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ANTICs

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vdub_bobby

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THE C64 VS A8 thread got me thinking...

 

It would have been really nice if ANTIC could have read color data line-by-line as well as graphics data. Even just for the PMs would have been very neat.

 

Of course, that would use a ton of RAM and probably have made the ANTIC chip more expensive, but...it would have been really cool! :D

 

As it is, too many A8 games resort to stacking PMs to get multicolored sprites which makes them look like glorified 2600 games. :roll:

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The 8-Bitters really shine in those early 3D engines, like Encounter or the fractal stuff from Lucas. If they would have been still a bit stronger in the market in 1986, they could've gotten amazing versions of The Sentinel, Elite, Gunship or even a version of Starglider almost as good as the Speccy one. With designs playing to their strengths they can do amazing things, like the recent Yoomp prooves.

 

BTW: Considering your NES / C64 question, I think the NES wins considering the C64 charmode vs. the NES tiles, but it loses when looking at sprites. Also, the stock machine is probably no match for the C64 either, having 2K RAM or so. I'd assume it depends solely on the mapper: At a certain complexity they get even and packing some more into it the NES will win. I think there's even mappers providing really funky stuff like raster interrupts?

 

I also find it very hard to compare the two machines, since despite being 65XX driven it seems to share more with the Speccy regarding resolution. Remember a thread of mine regarding graphics conversion inbetween C64 and the NES?

 

IMO it will suffer both ways, since the modes are just plain incompatible. The NES tiles have twice the detail, but it's only having 32 on the screen instead of 40, so any design making good use of one systems abilities will suffer on the other.

 

There's also many other things to consider, like for example, how much persistent memory does the NES have? Obviously none out of the box - and taking a battery buffered mapper, like 8 or 16K?

 

Consider Ultima 6 on the C64. IIRC that came on 6 disk sides you had to backup before playing. While playing, the game would just write any info regarding the world back onto the disk. Now, 6 disk sides, that is (at least in theory) almost a whole Megabyte of persistent memory! :roll:

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Well, very few, if any, consoles will match a contemporary home computer for complex games, like very involved/detailed RPGs and simulations, for just the reasons you mention.

 

And you are completely right about resolution issues - the NES Lode Runner is a perfect example.

 

I'm not sure sure about sprites, though. The C64 has bigger sprites, but the lack of color just kills them in hires mode and if you compare a lores C64 sprite to a NES sprite side by side I think the NES sprite wins every time. It's really just flicker that's the problem, but that's a problem on every machine up through the 90s; it's just a matter of degree - the NES is worse than the C64 but they both have to deal with it.

 

And it is much MUCH easier to handle many sprites on the NES - at least up to 64. :roll: No hardware collision on the NES is a small disadvantage, but the C64's collision registers aren't real great anyway and if you are multiplexing sprites you probably won't use them in any case.

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I don't see the NES sprites having any real advantage, they're basically just smaller.

 

The C64 has 12 pixels to work with, so its sprites would even be more detailed. If you wanted to port the "Wizball" sprite to the NES for example, it'd require two NES sprites to capture all details and three to get the same size :roll:

 

if you compare a lores C64 sprite to a NES sprite side by side I think the NES sprite wins every time.

 

Prove it. Here's a C64 lores sprite:

 

78.gif

 

If you have a few minutes, have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7brB_S0qUn0

Especially the endboss of level 5, around 8:00. Notice that there's no flicker at all.

 

The NES can't do impressive end bosses like that. It would need to use all 8 sprites to do a tank as detailed, yet it would be only half the size.

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I don't see the NES sprites having any real advantage, they're basically just smaller.

The pixels are smaller too, though - the horizontal resolution is greater.

if you compare a lores C64 sprite to a NES sprite side by side I think the NES sprite wins every time.

 

Prove it.

That Wizball sprite is impressive, but I don't know what you want me to compare it to...how about this:

Compare C64 Contra sprite to the NES Contra sprite.

Compare Bubble Bobble: C64 vs. NES

Life Force: C64 vs. NES.

 

 

If you have a few minutes, have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7brB_S0qUn0

Especially the endboss of level 5, around 8:00. Notice that there's no flicker at all.

 

The NES can't do impressive end bosses like that. It would need to use all 8 sprites to do a tank as detailed, yet it would be only half the size.

I dunno, check out this video of Contra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5sOXf2GW6c

About 4:25 in, that tank is big and detailed. It flickers a little, but not too bad, and only sometimes, depending on how many bullets are flying around. And check out the boss at 5:35.

 

But yeah, that's a nice-looking boss that the NES can't really beat. :roll:

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That Wizball sprite is impressive, but I don't know what you want me to compare it to...how about this:

Compare C64 Contra sprite to the NES Contra sprite.

Compare Bubble Bobble: C64 vs. NES

Life Force: C64 vs. NES.

 

Well, no fair I'd say. Counting the pixels, in all three cases you're comparing 1 C64 sprite vs. 2 on the NES, no? Or can NES sprites be 16 pixels wide? I was always interpreting the specs as that they can be 16 high... *scratcheshead*

 

Those Contra sprites are particularly bad conversions as well, for a better "soldier" sprite have a look at the second screen of the Predator entry here: http://www.lemon64.com/games/details.php?ID=1988

 

 

About 4:25 in, that tank is big and detailed. It flickers a little, but not too bad, and only sometimes, depending on how many bullets are flying around. And check out the boss at 5:35.

 

Hm... since the background (stars, etc.) disappears so magically in this scene and it's also so clearly separated into two layers, they could also cheat here some, with a separately scrolling "tank" background, using sprites only for the explosion and animation, or? The other boss is looking cool. Need to play that game soon :roll:

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Hm... since the background (stars, etc.) disappears so magically in this scene and it's also so clearly separated into two layers, they could also cheat here some, with a separately scrolling "tank" background, using sprites only for the explosion and animation, or? The other boss is looking cool. Need to play that game soon :)

You haven't played Contra before? :)

 

Anyway, I don't think the tank is scrolling background, though maybe - I have memories of it flickering, which wouldn't happen if it was background, but maybe. But besides, what's wrong with a little cheating? :roll: Results are what matter. ;)

 

But speaking of that kind of cheating, I'm pretty sure the first boss in Life Force is a scrolling background:

Watch at 3:15: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHOAHWHmrdo

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You haven't played Contra before? :roll:

 

It was the last game (=> Probotector) we got for the NES back in the day, with our interest in NES games already fading. IIRC I already had a Genesis back then, while my brother was still actively playing the NES. I don't think I ever made it past the 2nd stage :)

 

I think the C64 cheats in Life Force as well, but at least there's no flicker :)

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I recall that someone (i think in poland) managed to hack a SID chip for use on an A8

 

If you can hack a SID chip on an A8...then it should be a PoP (piece of piss) to hack a VIC II chip to an A8 as well

 

That way, we can rub commy 64 users noses in it...And have the best m/c as well

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Check out this boss character (technodrome) on the NES

 

It's from TMNT.

 

I did the so-so port to the C64 and I think our version was pretty cool as well. Giant bosses like this really benefit from a black background because they are actually just a playfield (map) scrolling. It's a cool effect though.

 

On the C64 version, I put stars in the background which I counter-scrolled to keep them 'still'. It gave a neat effect that really sold the 'giant sprite' of the technodrome. I had a lot of people around the office really guessing at first. You can't do that on a C64!!

 

Those were the days...

 

- David

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