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Some strange things about "Theme Park"


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#1 Mattfrie1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:37 PM

Hello everyone. I've just recently took the plunge and bought a Jaguar after having the console on my wish list for several years now.

 

One of the games I bought right away was "Theme Park", a fairly common title for the Jag. A seller on Ebay had brand new sealed copies for sale, so I figured why not? :)

 

I figured I should share two weird things I've noticed about this port that no one probably cares about. First off, One thing that struck me right away when I started the game was a very strange sound "loop" that appeared to be playing constantly in the background. This "sound" isn't there when you fire the game up, but the sound starts after you begin a new game and open the gates of your park for the first time. The loop starts out quite loud, but then fades into the background after a few seconds or so. This sound constantly loops underneath all the other game audio, and just struck me as rather odd. I've played the Sega Saturn port of Theme Park for years, and nothing like this exists in that version of the game. Would there be some technical reason as to why this sound is there in the first place? For anyone interested, you can hear the audio pretty well in this video starting at about 7:20:

 

https://www.youtube....WXgTUIpeY&t=440

 

Anyway, I figured I'd do a little bit of detective work. I opened the game's ROM in a hex editor and did some digging around. I didn't find anything really unusual at first, but I was rather intrigued to see that at the end of the ROM were numerous fragmented text strings left over from the mission screens in "Syndicate" (The only other title that Bullfrog made for the Jaguar). Doing some research, I found that the Jaguar ports of Syndicate and Theme Park were programmed by the same people, Alan Wright and Mike Diskett. I looked at the ROM of Syndicate, and those same text strings occupy the same area in the Syndicate ROM as they do in the Theme Park ROM. They obviously must have worked on porting Theme Park after Syndicate, but would there be any logical reason as to why stuff from Syndicate would be in Theme Park?


Edited by Mattfrie1, Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:39 PM.


#2 save2600 ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:56 PM

Seems obvious, but that sound is just human ambience from the park. Helps convey the sense of "life" or bustle as the virtual people's do their thing.

#3 Noah120 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:00 PM

but would there be any logical reason as to why stuff from Syndicate would be in Theme Park?

Perhaps they're running on the same engine?



#4 PeterG ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:22 PM

Would also explain why both slow down to a crawl when a lot of stuff is going on. :-( (And I still played the heck out of both.  :-D )



#5 Mattfrie1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:52 PM

Seems obvious, but that sound is just human ambience from the park. Helps convey the sense of "life" or bustle as the virtual people's do their thing.

 

Wow, I can't believe I didn't make that connection...

 

That sound wasn't present in the Saturn port which is why it took me by surprise, but a quick search of the original DOS version reveals the same exact sound in that version. The only difference being that it is much longer in duration in the DOS version instead of the quiet 3 second loop that appears in the Jaguar port.



#6 travistouchdown OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:23 PM

Interesting. I will have to keep an eye out for it the next time I fire up theme park. Which, come to think of it, will be never.

#7 PFG 9000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:00 PM

It's been at least a decade since I spent much time with the Jag version, but I believe there's an option someplace to increase or decrease the volume of that crowd ambience. I always had a hard time hearing it anywhere outside of that menu.

#8 Atlantis OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:19 AM

So mystery solved then... file it under x for future use.



#9 JagChris OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:55 PM

I think Theme Park had some engine optimization done to it. Watching the attract screens with the large animated Sprites and number of things going on I believe Syndicate would have slowed to an absolute crawl at that point.




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