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Old 29 March 2016, 06:09   #1
earok
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Area 88: UN Squadron SE [ongoing/delayed 50%]

Dusted off an old project, I don't know if I'll do anything further with it or not. Here's what it's looking like so far

[ Show youtube player ]

My general idea for hacking UN Squadron was along the lines of:
* Half the speed that the game runs at
* Double the framerate

I think the second half can be achieved to some extent (on faster processors than a 68000 at least) by using either pure CPU or hybrid blitter/CPU copy routines - that's currently outside of my assembly hacking skills, but I did have some luck with the first half.

The scroll rate is hard coded to a value of 4 (pixels/frame?), just halving that to 2 was fairly straight forward.

The enemy projectiles were harder - there's some sort of routine that generates the speed values (possibly sine/cosine function? I can't follow the code) but reducing the loop from 2F cycles to 2E cycles cut the speed by around half.

I haven't made any adjustment to the speed that the enemies follow paths at yet, I made some inroads into that but I don't fully comprehend it yet.


I think I prefer the game running slower anyway, it's perhaps a little too easy/boring now but it at least looks smoother!

Last edited by earok; 12 April 2017 at 00:23.
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Old 29 March 2016, 08:37   #2
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I have never like UN S on amiga, maybe Your hack will change that. I think it's worth to try.
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Old 29 March 2016, 11:03   #3
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The problem with UN squadron, is that it uses basically a software engine, because it's an ST port.

The graphics are quite ugly for an amiga, usual Tiertex crap job.
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Old 30 March 2016, 13:38   #4
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OK. I do some small research for myself. I play UN squadron on MAME and on SNES. Than I play it on winuae, I play Z-out, X-out, ProjectX, Agony, and few more. There is something wrong with speed of this game on amiga. I can stand crappy graphics that looks nothing like on SNES or Arcade, but mechanics (or I should say execution) is what kills this game and ruin joy. It's normal that lot of stuff is happening is shmup, but You should always see what's going on. Here speed of sprites and projectiles it too high.
Will it be easier? A little.
Will it be boring? No, it will be finally bit more enjoyable.

Also, could it be possible to remove first screen with two pilots and planes when game starts? Those two faces looks nothing like anime/manga and do not fit game style.
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Old 30 March 2016, 13:46   #5
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It's a mess. Not worth to pimp it in any way. Play the good SNES version instead.
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Old 30 March 2016, 13:48   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gzegzolka View Post
Also, could it be possible to remove first screen with two pilots and planes when game starts? Those two faces looks nothing like anime/manga and do not fit game style.
A big part of the reason I was looking at the project is that I'm a fan of Area 88, the anime show that the game is based on (more the 1980s version than the 2000s one)

So yes, I'll do something about that possibly change the title to "Area 88" too.


If you'd like, I can post what I've done so far - just the changes I've outlined in the video (plus a small hack to the WHDLoad slave so it doesn't version check)
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Old 30 March 2016, 19:35   #7
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:/ hehhhhh......... Well if only they did actually for amiga instead of atari ST first, things would have been different......
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Old 30 March 2016, 20:22   #8
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Yes, please upload the hack! I like it.
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Old 30 March 2016, 22:27   #9
Gzegzolka
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I'm interested in that hack too
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Old 30 March 2016, 22:37   #10
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Old 31 March 2016, 00:35   #11
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@s2325 hahaha!


Well, I've zoned it as is. You have to use the WHDLoad slave included as I've hacked out the file integrity check so it'll run.
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Old 31 March 2016, 16:02   #12
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@s2325 hahaha!


Well, I've zoned it as is. You have to use the WHDLoad slave included as I've hacked out the file integrity check so it'll run.

Thanks mate.
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Old 08 April 2016, 14:31   #13
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Found this today, it's pretty nice!
[ Show youtube player ]
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Old 07 April 2017, 21:12   #14
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Found this today, it's pretty nice!
[ Show youtube player ]
Actually this intro remake looks almost as latter anime (TV) series of Area 88 (Area 88 (JP) = U.N.Squadron).

Some scene from TV series for comparision.

[ Show youtube player ]

It's sad that Tiertex makes this classic video game very mediocre in Amiga version.

Last edited by Solo Kazuki; 13 April 2017 at 23:33.
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Old 07 April 2017, 23:47   #15
earok
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It's sad that Tiertex makes this classic video game very mediocre in Amiga version.
Yeah I think.. part of what put me off this project was that no matter how much work I sunk into making it more playable, it'd never hold up to the sublime SNES edition.
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Old 08 April 2017, 00:02   #16
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...or the awesome original Arcade version that I could finish on 1 credit back in the day

Fond memories from my youth
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Old 08 April 2017, 02:49   #17
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...or the awesome original Arcade version that I could finish on 1 credit back in the day

Fond memories from my youth
Great arcade game, very impressed.
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Old 08 April 2017, 07:37   #18
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Where can we get this version. I think you did a great job, much better now.
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Old 08 April 2017, 11:08   #19
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Where can we get this version. I think you did a great job, much better now.
earok uploaded it to The Zone! a while ago...

It's on the EAB File server under "TheZone/files".

File is called "un squadron hack [UN Squadron speed hack, slows down scrolling and projectiles by approximately 50% (enemy formations remain at 100% speed)].zip"
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Old 11 April 2017, 11:49   #20
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I had a quick look at it recently, and managed to crack the enemy patterns (so I can slow them down too).

Each pattern is ten bytes long (ie five words).

* 1st Word = The behaviour type. I think: 1 = normal, 2 = change pattern, such as try to ram the player when close, 5 = foreground decoration. Not sure of other settings.
* 2nd Word = Countdown in frames. Eg this counts down by 1 every frame, and when it reaches 0 it goes to the next pattern.
* 3rd Word = XSpeed. Self explanatory
* 4th Word = YSpeed. Self explanatory.
* 5th Word = Animation index. By fiddling with this variable you can make a helicopter turn into a plane, or a tank turn into a power pole etc.

So I can slow it down by decreasing X/Y speed and increasing the number of frames. To be honest most vehicles probably don't need to be slowed down much, but the helicopters in particular look bad since the frame rate's so slow and they're moving so fast..

But the real pain of it is the data isn't stored in a single table or file, it's stored very randomly all over the executable so there's no easy way to find where the patterns are other than watch variables in the WinUAE debugger. As such, I've only been bothered to slow down level 1 so far. (I also deleted the foreground power poles just to reduce slow down)


At some stage I may finish this as a minor SE - no sprite fixes, probably a new title screen and maybe new palettes. No promises though, it's still not a fantastic game.

Edit: Oh, and I made the player slightly slower too, down from 3 pixels/frame movement to 2 - makes it feel a bit smoother.
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