Jump to content

Photo

Epyx creative use of Lynx hardware features

epyx

36 replies to this topic

#26 R.Cade OFFLINE  

R.Cade

    Stargunner

  • 1,279 posts
  • Location:Augusta, Georgia, USA

Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:35 PM

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/

 

This seems like nonsense, since it was basically just a portable Master System. What did they copy?



#27 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

Lynxpro

    River Patroller

  • 3,711 posts
  • Location:Sacramento, CA

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:42 PM

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.

 

True. A unified Atari Inc being held together and releasing the 7800 at Christmas 1984 would've been incredible. There wouldn't have been the "split" with Atari Coin/Games going its own route and marketing all of their games under their Tengen brand on rival platforms. Atari Inc would've had Pac-Land on the 7800 before the NES with Super Mario Bros even made it to the States. And the Amiga deal would've ended quite differently than how it played out in our time line. What would've been interesting would be where Jack Tramiel and Co. would've ended up. Without being able to buy the assets of Atari Inc's Consumer Division, TTL wouldn't have had a famous brand, loads of engineers as surplus to their ex-Commodore engineers, nor manufacturing plants. Tramiel had looked at MindSet - and Amiga Corp - before buying "Atari" but he wouldn't have been able to buy Amiga and MindSet didn't have manufacturing facilities. He probably would've had to have purchased Coleco to stay relevant and then made MSX computers to replace the ADAM while putting together the RBP [the ST]. But Coleco wasn't flush with money and certainly wouldn't have floated their assets to Tramiel in the form of promissory notes like Warner did and Coleco's surplus hardware wasn't as valuable as Atari Inc's that Atari Corp lived off of for years...

 

Atari Inc would've been smarter in dealing with acquiring hardware from Sega and Epyx than Atari Corp did. Tramiel famously botched the Sega deal for the Mega Drive/Genesis in North America, after all...



#28 Tidus79001 OFFLINE  

Tidus79001

    Star Raider

  • 218 posts
  • I will not comply
  • Location:Star Trekkin', across the universe

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:47 PM

True. A unified Atari Inc being held together and releasing the 7800 at Christmas 1984 would've been incredible. There wouldn't have been the "split" with Atari Coin/Games going its own route and marketing all of their games under their Tengen brand on rival platforms. Atari Inc would've had Pac-Land on the 7800 before the NES with Super Mario Bros even made it to the States. And the Amiga deal would've ended quite differently than how it played out in our time line. What would've been interesting would be where Jack Tramiel and Co. would've ended up. Without being able to buy the assets of Atari Inc's Consumer Division, TTL wouldn't have had a famous brand, loads of engineers as surplus to their ex-Commodore engineers, nor manufacturing plants. Tramiel had looked at MindSet - and Amiga Corp - before buying "Atari" but he wouldn't have been able to buy Amiga and MindSet didn't have manufacturing facilities. He probably would've had to have purchased Coleco to stay relevant and then made MSX computers to replace the ADAM while putting together the RBP [the ST]. But Coleco wasn't flush with money and certainly wouldn't have floated their assets to Tramiel in the form of promissory notes like Warner did and Coleco's surplus hardware wasn't as valuable as Atari Inc's that Atari Corp lived off of for years...
 
Atari Inc would've been smarter in dealing with acquiring hardware from Sega and Epyx than Atari Corp did. Tramiel famously botched the Sega deal for the Mega Drive/Genesis in North America, after all...

What is this of Tramiel have a botched deal with Sega for the Mega/Genesis in North America? I have never heard of any such history between Atari Corporation and Sega and was closely following all things video related during that era.

#29 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

Lynxpro

    River Patroller

  • 3,711 posts
  • Location:Sacramento, CA

Posted Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:45 PM

What is this of Tramiel have a botched deal with Sega for the Mega/Genesis in North America? I have never heard of any such history between Atari Corporation and Sega and was closely following all things video related during that era.

 

Sega of Japan was cheesed off with Tonka who handled North American distribution of the Sega Master System and Atari Corp outsold the SMS 2-to-1 with the 7800 here. So when the Mega Drive was in development, they approached Atari Corp to market it in North America. Michael Katz, formerly of Coleco, was heading Atari Corp's video game division, called "Atari Entertainment Electronics", and was trying to revive "Atari" in gaming with as few of resources he was given. He wanted the Mega Drive. Jack Tramiel insisted on also getting the European rights to the Mega Drive and wouldn't budge on it with Sega. Tramiel supposedly told Sega he would walk away if he didn't get his way and he'd outsell the Mega Drive with the XE Game System. Sega then decided that Sega of America would market it themselves in North America without Tonka and Michael Katz "retired" from Atari Corp and sold his maturing shares in the company. He stayed retired for one month and then became the President of Sega of America and coined the "Genesis does what Nintendont" marketing catch-phrase. 

 

There is debate as to who actually came up with the Genesis name. Ex-Sega people claim they did but ex-Atari people claimed someone in the Atari Corp Chicago area operations named it and stated it was better than Sega's own "stupid" backup name for the console which they were referring to as "Tomahawk" at the time.

 

Katz was also pissed off at Tramiel because Katz had negotiated with Midway - he said [Bally] Midway but it might've actually been Williams at the time - for a LazerTag and Photon competitor their engineers had designed and that Tramiel promised he'd authorize for Katz to release. Once the system was acquired, Tramiel refused to allow Katz to release it. This was why the division was called "Atari Entertainment Electronics" because Katz wanted to do more than just video game consoles. And who knows what this did to relations between Atari Corp and Williams/Midway at the time.

 

Michael Katz was the real deal. He helped Colecovision hammer away at the Atari 2600/5200 and the Intellivision back in the day and he's mostly responsible for making the 7800 into a modest success almost in spite of Jack - and especially while dealing with Nintendo's shadow - and then laid the foundations for Sega of America kicking butt in the 16-bit wars.



#30 agradeneu OFFLINE  

agradeneu

    Moonsweeper

  • 440 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:12 AM

 

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

I think there are some other great games matching Epyx great use of the system:

 

Toki: Stunning use of Lynx Color pallette, superb port of the arcade. One of my favourites.

Shadow of the Beast: Stunning scrolling effects, animations and colors, great artwork. One of the best, 

Lemmings: Another great one from Psygnosis.

Rampart: Best opening (movie) animation ever! Game itself looks lovely!

 

Other great ones include Klax, Checkered Flag, Switchblade II (nice sprites and Colors), Dracula, Awesome Golf, Xybots, Super Skweek, Warbirds, Roadblasters, Malibu Beach, Ninja Gaiden


Edited by agradeneu, Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:13 AM.


#31 agradeneu OFFLINE  

agradeneu

    Moonsweeper

  • 440 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:23 AM

Interesting Game Gear discussion: Actually a guy form Digital Foundry claimed (on yt) the Lynx being poor at scrolly games (compared to the Game Gear) and did a comparison video which showed examples of GG titles running at "60 FPS" and two Lynx titles (Switchblade and Toki) running at "15/20 FPS", giving an overall poor impression of the Lynx. He then claimed 60FPs as the "gold standard" for all spritey games (incl. NES) , making the Lynx look even worse.


Edited by agradeneu, Sun Nov 25, 2018 4:49 AM.


#32 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,658 posts

Posted Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:57 PM

This video by any chance?



#33 Turbo Laser Lynx OFFLINE  

Turbo Laser Lynx

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 495 posts
  • Location:Finland

Posted Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:36 PM

It's the most common mistake for men to get caught up on technical details, tech specs and fps (I used to do that too) :-D Making appealing and fun games usually don't have much to do with that unless it's some unbearable 2fps like in hard drivin' (not that low fps polygon games weren't common back in the day on all kinds of platforms, and not that we wouldn't have sinked in a lot of time in those kind of games back then too).

 

At least he's claiming in the comments that he's not trying to diss the Lynx and the video is in the 'Comedy' category. ;D

 

Now the Lynx works very differently since it's a blitter rather than tile/sprite focused hardware design. It isn't really able to deliver 60 frames per second in 2D tilemap style games but it has other crazy advantages that allow for unique visuals unlike anything else at the time. The developers of the hardware likely felt that its ability to manipulate objects in such a unique fashion was worth the trade-off since it could deliver pseudo-3D experiences that were barely even possible on console hardware let alone handhelds. It's a technical marvel. I apologize if this particular video confused some into believing I was suggesting the Lynx isn't impressive - it was only meant to serve as proof that 60fps appears smoother than 15 and 20 to the eye. I mean, it's not like the Game Gear could ever handle something like Stun Runner, right? In the future, I plan to cover both the Lynx and Game Gear using original hardware fitted with the video out mods. That would appear on our main channel as a DF Retro episode, however, I'd imagine.


Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx, Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:46 PM.


#34 agradeneu OFFLINE  

agradeneu

    Moonsweeper

  • 440 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:06 PM

It's the most common mistake for men to get caught up on technical details, tech specs and fps (I used to do that too) :-D Making appealing and fun games usually don't have much to do with that unless it's some unbearable 2fps like in hard drivin' (not that low fps polygon games weren't common back in the day on all kinds of platforms, and not that we wouldn't have sinked in a lot of time in those kind of games back then too).

 

At least he's claiming in the comments that he's not trying to diss the Lynx and the video is in the 'Comedy' category. ;D

Getting pedantic about every little tech detail is DFs business model. And if this was meant as a joke, yes it is  - actually a real bad one.



#35 Lost Dragon ONLINE  

Lost Dragon

    River Patroller

  • 3,658 posts

Posted Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:26 PM

Stun Runner on the ST and Amiga was utterly, utterly wretched.

It's not something i would even like to contemplate being done on the Game Gear.

The Lynx version 'cheats' somewhat to achieve the job of replicating the look of the coin op, but it was a very, very wise choice to use the hardwares sprite abilities to mimic the look of the coin op, in order to capture the essence of the coin op.

Blue Lightning was a far better Afterburner than Argonaut's official conversion to the ST and Amiga (ok both versions written in 10 weeks, but for Jez San to say poor artwork let the conversion down..).

Toki turned out much better on the Lynx than it did the Genesis (no idea what frame rate of the Genesis version is,but i know which version i would rather play).

Viking Child though..was poorer on the Lynx.

Actually gameplay cut down from ST and Amiga versions and lacked in game music which the 8 bit GB version had.

A lot of the times you also have to look at who wrote for the Lynx.

Game Gear and Master System Desert Strike were written by The Kremlin, who put everything into it, where as Telegames seemed to just convert it to Lynx.

Off top of my head, Probe handled Game Gear Lemmings, didn't have any involvement with Lynx version


When magazines and YT videos do Lets Compare or Vs videos, they tend to over look the key aspects of completely different coding teams being given the task of writing for Lynx and Game Gear, development times, budgets etc.

#36 agradeneu OFFLINE  

agradeneu

    Moonsweeper

  • 440 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted Sat Jan 5, 2019 3:21 AM

Stun Runner on the ST and Amiga was utterly, utterly wretched.

It's not something i would even like to contemplate being done on the Game Gear.

The Lynx version 'cheats' somewhat to achieve the job of replicating the look of the coin op, but it was a very, very wise choice to use the hardwares sprite abilities to mimic the look of the coin op, in order to capture the essence of the coin op.

Blue Lightning was a far better Afterburner than Argonaut's official conversion to the ST and Amiga (ok both versions written in 10 weeks, but for Jez San to say poor artwork let the conversion down..).

Toki turned out much better on the Lynx than it did the Genesis (no idea what frame rate of the Genesis version is,but i know which version i would rather play).

Viking Child though..was poorer on the Lynx.

Actually gameplay cut down from ST and Amiga versions and lacked in game music which the 8 bit GB version had.

A lot of the times you also have to look at who wrote for the Lynx.

Game Gear and Master System Desert Strike were written by The Kremlin, who put everything into it, where as Telegames seemed to just convert it to Lynx.

Off top of my head, Probe handled Game Gear Lemmings, didn't have any involvement with Lynx version


When magazines and YT videos do Lets Compare or Vs videos, they tend to over look the key aspects of completely different coding teams being given the task of writing for Lynx and Game Gear, development times, budgets etc.

Don't forget about Shadow of the Beast, that parallax scrolling and fluid animation was something never seen before on a handheld. 

I grew up with Game Boy, NES, Genesis, Lynx SNES, C64 and NOBODY ever cared about abstract FPS numbers as long as the game was fun to play. We even accepted flickers and slow downs which were common on NES - still we loved the games. II am grateful that there was no yt and overanalyzing everything. Before I tried  a game I only knew some screenshots and articles from magazines, so the first contact felt like a fresh and unique expierence. I was totally blown away first time watching and playing Contra 3, because I never expected something like this . I recently have stopped watching yt videos of games before playing them, because it kills any magic/surprise.


Edited by agradeneu, Sat Jan 5, 2019 3:31 AM.


#37 louisg OFFLINE  

louisg

    Chopper Commander

  • 107 posts

Posted Mon Jan 7, 2019 10:01 AM

Frame rate is an interesting topic because it has a big impact on a game's overall feel-- speeds of objects have to work well with whichever rate you choose. Data East I remember always had pretty low-rate games even in the arcade, like Heavy Barrel. But, they made it work well. It was the same with a game like Duke Nukem 1-- the overall feel was pretty good even though it wasn't all that fluid. But Duke Nukem 2 didn't give the player enough reaction time, which was a combination of things moving too fast for the rate and the camera not being as good as it could've been. 

 

50 or 60 I do think is generally the thing to aim for-- "full rate" rather than half or quarter is how I look at it. Then you've got the most flexibility. But, I love Toki to bits even though it's not silky. Amazing port of a solid platformer, and far better than the NES one. I never did get past that level with those little dino guys who pop out of their shells though-- they could've toned the difficulty down there :) 

 

Anyway, I love showing people the Lynx who are only familiar with GG and GB. Their eyes pop out of their head when they see the realtime 3d scaling environments and hear the digitized sound.

 

Back on topic: One thing I found fascinating was how they were able to do a perspective plane for the ground in Blue Lightning. How did that work? Were they scaling one scanline at a time, or just chunks so small that it looked that way?

 

And I think Warbirds leveraged the sprite skewing hardware to draw the triangles for those polygon pyramids, right? That's an unconventional usage of the hardware for sure. Unless I'm wrong and that's all done on the CPU..?

 

Another creative use was Electrocop. They really made those walls look 3d. Again, that's above-and-beyond what I would think most people would do with sprite skew/scale hw.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: epyx

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users