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Old 18 May 2019, 05:30   #1
slaapliedje
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Syndicate Wars?

Anybody up for porting Syndicate Wars? Looks like it's done via SDL, so would fall in line with ports like OpenDune, Exult, ScummVM, etc.


http://swars.vexillium.org/
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Old 18 May 2019, 10:49   #2
haynor666
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It's 3D game. Even if someone could port it game will be still very slow :/
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Old 18 May 2019, 16:08   #3
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We need a ppc port
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Old 19 May 2019, 20:42   #4
slaapliedje
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Originally Posted by haynor666 View Post
It's 3D game. Even if someone could port it game will be still very slow :/
Pretty sure it doesn't use any 3D hardware acceleration. Ran in DOS.



I was thinking since it uses SDL (the port does) it'd be slow. But yes a PPC port would be fantastic.
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Old 20 May 2019, 03:33   #5
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SDL itself is not slow, people need to stop thinking that.

[ Show youtube player ]

The reason most of these SDL ports are slow on 68K is because the game itself is too demanding for the CPU and not because the SDL component is slowing it down.
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Old 20 May 2019, 17:47   #6
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Indeed, but it also doesn't benefit much from the Amiga's strengths, which are optimised for things like sprites, planar bitmaps and so on. Take them away and you're left with a less impressive overall production, or else a need to use far more CPU time to achieve the same results. This is, in effect, a slower end result.

As for Syndicate Wars, yes, that's likely going to be a high-end 68K or PPC-only game I'd imagine, preferably with RTG. It used 3D acceleration on the PS1 version - the DOS version had the chunky display and the raw horsepower to make it doable there.
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Old 21 May 2019, 00:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NovaCoder View Post
SDL itself is not slow, people need to stop thinking that.

[ Show youtube player ]

The reason most of these SDL ports are slow on 68K is because the game itself is too demanding for the CPU and not because the SDL component is slowing it down.
Huh, I'd read the same thing about SDL on the Atari ST/Falcon, that it tended to slow things down more than something hitting the hardware directly. Granted using SDL I'm sure makes porting a hell of a lot easier.


Would you say then that the Exult engine / Ultima 7 would be one that is too demanding, so it's pretty slow on the 68k? Man that MIDI sounds awesome, if I could get it to perform a bit better (and get the normal sound to work) I'd start working toward beating it on the Amiga
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Old 21 May 2019, 00:39   #8
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We need a ppc port

I'll give this another try, the sticking point was that my port of Python was only enough to run for GemRB-badly at that, maybe I can use enough glue, spit and cursing to get this going.

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Originally Posted by slaapliedje View Post

Would you say then that the Exult engine / Ultima 7 would be one that is too demanding, so it's pretty slow on the 68k? Man that MIDI sounds awesome, if I could get it to perform a bit better (and get the normal sound to work) I'd start working toward beating it on the Amiga
Novacoder's Exult ran ok on an 060 for me it was quite playable. I just wanted to use it in higher resolution and use OGG soundtrack rather than the null modem to PC running a synth and that's why I did the WarpUp port, also for the learning experience.

Regarding the SDL talk, yeah various points here, SDL acts like a dumb framebuffer on Amiga for the most part. But you know there's the whole SDL-OpenGL stuff where it's using hardware accelerated functions if available, but then that's implying you have HW accelerated OpenGL support. There's lots of reasons SDL can be slow which really have nothing to do with the API-except where the dumb framebuffer part is just a slow framebuffer problem.

Last edited by grelbfarlk; 21 May 2019 at 01:12.
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Old 21 May 2019, 02:09   #9
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Hmm, I should try your WarpUp port, but I think that was the one I read didn't support MIDI output? Actually think I need to re-install OS3.9 again to see if I can get some things fixed on it (I can't recall if I installed the BB3&4). Also think one of the Boing Bags installs the newer AHI which NovaCoder recommends against using for Exult.


I do have a Voodoo 3 now, so if that can give me accelerated OpenGL, that'd be sweet to use.
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Old 21 May 2019, 02:36   #10
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Hmm, I should try your WarpUp port, but I think that was the one I read didn't support MIDI output? Actually think I need to re-install OS3.9 again to see if I can get some things fixed on it (I can't recall if I installed the BB3&4). Also think one of the Boing Bags installs the newer AHI which NovaCoder recommends against using for Exult.


I do have a Voodoo 3 now, so if that can give me accelerated OpenGL, that'd be sweet to use.

No you're right it doesn't support external hardware MIDI via CAMD but it supports ATimidity MIDI and OGG. For me OGG was far less demanding than Timidity instruments and sounded about as good.
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Old 21 May 2019, 02:39   #11
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No you're right it doesn't support MIDI, it supports OGG though.
MIDI sounds absolutely wonderful, and I think lowers the CPU usage? Though I haven't been able to get the normal sounds coming out.



Watching the video, I must have something set up wrong on my system, it doesn't run anywhere near as fast. Either that or it's a faster than 50Mhz 060 it's running on. It looks as fast as the version running on my Linux box, when I run it on the Amiga it's pretty slow for the Guardian to fully pop his face through the moon gate.
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Old 21 May 2019, 03:18   #12
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MIDI sounds absolutely wonderful, and I think lowers the CPU usage? Though I haven't been able to get the normal sounds coming out.

It lowers the CPU usage if you have an external MIDI playback device of some sort. If you're sending the few bytes/sec to an external MIDI device that's doing the loading of the instruments, the mixing and playback then that's not the 060 doing all of that.



But if you are using ATimidity to do all of that then it's going to cost you a fair amount of CPU cycles and some RAM.



For WarpUP on Sonnet and above OGG is less demanding than having the CPU synthesize the MIDI music, and as far as quality goes, what's the difference between having your synthesizer render out some sounds on the fly versus someone just recording the output of a MIDI synthesizer and saving it as an OGG other than maybe some compression artifacts (if any)?
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Old 21 May 2019, 03:43   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grelbfarlk View Post
It lowers the CPU usage if you have an external MIDI playback device of some sort. If you're sending the few bytes/sec to an external MIDI device that's doing the loading of the instruments, the mixing and playback then that's not the 060 doing all of that.



But if you are using ATimidity to do all of that then it's going to cost you a fair amount of CPU cycles and some RAM.



For WarpUP on Sonnet and above OGG is less demanding than having the CPU synthesize the MIDI music, and as far as quality goes, what's the difference between having your synthesizer render out some sounds on the fly versus someone just recording the output of a MIDI synthesizer and saving it as an OGG other than maybe some compression artifacts (if any)?
I have The Phantom MIDI box plugged into a Roland SC 88 Pro, that handles the MIDI output. Exult on my Linux box using timidity doesn't sound anywhere near as good as the Roland does connected to the Amiga. I haven't figured out yet how to output to the MIDI through Exult on Linux.
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Old 22 May 2019, 02:27   #14
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Anyway I had another look at Syndicate Wars and the configure script bombs saying sorry this only runs on i386 processors, and who am I to argue with it. Probably endian problems or who-knows-what.
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Old 22 May 2019, 03:53   #15
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Originally Posted by slaapliedje View Post
Would you say then that the Exult engine / Ultima 7 would be one that is too demanding, so it's pretty slow on the 68k? Man that MIDI sounds awesome, if I could get it to perform a bit better (and get the normal sound to work) I'd start working toward beating it on the Amiga
Yep if I removed all SDL dependencies from the 68K Exult port and replaced everything with native Amiga code then it wouldn't make any significant difference to performance.

Those stories about the SDL slowing things down probably relate to the use of SDL Mixer in games (or just bad ports!)
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Old 22 May 2019, 23:04   #16
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Anyway I had another look at Syndicate Wars and the configure script bombs saying sorry this only runs on i386 processors, and who am I to argue with it. Probably endian problems or who-knows-what.
I imagine that it'll only work on x86 based CPUs because it patches the original DOS (x86) executable. So "porting" it to Amiga is not going to be a simple task.
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Old 22 May 2019, 23:15   #17
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Ooh I think I'm wrong though, just found this fascinating writeup about the process they went through! https://gynvael.coldwind.pl/?id=279
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Old 22 May 2019, 23:55   #18
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What an ugly game...
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Old 23 May 2019, 00:34   #19
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What an ugly game...
For 1996, it was pretty decent. Vehicles and buildings were in 3D (including the enemies spider robots for instance). And most of them could be destroyed (via explosives or repeated shots of rocket launchers or plasma lances.

Most importantly, it is quite fun to play. A bit more action-oriented than Syndicate, since you need to often run (double click) if you want to do well in a mission.
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Old 23 May 2019, 01:40   #20
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I think this is sort of the effect of "early 3d" problems. The original game was 640x480 and looked quite detailed with effective pixel art, but was kind of a pain to play as the pathfinding and lack of being able to rotate the view made it harder than it needed to be.

While this was 320x240 and looked a bit blocky, but fixed some of the gameplay issues like being able to rotate the view.

For PPC users FPSE runs it just fine in compiler mode though the emulator lacks sound so it's not really enjoyable there either.
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