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SIly questions from a goof.

facattack

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I somehow can't tell the difference between Tandy 1000 graphics and Apple II GS. Are they both 8bit or 16bit? Or they different bits? I say this because of such games as The Black Cauldron being so colorful on them. I used to own both machines and knew the differences in how they ran programs differenty.
 

commodorejohn

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They aren't "8-bit" or "16-bit" except in the sense that popular usage has turned those into metanyms for the general aesthetics of popular machines with 8-bit or 16-bit CPUs. Both machines have 16-color (i.e. 4 bits per pixel) chunky bitmap graphics at 320x200 (although Sierra's AGI titles like The Black Cauldron used 160x200 as their native resolution due to originating on the PCjr.) The big difference between the two is that the IIgs has a programmable palette, so those 16 colors can be any of (IIRC) 4096.

(Better than that, actually: it offers 16 custom palettes of 16 colors, and any line on the screen can use any of those palettes - but most developers never made use of that, since it was easier to settle on the intersection of the capabilities between the IIgs, Amiga, and Atari ST and just stick with 320x200x16.)
 

vwestlife

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The Apple IIGS's graphics and sound are both superior to the Tandy 1000's, at least when done right. But many games for it take absolutely ages to load, because the floppy drive interface has to go through the slow 8-bit bus. For example, I believe Test Drive II for the IIGS clocks in at over two minutes to load from disk. And Apple purposely hampered the IIGS with a slow 2.8 MHz CPU, because they didn't want it to compete too much with the Mac. Thus a CFFA3000 and TransWarp GS are indispensable for serious IIGS enthusiasts.
 

Trixter

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(Better than that, actually: it offers 16 custom palettes of 16 colors, and any line on the screen can use any of those palettes - but most developers never made use of that, since it was easier to settle on the intersection of the capabilities between the IIgs, Amiga, and Atari ST and just stick with 320x200x16.)

That's a shame, since the VDC handles the 16 palette swaps automatically. If the CPU assists (which means this would only be useful for still pictures with nothing else going on), you can switch the palette every single scanline, allowing up to 3200 colors onscreen at a time. A poor-man's HAM.

The coolest thing about the IIgs IMO is the VDC mode that treats color 0 as a fill color, which is automatically replaced by the last non-0 color to the left. This is essentially free polygon filling, and I think only demos used it, sadly.
 

commodorejohn

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Yeah, it's a neat feature, and a shame it wasn't used more (when I had a IIgs, I made a handful of nice colorful splash screens for GS/OS using that mode, though I never got beyond separating the image out by hand into vertical bands in Photoshop and color-reducing them there; I meant to write a "smart" converter that could analyze a whole image on a line-by-line basis, but I never did.)
 

Eudimorphodon

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I somehow can't tell the difference between Tandy 1000 graphics and Apple II GS. Are they both 8bit or 16bit? Or they different bits?

This "8-bit/16-bit/whatever" thing really needs to die, or at least this misconception that the aesthetics people that associate with said terms has *anything* to do with the CPU in a given computer. The Atari 2600 and the Turbographix-16 both have 8-bit CPUs, even both 6502-family derivatives, but you sure as heck wouldn't think they belonged in the same category based on their graphical output capabilities.

(Nitpicker trivia: the first popular "16 bit" gaming console going by the width of the CPU data path and registers was the Mattel Intellivision. Not the sort of thing that usually gets lumped alongside the Sega Genesis.)

Anyway, that rant aside... the IIgs and the Tandy 1000 are *very* comparable machines. As mentioned above, the IIgs has a much broader color palette (thanks to its use of an analog monitor with 4 bit DAC resolution for each RGB color) and the tricks like being able to swap color palettes per line, but in the end both machines are limited to 32k of video memory and their CPUs are roughly in the same ball park in terms of raw horsepower. (You could kick off a violent religious war by asking what's actually better, an honest 4.77 or 7.16 mhz 8088 or a 2.8mhz 65816 saddled with a 1mhz bus between it and the graphics hardware, but realistically they're within shouting distance of each other.) Unless a developer really leans into the advantages one of the machines offers over the other you're probably going to be able to run roughly the same games on both with roughly equivalent quality.

The IIgs did have a much more capable sound chip, however. Basically no contest there. Tandy sound is fantastic compared to a plain IBM PC but that's about it.
 
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