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Old 23 June 2008, 17:06   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: warrington UK
Posts: 79
Games that didn't scroll smoothly - why not?


One thing has always interested me is that there is a great deal of difference in frame rates in Amiga games and I always wanted to know what factors or decisions dictated what the frame rate of a game would be. I always thought there was no excuse for jerky scrolling when the Amiga has hardware scrolling but then I suppose it comes down to whether you can get your game loop running in one frame doesn't it? Forgive my noobiness but is the general rule smooth scrolling == running in one frame and jerky scrolling == not running in one frame? Or was there more to it than that?

Some games I consider jerky (from memory):
- Gods (and most bitmap brothers games)
- Flood
- Ruff'n'Tumble

Some games I consider smooth scrollers:
- the Turrican games
- Soccer kid
- Toki
- Battle squadron

These are my assumptions about why some games were silky smooth and some were a more jerky experience:

Obviously, some coders are more talented than others, so will get a game running nice and smooth where others may have failed.

Design choice
Some coders may decide they want to achieve something they could not do in one frame, ie increase the number of sprites/particles on the screen but at the cost of framerate.

Some coders probably didn't care if their game scrolled smoothly or not? Why worry about optimising code when you can just run in 2/3 frames?

I always wondered if the reason some games were jerky scrollers was something to do with portability? Was it easier to write cross platform code without having to worry about scrolling smoothly?

Another thought I had was how possible would it be to take a game with jerky scrolling and get it running smoothly? Is this a impossible task? Say, for example, you took a game designed to run on a 68000 and ran it on a 68030 could you get it running in one frame? Surely, you are going to have a lot more clock cycles spare at each vblank so isn't it possible?

I'm probably missing the point here so I would love to be corrected on all the wrong assumptions I have made.
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