Genesis: Dawn of a new day

Genesis: Dawn of a new day

by snout on 07-05-2012, 16:42
Topic: Software
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Source: Bytemaniacos

Last weekend, during the RetroMadrid retrocomputing fair, Retroworks have released the MSX version of their shooter Genesis: dawn of a new day. The game can be downloaded for free, but a cartridge version is available as well. Initially, this game was released for ZX-Spectrum in 2010.

Retroworks is known from their MSX2 remake of Knight Lore and their Kings Valley port to Spectrum. Last but not least, they are also working on a remake of La Abadia del Crimen.

Genesis: dawn of a new day requires an MSX1, but extra features are added when the game is run on MSX2 or higher. You can watch a preview of the first level of the game right here.

Relevant link: Genesis: dawn of a new day

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Comments (63)

By Latok

msx guru (3575)

Latok's picture

07-05-2012, 17:31

Impressive Wink

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

07-05-2012, 18:30

And for msx2 and later the usual palette redefinition: (why negate it?, it does cost only a bunch of outi at initialization time), and we can assert this game take advantage of msx2->turboR hw...... Evil

By Vampier

Prophet (2226)

Vampier's picture

07-05-2012, 19:56

thumbs up for the 'power up' like containers that will instantly kill you Big smile

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

07-05-2012, 20:15

The cannon turrets move out of sync with the background
The level looks about empty of enemies and enemy ships move in a very simplistic manner.
The look is the one of a spectrum port even if it uses sprites and smooth scrolling

By hap

Paragon (2014)

hap's picture

07-05-2012, 20:35

Thanks for making it freely available. =)
From what I read/heard last weekend, I thought it was going to be cartridge-only.

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

07-05-2012, 20:56

ARTRAG wrote:

The cannon turrets move out of sync with the background
The level looks about empty of enemies and enemy ships move in a very simplistic manner.
The look is the one of a spectrum port even if it uses sprites and smooth scrolling

Plus the animation of the enemies - sprites is a bit blocky.
Looks like the cpu is too much busy to do things in a more smooth-ish way....
But from this kind of game i cannot really see where are CPU cycles wasted....

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

07-05-2012, 21:09

Plus the speccy version scroll more smoothly, even if the spectrum cpu had to physically bit-blit (like in a true bitmap mode) every pixel. on msx i expect they use tiles. Teoretically, smoothness on msx should be better. the msx cpu have only to move +/- 512 bytes of data to scroll. The speccy one move about 4096 bytes every scroll.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

07-05-2012, 21:19

Can't we just enjoy new MSX products in stead of nitpicking on technical ideals that even you guys never seem to live up to?

Talk is cheap, speak with actions (software) Hannibal

By Vampier

Prophet (2226)

Vampier's picture

07-05-2012, 23:27

Jorito wrote:

Can't we just enjoy new MSX products in stead of nitpicking on technical ideals that even you guys never seem to live up to?

Talk is cheap, speak with actions (software) Hannibal

Well said Smile

I'mma gonna finish this one later today Smile

By Konamito

Paladin (1022)

Konamito's picture

07-05-2012, 23:59

Jorito wrote:

Can't we just enjoy new MSX products in stead of nitpicking on technical ideals that even you guys never seem to live up to?

Talk is cheap, speak with actions (software) Hannibal

I'm starting to get tired of this people talking only crap about new games released for MSX...

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

08-05-2012, 00:38

If you like this game you should go for your way and just ignore our points
I think that as first (retro)-work the game is nice but the technical level of the game could be improved and the general look and feel is too much speccy for my taste
Actually the speccy version looks smoother and visually richer

By benedick

Resident (36)

benedick's picture

08-05-2012, 04:31

Great!
I've looked around the website of Retroworks and it looks like you can only buy the Spectrum version?! Does anybody know if there is an MSX cartridge version really available?

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

08-05-2012, 09:14

Look better the rom is there

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5372)

mars2000you's picture

08-05-2012, 15:09

I've just found the hidden menu : a nice WYZ music jukebox ! Wink

By hap

Paragon (2014)

hap's picture

08-05-2012, 16:29

Quote:

If you like this game you should go for your way and just ignore our points

I don't think it's a bad game especially for a free one, but I also think most of your points are valid. MSX nerds like me and you have the tendency to nitpick and criticise. You have to be careful though and not overdo it if you suspect that the developer is getting demotivated by your reactions.

And keep things like "a crap spectrum port..." in your head, you stepped over the line there BA-team
(quote from Karoshi forum)

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

08-05-2012, 16:32

@artrag - I understand that you and other expert coders can have a lot of technical feedback, but be aware that the way you (and other expert coders) bring that feedback makes a world of difference in how well it is received.

Just in case: the rest of this comment it not aimed at Artrag directly, but a 'generic' opinion of mine towards all MSX experts in our community regarding feedback:

The right tone and - perhaps even more important - sharing your knowledge on how things could be done even better instead of just listing "what is wrong with it" probably motivates developers to do things even better next time (or release an updated version).

Even though we just got started, our MSX Wiki has great potential to become a large source of information for novice and expert coders, provided that people with knowledge are willing to share it. I personally would like to see more (expert) coders share their knowledge there, than keep it to themselves or select audiences they seem to pick by hand nowadays ;)

Back to the game itself

I personally like to see these Spectrum/UK style graphics appear on MSX. I always enjoyed games like Starquake for their completely different approach to videogame graphics than the Japanese style we are mostly used to on MSX. It's good to see a game with this style of graphics pop up every now and then.

And although I haven't played this game as of yet it does seem to get one thing right that countless of recent MSX games didn't quite nailed: level design. It looks like difficulty gradually builds up, allowing an entertaining experience for both crap gamers (like me) and shoot'em-up legends. This is where, according to me, technically outstanding games such as Montana John tend to fall short on MSX.

@mars2000you - do you care to reveal the hidden menu to the rest of us?

@all - good to see the MSX:Spectrum download ratio of the game, eh? :P ^_^ :RNFF: :RNFF:

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5372)

mars2000you's picture

08-05-2012, 16:36

snout : try the J key (J like JUKEBOX !)

By Vampier

Prophet (2226)

Vampier's picture

08-05-2012, 18:51

By Jorito

Mr. Ambassadors (1746)

Jorito's picture

08-05-2012, 19:37

@hap: thx for pointing that out, agree with your points.

By Maggoo

Paragon (1181)

Maggoo's picture

09-05-2012, 04:53

I think its a pretty good game. When consider it's a Spectrum port, it's actually one of the best ones I have seen where the developer made the effort to take advantage of the MSX HW (use of Sprites, colors, in game music and other goodies). This wasn't the case for a many of the commercial games back in the glory days where a lot of Speccy ports didn't include any of those improvements and instead were just a slow version of the original game.

Also the Gameplay and "finishing touch" is a lot better than many of Speccy ports I've seen in the past. The quality of the PSG music /sound effects is pretty good as well. And while it's no Gradius, it still has a smoother scroll Cool

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

09-05-2012, 08:44

@Artrag: on MRC is forbidden any criticim. (Even if is and objective evidence, not a subjective one). So avoid similar posts and consider yourself lucky if you are not bannen for the life on ALL forums. OK?

By Manuel

Ascended (14676)

Manuel's picture

09-05-2012, 09:55

PingPong: oh, don't be so rediculous (here, criticism!)
Criticism is good, but showing some respect for someone who made the effort to create something for our obsolete computer system is usually also good. How would you feel if you created something, which you worked on for months, and the first thing that happens is that people say that it's CRAP? I would be completely demotivated... (And yes, this happens on forums, so the poster should have some resistance for this... he knows there's a risk of such bashing...)

So, it's just a way of how you bring your criticism. Bring it in a constructive way and it may be helpful. Bring it in a destructive way and people may completely stop creating MSX stuff. You choose.

By Jorito

Mr. Ambassadors (1746)

Jorito's picture

09-05-2012, 11:47

PingPong wrote:

@Artrag: on MRC is forbidden any criticim. (Even if is and objective evidence, not a subjective one). So avoid similar posts and consider yourself lucky if you are not bannen for the life on ALL forums. OK?

We don't ban for being critical. We ban for trolling, abuse and generally messing up the good atmosphere we'd like. Only nagging and nitpicking here tends to set a negative mood here, which we don't like. You won't get banned for that, but also don't be surprised if people say something about it if you are constantly criticising Smile

Just try to be a happy citizen here, that's all we're asking.

And like Manuel said, criticism is okay, but it's much more appreciated if you can bring it constructively. Do like the Americans do by saying "This could be better if you do X" or "You might look into doing X" in stead of "This sucks because it doesn't do X" Wink

By Huey

Prophet (2642)

Huey's picture

09-05-2012, 13:00

PingPong wrote:

@Artrag: on MRC is forbidden any criticim. (Even if is and objective evidence, not a subjective one). So avoid similar posts and consider yourself lucky if you are not bannen for the life on ALL forums. OK?

It's not forbidden. But your comments are predictable, negative, demotivating and non constructive.
So it's not unexpected that you get likewise reactions to your reactions.
Anyway. As for me; Do as you like. But I sure would like to see some MSX programming from your side. Just to be sure your comments are based on anything.

I like the game. But I do think there is certainly room for improvement. I'd like some more interesting enemy movement. In the video it sometimes feel like you have to 'find' enemies instead of fighting them of your back.

BTW: That Unreal2 music on the ZX version video is awesome.

By [WYZ]

Champion (393)

[WYZ]'s picture

09-05-2012, 14:28

Thanks for all those posts. Smile

I'm sure that MSX is more powerfull than a ZX and can do better thingies but Genesis MSX is a versión of a previus ZX game ZX and try to keep the esence even using some extra features. Really I think that we're talking about 'style' of making MSX programs like 'art'.

@huey: Ureal2 was programmed only for testing, not included in the final versions. Of course MSX did it better! by using a 2nd PSG. (like ROM cartridge version does).

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

09-05-2012, 16:25

first some quotes...

Quote:

thumbs up for the 'power up' like containers that will instantly kill you

Thumbs up for the enemy you will have to shoot first to be able to collect 'power up' container without dying. (in Nemesis series) Wink

Quote:

Plus the animation of the enemies - sprites is a bit blocky.

From that sentence I expected to see sprites which are blocky, as to me "blocky" means something like Amstrad´s multicolour mode, something like 128x192 or even more blocky. I did not see anything wrong with sprites, but maybe he meant that sprites were not animated or were made just with single monochrome sprite or that they had "european look"?

I will have to say that I enjoyed the smoothiness of scrolling in this game!!! Smile Very smooth after spending the eighties with blocky scrolling Nemesis series.... Smile

And the music, I really enjoyed it, it is something I have waited for decades to hear on my MSX!!!!!!!! Commodore 64 had music like this, Spectrum 128K had music like this, MSX..... well... didn´t have music like this.... Sad But now, at last, I can hear music like this on MSX!!!! Thank you a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Big smile

And I like the style of the graphics, yes, it´s "spectrum like", but so what? Nice to see MSX developers who want to make games to look like how european games looked like in the 1980s. Smile And if somebodies did not see, there is more colour than in Spectrum original! Smile It´s SCREEN 2 game, with SCREEN 2 8x1 colours, if you didn´t notice it, not SCREEN 1 8x8. Graphics looked like they were made by 1980s Spectrum graphician "Joffa" Smith, I guess they are? Since there are even "Joffa" written as mirror image in hi-score table. Smile The amount of colour in this game makes this game way more better than (almost) any 1980s Spectrum conversion! I would have been happy to see this in the eighties, instead of direct spectrum ports. Smile

By the way, I was joyous when I read the instructions saying that cartridge will have PSG soundchip built in?!?! So there will be two PSG chips playing music and sound at the same time?!?!? Big smile Great!!!! Big smile

Thank you for good game!!!! The music is great!!!!!!!! Please continue to make games like this!! Smile

By [WYZ]

Champion (393)

[WYZ]'s picture

09-05-2012, 18:19

Thanks MäSäXi!
PS: ops! Unreal2=>Second Reality tribute.

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

09-05-2012, 18:55

Jorito wrote:

.... and generally messing up the good atmosphere we'd like.

So because my post are messing up the good atmosfere i think i will be banned....
My comments does not have NOTHING offensive against the people that developed this game.
I never used any offensive word. I must instead point out that some people had used against me really offensive words, like (I think you should be <.......> ). That's a really offensive behaviour. But that's another story.

I just pointed out that this game have some deficiencies:
- Blocky sprites animation. (the projectiles move at steps >> 1px per frame, and with the limited amount of sprites on screen i think this aspect could be far better)
- Low framerate sprite plane rotation
- Blocky scroll. Considering that is a 4 pixel scroll i expect more perceived smoothness
The point is simple: if one does not like to be criticised for its work, i think should never develop anything.
And anyway: i'm not negative at all, if you browse my post you clearly see some positive posts. I'm only subjective in my opinions. Like any people is.

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

09-05-2012, 19:13

MäSäXi wrote:
Quote:

Plus the animation of the enemies - sprites is a bit blocky.

From that sentence I expected to see sprites which are blocky, as to me "blocky" means something like Amstrad´s multicolour mode, something like 128x192 or even more blocky. I did not see anything wrong with sprites, but maybe he meant that sprites were not animated

My words are clear. i complain about blocky animation not blocky sprites. the original sprites on spectrum are not blocky. the msx ones are ripped out so not blocky.
But is not acceptable that sprite animation is not blocky on a machine where the CPU MUST blit the entire sprite image on vram and is blocky on a machine where the cpu only should write 4 bytes x sprite. There is 1 order of magnitude of difference. And please do not tell about the slow vram access. In this situation really does not matter.

The same apply to tile-patterns

By Metalbrain

Expert (67)

Metalbrain's picture

09-05-2012, 19:15

MäSäXi wrote:

Graphics looked like they were made by 1980s Spectrum graphician "Joffa" Smith, I guess they are? Since there are even "Joffa" written as mirror image in hi-score table. Smile

He was more a coder than a graphician, and his inclusion in the hi-score table is meant as a tribute (he was known as frobush in the WoS forums, and he was making a game that he couldn't finish, because a grave illness took his life a pair of years ago Crying ), not because the graphics are similar.

By Jorito

Mr. Ambassadors (1746)

Jorito's picture

09-05-2012, 19:29

PingPong, like I said you won't be banned for this. Maybe your wordings were misunderstood because English isn't our native language.

Just try to keep in mind put on your happy face a bit more and try to voice your feedback a bit differently if you can.

Let's close this discussion now and move on to happy conversations again Running Naked in a Field of Flowers Running Naked in a Field of Flowers Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

09-05-2012, 19:34

Ok
I tested the game a bit better playing the rom and I have to reconsider my initial statement (on karoshi) that was based on the sole video published on youtube: it is not a "crap spectrum port", but nevertheless the influence of the spectrum game is too strong for my tastes.
My detailed opinion
1) audio : the music is the best game aspect, all the songs are very good and evocative (some great msx covers), sfx are good and useful => 9/10
2) scrolling and background graphic: I deal with the two things in one point as the scrolling engine (and maybe the spectrum origin) seems to have limited severely the color use in the background and its variety. All the building blocks have black as one of the two colors. This leads to a monochromatic general look even if the colors change line by line. Moreover, you cannot have two elements of different colors close, causing two tile gaps in grids and other decorative elements. This limitation, exploiting the fact the scroll step is x4, could have been easily avoided adopting a richer graphic, even at cost of some ad hoc artwork.

here follow colors in nibbles 
step 0
AB|CD|EF...
step 1
BC|DE|F...
etc.

This is why I say the speccy influence has been too strong and I'm not happy for the lost chance to have a great msx game. Nevertheless, I have to admit a considerable work behind the whole thing => 6/10
3) Enemies and game play: ground turrets and static bonuses jiggle with background movements. I find this very annoying.
Probably the CPU spent for the scrolling is too much, even if the number of tiles that should be updated at each scrolling step seems quite low. I guess that with some optimizations the jiggle could disappear, eventually thinking the scrolling with some more optimized algorithms, see e.g. hi9918's work.
Enemies in general looks very speccy (monochrome and with linear movements). If this works for a meteorite, it doesn’t for a fighter formation. Having some flickering (the game has anyway ) you could have used two layers per enemy, giving a better general look to all sprites.
I would also adopted a more forgiving collision system with background and enemies: the main ship is quite big and avoiding the background can be frustrating . => 5/10

Overall the game is a decent shooter, not a crap port, but IMHO it could have been a much better msx game with reduced extra effort, (witch IMHO is a pity).

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

09-05-2012, 19:47

Just another bit, as I do not want to seem a gooder Evil
I think that coding this game for msx2 would have allowed a much simpler and better port from spectrum 128.
You could have
1) used multiple pages for double buffering (like the speccy 128 does)
2) displayed one single tile bank (s.c. hibrid mode) to reduce the cpu load
3) used up to 8 prerotated tiles banks to avoid any cpu work on background
4) used multicolor sprites and spend the saved cpu time to animate and move them in clever ways
Wink

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

09-05-2012, 21:36

ARTRAG wrote:

.... but IMHO it could have been a much better msx game with reduced extra effort, (witch IMHO is a pity).

Exactly, for a msx (even first gen) this is too little. If the msx coder would even put the same effort he put on zx the quality of the game (msx port) would had been far better.
Artrag said about scrolling, now i suspect that the way the game implements scrolling it's the same of zx, a full VRAM blit, instead of making use of tiles facilities. Someone can confirm?

By [WYZ]

Champion (393)

[WYZ]'s picture

10-05-2012, 00:04

...
5) SFX's kill the music. (but cartridge version sounds ok) oO

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

10-05-2012, 00:08

@wyz - that's a great incentive to buy the cartridge. Nice feature! By the way, you seem to be very productive these days. Respect!

By utopian

Rookie (17)

utopian's picture

10-05-2012, 00:27

Hi, this is the game coder speaking Smile. First I'd like to thank everyone for their comments, both good and criticism. I learn from them all.

Then, I find it a bit strange having to justify every single design decision I took in the game, but nonetheless I'd like to add some explanations. I'd like to start by saying that I never claimed that we had created the best possible shump in the MSX, or the best possible scrolling engine, or anything like that. We have created a game, had fun while doing it, and published it. That's it. From some comments it looks like it is some kind of heresy trying to port a game from the Spectrum and by a Spectrum coder... I'd say it's quite the opposite, I have learnt a lot about the MSX and enjoyed playing with it.

Anyway, let's start with the explanations.

ARTRAG wrote:

Ok
I tested the game a bit better playing the rom and I have to reconsider my initial statement (on karoshi) that was based on the sole video published on youtube: it is not a "crap spectrum port", but nevertheless the influence of the spectrum game is too strong for my tastes.

It IS a Spectrum game port. Sorry about that, I did not mean to offend anyone.

Quote:

My detailed opinion
1) audio : the music is the best game aspect, all the songs are very good and evocative (some great msx covers), sfx are good and useful => 9/10
2) scrolling and background graphic: I deal with the two things in one point as the scrolling engine (and maybe the spectrum origin) seems to have limited severely the color use in the background and its variety. All the building blocks have black as one of the two colors. This leads to a monochromatic general look even if the colors change line by line. Moreover, you cannot have two elements of different colors close, causing two tile gaps in grids and other decorative elements. This limitation, exploiting the fact the scroll step is x4, could have been easily avoided adopting a richer graphic, even at cost of some ad hoc artwork.

here follow colors in nibbles 
step 0
AB|CD|EF...
step 1
BC|DE|F...
etc.

I explained it at the Karoshi forums: doing that would force a radical change in the tile and map design. First, the engine is designed for a 2 pixel scrolling, and the game runs at a 4 pixel scroll rate because my routines were not good enough to make it go as fast as it was needed. Second: I do not know of any way I could use that tile arrangement to avoid the usage of black in the tiles without only allowing specific permutations of tile + next tile. The engine allows any tile to be followed by any tile, and I did not want to change that.

Quote:

This is why I say the speccy influence has been too strong and I'm not happy for the lost chance to have a great msx game. Nevertheless, I have to admit a considerable work behind the whole thing => 6/10
3) Enemies and game play: ground turrets and static bonuses jiggle with background movements. I find this very annoying.

This is being worked on. If testing is successful, you will have a no-jiggle version available by the end of this week.

Quote:

Probably the CPU spent for the scrolling is too much, even if the number of tiles that should be updated at each scrolling step seems quite low. I guess that with some optimizations the jiggle could disappear, eventually thinking the scrolling with some more optimized algorithms, see e.g. hi9918's work.
Enemies in general looks very speccy (monochrome and with linear movements). If this works for a meteorite, it doesn’t for a fighter formation. Having some flickering (the game has anyway ) you could have used two layers per enemy, giving a better general look to all sprites.

That would be a hell lot of flickering. Just imagine you are in the same line with two laser shoots (2 sprites each laser shoot) and only one enemy. That would be 8 sprites in the same line, and of course we do not want the main ship to flicker (because it does not flicker, as you may have noticed). So we have 2 sprites available for 6 sprites in a line... too much flickering for me.

Quote:

I would also adopted a more forgiving collision system with background and enemies: the main ship is quite big and avoiding the background can be frustrating . => 5/10

Had I done so, I could be criticized for not implementing a pixel-perfect collision system. The MSX one is not as perfect as the Spectrum one, where I could use some tricks, but I think it's acceptable after all the changes it went through.

Quote:

Overall the game is a decent shooter, not a crap port, but IMHO it could have been a much better msx game with reduced extra effort, (witch IMHO is a pity).

Well, it looks like I got a few more points after all. About the "extra effort", I can only say we have different perceptions of the amount of effort required to do that. Seriously, I am happy to discuss all technical details about the game and how I could have done it better, but I find that claim offensive. We have spent an awful lot of time developing this game, and every decision has a meaning (or is just a mistake from my side), it's never because of laziness. I will probably never be as much a good MSX coder as you are, but you know little to nothing about the inner details of the game, so saying a "reduced extra effort" is too much.

About the MSX2 idea: yes, everything could have been better on MSX2. But the game was conceived to be released on a MSXDev (now it's out due to the no-megaROM restriction), and I still had to learn a lot about the MSX before I could consider trying something on the MSX2. After all, the fun is in working around restrictions, isn't it?

PingPong wrote:

Artrag said about scrolling, now i suspect that the way the game implements scrolling it's the same of zx, a full VRAM blit, instead of making use of tiles facilities. Someone can confirm?

No, I can confirm it is not like that, and you will be able to check it yourself as soon as I have cleaned up the code mess and released it. BTW, you could have also seen it if you had run the game in Meisei.

Does it change your perception about the game? I guess not, but here are the gory details anyway:

The scrolling engine works on two subsets of 128 tiles, to avoid flickering. It allows up to 32 tiles, each 24x8 pixels (let's call each char X-Y-Z). To build a new frame, we have 64 tiles that are fixed and precalculated (the mixed tiles X-Y and Y-Z at the given pixel shift). Those 64 new tiles are transferred to VRAM as such, while the name table is being built. Since each tile can be succeeded by any other tile, we have 32x32=1024 possible combinations, too much to be precalculated: 1024 combinations, 48 bytes each, 4 possible shifts... just make up the numbers, and they would have to be in RAM because there are 7 levels, so having every possible combination precalc'ed is just not feasible.

So, for the remaining (up to) 64 tiles, we have to create them dynamically, combining each Z char with the X char after it, checking whether we have already combined them to avoid duplicates, and then transfer them to VRAM. Probably a better caching algorithm could have helped here, at the expense of a non-constant framerate.

Finally, when the 128 tiles have been transferred to VRAM and the updated name table is ready, it is copied to VRAM at the beginning of the interrupt.

Is it the best design for MSX? Absolutely not. Is it the one I wanted to try out? Yes. But please, do not guess the level of effort put in this game. I did not do it any better because, with my current level of knowledge, I cannot do it any better.

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

10-05-2012, 00:39

Utopian, thanks for this extensive writeup. Of course there was no need to defend you every design decision here, but it's cool you have done so. Now hopefully everybody can sleep well again Wink And I respect your skills (I couldn't have done it!)

And of course thanks for this new game for our beloved MSX, and it's very good to read that you had lots of fun while doing it! I hope we can expect more software coming from you!

Hannibal

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

10-05-2012, 09:16

PingPong, do not worry, I have nothing against you. Smile I think everybody must have possibility to critizise things here, as long as they don´t do it in a nasty manner.

Metalbrain, thank you for pointing me out those things about Joffa. Smile I didn´t know he is not among us anymore. Sad Do you know the name of his unfinished game and is there any screenshots to be seen anywhere?

Quote:

5) SFX's kill the music. (but cartridge version sounds ok)

? ? ? I didn´t find anything annoying when playing using music+sfx at the same time.

Personally, I feel it´s a pity there is not a chance to select between music+sfx/only music/only sfx/silence in cartridge version. It is programmers´ own decision to decide what to keep in their own game, and I just can tell my own feelings, I mean that apart from few first european MSX games, there are not many MSX games which allow to select whether to play music and/or sfx or completely silence instead. I must confess that chance to alter music volume in Mutant Monty is luxyry in my opinion!! I am talking about the fact that most "game customising" almost in any MSX game is that you can either press fire/space to start to play game or not to play at all. But I guess you wanted to decide between making better sounding music or sound selection and of course I appreciate ********A LOT******** the chance to hear TWO PSG music on my MSX someday in near future!!! (Yes, I want to buy your genesis cartridge!!!!Smile)

Quote:

3) Enemies and game play: ground turrets and static bonuses jiggle with background movements. I find this very annoying.

I didn´t see anything wrong with gun turrets and background. Yes, as someone mentioned it, I started to look at it while playing and found out that gun turrets are *very slightly* not synchronized with the background, but it was almost non-existent, I really didn´t find any problem from that. Smile

Quote:

I would also adopted a more forgiving collision system

Isn´t it already? On bluemsx there have been several cases, where enemy shot went through the upper pixels of the body of my ship and I did not explode. That´s fine for me, no problem. Smile

A BIG thank you everyone who participated in making this game!!!! Smile

By SANDAR

Supporter (7)

SANDAR's picture

10-05-2012, 10:44

Thanks Retroworks,

It's always good to see new games for the msx system. Smile

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

10-05-2012, 12:39

utopian wrote:

Hi, this is the game coder speaking Smile.
The scrolling engine works on two subsets of 128 tiles, to avoid flickering.
.....
So, for the remaining (up to) 64 tiles, we have to create them dynamically, combining each Z char with the X char after it, checking whether we have already combined them to avoid duplicates, and then transfer them to VRAM. Probably a better caching algorithm could have helped here, at the expense of a non-constant framerate.
.......
Finally, when the 128 tiles have been transferred to VRAM and the updated name table is ready, it is copied to VRAM at the beginning of the interrupt.

Is it the best design for MSX? Absolutely not.

I've read about your algorithm. It's quite complex and time consuming. Personally i ill try a similar thing only on a more powerful cpu, not with a z80 @3Mhz. (TurboR ?)
I suspect also that the time you use to perform your dynamic tile generation is greater than the time to do a full bitmap copy. The speccy version does not do this and is more faster. Pratically, if i've understood correctly you are moving 128*8 tiles+512 nametable => 1536 bytes every frame buildup.+ the time you use to understand what tiles you need to generate.
Have you profiled the time used for your routine? Maybe you can switch to a full monocrome gfx and blit 4096 bytes every frame. Maybe the difference is not so high.

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

10-05-2012, 12:28

@Masaxi: i've nothing against nothing. Neither I assumed someone should have something against me.

By Metalbrain

Expert (67)

Metalbrain's picture

11-05-2012, 00:30

MäSäXi wrote:

Metalbrain, thank you for pointing me out those things about Joffa. Smile I didn´t know he is not among us anymore. Sad Do you know the name of his unfinished game and is there any screenshots to be seen anywhere?

It was called Saucer, there's a very early version available, and also some code:
http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0025291

There were some plans of releasing the game after he passed away, supposedly it was finished by an old Ocean mate, and only needed some artwork (to be done by a famous artist who used to do many Ocean covers back in the day), and the loading screen based on that artwork (to be done by another ex-Ocean graphician), but it's been a long time since the last news about it.

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

11-05-2012, 13:00

Thank you Metalbrain! Those things were interesting to hear of! Great to hear that someones wanted to make such things for their friend! Smile

And to Utopian, in my opinion it is great that Sinclair ZX Spectrum coder wanted to make an MSX conversion and used much time to make it. Yes, game´s and programmer´s Spectrum origins are clearly visible, but I really think it is a great thing you wanted to learn to use MSX´s features to give it "MSX touch". Smile Thank you! Smile And I feel MSX(1) suits better for Spectrum conversions, since it is nearer to Spectrum than graphically more mighty MSX2.

P.S. When the cartridge will be ready? Smile Can I pre-order it already? Smile I think there was no contact form in retroworks website.

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

12-05-2012, 17:35

Metalbrain, can you please send email to me? I have some questions (other than above) for you.

By utopian

Rookie (17)

utopian's picture

13-05-2012, 01:37

MäSäXi wrote:

P.S. When the cartridge will be ready? Smile Can I pre-order it already? Smile I think there was no contact form in retroworks website.

There was a limited batch (15 cartridges) available at RetroMadrid, due to lack of time, and they were all sold very quickly. We will make a larger batch soon, with the no-jiggle version Smile. Feel free to contact me (my e-mail is my nickname @retroworks.es), it'll be available at our online shop pretty soon, I hope.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

13-05-2012, 10:06

Just tested the lag free version
Much better now! Excellent !!
Smile

By utopian

Rookie (17)

utopian's picture

13-05-2012, 22:07

And the new version is now available for everyone Wink. Just go to the same download link of the previous one.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

13-05-2012, 23:00

what have you changed since this morning?

By Huey

Prophet (2642)

Huey's picture

14-05-2012, 10:57

Just played the game (2 levels) the improvements made the game better. The second level is more challenging than the first level. Which is good as the first level is a bit easy.

Music is nice. Is it made with Arkos tracker?

A little bug: When I got a game over at the second boss the SAT wasn't cleared. So the boss was still visible in the title screen. Minor bug as it doesn't affect gameplay. Wink

Congratulations with this game.

By [WYZ]

Champion (393)

[WYZ]'s picture

14-05-2012, 19:07

@Huey. Thanks for your comment regarding the music. Tracker and player was programmed by Retroworks crew and still in development. Both are for free use.

By Manuel

Ascended (14676)

Manuel's picture

14-05-2012, 22:52

Great progress on this game! It's a lot better than the first version. I like the polishing like the smooth fading.

By hit9918

Prophet (2777)

hit9918's picture

15-05-2012, 11:46

@utopian, so the 4 pixel scroll is because of timing?
Run the game in the interrupt and the scroller asyncronous outside the interrupt, then you can go 1 pixel scroll!
Don't go 2 pixels, especially with fps issues need 1 pixel, because sometimes things jump 3 pixels.

If you can pull that stunt, you win the best scroller award.
In the category "more than 32 chars gfx and game actually released".
The horizontal scroll award is still held by Circus Charlie, no? Big smile

p.s. the irony is that with 8x8 scroll you would have got less bitching.
It is heartbreaking to see all the infrastructure for scroll, and then it is fixed to 4 pixels.
Fixed timing, big pity when you already got doublebuffering to be free of hitting the beam.

To everyone who starts thinking of how the background workload is to be split, make it asynchronous outside the interrupt. The interrupt be splitting the workload automatic.

Just a bit syncronisation to do:

async background code:

;this one is more like after rendering work was done
DI
load "VDPR2" variable for interrupt doing the nametable register change.
give interrupt code a pointer to a sprite move job for things glued to background, no more wobble
EI
HALT
;at this point interrupt has loaded VDPR2 to VDP register.

;begining of async work
DI
load games level scroll position which is updated by interrupt. never game slowdown, only fps slowdown.
EI
flip my doublebuffer variables, "show" versus "render"
draw the stuff

_____________________
interrupt code:

load VDP nametable register from VDPR2 variable
run background glued sprite moves
dump all to SAT. the normal sprites have been prepared in previos frame. i.e. in stuff following below.

;beam better not reach visible area before this. if it does, SAT dump at VDP speed limit

move level scroll position
move the normal sprites, making the result for SAT dump in next interrupt.

RET

By Metalbrain

Expert (67)

Metalbrain's picture

16-05-2012, 15:15

[WYZ wrote:

]Tracker and player was programmed by Retroworks crew and still in development. Both are for free use.

More info: They're WYZtracker and WYZPlayer:
http://sites.google.com/site/augustoruiz/
http://sites.google.com/site/wyzplayer/

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

17-05-2012, 07:24

I've just released a scrolling demo using two pages and two tileset and it looks good
the cpu has only to update the pnt and swap tilesets at each 4 pixel step
I need to cope with sprite cloning now...
http://www.msx.org/forum/development/msx-development/nametab...
Look for the nemesis iii dsk

By utopian

Rookie (17)

utopian's picture

20-05-2012, 23:35

mars2000you wrote:

snout : try the J key (J like JUKEBOX !)

If you play around at the jukebox, you may find some other hidden secret...

By mars2000you

Enlighted (5372)

mars2000you's picture

21-05-2012, 21:50

utopian wrote:
mars2000you wrote:

snout : try the J key (J like JUKEBOX !)

If you play around at the jukebox, you may find some other hidden secret...

I've found it ! Smile
You can select the level of the game by pressing some key before pressing the x key, then the spacebar.
Hint : there are 7 levels ! Wink

By MäSäXi

Paragon (1884)

MäSäXi's picture

22-05-2012, 09:27

Thank you retroworks!!

MSX games were missing those passwords what were commonly used in Spectrum/C64/Amstrad conversions, great that you had included such hidden level selection thing to your game, I thank you a lot!!!! Smile

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5332)

JohnHassink's picture

22-05-2012, 12:37

I have seen the Spectrum version as well, and I am in awe.

By utopian

Rookie (17)

utopian's picture

03-06-2012, 00:01

If anyone is interested in tinkering with the source code, it is now available from the game card.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6015)

ARTRAG's picture

03-06-2012, 00:42

Great ! Maybe this could inspire the birth of Genesis II, who knows Wink
Going to take a peek.

By PingPong

Prophet (3130)

PingPong's picture

04-06-2012, 23:39

utopian wrote:

If anyone is interested in tinkering with the source code, it is now available from the game card.

This is a very beautiful idea! even for teach how to program a game!

By Huey

Prophet (2642)

Huey's picture

05-06-2012, 07:57

Very generous to provide the sources. Cool

I hope it may one day trigger someone to start coding.

My MSX profile