Alphultima 2: humble pie edition

First off: I had no idea how sensitive people are around here…!

Not everything I say is absolutely serious fyi. That said, apologies if I offended anyone!

Now let’s try not to take ourselves too seriously ok? We’re just talking about how to show video games lol.

Ok, so I realized that my original version was a little overly processed looking, rather than looking like rendered pixels, which resulted in needing so many different levels of sharpness for different scenarios.

This new version still uses a 2x linear pass as its base with the brilliant Fast Sharpen shader, but now also relies on one of the passes from the wonderful Z Fast shader.

To my knowledge (given I’ve tried every shader and preset available), this is the only one that has all of the following features:

  1. is interpolation based (ie, respects the original look of the pixel art)

  2. features pixel blending

  3. is sharp

  4. has no scanlines or visible mask

Due to its much cleaner presentation (vs the original version), which has image quality nearly comparable to pure nearest neighbour interpolation (but with pseudo pixel blending), only two sharpness levels are needed–“Sharp” for near/monitor use and “Smooth” for far/TV use.

The examples below are just using Sharp as you’re likely viewing this on a monitor (note: the Smooth version doesn’t have any ringing):

Sharp/monitor version:

Pass 1 Stock linear 2x scale

Pass 2 Fast Sharpen: Sharpen strength 2.00; Amount of sharpening 0.06; Details sharpened 1.00; Linear; Default scale

Pass 3 Zfast CRT Finemask: Everything zero, except: Dark pixel brightness boost 1.50; Mask effect amount 0.35; Linear; Default scale

Smooth/TV version:

Pass 1 Stock Linear 2x scale

Pass 2 Fast Sharpen: Sharpen strength 2.00; Amount of sharpening 0.02; Details sharpened 1.00; Linear; Default scale

Pass 3 Zfast CRT Finemask: Everything zero, except: Dark pixel brightness boost 1.50; Mask effect amount 0.35; Linear; Default scale

Pass 4 (yes it matters) Stock linear default scale

Pass 5 RCAS: Strength of RCA sharpening 0.35; Suppress Luma sharpening 1.00

An insult to the community in the very first line of your post. Your humble pie edition is off to an amazing start.

It is not a “people” problem. It’s a YOU problem.


I understood you don’t know what the hell you are doing when you cram that lanczos pass in the previous setting. Now you use again zfast that has it’s own quilez fiter. Let’s see what is next :smile: Didn’t you notice the mask is not even working?

PS there is a slang called “dotmask”

tons of artifacts in the image too, caused by fast-sharpen :wink:

Not too sharp, not too blurry, no “fast-sharpen” artifacts


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Although looks sharp and clear image, these games weren’t intended to look like this. I prefer the look of a real CRT or with a proper real good shader that looks better than this IMO.


Ok chill please. I truly have that impression, yes. I don’t have an easy-going-vibe about this place at all. Yes, also my opinion. Your reaction here is further proof of that…

Yep it’s not at all a CRT shader, it’s an interpolation shader. As far as the question of what is intended, that’s a matter of opinion of course. If you’re looking for scanlines etc this is not for you.

Yeah that Lanczos3 pass actually did help sharpen the image in v1. So?

I wasn’t aware it was using Quilez and you’re right about that–actually a useful comment from you! Yep I intentionally disabled the mask (apparently I was after the Quilez filter instead).

I can’t find that dotmask one–looked everywhere in the CRT shaders list.

Best to use the same image to compare. Mine looks sharper with pixel blending, whereas the others don’t appear to feature that.

Again, please post a full size image that is sharp, is interpolation based, and features actual pixel blending.

From normal viewing distances any apparent artefacts merge together–only some mild ringing is occasionally visible.

Here you can access the actual slang shader preset files:

Make them full screen to really see the difference.

You’ll see I’ve also added a “Very Sharp” setting as it helps to bring out the textures a bit more (vs just Quilez and vs my “Sharp” setting):

Oops that was a band limit one in there for SotN. Here’s Quilez:

Can you not see that mine is higher image quality than Quilez, WITH pixel blending (which Quilez lacks entirely)?

No yours is lower, it’s full of artifacts around pixels if you zoom in. Works OK in dark places but not OK on bright ones that “sharpen” artifacts are revealed.

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People don’t play at 10x zoom lol. I really think you need to get your eyes checked!

Oh you are wrong, maybe you play at 10" but people play at 50" TVs too.

Now check this out. Holy Grail indeed.

Is this what creator intended? :stuck_out_tongue:

As i said before, pretty obvious you don’t know what you doing and trolling everyone.



How many times do I need to say that??

Who is trolling who…?

Yes games were created with the intention of using the natural pixel blending of CRT monitors, to create a higher perceivable effective resolution, rather than just a bunch of blocks on the screen.

Yes I mastered it on both a 4k 55" TV from 6’ away and on a 1600p monitor up close.

Stop using shots that are 10x zoomed in! Nobody plays like that. ALTHOUGH, if you look closely at even the rock image you used, you can see Anti-Aliasing being applied to my image, creating more pixels, gradations, than exist in the original image.

I’ll make this so obvious that even you can understand:

Not to mention color clipping blown out on a simple interpolation preset. zfast scanlines and mask are out of the window if anyone wants them. All this looks like apprentice wizarding imo.

crt-geom all the way for me! no need anymore :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Maybe horizontal bilinear mixed with sharp vertical bilinear / nearest is the right thing for you? Blends horizontal but keeps everything sharp and separated vertical. Horizontal linear could be tuned to get less blending.

Don‘t know if there is already a single shader for it. Maybe this is not possible with preset shader mixing.

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@djayjp there are now vertical and horizontal linear interpolation shaders you can use for testing.


Hmm interesting though it does look blurrier with less pixel blending imo.