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Old 04 March 2004, 00:07   #1
manicx
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Most common programming language in Amiga games

Guys, I am making a small research on the effect of programming languages to the quality of games. I am expecting to present this to programmers and developers.

My idea is that when people were able to develop for the hardware and not just the CPU, games run more efficiently and were actually a lot better at least on the audio-visual aspect. The Amiga is a bright example (I think) on this issue. I mean, the A1200 with a 68030 is capable of producing amazing results if it is well programmed. Unfortunately, we ended up with AGA games with a few colours more than the A500 versions and nothing more than that.

Can you please let me know what you think on that? My main argument on this research is that old hardware is still able to produce excellent games if it is well programmed and that modern PCs are excessively equiped with super fast CPUs and graphics cards.
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Old 04 March 2004, 00:26   #2
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Just a correction, but do you mean "A1200s with 020s" rather than "030s".

But yeah, lots of the things now are just so wasteful it is stupid. I mean look at Halo, that ran like crap on some of the best machines, and it didn't even look good.
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Old 04 March 2004, 00:40   #3
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Programming in the past required finetuning the sources to get the best performance. Because you just couldn't add a 2 GHz CPU for 150 to boost instruction execution to astronomical levels.

You had a 1 MHz (C64) or a 7 MHz (Amiga) CPU and that was it! Unless you were rich and could buy a 1500 accelerator for your Amiga, which boosted the speed of a few 3D games and rendered the rest incompatible due to quirky programming techniques. (again to gain speed)
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:09   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enverex
Just a correction, but do you mean "A1200s with 020s" rather than "030s".

But yeah, lots of the things now are just so wasteful it is stupid. I mean look at Halo, that ran like crap on some of the best machines, and it didn't even look good.
ain't that the truth... halo was complete tripe, must have been a direct port of the x-box version (aka 3yr old PC)

game designers normally develop or buy a 3d engine, then just roll out games using that engine...

bullfrog designed a great (for the time) 3d engine for Magic Carpet, but then used that 3d engine for wipeout clone (name escapes me)... needless to say the wipeout clone was crap, because the engine didn't suit the style of game.
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:18   #5
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One thing to keep in mind (particularly when you're talking about old games for machines like the Amiga) is that often there were factors other than the capability of the machine or the language that affected the limitations placed on games. When the majority of Amigas that had been sold were older machines that didn't have AGA, there was little incentive for a game developer to create games that required AGA features, since that would limit their sales to only a small portion of the Amiga market. On the other hand, if they avoided using any of the expanded AGA features, they could sell the game to anybody who owned an Amiga, regardless of the model. Developers usually catered to the lowest common denominator in this way because it made good business sense. With today's PC's, you don't really see this sort of thing anymore because the size of the potential market is immense, and the majority of machines out there have specs above what is required for most software to run.

As for the languages that were most often used on older machines to produce games, that would partially be just a matter of preference for the developers, but not always. For a turn-based RTS game, the language used might not make much difference in performance depending on the complexity of the game. For an arcade game like Shadow of the Beast though, the language selection could be critical. Where performance was a real issue, most programming was done using assembly, though I'm sure there were some exceptions.
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:27   #6
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Shadow of the beast an arcade game????!!!! i would of thought more of platform/adventure game.... yes, the graphics were great but the gameplay was a fairly standard affair... i can think of few games that a much more advanced, and still using the power of the A500.
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:27   #7
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Re: Most common programming language in Amiga games

Quote:
Originally posted by manicx
and that modern PCs are excessively equiped with super fast CPUs and graphics cards.
...with capabilities that are not barely scratched.

The Amiga could have had a lot of good stuff if the platform was not already zombie by the time the 1200 hit the streets. If the Amiga would have EVER been brought to the attenttion of japanese gamemakers, story would have been extremely different, IMO. I've seen the jappers do mad shit with old, "limited" equipment.
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:30   #8
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Re: Re: Most common programming language in Amiga games

Quote:
Originally posted by Akira
...with capabilities that are not barely scratched.

The Amiga could have had a lot of good stuff if the platform was not already zombie by the time the 1200 hit the streets. If the Amiga would have EVER been brought to the attenttion of japanese gamemakers, story would have been extremely different, IMO. I've seen the jappers do mad shit with old, "limited" equipment.
indeed the europeans did "mad shit", by the way of demos (and still do )
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:32   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Djay
ain't that the truth... halo was complete tripe, must have been a direct port of the x-box version (aka 3yr old PC)
Funny you should mention Halo. In a sense, the X-Box version was a port of the PC version though, and not the other way around. Before the X-Box ever came out, Halo was being developed for the PC, but not by Microsoft. I believe the name of the company was Bungie, but I'm not sure of that. PC games magazines that were reporting on their advance peeks at the game were saying that this game was going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and warnings were already starting to go out to let people know that they might need to upgrade their graphics cards and/or processors. I was beginning to become concerned that my PIII/500 wasn't going to be able to handle it, since as I recall they were recommending something beefier.

Right at this time, Microsoft was preparing to come out with the X-Box, and they wanted to make sure they had a "killer game" available when it was released to help them sell the boxes. They bought out Bungie (or whoever the developer was) in order to acquire Halo and it's development team, at which point they announced that Halo would (for the moment anyway) be an X-Box exclusive release. Now that they've gotten pretty much all the mileage out of it that they can as far as helping to sell X-Box, they've released it on the PC. If it had been released on the PC when it should have been, it would have been "state of the art", but now it doesn't quite measure up anymore.
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:38   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuckles
Funny you should mention Halo. In a sense, the X-Box version was a port of the PC version though, and not the other way around. Before the X-Box ever came out, Halo was being developed for the PC, but not by Microsoft. I believe the name of the company was Bungie, but I'm not sure of that. PC games magazines that were reporting on their advance peeks at the game were saying that this game was going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, and warnings were already starting to go out to let people know that they might need to upgrade their graphics cards and/or processors. I was beginning to become concerned that my PIII/500 wasn't going to be able to handle it, since as I recall they were recommending something beefier.

Right at this time, Microsoft was preparing to come out with the X-Box, and they wanted to make sure they had a "killer game" available when it was released to help them sell the boxes. They bought out Bungie (or whoever the developer was) in order to acquire Halo and it's development team, at which point they announced that Halo would (for the moment anyway) be an X-Box exclusive release. Now that they've gotten pretty much all the mileage out of it that they can as far as helping to sell X-Box, they've released it on the PC. If it had been released on the PC when it should have been, it would have been "state of the art", but now it doesn't quite measure up anymore.
We all know the story (and yes it was Bungie, they are still credited on the intros). But the fact is it was bought out, scrapped, and re-ported which is the whole reason it sucked.
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:42   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Djay
Shadow of the beast an arcade game????!!!! i would of thought more of platform/adventure game.... yes, the graphics were great but the gameplay was a fairly standard affair... i can think of few games that a much more advanced, and still using the power of the A500.
Well, the classification of the game as an arcade game may be debatable, but to milk 50 fps out of the machine with all of the large sprites, the heavy use of parallax scrolling, etc., Psygnosis wasn't likely to be able to code it in AMOS Pro, or even C, and that was really my point. I expect this must have been done using assembler, and a few nifty coding tricks besides. As for gameplay, I'd agree that there are plenty of other games that have much better gameplay, though many of them didn't pose the same performance issues due to somewhat simpler displays.
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuckles
Now that they've gotten pretty much all the mileage out of it that they can as far as helping to sell X-Box, they've released it on the PC. If it had been released on the PC when it should have been, it would have been "state of the art", but now it doesn't quite measure up anymore.
Incorrect, I'm afraid. Bungie showed Halo to Microsoft behind closed doors at E3. Microsoft made them an offer they couldn't refuse, and made the agreement to buy them that very day. Bungie got the Xbox specs and realised that the Xbox was more powerful than the spec that they were writing their PC version for. They then binned their entire codebase and assets and started the whole game again from scratch. (This info is direct from a Bungie developer).
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:56   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enverex
We all know the story (and yes it was Bungie, they are still credited on the intros). But the fact is it was bought out, scrapped, and re-ported which is the whole reason it sucked.
Well, the PC version that was originally under development wasn't exactly scrapped - they just changed it's target platform. Since the X-Box was an Intel based device with a specific set of specs, it was simply adapted to the X-Box (which probably didn't require many changes at all). When they decided it was time to put it out on the PC, they simply adapted the code again with little or no effort to improve on it. A true port might have stood a better chance if they were really interested in putting out a great game, but I think their real interest was simply in maximizing their profits from an old one. To me, that's the real reason it sucked.
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Old 04 March 2004, 01:58   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuckles
Well, the PC version that was originally under development wasn't exactly scrapped - they just changed it's target platform. Since the X-Box was an Intel based device with a specific set of specs, it was simply adapted to the X-Box (which probably didn't require many changes at all). When they decided it was time to put it out on the PC, they simply adapted the code again with little or no effort to improve on it. A true port might have stood a better chance if they were really interested in putting out a great game, but I think their real interest was simply in maximizing their profits from an old one. To me, that's the real reason it sucked.
Read FromWithins post above.
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Old 04 March 2004, 02:08   #15
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I give up! You guys are posting faster than I can keep up with, and rendering my next post irrelevant before I can submit it. My previous post was being written when FromWithin posted his. I feel like I'm in a "Back to the Future" movie here.

I guess I can't argue with the recollection of a Bungie developer, but I can say for sure that it contradicts what was being reported in the game magazines at the time. One magazine was suggesting that users upgrade to 800 MHZ CPU's to get the most from the game, and that was before the buyout. Since the initial X-Box spec didn't exceed that (unless I'm once again mistaken), I can't explain the apparent conflict.
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Old 04 March 2004, 11:00   #16
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Ive always wondered what could be achieved if a games developer wrote a PC game *from scratch* and completely bypassed windows. Ie: You boot the game direct from the cd without loading an operating system.

I remember with the Amiga coding tutorials in assembler (in Amiga Computing Magazine) the first thing you did was effectively kill the operating system so you could take over the hardware and 'hit the metal'

I should think this would be a right pain on PC just because you have so many gfx cards/sound cards to cater for.
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Old 04 March 2004, 11:08   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Big-Byte
Ive always wondered what could be achieved if a games developer wrote a PC game *from scratch* and completely bypassed windows. Ie: You boot the game direct from the cd without loading an operating system.

I remember with the Amiga coding tutorials in assembler (in Amiga Computing Magazine) the first thing you did was effectively kill the operating system so you could take over the hardware and 'hit the metal'

I should think this would be a right pain on PC just because you have so many gfx cards/sound cards to cater for.
Unreal Tournament can do it. There is a special version that boots itself and runs from CD.
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Old 04 March 2004, 15:36   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enverex
Unreal Tournament can do it. There is a special version that boots itself and runs from CD.
What version is that?
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Old 04 March 2004, 15:36   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enverex
Just a correction, but do you mean "A1200s with 020s" rather than "030s".
No, I was meaning 030s. 030s were quite capable of producing decent stuff.
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Old 04 March 2004, 19:27   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by manicx
No, I was meaning 030s. 030s were quite capable of producing decent stuff.
So were 020s, and 000s. With puting the 030 restraint yo uact just like with the pc uupgrade craze.

Give a stock A1200 to the Sonic TEam and see marvels coming out of it.
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