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Gauntlet

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#26 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 1:33 PM

Antic Mode 5 would at least help to use half the amount of needed chars.

Edited by emkay, Fri Feb 3, 2017 1:34 PM.


#27 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 3:19 PM

Oh, my....

You shouldn't forget that the A8 is a 70's Computer. It's assembled on Computer "knowledge" from the 60s.
C64, for example, is based partly on the A8. Computer - technology had been growing in a faster way, year by year, (double speed development given every year), that time. While "C" had no competitor till 1982 to Atari' computers, the C64 was the answer to many "needs" for programmers, plus having a look at the available machines, and to make things better. That means, while in the 70s Atari did an unbelievable job, releasing the XL, was unbelievable silly, as Atari did release the "same" hardware from 1979 to 1990s , without real upgrades. And, please, don't mention the useless Freddy chip....

If you want to show impressive stuff on the Atari, have a look at what they offered in 1979, and USE THAT !!!!
If you want to have a great "Gauntlet" , you have to accept that the A8 is a marvelous 70s computer and to use it as it can be used. IF you want to keep the "high" details, you had to re-create the graphics from "4" colour to "3" colour objects. Then you get more visual colours.

#28 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2017 3:50 PM

what are you talking about? the Atari XL I got was in the 80's not 90's and it blew the pants off my commodore at the time... It ran circles around it in loading as well as serious apps... and most games for that matter.... the silly release was the XE game system.....  what many discussed was why we didn't do the normal course of action and fold the line into one... the computer with 2600/5200/7800 and sound supports in one platform... In fact much later the Amiga crews were dreaming of doing those kinds of projects as everyone clearly saw the Amiga was an Atari progression.... how is it Atari gives all it's best stuff some how some way to the competition... that's where the whole Tramiel circle starts swirling.. tons of rumor about all that in all directions....



#29 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 4, 2017 1:59 AM

what are you talking about? the Atari XL I got was in the 80's not 90's and it blew the pants off my commodore at the time... It ran circles around it in loading as well as serious apps... and most games for that matter....


Well, every hardware manufacturer has to accept, not to be perfect. If you see a mistake, do some workaround.
The Atari was build for NTSC TV sets. So colours could be adjusted. Doing that on PAL Systems, gives more available colours but also fixed colours. Creating a new GTIA was the solution. We discussed that in the past. On PAL and even NTSC machines with Luma Chroma signal, you had the possibility of "hires with colours". All they did was to add the GTIA modes, and as we know, the GTIA modes had been planned for the 800 already , and later 800s had the GTIA build in. Heck , they even forgot to add the chroma line in the XL series. Not to forget the missing RAM in the PMg pointer...

As we don't have that, we see the 800XL , see the C64 and people still think, the A8 can do this or that like the C64.

But, hey, it's ok, as the XL still has it's own features. But, again, we still don't see them in real(particular in games) , because of people try to resemble C64 Stuff.

#30 popmilo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 5, 2017 4:00 AM

As I wrote in other Threads, the Atari would need a "unique" version, taking advantage of the native features.
Doing the game fullscreen in 4x4 mode with 9 colours and to use the PMg for an overlay score indicator would have solved all problems.

Agreed 100%. Personally I don't see much point in upgrading simple char based gauntlet (like it's on C64). Atari can do "better" in a different way that's much closer to it's strengths.

 

Example of such a chunky graphics is Lynx version:

Gauntlet: The Third Encounter

 

Gameplay area is only around 96x96 pixels. And it's used with player in middle of screen most of the time. With player moved closer to the opposite edge of the screen from where he's facing even 80x50 is good enough imho. Imagine similar engine as my Monk game and bare in mind that released version had no optimizations of drawing at all... 

Moving 100s of enemies isn't a problem at all. Their positions change in much slower rhythm than the animation. For example in Monk I did terrain modification on only 1/128 piece of map each game loop and it was still good enough. Game runs at 12fps most of the time so it took less than 10s to "process" entire world.

 

And on such a small portion of map visible at a time only 10-20 sprites can fit at a time so you never need to draw hundreds of them.

 

Imho I would like to see this large pixel version much more than "simple" char mode based version. Would enjoy playing that one also, of course :)



#31 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 5, 2017 12:50 PM

Imho I would like to see this large pixel version much more than "simple" char mode based version. Would enjoy playing that one also, of course :)


Sadly, we may never see an "Atari 800 XL" version of this game.
If the resolution gets down to 80x50, you won't see "100" enemies, that means, you get a lot CPU and memory free. The game will be controllable as in the Arcade machine and, what's also important is to have the moving objects fluently animated then.

Edited by emkay, Sun Feb 5, 2017 1:21 PM.


#32 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 5, 2017 1:20 PM

For some impression of using Mode 5 (double scanline....)

If people allow to have a "lower" resolution, colours will get easier available.

Using "GR. 7" will allow to do many colour manipilations and leave a lot of free CPU ....

So there are many ways to get something like such a game screen onto the A8.


14cmock.png

Edited by emkay, Sun Feb 5, 2017 1:30 PM.


#33 kiwilove OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 5, 2017 3:30 PM

I was never much of a fan of Gauntlet - though I did get around to playing different versions - and it was on later hardware - that I found it more of interest - which had the resolution for detail and memory/etc like on Dreamcast or whatever.

The coin-op had no attraction with it's hundreds? of dumb enemies - I couldn't see much strategy being played out via the top down view, In the short times I've played it.

 

I would always be in favour of a more close-up view - with fewer enemies who do display some kind of intelligence or varied weaponry - and you likewise can pickup various weapons too - and this was done in the Secondary Games in Hawkquest - adding a scavenger hunt in the process.

Actually if anyone wanted to?  They could go about creating new levels for Hawkquest - as most of the required information is available for this - because the original disk format have the levels specifically written to certain sectors on the disks.  Likewise the character sets used also.  It's also possible to bypass the main game, and directly boot into the secondary game - if you wished to do this.

 

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#34 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 5, 2017 3:37 PM

Actually if anyone wanted to?  They could go about creating new levels for Hawkquest - as most of the required information is available for this - because the original disk format have the levels specifically written to certain sectors on the disks.  Likewise the character sets used also.  It's also possible to bypass the main game, and directly boot into the secondary game - if you wished to do this.



Come on. After Atari Blast, who wants actually talk about Hawkquest?

#35 kiwilove OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 5, 2017 4:09 PM

Come on. After Atari Blast, who wants actually talk about Hawkquest?

 

I'm not surprised that players probably found the main game in Hawkquest - far too hard and unfair - to play through.  But I went through a lot of time/trouble in creating the levels in the Secondary games - and I'll guess few here, probably played through these - especially those on Level 2.

But anyone interested in playing around with the Gauntlet like - Shamus kind of game formats - should check these levels out because they do try some new ideas out?  Even the creator of Dimo's Quest may find something of interest here?  maybe not?  They are simple ideas - like how in the later levels of Montezuma's Revenge is done?  I never reached this part of the game (MR) myself - so maybe it was too unfair?

 

Hawkquest was not of interest to US (NTSC) players because it was a PAL only game.  Now, that is no longer the case.  The only thing missing from the game - would be music - only because we did not have anyone available to provide some for it...

 

Harvey



#36 NorthWay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2017 10:19 AM

i haven't checked to see what's going on exactly, but there are three character sets at $4800, $5000 and $5800 which at least appear to either be full or as close as makes no odds. i assume the game ping pongs between the three to get animation on some objects.

The more I think about this the more I am amazed at how elegantly they solved the mass-animation problem by simply cycling through character sets. Was that a first, or has some other game done it before?

As for Atari versions, you need 2x2 characters that are looking in 8 directions, for a total of 32 characters per mob type. That leaves you with 3 different types of mobs (backgrounds etc take space) for a character set with 128 unique characters, or 7 with 256 ones. I'm pretty sure there were more than 3 in Gauntlet - not even sure that 7 is enough... (but they made it do for the 64 version somehow). I understand why it went bitmap.

 

If it was a single-player game you could have done a character set split in the middle of the player sprite and have the upper part face downwards and the lower part face upwards to use 5/8s of the font distribution.



#37 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2017 1:13 PM

As for Atari versions, you need 2x2 characters that are looking in 8 directions, for a total of 32 characters per mob type. That leaves you with 3 different types of mobs (backgrounds etc take space) for a character set with 128 unique characters, or 7 with 256 ones. I'm pretty sure there were more than 3 in Gauntlet - not even sure that 7 is enough... (but they made it do for the 64 version somehow). I understand why it went bitmap.


It was far easier. But there were solutions in between...
As 2 mostly appearing enemies could be done with fixed character movement, POSSIBLY , a coder could search for a special solution. Changing the most appearing enemies to charset set , and to set less appearing enemies/elements, using "software sprites". At least a DLI per character mode line was needed. That could equalize the CPU usage , and you get the additional color.

#38 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:53 AM

The more I think about this the more I am amazed at how elegantly they solved the mass-animation problem by simply cycling through character sets. Was that a first, or has some other game done it before?


It's not something i've seen on a release prior to Gauntlet but i'd be surprised if it were the very first.
 

As for Atari versions, you need 2x2 characters that are looking in 8 directions, for a total of 32 characters per mob type.


if i were to code something like this i'd probably boil that down to four directions per enemy - the diagonals are nice but not necessary - and then have each level declaring which nasties it needs so the engine banks in the appropriate animations beforehand. i reckon it's possible to split the upper/lower segments for things that don't move (generators, exits, walls and so forth) over two character sets and flip back and forth on each character line to reduce their load on the system as well... but no idea if that's workable or helpful. =-)

#39 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:40 AM

It's not something i've seen on a release prior to Gauntlet but i'd be surprised if it were the very first.


On the Atari, Charset rotations have been used since late 70s ;)

 
 

if i were to code something like this i'd probably boil that down to four directions per enemy - the diagonals are nice but not necessary - and then have each level declaring which nasties it needs so the engine banks in the appropriate animations beforehand. i reckon it's possible to split the upper/lower segments for things that don't move (generators, exits, walls and so forth) over two character sets and flip back and forth on each character line to reduce their load on the system as well... but no idea if that's workable or helpful. =-)



Some stuff simply not works. Using only 4 visuable directions, destroys parts of the game. It's particular that "oh, some mobs pay more attention than others". That will be lost .

Using Antic 5 will give the option of using character mode , the amount of needed chars will be the half then.

Edited by emkay, Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:41 AM.


#40 NorthWay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:16 AM

If you weren't cloning Gauntlet literally you could make the mobs have a "neutral/idle" position they do a pause animation loop through and then have a dynamic character assignment for when single mobs starts chasing you. That could bring the directional problem down to 1/8th but moves complexity to other parts.

 

Since Gauntlet actually doesn't move mobs across 16x16 rectangles that are already occupied that could work really well - you could have a random function to pick one of the idling mobs to convert to active and do a wake-up and scanning animation and then go back to idling to give them a sense of being alive and waiting to get out of line.



#41 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:41 PM

On the Atari, Charset rotations have been used since late 70s ;)


It would be interesting to see how that's implemented, care to name some examples?

Some stuff simply not works. Using only 4 visuable directions, destroys parts of the game. It's particular that "oh, some mobs pay more attention than others". That will be lost .


i'm sure that's not a vital part of the Gauntlet experience; from a programming perspective, i'd rather see that removed if everything else remained roughly the same.

Using Antic 5 will give the option of using character mode , the amount of needed chars will be the half then.


How do you plan to deal with losing the option of moving objects half a tile vertically?

#42 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:15 PM

It would be interesting to see how that's implemented, care to name some examples?


Well, rotating the charset is one of the used "tricks" to have movement on the screen, using Atari Basic, which is very slow. It's also explained in "Atari-Books" ...










...

How do you plan to deal with losing the option of moving objects half a tile vertically?


As the mobs move towards the "hero", it's not really disturbing, if they were vertically, a step away...

#43 José Pereira OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:00 PM

I did some gfxs in Antic5 double scanline and it doesn't look any good on some gfxs like the bones, ghosts and bricks walls so I didn't even post them.
And strangely I didn't thought about the half char that TMR pointed.
But more than the bad looking gfxs I still can't see how Emkay would get it working...

#44 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:42 AM

I did some gfxs in Antic5 double scanline and it doesn't look any good on some gfxs like the bones, ghosts and bricks walls so I didn't even post them.
And strangely I didn't thought about the half char that TMR pointed.
But more than the bad looking gfxs I still can't see how Emkay would get it working...


The only problem you have with such games is, you don't see the final game running. The little lower details graphics allow to use 8 times faster animations.
One question: What is it that people think "160x200" looks better than "160x100"? It looks strange in every aspect. A little more detailed, but - particular - when objects do a rotation and change their shape, it get less funny.

#45 José Pereira OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:30 AM

Because if it's 2:2 ratio and enemys in this mode would then move in half char steps then you'll have many times in the same char half of 2enemys and this multiplication for many on screen then is not the solution to A8 128chars charset because it would end up more that need to many many more for this situation.
And this end up in you having to mask between all sort of enemys to get these half 2enemys chars.
Probably TMR or any other is better than me to explain this...
;)

Edited by José Pereira, Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:40 AM.


#46 TMR OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:43 AM

As the mobs move towards the "hero", it's not really disturbing, if they were vertically, a step away...


But visually they'll betravelling twice the distance vertically compared to what they're doing horizontally so it'll make diagonal movement ugly - step X, step X/Y, step X and so on - unless you're thinking of hobbling the horizontal movement to match?

But if that isn't an issue, splitting the upper and lower halves of each 2x2 object into two character sets and changing which is in use on a line by line basis (and repeating character lines in the display list so the same row is used for upper and lower parts) gives the same movement resolution and screen memory overhead but twice the graphics resolution.

One question: What is it that people think "160x200" looks better than "160x100"? It looks strange in every aspect. A little more detailed, but - particular - when objects do a rotation and change their shape, it get less funny.


You do get some "wobble" as things rotate, but the loss of resolution going to 160x96 makes things less distinct overall because something like Gauntlet is using small objects where the difference between 8x16 pixels and just 8x8 is extremely pronounced.

#47 popmilo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:48 PM

One thing that goes into direction that Emkay suggested is 160x96 with mixed colors (palblending).

Think gauntlet in this resolution:

 

This is using mwp scrolling so it's cheap to scroll the screen. With background tiles that would be uniform drawing sprites can be done with simple ora-sta logic without need for masking.

And as Northway pointed out, not all enemies move all the time. Only closer enemies move often. All other objects can move much slower.

 

I think 8x8 in almost 16 colors could be even better than 8x16 in 4 colors.

 

Take a look at Amstrad CPC version of Gauntlet 2. That one is working with decent speed with 16K of graphics moved around. A8 cpu+mwp scrolling tells me it should be doable in that speed if not even faster.

 



#48 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:58 PM

Take a look at Amstrad CPC version of Gauntlet 2. That one is working with decent speed with 16K of graphics moved around. A8 cpu+mwp scrolling tells me it should be doable in that speed if not even faster.


This could be also the solution for having a game with fluent animations...

#49 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:28 PM

yep, no reason why the ole' Atari 8 can't do it the same if not improved!



#50 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:02 AM

How about the easiest way to do some nicer Gauntlet for the A8 ?

Converting Speccy stuff always resulted in some speed miracle ...



Hires makes thing much more visual than the colour-dither. Every mob gets better distinguished by the resolution.





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