Display List

A display list (or display file) is a series of graphics commands that define an output image. The image is created (rendered) by executing the commands.

For a display device without a frame buffer, such as the old vector graphics displays, the commands were executed every fraction of a second to maintain and animate the output. In modern systems, the commands need only be executed when they have changed or in order to refresh the output (e.g., when restoring a minimized window).

A display list can represent both two- and three-dimensional scenes. Systems that make use of a display list to store the scene are called retained mode systems as opposed to immediate mode systems.

Perhaps the earliest popular systems with true display list was the Atari 8-bit family. The display list (actually called so in Atari terminology) is a series of instructions for ANTIC, the video co-processor used in these machines. This program, stored in the computer's memory and executed by ANTIC in real time, can specify blank lines, any of six text modes and eight graphics modes, which sections of the screen can be horizontally or vertically fine scrolled, and trigger Display List Interrupts (called Raster interrupts or HBI on other systems).

Another system using a Display List-like feature in hardware is the Amiga which not coincidentally was also designed by the many of the same people who made the Atari 8-bits custom hardware. The Amiga hardware was extremely sophisticated and once directed to produce a display mode it would do so automatically. However, the computer also included a dedicated processor called "Copper", which ran a program, the "Copper List", oriented toward the display. The Copper List instructions could direct the Copper to wait for the display to reach a specific position on the screen and then change the contents of hardware registers. In effect it was a processor dedicated to servicing Raster interrupts. The Copper was used by Workbench to mix multiple display modes and by numerous programs to create rainbow and gradient effects on the screen.

In more primitive systems a display list can be simulated as a CPU-driven series of writes to certain display-mode, color-control, or other visual effect registers in the video device, rather than a series of rendering commands. Thus, one must create the displayed image using some other rendering process either before or while the display list is operating. In many cases, the image is also modified or re-rendered between frames, often with the display list turned off during this time. The image is then displayed in various ways depending on the exact way in which the display list is implemented.

Examples of the results possible on these older machines requiring CPU-driven display lists include effects such as Commodore 64/128's FLI mode, or Rainbow Processing on the ZX Spectrum.

Other articles related to "display list, displays, display, display lists, list":

ANTIC - The Display List - Instruction Bytes - Mode 0 Instruction - Blank Lines
... ? ? ? 0 ... When Mode bits are all zero ANTIC displays one or more blank scan line(s) using the background color COLBK ($D01Ahex/53274dec) OS Shadow COLOR4 ($02C8hex/712dec) ... ANTIC adds one to this value and displays the resulting number of scan lines ... Blank lines are useful for delaying the start of the screen display until the electron beam has left the vertical overscan area at the top of the display ...
De Re Atari
... to making use of the features of the platform, which included ANTIC and the display list, "graphics indirection" in the form of color support in the ... Likewise, vertical smooth scrolling was quite simple, but horizontal scrolling required a custom display list that created a "virtual screen" as wide as the ... Another author, Jim Dunion, used custom display lists in the DDT tool (a 6502 debugger) to produce a partitioned, IDE-like display ...
Sprite (computer Graphics) - History - Hardware Sprites
... Some sprite engines can automatically reload their "sprite units" from a display list ... Colors Hardware zoom Rotation Background Collision detection Source Amiga, Denise 1985 Display list 8 ? 16 Arbitrary 3, 15 Vertical by display list No 2 bitmap layers Yes Color key Amiga (AGA), Lisa 1992 ... horizontal mirroring 1 bitmap layer Yes Color key Atari 8-bit, GTIA/ANTIC 1979 Display list 40. 2, 8 128, 256 1,3 1, 2× vertical, 1, 2, 4x horizontal No 1 tile ...
Molecular Graphics - Technology
... does not sweep left-and-right as in a raster display ... The display hardware followed a sequential list of digital drawing instructions (the display list), directly drawing at an angle one stroke for each molecular bond ... When the list was complete, drawing would begin again from the top of the list, so if the list was long (a large number of molecular bonds), the display would ...

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