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Old 06 November 2017, 15:39   #1
Shatterhand
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Mr. Nutz parallax - how was this achieved?

I really think Mr. Nutz is one of the most impressive games on Amiga ECS and it rarely gets the credit it deserves. It does a lot of amazing stuff with the hardware while still being an awesome game to play.


[ Show youtube player ]

At 1:24:30

That level has FOUR different parallax layers and they aren't single color like Agony does it.

How the heck they achieved this with ECS ??? I even thought about sprites for the vertical columns, but there are moments where you have 3 vertical columns and I don't think there are more than 2 sprites left at the panel and player height.

Can anyone shed me a light here?

Last edited by Shatterhand; 06 November 2017 at 19:09.
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Old 06 November 2017, 18:30   #2
lordofchaos
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Amazing example of pushing the Amiga past it's limits. I'd love to know the full story on this one too.
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Old 06 November 2017, 19:07   #3
Shatterhand
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I know the game uses the same engine of Turrican 3, but Turrican 3 doesn't look half as impressive as this game.
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Old 06 November 2017, 19:16   #4
Akira
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Originally Posted by Shatterhand View Post
I know the game uses the same engine of Turrican 3, but Turrican 3 doesn't look half as impressive as this game.
Did you ever mess with the sources? They were released somewhere online, I remember.
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php

I don't currently know where to find them, I might have a copy, or they might be in the FTP, I don't know. Anybody knows?

It's crazy nobody ever did much with this. The only thing people did with it is finding/compiling the unreleased version of Amiga Mr. Nutz for the Megadrive.

[edit] It's in the FTP:
http://www.grandis.nu:81/eabsearch/s...xclude=&limit=
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Old 06 November 2017, 19:38   #5
Amigajay
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Wow that level looks like Sonic on the Megadrive in more than one way.
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Old 06 November 2017, 19:49   #6
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If you change sprites and music with Sonic then they would be almost identical. That doesn't mean mr. Nutz is an equal game, just above average. Too boring in my opinion. Sonic is full of action and has better music-sprites-level design.
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Old 06 November 2017, 19:54   #7
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If you change sprites and music with Sonic then they would be almost identical. That doesn't mean mr. Nutz is an equal game, just above average. Too boring in my opinion. Sonic is full of action and has better music-sprites-level design.
Oh yeah no argument there, but games like this show the A500 could have pulled off a Sonic game with the right devs.
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Old 06 November 2017, 20:38   #8
Akira
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the A500 could have pulled off a Sonic game with the right devs.
There are plenty of "games like this" which means the right devs were about and plentiful. Lots of talent in that pool.

The problem was the game design, not the engine underneath. Mr. Nutz is pretty good but still flawed, from a game design point of view. Shit like "getting lost in the map" should have been AXED from day one. Who thought that was funny? The whole map shit in this game is pointless, stupid, boring and frustrating.

European platform game developers approached games differently and, when they tried to copy the style of Japanese game designers, they usually failed really hard.
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Old 06 November 2017, 20:50   #9
PortuguesePilot
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The game is, indeed, technically impressive. Unfortunately, the gameplay does not rise up to par. It's still a nice game, though, and back in the day I did get quite far (World 4, I think) though I think I never finished it. I seem to recall that some bosses also used a sort of SNES-like pseudo-Mode 7 that looked really impressive for the humble A500.

A MegaDrive version was released a few years ago and the Amiga version is on par with many of its hardware tricks and, naturally, is hugely superior sound-wise. Considering that the Amiga didn't do chunky nor planar on hardware, this is impressive.

The problem was, indeed, the game design (level design) and some of the controls (I never was able to fully understand and master the feathers' flight mode).

Technically brilliant, it had some design flaws that keep this game away from the list of the top Amiga titles, though still good. Much better than another technically neat game that failed at gameplay: Brian the Lion.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigajay View Post
Oh yeah no argument there, but games like this show the A500 could have pulled off a Sonic game with the right devs.
There's no question of that. Marry Keith Bugeja's "Blaze" with some aspects of "Mr. Nutz" and you have a Sonic clone capable of giving the original a run for its money.

Last edited by PortuguesePilot; 06 November 2017 at 20:57.
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Old 06 November 2017, 20:52   #10
Master484
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I'll try to explain how it is done:

- Firstly, the game uses a 8 + 8 color dual playfield.

- The Back Playfield changes the 8 colors for each horizontal background scrolling layer, which makes it about 32 colors.

- The Front Playfield is only 7 colors + transparency, but the palette is excellent, so the low color amount is hard to notice.

- The Player is made of two 16 color sprites, and so it uses 4 sprite channels. This has to be the case, because the player colors are different from the Front Playfield colors.

- The lives and score displays are made by multiplying 1 four color sprite. This consumes another sprite channel, and I think smooth scrolling can sometimes eat one channel also. So only 2 or 3 sprite channels are free for the parallax effects.

- Between the Back and Front Playfields is the parallax sprite layer. All the columns, both horizontal and vertical, are sprites. But even if only 2 sprite channels are free, the columns are theoretically possible through sprite multiplexing.

- The vertical columns are 4 colors, so the 2 free sprite channels can be used to draw two columns on top of each other, creating the illusion of two extra parallax layers. The smaller column needs 1 sprite, and the bigger column needs 2, so the bigger column is created by multiplexing one of the free sprites. And also when many smaller vertical columns appear on screen at once this too is achieved by sprite multiplexing.

- The horizontal screen wide columns seem to be 8 color, so in this case one column uses both of the 2 free sprites, which are multiplexed across the screen width.

- Also when horizontal and vertical columns cross there are not enough sprites to show them all. This is why you can't "see through" the horizontal column. And when the smaller vertical columns appear to move "behind" the horizontal column I think it's actually two separate sprites, again created by multiplexing.

---

So the awesomeness is achieved by some very good sprite multiplexing using just 2 sprites. Also the exact positions where the multiplexings happen are calculated in real time, because everything moves all the time.

And at 1:27:37 there is that big green trap, which is a little bit of mystery, because it can't be a sprite, and the Front Playfield palette doesn't have any greens. But I think that at this point they do some temporary color changes to the Front Playfield palette. The changes start at the ceiling Y line and end at the floor Y line, and the exact points have to be calculated in real time every frame. This color change is safe to do because these green traps are located in a tunnel of sorts, where both left and right spaces are "free", meaning that there are no other Front Playfield graphics or enemies. And Player is a sprite so it isn't affected by the color change.

But this all is just my analysis, and I don't know for sure how it really works under the hood.

---

Also I noticed that this game doesn't seem to have so many enemies on screen at once, so these special tricks must stress the chipset quite a lot. If this was a shooting game like Turrican 3, then it could be that adding effects like these would have been impossible.
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Old 06 November 2017, 20:53   #11
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I think game should have practice mode where you can selected any level.
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Old 06 November 2017, 20:59   #12
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Achieving an oustanding technical game doesn't make it good. Neither an average one. Too bad, because if they hired a good game designer, the game would have been ace.

Last edited by LeCaravage; 06 November 2017 at 21:05.
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Old 06 November 2017, 21:49   #13
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@Master484. Nice analysis, not entirely sure I follow all of it, being a non-coder sort :-)

If only they had the License from Sega for a Sonic port, oh my, that would have been something...One can dream. Still, what we got was an utter technical delight, despite some slightly average gameplay choices.
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Old 06 November 2017, 22:25   #14
Amigajay
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Originally Posted by lordofchaos View Post
@Master484. Nice analysis, not entirely sure I follow all of it, being a non-coder sort :-)

If only they had the License from Sega for a Sonic port, oh my, that would have been something...One can dream. Still, what we got was an utter technical delight, despite some slightly average gameplay choices.
Well they did, US Gold had the rights to computer ports that got so far in dev, then Sega realised it had a hit and pulled the licence, going on SF2 itís probably for the best and would hurt the Amiga more!
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Old 06 November 2017, 22:39   #15
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Well they did, US Gold had the rights to computer ports that got so far in dev, then Sega realised it had a hit and pulled the licence,
We are really going OT here (sorry Shatterhand!) but, do you actually have any reliable source for this info, besides what magazines talked about back in the 90s, which I think is all made up?

I seriously doubt at ANY point Sega had licensed Sonic to anyone else by then, Sega already knew it had a hit in its hands. The alleged US Gold licensing you mention only made the press rounds by the time Sonic 2 already existed, so they knew Sonic was a home run.

The earliest licensing I can remember was for Sonic 3 on PC, and that happened like in 1998 or 1999, yet this "US Gold" thing keeps spreading decades later and I think it's a load of shit. Like when magazines said Rebel Assault and Day Of The Tentacle were headed for the Amiga. Among other huge fat lies they made up to sell units.

Again, sorry Shatterhand for going off rails!
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Old 06 November 2017, 22:50   #16
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We are really going OT here (sorry Shatterhand!) but, do you actually have any reliable source for this info, besides what magazines talked about back in the 90s, which I think is all made up?

I seriously doubt at ANY point Sega had licensed Sonic to anyone else by then, Sega already knew it had a hit in its hands. The alleged US Gold licensing you mention only made the press rounds by the time Sonic 2 already existed, so they knew Sonic was a home run.

The earliest licensing I can remember was for Sonic 3 on PC, and that happened like in 1998 or 1999, yet this "US Gold" thing keeps spreading decades later and I think it's a load of shit. Like when magazines said Rebel Assault and Day Of The Tentacle were headed for the Amiga. Among other huge fat lies they made up to sell units.

Again, sorry Shatterhand for going off rails!
To finish Akira question before we get on topic!

Well of course nothing is concrete, but this news was before Sonic 2, actually in June 91 issues of some mags, so May in real terms which puts it before the actual release date of Sonic 1, possibly backing up the story of them pulling the license.

found this site that has dug up some info on it:

https://info.sonicretro.org/Sonic_th...ome_computers)
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Old 06 November 2017, 22:56   #17
Akira
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That page just got the info from the same sources.
Anyway, huge hoax.
NO more OT, sorry guys!
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Old 06 November 2017, 23:23   #18
Amigajay
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Anyway, huge hoax.
You canít say that anymore than it was real!
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Old 06 November 2017, 23:39   #19
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Get back on topic please. There are other threads regarding sonic amiga. Feel free to search and post on there..

Thank you
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Old 07 November 2017, 04:35   #20
Shatterhand
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Originally Posted by Master484 View Post
Technical Babbling .
I think the scores / lives / gems/ etc are using 4 three colors sprites per scanline... which probably are the same 4 sprites channels used by the 32 pixels wide 16 colors hero. Notice he *never* goes at the same height of those panels.

This would actually leave 4 sprites left to use at any height of the screen.

The thin colums (16 pixels) only really appear twice (and not three times as I first thought). You still have another 2 sprites left, which are used on the larger column on "front". This leaves the bigger platform left, but as you said, its probably drawn using all those 4 sprites as an attached 32 pixel wide 16 color sprites, multiplexed all over the screen. If you draw it after you draw the other sprites on the same channel, the pixels of the other sprites will simply "dissapear" on those scanlines. (At least that's what happened when I tested something similar)

I really don't think they are multiplexing the same sprite over at the top on bottom screen *and* multiplexing the sprite at the background. From what I gather, multplexing sprites do use some DMA and it's better if you can avoid to use it.

It's still incredibly smart. I am, like you, just guessing... testing with Winuae could give us more precise ideas

Now considering what's happening on screen all the time, I still think Mr. Nutz has a shitload of stuff moving on screen. It does have more action/movement than Lionheart on its "pretty" levels. (I've noticed Lionheard leaves the more action-oriented levels with lots of enemies for levels that don't use a lot of tricks... the real pretty ones, with layer after layer of parallax and copper tricks you are usually most of the time just jumping platforms and there's rarely more than one thing moving around).
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