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Old 24 November 2018, 22:45   #1
DamienD
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Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon - Different Versions

Heya guys,

Firstly, let me just start by saying that I love Cinemaware games

Regarding the Amiga version of Sinbad And The Throne Of The Falcon; a few things that really annoyed me:
  • It's a totally different game to the C64 / Apple IIe / Atari ST / DOS versions which are much more fun to play.
  • The graphics are nothing like what's shown on the box and representative of the "Amiga" version.
I remember when I was young and played the game on my C64; I loved this part (go to 10:13):

[ Show youtube player ]

Attached are various images of the box backs from other version; firstly the C64 and then the DOS version.

...zoom into the C64 box back and it clearly says "Screen photos represent the Amiga version only"; what rubbish

...zoom into the DOS box back, which says "Screen photos represent the Apple IIGS version only" and you can see how nice that cool scene I mentioned with the C64 version is.

We really did get screwed over with the Amiga version!!!
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by DamienD; 24 November 2018 at 22:50.
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Old 25 November 2018, 00:25   #2
saimon69
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This could explain a lot:
Bill Williams: The Story of a Life

I know somebody could recode a new version of this game with new graphics, however after reading this i wonder if would be appropriate.
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Old 25 November 2018, 12:45   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saimon69 View Post
This could explain a lot:
Bill Williams: The Story of a Life

I know somebody could recode a new version of this game with new graphics, however after reading this i wonder if would be appropriate.
Thanks for that saimon69, very interesting story and one I wasn't aware of.

Have quoted the "Sinbad" parts below, the last paragraph says it all:

Quote:
Through an old colleague from Synapse, Bill was put in touch with Bob Jacob, just in the process of starting Cinemaware. Along with Doug Sharp, Bill was signed to become one of Cinemaware’s two lone-wolf developers, given carte blanche to independently create a game based on the movies without being actually being based on a movie; the newly formed Cinemaware was hardly in a position to negotiate licenses. Bob had plenty of ideas: “Bob is a generation older, and he would be recommending movies that were more the stuff that really jazzed him when he was twelve or so. I knew if I didn’t come up with a counter-idea, I was going to have to do one of his.” A big fan of the stop-motion visual effects of Ray Harryhausen, Bill settled on an homage to the 1958 adventure classic The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

Bill’s Cinemaware game didn’t turn out to be terribly satisfying for either designer or player. While plenty of his games might be judged failures to one degree or another, the others at least failed on their own terms. Sinbad and the Throne of the Falcon (1987) marked the first time that Bill seemed to forfeit some of his own design sensibility in trying to please his client. It attempts, like most Cinemaware games, to marry a number of disparate genres together. And, also like many other Cinemaware games, the fit is far from seamless. Whilst trekking over a large map as Sinbad, talking with other characters and collecting the bits and pieces you need to solve the game, you also have to contend with occasional action games and a strategic war game to boot. None of the game’s personalities are all that satisfying — the world to be explored is too empty, the action and strategy games alike too clunky and simplistic — and taken in the aggregate give the whole experience a bad case of schizophrenia.

Sinbad also attracted criticism for its art. Created like every other aspect of the game by Bill himself, I’ve heard it described on one occasion as “gorgeous folk art,” but more commonly as garish and a little ugly. Suffice to say that it’s a long, long way from Jim Sachs’s lush work on Defender of the Crown. It didn’t help the Amiga original’s cause when Cinemaware themselves ported the game in-house to other platforms, complete with much better art. Nothing was more certain to get Amiga users up in arms than releasing Atari ST and even Commodore 64 versions of a game that looked better than the Amiga version.
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Old 26 November 2018, 16:24   #4
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Maybe a candidate for a st-conversion project?
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Old 26 November 2018, 16:48   #5
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Totally agree; and think I've suggested this before somewhere in the forum.

meynaf; you up for this?
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Old 26 November 2018, 17:17   #6
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Originally Posted by fractalsister View Post
Maybe a candidate for a st-conversion project?
So would that be a double-conversion then? A backport? A portback? A re-port? A de-conversion?

The interesting thing might be if the ST version is based on the Amiga source? Could make for a bit of cut and paste coding.
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Old 26 November 2018, 18:31   #7
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Yes, DamienD, I saw this thread before I went over to the ST thread and saw the same game being talked about. Maybe you could move my post there to here?

As for the Amiga version, maybe a less-experienced artist drew the graphics? Many games on Amiga at that time look like that because they were still getting used to the platform, and it was only around 1989-1990 that there was a quantum leap in Amiga graphical quality?
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Old 27 November 2018, 04:57   #8
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It was Bill Williams itself to do the graphics, as stated in the article excerpt. Knowing how he did graphics for Pioneer Plague and Knights of the Cristallion, it fits its style.
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Old 29 November 2018, 10:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamienD View Post
Totally agree; and think I've suggested this before somewhere in the forum.

meynaf; you up for this?
I guess it doesn't cost to have a quick look...
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Old 29 November 2018, 11:13   #10
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hoo, hoo, hoo
Commencer, c'est la moitié du chemin (proverbe Coréen) / To begin, it is half of the way (Korean proverb)
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Old 29 November 2018, 11:32   #11
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Step 1 : extract the files out of the game. The version i've found is .STX, not .ST so i can't extract anything on the Amiga. So i feared i could just not do anything with it. However, Hatari can access these and apparently the three single-sided disks seem to only contain files. Therefore unless there is something stored elsewhere on disk (on Gauntlet there was !), consider this step done.

But this is the easiest part. It's like a game on the miggy when you advance through levels : the further you go, the hotter it gets.
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Old 29 November 2018, 12:36   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malko View Post
hoo, hoo, hoo
Commencer, c'est la moitié du chemin (proverbe Coréen) / To begin, it is half of the way (Korean proverb)
There's no need to bother the Koreans.
It's an ancient (more than two millennia ago) latin proverb:
"Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet" [who starts is at half of the job]
In Italian is practically the same.


EDIT:
actually, a word has been added in the Italian version: "ben" that would translate into "good".
So you need a start, but a good start.
Meynaf is sure a good start

EDIT2:
à bien y penser, en français c'est pareil!: "ben"=="bien"

Last edited by ross; 29 November 2018 at 13:10.
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Old 29 November 2018, 14:28   #13
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Ok, good boys. Some news. I don't think it's half of the job yet
Step 2 : beat that prg encryption. 'Coz the exe is encrypted, yes. And it starts by reading disk protection. Well... the guy tried his best, but it was overall weak

Oh, of course if you want to participate you can send me a little extra incentive by clicking the link at the bottom of this page :
http://meynaf.free.fr/pr/index_en.html
I of course let you judge. It's like "Donate" on the eab page, you still get it if you don't. But it's some work and a reward would be appreciated.
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Old 29 November 2018, 14:44   #14
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Oh, of course if you want to participate you can send me a little extra incentive by clicking the link at the bottom of this page :
http://meynaf.free.fr/pr/index_en.html
I of course let you judge. It's like "Donate" on the eab page, you still get it if you don't. But it's some work and a reward would be appreciated.
Ok, have just donated my "usual" incentive when I ask you to port games
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Old 29 November 2018, 16:51   #15
meynaf
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Ok, have just donated my "usual" incentive when I ask you to port games
Now i feel more motivated
Currently disassembling the game. There is quite a lot of data (mainly text) right in the middle of the code so it's gonna take a while. It looks like some Basic program reconstructed with Asm macros...
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Old 29 November 2018, 16:59   #16
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Nice one, may the force be with you
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Old 29 November 2018, 17:03   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meynaf View Post
Step 2 : beat that prg encryption. 'Coz the exe is encrypted, yes. And it starts by reading disk protection. Well... the guy tried his best, but it was overall weak

Protection in this game is quite useless, encryption was the usual Herndon HLS stuff which isn't exactly hard to defeat indeed. In the main game there are hidden disk checks but these are pretty easy to disable as well.

Quote:
It looks like some Basic program reconstructed with Asm macros...
If memory serves me right (it's been a while that I had a look at the code) the game has been programmed in C.
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Old 29 November 2018, 17:09   #18
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If memory serves me right (it's been a while that I had a look at the code) the game has been programmed in C.
It does not look like C, too much data mixed with code.
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Old 29 November 2018, 18:23   #19
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Hmmm, the best version graphically seems to be the Apple IIgs version, see here.

...and here is the comparison with the Atari ST version.
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Old 29 November 2018, 18:41   #20
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They seem pretty close...
Perhaps an enhanced version is possible, but first i need to locate and understand the graphical routines. Not something early on the todo list.
And i have zero knowledge of apple 2 gs so someone else will have to rip the gfx out of it.

(Oh, yeah. Gimme 256 color iff-ilbm files for all gfx and i'll do an AGA version )
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