Sprite shrinking

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Shrinking (also known as scaling, reduction, and "zooming") is a hardware feature of the NeoGeo which allows to scale down sprites with per-pixel accuracy in 2 dimensions.

It can be seen as a simple subsampling of the original graphics since there's no smoothing at all.

Vertical shrinking

Vertical shrinking is set by an 8-bit value indicating the final height of the sprite's graphics. This value is set in VRAM, in the SCB2.

Range: $FF is full size (all 32*16 = 512 pixels shown), $0 is the smallest (only 2 pixels shown).

To know which line to skip, the GPU uses a lookup table stored in the Chipicon.png L0 ROM.

Vertical shrink propagates in chained sprites.


Note that vertical shrinking does not affect the height setting of the sprite. The graphics are shrunk inside the same "window".

Horizontal shrinking

The horizontal shrinking is set by a 4-bit value indicating the final width of the sprite graphics +1 (giving 1 to 16 pixels wide sprites). This value is also set in SCB2.

Range: $F is full size (all 16 pixels shown), $0 is the smallest (only 1 pixel shown).

Horizontal shrink does not propagate in chained sprites. Values for each sprite of a block have to be distributed to obtain the total desired block width.

Pixel skipping for rendering is done with a "bit matrix" lookup table inside the GPU. This table is not in the L0 ROM.

For each shrinking value on a sprite line, 1 means the pixel will be drawn and 0 means it will be skipped (info from MAME's source, matches the real hardware):

Horizontal shrink effect on a multicolored tile, showing how pixels are skipped.
  • 0: 0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0 (15 pixel skipped, 1 remaining)
  • 1: 0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0 (14 pixels skipped...)
  • 2: 0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0
  • 3: 0,0,1,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0
  • 4: 0,0,1,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,1,0
  • 5: 0,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,1,0
  • 6: 0,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0
  • 7: 1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0
  • 8: 1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,1,1,0,1,0,1,0
  • 9: 1,0,1,1,1,0,1,0,1,1,1,0,1,0,1,0
  • A: 1,0,1,1,1,0,1,0,1,1,1,0,1,0,1,1
  • B: 1,0,1,1,1,0,1,1,1,1,1,0,1,0,1,1
  • C: 1,0,1,1,1,0,1,1,1,1,1,0,1,1,1,1
  • D: 1,1,1,1,1,0,1,1,1,1,1,0,1,1,1,1
  • E: 1,1,1,1,1,0,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1 (...1 pixel skipped)
  • F: 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1 (no pixels skipped, full size)


Centering can be required since the "anchor point" of sprites is fixed at their top left.

The X offset is -((hshrink+1)/2). The Y offset is -(vshrink+1). See sprite scaling for code examples.