Inferno style games

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Por PingPong

Prophet (3435)

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03-05-2014, 21:07

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFQgSnILTsE

looking at this game i wonder why in the '80 most of games did not used sw vdp assisted sprites instead of the hw ones. Giving also the unavailability of horizontal scroll on msx2 why do not use the vdp engine to get decent sw sprites? with page flipping it's easy to get sw sprites in bitmapped modes. the vdp power is enough and you get good gfx instead of limited and flickering small objects. So why not stay away from vdp brute force scrolling and embrace the sw sprites.

But i cannot find a number of games like inferno
Any other examples?

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Por Manuel

Ascended (15686)

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03-05-2014, 21:20

Akin and Core Dump come to mind. But those games do scroll. With success..

Por TheSpecialist

Expert (113)

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03-05-2014, 21:35

There are a lot of 80s games that use software sprites. Although perhaps not that many which are side-view platform games. Opera Soft's MSX2 titles come to mind, as well as Seed of Dragon for turboR.

Part of the problem is the complexity that the management of backgrounds and sprites brings with it. Doing it fast is another matter entirely. It requires well-planned parallel execution of VDP and CPU.

Konami's sluggish MSX2 games show that optimal use of VDP and CPU in parallel is not easy even for a big company like them.

Por PingPong

Prophet (3435)

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03-05-2014, 21:37

Manuel wrote:

Akin and Core Dump come to mind. But those games do scroll. With success..

yes, but they are not from 'commercial' sw houses in the msx time (late 80's).
maybe the sw houses were too lazy to use sw sprites?

Por syn

Paragon (1920)

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03-05-2014, 22:22

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaNlod5A_io Youma Kourin comes to mind, although I dont know if parts are sprites or if they used that pageflipping you mentioned or not.

Por ARTRAG

Enlighted (6236)

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03-05-2014, 23:00

Youma Kourin is by far the best commercial game for use of sw sprites mixed to hw sprites
It has also vertical scrolling and a great PSG music and voice samples too iirc
http://youtu.be/RaNlod5A_io

Por PingPong

Prophet (3435)

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04-05-2014, 11:41

all those games are not many if we do not take into account xak, or similar RPG. I think sw houses did not even try to investigate on alternatives on hw sprites, simply because hw ones are more 'easy'. But they were also a lot limited. For example i cannot see a lot of games with big hw sprites. (Youma Kourin is a rarity).

Por syn

Paragon (1920)

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04-05-2014, 12:32

I think part of reason is that the msx homebrew scene had over 25 years to to perfect their/our software sprite skills while developers back then were (most likely) on deadlines.

I remember a game called butapork or something that had sw sprites I think, but its been 20 years since I last played it so I not sure.

Por PingPong

Prophet (3435)

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04-05-2014, 13:57

TheSpecialist wrote:

Konami's sluggish MSX2 games show that optimal use of VDP and CPU in parallel is not easy even for a big company like them.

Konami had made a very little usage of vdp cmd engine, preferring often the cpu usage (!) and relying to vdp only for simple animations. Others company did a more heavy usage. In contrast they used heavily hw sprites. This is confirming my idea of lazyness than others.

Por Grauw

Ascended (8383)

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04-05-2014, 14:31

As much as I like software sprites, I think it isn’t fair to say they were “lazy”. Hardware sprites have their own benefits, they are very fast and you can show tons of them on screen. Games like Aleste could not have been made with software sprites.

Additionally hardware sprites are easy to use… meaning you have greater flexibility to just move them around in interesting patterns and still spend time on other game logic. I suppose a game like USAS could have used software sprites, but there would be a limit on how much it can show at the same time, and how flexibly it could be used. And I don’t think anyone can complain that game doesn’t look good! Smile

Also, and I think this is very important but not everyone gets it: spending less time on creating the most awesome optimised graphics engine, means you can spend more time on gameplay programming. Would you rather have character sprites with a few more colours, or levels with moving parts, smarter enemies and more interesting boss fights?

Sprites have their use, and yes they may be easier to use but that doesn’t mean people were lazy, rather it means that they were making smart choices.

Finally, software sprites were used plenty on MSX2: SD Snatcher, Metal Gear 2, Ys series, Xak series… Yes predominantly RPGs but that is exactly because their pacing and framerate requirements suits software sprites well, whereas in an action game hardware sprites are often a better choice because you don’t want framerate to drop when you have more than a few enemies and projectiles on screen.

Por Manuel

Ascended (15686)

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04-05-2014, 14:30

syn wrote:

I think part of reason is that the msx homebrew scene had over 25 years to to perfect their/our software sprite skills while developers back then were (most likely) on deadlines.

Well, Akin was made in 1995, that's only 10 years after MSX2 came out Smile And the author (although brilliant) was only about 18 then and a single guy Smile

But OK, he probably had more time to do it. Many commercial games were done in very short time periods in these days.

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