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Old 22 February 2021, 20:16   #1
saimon69
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[Brainstorming] Power Drift and pseudo 3D Super Scaler-like circuit games

[EDIT - i modified the title to show what kind of pseudo 3d we are talking about]

Am going to propose a brainstorm to do a decent pseudo 3D circuit game on the style of Power Drift and Victory Heat Rally; target: could be done on AGA but to push the envelope i could say OCS/ECS.

For the frame rate this is the kind of game that if even goes to 25fps should be still enjoyable.

Let's see some previous attempts:

Power Drift [amiga]
[ Show youtube player ]

This is well known to be NOT a good port, and i also think there would be a lot to improve: cars are too big, circuit is definitely too tight and tiles are confusing (they wanted to do material on it, i think it adds processor time to draw); with some views slows to a crawl. [that code was ported from ST does not help too]


Drivin Force OCS/ECS
[ Show youtube player ]

A bit better: is fast and car size is right but miss in other areas: while tiles are fast circuit here is too large and lack "spectacularity" (no jumps, no real overlapping parts). Then the bouncing and the messy control. Tile design is confusing too
Apparently uses one 7 colors playfield for the circuit enlarged from a quarter screen for speed (not a problem since gives a 'super scaler' feeling) and the player is a sprite.


Victory Heat Rally on PC
[ Show youtube player ]

This is on PC therefore not a real comparison could be done but seems to do a lot of things right: small cars, clear tiles design and limited but well selected color palette.

I think something like this could be made on a ECS machine with a more limited field of view: keeping one playfield, the quarter screen enlarged, player car as sprite and competitors as part of the playfield (same as drivin force) should look good and clear; not sure if is possible to use copper to bend vertically screen a bit on curves.

Last edited by saimon69; 23 February 2021 at 19:33. Reason: modified title
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Old 22 February 2021, 21:06   #2
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What's wrong with e.g. Vrooom and Virtual Karting?
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Old 22 February 2021, 21:28   #3
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When you talk about pseudo 3D, what's the difference between these and say Lotus 2?
The way the road is done in 'chunks' rather than lines? Or is it something else?
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Old 22 February 2021, 21:39   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roondar View Post
When you talk about pseudo 3D, what's the difference between these and say Lotus 2?
The way the road is done in 'chunks' rather than lines? Or is it something else?
I remember briefly seeing Power Drift in the arcade back in around 1990 and being quite impressed. I think it's down to the lines of sprites that make up the tracks - if I remember, they both scaled and rotated, and there could be hundreds on screen at once. I'll have to check arcade footage to make sure.

EDIT: I was right, have a look at this awesome arcade footage!

[ Show youtube player ]
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Old 22 February 2021, 22:34   #5
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That does look quite good yeah
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Old 22 February 2021, 22:38   #6
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
When you talk about pseudo 3D, what's the difference between these and say Lotus 2?
Technically, pseudo 3D could be pure 2D with a shadow below it. That would make it pseudo 3D.

From Power Drift, first person perspective and sprite expansion should be expected.

In Lotus you race against NPCs.

So the only difference is circuit racing.

Meanwhile, there's Stunt Car Racer and Formula 1, which are circuit, but not sprite expansion.

There's also various isometric circuit racing games, but they're not first-person.
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Old 22 February 2021, 23:09   #7
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That does look quite good yeah
It makes me seasick though Hurk!
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Old 23 February 2021, 16:52   #8
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For me, the big difference comes between the likes of Lotus, Crazy Cars etc., and F-Zero & Mario Kart and the likes. The former make no attempt to be actually 3D - all you have is a road that shifts to the left or the right, but always seems to go the same direction and generally feels too false for my liking.

Mario Kart and F-Zero could rotate the track in any direction (even though the racers and objects were simply scaled sprites), and that made things feel much more immersive, and suddenly I was interested in racing games. That feeling was also present in polygon racers like F1GP of course.
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Old 23 February 2021, 17:21   #9
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I recall nearly falling out of the moving cab version at Leeds arcade club lol. Not a massive fan of it and yes it made me feel sick. Outrun far better although obviously not doing quite as much mad scaling
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Old 23 February 2021, 18:09   #10
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There was Xtreme Racing for AGA which was Mario Kart-esque [ Show youtube player ]

Last edited by AJCopland; 23 February 2021 at 18:17.
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Old 23 February 2021, 19:35   #11
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Well, superscaler games are a bit different from the "flat" 2d ones because they add a third dimension factor and things like jumps; in this Power Drift create a different genre, not too dissimilar from Stunt Car Racer, but the latter does not have bridges and there is only one competitor.

The thread here is my attempt to see whether with properly managed resources is possible to create a decent experience in an Amiga OCS/ECS and by extention on AGA; in example, are flat shaded street layers faster to render than heavily dithered ones? How many we can visualize at once? Can we use copper to skew vertically view so to have a bit of curve effect? How big can the tracks be? What are the technical problems of create a superscaler circuit - visual engine, car positioning, etc. Can we add factors like serial link or split screen? And so on...
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Old 23 February 2021, 19:43   #12
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I recall nearly falling out of the moving cab version at Leeds arcade club lol. Not a massive fan of it and yes it made me feel sick. Outrun far better although obviously not doing quite as much mad scaling
It seems to remember there was a seat belt too, but maybe not in that one?
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Old 23 February 2021, 20:09   #13
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Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
For me, the big difference comes between the likes of Lotus, Crazy Cars etc., and F-Zero & Mario Kart and the likes. The former make no attempt to be actually 3D - all you have is a road that shifts to the left or the right, but always seems to go the same direction and generally feels too false for my liking.

Mario Kart and F-Zero could rotate the track in any direction (even though the racers and objects were simply scaled sprites), and that made things feel much more immersive, and suddenly I was interested in racing games. That feeling was also present in polygon racers like F1GP of course.
I have to agree about Lotus and Crazy Cars, the Amiga had loads of those Pole Position-type racing games that were really honestly CRAP, as there's no real sense of 3D or 2D space at all. With Lotus, etc, all you have is a road, usually with a stripe of some sort to give the impression of speed, and it bends left or right to differing degrees and the road may undulate up or down to simulate bumps and so forth, but the frequency and ease of which competing cars approach you is determined by dubious means, which is hard to call real racing.

By comparison, take the F-Zero and Mario Kart games, or on the Amiga, Super Skidmarks, Super Cars II or 3D games like Stunt Car Racer or MicroProse' Formula One Grand Prix, which have a real physical 2D or 3D space in which to race in, and the sense of competition is raised immensely!
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Old 24 February 2021, 02:05   #14
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Even without road sprites i think that just having some sprites to confine the road boundaries (and maybe flat vectors) would have done a good job on making a Mario Kart clone, however the catwalks and bridge parts would be out of the question...
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Old 24 February 2021, 10:30   #15
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It seems to remember there was a seat belt too, but maybe not in that one?

Not sure, maybe There definitely was on some new Afterburner cab as it wouldn't start without it being plugged in
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Old 24 February 2021, 11:44   #16
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Not sure, maybe There definitely was on some new Afterburner cab as it wouldn't start without it being plugged in

G-LOC certainly required a seatbelt to start - because that one *really* threw you around!
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Old 26 February 2021, 23:17   #17
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I did realize, watching the longplay videos of Power Drift, that the way materials are assigned to the sprite layers is through some sort of fill - not sure whether is using the copper or a software one (being an ST port i suppose the latter); wonder if removing the fill or making it a flat color there could be some performance gain - is something that can be tested by those that know how to meddle with emulation monitors?
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Old 28 February 2021, 21:46   #18
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An undisclosed coder told me that making a game like this will be a "nail in the 655" due to the calculations but like the idea...
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Old 28 February 2021, 22:03   #19
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First off, yes I am in the minority when I say that power drift on the Amiga is not too bad. Of course it's not anything compared to the actual arcade machine but it does a decent job in my opinion.

Second of all, the PC game that was shown looks fantastic and I will definitely check out.

Thanks
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Old 01 March 2021, 00:23   #20
saimon69
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First off, yes I am in the minority when I say that power drift on the Amiga is not too bad. Of course it's not anything compared to the actual arcade machine but it does a decent job in my opinion.
I always hope someone like Fedepede on Atari STE comes and try to optimize it: it can be tweaked but there are also bigger issues with it like cars size and circuit being too tight in my opinion - this was ZZKJ of Super Hang on fame so i think he really squeezed stuff like a lemon for ST but then no optimization for make it run better on amiga,nor improvements like a copper sky and crappy uncle art instruments -_-

Last edited by saimon69; 01 March 2021 at 00:30.
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