View Single Post
Old 30 September 2017, 18:57   #18
AKA Mr. Rhythm Master/AIS

TuRRIcaNEd's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: London, UK
Posts: 61
Hi Galahad,

Apologies for the thread necromancy first of all - I know it's not really the done thing, but if you've seen some of my posts I hope you'll understand why I'm talking about this now. To say I'd certainly welcome your input would be a considerable understatement.

Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT View Post
The Amiga can handle Out Run without a problem.
I must admit that initially I thought "Wow - that's a big ask", but it just occurred to me (given the thread subject) that you were referring to the MD port/conversion rather than the arcade, which would be considerably more do-able.

In actual fact, I suspect that a conversion specifically tailored to the Amiga's strengths could well out-do the MD conversion in some aspects, and I'd be interested in your thoughts...

The problem for the Amiga version was it was written for the Atari ST first back in 1988, and the Amiga version other than the enhanced titlescreen sound was unchanged.
Indeed, and because the Amiga release missed the Xmas '87 release date which made USG rush the developers of the other conversions in the first place, the whole thing was even more an afterthought than most ST ports.

The Megadrive version came out THREE years later, which in games writing terms is massive.
Indeed it is - In Amiga terms it's the difference between Probe's OutRun and Gremlin/MF's Lotus! I think it's also worth pointing out that the Japanese teams who did the MD and PCE conversions seem to have had some access to the original arcade code and resources, whereas the UK teams who did the USG conversions did not.

Aside from that, there's the point that the MD was to all intents and purposes a cut-down implementation of the System 16 hardware (strictly tilemap, text and sprite-based) and as such the capabilities were relatively well-understood by the people doing the conversion. The Amiga video hardware, on the other hand, was a radical departure from what had come before (in fact it remains in many ways unique to this day) - which meant not only that it took some time for developers to learn and exploit, but also that converting games which used more advanced "pure" tilemap/sprite hardware sometimes required a fair bit of lateral thinking in terms of implementation.

Of course, that fundamental difference in architecture could cut both ways. One way in which this is apparent can be seen when comparing the Amiga and MD implementations of Lotus. The MD version has prettier sprites with more colours, but the road routine is nowhere near as smooth (indeed, on the MD OutRun conversion, the road stripes almost "flicker" past at high speed) - the combination of copper and blitter seems to suit that kind of drawing routine better than a tilemap layer.

Theres quite a bit of clever cheating in the Megadrive version, theres massive space in the centre of the sky, which is for plotting "Extended play" messages and other such stuff like that, but when the sky dips up and down, it never writes to that space, only when you're driving on level ground, so theres a pretty big area not having to be plotted to.
That's an interesting catch. I did check on a YT video of the MD conversion and on some levels the background does write behind the "LAP" display immediately below the "EXTEND PLAY" banner. You can certainly see some "hacks" where they had to work around the MD's limited work RAM - for example how the horizon graphics fade out, disappear and fade back in between stages (the arcade trick was actually quite slick - using the hard left or right turn to slide in the new horizon graphic from the side, then it faded in the new sky colour on the straight before the checkpoint).

Backdrops are nothing special, judicious use of the copper to spruce them up further making it look better than the Megadrive version is pretty easy.
For what it's worth; during my recent gardening leave I used the Cannonball LayOut utility to extract the sky, ground and road colours from the arcade stages and converted them to Amiga 12-bit RGB values, so that data's ready to go if anyone wants to experiment.

Same for Afterburner.
Did you ever get to see the WeeBee Games conversion of AfterBurner (aka AfterBurner USA) back in the day? I was pleasantly surprised with how well they did, and it was certainly embarrassingly better than the Argonaut/Activision travesty most of us saw. The WeeBee AfterBurner also allowed the hapless Jason Brooke to redeem himself after Amiga OutRun - his conversions of the AfterBurner tunes in that version are an order of magnitude better than Dave Lowe's work for Activision.
TuRRIcaNEd is offline  
Page generated in 0.04055 seconds with 11 queries