple-22inch_1600x1024_60-shifted"
FieldsPerFrame  = 1
FramesPerSecond  = Desired Refresh Rate

TotalPixelsPerLine = 1712
HorizontalBackPorch = 56 pixels (1712 - 1656 = 56)
HorizontalSync  = 40 pixels (1656 - 1616 = 40)
HorizontalFrontPorch  = 16 pixels (1616 - 1600 = 16)
ActivePixelsPerLine = 1600

TotalLinesPerFrame = 1056
Vertical Back Porch = 21  (1056 - 1033 - 2 = 21)
Vertical Sync   = 3 (1033 - 1030 = 3)
Vertical Front Porch  = 6 (1030 - 1024 = 6)
ActiveLinesPerFrame  = 1024
The resulting VFC format and source are attached as "Vpro_4Apple-22inch_1600x1024_60-shifted.vfo" and "Vpro_4Apple-22inch_1600x1024_60-shifted.vfs.txt (see my previous note about dealing with the .txt extension on the source file). If the format needs additional tweaking or if you have questions I'd be happy to help.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:33 pm 
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Okey dokey! Thanks for the input Recondas! Using your VFS, and modifying it to 'squeeze' the pixels as you mentioned, I finally (after many tries) got a perfect fit for the picture. It actually fits better than the display on my G5 Mac also connected to the display via KVM... so I can now use this info to go back and try to change the settings on the Mac with SwitchResX. :D

I still don't fully understand how non-SGI employees figure out the full details of the VFS syntax. I'm not talking about what TotalPixelsPerLine means, for example, but rather how do we know that it is TotalPixelsPerLine and not totalPixelsPerLine... or why do we define the horizontal sync and porch values straight-up but then have separate sections for each vertical porch and the sync? And what does the dump edge post process thing at the end mean? I can't find documentation for this file format anywhere... aside from the example VFS files SGI shipped. What am I missing?

Thanks again!
Z


Attachments:
File comment: Compiled VFO from the abovee VFS - a display microcode file for Apple 22" ADC Cinema display connected to Octane2 w/ V6 graphics, via KVM.
VPro_4Apple-22inch_1600x1024_60-shifted_07.vfo [8.38 KiB]
Downloaded 47 times
File comment: VFS display mode source code for Apple 22" ADC Cinema display on Octane2 w/ V6 graphics, and connected via KVM.
VPro_4Apple-22inch_1600x1024_60-shifted_07.vfs.txt [1.53 KiB]
Downloaded 53 times

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Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:08 am 
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ZoontF wrote:
I finally (after many tries) got a perfect fit for the picture. It actually fits better than the display on my G5 Mac also connected to the display via KVM.
Very nicely done!

Looks like the xFree86 modeline I found for your 22" ACD wasn't terribly accurate - or at least not well suited to your analog-to-DVI-to-ADC conversion. You had to do more tweaking to get a centered display than any modeline-to-vfo conversion I'm familiar with.
Code:
        Modeline "X+Y Res@Refresh"  PixClk    H1   H2   H3   H4     V1   V2   V3   V4
xFree86 Modeline "1600x1024@60.00"   108.0   1600 1616 1656 1704   1024 1027 1030 1056
ZoontF  Modeline "1600x1024@57.00"   108.8   1600 1692 1732 1808   1024 1045 1048 1056
What that comparison doesn't show is the amount of trial and error work that went into your working format - recalculating, recompiling and reloading each format between the xFree86-based format and your working format on the 7th(?) try.
ZoontF wrote:
I still don't fully understand how non-SGI employees figure out the full details of the VFS syntax. I'm not talking about what TotalPixelsPerLine means, for example, but rather how do we know that it is TotalPixelsPerLine and not totalPixelsPerLine... or why do we define the horizontal sync and porch values straight-up but then have separate sections for each vertical porch and the sync? And what does the dump edge post process thing at the end mean? I can't find documentation for this file format anywhere... aside from the example VFS files SGI shipped.
The VFC manual from TechPubs is probably as detailed as it gets, which means a lot of reading between the lines.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:21 am 
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yeah ... actually that was file #7 ... I saved after each time I made any useful progress. Each of the 7 files was probably edited 2-10 times, recompiled, etc. So as you said, there is a lot of trial and error.

I had read the man page for vfc... on the octane. It does not seem to be nearly as complete as the techpubs entry. Odd. Thanks for that pointer! Also - your instructions were really helpful... others who are dealing with this should definitely be following your lead.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:16 pm 
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ZoontF wrote:
Thanks for that pointer!
You're more than welcome. Started a couple of time to consolidate a couple of posts into a guideline on how to create custom display resolutions, but the provided-with-an-irix-install vfos work well enough that there doesn't seem to be much interest in doing it the hard way. ;)

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