What could be changed for MSXdev09?

Go back to the smallest specs (4 votes) 10.0%
Stick to MSX1 but without further limitations (6 votes) 15.0%
Something else (do tell!) (7 votes) 17.5%
Nothing, just let it be like MSXdev08 (11 votes) 27.5%
Go back to average specs (6 votes) 15.0%
Go for six-month time frames (6 votes) 15.0%
Total votes: 40

Comments (88)

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

01-03-2009, 13:26

The rules should allow and rate also the use of extra HW, eg. SCC/AUDIO, etc for music or MSX2/2+ VDP's or even GFX9000 for video, provided that the game respects the minimal specifications.

The score should weight the rating at full HW with the rating with minimal specs.

See Montana John to have an idea of what I mean.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

01-03-2009, 13:39

In short: that was MSXdev'07 Tongue

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

Yukio's picture

01-03-2009, 13:43

I disagree. What make the MSX famous was that most of the software could be played into every MSX microcomputer around the globe. Giving extra point for high spec microcomputers would not be fair , imagine countries like Brazil that only had the first generation of MSX microcomputers. The MSX-VIDEO is amazing for a 8-bit microcomputer, but not every body has this specs. The same logic would be valid if someone produce something for MSX that use two video outputs, the MSX-VIDEO is present into some 80 columns cards.

About the extra points for sound, it is questionable since some MSX games only has MSX-MUSIC tracks. About the SCC music, it is nice for Konami games and homebrew stuff.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

01-03-2009, 13:54

That may be so, but as you're saying: it's what MSX made famous... .. when? In the 80's! Let's look at what specs people have today!

But as you're more the Brazilian expert than I am, what's -today- a typical MSX config in Brazil? (MSX generation, RAM, sound extensions etc.)

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

01-03-2009, 14:03

I again vote for freedom. Let the guy who's designing the game decide what's best for him.

And also there's another factor: The lower specs doesn't mean lower development cycles. In most cases, it can get much more time to develop, since there are a lot of limitations that the programmer will spend time trying to overcome just reinventing a wheel that is solved by hardware on the higher specs MSXzes. This is the clear case of the smooth scroll. As a MSX programmer I find really impressive to see a smooth scroll on a MSX1 game and the guys who did it have kudos from me, but how much time that took to achieve?

And I feel pity for the programmers that have to compress everything so it fits inside the 128KB ROM limit, or when he have to "play tetris with the data on RAM", using any minimal space he could find so that the game fits on the 64KB of RAM.

And for the 3.57MHz, even Konami had thrown the towel for that limit of the CPU back then. As the TurboFixes are proving, they simply started ignoring that clock and designed the games to require more CPU power than that. Otherwise they would have spend hours and hours they didn't had optimizing the code, leading to project delays they couldn't afford.

Don't get me wrong, this is just my 2 cents. As I always say, MSXdev is a great idea by itself. I hope only to improve it a bit more. Smile

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

01-03-2009, 14:33

But as you're more the Brazilian expert than I am, what's -today- a typical MSX config in Brazil? (MSX generation, RAM, sound extensions etc.)

I can also tell you that by the MSX meetings sample. The vast majority of the participants currently do have an MSX2+ or MSX Turbo-R, and most of the MSX2+s have turbo. It's very rare to see an MSX1 there.

The guys that have MSX1 do not show up in meetings, keep their MSX stored up on a box on the wardrobe and only play the games using emulators. They don't spend a dime on new MSX hardware, not even an IDE or SD/MMC interface. This way it's very easy to yell "keep the specs on MSX1", when don't have to deal with floppy disks I/O error constantly. The quality of the floppies is currently horrible you know.

Humm... All this argument did brought me up another question: Are the current MSXDev specs coherent to produce games that can be played on REAL MSXzes that have those hardware specifications? Lets have a look at the limits:

* CPU: Zilog Z80 running at 3.58 Mhz
* VDP: TMS9918/TMS9928 or compatible video processor
* PSG: AY-3-8912 or compatible sound chip
* Cassette interface: 1200/2400 baud
* RAM: 64 KB (non memory-mapped)
* VRAM: 16 KB
* The maximum size for the games will be 128 KB

Now lets think of a real-world scenario: The user downloaded the games from the MSXdev website and will run them on his REAL MSX to test.

Steps:
1) Download the games with your PC/Mac
2) Copy the games to a media target MSX can read. Based on the specs, the only options should be: (a) cassette or (b) burn it on a EPROM and build a cartridge for it. This way, the EPROM burner and board making process is also a implicit requirement.
3) Ok, forget the (a) and (b) options, because they would require time and resources I don't have. I'll go for the floppy-disks. (which makes the floppydisk controller a implicit requirement)
4) If the game is a <=48KB plainrom, no problem. The user can test it using ExecROM. But for a >48KB megarom, an cartridge emulation device like MegaRAM or Mega-flash-rom is now a implicit requirement. And most of those have 512KB or more...
5) Play the games

In other words, there are many implicit spec requirements to be able to play the games on a REAL MSX that should be taken in account and, once there, its a waste of resources not to use them fully. Smile

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

01-03-2009, 16:58

That may be so, but as you're saying: it's what MSX made famous... .. when? In the 80's! Let's look at what specs people have today!

There is the MSX revival (MSX-MAGAZINE), the 1chipmsx and even some enforces like the NINTENDO WIIWARE.

But as you're more the Brazilian expert than I am, what's -today- a typical MSX config in Brazil? (MSX generation, RAM, sound extensions etc.)

It is difficulty to tell, in the past most hard core MSX users had upgraded to 2/2+ , FDD and MEGARAM. The last interactions of the MSX2+ kit had FM sound and 256 KB Memory Mapper .

But there are some machines that are plain old MSX1 models, in fact one problem with the Gradiente Expert is that there was to much interference when using the microcomputer. There was not a proper RF shielding.

By arnold_m

Master (173)

arnold_m's picture

01-03-2009, 18:28

Because the MSXdev website only distributes finished entries, contestants cannot use the feedback from the jurors and visitors of the MSXdev website to improve their game within the competition, though some bug fixes seem to be acceptable.
Maybe we can have a system where contestants submit beta versions, get feedback, and can use the feedback to improve the game.
I imagine a system with one or more beta version deadlines and a deadline for the final version.
This would encourage people to start earlier, could lead to more cooperation and would also address the problem of MSXdev seeming almost dead until a month before the deadline.

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

Yukio's picture

01-03-2009, 18:38

It is a very nice suggestion arnold_m . It seems to be a polite and clearly way to propose something over a discussion board.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

01-03-2009, 22:12

i'd better explain my proposal: assume that your game can run on a machine with minimal specs (say MSX1 with 64Kram) and on TR using all the fancy improvements that this machine offers (say r800 and fancy VDP effects).

(Look at Montana John, it has improved graphic on msx2 but works fine also on msx1, or to the demo of a nice screen 3 shoot'em up whose name I do not rememner)

The jury will score separately the game runnig on MSX1 and runnig on TR.

The final vote will be a weighed average of the two results

Assume , e.g., that the game when on msx1 is scored X and when on TR is scored Y.

The final result would be:
70% * X + 30% *Y if you want to promote MSX1 games
or
30% * X + 70% *Y if you want to promote TR games

In this way it becomes a matter ow weights.

I could also decide to submit a pure TR game being aware that I'll receive X=0 in the minimal specs section

By Manuel

Ascended (15626)

Manuel's picture

01-03-2009, 22:17

Very nice idea indeed, Arnold!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

01-03-2009, 22:30

..except that it probably wouldn't work.

I highly doubt that any game would be finished very early in the contest. These games are released close to the deadline because that's probably when they're finished... which is because -probably- developers
1) start late
2) start early but can't be motivated and focused for a whole year
3) don't estimate correctly how much time they've left, leading to a rushjob
4) are normal anyday people who can't be forced to work in a very structured way, like: each month x progression. They randomly start a project in September, are idle until December, continue during the xmas holidays, do some messing up in January and do a rushjob in the last week. That's simply how things can be these days. With a workflow like this, how can you assume they have time for betatest deadlines and such? I'd be happy to finish 'a version' for the real deadline in the first place.. ^_^

By SLotman

Paragon (1211)

SLotman's picture

01-03-2009, 23:13

I have just one suggestion: get rid of the mandatory ROM format!

So people can freely develop the games in BASIC, Pascal, C, Asm... whatever they feel like, for disk, tape, rom or whatever!

As for machines on Brazil... the most common are MSX2 and up. It's rare to see someone with a plain MSX1 on fairs...Tongue

On Brazilian MSX list (MSXBR-L) there is around 300-400 readers, most of them just use emulators. The minority (around 50-100?) have MSXs, and the majority of those have MSX2 or 2+ and higher (thanks mainly to Ademir, who made so many upgrade kits, and his "Ace"s and "Ciel" computers)

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

01-03-2009, 23:25

MRC should add in the "My Account" section where there are the profiles a section telling

I own a:
[ ] MSX1
[ ] MSX2
[ ] MSX2+
[ ] TR
[ ] none of them

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

01-03-2009, 23:36

Yes, MRC2k9 Tongue

By muffie

Paladin (933)

muffie's picture

02-03-2009, 02:00

My opinion would be: PLAIN MSX1 standard with the exception of mappers to larger .ROMs and/or the inclusion of .DSKs.

But, after reading the other reactions I just felt that we MUST keep the .ROM restrictions!

and why not some special categories: Screen 3, MSX Basic, and NO_LIMITS where you could even access your Pece's Geforce through NoWind interface!, play mp3's on your Audigy and etc... Smile

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

Yukio's picture

02-03-2009, 02:58

The lists do not work very well for most statistics about users too ... for one example I am not in the Brazilian list. But I am on the MSX newsgroup, like most of the posters over here. There are a lot of people that only read the messages, normal people that do not like confusions and would like to play games for *FREE*.

One warning.
Be award, not everybody would avoid trouble.

As for the languages. PASCAL,C and ASM can compile binary files to be used as ROM Images. Strange, the type of thing that some persons reported about the time line could not be exact true for some cases.

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

Yukio's picture

02-03-2009, 04:48

Another example, take the 'original' Video-Game concepts from Atari , Philips , Mattel . The Atari 2600 VCS has some fantastic games, little memory could be another factor when balancing the gameplay. After all, graphics are not the only thing that matter. The simplicity on games sometimes could be rewarded!

When porting the Activision titles for other formats, their prevented swamped graphics on the game ports. Their believed that the game-play should remain the same on various formats, trying to do consistent ports of the titles for each machine that their got a license (OR NOT).

By Hrothgar

Champion (479)

Hrothgar's picture

02-03-2009, 09:52

I find it interesting to see that some people who own MSX1s (or come from countries where MSX1s are the norm) vote for allowing MSX1 only. Those in favour of allowing MSX2 never raise their voice to allow MSX2 only but merely ask for allowing MSX2 as well. An interesting nuance in how to promote the system that is dearest to you.

I think the jury is perfectly capable of judging entries based on the platform they run on and the restrictions of the type of game in question. Games such as I Need Speed, Danger Tower and even Peek-a-Boo being able to compete score-wise with La Corona Encantada and Deep Dungeon, which due to their nature have a much broader scope and gameplay, demonstrates this.

I would vote for a free competition where everyone can create their entries as they please, and the score taking into account both originality, gameplay and system restrictions. Not voting in the poll however, as an entry reflecting my opinion seems to have conveniently been left out.

By Huey

Prophet (2644)

Huey's picture

02-03-2009, 09:55

MSXdev is MSX1 and passionMSX contest is MSX2 and up.

So why change MSXdev minimal specs?

By Hrothgar

Champion (479)

Hrothgar's picture

02-03-2009, 12:12

PassionMSX in itself already seems a protest initiative that apparently some found necessary because MSX2 had been ignored for half a decade. I believe it is quite insane to further fragment the already tiny MSX community based on personal preference of MSX-flavour. Nor does the number of entries that did get submitted to MSXDEV08 (or PassionMSX thus far) give rise to specialization and fragmentation of contests. It might if both attracted dozens of entries but we won't ever see that again.

Using the existence of such a counter initiative to demonstrate that we should continue only targeting MSX1 seems weird, unless there is some formal policy that MRC is only an MSX1 community and MSX2 developments indeed belong somewhere else.

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

Yukio's picture

02-03-2009, 12:40

MSXdev is MSX1 and passionMSX contest is MSX2 and up.

So why change MSXdev minimal specs?

Yes, and the MINI game competition (without prizes?) is for everything else. Even including MSX/MSX 2/2+ and MSX Turbo R ... It is weird how things continue to pass through the life of many people without a proper note. Or maybe it could be just my "imagination".
Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

02-03-2009, 12:57

A *really* freestyle option (like MSX2) has been left out because:
- I know viejo, he'd die first before allowing and moving towards MSX2 Tongue So it would be pointless to have it as option. The Something Else option compensates for this.
- With the PassionMSX2 contest there already is an MSX2 contest at the moment. This poll is for MSXdev09, not challenges in general.

By Hrothgar

Champion (479)

Hrothgar's picture

02-03-2009, 13:47

So one of the most fundamental questions has been left out because you already know that one person wouldn't like that? Then it's a good thing I didn't vote. (Actually, if one person makes decisions on his own why have a poll at all?)

It might be worthwhile to officially split the communities then and declare that MRC is an MSX1-only area, so that a full MSX2-one can be created somewhere for those that care. The decision to promote MSX1 development after years of neglect was somewhat defendable a couple of years back, but really isn't anymore after six years of single sided development attention. (Even though MSX2 development IMHO hardly reached maturity as MSX1 did and is much further behind its potential as a platform.)

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

02-03-2009, 14:03

dude, relax.

we promote every MSX generation
MSXdev promotes MSX1 (or more specific, they promote that entries should work on all MSX-generations, starting from MSX1)

The MSXdev organizers are three people:
- viejo -> is an MSX1 geek
- Mars2k -> co-organizes an MSX2 contest on PassionMSX (which probably emerged because MSXdev kept its focus on MSX1)
- BodyHammer -> uhm .. BodyHammer.. Tongue (I dunno your preferences, BH Tongue)

To me it would seem logical that 2 out of 3 MSXdev organizers would favor MSXdev for MSX1 and have other contests focus on MSX2. Thus, the poll options were designed with this in mind. I can imagine there is a moment where one can ask all kinds of general contest things, in which every MSX generation and all the relevant MSX extensions count. But that would be a general challenge poll, this here is an MSXdev poll.

But apart from all this: there *is* an option labeled 'something else' in this poll. If you want anything MSX2 in it, use this option and state why in the reactions. It's that simple. It's not like 'something else' votes are not valid or something. Hannibal

By Huey

Prophet (2644)

Huey's picture

02-03-2009, 14:09

Perhaps we should try a no-limitations edition of MSXdev. Just to see.....

By muffie

Paladin (933)

muffie's picture

02-03-2009, 14:35

Oh No! A Flame war, and I'm not included!
How can I change my vote to the most controversy option? I would like to change my vote to Turbo-R with Moonsound, GFX9000 and NoWind as minimum specs.

By viejo_archivero

Paragon (1372)

viejo_archivero's picture

02-03-2009, 15:22

cough, cough, this is the same ol' story. MSXdev is an MSX development contest, not an MSX1 development contest: that mean that games are MSX compatible, and run on tons of MSXes around, including MSX, MSX2, 2+, TR and 1chipMSX. So, the MSX2 computers are not out of the contest, as games are always MSX2 compatible: even more, MSX2 add-ons are perfectly accepted although not taken in account!... so MSXdev is not an MSX1 contest, is an MSX contest. Another type of contest, allowing just MSX2 or upper games, WILL be the one being restrictive, as it will be missing all MSX1s around. So, imho, the MSXdev is the most open and generation-respectful contest around, as every generation is accepted (assuming the game also runs on the minimum specs).

Teenwolf_:"- viejo -> is an MSX1 geek". Well, make an MSX2 game but being MSX compatible and I will be really happy. In fact Montana Dutchie is a clear example of what can be done being MSX compatible: or Louts F3, that detects if MSX2 is present to switch the game into an MSX2 videomode... again, MSXdev is not closing doors to MSX2 specs, just specifies to be compatible with all MSX generations. For those others who want JUST MSX2 action, go Passion or MRC Megachallenges Wink

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

02-03-2009, 16:07

The fact that it must work on an MSX1 keeps the technical architecture down to MSX1. Just adding a palette to a screen 2 image when detecting an MSX2 VDP isn't the same as making a screen 5 game with hardware scrolling etc. From this point of view, MSXdev is a contest "aiming at all MSX generations starting from MSX1", which still makes it -technically- an MSX1 contest.. Hannibal Unless people really store 2 independent games (screen 2 version and screen 5 version) into 1 rom, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. ^^

Compare: Disney makes 'family movies' (equals "all MSX generations" ). A typical family includes Peek-A-Boo toddlers, Starship Rendezvous teenagers, Sudoku mothers and F1-Spirit fathers. Do you agree with me that the inclusion of the kids brings the age recommendations down for a Disney movie? There can't be any killing, blood or gore in it, no? Tongue

Anyway, I suggest to leave it be for another 2 weeks, just await more votes (or Something Else details) and we'll see in 2 weeks which option wins.

(my sleeping hours were limited last night, if I'm talking toddlertalk, then don't mind ^^)

By Haohmaru

Paladin (772)

Haohmaru's picture

02-03-2009, 17:35

@Crystal Score: I like MSX in general, so anything that is released will grab my attention. The cool thing about MSXdev releases is that they (should) work on ANY MSX.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

02-03-2009, 17:47

Right, which is fine with me, really. But it typically makes it an MSX1 contest then, with palettes, alternative tiles and perhaps non-gameplay scrolling (think MJTT: the block thuds) as a bonus for MSX2. I don't see it as a problem when a contest restricts itself to a certain MSX-generation btw, so don't see it as criticism.

I got a sense-making remark from one of the megachallenge jury members, some months ago. As you know I kinda prefer to let MJTT live its life as an MSX2 game. However, I got this remark: "It's no MSX2 game.", "why not?", "Well, do you think it looks like Usas?". That summarizes the whole thing. Of course it's no MSX2 game. On MSX2 it's still an MSX1 game but with a palette, slightly different screen 2 tiles and some non-gameplay scrolling.

By Manuel

Ascended (15626)

Manuel's picture

02-03-2009, 20:42

Why not make a general contest in which any MSX game can be entered? So, no restrictions on MSX type at all?

Rules could be like: if it says it will run on MSX2, it must run on any MSX2 (minimum specs), etc.
Then you still have to decide what to do with optional stuff like disk drive, MoonSound, etc.

But you can also forget about those rules. Just program a game for some MSX system. The judges will decide if they like it! If they can't run it decently, I'm sure that will cost points. If the gameplay is just awesome, I'm sure it doesn't matter it's only MSX1. If the graphics rule for an MSX1 game, they will be judged with that in mind. If the graphics suck for a GFX9000 game, likewise.

Why limits, other than making the scope a bit limited, as some kind of self-protection for developers?

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

02-03-2009, 21:55

I was stuck with a multi spec games (msx1/msx2) with a scoring system that weights the two partial scores gained on msx1 and msx2, but I would subscribe Manuel's proposal, provided that the jury will be able to accurately set scores with respect to the limit of the chosen configurations.

An outstanding msx1 game cannot compete with a good TR game (for graphic, music, and number of things moving on the screen).
But, compared to the limits of their respective target machines, one is outstanding while the other is just good, so the score should reflect this situation, allowing to the msx1 game to win over the TR game...

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

02-03-2009, 22:01

Relative quality between MSX generations is very hard to judge.

Which games would you let win?

Nemesis 2 or Space Manbow
Xak 1 or Illusion City

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

02-03-2009, 22:11

I think it would be very hard to judge. Just look at how hard it is to give a toddler game proper credit for game play. I think its better to have two separate competitions, maybe split it up so that an MSX1 competition has the deadline in October and the MSX2 competition in March. Then some folks would compete in both and some pick the one that they feel more for.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

03-03-2009, 15:27


MRC should add in the "My Account" section where there are the profiles a section telling

I own a:
[ ] MSX1
[ ] MSX2
[ ] MSX2+
[ ] TR
[ ] none of them

That's an excellent idea!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

03-03-2009, 15:35

The concept for this is years old already, not just what system one has, but many more questions which may be interesting for developers. It's just that MRC2k7 became MRC2k8 became MRC2k9, so these things get delayed a bit.. Tongue

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

03-03-2009, 15:43

So, the MSX2 computers are not out of the contest, as games are always MSX2 compatible: even more, MSX2 add-ons are perfectly accepted although not taken in account!...

Viejo,

Don't get mad at me as I'm kidding over the mental model, but that isn't the same as saying, in a hypothetical PC development contest:

"DOS programs do run on a DOS-shell in Windows, so it is windows-compatible. Even more, DOS programs can even use some windows add-ons, like opening some dialog boxes. So there's no such a thing on this contest as restrictions to windows entries.".

Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

03-03-2009, 15:47

Why not make a general contest in which any MSX game can be entered? So, no restrictions on MSX type at all?

YES! Freedom at last!!! Where do I vote on this option? Smile

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

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03-03-2009, 16:15

There was something like this for the MRC Challenge, eventually we ended with a few entries. It's not a 100% perfect comparison tho. Many people tend to join the MSXdev contest, and typically it's very hard to work on two entries at the same time.. it's a matter of focus.

What we may need here is asking a few experienced game makers how long it takes to make a game. Code, gfx, music, everything. Based on that it may be possible to come to conclusions regarding the specs:success balance, at least within a certain time frame.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

03-03-2009, 16:43

An outstanding msx1 game cannot compete with a good TR game (for graphic, music, and number of things moving on the screen).

ARTRAG,

That is a fallacy, you know. On a bunch of games I have here, the MSX1 games beat the TurboR-only games hands down. Lets have a better look at it:

- "2021 Snooky!" sucks. I do prefer play a lot of other MSX1 games over it.
- "Die Frage II" is boring. I don't even see why that requires a Turbo-R to run.
- Except for the sound/music, Seed of Dragon is not better than any ZX-Spectrum port for the MSX1. It in fact looks like a ZX-Spectrum game.

- Merash is interesting at a first glance, but its background is composed only of a few stars and this gets boring after a few minutes of play. Its not much better than MSX1's Galaga, and Zanac is a lot better than it.

- Gekihara is no match to Year Kung Fu 1 or 2.

- And Zone Terra? Even Star Soldier, a 32KB MSX1 ROM, beats it easily in playability and soundtrack.

In fact, I'm yet to find really good MSX TurboR-only games. The only ones I did found were those:

- Parallel Dreams. But this one is written in BASIC. It's very easy to make it run on a turbo MSX2+.

- Moonlight Saga seems to be very good, except it's all in Japanese... Without a translation, I can't play it.

- Braindrive is cool. Smile

So, what's my point with all of this? It's that what makes a good game are not the specs. Its creativity. And that can only be expressed though freedom. And the list above proves that it is a fallacy that an MSX1 game would not have a fare competition against a Turbo-R game based only on the specs.

By iamweasel2

Hero (524)

iamweasel2's picture

03-03-2009, 20:27

What I still don't get it is why those people who want to code MSX2/2+(only) games can't simply join passionMSX or any other MSX2 contest. Somehow I have the feeling that, if MSX-DEV changes its rules to allow any kind of MSX game to be developed without any restriction, not only many of those people who wants MSX-DEV to change will not submit games to this new MSX-DEV competition, but it will also make some of the msx1 developers (that are currently submitting games to MSX-DEV) give up of MSX-DEV. I hope no one gets angry with me for saying this (it is not my intention to hurt anyone's feeling), but I think this is the way things are. I believe MSX-DEV is a great success today because of its rules, if you do big changes in its rules, you might ruin this great competition.

By Imanok

Paragon (1142)

Imanok's picture

03-03-2009, 20:46

In fact, I'm yet to find really good MSX TurboR-only games
Try F-Nano2 and Fnano2' Wink

What I still don't get it is why those people who want to code MSX2/2+(only) games can't simply join passionMSX or any other MSX2 contest
THAT is the question

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

03-03-2009, 21:04

What I still don't get it is why those people who want to code MSX2/2+(only) games can't simply join passionMSX or any other MSX2 contest.
Would you move yourself into another family if there was a 'better' one than your current family? It may be that simple.. people may join MSXdev, not because it's a specific contest with specific rules, .. but simply because it's MSXdev. A tradition that isn't easy to change.. Tongue

Another thing: I feel the PassionMSX organizers are doing zippo to promote their contest. And while it takes two to tango (developers and organizers), for the moment the organizers are merely sitting at the bar. If developers get the same impression then they may choose to join MSXdev instead. If there's one thing dull it's competing in a contest with 1 or 2 entries. People may for this reason join MSXdev with an MSX1 entry, rather than another contest with an MSX2 entry.

Conclusion: we're all highly complex.. Tongue

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

03-03-2009, 21:36


What I still don't get it is why those people who want to code MSX2/2+(only) games can't simply join passionMSX or any other MSX2 contest. Somehow I have the feeling that, if MSX-DEV changes its rules to allow any kind of MSX game to be developed without any restriction, not only many of those people who wants MSX-DEV to change will not submit games to this new MSX-DEV competition, but it will also make some of the msx1 developers (that are currently submitting games to MSX-DEV) give up of MSX-DEV. I hope no one gets angry with me for saying this (it is not my intention to hurt anyone's feeling), but I think this is the way things are. I believe MSX-DEV is a great success today because of its rules, if you do big changes in its rules, you might ruin this great competition.

IMHO splitting the developers on two competitions would kill both competitions.
The scene is simply too small.

Maybe allowing multi platform games in one competition (I'm again on the idea of msx1/msx2 games like montana john) could be a comprimise to allow:

1) all (4 or 5) developers still alive can compete in one competition having one year to thing to their game

2) people looking for msx2 games will feel less disappointed of the outcame

3) sorry for repeating myself, we could find easily a scoring system able to valorize the game in both running modes and in exteme case alble to allow pure msx2 or pure msx1 games to win over the other games

PS
I know: TR has no good games. My example was pure theory ;-)

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

Yukio's picture

04-03-2009, 00:16

In the mean time, in the past I tried to compile some source code from other Personal Computers. Even the code that only use the ANSI Console output sometimes do not work well on MSX microcomputers, PASCAL programs like some people already reported missed the BYTE/BINARY READ/WRITE commands, there is a FIX on the NET. Some programs are to slow when running on character (ASCII text) mode, the files gets bigger too.

The Windows gadgets from the Microsoft GUI ends up eating 2 or more MegaBytes of Memory. The DOS applications should work just fine with only 640 KB RAM (plus Graphic Card with dedicated memory). The MSX Microcomputers works fine with 256 KB Memory Mapper + 128 KB VRAM !

By poke-1,170

Paragon (1756)

poke-1,170's picture

04-03-2009, 03:10

hmm yeah, it's somehow strange to have the main focus on downward compatibility,
imagine sony would command that every ps3 game had to be ps1 compatible... that'd be pretty sad.
I mean, msx2 has been invented as a follow up and all those games are compatible with msx2 systems.
Maybe msx2's haven't been as available worldwide as they were in holland, but it's 2009 and everyone can have one
of them by now. And if not there are plenty of emulators to play them in.
So have msxdev open for everything and judge the entries on its own merits, I can imagine there would be
programmers who would be able to do a lot more with advanced specs, and it would only benefit the amount
(and quality) of games.

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

Yukio's picture

04-03-2009, 04:01

MSX-DOS is more or less compatible with the older CP/M for Z80 (or compatible) processors. Even the Z80 was binary compatible with older Intel 8080 processors.

Now the MSX Turbo R Personal Computer should be able to run a lot of older codes, even text adventures from previous microcomputers. 80 columns is considered the minimum specs for professional 8-bit systems!

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

04-03-2009, 05:35

I know: TR has no good games. My example was pure theory ;-)

Smile

And there's an embarrassing aspect on that, like when presenting the Turbo-R to your friends:

Friend: "So, this is that marvelous machine you talk so much about? And that your girlfriend (wife, etc) says you spend a lot of bucks buying accessories for it? Is it better then the MSX2 we played back then?"

You: "Oh, yes! It is an impressive machine. Its very fast and has many improvements over the previous generations."

Friend: "Well, then show me how powerful it is! Show me its games, or some demo!"

You: "Well... Huh... Let me show you Space Manbow!"

Friend: "Wait, wait! Isn't Space Manbow an MSX2 game? We played that already! I asked you to show me what THIS machine can do. Show me something new! Isn't it TWO generations newer and blablabla?"

You: "Hummm... Let me show Aleste-2 then!"

Friend: "I'm sure you understood what I said".

You: "Ok, ok. So... That's Illusion City!"

Friend: "Wasn't that the game some crazy guy from Brazil translated and proved that it can run on a turbo MSX2?" And don't get me wrong, but this game is not showing me that much evolution over the MSX2 games we played at your home back in the nineties..., like Xak-2"

You: "(#%@~%@*@%) Aw, yes! Here it is! Zone Terra! 19268 colours! PCM sound!"

Friend: "Humm.. Looks interesting!"

[He plays for about 5 minutes...]

Friend: So... What were you talking about Space Manbow? Can I see it again? Or maybe Aleste-2?

===END===

Well... To avoid those situations I believe we need to stimulate more Turbo-R games development. Smile)

By viejo_archivero

Paragon (1372)

viejo_archivero's picture

04-03-2009, 10:13

manuel: "Why limits, other than making the scope a bit limited, as some kind of self-protection for developers?"

Limits are there to force things to be completed: "this must be like this, no more than this, and presented this day". Without those "limits" people will get lost into huge incomplete projects or into "I will finish this the next decade" attitude. People here is forgetting the fact that ANYONE can develop ANYTHING for ANY MSX! Just do it and release it, out of any contest!: that way you'll have no limits on specs, no deadlines, etc.

What I mean is that contests are here to help people fit some rules, so they can be "forced" to finish something "limited" on time. But, hey, those not wanting any limits it is ok! stop complaining and just blow out my mind with an outstanding brand-new TurboR production!! Nowadays it is not a must to release things into an specific contest: take Manbow 2 or Alien 8 Remake (MSX2) or Perfect Fit! (MSX) as example.

It is easy. Contests and limits are here just to help. If you can't live with some restrictions of a contest, dammit just do the game! The goal of MSXdev contests is to help developers to bring new MSX games each year! Gimme a 0 entries MSXdev year, but 12 game releases outside the contest and, believe me, I will be happy! (that would mean no need to organize the contest no more, that's lots of work, yay!) Wink

By PingPong

Prophet (3418)

PingPong's picture

04-03-2009, 12:56


By viejo_archivero on March 04 2009, 10:13
manuel: "Why limits, other than making the scope a bit limited, as some kind of self-protection for developers?"

Limits are there to force things to be completed:

On the other hand, with limits one do not even to try to start a game development!Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

04-03-2009, 13:12

A classic mistake here is the assumption that large specs automatically lead to large games (from a gameplay point of view) which may not make a deadline. Even if you do a puzzle game: have 10 theme sets, each with a unique sc2 image and a tune, and you can easily fill up a ROM. Make these tunes PSGSCC and you can *very* easily fill up a ROM. A typical composer could do 10 tunes within a month, not much of a risk I'd say.

Look at Deep Dungeon. A 32KB game with a 4KB code core. Uplift the game to feature 16x16 style graphics and SCC music, and the game easily doubles in size, maybe even more. Still, it'd be mostly the same game regarding code (which is usually most of the work).

Quarth is a 128KB game.. but would you say it's a large game? Equally large as Nemesis 2, Penguin Adventure, Maze of Galious, Usas, Vampire Killer, Metal Gear, King Kong 2, Salamander etc. etc.?

By Hrothgar

Champion (479)

Hrothgar's picture

04-03-2009, 14:43

When discussing MSX1 vs 2, specifically the differences in screen formats are relevant. I guess having plenty of screen 5 or 8 graphics in a game quickly fills a MegaRom. Can anybody that has experience with coding graphics for MSX2 *and* for MSX1 comment on how labour intensive each is? I don't have experience myself, but I can imagine creating good looking screen 2 tilesets by hand pixeling can take just as long (if not longer) as screen 5 or 8 images.

By Huey

Prophet (2644)

Huey's picture

04-03-2009, 15:21

When discussing MSX1 vs 2, specifically the differences in screen formats are relevant. I guess having plenty of screen 5 or 8 graphics in a game quickly fills a MegaRom. Can anybody that has experience with coding graphics for MSX2 *and* for MSX1 comment on how labour intensive each is? I don't have experience myself, but I can imagine creating good looking screen 2 tilesets by hand pixeling can take just as long (if not longer) as screen 5 or 8 images.

The patternbased screen2 mode is easier to manage than the non patternbased screen5 mode. Updating a Pattern Name Table is faster/simpler than using a custom pattern routine for screen5.
With some reasonable effort it won't be a HUGE problem in the end. (thinking about YS3 and Akin).
In general its easier to start coding with MSX1. But after some time the MSX2 modes will give more of a needed challenge.......

When working with (mega)ROMs you need to find a balance in the amount of gfx you really need and the gfx which are there just for eye candy. Try to reuse as much gfx as possible. But this counts for all screen modes even screen2.

By PingPong

Prophet (3418)

PingPong's picture

04-03-2009, 15:53

the pattern based modes are easy to animate, but due to their color limits are a true pain to work with, if one want to make good gfx

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

04-03-2009, 16:08

Can anybody that has experience with coding graphics for MSX2 *and* for MSX1 comment on how labour intensive each is?
To me it's equally simple or tough.

screen 2 pros:
- because there're less creative possibilities, you're done quickly
- if you're doing abstract tiles (think Nemesis building blocks for hi-tech levels, such as pipes), it's easy to cross-use tiles. In MJTT, elements of those faces in Red Temple are also present in the background pillars of the same level.

screen 2 cons:
- you need to plan ahead
- everything which doesn't look like a rectangle (aligned at 8 horizontal pixels) may cause a problem if you want things to look colorful. Think ramps and large round objects.
- palette is limited, a bit too bright, and a bit too candy

msx2 pros:
- given the palette, everything which you can think of can be drawn
- thus: anti-aliasing possible if you have these colors available
- you can choose to use soft sprites, which are thus multicolor
- no tile bank limitations like in screen 2, you can make statusbars wherever you like.

msx2 cons:
- typically less easy to tile because tiles may be designed with more complexity. With more tiles available in VRAM this is less of a problem though.
- with unlimited pixel options, your mind may decide to spend more time on a tile, to make it look better.

Both msx1 and msx2 have advantages and disadvantages, but they're more based on the basic concept of a game. A designer could be skilled on both platforms, and then I don't think there's much time difference, if any.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

04-03-2009, 20:33

Can anybody that has experience with coding graphics for MSX2 *and* for MSX1 comment on how labour intensive each is?
To me, programming scr2 is a pain in the arse. It requires a lot more time for both artwork and coding than scr5:

  • Coding: scr2 coordinate system is bizarre. It needs a horrible formula just to discover where a damn pixel is on the VRAM. And then there are three tables to deal with it: the pattern table, the tile table and the color table. The system is so complicated that speccy game porters just gave up and did everything in RAM. After that they did blit the entire screen to the VRAM. This is why many speccy games are so slow on the MSX. And the reason they did it this way? It requires too much development time to code it properly and they didn't had time to waste
  • Coding: Everything must be done in software, thus must be coded (more time required). There's no hardware blitter to help you.
  • Coding: In scr5 the VRAM is linear and direct. On a V9958 the horizontal scroll helps you so much that you can program a high quality game like ParaDream even in BASIC. Now try doing a ParaDream-like game in BASIC, with smooth scroll and everything, on the scr2.
  • Art: You can even use The Gimp or Photoshop to quickly draw graphics for any MSX2 screen mode. But to draw graphics for the scr2, it's again a pain in the arse. You have use specific tools and waste a lot of time worrying about the colorbleed. On many cases, you'll have to code some special routine just to cover the colorbleed with sprites to get some decent result.

But this is my experience, so YMMV. I am incomparably more productive doing things for scr>=5 than I am on doing the same things on scr<5. To the point I just give up if I have to deal with those unbearable restrains that the scr2 puts on my creativity and productivity. If I am to code anything on my free time, I will code something that gives me realization on doing it. After all, that the whole point of having a hobby, isn't it?

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

04-03-2009, 21:13

Vejo, admit, interest for msxdev is fading. We MUST find something that can pump new life in it. Plain MSX1 has been exploited in almost any possible way and tons of games of any kind and type have been developed for it.
Nowaday doing something of remarkable on msx1 becomes harder and harder.
(IMHO "remarkable" games or a) override tecnical limitations or b) present amazing artistic features.)

Today anyone can msx2 games or buing a real HW or on emulators

About games able to exploit both MSX1 and MSX2 capabilities (like Montana John) it seems to me a proposal able to spice up the scene without penalize none of the two standards.

And, in the end, we DO need a competition to release games.
The motivation of all us is competition with others developers, glory in winning a famous competition etc etc...

No competition == no motivation

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

04-03-2009, 21:47

Not sure about that motivation statement, it deserves another poll or thread I think.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

04-03-2009, 21:57

IIRC Montana was an msxdev project originally...

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

04-03-2009, 22:06

Yes, point being? Tongue

There're people doing demos, games etc. without any contest. So, it's not that people 'need' a contest in order to do something. It sure helps, but if a contest would die out, it's not like ppl are sitting still from that moment.

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

04-03-2009, 22:48

Are u sure u would have startd Montana just to do something for msx?

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

04-03-2009, 22:56

For MSX2 games there is the passionmsx contest which have a big first price. Imo, its better to keep msxdev for MSX1 only.

I don't think the reason for the relatively low quality of the games in msxdev'08 is because people want to make msx2 games instead. Several great developers have chosen not to participate in msxdev for other reasons, e.g. they want to release their games like normal game releases, not submit them to a contest. I don't think expanding to msx2 would help.

I encourage every developer that wants to do something for msx2 to consider the passionmsx competition instead of complaining about msxdev.

By Manuel

Ascended (15626)

Manuel's picture

04-03-2009, 23:01

The only limit you need is a deadline, IMHO.

And if people can compare a racing game with a snake game with a dice game with a puzzle game (with a toddler game ;-), then I'm sure it's no problem to compare an MSX1 game with a GFX9000 game, e.g.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

04-03-2009, 23:05

Are u sure u would have startd Montana just to do something for msx?
That's hard to say, isn't it? If we knew at forehand that we were to miss the deadline we may have had a different architecture, more like Usas (screen 5). My point is rather that we've now planned to not do a challenge for a while (tho perhaps we could submit our dev08 entry to dev09, given that the specs don't get lower Tongue), because
1) the specs are dull (see point 3)
2) we never make deadlines anyway
3) we want to do a g9k/moonsound game, there's currently no contest for that, and an ad hoc g9k/moonsound contest would gain perhaps only 2 or 3 contestants, which is dull too
4) we still need to finish BttW, which is a 2+ game, also no contest for that

dvik/joyrex also didn't need a contest to release their MSX1 demos, no? Tongue

The point I want to make is that it may be interesting to find out why people are doing the things they are doing. Perhaps we *think* it's challenges that motivates them, but perhaps it's something else. Who knows..

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

04-03-2009, 23:07

In fact, the point you're making is in our case rather funny. We've had plans for all kinds of stuff for years already. It's actually the contests and challenges that messed up our own planning. Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

04-03-2009, 23:13

For MSX2 games there is the passionmsx contest which have a big first price.
For a contest with such a prize, and a contest generally seen as -technically- the MSX2 equivalent of MSXdev, it has been awfully quiet so far. And I'm not talking about reporting on the possible releases, because there aren't any yet, ..but just bumping it, reminders, igniting a bit o' gossip, rumors and action, that's what such a contest needs. Have you seen any of that since the concept went airborne? (over 8 months ago!)

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

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04-03-2009, 23:56

Generic development activity, continue here!

MSXdev'09 discussion continue here below!

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

06-03-2009, 15:59

So, anyone on my proposal?
I.e. allowing msx1/msx2 games and giving as a score the weighted average of the scores in the two working modes ?

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

06-03-2009, 16:20

I think its better with two competitions, e.g. msxdev for MSX1 games and the passionmsx competition for MSX2 games.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

06-03-2009, 16:51

btw, I think we should formally define the term "MSX1+" Tongue

An MSX1 game with non-architectural MSX2 features. Such as palette, non-gameplay scrolling, screen 4, extra sprites etc.

Maybe MSXdev'09 should officially become the first MSX1+ contest.. ^_^ (meaning that, like dev07, MSX2 bonuses do get bonuspoints)

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

06-03-2009, 23:19

wolf,
Montana John is a classic example of games than can work in screen 2 and screen 5/screen8 with just MINIMAL changes!
You had no scroll, the major action on the screen is based on sprites, while animations in the background regards small areas
(torches, small details etc)
Maybe only waterfalls would need some work (double buffer to mange the tile based animation).

On the same data set and on the same game code you can get two games almost fully msx1/msx2.

By dioniso

Champion (474)

dioniso's picture

07-03-2009, 17:21

For the next dev I would change the way users think Wink I would leave the dev as it is now and will encourage users to waste less time discussing the rules Edu (no more now), Viejo, etc... decide (since its their work) and invert more time in creating games, which is the main purpose of this dev and of this thread. Tongue

By konamiman

Paragon (1037)

konamiman's picture

11-03-2009, 13:47

What about an utility development competition? This way, people like me who can do MSX development but have absolutely no idea of how to develop a game can do something as well. Let's go for MsxUtilDev'09! Tongue

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3032)

sd_snatcher's picture

11-03-2009, 15:19

This way, people like me who can do MSX development but have absolutely no idea of how to develop a game can do something as well.

MSXdev itsef could have a incredible potential to stimulate MSX development in general.

"Developed anything interesting for the MSX system? Is it a game? A utility? A hack? FAT32 support? Lets us know, and you might get this year's prize for that!"

PS: Just kidding about the FAT32 part. Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

11-03-2009, 20:09

SymbOS already support FAT32 iirc, so its absolutely doable, probably quite useful to, for e.g. CF memory cards.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5400)

JohnHassink's picture

11-03-2009, 22:12

@ konamiman:

NestorBASIC is already a winner. Epic win, to be exact. Smile

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6229)

ARTRAG's picture

12-03-2009, 08:44

If the sponsor system is mantained
I think that someone could set a prize to the best msx1/msx2 game...

By PingPong

Prophet (3418)

PingPong's picture

14-03-2009, 12:27

Umh, As suspected, the first choice in the final race, will get the sligthly higher score than others...

By Sofia

Supporter (3)

Sofia's picture

15-03-2009, 13:38

Hi all,
nice to join to the forum
I wanted to vote for the last option, but my vote is not taken into account.
Never the less the site says that I've already voted...
Which it is not as the number of total votes is not changed
How does it happen?

By Sofia

Supporter (3)

Sofia's picture

15-03-2009, 18:54

...
There is no reason to keep the votes secret
Why not adding the names of those who voted close to each option?
It would allows us to see if the polling system works correctly

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

15-03-2009, 19:02

sofia, I would not dare to say that the poll is broken
- maybe only not relevant (35 votes...) -
let's keep the subject on why the msxdev08 disappointed so many people

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5400)

JohnHassink's picture

15-03-2009, 19:21

Disappointed so many people? How? oO

By PingPong

Prophet (3418)

PingPong's picture

15-03-2009, 20:23

I must agree with sofia, no reason to secret. We are not voting about the future of the earth

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

15-03-2009, 20:59

It's not implemented now, and until MRC2k9 there won't be any critical changes to the current MRC. It's not certain whether logged poll voting will be implemented anyway, needs to be discussed internally.

By Sofia

Supporter (3)

Sofia's picture

15-03-2009, 21:03

wolf
I had to register to vote
what are you speaking about?

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9766)

wolf_'s picture

15-03-2009, 21:39

I was talking about the secret voting, e.g. logging who voted what. I dunno why you seem to have problems with the poll, hadn't heard such an issue earlier. Anyway, I can't fix it. Sad

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5400)

JohnHassink's picture

16-03-2009, 04:41

Excuse me, considering "logging who voted what", is anyone in favor of this willing to explain the merit in that?
Honestly I fail to see the use of such thing.

"This is Joey, Paul, Willy and Frankie, and they voted for this, this and that"
- "Oh oh oh shiiiiit!"