Alien 8 MSX2 remake

by Guillian on 16-01-2009, 11:54
Topic: MSX Related
Tags: Remakes
Languages:

Manuel Pazos (Guillian) has made an MSX2 remake of the classic game Alien 8, released by Ultimate Play the Game in 1985. The new graphics have been made by Daniel Celemín (LordFred), who is well known in the remakes scene for his Sir Fred remake for PC.

This new version has the same playability the original has and is released as a 32K ROM, which is the same size as the MSX1 version. In addition, several bugs from the original game have been fixed. A full map of the new version is also available!

Relevant link: Computer Emuzone - Alien 8 MSX2

Comments (50)

By Abi

Hero (587)

Abi's picture

16-01-2009, 12:17

Wow!! Good job, look great!

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

16-01-2009, 12:33

Great! Where can i buy it?
(BTW I would have mapped the controls differently and added some touches e.g. optional music).
Isometric 3D on z80 is quite unknown and very interesting for me.
Would it be possible to expand this 3D engine to have light/shadow and larger rooms with some sort of scroll ?

By konamiman

Paladin (949)

konamiman's picture

16-01-2009, 12:43

Artrag, you can pay me as I am an authorized reseller; then go to the link displayed on the text and download the game. Tongue

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

16-01-2009, 12:46

I accounted on your bank account 100€ by mistake, please could you return me the rest ?
;-)

By LeandroCorreia

Paladin (872)

LeandroCorreia's picture

16-01-2009, 12:47

Really impressive! Eek!

Specially considering that the MSX2 graphics are way more colorful then the original and still fit in 32 Kbytes. I wonder what kind of compression was used. Question

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

16-01-2009, 12:49

IIRC in the alien 8 original code each room takes about 400 bytes

By Guillian

Prophet (3168)

Guillian's picture

16-01-2009, 12:57

>Great! Where can i buy it?

Ask Konamiman XD
Well, the game is not for sell. You can download it for free from the link.

>(BTW I would have mapped the controls differently and added some touches e.g. optional music).
There are different ways to control de robot: keys, joystick and cursors.
Also you can choose between rotatate/walk or up/down/left right controls

>I wonder what kind of compression was used
I used pletter for the graphics

>IIRC in the alien 8 original code each room takes about 400 bytes
It depends on the room. But most of them takes 32bytes or less

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5020)

NYYRIKKI's picture

16-01-2009, 14:00

Great game and great remake!

What would be better present for us.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

By Walter.MSX

Expert (72)

Walter.MSX's picture

16-01-2009, 14:11

I shall say only 2 words: MAGNIFICENT AND EXCELLENT!
I like ! Big smile

By doraemonppc

Master (245)

doraemonppc's picture

16-01-2009, 14:28

Good work Manuel! LOL!

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

16-01-2009, 14:34

Guillian did you start from the original ASM or from some other source?
Can you tell something of the development you did?
The game is impressive, I feel sorry for not having had games like this at the old times.

By Guillian

Prophet (3168)

Guillian's picture

16-01-2009, 15:21

>Guillian did you start from the original ASM or from some other source?

I started from the original code. It is similar to what I did with La Abadía del Crimen

>Can you tell something of the development you did?

In sort, I disassembled the original, examined the code, rewrote the graphic part, changed a bit here and there and contacted LordFred to make the new graphics. That's all ^^!

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

16-01-2009, 16:14

What tool do u use to disassemble? Do your sources include all the code?
Have you done a full disassemble or just a patch ?
And, in the end, have you released the sources too ?
In case, are they "reusable" ?
Big smile

By spl

Paragon (1461)

spl's picture

16-01-2009, 16:59

Outstanding!!! Big smile Great work, Manuel!!

By Guillian

Prophet (3168)

Guillian's picture

16-01-2009, 17:09

Thanks a lot to all of you!

>What tool do u use to disassemble?

IDA Pro

> Do your sources include all the code?

Yes

>Have you done a full disassemble or just a patch ?

A full disassemble.

>And, in the end, have you released the sources too ?

Perhaps in a future.

>In case, are they "reusable" ?

Yes, the engine can be used to develop similar games, as Ultimate did. They used almost the same engine for KnightLore, Alien 8 and Pentagram.

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

16-01-2009, 18:57

@Guillian: IMPRESSIVE and SUPERB! At the same level of gfx of amiga isometric games.... Wink

Anyway a curiosity: have you found problems of slowness considering that the gfx animations does not use sprites and have 4 times the number of bytes to manage?

By SaebaMSX

Hero (533)

SaebaMSX's picture

16-01-2009, 19:11

Great Manuel!

So finally this remake is fully finished! I like the colored gfx, the game is really improved in this way.

Is this going to be sold in cart someday?

By Imanok

Paragon (1142)

Imanok's picture

16-01-2009, 19:49

Congratulations Manuel & Daniel!! a really great job!!

Keep those nice remakes coming!! Wink

By guantxip

Paragon (1593)

guantxip's picture

16-01-2009, 19:58

In Spain is famous the phrase "Very well Manuel".

By Guillian

Prophet (3168)

Guillian's picture

16-01-2009, 20:02

>have you found problems of slowness considering that the gfx animations does not use sprites and have 4 times the number of bytes to manage?

There are some speed problems when it is needed to redraw several objects. But the original game was also quite slow in some parts.

@saeba: I have no plans about releasing the game on cartridge. But perhaps in a future compilation...

By hap

Paragon (2014)

hap's picture

16-01-2009, 20:06

Very nice conversion, guys!Smile

By Vincent van Dam

Hero (513)

Vincent van Dam's picture

16-01-2009, 20:49

Great work Manuel!

By Manuel

Ascended (14673)

Manuel's picture

16-01-2009, 21:29

Very cool, it looks great, absolutely superb! Very nice to see properly filled graphics, many details, colours... Quite unique!

It does slow down in some rooms a lot, but I think that also happens in the original game.

By SLotman

Paragon (1203)

SLotman's picture

16-01-2009, 21:33

Great work indeed! You guys should really consider to release it as Shockware, it's more than worth it!

Also... can I dream about the same being done to Knightlore?
Wink

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

16-01-2009, 21:33

Humm the slow down seems to appear in the same rooms of the original game.
The slow down should be in the game engine rather than in the rendering part (even if I have no elements to say that, as I do not know the algorithms for 3d).

Hummm

If my suspect is correct, could the game run also in screen 8 at the same speed ?
Alien 8 in screen 8 Tongue

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2837)

sd_snatcher's picture

16-01-2009, 21:50

Impressive work, Manuel Pazos!

I want to suggest only one minor improvement: can you implement a timing routine, so it do not run too fast on turbo machines? I tried it on a MSX Turbo-R and it gets very fast on some small rooms. The intro music is also played in a breeze.

I know I can play using Z80, but allowing the turbos will allow the players to have a much more constant frame-rate. On an OCM with the turbo-blitter activated the frame-rate could be always constant.
(BTW, the frame-rate runs like hell if I activate both 10MHz and the turbo-blitter on the OCM currently Running Naked in a Field of Flowers )

LBNL, I believe you should submit this game to the MSXDEV'08! It is a great work and deserves to participate.

By Guillian

Prophet (3168)

Guillian's picture

17-01-2009, 01:09

Thanks again for the feedback Big smile

@me erm... Manuel
>Very nice to see properly filled graphics, many details, colours... Quite unique!
LordFred is an artist!

@SLotman
>You guys should really consider to release it as Shockware, it's more than worth it!
I would choose to release it with MSX Cartridge Shop :P

>Also... can I dream about the same being done to Knightlore?
Dreams sometimes come true! ;)

@ARTRAG
>If my suspect is correct, could the game run also in screen 8 at the same speed ?
I don't think so. Screen 8 is slower than screen 5. The game speed depends on both the logic and the blitting. Also, in screen 8 there is no space to store all the graphics.

@sd_snatcher
>I tried it on a MSX Turbo-R and it gets very fast on some small rooms
That's strange... on a turbo R the game switchs to Z80 mode at start up.
Anyway, the code is asyncronous and should be played at about 3.5MHz ^^!

>LBNL, I believe you should submit this game to the MSXDEV'08! It is a great work and deserves to participate.
Thanks, but MSXDEV is for MSX1 games :P

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2837)

sd_snatcher's picture

17-01-2009, 03:19

That's strange... on a turbo R the game switchs to Z80 mode at start up.

Yep. I had to put some NOPs over that part. I was just curious for testing, you know. Wink

Anyway, the code is asynchronous and should be played at about 3.5MHz ^^!

By "asynchronous" you mean it just runs without never syncinc to VBLANK?

If that is the case, you just need to insert your own sync at the end of the main-loop. Every game have to run on a loop, right? Smile

On the end of the main-loop, check JIFFY (*1). If the game should at most at, say, 20 fps, your game just needs to HALT the Z80 and wait until JIFFY turns 2. Then zero it and return to process the main-loop again. If at the point of the check JIFF is bigger than 2, your are behind the schedule (loosing frames), just hurry, zero JIFFY and process the main loop again.

*1: If JIFFY is not being updated because the BIOS is disabled, you have to implement your own on the VDP INT handler.

Thanks, but MSXDEV is for MSX1 games

I'm always forgetting about that, since IMHO it's a restriction that brings no advantage to the MSX community... Crying

By Vampier

Prophet (2226)

Vampier's picture

17-01-2009, 03:53

This is the best remake I've every seen (on the same platform) very impressive!

btw

<software>
	<title xml:lang="en">Alien 8 Remake</title>
	<system>MSX</system>
	<company>Manuel Pazos & LordFred</company>
	<year>2009</year>
	<country>ES</country>
		<dump><original value="true">Author</original>
<rom><hash algo="sha1">4a3069426214aeecac1a57632a9978cbfb2acc21</hash></rom></dump>
</software>

Here is the XML for openMSX and the blueMSX rom databases.

By Huey

Prophet (2642)

Huey's picture

17-01-2009, 09:15

I'm always forgetting about that, since IMHO it's a restriction that brings no advantage to the MSX community...
Thats utter bull!!!

But there is an MSX2 competition (Passion MSX). Did everyone forget its there?
Quit nagging about MSXdev and support that MSX2 competition.

By Oscar

Guardian (561)

Oscar's picture

17-01-2009, 11:25

O_o Awesome!!!

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

17-01-2009, 11:50

It got me a while to get used to MSX2 presentation after monochrome original games (except colourful amstrad conversion) but it looks nice! Smile

But it looks strange to see that "JALECO" word in title screen. I know Jaleco published it in Japan as cartridge, but as game originally is european production, there should be read "A.C.G" instead of "JALECO".

Shame that there is badly misleading information even in generation-msx. As it claims game´s original title is japanese... that´s bullshit... there weren´t so many japan worshipers in mid-80s britain who would have wanted to give their game a japanese name....! Tongue And it shows japanese release as the first and original one.... Eek! and screenshot only shows jaleco as only one publisher... hopefully someone can submit original Ultimate screenshot to generation-msx!

Also it´s a pity that in MSX2 remake original game over animation animation has been simplified a lot, lots of feeling is now lost... originally that poor robot had cartoon style facial expressions during re-programming, MSX2 remake robot just stands still like dead. Of course it´s more realistic this way, but as I said, that re-programming screen has lost a lot now.

In that hires picture, maybe that "remake" text can be put to some other place, I feel it spoils that picture a lot as it is placed on top of the planet.

Sorry that I am so nostalgic. Wink

Otherwise, good looking game!! Congratulations! Smile

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

17-01-2009, 11:58

by the way, MSX1 game slows down and speeds up all the time and I remember that Spectrum original does exactly same! (and as MSX1 is Spectrum port...Wink) So there is nothing wrong in that in MSX2 remake! Smile And whoever complained about controls, those are original controls from original game.

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

17-01-2009, 12:28


Also it´s a pity that in MSX2 remake original game over animation animation has been simplified a lot, lots of feeling is now lost... originally that poor robot had cartoon style facial expressions during re-programming, MSX2 remake robot just stands still like dead.

I would prefer a smooth animation instead of a almost un-noticeable facial expressions.... honestly

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2837)

sd_snatcher's picture

17-01-2009, 19:10

Thats utter bull!!!
But there is an MSX2 competition (Passion MSX). Did everyone forget its there?
Quit nagging about MSXdev and support that MSX2 competition.

Don't get angry, Huey. It's just my 2 cents, you don't need to agree with it. Smile

I have nothing against "that MSX2 competition" at all, but what is happening is that were splitting an already small MSX community in two different contests... And MSXdev itself is a great concept. My only suggestion for it is that it should give more freedom and embrace all kinds of MSX game development efforts. But lets move the subject. This is a fruitless discussion will get us nowhere. MSXdev may not be perfect, but it's great anyway.

Manuel Pazos, I do fix here my suggestion, as Huey suggested: Why don't you subscript your remake on the MSX2 contest then? I repeat: your results where great and deserve a prize! :D

By Guillian

Prophet (3168)

Guillian's picture

18-01-2009, 18:11

By "asynchronous" you mean it just runs without never syncinc to VBLANK?
That's right.


If that is the case, you just need to insert your own sync at the end of the main-loop. Every game have to run on a loop, right?

That is not right at all. Several parts of the game run on their own loops.
With the interrupts enabled the game runs noticiable slower. I would need to use a 48K ROM -or put RAM in page 0-, just to have my own interrupt rutine in #38, or switch to IM2 mode.
Anyway, thanks for the suggestion.


*1: If JIFFY is not being updated because the BIOS is disabled, you have to implement your own on the VDP INT handler.

BIOS is not disabled, but interrupts. The original game, and this remake, run in DI mode. In the remake I just enable them in the fades to sync with the VBLANK and keep a constant framerate.
In the original game, most of the system variable area is used by the game, so the BIOS can't call to the interrupts hooks.

By Huey

Prophet (2642)

Huey's picture

18-01-2009, 21:13

Don't get angry, Huey. It's just my 2 cents, you don't need to agree with it.

I wasn't angry. I just overreacted Wink

By konamiman

Paladin (949)

konamiman's picture

19-01-2009, 12:54

Great, but now go and do some serious thing like converting Nemesis 2 to MSX2 or so. Smile

By mohai

Paladin (738)

mohai's picture

19-01-2009, 17:58

Great Job!!

What will be next?
Maybe Head over Heels?
Batman?

By iamweasel2

Champion (485)

iamweasel2's picture

19-01-2009, 18:09

Great work, congratulations! Smile
I never liked this game when I was a kid, but your remake is so nice that it makes me want to play it now. Smile

By iamweasel2

Champion (485)

iamweasel2's picture

19-01-2009, 18:12

About converting Nemesis 2 (or any other one, as Penguin Adventure) to MSX2, I would prefer a CD version of this game, like Daniel Caetano and Adriano did with Knightmare 1. IMHO, it improves the game a lot (sound makes a lot of difference) without requiring as much work as enhancing all the graphics of a game.

Anyway, just my 2 cents. Smile

By iamweasel2

Champion (485)

iamweasel2's picture

19-01-2009, 18:16

About enhancing other non-action games, I still hope to see someday a MSX2 version of Simcity (maybe a port of the ZX Spectrum with enhanced graphics). Smile

By guantxip

Paragon (1593)

guantxip's picture

19-01-2009, 18:45

Konamiman, yo can play Nemesis 2 with new colours on Psp.

By pitpan

Prophet (3131)

pitpan's picture

20-01-2009, 12:52

One suggestions: it would be quite straight to produce an MSX2 version of Knight Lore using the same engine, 'cause they are almost identical (Ultimate's Filmation). And it would be quite fast indeed because the game has been already coloured here: http://www.emulatronia.com/emusdaqui/spec256/juego-knightlore.htm

Of course, a 256->16 colours adaptation is required, but it can be easier than 2->16 colours. So, hallowed be thy name, Pazos :D

By Guillian

Prophet (3168)

Guillian's picture

20-01-2009, 15:42

KnightLore, Alien 8 and Pentagram use a quite similar game engine, so part of the job is done. But it is not as easy as it seems.
Anyway, just keep the faith Wink

By dhau

Paragon (1532)

dhau's picture

21-01-2009, 19:20

The site in announcement is down Sad

By Guillian

Prophet (3168)

Guillian's picture

22-01-2009, 17:41

It is online again Smile

By Tom-Cat

Rookie (23)

Tom-Cat's picture

19-03-2009, 09:22

A GREAT remake. I love it. Also love the video of the Knight Lore remake ;-)
Just for the record - Ultimate Play the Game (Rare) denies the distribution of their works (even the 8bit games) so you will likely get into trouble if you want to sell the remakes of their games on cartridges, tapes, etc.

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

22-03-2009, 08:38

Me thought the same as Tom-Cat did...

someone who didn´t knew that, check this out:

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekpub.cgi?regexp=^Ultimate+Play+The+Game$&loadpics=3

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2837)

sd_snatcher's picture

09-01-2010, 21:36

Manuel,

Since Knight Lore MSX2 uses the same engine and do support running the game in R800 mode, what about an update to Alien-8 to allow the R800 too? Since you already programmed the routines for Knight Lore it should not be that hard to reuse those on Alien-8 too. :D

My MSX profile