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home : reviews : VGS Review : page 2

Joe Glass
May 13, 2000

The Product
VGS has several fundamental differences from bleem! These differences show that the programmers for each emulator had different objectives. bleem! can play Playstation games, but it is also capable of exceeding the rendering quality of a Playstation. Playstation hardware isn't as advanced as current PC graphics accelerators. The bleem! programmers evangelized the superior graphics rendering power current graphics accelerators pervasive in PCs. For example, bleem! could take a RIVA TNT 2 and render at high resolutions like 1024x768 at 32bit color with bilinear filtered textures and sprites. However, VGS's main objective is to emulate the Playstation as accurately as possible. This means no high resolutions, no texel and sprite filtering, or added color depth. Even with these limitations, VGS manages to put bleem! in its place.

What can it do better?
VGS was originally created for the Apple G3 and G4 systems running under Mac OS 8.5 or greater. Even though most G3/4 systems come with ATI RAGE graphics chipsets, no 3D rendering is used. VGS draws each pixel at 16 bit color and then filters the result to reproduce the blur of a television. The only exception is in movie playback. VGS can use 24 bit color mode to increase visual quality. The brightness can also be modified if the screen is too dark.

As mentioned before, the SONY Playstation doesn't do bilinear texel filtering or sprite filtering. It point samples texels. It doesn't use 32bit color frame buffers or texels, and it usually doesn't use resolutions greater than 640x480. VGS accurately renders texels and even the recognizable Playstation dithering patterns.

VGS takes advantage of Windows unique features. Any game controller that can be read by DirectInput can be used by VGS. USB controllers are favorable since they typically have multiple programmable buttons.

VGS can create multiple memory cards for save games. You can create as many memory cards as your hard drive can hold. These memory cards are represented as files. You can copy these files and back them up. You can even share them with other people.

Since VGS supports two controllers, it also supports two simultaneous memory cards to be loaded at the same time. Each memory card can be loaded, created, and swapped at will at any time.

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