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Old 14 April 2019, 14:52   #1
saimo
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Dot-matrix engine

In the past months I've been thinking of some new game concept that would finally put my dot-matrix engine for AGA Amigas to good use. Admittedly, I haven't come up with anything worthy yet, but I've been doing some technical experiments. I thought you might fancy having a look at the latest experiment:

[ Show youtube player ]

Details:
  • the parallax is not obtained by means of pre-rendered separate lines, but by applying perspective to a rectangular texture; this means that the texture can be easily modified/animated on the fly, and also that it doesn't have a size limit;
  • the shadow is not made of a number of precalculated frames, but it's a single bitmap that gets cast in perspective (exploiting the parallax effect) and also with a pseudo-antialias effect;
  • the scrolling is not obtained by changing bitplane pointers, but by redrawing the whole screen: while this steals quite some bandwidth, it allows for a single raster (thus making rendering operations really easy) and eliminates the need to keep/restore dirty regions;
  • the character is not a bitmap, but it's made of 1200 separate dots (which is what allows it to transform into any other shape made of the same 1200 dots);
  • an unexpanded A1200 runs this at full speed (i.e. 50 Hz); it would do so even if there were a second 1200 dots character, although there wouldn't be time to do much more - to gain extra time for an actual game, characters should be plain bitmaps and, if needed, the parallax area could be made a little shorter.

Note that I'm NOT going to make a beat'em up. Again, this is just an experiment.

(The graphics have been derived from assets which are the property of Capcom Co., Ltd.)

Previous video:

[ Show youtube player ]

Last edited by saimo; 13 July 2020 at 22:03.
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Old 14 April 2019, 19:18   #2
MickGyver
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Nice!
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Old 14 April 2019, 19:34   #3
starship
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Very nice and cute
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Old 15 April 2019, 03:39   #4
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Looking good, might be cool for some kind of shooter with some pseudo elements.

What screen mode does it run it, how many colors?

Last edited by NovaCoder; 15 April 2019 at 05:59.
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Old 15 April 2019, 06:24   #5
gulliver
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Your last test reminded me of my good teenage original gameboy days.

It could be really cool for a gameboy emulator. :-)
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Old 15 April 2019, 08:34   #6
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I saw similar engine on pc(gameboy emulator). And it was really cool.

https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/...boy-shaders/42
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Old 15 April 2019, 09:21   #7
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Looks like pinball status screen. Something similar is in Slam Tilt as status and also for mini games.
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Old 15 April 2019, 11:11   #8
saimo
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@MickGyver @starship

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Originally Posted by MickGyver View Post
Nice!
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Originally Posted by starship View Post
Very nice and cute
Thank you!


@NovaCoder

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Originally Posted by NovaCoder View Post
Looking good, might be cool for some kind of shooter with some pseudo elements.
I've been thinking about that, but the dot-matrix visuals aren't suitable for busy/cluttered/noisy/messy graphics, i.e. a shooter might be too hard on the eyes. I'm leaning towards big, not-too-textured elements (e.g., for an actual background, I'd rather avoid the massive dithering like in this experiment).

Quote:
What screen mode does it run it, how many colors?
I plan to write a full article explaining the whole technique, but it's something that will take a long time (I know from the time it took me to write these articles: 1 2 3) and at the moment I can't afford it due to personal and family hardships.
Anyway, the matrix is 160x100, so, given the 1 pixel spacing, the whole screen is 320x200 (PAL).
The dots are in 4 colors.


@gulliver

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Originally Posted by gulliver View Post
Your last test reminded me of my good teenage original gameboy days.

It could be really cool for a gameboy emulator. :-)
Actually not: most games wouldn't look good, as the tiny Gameboy graphics would be ruined by the spacing of the dots.


@Solo Kazuki

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Originally Posted by Solo Kazuki View Post
Looks like pinball status screen. Something similar is in Slam Tilt as status and also for mini games.
Pinball displays are exactly where the inspiration came from
When, as a teenager, I saw Pinball Fantasies, I was totally blown away and dot-matrix displays became a sort of fixation. Then, years later, Slam Tilt blew me away even more and gave me the idea of making whole games based on dot-matrix machines - that's why I made Huenison and now I'm working on this.
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Old 18 April 2019, 00:47   #9
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There was this car racing game that used this technique, and I can of course not recall the name of it. Anyways, in the wake of that game, I recall someone made a proof of concept "video viewer" program that could show (who knows what format) video files in "dot matrix". I remember thinking that was really cool
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Old 18 April 2019, 09:24   #10
utri007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolla View Post
There was this car racing game that used this technique, and I can of course not recall the name of it. Anyways, in the wake of that game, I recall someone made a proof of concept "video viewer" program that could show (who knows what format) video files in "dot matrix". I remember thinking that was really cool
I think that this is just like ; If you can read and write Assyrian language, that is really cool, but If you actaully think that others are interested other ways than "cool factor" that woun't work.
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Old 18 April 2019, 09:39   #11
saimo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolla View Post
There was this car racing game that used this technique, and I can of course not recall the name of it.
Could it be that you're thinking of the FORMULA 1 RACE in the Mean Machines table of Slam Tilt?

(You need to manually jump to 1:09, as the player discards the t argument.)

[ Show youtube player ]

Or was it really a full-blown game? I'd be really curious to see it.

Quote:
Anyways, in the wake of that game, I recall someone made a proof of concept "video viewer" program that could show (who knows what format) video files in "dot matrix". I remember thinking that was really cool
I've been toying with this idea, too - like, instead of a game, making a sort of wild demo where an unexpanded A1200 + HD streams a video (including high quality stereo music, using the same engine I made for SkillGrid), but I'm more interested in making a game.
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Old 18 April 2019, 09:46   #12
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I wonder if you could do a game that’s something like paper.io 2
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Old 18 April 2019, 09:59   #13
saimo
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I wonder if you could do a game that’s something like paper.io 2
I had to search for it on YouTube. Sorry, I'm it doesn't appeal to me.
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Old 20 December 2019, 13:09   #14
saimo
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This video shows a stock Amiga 1200 running various visual effects using the dot-matrix engine. The effects are obtained by means of a system that allows every single pixel to be located anywhere in memory (regardless of the RAM type). Lately, I've started thinking again of a game that makes use of the dot-matrix engine, and I came up with this new system. I finally have a somewhat interesting game concept (not shown here), but I'm still thinking of better alternatives.
Technical note: while the dot-matrix engine doesn't require any CPU operation, this new system is entirely CPU-driven, so each screen update takes more or less 1.3 frames on a stock A1200; therefore, if the game eventually uses the system, it will run at most at 25 fps.

[ Show youtube player ]
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Old 20 December 2019, 13:34   #15
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looks impressive saimo!
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Old 20 December 2019, 18:49   #16
saimo
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Thanks!
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Old 20 December 2019, 21:36   #17
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Freaky cool
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Old 21 December 2019, 05:56   #18
Tsak
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Really interesting! Is an FPS style game possible with this?
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Old 21 December 2019, 09:03   #19
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Looks really nice in action! I've been toying around with a visually similar idea for OCS Amigas, although probably a bit more limited compared to saimos implementation, as mine's mainly be targetted towards certain kinds of demo effects.
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Old 21 December 2019, 11:12   #20
saimo
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@Tsak

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Really interesting! Is an FPS style game possible with this?
Maybe with limitations*. But due to the low resolution and color depth, visually the result would be quite messy.

*I mean, relatively to stock A1200: with better CPU and FAST RAM things are much different. For example, my Blizzard 1230-IV runs the same thing in about 0.3 frames (i.e. 1 frame less than the stock A1200).

Last edited by saimo; 21 December 2019 at 11:55.
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