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Old 30 July 2018, 12:52   #1
mc68060
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Relations between Factor 5 and Graftgold?

In a recent blog entry about the development of Fire & Ice, Andrew Braybrook wrote the following:

Quote:
Meanwhile Turrican 2 had been released for the Amiga, showing what could be done on the platform. It had plenty of sprites, a great copper-listed backdrop of colours, smooth scrolling in all directions at 50 frames per second, and a great game with plenty of action. We had some telephone conversations with Julian Eggebrecht, representing Factor 5, the team who wrote Turrican 2. They had written their own development system as well as the game. They were keen to tell us about their scrolling technique, which utilised the unique feature of the Amiga hardware: that the bit-planes for the display can start on any word address in memory. Most displays had fixed or boundary-limited addresses in RAM for the screen. [...]

Julian [Eggebrecht], Thomas [Engel] and Holger [Schmidt] came over from Germany to see us, on the pretext that they could tell us where we were going wrong and get the game running at 50 frames per second. After I had explained what we were doing and how, they agreed that the workload was too much for 50 frames per second. We explained to them the virtues of a triple-buffered system, then watched them retreat into a corner for a brief discussion before coming back and just saying "No". For the record, while your joystick input and display can suffer an additional lag of a 50th of a second, a third buffer can get you over short busy peaks as it buys you up to an additional 50th of a second of processing time to spread over a few frames.
As a non-native speaker of English, the second paragraph confuses me a little. Could somebody explain what Braybrook is trying to get across here? I'm confused by two things here:

1) Braybrook says that they came over on a "pretext". For me, this implies that in reality what they wanted was something else. But what? Spying on Graftgold? Learning some tricks? But from Braybrook's other statements it sounds like it was he who wanted to learn something from Factor 5!?

2) I'm also confused by their answer "No" after the conspirational retreat into the back of the room. So what does this "No" refer to and what does it mean? Does it mean that they refused to help Graftgold or does it mean that they didn't agree with Braybrook that a triple-buffered system was the way to go?

I'd be glad if somebody could shed some light onto this because to me it doesn't really make sense. To me it sounds like Braybrook didn't get any help from Factor 5 and the two were more like competitors and nobody was interested in helping a competitor. But on the other hand, Factor 5 somewhat paid a tribute to Graftgold by crediting Peter Thierolf as "Andreas Breebruck", a Germanized-version of Andew Braybrook, in Quik & Silva. See here, so it looks like they paid some reverence to the legendary author of Uridium....

So I'm wondering what the relations between Factor 5 and Graftgold really were like in the early 90s?!
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Old 30 July 2018, 14:22   #2
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I don't know the answer to your question, but I'm sure Factor 5 could easily have got it running in a single frame if they'd really wanted.
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Old 30 July 2018, 14:49   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc68060 View Post
In a recent blog entry about the development of Fire & Ice, Andrew Braybrook wrote the following:



As a non-native speaker of English, the second paragraph confuses me a little. Could somebody explain what Braybrook is trying to get across here? I'm confused by two things here:

1) Braybrook says that they came over on a "pretext". For me, this implies that in reality what they wanted was something else. But what? Spying on Graftgold? Learning some tricks? But from Braybrook's other statements it sounds like it was he who wanted to learn something from Factor 5!?
I've read that blog and the pretext I take from it was that they wanted to show off each others projects, this used to happen a fair bit between developers as they liked to share ideas.

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Originally Posted by mc68060 View Post
2) I'm also confused by their answer "No" after the conspirational retreat into the back of the room. So what does this "No" refer to and what does it mean? Does it mean that they refused to help Graftgold or does it mean that they didn't agree with Braybrook that a triple-buffered system was the way to go?

So I'm wondering what the relations between Factor 5 and Graftgold really were like in the early 90s?!
It means NO - it is unlikely that you will achieve what you're trying to do in a single frame and we (Factor 5) can't think of a way to do it either, it doesn't make it impossible but Factor 5/Graftgold/Thalion/Psygnosis were all at the top of their game on getting the most out of the Amiga.
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Old 30 July 2018, 14:54   #4
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I don't think that Graftgold pushed their games to the limits.
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Old 30 July 2018, 18:01   #5
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Maybe, maybe not. But as we can read here, they did want to get the best results.
And most of their games play really, really well. Which is what actually matter here
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Old 31 July 2018, 10:17   #6
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At the risk of getting burned at the stake, I don't think Factor 5 pushed Amiga's limits either, ditto for Team17. Both did a great job utilizing the hardware, but not pushing its limits imo.
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Old 01 August 2018, 17:11   #7
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its not really cost effective to produce games that push the limits past a certain point. you get to a point where it takes much more time just to push it that little bit further and the cost outweighs the benefit.


I think all these companies did a good job of balancing these factors compared to many of them.
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Old 04 August 2018, 19:01   #8
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Originally Posted by vulture View Post
At the risk of getting burned at the stake, I don't think Factor 5 pushed Amiga's limits either, ditto for Team17. Both did a great job utilizing the hardware, but not pushing its limits imo.
Really? Turrican 2 and 3 didn't push the hardware to it's limits? Factor 5 were absolute masters of the Amiga. I have no doubt those two games would have run at 25fps if coded by anyone else.
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Old 04 August 2018, 21:37   #9
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I second that. And the same with Graftgold's Uridium 2. It is a masterpiece in terms of coding.
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Old 05 August 2018, 01:04   #10
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Yeah, chalk me up as well for third.

Factor 5, Team 17, Graftgold, Psygnosis, Discovery (Hybris/Battle Squadron), Thalion.... absolute masters out of getting the most out of the Amiga. No team better I can think of.
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Old 05 August 2018, 01:35   #11
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Graftgold made some great games, but unlike on the C64, Andrew Braybrook was no master of the Amiga.

I remember reading a WIP on Uridium 2 in one of the Amiga mags, where someone sent him the source code to a plasma routine because upto that point, he didn't have a clue how to do it, its why Uridium 2 has a lot of neat copper effects because someone sent him code on how to do it.

The difference is, Factor 5 as a group started on Amiga, its what they lead with, and the Atari ST was secondary to that, unlike The Bitmap Brothers and Graftgold, that lead on the ST for the most part and then ported to Amiga with not many changes.

If Paradroid 90 was written on Amiga first, whilst I still appreciate its a decent game, it wouldn't have been vertical scrolling only because of the influence of the Atari ST.

Andrew Braybrook could program anything, but it wasn't until the Amiga was almost irrelevant to publishers that he finally got to grips with the machine.
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Old 05 August 2018, 01:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT View Post
Graftgold made some great games, but unlike on the C64, Andrew Braybrook was no master of the Amiga.

I remember reading a WIP on Uridium 2 in one of the Amiga mags, where someone sent him the source code to a plasma routine because upto that point, he didn't have a clue how to do it, its why Uridium 2 has a lot of neat copper effects because someone sent him code on how to do it.

The difference is, Factor 5 as a group started on Amiga, its what they lead with, and the Atari ST was secondary to that, unlike The Bitmap Brothers and Graftgold, that lead on the ST for the most part and then ported to Amiga with not many changes.

If Paradroid 90 was written on Amiga first, whilst I still appreciate its a decent game, it wouldn't have been vertical scrolling only because of the influence of the Atari ST.

Andrew Braybrook could program anything, but it wasn't until the Amiga was almost irrelevant to publishers that he finally got to grips with the machine.
I wouldn't said it better than that. I remember him replying to an english mag letter writer about Rainbow Islands, "the amiga chipset is doing the job hardly than the ST with its 8mhz CPU".

LOL, what was he smokin' at ?
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Old 05 August 2018, 11:13   #13
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Yup, that's what I think. I think others, like Thalion and Psygnosis took it to the limit indeed. Factor 5 was close, but not there. And I don't think T3 is a really great example, it was a very good MD port, but it could turn out better.

Quote:
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Really? Turrican 2 and 3 didn't push the hardware to it's limits? Factor 5 were absolute masters of the Amiga. I have no doubt those two games would have run at 25fps if coded by anyone else.
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Old 05 August 2018, 11:33   #14
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Name one Psygnosis game more technically impressive than Turrican 2...
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Old 05 August 2018, 11:44   #15
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Shadow of the Beast 3 is more impressive imo, 8 way scrolling, many parallax levels, many colours, bigger game area. T2 has more onscreen enemies, but SotB 3 is no slouch, there's a that big enemy at the end of the night-level for example who eats up about 25% of the screen alone, while it is still scrolling. Also, SotB retains full 60fps under NTSC at all times, while T2 has to drop some frames here and there when things get very busy (laser weapon at full adds to that).
T2 is an absolute gem! One of my top 5 amiga games. I just think there are other teams that did even more with the hardware, that's all. The guy who coded Apidya for example. Again, bigger game area, parallax scrolling, full background animation and at least as busy as T2, I'm talking about level #4 iirc.

Last edited by vulture; 05 August 2018 at 13:05.
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Old 05 August 2018, 13:53   #16
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Technically impressive is a rather subjective term, which is why there is so much discussion about it

For instance, a lot of Amiga games ran full frame rate in two layers and (for the time) looked really impressive. But most of those achieved this effect by merely switching the Dual Playfield bit to 'on'*, so isn't that impressive.

The same goes for a Dual Playfield game with parallax levels (meaning the multiple different on screen scroll speeds like in SOTB 1). Looks really impressive, but from a hardware perspective is easier than you might think thanks to the Copper*.

On the other hand, you have games like Agony that display more than two layers, but have no parallax levels. This is a bit harder to get to run correctly at full frame rate, even though the parallax of other games might look more impressive.

And then there's games such as SWIV, which don't have as many graphical bells and whistles, yet seamlessly load in data while you play. Which is most likley harder to get to work well than any of the above effects. Or games like Frontier: Elite II, which run a massive open world 3D environment to play in on a basic A500. All using just one floppy disk.

So tell me, which of these is most impressive?

*) Yeah, I know there's more to it than just flipping a bit or programming a copper split, but overall these two effects are relatively simple to get to work.
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Old 05 August 2018, 14:17   #17
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At first SotB 3 is not a Psygnosis game, it was made by Reflections.
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Old 05 August 2018, 15:32   #18
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At first SotB 3 is not a Psygnosis game, it was made by Reflections.
Doesnt matter. The majority of Psygnosis published games on Amiga were done by external developers.

It was released by Psygnosis and thus meets the criteria
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Old 05 August 2018, 15:32   #19
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Name one Psygnosis game more technically impressive than Turrican 2...
Brian the Lion for one
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Old 05 August 2018, 15:35   #20
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Imo, Lionheart is the most impressive Amiga game, technics wise.

Those dual playfield levels with the perspective scrolling floor and that soft color blend in the foreground going on vertically over the some of the screens is really mindbending.

Apidyas animated background is simply the "risky woods" sprite layer technique where each of the frames that you need anyway looks a bit different.
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