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Epyx creative use of Lynx hardware features

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#1 Turbo Laser Lynx OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:56 PM

In my opinion Epyx made the most creative use of the unique Lynx hardware features ('pseudo 3d', scaling, stretching) which probably isn't such a surprise since they designed the console. I just wanted to share some of my favourites and wanted to know which ones you guys like.
 
Some of the great uses in Epyx Lynx games that come to mind from the top of my head:
 
*Blue Lightning:
Unbelievable pseudo 3d for the time. I always fly low because the ground looks so great! 😃 I'm especially fond of the fields in level 1
 
*Slime World:
A personal favourite, in my opinion perhaps the most fun use of the sprite scaling: the pulsating slime levels and creatures are amazing, the stretching clouds, the stretching and moving slime-'water falls' etc. Very unique looking game thanks to this, one of a kind really. They also managed to make the whole world pulsate just enough because this kind of thing could easily be very distracting. I can't even play the Megadrive version because the world isn't able to imerse me in comparison to the moving Lynx version of the slime world.
 
*Electrocop:
Again, technically super impressive pseudo 3d game for it's time. I don't remember seeing anything quite like it on another system either.
 
*California Games:
Impressive scrolling in bmx.
Amazing zoom in and out in half pipe (option 2).
 
*Gauntlet:
The spinning character select. Ok maybe not super creative haha ;)
 
*Chip's Challenge:
The rain of chips in the intro looks great!
 
Probably some of the more impressive non epyx games using scaling would be stun runner, checkered flag and warbirds.
 
I wonder if Luchtenstein makes use of the Lynx hardware capabilities? Any way it's obviously very impressive.


#2 davidcalgary29 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:05 PM

I certainly agree that Electrocop and Slime World are consistently overlooked both technically and for overall gameplay. I can't for the life of me see why some reviewers have given Slime World a 'D' or 'F' rating. I've had many good gaming hours with that one. :)

 

If I had to rank Lynx games by visual effects, though, I'd probably place Alpine Games first, followed by STUN Runner and perhaps  Lemmings. There's no question, though, that the Epyx offerings (Gauntlet excepted) were better than the majority of Atari's releases.



#3 LordKraken OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:00 AM

 

*Chip's Challenge:

The rain of chips in the intro looks great!
 
I love that one too, but you probably figured in my small demo ;)
 
I would like to add Steel Talons and Warbird who are actually full 3d games (with the use of sprites in Warbird sure, but the clouds and planes are extremly well integrated). I don't count Hard Drivin coz it's only 1 or 2 frames per second unfortunately...


#4 PFG 9000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:22 AM

I love those rooms in the Action area of Slime World (Area #3) with the four giant aliens that take lots of hits, and with the thing on the wall that jets out slime after you kill the four creatures.  If you leave the room before killing everything in it, all the enemies will respawn.  As far as I know, there are only two rooms like that in the game.  They're so unique.  Anyway, I love the way those large creatures are colored.  Whereas most of the game looks animated, those creatures have an almost pre-rendered look and they really stand out, in a good way.  This screenshot doesn't capture the effect well, but at least you can see which rooms I'm referring to:

TAiSW_zpsoxwx7bfs.jpg



#5 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:59 AM

Didn't Epyx design the Lynx? It wouldn't surprise me they understood the hardware better.

#6 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:46 AM

Didn't Epyx design the Lynx? It wouldn't surprise me they understood the hardware better.

 

Yes. It's clear that the overall software quality took a dip when Epyx was no longer involved.



#7 BadPricey OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:25 PM

It's a real shame Epyx went to Atari for help, after trying Nintendo they should have gone to Sega. Amazing system, great early Epyx releases ultimately screwed over by Atari. I love Zarlor Mercenary, my favourite Epyx game and one of my favourite shooters.

#8 davidcalgary29 ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:09 PM

It's a real shame Epyx went to Atari for help, after trying Nintendo they should have gone to Sega. Amazing system, great early Epyx releases ultimately screwed over by Atari. I love Zarlor Mercenary, my favourite Epyx game and one of my favourite shooters.

 

Everything I've read suggests that Atari was the only game in town for Handy -- no one else wanted to touch it. Atari may have done a poor job with the Lynx, but at least they released it.



#9 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:39 AM

It's a real shame Epyx went to Atari for help, after trying Nintendo they should have gone to Sega. Amazing system, great early Epyx releases ultimately screwed over by Atari. I love Zarlor Mercenary, my favourite Epyx game and one of my favourite shooters.

 

They got what they deserved considering what David Morse and Co. pulled with the Amiga Lorraine chipset and falsely claiming to Atari Inc and Warner that the chipset didn't work after they sold their company and tech to Commodore which was prohibited by their contract with Atari Inc. But I digress.



#10 Turbo Laser Lynx OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:02 AM

Oh, sry I forgot about Zarlor! Well I guess it's not necessarily 'creative', but it looks great and it shows that the Lynx can push a lot of sprites.

 

 

 

I love that one too, but you probably figured in my small demo ;)

 

 

Hehee! That similar thing in your demo looks so astonishing! :thumbsup:



#11 Lord Thag OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 27, 2018 12:55 PM

I certainly agree that Electrocop and Slime World are consistently overlooked both technically and for overall gameplay. I can't for the life of me see why some reviewers have given Slime World a 'D' or 'F' rating. I've had many good gaming hours with that one. :)

 

If I had to rank Lynx games by visual effects, though, I'd probably place Alpine Games first, followed by STUN Runner and perhaps  Lemmings. There's no question, though, that the Epyx offerings (Gauntlet excepted) were better than the majority of Atari's releases.

Yeah, that always surprised me as well. Slime World *sounded* stupid on paper. Took me ages to get around to picking it up. I probably put in 12 hours that weekend. It's like having 8 different metroid-vania style games on one cart. 



#12 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 3, 2018 9:43 AM

Before we give Epyx too much credit, it appears we had to endure the mediocre Gauntlet III sideways on play (clumsy) due to them experimenting with the hardware and not having time to correct an idea after realising it wasn't working:

"Gauntlet the Third Encounter" was under development at the same time as
Lynx hardware was.  In fact, the game was most of the way finished in
development before we had hardware to test it on.  We tried one game as
a vertically based game as an experiment.  We wanted to know what kind
of features in the system we could take advantage of.  Many things in the hardware design were changed because of the games that were being written for the system.  By the time we knew that playing Gauntlet vertically would not be a good idea, it was "too late" to change the orientation to horizontal.  In fact, we had time, due to Epyx going bankrupt, snags in our negotiations with Atari, delays in manufacturing,etc.

All of the excuses in the world don't make the game any better for the
consumer, but this is what happened.

Stephen H. Landrum

#13 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 3, 2018 9:45 AM

They got what they deserved considering what David Morse and Co. pulled with the Amiga Lorraine chipset and falsely claiming to Atari Inc and Warner that the chipset didn't work after they sold their company and tech to Commodore which was prohibited by their contract with Atari Inc. But I digress.

Epyx found themselves in financial difficulty long before Atari did them over by with holding payments on the Lynx.

Atari's buisness handling of the Handy just made cash flow issues even worse

#14 power OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 5, 2018 4:54 PM

some of the effects on Handy blew my mind, especially the scaling effects. I really wish the machine had more success, it deserved it.



#15 sirlynxalot ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 5, 2018 8:30 PM

Zarlor Mercenary! Love it! My favorite game on the lynx and a surprisingly detailed and feature rich game for the era and the hardware!  



#16 Crusty Starfish OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 8, 2018 7:55 PM

Hi, long time lurker here and only active on one other forum (Retro Gamer).

 

Having read the Retro Gamer article on Gauntlet III on the Lynx, I remembered reading a post here about it, so naughtily cut and pasted it's content into the feedback thread for the magazine.

When I say naughtily, I don't mean that I was on the wind up, but for taking another persons post and sticking it somewhere else without asking - so sorry Lost dragon.

But I did have a valid point. The article in the mag made the game sound awesome but having owned the game, I really didn't see it as that! When I saw another perspective given by someone else involved, I thought 'why didn't the person writing the article, or the editor of the magazine ask for more interviewees'. 

just the short paragraph from Lost Dragon was enough for me to feel the need to post over on that forum.

 

Anyway, I'm here now so may as well hang around! I can cope with 2 forums I guess. Cheers, Patrick.



#17 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 9, 2018 3:13 AM

Heya Patrick.

Welcome to Atari Age.

You'll find this site to be a lot more active than many others which are sadly becoming somewhat like ghost towns or simply closing down as people turn to FB or YT these days.

This is a public forum and an open community, anything i myself post up on here is from the public domain, even if it's from direct contact with an industry figure i have had myself via a simple email exchange or 'interview' (and i use the phrase loosely ) i have conducted on behalf of another site or digital publication.


I strongly believe in the wider Retro community being given access to the views and insights of people who worked on the very games we bought and discuss and they can make their own minds up as to what really happened during development.

I've been lucky in that i have chatted to a few Ex-Epyx people over the years myself, all very, very helpful and helped clear up a lot of nonsense claims made by the press.

Stephen i would of loved to of spoken to myself, but don't do the likes of FB, so have had to fall back onto comments he made during the Lynx's commercial life cycle.

I personally found his thoughts on the downfall of Epyx, Atari's handling of the Lynx and Jaguar and much more, to be fascinating reading.


I'm glad you also got something from the comments .

For myself..Gauntlet III can never be a true Gauntlet game, it's more a flawed but solid enough Arcade Adventure game.
Not sure if you have ever tried Software Creations Gauntlet III on the home computers, but i recommend the C64 and Amiga versions alone for the stunning Tim Follin music.

Gauntlet 4 on Genesis remains the best Gauntlet on console.


Sadly Epyx went on the decline long before the Lynx, but that's a topic for another thread. ☺


Regarding use of multiple sources

Having learnt the hard way over the years, looking into Lost Games development, you soon learn a few key aspects of research.

Frank Gasking over at GTW taught me well.

You start by using a press claim as a starting point, then try and find who worked on what and see if they want to chat about it.

But even then you have to keep your wits about you as some figures try and use an interview as an opportunity to rewrite events in a more favourable light


Not sure how familiar the names are to you, but the likes of Andrew/Jane Whittakerand Jez San for example have put out statements that do nothing but contridict themselves over the years and when you start digging deeper you uncover perhaps why they'd rather people believe their version of events.

Not everyone from the industry is happy to admit a game failed because it was awful or the company ran out of money, hyped a title using fake screenshots and work never actually started on it for the Atari or Sega platforms.


To survive, companies had to put out a brave tale and yes, use the press.


I also use multiple sources as it helps avoid the blanket nonsense of saying developer X really loved or hated certain hardware.

The more vocal members of a team might of been used by the press at the time and indeed miss quoted.


So it's often interesting simply to hear from the smaller players as well as the big fish.

Edited by Lost Dragon, Fri Nov 9, 2018 3:20 AM.


#18 Turbo Laser Lynx OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 9, 2018 5:42 AM

It's a real shame Epyx went to Atari for help, after trying Nintendo they should have gone to Sega. Amazing system, great early Epyx releases ultimately screwed over by Atari.

 

Actually I read (or listened to?) an interview with Dave Needle the other day where he said that sega tried to copy the lynx with the game gear, but that they weren't really understanding the technology they tried to copy. However he was friends with a sega engineer at the time, and ultimately helped out with the game gear at a later stage before it was released.

 

Pretty interesting claims. I don't have the link now, but there's not many interviews with him on the whole of internet, so it should be pretty easy to find.


Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx, Fri Nov 9, 2018 5:45 AM.


#19 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 9, 2018 7:33 AM

What was more frustrating was Game Gear’s similarities to Lynx. “Game Gear was an interesting issue,” Needle remembers. “Sega was shown all of the Handy’s innards and schematics and specs as part of an attempt to partner with them after the Epyx marketing fiasco. And to see what I consider to be pretty much a copy of the Handy was a bit infuriating.” He continues, “I had become friends with one of the engineers at Sega, and during the last development stages of the Game Gear, after I had already left Epyx, Sega hired me to help with a few lingering product issues. I went to their Japan facility and they showed me the problems they were having. Some issues were just weak engineering on their part, showing me that they did not understand the functionality of the hardware they were copying. They had the output palette wrong, among other things.”


https://www.nowgamer...ion-atari-lynx/

Edited by Lost Dragon, Fri Nov 9, 2018 7:34 AM.


#20 sirlynxalot ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 9, 2018 9:40 AM

I wonder how much of game gear was copied from lynx (outside of the overall idea of a handheld system with small screen, to be held horizontally) since it was sega recycling its master system hardware rather than copying any of the cool things such as scaling, that the lynx could do. 



#21 Crusty Starfish OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 9, 2018 11:36 AM

Heya Patrick.

Welcome to Atari Age.

You'll find this site to be a lot more active than many others which are sadly becoming somewhat like ghost towns or simply closing down as people turn to FB or YT these days.

This is a public forum and an open community, anything i myself post up on here is from the public domain, even if it's from direct contact with an industry figure i have had myself via a simple email exchange or 'interview' (and i use the phrase loosely ) i have conducted on behalf of another site or digital publication.


I strongly believe in the wider Retro community being given access to the views and insights of people who worked on the very games we bought and discuss and they can make their own minds up as to what really happened during development.

I've been lucky in that i have chatted to a few Ex-Epyx people over the years myself, all very, very helpful and helped clear up a lot of nonsense claims made by the press.

Stephen i would of loved to of spoken to myself, but don't do the likes of FB, so have had to fall back onto comments he made during the Lynx's commercial life cycle.

I personally found his thoughts on the downfall of Epyx, Atari's handling of the Lynx and Jaguar and much more, to be fascinating reading.


I'm glad you also got something from the comments .

For myself..Gauntlet III can never be a true Gauntlet game, it's more a flawed but solid enough Arcade Adventure game.
Not sure if you have ever tried Software Creations Gauntlet III on the home computers, but i recommend the C64 and Amiga versions alone for the stunning Tim Follin music.

Gauntlet 4 on Genesis remains the best Gauntlet on console.


Sadly Epyx went on the decline long before the Lynx, but that's a topic for another thread. ☺


Regarding use of multiple sources

Having learnt the hard way over the years, looking into Lost Games development, you soon learn a few key aspects of research.

Frank Gasking over at GTW taught me well.

You start by using a press claim as a starting point, then try and find who worked on what and see if they want to chat about it.

But even then you have to keep your wits about you as some figures try and use an interview as an opportunity to rewrite events in a more favourable light


Not sure how familiar the names are to you, but the likes of Andrew/Jane Whittakerand Jez San for example have put out statements that do nothing but contridict themselves over the years and when you start digging deeper you uncover perhaps why they'd rather people believe their version of events.

Not everyone from the industry is happy to admit a game failed because it was awful or the company ran out of money, hyped a title using fake screenshots and work never actually started on it for the Atari or Sega platforms.


To survive, companies had to put out a brave tale and yes, use the press.


I also use multiple sources as it helps avoid the blanket nonsense of saying developer X really loved or hated certain hardware.

The more vocal members of a team might of been used by the press at the time and indeed miss quoted.


So it's often interesting simply to hear from the smaller players as well as the big fish.

Thanks for the welcome.

 

I've got a bit of history with Atari systems - hence me being into the retro scene. Started with the 2600 then 400, 600xL, 800XL, ST, Jag... then errrr PS2 because nothing Atari left to buy.

Actually, had to sell my ST when I moved to the USA when my Dad got moved in his company. So got the Jag over there.

Back in the UK now - and happily own an ST and a Jag :)



#22 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 9, 2018 11:54 AM

I wonder how much of game gear was copied from lynx (outside of the overall idea of a handheld system with small screen, to be held horizontally) since it was sega recycling its master system hardware rather than copying any of the cool things such as scaling, that the lynx could do. 

 

I don't think that particular design decision necessarily had anything to do with the Lynx (just like the Game Boy design probably had little to nothing to do with the Microvision). We have to remember that there were a lot of handheld LCD games in that form factor (and others). Given the internal hardware and size requirements, that was probably the most viable form factor versus the Game Boy design. Interestingly, once we get past the Game Boy Color, that's been the standard orientation for these types of gaming handhelds, so no doubt there are other ergonomic benefits, particularly when you get to the larger screens.

 

And of course, on paper, the Lynx was superior to the Game Gear, but, like every Atari console post-Atari 5200, an abundance of the best developers weren't necessarily working on the system. So, while we had some amazing games on the Lynx that simply wouldn't have been possible on the other two, there just weren't enough of them to make much of a difference outside of the believers like us.

 

I think from a subjective standpoint, the Game Gear held its own with the Lynx simply by the quality and quantity of its games (more than 3x the total number). It was no doubt a big help volume- and skill-wise that it was basically a slightly upgraded Master System. 



#23 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 9, 2018 12:37 PM

Sega updated the VDP on the Game Gear over the Master System during it's recycling :-).

The hardware differences between the Game Gear and the Lynx:resolution and colours on screen Vs scaling, proved pretty meaningless in the long run, the GB offered true portability, amazing battery life and software support the Lynx could only dream of.

I've said it before, but i would of loved to see what Core Design could of done with the Lynx.



They worked wonders on the Sega CD, but Atari was not where the money lay.

Edited by Lost Dragon, Fri Nov 9, 2018 12:38 PM.


#24 Lost Dragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 9, 2018 4:38 PM

Stephen Landrum on how best to deal with Atari:

'The main rule for dealing with Atari is to always have one more thing that they
need from you so you can withhold it until they pay you for everything
else you have done for them.  If you don't mind operating at that level,go for it.'

#25 Tidus79001 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:23 PM

Stephen Landrum on how best to deal with Atari:

'The main rule for dealing with Atari is to always have one more thing that they
need from you so you can withhold it until they pay you for everything
else you have done for them.  If you don't mind operating at that level,go for it.'

Sad that the Atari of later years (Atari Corporation) was run by Tramiel's whose business practices left such a distaste in the mouth of people that they avoided doing business with Atari.  I can only imagine how differently things would have played out if the Atari (Atari, Inc.) prior to Warner Communications hadn't fallen due to video game market crash.  With the talent of the old guard we likely would have had a properly supported 7800 released on time as well as hardware like the Lynx, and Jaguar that would have seen some groundbreaking things for those 3 systems that never realized their full potential under the leadership of the Tramiel's at Atari Corporation.


Edited by Tidus79001, Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:29 PM.






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