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Old 29 October 2019, 12:14   #1
Solo Kazuki
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Possible AGA versions?

This thread is just made to start discussion about

In 80's and begin of 90's Amiga games are mostly as good as other versions or better. But in 90's many games for Amiga was worst, mainly because limits of OCS/ECS chipset and memory (1MB mostly) and not utilising AGA available since '92/'93. Some games were released in both OCS/ECS and AGA versions and most AGA versions looks much better.

But, basing on great work of CFOU! with Eye of the Beholder (both parts) i begin to think if there is possible to make AGA versions of some games? Which games have more chances and which less? Is required complete rewrite of game code or in some cases just some modifications are enough?



Here is list what was done so far:
Dune II (NovaCoder) - OpenDune AGA version with VGA graphics
Eye of the Beholder (CFOU!) - VGA data support for AGA version
Eye of the Beholder II (CFOU!) - VGA data support for AGA version
Super Cars II (JOTD) - VGA graphic for AGA version

Here is list what is in works:

Turrican 2 (Muzza) - VGA graphic for AGA version

Last edited by Solo Kazuki; 15 July 2021 at 17:49.
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Old 29 October 2019, 12:20   #2
Steril707
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Originally Posted by Solo Kazuki View Post
Which games have more chances and which less?
I'd say games with static images have a better chance.

Upping the bitplanes in $dff100 and drawing more colourful images to replace the older ones might work easily, depending on the game and its code.

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Originally Posted by Solo Kazuki View Post
Is required complete rewrite of game code or in some cases just some modifications are enough?
You need at least to set additional bitplane pointers in your copperlists.
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Old 29 October 2019, 13:39   #3
Solo Kazuki
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Upping the bitplanes in $dff100 and drawing more colourful images to replace the older ones might work easily, depending on the game and its code.
There is no need to drawing anything in some cases, just like in EOB converting/using VGA graphics is enough.

Last edited by Solo Kazuki; 29 October 2019 at 17:23.
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Old 07 November 2019, 12:13   #4
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Originally Posted by Solo Kazuki View Post
There is no need to drawing anything in some cases, just like in EOB converting/using VGA graphics is enough.
I meant "blitting" by drawing, sorry for the wrong expression.

You need to alter your blitting process if you use more planes.
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Old 07 November 2019, 19:54   #5
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Space Hulk, 256 colours and 30khz screen support
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Old 23 November 2019, 16:12   #6
Solo Kazuki
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Space Hulk, 256 colours and 30khz screen support
Could You explain more about this? Is there any AGA version of Space Hulk?
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Old 24 November 2019, 00:17   #7
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The PC version does run in 256 colors and looks significantly better (also the game's exe contains debug infos).
Afaik there's no AGA version of Space Hulk (yet).
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Old 24 November 2019, 01:19   #8
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Quote:
The PC version does run in 256 colors and looks significantly better
Like many PC VGA games which have not Amiga AGA version...
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Old 24 November 2019, 05:23   #9
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For me, the ones that come to my mind first of all are the following:

Monkey Island 2
Space Quest IV & V
Police Quest 3
Day of the tentacle
Sam and Max hit the road

Yes, I know, these (and many more) can be played using ScummVM, but a native AGA version would require far less in the way of RAM and CPU power, at least, to the best of my knowledge.
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Old 23 June 2020, 17:46   #10
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Quote:
Monkey Island 2
Space Quest IV & V
Police Quest 3
Day of the tentacle
Sam and Max hit the road
This is an interesting topic - with VGA-version's graphics already created and the game itself already written for the Amiga, all the AGA-version would need would presumably be just some 'relatively small' tweaks in the code to use different screenmodes, utilize the AGA's possibilities, and just load and implement the graphics a bit differently.

I would certainly be interested in seeing this type of efforts, it's always fun to see something created for the AGA Amigas (which seem to be a bit of an underdog, as OCS/ECS gets more love, perhaps because it's a more interesting challenge due to bigger limitations and the 'compact, universal design' is a bit like a C64, whereas AGA Amigas often come with different CPU and memory configurations, hard disks and who knows what else).

I always have to envy people that are able to create something 'for a platform' - I can only 'use old computers' for my projects (graphics and sound mostly) instead of being able to 'create for old computers'.

However, the listed games (and more) are mostly easy enough to emulate on AGA Amigas, since AGA Amigas share the CPU architecture with other platforms that those games exist for. I played most of those back in the day on my Amiga without problems.

Of course native versions would enable one to skip the hassle of installing and configuring an emulator that might require a fast CPU and dedicated partition to make it worth emulating, but if you have those things, you don't need ScummVM, you can just play them in a dedicated screen while still multitasking on the other screen(s) normally, if you just emulate another architecture that also uses the Motorola CPUs.

It was even easy to play Doom with good framerate and full sound and musics on AGA Amiga this way. Other games I played included things like Marathon II, Alone in the Dark, Dark Forces, Wolfenstein 3D (which has higher resolution and different, but still good musics), The Secret of Monkey Island, etc.

The advantage of DOS PCs of the day wasn't only the VGA/MCGA graphics, CPU power and lots of memory. They also had a variety of sound cards that in some ways surpassed or exceeded Amiga's 8-bit, 4-channel, sample-based limitations. For example, the Sound Blaster and even old Adlib cards could give a game 9 channels of 'live FM synthesis' sound, which at best can react 'live' to a player in ways samples never could (for an old example of something like this one can play the 'Falcon Patrol' games on the C64 that use 'filtered noise wave' sounds so effectively, you can know the exact distance of enemy aircraft just from how it sounds), sound unique and vast, while still leaving room for sound effects (and those could use samples).

Wing Commander is a good example of a nicely done soundworld that just doesn't sound as good on the Amiga. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge also uses the interesting 'iMuse' music system that sounds pretty amazing on Yamaha OPL2 chip.

So even if this 'code tweaking' could be done, everything glorious from the PC side still couldn't quite be carried on to the Amiga side, sadly.

Back in the day, this 'multichannel music capability with a personality' was one of the things I envied whenever I saw the PC versions of games, although I did enjoy Amiga's sound, when it came to these game ports, this part was never converted to Amiga side, and all we got was a more boring or limited-sounding aural side in the Amiga ports, where the DOS version had a certain 'epic charm' to its music world and even sound effects sometimes.

To my ears, a hand-crafted synth drum (that might sound slightly different every time) can sound better than some generic sample drum I've already heard a thousand times. Let alone other sounds. A long, sweeping FM-trumpet sound on a DOS game requires only a tiny amout of resources, and sounds good - but on the Amiga side, it might be replaced by a short, looping sample that just doesn't give the same expression at all.

So although this type of effort would be interesting just from the curiosity perspective, I think to get the 'overall effect' (or glory) of the DOS-version of a game, the sound would need to be somehow tinkered as well.

In the end, it might be better to just play these kind of games on the DOS platform, where you instantly and easily get the full benefit of both VGA beauty and the intended soundworld.
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Old 16 May 2021, 12:32   #11
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JOTD is now working on Supercars 2 AGA.

Also Muzza on Turrican 2 AGA.

Last edited by Solo Kazuki; 16 May 2021 at 12:42.
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Old 16 May 2021, 16:26   #12
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for ScummVM games, the best way would be to rewrite ScummVM to drop SDL and directly use native amiga routines.

That means loading the graphics and converting them to blittable copies in memory instead of doing constant full screen refresh + c2p update.

But I don't think it's impossible. It's just that current ports of ScummVM are "lazy" (I mean the effort is good but getting rid of SDL is a must have to get a good performance)
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Old 16 May 2021, 23:03   #13
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Would be interesting to read how Nova did his Day of the Tentacle 4MB fast RAM version for the A1200 and if the same technique could be applied to Sam and Max.

Did Nova create tools to display the sprites and backgrounds

Also Syndicate AGA, using 16 colours in 31khz mode, 640x400, 640x480 or 640x512 No Flicker. Maybe the A3000 can handle that on ECS because it has a fast enough processor
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Old 16 May 2021, 23:33   #14
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whdload probably doesn't set beamcon0 register back to the original state: it relies on the OS, which doesn't set it either.

Games aren't supposed to change that register. We are supposed to fix this when we encounter it. I didn't fix it.
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Old 17 May 2021, 00:20   #15
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I would love to see more AGA versions of good games, but please don't made mess like in Zool backgrounds. Second game got fine backgrounds that were in style of that game, got right palette of colors, but backgrounds in first one was a real mess. For me it was hard to recognize things.
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Old 17 May 2021, 06:24   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jotd View Post
for ScummVM games, the best way would be to rewrite ScummVM to drop SDL and directly use native amiga routines.

That means loading the graphics and converting them to blittable copies in memory instead of doing constant full screen refresh + c2p update.

But I don't think it's impossible. It's just that current ports of ScummVM are "lazy" (I mean the effort is good but getting rid of SDL is a must have to get a good performance)
Okay I feel like I need to correct a few things here.

Most of the 68K ports of ScummVM are using my native back-end which took me years of hard work to develop from scratch, nothing lazy there. My back-end uses a chunky frame-buffer but it's still very fast considering the hardware (even runs on an Amiga 500 with an 030).

Also using the SDL actually makes a lot of sense, it means that it's much quicker to get something up and running as a proof of concept and then you can spend time tweaking it later. I once ported Wolfenstein 3D to AGA in 4 hours using SDL and it was bloody fast too

[ Show youtube player ]

The problem with the newer ScummVM ports after I stopped building it is that they became progressively slower because they are more demanding (more features and more games), this always happens with large projects that are continually updated.

BTW I also did an AGA version of dune 2 so you should update your list

[ Show youtube player ]

Last edited by NovaCoder; 17 May 2021 at 06:39.
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Old 17 May 2021, 07:29   #17
Solo Kazuki
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@NovaCoder

Dune 2 AGA is rather port of OpenDune than modyfing of original game, but it can be on this list. No problem, i'm adding Dune 2 to list with proper description.
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Old 18 May 2021, 10:27   #18
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I'd add Beneath a Steel Sky or Flight of the Amazon Queen to game that may benefits of an AGA version. At least, BASS does have a CD32 version but it doesn't seems to me that graphics were enhanced in comparison of original OCS version.
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Old 18 May 2021, 11:01   #19
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adventure games that run on ScummVM should be processed by improving ScummVM itself. Else it's too much work.
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Old 18 May 2021, 13:40   #20
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Must not forget the excellent, giana sisters special edition http://pixelglass.org/#gianase
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