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Old 13 January 2015, 10:00   #401
leathered
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To say it's better than Steve's previous image is obvious. Steve is utilising the copper to produce the 3 palettes and for FFAGA is the first artist to successfully do so.

The artwork of Steve's previous image was beyond anything attempted for this game so far, redrawing large sections within the limited palette was a bold step that neither myself or Turrican3 have dared to tread (much). It showed great potential with an obvious amount of work and determination.

Steve himself wasn't entirely happy with what he could do with it - he needed more colours - look what he did when he figured them out
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Old 13 January 2015, 11:36   #402
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Originally Posted by TjLaZer View Post
So this isn't AGA then? Will it run on an ECS Amiga?
There's plenty of info earlier in the thread - sorry to re-iterate here but since it's getting a little long in the tooth...

AGA: It benefits from a 'faster' fetchmode which means it runs well even on a vanilla set up. Sprites from the background parallax layer using an AGA trick with AGA 64 pixel wide sprites.

ECS: Got it running, but without the sprites and improved fetchmode. Obviously the CPU speed plays a large part but Shatterhand reported playable speed on a 7mhz machine which is encouraging.

Target machine is 2mb AGA with 250kb fast ram. I'll have to get it working without that fast ram at some point - but it works, and it it ain't broke...

After hitting that target, I'm confident I can make something work for ECS 2mb afterwards, but I've got to do that first.

Last edited by leathered; 13 January 2015 at 18:14.
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Old 13 January 2015, 19:20   #403
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Is the zip file on the front page an up to date preview?
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Old 13 January 2015, 19:27   #404
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Is the zip file on the front page an up to date preview?
It's getting old now - but I'm holding fire on another preview until I make some significant progress. A lot of what I did after that amounted to re-structuring and getting a viable engine for shuffling around the data for characters and level data.

Hello Rich
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Old 13 January 2015, 19:30   #405
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Hello Rich
Hi! :-) Thought I'd swing by to see how it's going, maybe read some more abuse, that kinda thing.
Wish I'd had several years, multiple people, MAME, much better hardware and ~5x as much ram to do the original FF.
But... eh, the playability probably still would've sucked. It really would have been lovely to have used the gameplay code from the original PCB; would've saved me a lot of time. I promise you I did look at the possibility for a day or two.

I can't remember how much time I had to write FF but it can't have been more than six months; it was just me (for both Amiga+ST versions; the ST version I did after Amiga FWIW) including ripping the sprites from the PCB (I ripped the backgrounds as well but it was hopelessly impractical to try to convert them so some not-very-motivated artists did a not-very-good job on it).

Man, that was such a long time ago... :-)

Last edited by RichAplin; 13 January 2015 at 19:38.
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Old 13 January 2015, 19:34   #406
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Lol! It seems to come with the territory with this game, doesn't it?
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Old 13 January 2015, 19:45   #407
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Lol! It seems to come with the territory with this game, doesn't it?
I guess so! It's amazing how much venom people have about that conversion; it's water off a duck's back to me (I wouldn't remotely claim it's a super fun game) but I just find it surprising.
In retrospect I think the most playable conversion I did was Shinobi on the CPC (which was a cracking arcade machine).
To be honest I never thought much of any of the beat-em-ups I had to convert... IMO the arcade machines themselves were very dull games.

As for Line Of Fire; we were laughing when we got that board in the office - basically zero chance of being able to convert it meaningfully (no h/w scaled sprites, no gun... hell the original had two 68ks and hardware-everything if I recall)

(edit): Ok so my startup-sequence for FF says I started on January 10th 1991, there's a postscript later from September - however in the meantime I'd also reverse engineered the Sega Megadrive and built a homebrew dev kit so maybe 6 or 7 months from start to finish. It also got reviewed in the September'91 issue of some magazine (..which would have hit the shelves in August, review done in late July maybe; they'd have had a complete-but-unreleased version) so yeah call it 6-7months in all.

Last edited by RichAplin; 13 January 2015 at 19:56.
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Old 13 January 2015, 19:54   #408
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I guess at the end of the day, the software companies where just looking to make a buck to a short deadline.

I think having attempted FFs myself helps me to remain somewhat subjective over the original conversion.
I still wonder how you managed to juggle all the data around in just 1mb loading from a floppy disk.
I'd imagine that if you were to attempt a conversion today you could use data from a variety of sources -
however as an amateur I just have to do the whole thing from scratch. I'm learning - and making it up as I go.

I think for the playability you'd have to be a fan of the original to appreciate why anyone would bother to try again now. I think for me it has as much to do with the AGA machines being so woefully underused and my fave machine dying early...

Plenty of fans of your CPC work here. This thread could do with a little light hearted banter...
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Old 13 January 2015, 20:10   #409
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I guess at the end of the day, the software companies where just looking to make a buck to a short deadline.
In the case of the developers (who usually weren't the same as the publishers, and never got a per-unit royalty btw) it was a case of trying to stay in business as much as anything.

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I think having attempted FFs myself helps me to remain somewhat subjective over the original conversion.
I still wonder how you managed to juggle all the data around in just 1mb loading from a floppy disk.
Lots of dynamic memory management; background disk loading, ram defragmentation, and gfx decompression as the game played. It looked ahead to see what baddies needed to come onscreen soon. It generated x-flipped versions dynamically and cached them. If you had 1MB RAM it would preload stuff.
In some cases I think it would maybe fall back to reusing an existing baddie it had in RAM already if memory was too tight.

Yeah quite a lot of (for the day) fairly hardcore geekery basically.

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I'd imagine that if you were to attempt a conversion today you could use data from a variety of sources -
however as an amateur I just have to do the whole thing from scratch. I'm learning - and making it up as I go.
Yeah it'd be very f'king useful having MAME! Would have saved a lot of time ripping the gfx; which was done purely by static disassembly of the ROMs and late nights. I even built my own EPROM reader for that game :-)


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I think for the playability you'd have to be a fan of the original to appreciate why anyone would bother to try again now. I think for me it has as much to do with the AGA machines being so woefully underused and my fave machine dying early...
Yep, the whole Amiga thing kinda faded. I was sad about that too; such a nicely designed machine (the Hardware Reference Manual was awesome). However, stuff like AGA was unlikely to ever really help much; with so many OCS machines in the market it would have forever been commercially insane to do an AGA-only game; much like how the Atari STE had so little impact (and it had real h/w scrolling and a rudimentary blitter IIRC)

From my perspective the UK games industry largely shifted over to consoles (NES, Megadrive/Genesis, SNES etc) because the hardware (and money) was so much better. Personally - after doing The Godfather (I did the PC version IIRC) I moved to Codemasters and had The Most Fun Ever doing a ton of hardware hackery for the Game Genie. Damn that was fun.
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Old 13 January 2015, 20:10   #410
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I have Shinobi and Double dragon originals for CPC.
I think you did them both or not. They were very good games. I also remember a friend having FF original, we played in his home he had a 1084s same with me and at the time I thought it was an awesome conversion, I thought it was very similar to the arcade.
No MAME back then plus I think all games looked much better in 1084s.

Last edited by nobody; 13 January 2015 at 20:19.
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Old 13 January 2015, 20:16   #411
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You know what's really changed tho...

(very off topic but.. just to illustrate quite how much the world has changed since 1991)

I wrote the server backend for an iOS/Android game a few years back; for shits'n'giggles let me just query the Player database one second...

ok see attached... that's unique players btw, no dupes.
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Old 13 January 2015, 20:29   #412
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Originally Posted by RichAplin View Post
In the case of the developers (who usually weren't the same as the publishers, and never got a per-unit royalty btw) it was a case of trying to stay in business as much as anything.
Yep, the whole Amiga thing kinda faded. I was sad about that too; such a nicely designed machine (the Hardware Reference Manual was awesome). However, stuff like AGA was unlikely to ever really help much; with so many OCS machines in the market it would have forever been commercially insane to do an AGA-only game; much like how the Atari STE had so little impact (and it had real h/w scrolling and a rudimentary blitter IIRC)
That all makes sense. I will never have quite the perspective on it that you have =).
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichAplin View Post
Lots of dynamic memory management; background disk loading, ram defragmentation, and gfx decompression as the game played. It looked ahead to see what baddies needed to come onscreen soon. It generated x-flipped versions dynamically and cached them. If you had 1MB RAM it would preload stuff.
In some cases I think it would maybe fall back to reusing an existing baddie it had in RAM already if memory was too tight.

Yeah quite a lot of (for the day) fairly hardcore geekery basically.
Very interesting and beyond what I can reproduce that's for sure... I have the luxury of HD (we're all using camera flash cards for solid state drives now) - characters are loaded from binary and can be shuffled on the fly, memory permitting. I've sort of managed to 'cheapskate' what you did all those years ago lol.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RichAplin View Post
Yeah it'd be very f'king useful having MAME! Would have saved a lot of time ripping the gfx; which was done purely by static disassembly of the ROMs and late nights. I even built my own EPROM reader for that game :-)
I read about what you did there. We had someone on here (Denis) who was trying something similar - ultimately however the gfx from just about anything ever have already been ripped on Mame. I recorded most of the fx the way you did - except I just needed a few software plugins on windows!
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Old 13 January 2015, 20:44   #413
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Originally Posted by RichAplin View Post
(very off topic but.. just to illustrate quite how much the world has changed since 1991)

I wrote the server backend for an iOS/Android game a few years back; for shits'n'giggles let me just query the Player database one second...

ok see attached... that's unique players btw, no dupes.
It's amazing what the games industry during the 'golden era' of home computers has grown into...

Biggest change for me since then is children - my 3 year old just put on the laptop to watch lego Star Wars with me...
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Old 13 January 2015, 21:35   #414
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Quote:
I read about what you did there. We had someone on here (Denis) who was trying something similar - ultimately however the gfx from just about anything ever have already been ripped on Mame. I recorded most of the fx the way you did - except I just needed a few software plugins on windows!
Yes, i have not ripped the GFX like most people do, i have DISASSEMBLED the arcade coin-op program roms, and crawled thru the tiledatas to build up the sprite frames ! This means that all the characters i did already are COMPLETE with no frame missing, which is not the case for the rips already done.

Just for example, DAMND use 42 sprite frames, + hardware rotations made by the CPS-1 arcade board (rudimentary, but hell, even the mame team was amazed when i told them that the CPS-1 board was able to do basic rotations of sprites ! Damnd has not sprite frame when he does its rolling sequence, all is done in hardware

in another vein, E.die use something like 63 sprite frames alone. Most sprites are in the same case, none of them has less than 30 frames.

the main problem, is that it's a very long process, which would need what the original graphists used for this game, a graphic tile program manager which is also doing mapping.

If only one of them could had released it on the net We have now X68000 emulation, so this could have been done, since the tool is running on this computer.....
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Old 13 January 2015, 21:40   #415
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I guess so! It's amazing how much venom people have about that conversion; it's water off a duck's back to me (I wouldn't remotely claim it's a super fun game) but I just find it surprising.
Hi Richard, for what it counts I always found FF for Amiga a great conversion. Big sprites, intro, marvelous synth song, colorful. The average Amiga game at that time had small sprites (blobs) and that horrible 2 shades palette Bitmap brothers style. The first time I saw the train coming on the subway I was blown away
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Old 13 January 2015, 21:47   #416
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Yes, i have not ripped the GFX like most people do, i have DISASSEMBLED the arcade coin-op program roms, and crawled thru the tiledatas to build up the sprite frames ! This means that all the characters i did already are COMPLETE with no frame missing, which is not the case for the rips already done.
Well, apart from mine :-p I got every single sprite out back in 1991, including all the color palettes (heh yeah I remember the board supported 90-degree rotations of characters)
Yes it was complex; not only that but ripping the (multi-layer) backgrounds was difficult as (IIRC) they were composed from a tile-map of a tile-map.
Ah happy days...

BTW, thanks Ovale! :-)
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Old 13 January 2015, 22:03   #417
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Its true I did play alot of F.F on the amiga and yes the huge sprites were awesome. I really enjoyed it. At the end of the day it was still final fight in the comfort of your living room.

The arcades were king back then; so it was a luxury to have this experience. It was not perfect but the kicking and punching sure had some oomph.
Well, i look forward to this new version when its done.
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Old 13 January 2015, 22:22   #418
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Really interesting hearing Richard talk about his experience making FF for Amiga, amazing what one or two people, or small teams were capable of creating! What was it, a few hundred million dollars to make the latest Call of Duty!!

Anyway, I also enjoyed the Amiga conversion. Was also very impresed with the new demo when I played it on Earoks Xmas Cd32 compilation, looking forward to the finished version.
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Old 13 January 2015, 22:28   #419
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Really interesting hearing Richard talk about his experience making FF for Amiga, amazing what one or two people, or small teams were capable of creating! What was it, a few hundred million dollars to make the latest Call of Duty!!

Anyway, I also enjoyed the Amiga conversion. Was also very impresed with the new demo when I played it on Earoks Xmas Cd32 compilation, looking forward to the finished version.
You sir, are a gentleman =). Forgetting for a minute the kind of pressure that Rich was under, that's the kind of coding/game design I still admire and aspire to. The end of the line of the 'bedroom coders' I guess.

Ok so the little one's in bed now where was I?
The amount of time I have to spend on this is limited especially now. Today – I extended the display width by 32 pixels to better accommodate Steve's awesome new gfx.
The display for all stages has gone from 256 pixels (don't hit me) to 288 still using AGA 32 bit fetch mode, and still with all 8 sprites and... that was it. I get by by focusing on a small task whenever I get the chance to.

Even so I was dead chuffed with that today! The bonus stage is properly feasible now...
Tonight's my drinking night – but between large sips of (expensive!) whiskey (a gift I must add) I might just be able to finish getting the 2 player working (almost) fully. I've been working over the holidays so it's still Christmas to me

Edit: Oh, and the car will be made of 6 attached sprites - 192 pixels and in 16 colours. That will give us a new record of 66 colours on screen, not bad =).

Last edited by leathered; 13 January 2015 at 22:36.
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Old 13 January 2015, 22:32   #420
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Originally Posted by RichAplin View Post
Well, apart from mine :-p I got every single sprite out back in 1991, including all the color palettes (heh yeah I remember the board supported 90-degree rotations of characters)
Yes it was complex; not only that but ripping the (multi-layer) backgrounds was difficult as (IIRC) they were composed from a tile-map of a tile-map.
Ah happy days...

BTW, thanks Ovale! :-)
Rich, just for the record, i guess that the funny way of running of the enemies in FF amiga is due to the fact that you had to remove some sprite frames right ?

anyway, the arcade board code program is not really big in itself, it's just organised as interlaced code chuncks and data chunks, making it quite difficult to run thru, but other than that, good god, it's plain ASM
Getting the tiledatas for each character is quite a bitch.....

Oh by the way, Final Fight is using 256 colors Rich, and not more
even with multiple palettes system the game use
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