FRS' MSX page WIP

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By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2992)

sd_snatcher's picture

20-08-2017, 00:48

Indeed, it seems that the VGM is being played a bit slower than on the real MSX machines.

I did my recordings on three different real MSX computers and all of them played the song at exactly the same speed:

1) FS-A1ST with its audio circuitry fixed
2) FS-A1ST with its audio circuitry still original
3) Sharp Hotbit (v1.2, black) with a CIEL MSX-Music R2 cartridge that had the OPLL low-pass filter fixed

I have just double-checked again on machine (2) to be sure that the recording didn't affect the speed.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7960)

Grauw's picture

20-08-2017, 01:02

sd_snatcher wrote:

Indeed, it seems that the VGM is being played a bit slower than on the real MSX machines.
I have just double-checked again on machine (2) to be sure that the recording didn't affect the speed.

That’s strange, I just checked too using my Xak original on my turboR GT, via the BGM menu, and the music plays exactly in time with the VGM. As-in A-B comparable throughout the songs… Pitch is correct, so it can’t be a 44.1 / 48 kHz issue. Did you play the music in game or with MCDRV?

Not that it’s super-relevant for the comparison Smile, I just couldn’t A-B your recording with my turboR. But it sounded similar to no. 2 indeed, bit muffled, not crisp.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2992)

sd_snatcher's picture

20-08-2017, 01:13

I played using MCDRV. Maybe that's the cause?

By Grauw

Enlighted (7960)

Grauw's picture

20-08-2017, 01:24

Think so! Better tell Guillian Smile.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9734)

wolf_'s picture

20-08-2017, 09:54

sd_snatcher: That sounds rather simple then: it's just like having dual voices, or any stack of voices really. It's no secret that the PSG plays an important role in Micro CAbin's games - just as it did in Konami's SCC games. What I didn't understand at first was the term '3rd operator'. To me that could suggest, in this context, that the MSX-Music chip would have an 'unknown' input register/port that translates audio signals to additional modulation depth for the carrier-operators. This can actually be done with Native Instruments FM7/FM8 software, and the Yamaha SY77, SY99 and TG77 synthesizers. And I know, as I have both FM8 and the SY77. Wink It's like what I said earlier: within an FM context, the term 'operator' is confusing if you're not actually referring to really modulating carriers at audio level. So, in short, FM and PSG are complementing each other, but the PSG isn't (what the term 'third operator' would suggest) changing the FM. Unless I'm again missing something here?

By Guillian

Prophet (3203)

Guillian's picture

20-08-2017, 10:22

Grauw wrote:

Think so! Better tell Guillian Smile.

MCDRV uses Illusion City's music driver. I tested the intro theme and seems to play at the same speed on both original game and MCDRV (one iteration each interrupt).

I have not examined the other music drivers, but the one used in Illusion City is probably an improved version of the previous ones. In the same way, probably the driver used in Princess Maker is the latest (better?) version of it.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2992)

sd_snatcher's picture

15-02-2018, 23:59

Jon Cortázar (viejo archivero) has created the following beautiful screen-2 Pixel Art. Would he allow me to include it in the next volume of the Pixel Art collection?

Also, could someone please send me the original .SC2 file, so I wouldn't have to convert this complex image with sprites back to the SC2 format?

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2992)

sd_snatcher's picture

31-03-2018, 21:59

I decided to release in the next days the projects I had finished before my surgery. Please keep in mind that I won't be able to give support or fix any bugs that show up. But IMHO it's better than wasting the effort that was put to create them.

The first release was already sent as a news post to MRC and should be announced soon.

By Grauw

Enlighted (7960)

Grauw's picture

31-03-2018, 23:41

Looking forward to what you will surprise us with FRS!

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2992)

sd_snatcher's picture

20-04-2019, 04:19

As you have noticed, I couldn't find the time to release the projects 1 year ago. I'll try it again, because soon I'll have to go into an MSX hiatus for an unknown period. As I mentioned before, I won't have the time to give any support of fix any bugs that eventually shows up, but it's better this way than to keep these unreleased forever.

The 1st project to be released is an enhancement patch for the game Laydock-2. This is the blurb:

--------
Laydock-2 is one of the very few MSX2+ exclusive games. This patch does many enhancements into this game, aiming to improve the playability, performance and balance the difficulty of the game between the one player and two player modes.

  • New title screen. The original title screen was a hasty digitisation. The MSX2+ trump card was to have thousands simultaneous of colors, something just unseen at that price range in 1988, and even less on an 8-bit machine. But the title screen of this game was almost monochrome and was full of artefacts, leaving a not so great impression.
  • Turbofixed the game. The turbo is automatically enabled on machines that have the CHGCPU routine on BIOS, and on Panasonic MSX2+ machines. Even the sample player will work at the correct rate, regardless of the CPU speed.
  • Optimised many of the game routines, so it runs a quite faster now even at 3.57MHz
  • Modified the sample player to play the samples at the PPI instead of the PSG. The samples were 1bit anyway, and this saved space for the new routines
  • Fixed a bug in the intro demo that caused the loading screen to be shown (and the respective sample to be played) only once every 256 loops of the demo
  • Implemented Double-buffering on the SAT (Sprite Attribute Table)
  • Fixed a bug that caused the shield meter to show an incorrect percentage
  • Fixed a race condition in the vertical scroll code that caused the sprites to jump on certain CPU speeds
  • Fixed a bug that made the Alpha weapon launch backwards in the horizontal stages
  • Bugfix: Bulldog didn't clear its explosion last sprite frame from the screen
  • The shield energy is now refilled at the beginning of each planet. This was implemented since the game allows you to start with a full shield at any stage you already played anyway.
  • Adjusted the power and speed of the weapons to match those of Super Laydock
  • To compensate for the stronger weapons, the shield now works differently:
    • It holds 20% less initial power
    • As a reward for careful players, the undocked ships now can recharge up to 8 units (50% of the max) per planet. It slowly recharges when the docking power is kept maxed for at least 4 seconds
  • There's a new dotted gauge just below you shield gauge, that show the amount of charging you still have left
  • The docking power also plays a rule at the fire rate of your projectile weapons. At the minimal level, your weapons have the original Laydock2 fire rate. At the maximum docking power, your weapons will match the fire rate of Super Laydock.
  • The docking power now discharges when taking hits even when the players are undocked. This will reflect in the ships fire rate (as explained before), and will also make docking harder, in a way to balance the difficulty between the single-player and dual-player modes.
  • All the weapons you have available can be fired at any time now. Some weapons were blocked from firing under some conditions as a workaround for bugs they had. This caused a nightmare for the player since he selected weapons that sometime just wouldn't fire without any explanation. Those bugs were fixed, so the blocks could be removed.
  • The "Double" weapon now kills both airborne and ground enemies on vertical levels too
  • Implemented 3 button joystick/keyboard support. They select the next/previous weapon respectively:
    • Changed the SHIFT to N and M for the keyboard 2nd and 3rd buttons
    • On the MSX joystick, press the trigger-2 to select the next weapon, and the triggers 1 and 2 simultaneously to select the previous weapon
  • Added joyMega support: button-A = next weapon, button-C = previous weapon, START = pause
  • Implemented support for quick weapon changes on single-player mode. This allows the secondary weapon to be changed while the older is still on screen. This will also solves the bug where the Condor missile got stuck on bosses
  • Improved the Merry weapon: when no direction is selected, it will fire forward like Zanac's weapon-0
  • Adjusted the launch point of the "Double" weapon on horizontal stages, to match the place on the ship were it is launched on vertical stages. This also makes it more effective.
  • Replaced ESC with STOP to pause the game on the keyboard
  • Fixed a bug that allowed line interrupts to happen during disk I/O (it was a miracle that it didn't freeze very often)
  • Implemented frame skipping and dynamic vsync for a much smoother gaming experience. This also considerably reduced the tearing that happened in screen flashing and palette fading effects, and the glitches that happened on the sprites on the MSX Turbo-R at the top of the screen.
  • Enhanced the shield gauge to show when the shield power is overboosted
  • Bugfix: Corrected the player-2 energy bar position, since it was misaligned
  • Fixed a bug that corrupted the fixed point damage under some occasions
  • Fixed a glitch that caused spurious sprites to be shown when the boss ship stage was being loaded

Note: Only after I finished the patch that I noticed that there's a different title screen if you boot the disk-2 of the game. I won't have time to remake that screen too, so if someone feels compelled to do that, just send me the finished image and I can include it on a newer version of the patch.

TL;DR: Besides the bugfixes and new title screen, the difficulty isn't watered down by this patch. In fact, what it does now is to reward skilful players that know how/when to balance the risks of playing offensive versus defensive, and that master the sub-weapons available in the game. The docking power now has a very important role in the game, so use it wisely. And yes, there's turbo and joyMega support now.

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