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Old 05 March 2004, 14:03   #21
manicx
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Well, if you want to play in simple 2D then 68000/68020 are limited by the graphics' chipset. If you want to do anything more, then even 68030 is limited. Games like X-Treme racing that were extremely good, could run properly (1:1 pixels) only on 68030.

The PCs that you mention are another story. Amiga did not have excess power after a point. This point is called 3D games. Amiga was not capable of producing 3D games at 25FPS. Even Doom, that is not actually a 3D game runs at low fps on the Amiga and is unplayable on 68020s. This is actually my main point of this article? How much a 68030/50 - 040/25 that were very common expansions among the Amiga users would benefit from games written in ASM. I am not talking about 2D games, Amiga was good in that and we all know it.
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Old 05 March 2004, 18:13   #22
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Ahh 3D games...

What is SO important about 3D that every machine HAS to do it? Why does everyone think that a game in 3D automatically enhances the playability?
Obviously I would be more than happy if the stock A1200 could have been pushed farter, within is 2D capabilities. But 2D is so lame nowadays, isn't it?
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Old 05 March 2004, 18:51   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Akira
Ahh 3D games...

What is SO important about 3D that every machine HAS to do it? Why does everyone think that a game in 3D automatically enhances the playability?
Obviously I would be more than happy if the stock A1200 could have been pushed farter, within is 2D capabilities. But 2D is so lame nowadays, isn't it?
Its all marketing. When pc games switched from 320x200 16 colors to VGA 640x480 nobody in their right mind would make a 320x200 game anymore. When 16 bit soundcards became popular everybody jumped on that, same with the first real 3d video cards (3dfx, rendition). This didnt mean all the games before these hardware changes sucked, it just meant that developers had moved on to better things. It happens in every industry, they change the eye candy and keep the same old slightly tweeked hardware under the hood.

I like 2d for rts games, going 3d limits you on how many units you can have on the screen because of computing power. 3D was nice for fps, but games like doom which had dozens of monsters on the screen (2d game) cant really be done in 3d these days unless you have a very high end machine. So the new doom 3 will have just a few monsters on at a time and use lighting and sound to spook you, not the same as going into a room with the double barreled shotgun and killing 2 dozen devil beasts.

2D was done to the point of perfection and the early 3d games were a step back in my opinion (except for a rare few) but sooner or later the hardware will be good enough that all 3d games will be as polished as the old 2d ones. There are only so many new features they can add to the graphics hardware until they run out of eye candy, then they will be back to where the best 2d games were concentrating on the gameplay.
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Old 05 March 2004, 19:45   #24
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Originally posted by Unknown_K
This didnt mean all the games before these hardware changes sucked, it just meant that developers had moved on to better things.
Why do you regard the new hardware as better? What makes it better?

I don't think 2D has been pushed to death though, I think it can give a lot more.

Your last paragraph scares me. will we have to wait until the hardware R&D depts think enough is enough for people to start making great, fun games?
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Old 05 March 2004, 20:12   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Akira
Why do you regard the new hardware as better? What makes it better?

I don't think 2D has been pushed to death though, I think it can give a lot more.

Your last paragraph scares me. will we have to wait until the hardware R&D depts think enough is enough for people to start making great, fun games?
I was talking about the hardware. 2D hardware has been pushed to perfection as far as scrolling, color depth, usable resolution, etc goes. I havnt heard of anybody complaining on how slow the screen refreshes in excel or how long it takes to scroll down the screen in word. Any chipset made these days will do 2d just about perfectly. Its not like somebody cant come up with a better space invaders game in 2d but developers dont think there is a market for it and therefore there isnt a market for it because nobody is working on a 2d space invaders.

3D isnt anywhere near as polished as 2d is. Textures sizes have changed over the years, massive amounts of memory have just recently been affordable, framerate at high resolutions is still being improved, detail in models is still improving, the tools for making curves and splines are still not perfected (remeber when everything in the building was just a straight line?), hardware lighting is still being improved, 32bbp color has only been the norm for the last 4 years or so, etc. Most of the effort in games these days is taken up by tweeking the 3d engine (and tweeking online multiplayer gaming) and adding new features to it. Once you perfect the 3d engine so that it runs perfectly on all the current computers then people will spend more time with gameplay instead of resolving 3d issues.

Even back in the 2d era there were alot of totally crappy games out, we just tend to remember the best and the absolute worst of them and not the majority of lame releases. Quite a few early 3d games were nothing more then tech demo's to me but there are quite a few classics in the bunch.

I personaly love what some games have done with 3d audio and video along with online play against humans, things that were not around when 2d games ruled the early computers. Its the combination of 3d fps and online play that has caused developers to tune a game for online play instead of the me vs computer player that most of us were used to before the internet and 3d came about. I still play Age of Kings : the Conquerors (2d rts) on the PC all the time even though the game has been out for many years, the online 4v4 action can not be beat and no other game I ever played has had an affect on me like the the Age of Empires series. How many old games do you play 3 or more times a week for 3 years straight? I played Unreal Tournament (3d fps) for years on the internet, and Tribes (also 3d fps) before that for years.
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Old 05 March 2004, 21:45   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Akira
Why do you regard the new hardware as better? What makes it better?
Because it can draw millions of polygons per second. That means that new machines can do 3D very well. It doesn't mean that they can't do 2D at all. A polygon can easily be drawn across two dimensions instead of three.

You're complaining about hardware instead of design. Designers could still make 2D games, but it's unlikely that they would want to and more unlikely that the suits would go for it. 2D games look rubbish in screenshots compared to 3D games, and good screenshots sell games.

Anyway, most 3D games are in 3D for realism. How about Gran Turismo of Half-Life in 2D? That would just be ludicrous.

The 2D game-space is very limited compared to 3D. That's not to say that people don't want to play 2D games; look at the size of the retro scene, and look how well Advance Wars sold on the GBA. But the gameplay style is completely different, and current trends indicate that 3D will outway 2D for quite some time. It's possible that a game will be released in 2D and sell loads, causing a big rush of 2D releases, but it's doubtful given the current mentality of game publishers.
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Old 05 March 2004, 22:45   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Unknown_K
I like 2d for rts games, going 3d limits you on how many units you can have on the screen because of computing power. 3D was nice for fps, but games like doom which had dozens of monsters on the screen (2d game) cant really be done in 3d these days unless you have a very high end machine.
I take it you have not played Serious Sam? That game had a INSANE number of enemies on screen in some places. There must have been times there were over 50 all trying to nobble you.

I would imagine that the majority of commercial Amiga games (well pretty much every game made within the last 15 years) is written in C with inline assembler for those times when you feel the need for speed.

I don`t really think the programming language has much to do with the quality of the final product, I you already a proficient programmer picking up a new language is a trivial task. If you are a crappy programmer though and write inefficient code then it`s not really going to make a difference if you write in C or PASCAL.

Just remember anyone can program, few can program well.
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Old 05 March 2004, 23:07   #28
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Fromeithin and Unknown: yeah man, I got cofused, I actually mean something like the new "better" hardware doesn't mean a game is better if designed specifically for it. i do understand it's technically better, and the power it can bring to 2D gaming (can't help but think in something like Guilty Gear)

I really am complaining about game designers trying to push hardware limits (to a certain extents, I think that when they can't pull something they wait for the next release of the hardware), insteaad of trying to push gameplay. Sorry about the confusion
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Old 06 March 2004, 02:26   #29
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I don't think things have changed that much from the amiga age, but what has changed has changed for the better.
Back in the days, good developers made good games, and bad devs made crap games.

There where lots of bad games that didn’t use the hardware as it should have, all those multi platform ST>amiga crap, RPG from pc >amiga (Sierra)conversions or rushed before christmast releases. These didn’t use the hardware and most of them have even worse gameplay..
When there finally where som grames that really pushed the hardware the comment all to often was, good graphics, crap gameplay.

All of the driving game conversions could have been great if the programmers had the code base used for lotus TC.. think of chase HQ or outrun europe using that.
Today its possible to do just that with engine licenses. While its not the holy grail of cut n paste game production and do generate a lot of clone fps crap it does work.
And when it works it works great because not all of the time was spent re inventing the wheel. Som of the best games out are “game engine” licenses Knights of the old repubic , system shock, deus ex, planescape torment.

It all goes back to the good/bad dev thing. The difference today is that the artistic skills can be put to use much better since most of the hardware limitations are gone.
Oh.. and the multi platform conversions are still crap, and not using the hardware as they should. Metalgear solid 2 at 10 fps

Last edited by spiff; 06 March 2004 at 02:32.
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Old 07 March 2004, 04:50   #30
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Erm, I think that saying that 2D has been pushed to death because you can scroll a window perfectly in word is basically the same as saying that 3D has been pushed to death because Elite is as smooth as it gets on a P4 2Ghz. Word or Excel is hardly what you can call a "killing app" for 2D stuff.

I fairly recently got Cotton Boomerang for my Saturn. This game 6 years old, it's completely in 2D. This game is 6 years old, and when I got I was completely blown away by its graphics. It's just AMAZING. And I can't help thinking that a lot more could been done in 2D.

Take a look at the Guilty Gear series. That game isn't even close to push the 2D to its limits (Tha animation isn't really that smooth), yet it looks better than any 2D game ever made.

2D can still pack a good punch, it's just that developers just don't bother anymore.

Ah, Online game sucks. Playing with friends live it's a hell lot more fun

And I played SWOS EVERY SINGLE DAY for about 3 years. And if my amiga hadn't died, it would be probably a longer time. And I am not exaggerating, I used to play this game EVERY SINGLE DAY.
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Old 07 March 2004, 05:59   #31
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Maybe I am not explaining myself.

There is nothing that you can program in 2d (assuming your processor can crunch the numbers) that any on the current video cards cant display in real time on your monitor without stuttering.

This is not the case in 3d at the moment and you would notice this in newer games played with all the eye candy on at very high resolutions even on the best equipment.

Being able to program a good game in 2d or 3d is not the issue I was referring to, just the hardware.
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Old 08 March 2004, 05:25   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bad Mr Frosty
I would imagine that the majority of commercial Amiga games (well pretty much every game made within the last 15 years) is written in C with inline assembler for those times when you feel the need for speed.
Actually the majority of Amiga games were written in Assembler. Around 1987/1988 there were a fair number of games churned out which were written in Manx C but I can't think of any really decent game. Games which were system friendly or where speed wasn't critical (eg. Bubble Ghost) can easily be done in C. A few big name games like Populous were also written in C.

Almost everything else was completely assembler. If you are throwing out the operating system, handling all the screen drawing, interrupts, playing back custom music formats and decrunching files there is little point using C.

The main problem with C is that it puts a tremendous amount of data on the stack to do the most trivial of tasks. The code size compared to assembler is also very big and you simply wouldn't get fast scrolling Amiga games like Alien Breed, First Samurai, Project X, Superfrog, Turrican 2...

Off tack slightly, think of AMOS being more like C whereas Blitz is more like assembler. Hence why Blitz can create quite decent speedy arcade style games and AMOS erm, can't
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Old 08 March 2004, 06:10   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by Codetapper
Actually the majority of Amiga games were written in Assembler. Around 1987/1988 there were a fair number of games churned out which were written in Manx C but I can't think of any really decent game. Games which were system friendly or where speed wasn't critical (eg. Bubble Ghost) can easily be done in C. A few big name games like Populous were also written in C.

Almost everything else was completely assembler. If you are throwing out the operating system, handling all the screen drawing, interrupts, playing back custom music formats and decrunching files there is little point using C.

The main problem with C is that it puts a tremendous amount of data on the stack to do the most trivial of tasks. The code size compared to assembler is also very big and you simply wouldn't get fast scrolling Amiga games like Alien Breed, First Samurai, Project X, Superfrog, Turrican 2...

Off tack slightly, think of AMOS being more like C whereas Blitz is more like assembler. Hence why Blitz can create quite decent speedy arcade style games and AMOS erm, can't
Was this because the Amiga had multiple chips to program and maybe the C compilers of the era didnt support all the chips?

Were the games for the Atari ST also done in assembler during that time?
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Old 08 March 2004, 07:06   #34
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I dont klnow, C64 games were done in ASM too, and most every other old platform that I think of as well.. I thik it's got to do that nothing will be speedier than ASM, and back then, churning out as much speed as possible from the stock config was a must (something unheard of today. They just make you upgrade yoru hardware)
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Old 08 March 2004, 07:31   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by Unknown_K
Was this because the Amiga had multiple chips to program and maybe the C compilers of the era didnt support all the chips?
Neither C nor assembler know anything about the hardware as such - but C is preferably for O/S friendly stuff. If you want a game screen in C you allocate memory, open the graphics library, create a screen etc etc - in ASM if you have killed the O/S you can easily setup a screen of whatever dimensions you want, setup a custom copperlist changing colours with sprites appearing. I find hitting the hardware far easier than all the stuff you are supposed to do. And all the official ways to do things seem to end up much slower and less flexible.

Quote:
Were the games for the Atari ST also done in assembler during that time?
Yep - and because both Amiga and ST shared the 68000 they were able to do those terrible ST ports relatively easily. The code for the games should be the same, but you have to modify how it loads files, displays graphics and plays sounds.

Almost every C64 game was assembler aswell - a few were a hybrid mix of BASIC and assembler (eg. Fruity/Players). AFAIK you couldn't get a C compiler on the C64.
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Old 08 March 2004, 13:38   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Codetapper Almost every C64 game was assembler aswell - a few were a hybrid mix of BASIC and assembler (eg. Fruity/Players). AFAIK you couldn't get a C compiler on the C64.
I think you'll find that a few C64 games were actually written entirely in machine code. Largely from people learning how to program by using the monitor in freeze cartridges.

For anyone who doesn't know the difference, the INC command (increment) in 6510 is stored as the value 238 (EE). With an assembler, a line of your program would say, for example, "INC $D020" (which means 'add one to memory location D020'). When assembled, this would become "EE D0 20". To write in machine code means to write your program using only these types of numbers manually.
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Old 08 March 2004, 13:56   #37
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I always wondered if the type-ins in mags that came in machine code were also created in machine code. Reading that is like reading the matrix eh?
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Old 10 March 2004, 12:28   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by Codetapper
Yep - and because both Amiga and ST shared the 68000 they were able to do those terrible ST ports relatively easily. The code for the games should be the same, but you have to modify how it loads files, displays graphics and plays sounds.
Well, that was my main point. 'Early' (?) stuff was made like that. That's why I found it difficult to adapt my ASM knowledge to the Amiga. I had a computer with excellent chips but never managed to work with them properly. Everytime I was doing something with x, I had problems with y! Well, that was in the pre-internet era, so I had limited docs anyway.
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Old 10 March 2004, 15:20   #39
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Just a sidepoint, but regarding 3D doom-esque games on the Amiga demonstrated an inherent weakness in the Amiga's capabilities-namely that the "chunky pixel" 3D mode of games like Wing Commander, Doom etc. that were easily done on the PC proved problematic on the Amiga.

I recall the programmer interviews etc.,(like the extensive one done with Nick Pelling regarding Wing Commander in The One), mentioned their having to emulate the PC's screen's "byte per pixel" effect in software realtime on the Amiga-which given the Amiga's 68000/'020 CPU's in the A500 & A1200 limited the speed & amount of colours that could be used. It was amongst those reasons that planned 256 colour conversions of titles like Syndicate were dropped.

They did of course try to address the issue with that Akiko chip in the CD32, but it seemed a little too late given that CBM were in too dire straights to prevent the inevitable company meltdown.

I still find it annoying that for all the glorious CPU horsepower, we still don't see a more graduated/realistic gaming A.I.-I've read of GT4 planning to introduce concepts like CPU cars competing with each other as well as the human player, but I'll believe it when I see it.
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