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Old 15 August 2019, 17:44   #701
Gilbert
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Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
Let me ask one question to all of you.

Do you think A1200 is actually never being exploited to its full potential?

I am asking this, because we all know that Amiga 1000 was released in 1985, and Amiga 500 in 1987 (basically the same hardware), but it was not up until 1989/1990, and later yers, that many games started to use full power of those machines, and programmers found new tricks and ways to exploit hardware to it's maximum.
So, hypothetically, if Commodore didn't bankrupt, and A1200 repeated the A500 success, do you think that in 1995-1996, there will be games, that would be massive improvements, over the best A500 games?

I would say it won't max out for years. The Amiga architecture is too complicated. To get a great game on the Amiga you have to spend twice as long as on consoles. You have to use lots of hardware tricks and figure out optimal ways of doing things. You have to do that on any hardware but not when doing simple things - like putting a lot of objects on screen and moving them around. On the Amiga you have to work hard to get a full-screen game scrolling with a lot of objects/sprites at 50hz.

I remember on the A500 it literally took developers years to figure out proper multi-directional hardware scrolling. You can do that out-of-the-box on 16 bit consoles.

That was fine for the A500 which I think was a great machine. But I feel these issues should have been solved by the time AGA came out.
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Old 15 August 2019, 17:58   #702
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That's not really true though. The Megadrive actually has a very flexible display chip. Also look at something like Duke Nukem 3D on megadrive. It has no extra chips in the cartridge.
I'd like to add that, to this day, I am still impressed that was coded by a brazilian. I find amazing that we managed to get the license for it *AND* actually produce something that was technically so amazing.
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Old 15 August 2019, 20:41   #703
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Originally Posted by Gilbert View Post
That's not really true though. The Megadrive actually has a very flexible display chip. Also look at something like Duke Nukem 3D on megadrive. It has no extra chips in the cartridge.
That game does run fairly smoothly, but it's a far cry from the original. It also misses the floor and ceiling and doesn't run full screen. It's closer to Wolfenstein 3D than anything else. Don't get me wrong, it's still impressive - but I'm honestly not certain that something like that couldn't be done on an A1200.

For reference, check out the Cyberwolf preview on A500, that's a fairly close match to the MD game you're showing (though obviously unfinished). Note that the demo is tiny, which explains the lack of textures etc.

[ Show youtube player ]
Quote:
The Megadrive really does has some varied games on it. Compared to most consoles - there's a lot of deeper computer-style games on it.
I'll admit not being up to date on all things Mega Drive, but that's not what I've seen. Most games were 2D action games. There was the odd strategy or RPG but not that many. Certainly nowhere near as many as the Amiga had.

As always, I'm open to new info (and perhaps new games for my MD) so please, tell me: were can I find those games, what are some good ones, etc. I'm also interested in how they fixed the number one problem with good strategy games in particular: the lack of buttons. After all, these type of games generally run on a keyboard and mouse.
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Originally Posted by Gilbert View Post
I would say it won't max out for years. The Amiga architecture is too complicated. To get a great game on the Amiga you have to spend twice as long as on consoles. You have to use lots of hardware tricks and figure out optimal ways of doing things. You have to do that on any hardware but not when doing simple things - like putting a lot of objects on screen and moving them around. On the Amiga you have to work hard to get a full-screen game scrolling with a lot of objects/sprites at 50hz.
That all depends on what you call a lot of objects. There's plenty of Amiga games out there that run at 50Hz and display quite a few objects. There are at least three games I know of that do this while managing more on screen objects than the MD sprite hardware can generally manage.

(Mega Typhoon, Reshoot and Reshoot-R)
Quote:
I remember on the A500 it literally took developers years to figure out proper multi-directional hardware scrolling. You can do that out-of-the-box on 16 bit consoles.
The Amiga hardware reference manual from 1985 literally tells you how to achieve smooth scrolling in any direction in 'Chapter 3: Moving (scrolling) Playfields'. In my version that's on pages 75-79, but I do have the revised edition so the page numbers might be off for other versions.

Now, I'd agree it's not quite as easy as on say a Mega Drive and doing it in a memory efficient manner does require a few minutes of thought, but it's not rocket science. Developers not using the Amiga's hardware scrolling in early games had to do with entirely different reasons than the hardware being so difficult to use.

The main reasons for so few of these early games had everything to do with extremely poor Amiga games market prior to 1987. It didn't help that the A1000 came with such a small amount of memory as standard. It's not so strange then that only after the A500 released in 1987 the floodgates of gaming truly opened. It still wasn't perfect as lots of those games were simply and quickly ported from less capable hardware.
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That was fine for the A500 which I think was a great machine. But I feel these issues should have been solved by the time AGA came out.
And they were. By that time games did all those things on the A500. And on the A1200, they also did that - but with more colours, generally better sound and more on screen objects.
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Old 15 August 2019, 22:11   #704
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Reshoot-R is damn impressive and I didn't expect something like that to come out.

But.

But.

[ Show youtube player ]

This has a shitload of stuff moving on screen (the explosions on this game are just ridiculous) WITH dual playfield parallax WITH raster effects .

I mean, holy crap.

As for strategy games on Mega-Drive...

Dune 2, Megalomania, Powermonger and Populous were all released for it. There are lots of Koei games if you are into this too. Then you have strategy/action games like Herzog Zwei and General Chaos. Syndicate was released for it too, but if its any like the SNES version, its awful. I think Theme Park on Mega Drive was a lot like the ECS version of it, with similar limitations.
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Old 15 August 2019, 22:36   #705
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Originally Posted by Shatterhand View Post
Reshoot-R is damn impressive and I didn't expect something like that to come out.

But.

But.

[ Show youtube player ]

This has a shitload of stuff moving on screen (the explosions on this game are just ridiculous) WITH dual playfield parallax WITH raster effects .

I mean, holy crap.
To be honest, I really see nothing there that isn't in Reshoot R in some form or another.

Raster effects: Check.
Parallax: Check.
Tons of objects in motion: Check (and not just small ones either).
Big explosions: Check.
Planar style effects not shown in the MD game: also Check.

By the way: this is not to say Contra Hard Corps isn't impressive (it is!). It's only meant to point out that the Amiga does have a few games that do these kind of things.
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As for strategy games on Mega-Drive...

Dune 2, Megalomania, Powermonger and Populous were all released for it.
Thanks for the info. But the ones on that list I knew about (Dune 2 and Populous) kind of prove my point about controls. They're pretty terrible in that regard.
Quote:
There are lots of Koei games if you are into this too. Then you have strategy/action games like Herzog Zwei and General Chaos. Syndicate was released for it too, but if its any like the SNES version, its awful. I think Theme Park on Mega Drive was a lot like the ECS version of it, with similar limitations.
Ok, I'll admit - more than I thought.
But.
But.
But.
There were way more strategy/rpg games on the Amiga than on the MD

Still, thanks for the list - I am genuinely looking to expand my MD library
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Old 15 August 2019, 22:42   #706
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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

For RPGs, you have the japanese ones which are very different from what Westerners were doing. Do I like them? ... no. Hehe.

But Shining Force was incredible. That game made me think I would love JRPGs. I never did, but Shining Force I really liked.
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Old 15 August 2019, 23:01   #707
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I had Theme Park on the MegaDrive and the Amiga, it was better on the Amiga but perfectly playable on the MD.

My jaw is still on the floor from that Cyberwolf demo. A500? I don't see how that's even possible.
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Old 15 August 2019, 23:17   #708
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Originally Posted by E-Penguin View Post
[...] My jaw is still on the floor from that Cyberwolf demo. A500? I don't see how that's even possible.
http://www.indieretronews.com/2019/0...iga-first.html
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Old 16 August 2019, 22:03   #709
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
As always, I'm open to new info (and perhaps new games for my MD) so please, tell me: were can I find those games, what are some good ones, etc. I'm also interested in how they fixed the number one problem with good strategy games in particular: the lack of buttons. After all, these type of games generally run on a keyboard and mouse.
That all depends on what you call a lot of objects. There's plenty of Amiga games out there that run at 50Hz and display quite a few objects. There are at least three games I know of that do this while managing more on screen objects than the MD sprite hardware can generally manage.

(Mega Typhoon, Reshoot and Reshoot-R)

Re: Mega Typhoon. The MD has Musha which does that with more colours, multi-parallax and most amazing of all can actually play music as well as sound fx (hard to believe this is possible I know!)

[ Show youtube player ]


As impressive as Reshoot R looks - you can still see a lot of compromises going on - low colour sprites/background objects, not very impressive player-weapons, weedy-looking bigger enemies etc. Also it's a recent game, probably a labour of love, not a game that had to be churned out in 3-4 months to be profitable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roondar View Post
The Amiga hardware reference manual from 1985 literally tells you how to achieve smooth scrolling in any direction in 'Chapter 3: Moving (scrolling) Playfields'. In my version that's on pages 75-79, but I do have the revised edition so the page numbers might be off for other versions.
That just describes scrolling through memory which is very basic hardware scrolling. It's great for small fixed areas (like in a versus fighter or soccer game) but developers needed to figure out a method for continuous scrolling in big levels. You use the smooth scrolling you mention - but then you have to figure out what to do when you get to the end of the memory. I think Exile (1988) on the Amiga was one of the very first games that used proper 8-directional hardware scrolling.

Also with hardware scrolling on the Amiga you need to save and replace the background for all non-sprite objects using the blitter because the background isn't being redrawn each frame like it would be with software scrolling. You can only avoid that if you use dual playfield mode and accept less colours. So it's a tricky beast for games.

As for deeper games on the MD, you could get all sorts. From half arcade/half strategy games like Hertzog Zwei, Star Control, Star Command (maybe not quite the right name but the one where you harvest resources on planets), General Chaos and then lots of Amiga games like Populous, Eye of the Beholder, The Immortal, Jimmy White Snooker, Gods etc. You can even get flight simulators.

BTW there was a really enjoyable version of Sim City on the SNES. I used to play it a lot on my Dreamcast under emulation. It was much more friendly than the Amiga version. It was Nintendo-fied. You played as the mayor and could choose where to put your own house. I wouldn't say it was better than the Amiga version but it was still Sim City. To get around not having a mouse and keyboard - they used onscreen menus more.

My post wasn't saying the Megadrive was better than the Amiga A1200. I was just saying that it's comparable to the A1200 and it shouldn't be. Considering the price difference and that the MD is older tech. I have no doubt if you spent ages using the full power of the A1200 you could make a superior game to the MD in lot of ways but 90% of games developers were just going to make a game for the Megadrive or SNES where it's a lot simpler and they save money on development time. The MD and SNES were by then established with a large user base. Commodore needed to better them by a wide margin with their new computer if they wanted it to sell to people other than existing Amiga owners.
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Old 16 August 2019, 22:30   #710
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I've to agree with roondar, as an observer, not a programmer, Reshoot-R kicks some serious butt. Let's not forget the transparencies and the hundreds of bg colours courtesy of the copper. Artwork is a whole different subject and has little to do with the technical aspect.
And a note about Mega Typhoon, I believe roondar was talking about the fact it can display 112 objects compared to mega drive's 80 at the same time.
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Old 16 August 2019, 23:42   #711
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I have a serious issue with Musha because the FIRST time I played it, I reached the penultimate boss WITHOUT DYING and finished the game on my first try.

Second go at the game and I 1 lifed-it.

The Aleste games are known to be easy but, come on, that was ridiculous.

Other than that, yeah, it was a technical marvel. Compile really did push hardware a lot for such a small company. At least when Musha was released, they already had more people on their staff, but I'll be forever amazed how they made SO MANY GAMES in the 80s with such a small staff and ALWAYS kept a high quality. That Jemini Hirono guy was some friggin magician coder.

But I don't think it pushed more objects on screen than Mega Typhoon. Mega Typhoon is bordering on late toaplan / early cave offerings on the amount of shit flying on screen. Ok, the game looks ugly as hell, has no music and just 4 levels which makes the game feels incomplete (I believe it indeed was, the coder rushed the game before there was no more Amiga market left), but the amount of stuff moving on screen is completely bonkers.
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Old 16 August 2019, 23:47   #712
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Oh, I also would like to add.

I don't have an AGA machine, I haven't played Reshoot R, so everything I may have said about it may be from an unfair point of view.

But the videos I saw... shit, that looks like a 2D Playstation game. It is *very* impressive indeed.
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Old 17 August 2019, 11:22   #713
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Originally Posted by Gilbert View Post
Re: Mega Typhoon. The MD has Musha which does that with more colours, multi-parallax and most amazing of all can actually play music as well as sound fx (hard to believe this is possible I know!)

[ Show youtube player ]
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.

*) The Amiga has a soft cap, it just gets slower and slower as more and more objects get added. The MD has a hard cap, it just stops displaying stuff if you add to much.
Quote:
As impressive as Reshoot R looks - you can still see a lot of compromises going on - low colour sprites/background objects, not very impressive player-weapons, weedy-looking bigger enemies etc. Also it's a recent game, probably a labour of love, not a game that had to be churned out in 3-4 months to be profitable.
Good MD games were not churned out in 3-4 months. Don't be silly now.

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.

Reshoot/Reshoot-R and Mega Typhoon all do this (though obviously not every single moment). As for looks, I think that Reshoot-R looks pretty good and shows of plenty of things that the MD literally can't copy, such as subtle colour gradients or those nice planar effects.
Quote:
That just describes scrolling through memory which is very basic hardware scrolling. It's great for small fixed areas (like in a versus fighter or soccer game) but developers needed to figure out a method for continuous scrolling in big levels. You use the smooth scrolling you mention - but then you have to figure out what to do when you get to the end of the memory. I think Exile (1988) on the Amiga was one of the very first games that used proper 8-directional hardware scrolling.
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.

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.

It's perhaps a day or two of work for a competent programmer.
Quote:
Also with hardware scrolling on the Amiga you need to save and replace the background for all non-sprite objects using the blitter because the background isn't being redrawn each frame like it would be with software scrolling. You can only avoid that if you use dual playfield mode and accept less colours. So it's a tricky beast for games.
Oh please, coding a Blitter routine with double buffering and properly restoring bobs is an afternoon of work at best. Add an hour or two for learning how interleaved and three-buffer blitting works if you want it to be really fast. And again, the technique for doing basic blitting and restoring is explained in the hardware manual.

I mean, seriously. It's no more complicated than this:
<start by showing buffer 1 without any bobs on it>
  1. Restore buffer 2 bobs in reverse draw order (skip this on first frame)
  2. Draw bobs for buffer 2
  3. Show buffer 2
  4. Restore buffer 1 bobs in reverse draw order (skip this on first frame)
  5. Draw bobs for buffer 1
  6. Show buffer 1
  7. Repeat 1-6
If a programmer can't code this in a few hours, there's something very wrong.

Quote:
As for deeper games on the MD, you could get all sorts. From half arcade/half strategy games like Hertzog Zwei, Star Control, Star Command (maybe not quite the right name but the one where you harvest resources on planets), General Chaos and then lots of Amiga games like Populous, Eye of the Beholder, The Immortal, Jimmy White Snooker, Gods etc. You can even get flight simulators.

BTW there was a really enjoyable version of Sim City on the SNES. I used to play it a lot on my Dreamcast under emulation. It was much more friendly than the Amiga version. It was Nintendo-fied. You played as the mayor and could choose where to put your own house. I wouldn't say it was better than the Amiga version but it was still Sim City. To get around not having a mouse and keyboard - they used onscreen menus more.
...warning: rant in progress...

Why is it that every single time the Amiga does games worse than consoles it immediately and mercilessly gets called out for any and every flaw (perceived or otherwise), yet when consoles have clearly inferior versions of Amiga games the same doesn't happen and we instead get posts praising these inferior games and claims they're just fine.

This is not just you by the way (nothing personal intended), it's just about everyone these days.

Your above point is an example of this double standard in action - those types of games (when they are available on both systems) are clearly worse on the consoles. They universally control much worse and generally have more limitations than their Amiga counterparts. The Amiga also has about 50x the games in this category over the SNES and MD combined.

If you were into strategy/simulation/'deeper' games back then, you used either an Amiga, an ST or a PC. Perhaps a Mac. Consoles did not do most of those games justice and everybody knows this already.

Apologies for the rant. It isn't aimed at you personally, it's just that this post is the umpteenth one I've seen recently were consoles get a free pass for things the Amiga would never get a free pass on. I do appreciate the list as I am still looking for some new MD games (though obviously not Amiga to MD strategy ports ). I'll have a look at Star Command/General Chaos.
Quote:
My post wasn't saying the Megadrive was better than the Amiga A1200. I was just saying that it's comparable to the A1200 and it shouldn't be.
It already was quite a bit better than the MD/SNES in a lot of areas back in the 1990's. Just not for action games, were it was about on par (though generally still somewhat below) with the MD if properly programmed. For 'deeper' games the Amiga always was the better system. And not only because of the much better controls you got for them.

Anyway, my point is not to say that the A1200 is better or worse than the consoles. My point is that your posts contain errors on what the Amiga can and can't and how the hardware works. I actually mostly agree with the notion that (for action games) the Amiga in general does worse than the 16 bit consoles and that, sadly, the A1200 didn't fully fix this.

Last edited by roondar; 17 August 2019 at 11:29.
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Old 17 August 2019, 11:56   #714
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All that gibberish just to say the A1200 was less powerful than the Mega Drive.
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Old 17 August 2019, 11:58   #715
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Originally Posted by Gilbert View Post
I have no doubt if you spent ages using the full power of the A1200 you could make a superior game to the MD in lot of ways but 90% of games developers were just going to make a game for the Megadrive or SNES where it's a lot simpler and they save money on development time.
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.
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Old 17 August 2019, 12:22   #716
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All that gibberish just to say the A1200 was less powerful than the Mega Drive.
All that effort of posting just to prove you can't read.
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Old 17 August 2019, 12:44   #717
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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. [...] 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.
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.
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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.
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:
Quote:
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.

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'm talking only about the aspect of gaming here; of course the Amiga was much more than that.
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Old 17 August 2019, 13:03   #718
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My post wasn't saying the Megadrive was better than the Amiga A1200. I was just saying that it's comparable to the A1200 and it shouldn't be. Considering the price difference and that the MD is older tech.
That's just silly. The A1200's higher price is fully justified by the extra things in it.

For a fair comparison you would have to rip out the keyboard, PCMCIA slot, IDE interface, floppy disk drive, ROMs, serial and parallel ports and connectors, change the 68020 to a 68000 and downsize the power supply. Then you could have a smaller and cheaper PCB and case too. And after all that it would still be better than the Megadrive in some respects (24 bit color, hi-res screen modes, more RAM, PCM sound channels etc.).

The A1200 wasn't designed to be just a games console, so it's understandable that it didn't sell for the same price as one. But which one was the more expensive to own? Cartridges weren't cheap, and with no way to pirate them economically the total cost of ownership climbed rapidly as more games were purchased. Even if you wanted to stay strictly legal the A1200 had cheaper software available via shareware and PD, older Amiga titles etc. Plus, as a full computer it could be used for jobs that you might otherwise have needed to purchase a PC for.
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Old 17 August 2019, 13:05   #719
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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.
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Old 17 August 2019, 13:10   #720
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This is from the official CD32 developer's notes



Dont know what Nintendo CD is?

but Sega 80! sprites

So in that respect SNES and MD were a lot more powerful.
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