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phoboz

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Posts posted by phoboz


  1. On 1/18/2021 at 1:57 AM, leech said:

    Dude, this is the Jaguar forum! 

     

    But yeah, I agree.  I am excuted for this.  Thoughusually find Rogue-likes would be better off just being Rogue clones, as too many end up being Rogue-lite.

    The aim with Kings of Edom is for it to be a fully fledged rouge-like (but not necessarily a clone of the game Rouge)

    In the future there might be other projects (Action RPG, Metroidvania etc.)

    • Like 3

  2. It should be possible to re-use the engine for any type of run-n-gun, side scrolling action game.

    I looked at some videos of Gunlord, and it seems to have one layer using a tile map (which I currently have in this demo, this is the layer the action takes place), and second layer using a large bitmap image, or a series large images (for decoration).

     

    This is just how thought about doing it, because the Jaguar's ability to handle really large images (besides from many 16x16 pixel sized tiles, as used in the first layer) is really what differs the Jaguar from the other consumer 16-bit console systems from that time (e.g. SNES, Genesis, which use 16x16 tiles for both layers. The NeoGeo would of course also be able to do how I described, but that was really not aimed at the mass consumer market)

     

    However, it can still be a Metroidvania, but in order to make it look something like Gunlord, I really need the help from very professional pixel artist(s). My current focus is to get a very good physics engine, the decoration comes later...

    • Like 7

  3. While Kings of Edom is being beta tested, I started to experiment with ideas for the next Atari Jaguar game.

    Another genre that seems to be under-represented on the system is "Metroidvania"

    It's actually a platformer, with with adventure game elements, the name originates from 2 games, e.g. Metroid, and Castlevania.

    Metroid was a game for the NES which added adventure game elements to a platform game, and later games in the Castelvania series also adopted this approach. 

     

    So if anyone would be interested in a game like this, perhaps this tech demo can become a real game?

    However, I realize already now that it will take a very long time to design the levels for a good game in this genre:

     

     

    Note that this game will in no way be related to the 2 games mentioned above, these were just used as examples to describe the genre.

    The same info is on Wikipedia

     

    • Like 35

  4. 1 hour ago, CyranoJ said:

    There never fails to be someone who can't use google or do any research who will click buy.

    That will probably be me, because I always fail to understand how to buy these things the official way. Now I checked Dragon box, and it says out of stock. I also registered on the Atari Age waiting list ages ago...


  5. Yes super scalers are great, how many are there on the Jaguar?

    I can think of at least 6:

    1. Super Burnout

    2. Atari Karts

    3. Val d'Isère Skiing and Snowboarding

    4. Wormhole 2000

    5. Saucer Wars

    6. Blue Lightning (I think it's a super scaler, but I haven't played it since it's a CD game)

     

    PS. I don't count Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and Alien vs. Predator, as they have a 3D environment for the maze walls.

     

    Would have been really nice of SEGA made good on the settlement towards Atari and ported some of their super scalers as well. (Can't the current owners of the Atari brand enforce what is left of SEGA to fulfill this somehow?)


  6. 1 hour ago, bhall408 said:

    Had that also included the the Jaguar firmware/bios? (jagboot) Or just that development for Jaguar was then considered "open"?

     

    It was primarily focused on re-implementing the hardware. So if you mean if someone was to write a source code to supplement the bios, then I don't think so.


  7. 15 hours ago, CyranoJ said:

    - Everyone only used the 68000 (myth)

    - GPU in main will fix everything (myth)

    - The console is faster than the PSX (myth)

    - The console was hard to develop for (myth)

    - The bugs in the hardware cripple the system totally (myth)

    Yes I must admit that some of these myths really scared me from starting to develop games for the Jaguar.

     

    - Of course I like to use the 68000, it was, and still is one of the most popular, and most widely used devices in the world. Why can't I use it on the Jaguar?

     

    - Is the console hard to develop for? Probably not harder than any other console. I don't know, I only know that is equal hard to develop for as the other consoles I have worked with.

     

    - I have never understood what those crippling bugs are? Oh yes, I read that it was a big "bug" that the custom hardware cannot access main RAM, and you have to move stuff. Then people realized that these devices actually could access data from RAM, the data just need to be aligned to the bit-size of these devices, e.g. 32-bit aligned, or 64-bit aligned. Of course it has, that's true for all devices, including the x86 in 32-bit mode (e.g. a PC running Windows), but the compliers handle this without you knowing about it. So how can this be considered a "bug" for the Jaguar, when it is not considered a bug for the PC?

    • Like 1

  8. On 12/1/2020 at 9:21 AM, phoboz said:

    I might as well describe the rules of the game. In principle, you don't need to know them to play the game. However, you can archive better results by knowing them. I also want to write them down, before I forget myself :)

     

    What you see below is the training menu.

    The first column shows the skill name, the second shows the required experience points to reach the next level, and the final column shows the current level. The yellow stars you see next to the skill name tells the game that this is a skill you want to improve (e.g. your gained experience points are distributed to advancing the skills you have marked with a star) You may put several stars on one skill, and you have up to 3 stars to distribute. You can change your training settings at any time during the game. Changes won't affect the level you already reached for a certain skill.

    tm.thumb.PNG.530ab1b84ccdedf9474085cc3ff9f2b9.PNG

     

    1. Strength - When performing a melee attack, a high strength level improves your chances to hit your opponent.

    2. Intelligence - Your initial intelligence affects your initial searching skill level (see the last skill) Whenever your intelligence level exceeds the intelligence requirements for a spell in the game, you automatically learn that spell. (you can also learn spells by finding, and reading scrolls)

    3. Dexterity - When an opponent performs an attack against you, your dexterity level improves your chances to avoid being hit. (equipping an armor, and a shield further improves your chances to dodge the attack)

    4. Toughness - Your initial toughness affects the initial hit-points you get, toughness also helps you to survive hunger for a bit longer (e.g. until you hopefully find more food).

    5. Mana - Your initial mana affects your initial searching skill level. The mana level will also reduce the magical power points consumed when casting a spell (see 7)

    6. Hitpoints - These are the maximum number of hits you can take before it is game over... Your hit-points can be restored by consuming potions (red), or by executing the heal spell on yourself.

    7. Magical Power - When casting a spell, a certain amount of power points are consumed (also see 5). If you have less power than the requirements of the spell, you cannot cast that spell. Your magical power can be re-filled by consuming elixirs (blue)

    8. To-Hit Bonus - This skill directly increases your chances to hit your target (also see skill 1)

    9. To-Damage Bonus - This skill adds additional additional points to the damage your equipped weapon causes to your opponent.

    10. Searching - When you destroy a destructible object, or push-pull a rock for the first time, you may find an item. Your searching skill increases your chance of finding an item in such cases. This skill also affects the amount of gold, food, and the level of certain items you find.

    Updated the description above, due to changes in the game.

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 2

  9. The object processor is a verycapable device. It can do just like you describe about the Neo Geo, to draw a large arbitrary sized sprites, in large numbers (I think up to 512). It can even draw scaled sprites, with no, or very little additional overhead. So this is in my opinion really the strength of the Jaguar.

     

    The blitter (which you need to use for real 3D games) is a different story.

     

    • Like 1

  10. 43 minutes ago, Bill Loguidice said:

    The bottom line I think is that we haven't any Neo Geo-level 2D-like games on the Jaguar and may never. There's a lot going on with those games on that hardware and it's a big question if most games would port over with all technical features intact. You'll likely get better results going the Rayman route and just coding specifically to the strengths of the hardware anyway than trying to shoehorn the Jaguar's capabilities to the Neo Geo's strengths. Still, I have no doubt that the Jaguar could come as close as other higher end systems of the era, like the 3DO. 

    I am sure that if someone really put the effort into it they could make a great fighting game for the Jaguar (because that is what the Neo Geo is all about, isn't it). I don't think that there are any specific technical limitations to the Jaguar that would prevent that. You have the same, or even more colors etc. If you use the 64-bit RAM in a clever way, because this is were you need to have the graphical data that you are about to display on a 64-bit system. There were indeed some attempts for the Jag, but you don't make a good fighting game just like that. I think that all of us that have played the earlier SNK fighters can agree to that, they didn't shine over night, it took several years of hard work to make a game that was comparable to for example Street Fighter II.

    • Like 2

  11. The only reason graphics (sometimes) need to be shifted to RAM on the Jaguar is because 16-bit EPROM simply isn't fast enough for the 64-bit object processor.

     

    For example, in Kings of Edom, the title screen I can rendered directly from ROM, as it is only one 192x128 pixels image.

     

    In the game, the inventory screen (of the same size) which drawn on top of all the in-game graphics, has to be transfered to RAM before rendering. Because, the wait cycles for reading the 16-bit EPROM slows the whole rendering process down to much (e.g. the image flickers)

     

    So if the Neo Geo would have been a 64-bit system, you probably would also need to transfer some graphics to faster memory when very much is going on.

     

    Nevertheless, it's something you need to be aware about when programming the Jaguar, I am sure that there are other things you need to think about when are programming the Neo Geo.

     

    Of course if you successfully want to port a Neo Geo game you would have to only unpack, and transfer the graphics to RAM when it is needed. So for a fighting game, you will not keep all the animation frames for all the fighter in RAM all the same time. Rather you only load the 2 fighters that are fighting each other, and when they are done, you remove them from RAM to give room for others.

     

    PS. The Jaguar is not like a CD based system, because there a lot of things you don't need to transfer to RAM. For example, you never transfer any program code, you can play buffered sound directly from ROM, basically you can have all (non graphical) read only data in ROM. The loading times of the Jaguar (from ROM) is not even of the same magnitude as with a CD-ROM based system, and that was the part that really killed the Neo Geo CD.

    • Like 1

  12. 49 minutes ago, agradeneu said:

    With packing all the graphics and sound data, most 100 Mbit NeoGeo games would fit on a 6MB Jaguar cart. Now imagine 16 MB ROMS or Jaguar GD with SD carts of 1Gbytes + ;-)

    Yes I would definitely pack all the graphics in such case. Primal Rage might have been even better on cartridge with packed graphics, because of the more amount of RAM available to use for active animation frames.

    • Like 1

  13. 1 hour ago, Bill Loguidice said:

    It's always been my understanding that RAM limitations might be an issue for most Neo Geo ports to the Jaguar.

    A quick check on the Neo Geo specs indicate that 2 Megabytes of RAM should be sufficient:

    RAM: 214 KB SRAM[27]

    • Main 68000 RAM: 64 KB (32 KB SRAM ×2)
    • Video RAM: 84 KB SRAM
      • Main VRAM: 64 KB (32 KB SRAM ×2)
      • Palette memory: 16 KB (8 KB SRAM ×2)
      • Fast video sprite RAM: 4 KB (2 KB SRAM ×2)
    • Z80 sound RAM: 2 KB SRAM

    However, if the 3DO version has less animation frames than the Neo Geo version, it might have to do with that you actually need to run everything from RAM on a CD based console. You don't have to do that on the Jaguar, its only the graphics that are in use at a particular time that need to be in the RAM. You can run code, and have lookup tables etc. in ROM.

    However, it might be that the 4 Megabyte limitation of the cartridge is a limiting factor. On the JagCd, you would have the same limitation as on the 3DO version, e.g. that everything has to be in RAM.

     

     

    • Like 1

  14. 2 hours ago, agradeneu said:

    Graphics should not be a problem these days, lots of great artist on opengamearts.

     

    A major problem of the platform is it's lack of accessibility, everything is so insanely pricey. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Yes there are a lot of tile-sets on opengameart, but I think that many of the tools that are freely available are based that you develop games in a way you developed games for the Nintendo/SEGA consoles. Because ever since the NES, the norm was to use a character based display e.g. graphical tiles of a fixed resolution to build up a playfield. The Jaguar can be programmed to handled that, however, it is not limited to this. For example, none of the Neo Geo games use a character based display for the scrolling backgrounds.

     

    Games like Rayman, and the game below, (which was never released :(), does not use such an approach at all.

    Rather I believe the world is created out of arbitrary sized, quite large sprites that are placed on a big canvas in order to build up the multi-screen playfield. You can do these kind of games with for example Unity, but unfortunately, there is no open tool (that I am aware about) than can be adapted to output configuration data in a way so it can be read by a Jaguar program to render the world. Also I am not sure that many pixels artist are used to create sprites this way, rather than using tiles?

    Complete game builders, like Unity, are very frustrating to work with, because every time you want to do something not completely according to what is expected, you have to do very complex workarounds. So I am really looking for a generic purpose tool that can put large sprites on a big canvas, define lines for collision detection, and output that data in a format that is easy to read in on the console side.

     

    JAG_Deathwatch.png.2ffa1cad50700dd62a6672bd1434ac6a.png

     

     

    • Like 1

  15. 1 hour ago, agradeneu said:

    pulling off a SNES quality game is hard work

    Yes, and it does not only require good programmers, it also requires good pixels artists.

    The limitation for the Jaguar was that few took the opportunity to get the most out of the Jaguar's pixel power. There were a lot 16-bit ports, but Rayman was really the game that showed the difference.

    I think a lot of games from the Neo Geo library would be a great match for the Jag (because the arcade systems, even if the main CPU was 16-bit, they had a lot more graphical power than the home consoles)

    • Like 1

  16. 6 hours ago, Koopa64 said:

    Meanwhile in Canada, they are extremely hard to find and very expensive. Even in the USA it seems, Jaguars are very uncommon.

    I think it has to do with the awareness about the Jaguar. Many retro collectors here are very young, who have only heard tales from their parents about Nintendo, and SEGA. So the prices for the good games for these systems are insane. I think once people discover that the Jaguar can actually offer better 2D pixel graphics than than the 16-bit Nintendo, and SEGA consoles the demand for the Jaguar will become higher. Of course the Jag will also need more games, but there are some new games being developed for the system.

    For me as a game developer it lies in my interest that as many people as possible can get access to the console to play the games.

    • Like 1

  17. 1 minute ago, Mikebloke said:

    Would make sense to do a clone of the JagDuo rather than the original Jaguar itself. A bigger project would be Jaguar 2 as its supposed to be back compatable I believe, with 8MB RAM, potential for N64ish level of games? 

     

    It would be deadly expensive to produce no doubt, but how many of us would buy one anyway? 

    Is the Jaguar 2 hardware also an open platform, e.g. are things like the netlists for the custom chipset available?


  18. 33 minutes ago, CyranoJ said:

    The mister jaguar clone is hopelessly broken and quite useless in its current state. 

     

     

    To bad that no one is investing time in it :(

     

    However, I do not see any lack of second hand Jaguar consoles in Sweden.

    So I am not afraid it will hard to find in the future.

     

    The system was quite hyped when it came during the 90's, so most video rental shops had them...

    A lot of these consoles are being sold now, as well as games in rental boxes.

    (actually I like the rental boxes more than the ones for the consumer market, as it's much easier to get access to the cartridge inside them)

    • Like 1

  19. There was a project to clone the Jaguar hardware on FPGA. The work was based on the real netlists from the Tom&Jerry chips, which were made public when the Jaguar was declared an open platform.

    I don't know what happened with the FPGA core, but the most specific part for developing a clone system should already be there, as the FPGA core is open source. The other parts, such as the 68000 CPU etc. are off the shelf components. Of course a major part would be to integrate all of this in the end.

     

    https://www.retrorgb.com/mister-atari-jaguar-core-launched.html

     

    However, such clone console would probably not be cheaper than a second hand Jaguar console off eBay, as the Tom&Jerry chips require quite a large FPGA, e.g. expensive FPGA.

    I doubt that the volume would be big enough to motivate re-implemention of Tom&Jerry as ASICs, even if these are cheap per unit, it is very expensive to set up production for the first time.

    • Like 1
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