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Old 16 January 2019, 01:09   #41
Amigajay
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Originally Posted by Marchie View Post

And why is foreground parallax so rare on Amiga games - as an example I remember looking at Flink, which is a simply gorgeous game, and while I understand the MD version has significantly cut-down levels compared to the CD32 and MegaCD, I also noticed it had foreground parallax that the CD32 version did not, is there a hardware reason why the CD32 could not handle an extra layer in front of the main playfield while the Mega drive could?
Could be a couple of reasons im guessing, either the developer didnt have enough time and nobody would know, pah didnt envisage a comparison video service in the future! Or they wanted to keep all the original 64 colour Megadrive graphics without reducing colour, i guess there is limits on colours and playfields, the real kicker is the smaller screensize, i can expect with Amiga ports, but for console ports its pretty embarrassing tbh
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Old 16 January 2019, 01:34   #42
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Originally Posted by Marchie View Post
Here's a graphic-artist-who-knows-nothing-about-coding question:

We always talk about dual playfields when it comes to parallax, which would give us two levels of parallax without breaking a sweat, but how do we get 3 or 4 or more levels of parallax? (and the almost 3D sky/ground planes in Lionheart)
Basically, extra layers (other then Dual Playfield) can be done in three ways: brute forcing it using the blitter/cpu, using a sprite layer or making use of the way bitplanes work. The former two tend to not be used for displays greater than two layers. For that the bitplanes are (ab)used.

See, bitplane displays such as the Amiga divide the display up in several distinct planes (each kept separately from the others in memory), which are combined by the graphics chip into a single display. For instance, an 8 bitplane display would allow for 256 colours (2^8=256) and would be contained in 8 separate single bit deep bitmaps in memory, each representing one of the 8 powers of two.

The advantage of these layers being separate is that it's fairly easy to adjust just one or two of them rather than all of them. Combine this with clever palette choices and you can (in theory) have as many layers as there are bitplanes and it won't cost you any extra CPU/Blitter time as such. The catch is that a single bitplane seperated out would only allow for a single colour in the layer. So if you want colourful extra layers, you tend to need at least 2 bitplanes per layer.

Hope this is clear!

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And why is foreground parallax so rare on Amiga games - as an example I remember looking at Flink, which is a simply gorgeous game, and while I understand the MD version has significantly cut-down levels compared to the CD32 and MegaCD, I also noticed it had foreground parallax that the CD32 version did not, is there a hardware reason why the CD32 could not handle an extra layer in front of the main playfield while the Mega drive could?
Amiga Dual Playfield mode, though allowing for two layers, is actually far more limiting than Mega Drive/CD layers. To start, the Mega Drive can display three layers (one static, two scrolling) and each can have 16 colours in use. Furthermore, these layers support priorities and other interesting hardware tricks, which allow you to effectively display up to 4 (or six, I forget) separate scrolling layers on screen - albeit with some restrictions.

The above is a fairly dense overview but I hope it suffices
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Old 16 January 2019, 02:53   #43
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I did love parallax scrolling back in the 90s and still do. Never overused!
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Old 16 January 2019, 18:40   #44
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@roondar: I'd say the biggest catch is that you cannot scroll those bitplanes independently in a smooth way without blitting them or having 16 prescrolled copies of the whole background.

You have a scroll register for even and uneven planes, and that's it.
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Old 16 January 2019, 19:11   #45
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@roondar: I'd say the biggest catch is that you cannot scroll those bitplanes independently in a smooth way without blitting them or having 16 prescrolled copies of the whole background.

You have a scroll register for even and uneven planes, and that's it.
It looks like in Lionheart you do have indeed (prescrolled?) slices/stripes of the background, neatly stacked to form the background.

having slices should also allow you to change the scroll register, before getting to the next slice.
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Old 16 January 2019, 19:13   #46
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@roondar: I'd say the biggest catch is that you cannot scroll those bitplanes independently in a smooth way without blitting them or having 16 prescrolled copies of the whole background.

You have a scroll register for even and uneven planes, and that's it.
True, scrolling (or stopping the scroll of) extra playfields does cost extra bandwidth. But it's still less expensive than masking the bitplanes to create the layers. Plus, the only game having more than two layers that immediately springs to mind (Agony) used only a single bitplane for the 3rd layer. This is fairly inexpensive to shift & redraw.

But you are correct, it does cost something.
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Old 16 January 2019, 20:25   #47
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To start, the Mega Drive can display three layers (one static, two scrolling)
Not really, the static one is not like the NG one,when used it's a part of plane A, and called the window .
And where the window is you cannot have the plane A,this why the window is often or almost all the time opaque .
The Md is limited to his 2 background layers, the only ways to simulate more layers is to use classic tricks, like tiles swapping or some sprites, the amiga's bitplanes are much more flexible .

Last edited by touko; 16 January 2019 at 20:31.
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Old 16 January 2019, 22:38   #48
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Not really, the static one is not like the NG one,when used it's a part of plane A, and called the window .
And where the window is you cannot have the plane A,this why the window is often or almost all the time opaque .
The Md is limited to his 2 background layers, the only ways to simulate more layers is to use classic tricks, like tiles swapping or some sprites, the amiga's bitplanes are much more flexible .
So, err, you're right

I should've read the specs better. The MD has two layers and the priorities you can set only influence how sprites interact with the layer, not how the layers interact as I thought. They do still have advantages over OCS Dual Playfield though, with their 16 colours/per scanline.
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Old 17 January 2019, 05:23   #49
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Well I've learnt a bunch!
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Old 17 January 2019, 09:38   #50
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I should've read the specs better.
No problems

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The MD has two layers and the priorities you can set only influence how sprites interact with the layer, not how the layers interact as I thought. They do still have advantages over OCS Dual Playfield though, with their 16 colours/per scanline.
Yeah, you can set sprite priorities over the two planes,and you can set priorities on each tile too .
Each tile can have 1 of the 4 palettes available.
For an amiga user it seems a lot, but for a pcengine or snes coder, it's a bit weak .
Another thing, the Md do not use bitplanes, but chunky .

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I did love parallax scrolling back in the 90s and still do. Never overused!
agreed

Last edited by touko; 17 January 2019 at 09:47.
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Old 17 January 2019, 14:23   #51
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thinking about it. I feel it's an aesthetic choice that must be considered given the context of the scenery of the game.

Let's say the whole game though a sprite is walking inside a house. It doesn't make much sense to add parallax here, since the most far away element is the wall next to the player character.

In a game where the player is in a wide open field, it looks kind of weird of the far away trees or mountains move the same speed as the stuff next to the player..

It's simply pleasing to mind and eye if these far away objects move in a different speed.

Last edited by Steril707; 19 January 2019 at 11:57.
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Old 20 January 2019, 04:16   #52
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Zool AGA is tipically a game that doesn't benefit at all or the parallax. It makes the game very confusing and much worse than the OCS one.

Mr Nutz and Kid Chaos use perfectly the parallax, along with smooth scrolling, enemies, sfx+music.
And for Ruff'n'tumble, I'd love to see an AGA version with an extra layer. No extra color, just a layer or parallax. But thé game is great anyway and doesn't suffer to don't have one, maybe because the gfx artist make a great work.
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Old 22 January 2019, 23:43   #53
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Originally Posted by sokolovic View Post
Zool AGA is tipically a game that doesn't benefit at all or the parallax. It makes the game very confusing and much worse than the OCS one.

Mr Nutz and Kid Chaos use perfectly the parallax, along with smooth scrolling, enemies, sfx+music.
And for Ruff'n'tumble, I'd love to see an AGA version with an extra layer. No extra color, just a layer or parallax. But thé game is great anyway and doesn't suffer to don't have one, maybe because the gfx artist make a great work.
Interesting, I always thought Zool looked way better in the AGA version, the slow-down was a real killer though.

Kid-Chaos is a deceptively good game - there's a lack of appeal to the design and concept, but the gameplay is kind of fun, I sat my son and his friend in front of a bunch of Amiga platform games and they found most of them too hard to get into, but with Kid Chaos they could just start charging around the levels and explore and they really got into it, there aren't many games where you can do that. And it has to be said that the execution on a technical level is first-class: loads of colours, loads of parallax layers, all smooth and fast.
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Old 23 January 2019, 00:19   #54
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I think the main problem with 'in your face' parallax designs is colour choices that are too 'bright'. A (slightly) subdued background is much easier on the eyes, IMHO.
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