T-SLG (Toodles Scanline Generator) Authentic retro look from your modern flatscreen

Toodles take on a Scanline generator

Examples of the two scanline widths. Please keep in mind that this is with a cheapie Xbox360 VGA cable, running at 480 horizontal lines, so the scanlines are rather wide. The main idea is so that scanlines would actually be visible with higher resolution sources like 600 horizontal lines or more.

Marvel vs Capcom -Sega Dreamcast -VGA


Toodles Q&A

“your scanline generator is alot cheaper than the other one… Is yours a more streamlined version?”

This question and ones like it are probably gonna pop up a bunch, so might as well try to address it in one go and hopefully avoid these in PMs in the future if I can.
Hey, let’s compare. Comparisons are against the 48.95EU ($66.20 USD) pcb only version.

Pro’s: Why mine is better

  • SLG3000 is limited to 480 horizontal lines. Any higher and the scanline effect isn’t noticable; the overall screen just appears darker. Flip the switch on mine to ‘Wide’ and you’re set with visible scanlines even at 1920x1080.
  • SLG3000 uses two female VGA connectors. Mine uses one male and one female. This one may not make much sense as a plus until you start thinking about what all it will be plugged into. Dreamcast VGA boxes have female VGA connectors on them. The common and cheap RGB->VGA boards used by retro game fans have female VGA connectors on them. If you want to plug in the SLG3000 to them, you have to shell out for either a large VGA cable, or a large size gender changer that they’ll happily sell you for another 5 EU ($6.76). Can you use the tiny gender changers like this:
    Nope. Those gender changers flip the plug upside down; your SLG would have to be upside down on the table in order to work! None of this is a problem with mine; just plug it in directly to your VGA box or RGB->VGA converter. Everything is right side up, without requiring additional parts.
    Got a cable type connector like for an Xbox360 VGA cable? With an SLG3000, you’d plug the cable into the SLG3000, and plug a VGA cable into the other end. With mine, you can skip the VGA cable entirely; just plug the Xbox360 cable into the T-SLG, and the other end of the T-SLG directly to your monitor. If you want to use a VGA cable, no problem, just use one of tiny gender changers shown above.
  • Finer scanline control. Adjustment of scanlines on an SLG3000 is done all at once. My adjustment shield allows control of the R, G, and B values individually for warmer or cooler scanlines.
    -Ease of use: Mine has a single slide switch with three positions: Even, Off, and Odd. SLG3000 uses two DIP switches for the Even/Odd selection, and don’t come with an Off switch; either wire one up to the screw terminals, or remove it.

Reasons the SLG3000 is better:

  • Comes pre-assembled; mine is a DIY kit.
  • Has an optional plexi top and bottom available for an additional 15 EU ($20.20)
  • One knob, wait, scratch that, one metal pole for controlling the scanline brightness, versus three on mine. Knob isn’t included.
  • PCB is black in color versus my green.

Do I know why his is selling for almost 50 EU? No, frankly I don’t. But I expect you’ll see that price drop pretty soon. I also expect you’ll see a new version with the wide scanline support like mine, once they realize how I did it and slap themselves for not thinking of it first. The core tech of the two is the same, so performance is identical between the two on 480p displays (well, I think mine is capable of just slightly darker scanlines, but not by a humanly noticable amount) but I have the edge on higher resolution and of course, cost.


**Scanlines and Scanline Generators Helpful links to common questions **
“What are Scanlines?”
"Why do scanlines make my retro games look better?"

Here is a link to cheap RGB scalers on ebay that are recommended

UK’s Faginrs500 Youtube video explaining scanline generator


Wow that’s some cheapness right there.
If anyone else is interested in a super simple solder yourself kit of these, speak up. It’d be easy as hell to do.

That would be awesome toodles.

The dreamcast looks horrible on lcd’s when playing 2d fighters missing scanlines via VGA especially on larger lcd’s
This could also be a cure for the people out there complaining how 3rd strike online looks, then just flip the switch to revert back to standard video mode

The switch is not there for having the scanlines ON/OFF but to have the even/odd scanlines. I would prefer a switch for switching the scanlines ON/OFF.

Buying a scanline device is much like buying new furniture with petunia; why would you? IMO, Dreamcast looks fine enough via VGA on a LCD. I always considered scanlines something you’d have to deal with when gaming with a low Res or non progressive scan capable device, not something you would want.

Because low-res (~240p and lower in particular) pixel art looks ugly without scanlines. All of that stuff was designed for and intended to be viewed on low-res CRTs.

I was thinking of using a SPDT that is On-Off-On, and a resistor between the ‘generate’ signal (the one going to pins 1, 4, and 10 of the tri-state buffers) and GND.
If the SPDT was set to the Odd or Even, then the flip flop would control the scanlines.
If the SPDT was set in the middle to ‘Off’, then the resistor would force the tri-state buffers to ‘always on’; no scanlines.

my mistake thanks for the clarification speedster I agree with you on off would be perfect to add as well

I don’t know how you like looking at pixel 2d blobs
My dreamcast displays look bad with a vga adapter,sure its clearer than your standard s-video but too clear . Hands down scanlines make 2d images so much better old games were not designed for lcd at least your bigger displays

I’m hype that I sparked your interest in doing something like this.

I do hope this becomes part of the god like controls roster

I’m defiantly in on this I’d buy most most Mame offer scan line options but my bigger LCD monitor looks horrible pixalated.

Someone sells this on the Shmup.system forums:

Considering buying, but total cost from Europe is a bit pricey. Definitely interested in something like this for my new Kraylix!

There is one thing the SLG3000 does that this doesnt, and that’s have adjustable intensity of the scanlines.
There’s a thread for the SLG3000 here in tech talk, and bencao is a member.

Yeah the SLG is super nice but what I have gathered from other threads that this cheap model does almost as well with simple adjustment of brightness on your monitor/tv but this is all speculation.

The cheap model makes the scanlines full on BLACK. That can be adjusted with a pot for each channel, or using three pots with a joined knob like the SLG3000 uses. So you can adjust so the scanlines are full black, or just darkened lines. Not hard to do, just a matter of weighing the cost of the pots (or hard set resistors, or resistor+ switches) and ease of use.

Hey toodles,
were you thinking something with two of these Vga sockets

and two Pic sockets on a custom mapped pcb and maybe a adjustable pot

If you went with an adjustable pot would you have to go with a different set of chips?

Yes, but I had first laid it out with one male and one female; I’m thinking now that two females is the way to go.
And my answer to the scanline adjustment; 2x3 header pins. Do nothing if you want it all black. If you want it adjustable, either connect your pots to those pins, or clip on optional daughterboard. I think I’ll do the same for the regular RGB pins as well, so you can adjust colors on even non-scanline lines, if you’re a die-hard DIY kind of person.

These scanlines boards defiantly have a broad market outside the fighting game market , with shmups and all the people out there big into Retro gaming you can’t go wrong. I have read through numerous forums where people are looking to improve there old retro games looks on hdtv’s

how would this work with an NES or SNES or Genesis or something that isn’t VGA capable?

most old systems that I know of have available european Scart cable that can be converted to vga
Scart cables break down red green blue to individual chanels they are the best cables for retro systems a step above s-video that just separates black and white

NES would be boned without doing the Playchoice PPU mod or something similar. Famiclones would be easier to tap RGB from. I’d expect the people most interested in this would be those who already do RGB mods on their consoles, probably with XRGB+'s involved.
(Although with the YUV<->RGB opamps schematics I saw, I wonder if the same could be applied to component video. Would def require an external separate power source though. )

EDIT: Information on the Famiclones was in error. I have not been able to find information on any Famiclone with RGB accessible lines.

Scanlines is one thing, but the other aspect is getting the pixels themselves to blur and dither like a real CRT does and without it, you just have an emulated/upscaled image.

Read the post I did a setup on for my Resident Evil setup. Some games like this require full dithering otherwise even simple objects like police cars will have their exterior show as pixels rather then looking photographically like it’s supposed to. http://shoryuken.com/forum/index.php?goto/post&id=5821568#post-5821568