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Old 29 December 2015, 14:28   #1
Master484
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Megaman X on the Amiga?

This question has been circling in my mind for a long time: could the SNES Megaman X be possible to make on the Amiga? And I mean the basic Amiga 500, with 1 MB RAM. Because if the standard Amiga is capable of Turricans and other awesomeness, surely Megaman X should also be possible?

So just for fun I made some palette conversion tests , check it out.



From these mockups you can see that it is possible to convert the graphics to 16 colors without any major quality loss. The palette that I made is able to re-produce the "color athmosphere" of the SNES version quite nicely. And it's in fact just 15 colors, because I reserved one color for the sprite/bob transparency. Every major color is included, at the price of having only two grays, but the browns and the other colors can be used to support the grays if needed.

Most sprites in MMX are colored by a mix many different colors, and at first they might seem too "high color" for a 16 color palette. But to my surprise this is not the case, in fact it has the opposite effect: the multi-colored sprites ALLOW us to use the entire 16 color palette that we have, and the results look great, as you can see from the color edit mockups I made. And on the Amiga, if we use blitter objects (bobs) for all game sprites, then 16 colors in the same sprite is possible right?

And because the sprites are cartoonish and have a black outline around them, they stand out really well from the background. And this too is a good thing for our 16 colors, because the sprites and the background can use the same colors without any fear of sprites being lost in the background gfx.

---

Although as you can see in the mockups I removed all extra background stuff like clouds and parallax layers, only sprites and foreground objects remain...but I imagine this is how a potential conversion would need to be done; the backgrounds in the SNES version have so much stuff in them that the Amiga would just run out of memory and disk space and all the parallax layers would slow the game down. But of course we could do the backgrounds like they're done in Turrican 2; copper skies and other cool tricks.

And if necessary (as it well might be) the levels could be split in two parts, with the level bosses and boss music loaded separately once the player reaches them. This techique is used in many other games too, like in Shadow of the Beast, and surely one boss + music could be loaded quickly enough.

And about the controls; the SNES version uses 3 buttons of the gamepad. One button shoots, one dashes, and one jumps. But on the Amiga this would be: Fire shoots, Joy Up jumps, and dashing would be done by either moving the Joy diagonally down, or even straight down, because that direction is not used for anything else; Megaman can't crouch. And space bar would be used to access the equipment menu.

And performance wise, I don't think Megaman X would be too much to handle. The amount of sprites on the screen at the same time is about at the same level than in Turrican. And even on the SNES version Megaman himself can only have 3 active bullets on the air at the same time; this works well because the bullets are so fast and exit the screen quickly. Only a few special weapons occasionally cause more bullets to be shot. Compare that to Turrican with 10+ player bullets on the screen all the time.

About the level designs, maybe some stuff might need to be redesigned for the Amiga version, like adjust the tile amount and size for memory reasons and maybe cut a few special effects out...but I don't see anything that would be impossible to accomplish here. Megaman X has 8 levels + an intro level + Sigmas fortress, which is 3 levels long, and all of them have bosses. And some people might think "that would take 12 disks", but Turrican 2 had many levels, each with unique music and boss tunes and it fit on a single disk. And even if it would need more, then so what? Good games have many disks.

So I think technically Megaman X is possible, if it would be specifically re-designed for the Amiga. A 100% accurate copy might be impossible, but surely an Amiga version could be done. But of course it would still require a very skilled and motivated development team, confident in making multi-way scrolling platformers and advanced stuff like "wall jumps", charge shots and dashing. And the enemy intelligence is quite complex too, especially the boss AI, so I think that alone would take many months if done properly.
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Old 29 December 2015, 14:30   #2
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you know what, if it's good enough, i'm taking the 12 disks no matter what

We have hard drives

EDIT : however, SNES ? then A1200, 256 colors
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Old 29 December 2015, 14:51   #3
Master484
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Quote:
you know what, if it's good enough, i'm taking the 12 disks no matter what
Yeah, so would I.
And even without a hard drive it still might be playable with 12 disks, if you had to change disks only when entering a new level.

And I'm sure the A1200 could do an almost 100% accurate conversion, or even beat the SNES version. But what excites me more is the thought that the standard A500 could do it and run it at 50fps, with 16 colors.
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Old 29 December 2015, 14:55   #4
dlfrsilver
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the A500 could do 32 colors on such a game.
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Old 29 December 2015, 15:10   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master484 View Post
Because if the standard Amiga is capable of Turricans and other awesomeness, surely Megaman X should also be possible?
There's quite a huge difference in making a game from scratch with the target platforms capabilities in mind, than making a conversion from another platform with completely different capabilities.
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Old 29 December 2015, 15:20   #6
commodorejohn
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Looks like a nicer version of the GBC port. Nifty
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Old 29 December 2015, 19:21   #7
Master484
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Quote:
the A500 could do 32 colors on such a game.
Yes, but I think many of the smoothly running action games on A500 often have only 16 colors, so I thought 16 colors would be a more realistic choice, for both speed and memory usage.

Quote:
There's quite a huge difference in making a game from scratch with the target platforms capabilities in mind, than making a conversion from another platform with completely different capabilities.
That's right. And Megaman X is amongst the best and most advanced games on the SNES, and the differences between SNES and A500 are huge. So if an Amiga conversion would be done, the game would need to be re-designed from the scratch and "built for the Amiga", taking full advantage of the A500 hardware and special chips. So it would need be done in the same way like all the great games on the system were made back then, and it would take a lot of time. But it definitely can be done.

And like Commodorejohn mentioned, Megaman X was converted even for the Gameboy Color, which is a very limited system in comparison to the SNES, but still the conversion was pretty good and had all the same basic gameplay intact.

Here is a Youtube video of the Gameboy Color version, Megaman Xtreme: [ Show youtube player ]

And supposedly the A500 can do everything that Gameboy Color can. At least push the color amount to 16, or indeed even to 32 if the developers would think it's possible.
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Old 29 December 2015, 20:15   #8
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I however would like palettes more towards the japanese taste rather than the euro/american one: colors are more exotic
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Old 29 December 2015, 23:06   #9
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I would think that an Amiga version would be fairly easy (relatively speaking, of course!!!). Essentially Megaman X is multi-scrolling platformer, albeit with shooting elements, which the Amiga is perfectly set up for, due to its display mechanics.

Look at similar games, such as Assassin, Superfrog, Turrican, etc. They all shove sizeable maps around in 8 directions and have enemy sprites and what-have-you going on. Surely a similar approach could be taken for Megaman X?

I will just state that I may be being a bit upbeat and overly-positive about such a project, as I would definitely like to see it happen!!
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Old 30 December 2015, 02:35   #10
Muzkat
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Do it. Make it happen.
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Old 30 December 2015, 09:11   #11
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The basis of MidnightResistance would work perfect..
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Old 30 December 2015, 10:39   #12
kamelito
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editor & info for this game: http://xeeynamo.blogspot.fr/#uds-search-results
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Old 30 December 2015, 13:49   #13
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Ok so everyone agrees that it can be done.

So maybe we should give it a shot.

Does anyone here think they could program a short demo level? A very simple level, just a few screens long, would be enough for test purposes. Some platforms, the Megaman character, and a few re-spawning enemies and a multi-way scrolling routine would be fine. This would be enough to test the basic concept, the controls and the gameplay. Probably the hardest thing to program would be the "wall jump/wall sliding" thing.

I am a programmer myself, but unfortunately I have never done anything on the Amiga, and have never used AMOS or any other Amiga programming tools. So I can't do it, but maybe someone else can?

But if someone else handles the programming, then I think I could help on the graphics side; it is quite easy to rip sprites and other graphics out of Megaman X using a SNES emulator, and then re-color them using this 16 color palette. And also I could edit the level tiles to make them 16*16 or 32*32, or whatever would be the best size. Ripping everything from the whole game would be a huge task of course, but surely a few sprites and some tiles for a short demo can be done quite quickly.

But if I ripped the gfx, then I assume they would need to be converted into the Amiga IFF format? What would be the best tool to convert PNGs into IFFs? And would the gfx then be usable on the Amiga just like that, or is there something else to consider?

---

The resolution of Megaman X is 256x224, which is the lowest resolution of the SNES. And Amiga resolution is 320x256. So the screen sizes are fairly close and most of the sprites are already of the "right size" for the Amiga screen; no need to re-size anything. And in fact because the Amiga screen is slightly bigger, everything will look slightly smaller than it does on the SNES. But this again is a good thing both memory and speed wise; the "big" enemies that fill large parts of the screen on the SNES version aren't actually so big when put to an Amiga screen.

Some other ideas that I have:

I think the armor system would need a redesign on the Amiga. On SNES during the stages the player collects 4 parts of Megaman's armor, and the armor part graphics are then gradually added into the Megaman sprite. But this would mean that we would need many versions of the Megaman sprite, and this would consume disk space and memory. So as a radical solution I think that on the Amiga we should make Megaman have all armor parts (or rather the capabilities granted by them, such as the speed dash) right from the start of the game.

But, to compensate for that, I think we should make Zero a playable character (which he wasn't on the SNES version). And we could even make him use the Z-Saber and the gun at the same time; tapping Fire would swing the saber, but holding it down for a little bit longer would start the power charge; and when fire is released he would shoot a charge shot with the gun.
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Old 30 December 2015, 14:53   #14
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@Master484 Sounds like a great idea! Nice job on the gfx conversion.

Would love to volunteer to help with any possible music conversions.
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Old 30 December 2015, 18:14   #15
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As usual, converting graphics to the required number of colors is only the tip of the iceberg of what makes a game possible on an Amiga or not. There's a million other things to take into account, like, can the Amiga hold at once in RAM all the necessary graphic data to make a 1:1 conversion of any given level? Can it push as many sprites at once on screen (probably not)? Can it even hold sprites of the size required by the original game (again, maybe not at many cases, bosses come to mind)?
And there's always the issue of tile graphic systems vs. the Amiga's bitmapped system. It's just isn't as easy to work with.

In brief, as it may seem to you that it's just a matter of color correction and downgrade to a reduced palette, it isn't. There's many, many more problems to make it happen. Just look at the Rygar thread on this board, where a simpler looking game is bringing a lot of issues forward regarding what can or cannot be done with an Amiga.

Excellent work with the color reduction though. I wish that was the only thing needed to port games like this to the Amiga.
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Old 30 December 2015, 18:31   #16
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Thanks guys.

I too really like this palette and how well it works with the graphics of this game, considering that on the SNES Megaman X has some 100+ colors on the screen I think.

Quote:
Would love to volunteer to help with any possible music conversions.
That's great to hear, so now we already have a musician and a graphic artist. Only a programmer is needed, and the Amiga conversion process can begin.

And I have already started converting the graphics to this 16 palette, just for the fun of seeing how it looks.

Here is the title screen in 16 colors and a screen size comparison, Amiga 320*256 vs SNES 256*224 side by side:




And yes, I know that in a project like this there is a lot more needed than reducing the colors to 16. But that is the case with all games, be they conversions or Amiga originals, there are always problems during development. But all problems, no matter how big, can be solved by crazy and totally motivated programmers.

And that is why a short demo should be done first, to see how well it would run, and how much stuff can be thrown into the screen without slowdown, and if things look good, then we can gradually build more stuff around the demo, maybe resulting in an actual full game at some point. But even a smoothly running demo would be a great achievement on it's own.
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Old 30 December 2015, 19:16   #17
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The work to port this for Amiga would be huge.

I honestly think if you drop the parallax scroll, use a 16 colors screen, and do a few other adjustments (Example ,use the extra 32 high pixels for a status bar at the top showing energy/ammo/lives etc so you don't need to have anything on top of the screen, make some explosions simpler, etc), I think it could de done on Amiga. The SNES game doesn't push a lot of stuff moving on screen at the same time, and it slowdowns in a lot of places. You'd probably need mid-level loading, but even that its ok, since most levels (from what I recall) have perfect places to do that. Also remember if you have less colors, sprites (Bobs, whatever) and tiles should take less space on ram. You can always do some adjustments, reuse tiles in a different way from the original game while keeping the original level layout, for example.

But like I said, huge job. I don't see it happening through voluntary work

Now, why 12 disks? The SNES game fits on a 1.5 Megabyte rom. The PC version (which runs on a 486-33mhz and requires 4mb ram) occupies less than 5 mb of HD. The game should fit on 4-5 disks, maybe even less.
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Old 30 December 2015, 20:44   #18
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suggestions:
to get more raster time for 32 colors i would leave the 256x224 resolution and use a NTSC overscan res a la bomberman;
i REALLy would love a more rich palette, and i think have megaman as hardware sprite could help;
(and superpalette tools too)
at the end i can help for music too, or some graphic retouch if needed
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Old 30 December 2015, 21:00   #19
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I don't mind the 16 colour graphics (colours are very well placed, after all) if the trade-off is a fluent, fast-paced experience. If some of you think that it's possible to pull it off with 32 colours, then the more merit to you guys!

I would sure enjoy this game if it ever got completed. Some people may argue "why won't you just play the SNES version and be done with it?" Yes... except I don't own a SNES and I still use my real Amiga (1M A500) to play games from time to time (some periods I use it everyday, but at least once every week) and having a proper Megaman title on the Amiga would be awesome. Sure, using emulators is great, but there's something about using the real machine that is unattainable via emulation. Hence the pertinence of an Amiga version of Megaman (or Super Mario World, or Sonic the Hedgehog, or etc).

I hope this doesn't turn into another vapourware like so many we've seen in the past. I hate to invest emotionally on an upcoming game just to find out that it was cancelled or indefinitely postponed...
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Old 30 December 2015, 21:12   #20
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Might seem weird but for me (graphic artist) Manga style graphics done well is a strong point of sale: i realized how uninspired usually western graphic palettes were (there are exceptions of course) once exposed to PC-Engine, megadrive and SNES games; after nippon invasion things did improve a bit but still...
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