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Old 28 February 2015, 14:41   #1
lordofchaos
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Amiga's Best Magic Tricks?

Are there any experienced coders that have been genuinely baffled by a certain trick/routine or hack that another coder has done, which at first glance looks impossible?

And if so what was the game or demo?

Also did it benefit your own approach to coding?

Curious to know from those in the know, so to speak

Last edited by lordofchaos; 28 February 2015 at 14:49.
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Old 28 February 2015, 22:16   #2
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lot's of times.. no specific ones come to mind at the moment, though.. Mostly I've just let it go, if I couldn't figure it out just by thinking about it (was never much one for going into other ppl's code to try and figure it out)..
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Old 28 February 2015, 23:04   #3
lordofchaos
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lot's of times.. no specific ones come to mind at the moment, though.. Mostly I've just let it go, if I couldn't figure it out just by thinking about it (was never much one for going into other ppl's code to try and figure it out)..
I imagine that was the case for most other coders too..

I`m wondering about how much code was shared freely in the Amiga community (especially if it was some ground breaking routine that could benefit others practically). I know lot's of demos had very similar effects with rival groups..
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Old 01 March 2015, 02:58   #4
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Originally Posted by lordofchaos View Post
I imagine that was the case for most other coders too..

I`m wondering about how much code was shared freely in the Amiga community (especially if it was some ground breaking routine that could benefit others practically). I know lot's of demos had very similar effects with rival groups..
Code was rarely shared. However, ideas were regularly stolen, or a kinder word would be 'inspired'.

The 'problem' for Amiga demo coders was for the most part, the Amiga was the pioneer of many demo effects we take for granted today, and there were hundreds of decent Amiga demo coders, but not all of them with a lot of design or inspiration of what they should code.

So if one demo comes out with a plasma effect, either another demo coder just by looking at it onscreen can figure it out, or they look at the code to see how it was done, and invariably the idea is always to better it.

From colour cycling graphics, fast plotted mandelbrots, filled circle routines, rotozoomers, rotating text scrollers, etc, etc, etc.

Someone codes something, someone else tries to take it to the next level, all they needed was the boundaries of "this is what I can do, can you match it or make it better"......... and thats all that was needed.
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Old 01 March 2015, 12:36   #5
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IMHO the rotozoomer in "brian the lion" is impressive... Actually still don't understand how it's done.
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Old 01 March 2015, 14:16   #6
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I remember a very heated argument with a friend over "mode 7", his position being that the Amiga could never produce anything of that nature in a game. I showed him Brian The Lion, the bonus stage with the rotating crystal platforms and curving backdrop, his answer was it's just animation..

There was no way the A500 could pre-calculate that animation quick enough and to have all those frames stored in RAM.. Also how could you plot the collision detection on the surfaces of the rotating platforms if they were just pre-canned animations? (not that you couldn't, but wouldn't it be easier if it was real-time?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT View Post
So if one demo comes out with a plasma effect, either another demo coder just by looking at it onscreen can figure it out, or they look at the code to see how it was done, and invariably the idea is always to better it..
So in short we owe a lot of cool looking demo effects and routines to good old fashioned one-upmanship

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Old 01 March 2015, 15:31   #7
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Back in the day I remember being baffled by this:
[ Show youtube player ]
[ Show youtube player ]

I couldn't figure out how they could do all the necessary calculations for each and every pixel, that many pixels and in 50 FPS on a stock A1200. Eventually the light came on, I realized how really simple it actually was and wrote my own.
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Old 01 March 2015, 15:52   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leffmann View Post
Back in the day I remember being baffled by this:
[ Show youtube player ]
[ Show youtube player ]

I couldn't figure out how they could do all the necessary calculations for each and every pixel, that many pixels and in 50 FPS on a stock A1200. Eventually the light came on, I realized how really simple it actually was and wrote my own.
go on then, spill the beans!

i'm guessing it's something to do with two sets of four bitplanes containing circular patterns, and clever ordering of the palette.
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Old 01 March 2015, 17:28   #9
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Yes, exactly like that. The two sets of four bitplanes effectively make up the rows and columns of a tiny 16x16 texture, which you program into the 256 color registers.

With clever dithering of the radial patterns, you can even get away with it on an OCS Amiga.
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Old 01 March 2015, 19:19   #10
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hmm! it seems so obvious now! one could also do all kinds of tricks using spirals instead of circles
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Old 01 March 2015, 21:11   #11
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If we talk about tricks in games I could say Universe from Core Design got lot of colors, it looks like they write own driver for A500 to show more colors that it is normally possible. Brian the Lion got nice effects too, nice rotation with language select, bending title under main menu and some in-game tricks like scaling map. Super Stardust done amazing trick with looping animation in tunnel sequence. Lot of platform games got very nice fluent parallax with many planes that mimics speed and perspective - Shadow of the Best, Kid Chaos, Lionheart, Oscar, Overkill, T-Racer, etc. In Marvelous Marvin Adventure there are levels were is total darkness and You can see only very small part of screen, You see in darkness eyes, some belongs to pick-up stuff some do not exist for real, and when You find helmet with candle level starts to be more bright for short amount of time. For me that was very nice and moody trick. For someone else 3d-dungeons in AmberMoon can be that kind of trick.
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Old 03 March 2015, 23:40   #12
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Most of the stuff in the Spaceballs demo looked impossible at the time, especially the dancing scenes.
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Old 04 March 2015, 15:16   #13
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Rumor has it that Battle Squadron is the only Amiga game that ever featured a cloaked / predator enemy effect.
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Old 04 March 2015, 15:30   #14
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Rumor has it that Battle Squadron is the only Amiga game that ever featured a cloaked / predator enemy effect.

Didn't the ninja from body blows also use something similar?
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Old 05 March 2015, 10:45   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT View Post
Someone codes something, someone else tries to take it to the next level, all they needed was the boundaries of "this is what I can do, can you match it or make it better"......... and thats all that was needed.
So the demo coders back then already showed the signs that technology is more evolution rather than revolution
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Old 05 March 2015, 12:29   #16
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So the demo coders back then already showed the signs that technology is more evolution rather than revolution
Of course, its always evolution. Consider early demos on Amiga back in 1987 and 1988, and then compare them to demos in 1993 and 1994.

The machine didn't change, but the likes of Phenomenas Enigma and Sanitys Elysium couldn't come about in 1987 because there had to be an evolution of skills, a general progression as each coder and musician and graphics artist tried to outdo someone else in another group.

As someone put it, the demo scene is pretty much the biggest game of one upmanship there was.
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Old 05 March 2015, 14:10   #17
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Rumor has it that Battle Squadron is the only Amiga game that ever featured a cloaked / predator enemy effect.
Nah, that's not true, Alien Breed Tower Assault got aliens creatures that use same "predator" effect, there's also that kind of ship in Super Stardust.

Last edited by Gzegzolka; 06 March 2015 at 17:06.
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Old 05 March 2015, 14:44   #18
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So like evolution itself, there are no huge leaps but rather a small progression, built on many mutations of previous efforts.. There must have been some real game changers in terms of coding outside the box, especially from inside the scene.

For me Spaceballs State Of The Art was a game changer in terms of presentation, I`m not sure how it ranks in the way of pure technical achievement though.
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Old 05 March 2015, 23:24   #19
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For me Spaceballs State Of The Art was a game changer in terms of presentation, I`m not sure how it ranks in the way of pure technical achievement though.
There's hardly any code in the demo, it's more or less nothing but an animplayer!
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Old 06 March 2015, 16:08   #20
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Once upon a time there was such a thing in the demoscene as "world records". I had my try back in the days coding around 100 bobs onscreen while more competent coders, in 1988, where dealing with 200-250.
Then came Dragons megademo, 1990, feauturing "unlimited bobs".
Nowadays i know where the trick was but still the difference between 100 and unlimited bobs makes me cry .
Another trick i was unable to understand, and i'm still at some extent, is the "chaos zoomer"; watch the vortex grow 'till you eyes bleed.
Talking about videogames i still find the tunnel sequence of super stardust (specially the OCS version) incredible.
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