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Old 17 August 2019, 14:38   #721
chb
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Dont know what Nintendo CD is?
Never released, but planned (in cooperation with Sony and later Phillips):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_NES_CD-ROM
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but Sega 80! sprites

So in that respect SNES and MD were a lot more powerful.
You cannot compare that directly, as the Amiga was not limited to sprites (it has also Blitter objects). But yeah, in general both MD and SNES were better suited for sprite-heavy games.
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Old 17 August 2019, 14:49   #722
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That's a bit of a skewed comparison. The big difference is the amount of data needed: On the MD, a complete screen is 2k for character ram (1 playfield 16 colors, 320x200), and 32k on the Amiga, 15x that number. Even a dumb scroller that updates every tile every frame is not a big issue on the MD.
While possible, that is not how most scrollers on the MD were actually coded. They were generally coded in a very similar fashion to how they work on the Amiga - updating the new tiles and nothing more. Mainly because that technique was already well known from the 8-bit era were things were done in the same way (though with smaller screen areas etc).
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It's not that complicated if you know how to do it, but hindsight is always 20/20. It took several years until games with smooth multi-directional scrolling appeared on the Amiga, while on the consoles they were there from day one.
I'm sorry to say it, but I don't feel that is accurate. There were smooth multi-directional scrolling games as early as 1987. Here are a few examples from 1987: Blastaball, Emerald Mine, Inertia Drive, Fortress Underground. Note that not I'd not say many of these games are good, but they do all feature smooth-multidirectional scrolling.

The way I look at it, the thing with smooth multi-directional scrolling seems to be more based on 'the games of the time' and the state of the Amiga market in 1985-1987 rather than anything else.

Arcade games usually scrolled in only one direction in the early 1980's. Only by the mid 1980's did that change to lots of multidirectional scrollers. On 8-bit consoles you saw something similar. Most games opted for either horizontal or vertical scrolling. Somewhere around 1985-1988 this started to change on the 8-bit consoles and the Amiga followed suit a short while after it had started getting successful with the launch of the A500. Before 1987, the Amiga was a surprisingly unsuccessful platform, with as many games as you'd expect for a system that flopped.

Meanwhile, by the time of the SNES/MD, multidirectional games were far more common and thus seen a lot more often on the system. It also helps that neither the SNES nor the MD were initially inundated with quick ports from systems without hardware scrolling.
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The Amiga hardware is indeed very powerful and flexible, but also a) very much different from other game systems* of that era, and b) a lot of techniques fundamental to many game genres, like smooth multi-directional scrolling, had to be discovered/invented, as they were not documented from the beginning.
Oh, it is definitely different in some ways. But scrolling is in the hardware and I still don't buy it's that complicated, as shown by the existence of some rather early examples.
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Old 17 August 2019, 14:51   #723
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Comparing Mega Typhoon to MUSHA is hilarious. Just look at both games on youtube. One is a shitty looking, unfinished mess that doesn't even have any music. The other, is one of the most polished and well regarded shooters of all time.
Yet 'the shitty' one running on the 'underpowered hardware' has many more on screen objects than the other. Which was the point. So the comparison is valid.
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Old 17 August 2019, 14:55   #724
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It's not that complicated if you know how to do it, but hindsight is always 20/20. It took several years until games with smooth multi-directional scrolling appeared on the Amiga, while on the consoles they were there from day one. Even to someone like Andrew Braybrook it wasn't an obvious thing when he wrote Fire&Ice in the early 90s, as he remembers in his blog:
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The issue for the Amiga was also that the CPU was not fast enough to rebuild an entire screen`s worth of data every 50th of a second, fast though it was. The magic of the Factor 5 scrolling system was realising that during smooth scrolling, quite a lot of the screen data stays the same. Only areas covered by software sprites, animated background characters, and the scroll leading edge(s) change, so if you can efficiently update those then you can get to the magic 50 frames per second arcade speed.
Seems to be trivial today, but apparently not back in the day.
From your link:-

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I spent about a fortnight implementing the scrolling routine.
Anybody who developed games for earlier home computers such as the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC knew about those techniques, since they were essential to get reasonable frame rates. By the time the A1200 came out any competent coder should have had no trouble getting smooth 8 way scrolling working on it.

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The Amiga hardware is indeed very powerful and flexible, but also a) very much different from other game systems* of that era, and b) a lot of techniques fundamental to many game genres, like smooth multi-directional scrolling, had to be discovered/invented, as they were not documented from the beginning.
I don't know much about 'game systems of that era' but I did work on a game for the Sega SC3000 (big brother to the SG1000 and precursor of the Sega Master System). The TMS9918 VDP had serious limitations compared to the Amiga 1000's OCS chipset. Each tile could only have two colors in it, and smooth scrolling an any direction was impossible. At that time the Amiga was light years ahead of anything Sega had, and though I only had the hardware reference manual (purchased my A1000 in 1987) it didn't seem that hard to figure out.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:01   #725
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Yes, I agree Dune 2 on Mega Drive is terrible if you've played the computer versions before. But maybe to someone who had never played them, it was playable. I dunno
Let me tell you it was pretty awesome.
I finished the whole Harkonens campaign on Mega Drive, and before that I played a few mission on my friend PC.
Yes, the controls were somewhat trickier then with a mouse, but wasn't that bad, as someone could guess. You get used to it.
Later I tried it on my A1200, and if I recall correctly it was slower then megadrive version.

Of course, I loved my A1200 much more then any console , but this particular game, I felt like genesis version was better polished.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:02   #726
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Yet 'the shitty' one running on the 'underpowered hardware' has many more on screen objects than the other. Which was the point. So the comparison is valid.
Not really. Having more on screen sprites doesn't count for much if the game sucks. Shoot em ups on the Amiga were crap, plain and simple. Couldn't even manage a 50hz port of R-Type, for god's sake. The PC-Engine did it with ease with an 8 bit CPU.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:05   #727
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For developers who were already producing for the Megadrive yes - plus the game wouldn't be pirated to hell so they could actually make some money out of it! And with 30-50 million more potential customers... even if the platform was absolute crap technically it would still have been a better bet. Because the goal is not to make great games, it's to convince the marks gamers to part with their money. But for people who had previously been developing Amiga software, it probably would have been a lot simpler and cheaper to develop for the A1200 than switch to the Megadrive or SNES.

It wasn't technical specs that hamstrung the A1200, but the lack of a sufficiently large captive market. The CD32 was supposed to fix this - and if Commodore hadn't gone bankrupt might even have achieved it.

I think it was tech specs because I loved my A500 but then I got a 60HZ SNES in about 1992 and I hardly bought another Amiga game. Games like F-Zero and SFII (not the PAL version which was slow) and Final Fight were just stunning at the time. I would have bought a A1200 if it blew me away. As it was I just kept my A500 to do programming on and soon saw the A1200 wasn't going to take off so wasn't worth buying even as an upgrade.

The A1200 could basically do something comparable to the MD and SNES but a few years later. I still think Commodore should have just given AGA a load of 16 colour sprites. 128 of them would be good. The Neo Geo can only display sprites (it has no backgrounds apart from the score overlay). Sprites are everything and they free up the CPU.

That's it - just extra sprites and 2 more sound channels.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:06   #728
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Not really. Having more on screen sprites doesn't count for much if the game sucks. Shoot em ups on the Amiga were crap, plain and simple. Couldn't even manage a 50hz port of R-Type, for god's sake.
Oh, I see - you're back to trolling again.
Well, I have no time for that stuff. I'll come back when you're ready to be a bit more realistic.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:07   #729
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Not really. Having more on screen sprites doesn't count for much if the game sucks. Shoot em ups on the Amiga were crap, plain and simple. Couldn't even manage a 50hz port of R-Type, for god's sake. The PC-Engine did it with ease with an 8 bit CPU.

I loved R-Type on the Amiga. It was the best version apart from the PCE one
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:12   #730
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Oh, I see - you're back to trolling again.
Well, I have no time for that stuff. I'll come back when you're ready to be a bit more realistic.
I owned a Megadrive as well as an Amiga. I am not trolling when I say the Amiga SUCKED for shoot em ups. I am correct.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:14   #731
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I owned a Megadrive as well as an Amiga. I am not trolling when I say the Amiga SUCKED for shoot em ups. I am correct.
I also own a MD and PCE. I know and have played tons of Japanese shooters. You're wrong.
I'm not going to debate this, I have better things to do.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:15   #732
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No, you are not.
Not going to waste my time any further with this discussion. The Amiga was shit for this genre of games. Anyone who argues a machine with 8 sprites is great for shoot em ups is simply deluded.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:15   #733
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Not really. Having more on screen sprites doesn't count for much if the game sucks.
Agreed. Also, having too many sprites on screen makes a game suck.

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Shoot em ups on the Amiga were crap, plain and simple. Couldn't even manage a 50hz port of R-Type, for god's sake. The PC-Engine did it with ease with an 8 bit CPU.
R-Type was a crap game, period.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:17   #734
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Not going to waste my time any further with this discussion. The Amiga was shit for this genre of games. Anyone who disagrees is simply deluded.
I'm sorry, the only one deluded here is you.
I'll put you ignore from now on, I really can't be bothered reading and replying to your 'points'. All it does is create a bunch of stupid posts between us that no one should have to read.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:22   #735
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I don't see how making accurate statements is trolling. If you want to believe the Amiga had good shoot em ups, then that's your choice. But the reality is, they were an absolute joke compared to what the Megadrive and PCE had to offer.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:26   #736
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Mega Typhoon runs on hardware that is essentially three years older than the MD which makes it way more impressive in my book.

Other than that... The game you show only looks slightly better than MT (due to the parallax), doesn't actually show as many on screen objects as MT and can't even display the player bullets without flashing half of them on and off every other frame.

This last part is due to the MD's global object limit. It can't display that many bullets and enemies at the same time because it, unlike the Amiga, has a hard cap* on number of objects it can show per screen and scanline. Getting around the per screen limit is not impossible, but unlike scrolling on the Amiga this actually is complicated to get right and requires quite a few compromises.
You're acting like I am attacking the Amiga. I'm not. I loved my Amiga. But for anyone who owned a 60Hz SNES or MD at the same time as an Amiga, the differences were obvious. Why not compare A1200 Skeleton Crew with the MD version? What's the difference? Read the preview of it in magazines and you'll see what the Amiga coders have to say about working on the MD compared to the A1200. I've read lots of magazine previews of A1200 and CD32 games where programmers say it's just not powerful enough. Including Team 17 when they were working on A1200 Alien Breed games

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Anyway, it's not really relevant. Your point was essentially that the Amiga couldn't do games with a lot of objects while running at 50Hz. This just isn't true (as quite a few games do this). My way to counter this was to show that some Amiga games have more objects on screen than the MD has sprite channels, while still running at 50Hz
Surely Mega Tyhphoon multiplexes sprites?? Im sure you can get 128(?) hardware sprites on screen if you multiplex Amiga sprites - although only 8 per line. But in a vertical scroller this is very useful. Also it might pre-shift bitmap objects for speed which obviously uses up memory that you could store other sprites in. Would be interested to see how it does it. And of course limiting number of bitplanes for each object means less colours but more speed

I'm not a megadrive programmer but you must be able to multiplex MD sprites too? The fact they haven't done it proves my point - that MD coders didn't bother optimising every cycle because they had a lot of sprites to play with already. On the Amiga you have to spend time using all sorts of tricks. A lot of Amiga games didn't even use sprites because they couldn't be bothered learn how to do even that!

Musha is not a one off - Mega Typhoon is. Most schmups on Amiga don't even run 50fps. It's like saying Shadow of the Beast (which looks amazing) is an example of all Amiga arcade games - it's not because it's designed in a very specific way around the hardware with a lot of restrictions. When Relections made the sequels - they added more gameplay + freedom and couldn't keep all the fancy tech and had to reduce the colours a lot.

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Note here that on the consoles you are also limited to scrolling though memory in a fixed sized area and you also have to fix that yourself if you want a bigger area to scroll through. For multidirectional scrolling, the MD is limited to a maximum screen size of 512x512 pixels. The maximum screen size the Amiga supports is actually bigger, namely 1008x1024 for OCS and 32768x32768 for AGA (naturally only if you can fit it in memory). The only real difference is what is stored in that memory. On the Amiga, it's bitmap data. On the MD/SNES it's tile data.
.

But aren't consoles character (tile) based? So you just smooth-scroll the screen a bit then redraw the whole screen (using internal map data) with hardware? That's what I always assumed. I'm too lazy to look up how it's done!

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Moving on, writing an Amiga hardware scroller for games that is multidirectional is (as I've already agreed) indeed trickier than on the MD. But any competent programmer can do so in a fairly small amount of time. I've done it myself in a couple of afternoons. And it only took so long because I was still fairly new at programming the hardware at the time and was hell bent on using the most memory efficient method possible after getting the non-efficient version running. It's simply is not that complicated and please don't make it out to be - there are more than enough myths flying about on the net, we don't need more false information.
Lol it's not false information. Read David Jones article in Amiga Format on how he made Menace and the hardware scrolling technique he used. It took a long time to get to the technique they used in later games. Like I said Exile was one of the first that had proper 8 directional hardware scrolling. And the coder it took him ages to get it working. So you got it working in 2 days - was everyone else programming in the 1980s less intelligent than you then? I mean I know the accepted technique now only because I googled it a few years ago. I was so happy to find it out.

I don't get what you mean about blitting with hardware scrolling because you missed out steps where you remove the bobs or restore the background.

I didn't call out any Amiga game that it does worse than consoles. I was saying the A1200 could make a game to the standard of a Megadrive game. You then produced 3 games that showed a lot of objects on screen at 50fps. Every scrolling Megadrive game runs at 50fps. I mean I could probably produce 3 that don't run at 50fps...
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:31   #737
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Musha is not a one off - Mega Typhoon is. Most schmups on Amiga don't even run 50fps. It's like saying Shadow of the Beast (which looks amazing) is an example of all Amiga arcade games - it's not because it's designed in a very specific way around the hardware with a lot of restrictions.

I didn't call out any Amiga game that it does worse than consoles. I was saying the A1200 could make a game to the standard of a Megadrive game. You then produced 3 games that showed a lot of objects on screen at 50fps. Every scrolling Megadrive game runs at 50fps. I mean I could probably produce 3 that don't run at 50fps...
Absolutely brilliant points.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:56   #738
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If that is true and the Megadrive screen is maximum of 512x512 and thats a big if! the screen probably wraps straight round without any tricks alot easier than on the Amiga.
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Old 17 August 2019, 17:16   #739
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@Gilbert
I don't think sotb3 has less colours than the first tho
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Old 17 August 2019, 17:17   #740
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You're acting like I am attacking the Amiga.
No, I'm trying to point out that your generalisation about what was and was not possible or seen on the machine is an exaggeration. That is all.
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But for anyone who owned a 60Hz SNES or MD at the same time as an Amiga, the differences were obvious.
Comparing an NTSC machine to a PAL one is always going to skew the result. That said, I never said the A1200 was better for pushing sprites than the MD/SNES were. However, there is more to 'power' than number of objects pushed. The A1200, though it gets a lot closer than the A500, is generally worse for 2D action games than the MD/SNES. It's generally better for other types of games.
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Surely Mega Tyhphoon multiplexes sprites?? Im sure you can get 128(?) hardware sprites on screen if you multiplex Amiga sprites - although only 8 per line. But in a vertical scroller this is very useful. Also it might pre-shift bitmap objects for speed which obviously uses up memory that you could store other sprites in. Would be interested to see how it does it. And of course limiting number of bitplanes for each object means less colours but more speed
Most objects in Mega Typhoon are actually bobs. Only the player and it's shots are sprites. And thanks to the Amiga sprite HW, it is indeed really easy to multiplex sprites in the way done here as multiplexing is directly supported by the hardware (meaning you don't even need special tricks to do simple multiplexing of sprites).
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I'm not a megadrive programmer but you must be able to multiplex MD sprites too? The fact they haven't done it proves my point - that MD coders didn't bother optimising every cycle because they had a lot of sprites to play with already. On the Amiga you have to spend time using all sorts of tricks. A lot of Amiga games didn't even use sprites because they couldn't be bothered learn how to do even that!
The MD can multiplex sprites, but it is relatively hard to do. That said, I don't fully agree. Musha shows that the system could not display all sprites the developers wanted so they resorted to flashing certain sprites on and off. This trick was used in multiple MD games, usually for player bullets.

As for programming sprites on the Amiga, they're actually easier to use than bobs. Again, I'm not trying to say the Amiga is generally better at pushing sprites. I'm saying the notion you have to resort to complicated tricks and optimising every cycle to get a reasonable number of objects on screen is wrong (though this will, naturally, depend on what you find a reasonable number).

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Musha is not a one off - Mega Typhoon is. Most schmups on Amiga don't even run 50fps. It's like saying Shadow of the Beast (which looks amazing) is an example of all Amiga arcade games - it's not because it's designed in a very specific way around the hardware with a lot of restrictions. When Relections made the sequels - they added more gameplay + freedom and couldn't keep all the fancy tech and had to reduce the colours a lot.
There are quite a few 50Hz games on the Amiga, including SHMUPS. Now, it is true that there are more non-50Hz games on the Amiga than there are 50Hz ones. I'm not denying this, though I'm fairly certain you and I might not agree as for the reasons behind that*. All I'm trying to say is that statements like 'MT is a one-off' are not true.

As for Shadow of the Beast, I'm puzzled here a bit. SOTB 2 did feature a different look and toned down the parallax, but SOTB 3 actually is very similar to SOTB 1 in terms of tricks, palette swaps, etc. It's actually a bit more interesting from a technical perspective because they keep the parallax on the floor while still allowing you to move up or down, which means they had to to some extra Copper trickery.

*) I get back to this at the end of the post
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But aren't consoles character (tile) based? So you just smooth-scroll the screen a bit then redraw the whole screen (using internal map data) with hardware? That's what I always assumed. I'm too lazy to look up how it's done!
I could explain this if you want (suffice to say that you normally don't redraw the whole screen on any system unless you have no choice), but this might not be the place. My posts are usually too long as is.
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Lol it's not false information.
Yes it is. You made two claims regarding multi-directional scrolling. The first was that it took years to be developed and the second was that it was really complicated to do.

Well, the first examples of multi-directional scrolling games on the Amiga are from 1987. That is not years after the Amiga's release and by good fortune just so happens to coincide neatly with the launch year of the first Amiga that was actually aimed at gamers (the A500).

As for the second point: there are two ways to do (multi-directional) scrolling. The first is indeed somewhat complicated and perhaps it took people longer to figure it out than I thought. The second method however, is much simpler and was already used in consoles (and on the Atari 8-bit). Claiming that coders couldn't cope with something they were already doing in a different form just doesn't feel correct. Case in point: I once coded a full screen scroll on the C64 for a long abandoned project. I found it way easier to get one working on the Amiga, though perhaps I just got more skilled at writing assembly in between - that is certainly possible.
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Read David Jones article in Amiga Format on how he made Menace and the hardware scrolling technique he used. It took a long time to get to the technique they used in later games.
I did that ages ago but thanks for reminding me. Always liked segments like that. Anyway, I read it again and he's actually saying what I'm saying: scrolling on the Amiga is fairly easy to do with the hardware. He then shows his method, which is the easier of the two methods for scrolling. This method is rather similar to how scrolling is generally done on the NES.
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Like I said Exile was one of the first that had proper 8 directional hardware scrolling. And the coder it took him ages to get it working. So you got it working in 2 days - was everyone else programming in the 1980s less intelligent than you then? I mean I know the accepted technique now only because I googled it a few years ago. I was so happy to find it out.
No, I'm not saying I'm more intelligent than coders in the 1980s. That is not what I'm trying to say at all.

I'm trying to show that there are other reasons than it being super complicated that there were few of those games about. I'll admit I've not done this in the clearest of ways, but here goes. The point is that in the mid 1980s, most games did not use multi-directional scrolling (on any platform). When these games got more and more popular, we also started seeing them on the Amiga. This did not take years and years.

The second issue here is that games on the Amiga were initially often ports from lesser systems and/or done in a rush by companies that just wanted something out of the door yesterday. It took a while for dedicated individuals such as David Jones to appear.
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I don't get what you mean about blitting with hardware scrolling because you missed out steps where you remove the bobs or restore the background.
Nope, that is included
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I didn't call out any Amiga game that it does worse than consoles. I was saying the A1200 could make a game to the standard of a Megadrive game. You then produced 3 games that showed a lot of objects on screen at 50fps. Every scrolling Megadrive game runs at 50fps. I mean I could probably produce 3 that don't run at 50fps...
I don't really understand your point here. You originally said "On the Amiga you have to work hard to get a full-screen game scrolling with a lot of objects/sprites at 50hz.".

I pointed out that there are a whole bunch of 50Hz games on the Amiga that do this and proceeded to give three examples that show the system is actually surprisingly capable when you do put in more effort. That I only gave three examples does not mean they're the only ones. The fact there are a fairly large number of these games about rather proves that it's clearly not as hard as some think.

The thing that makes discussing this interesting is the large number of 25Hz games on the Amiga.

In my opinion, some people mistakenly believe that all/most of the games that run at this speed do so because the system was simply incapable of better or too hard to program for. I don't agree with that, so here's what I think. On consoles, dropping the frame rate generally doesn't give you any real benefits. You may have more time to do game logic, but you're not going to be able to suddenly show twice the sprites. On the Amiga however, dropping the frame rate directly increases the number and size of objects you can show.

This means that developers were actually 'rewarded' for lowering the frame rate. Couple this with the home computer market were most systems struggled to do 50Hz games to begin with, a market where Amiga owners were (at least initially) fine with buying games that ran at 25Hz and the marketing appeal of screenshots that looked really busy and it becomes easy to see why it's such a seductive choice to make. As a bonus, it also means you can be much less efficient in how you write your code.

Add to that the slew of early ST ports and stuff from Tiertex etc and you end up with the impression the system can't do much better. But that's mostly false: there are enough examples to the contrary to show the Amiga can in fact do it just fine. Examples like Menace, which was essentially coded by a (at that point) teenager who wanted to create something really nice. To me examples like Dave Jones show it clearly was doable for someone with fairly small resources (which is in no way a dig at him, I have great respect for him and the way he released the source code for others to see).
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Trade Mac g3 300/400 or A1200 for an A1200 accellerator BiL0 MarketPlace 0 07 June 2006 18:41

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