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#1 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 5, 2017 10:13 AM

I just finished watching the Graxx video and and for some reason came away with a strong nostalgic feeling to play SimCity.  I dunno why.... but it got me thinking...

 

I think with the F18A, and FinalGROM99 combined with only 32K, we could now have a viable and totally enjoyable near perfect port of SimCity.  Heck, I bet it could even support cassette for saving a game in progress. 

 

The only problem I ever had with SimCity was that it was too addicting, and sucked a lot of my free time.



#2 adamantyr ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 5, 2017 11:39 AM

Very doable, the source code is freely available! Although most versions of it are in OOC; if you want the best efficiency you'll have to rework it into a function based design.

 

An F18A would be good if you wanted to do the mini-maps and other pixel-heavy displays, but I think you could write the game to run on the 9918A all right. (The ZX Spectrum has all the gameplay of the PC version, amazingly enough.) And for sure it would still look better than the Commodore 64 version!

 

As for 32K being enough, not sure... you'll need to decide just how much of it you want to port over. I think if you wanted to use the F18A you may find you need more CPU memory to drive all the graphs and controls.

 

Also, would you want to use a mouse, or should it be joystick-driven? A good interface is key to a good game.



#3 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 5, 2017 12:13 PM

I'm thinking with the GROM aspects of the FinalGROM99 and the size of modern SD cards the cartridges design could be exploited to get along with a mere 32k sidecar.  Mouse routines could be built into the game and I would be MORE THAN WILLING to buy any new hardware mouse interface.



#4 Vorticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 5, 2017 12:47 PM

I think the graphical aspects of the game are the easiest to figure out. The hardest part will be designing the algorithms that govern the game and make it what it is, its soul so to speak...

Whenever I work on a game that has some form of AI, I start with that first to make sure it's functional, THEN design the graphics since the latter are the fun part of the project :)



#5 adamantyr ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 5, 2017 1:11 PM

I think the graphical aspects of the game are the easiest to figure out. The hardest part will be designing the algorithms that govern the game and make it what it is, its soul so to speak...

Whenever I work on a game that has some form of AI, I start with that first to make sure it's functional, THEN design the graphics since the latter are the fun part of the project :)

 

Oh my, that sounds so reasonable and practical and the right way to go about it!

 

... And yet we all still jump to the graphics part first. :)



#6 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 5, 2017 6:24 PM

Ohhh yeah... we have 'smooth scrolling' and all kinds of stuff that Rasmus has proved possible now...

I can see that we could 'cut some corners' on the startup menu and windows, but still have an awesome game that takes the TI to new and exciting levels.  At the time this was 'one of those games' that set a new paradigm in game play.  I've been looking for something to grab my interest back, THIS would sure do it! 

 



#7 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 7:14 AM

Load up the SAMS 1 Meg and you could get a ton of stuff to run like the PC version.



#8 Vorticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 7:24 AM

This is an extremely non-trivial project to undertake from an AI and game mechanics standpoint. The more I looked into it, the more things got complicated, and the graphics are the least of your worries :) Sorry adamtyr, but it would be a colossal waste of time to work on the graphics and then find out that you can't pull together the underlying game logic. I have seen so many promising projects abandoned after the authors created beautiful graphics but go stuck on the nitty-gritty game mechanics... I personally fell for that with Ultimate Planet (I'm still promising myself that I will finish it one day!), and you did with your attempt at porting the Atari wargame several years ago (I forget the name) :P



#9 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 8:23 AM

Load up the SAMS 1 Meg and you could get a ton of stuff to run like the PC version.

 

 

It would be very nice to have a use for my SAMS card, but sometimes when it come to writing new programs, programmers have to account for a "wider audience" to make their efforts worthwhile.

 

BALANCING ACT

Hardware Exploited / Featuressml_gallery_35324_1027_75541.png Potential Users / Playability

 

Sadly, using a SAMS card, would limit the potential user base to just us core users with peripheral expansion boxes, and maybe the emulation guys.  By limiting to 32K, even new and returning TI'ers could obtain one of Matt's inexpensive 32K side-car units and play the game. 

 

As for the FinalGROM 99, I think it's a no brainer that everyone with a TI or those getting into or even returning to the TI will want to own one.  So exploiting it's extra capabilities and "raising the bar" in new programs using the FG99 will have a solid base of potential users.



#10 adamantyr ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 9:42 AM

This is an extremely non-trivial project to undertake from an AI and game mechanics standpoint. The more I looked into it, the more things got complicated, and the graphics are the least of your worries :) Sorry adamtyr, but it would be a colossal waste of time to work on the graphics and then find out that you can't pull together the underlying game logic. I have seen so many promising projects abandoned after the authors created beautiful graphics but go stuck on the nitty-gritty game mechanics... I personally fell for that with Ultimate Planet (I'm still promising myself that I will finish it one day!), and you did with your attempt at porting the Atari wargame several years ago (I forget the name) :P

 

No offense taken, I was joking, because it's a common problem we all fall into. :) I agree, SimCity's biggest issue is the engine itself. Downloading Micropolis's source and studying it would be a critical first step, because you need to know how all the various factors add up and interact with one another.

 

I DID do the graphics for my Gauntlet clone first, but that was because I was actually determining the extent the drawing algorithm would have to go to in order to project every potential object. I was hoping to find source code from another version I could use, but sadly NONE of the Gauntlet home versions for any platform have anything available. So it's been a lot of work just trying to figure out how everything plays together.

 

For my CRPG, I'm actually working on generating the actual game content, which means EVERY line of text in the game. I've had the top-down idea for the main plot for some time, but the deep down details were missing. The engine is actually mostly finished, but extensive testing will be needed. And of course converting it to use the SAMS card as well... I'm over the idea of trying to fit it into 32k, because we seriously need some SAMS-required software around here to encourage it's use!



#11 JamesD ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 1:54 PM

I think I'd run the code through a C++ front end to a C compiler, then through GCC to see what size code you are dealing with.
I have a hunch 64K isn't going to be enough.
A 1MB expansion would probably do the trick, but it wouldn't be a trivial port.



#12 adamantyr ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 1:59 PM

I think I'd run the code through a C++ front end to a C compiler, then through GCC to see what size code you are dealing with.
I have a hunch 64K isn't going to be enough.
A 1MB expansion would probably do the trick, but it wouldn't be a trivial port.

 

Agreed. Mind you, I think ANY port to the TI that involves a different CPU is going to not be "trivial".



#13 chue OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 4:50 PM

I think I'd run the code through a C++ front end to a C compiler, then through GCC to see what size code you are dealing with.

 

What's the reason for this?  The TI port of GCC supports C++, although I have no idea what standards version.



#14 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 7:34 PM

 

 

It would be very nice to have a use for my SAMS card, but sometimes when it come to writing new programs, programmers have to account for a "wider audience" to make their efforts worthwhile.

 

BALANCING ACT

Hardware Exploited / Featuressml_gallery_35324_1027_75541.png Potential Users / Playability

 

Sadly, using a SAMS card, would limit the potential user base to just us core users with peripheral expansion boxes, and maybe the emulation guys.  By limiting to 32K, even new and returning TI'ers could obtain one of Matt's inexpensive 32K side-car units and play the game. 

 

As for the FinalGROM 99, I think it's a no brainer that everyone with a TI or those getting into or even returning to the TI will want to own one.  So exploiting it's extra capabilities and "raising the bar" in new programs using the FG99 will have a solid base of potential users.

Really?

 

This does not hold water at all. F18 and SAMS and RAMDISK and Hard Drives and GRAM cards cards also had to listen to crap like this.

 

EVERY TI99/4A EMULATOR I KNOW EXISTS HAS SAMS SUPPORT! 

 

So again your argument is almost laughably bad.



#15 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 6, 2017 8:23 PM

... also had to listen to crap like this.

 

So again your argument is almost laughably bad.

 

I have my opinion, you obviously have your strong opinions, but do have to be a dick about it?

Emulation is fine, but if I wanted to play SimCity on a PC I wouldn't care about a port of the program now would I?


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#16 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 7, 2017 8:27 AM

 

I have my opinion, you obviously have your strong opinions, but do have to be a dick about it?

Emulation is fine, but if I wanted to play SimCity on a PC I wouldn't care about a port of the program now would I?

Sorry I understand the need to be simple to use with minimum systems.

 

Great idea to port the PC version, just to not see the point of hamstringing a 640K PC version to fit into 32K?

 

It would look like a 400 pound girl in a string bikini... lacking everything needed.



#17 adamantyr ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 7, 2017 9:48 AM

Looking over the Micropolis source code, it MAY be possible to achieve this with just a LOT of ROM banks and a 32K memory block. The behemoth of the program is, of course, the map itself.

 

Micropolis defaults to a map that is 120x100 tiles in size, which would require just under 12K of RAM to store, assuming you can store all the relevant points of data in a byte.

 

Whether this translates directly to on-screen graphics or not I can't say though; it looks like they may have two maps, one for the tile type and one for the actual graphic projected. Obviously you can project the graphic version "on the fly", so you'd need a screen buffer in RAM if you don't want it to look crappy on redrawing.

 

The Commodore 64 version looks terrible, all monochrome. I know we can do better than that, F18A or not...



#18 RXB OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 7, 2017 7:24 PM

But the F18 again is not plain Jane system just like SAMS is not. 

 

Apparently the oldest original options are only required. Normal TI99/4A 9918A and 32K expansion.

 

My suggestion of using SAMS was poo pooed, so F18 would be in the same realm.



#19 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 7, 2017 7:46 PM

Great idea to port the PC version, just to not see the point of hamstringing a 640K PC version to fit into 32K?

 

I wonder... if a 1mb FG99 is used with the program partially in GROM, partially in ROM and the active portion in the 32K I'm seeing some potential.  Even the main terrain could be on the FG99 with the user build data being in RAM.


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#20 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jul 7, 2017 7:56 PM

 

My suggestion of using SAMS was poo pooed, so F18 would be in the same realm.

 

No, I'd really actually like to see the SAMS used, it's just that I thought it could limit the user base to such an extent that a programmer willing to take on the task might not want to devote so much time and effort into such a limited audience.  When it comes to the F18A, it's used by enough people now (at least over 1/2 of the active members here) that if a programmer wanted to use it, it might not limit the audience as much.

 

Either way, if it ever comes to be, I'll be all over it!


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#21 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:49 AM

Yup!  The FinalGROM 99 certainly looks like the cartridge that will take TI gaming to new heights.  I do believe SimCity could be the first in a 'new class'.   This thing has some tricks up it's sleeve that functionally 'gets around' the normal limitations... all without physically modifying hardware.  

 

 

Attached Files



#22 Sinphaltimus ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:39 PM

I'd really like to see an affordable SAMS replacement. I think if it were new hardware design and the price is right, then we'd see a lot more users snapping them up and a lot more developers taking advantage or it. And probably more widespread use of RXB to boot.



#23 adamantyr ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:12 PM

I'd really like to see an affordable SAMS replacement. I think if it were new hardware design and the price is right, then we'd see a lot more users snapping them up and a lot more developers taking advantage or it. And probably more widespread use of RXB to boot.

 

I just bought a SAMS card for $80... that's not affordable?



#24 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:01 PM

I'd really like to see an affordable SAMS replacement. I think if it were new hardware design and the price is right, then we'd see a lot more users snapping them up and a lot more developers taking advantage or it. And probably more widespread use of RXB to boot.

 

$80 assembled or $20 for the pcb isn't affordable?  Of course we have to harass Jim to have some more pcbs made available.. 



#25 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:25 PM

Some can get used to the cheap super-mass produced stuff from China (in the millions) and lose sight of the value of an individual's time.

$80.00 for a custom designed, limited run and probably hand assembled item is dang good deal.

 

How many revisions and how much time did it take to design the thing?

How much time to source all the parts and order them?

How much time invested in actually assembling all these things?

 

How much is your time worth?  Would that even begin to cover the costs in your eyes?  Yes/No.  If yes, then start filling in all the costs for PCB runs, assorted parts and shipping expenses (to the builders and then to the TI buyer).

 

I come away GRATEFUL that these guys are making these projects as a labor of love or in a hobby frame of mind, because if they really charged to cover everything I'd never be able to justify the expense.

 

Keep up the good work guys!






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