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Atari Lynx and Neo Geo Pocket Color

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Hi,

recently i have been playing quiet a bit of Neo Geo Pocket Color games, and i have been very impressed with its fighting games, specially Capcom VS SNK. Its got great animation, plays very smooth, and i really like the big super deformed sprites. It plays better than a lot of GBA fighting games, i enjoyed it so much that it got me thinking, how well would the Lynx handle this game?

I guess that SNK developed the NGPC with this type of game in mind, so it might have an advantage there againts the Lynx, but i always hear how the Lynx hardware is so versatile, etc. Hey, at least the Lynx would have the upper hand on the colors per sprite right? :P :D .

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I actually cropped a picture from Match of the Millenniuum and dropped the color depth as an experiment to see how it might look on the Lynx. It holds up pretty well... the status bars had to be removed and a few of the colors looked less vibrant than before, but past that everything looked all right. It seems very feasible, at least if it weren't for the tiny size of Lynx game cartridges. I believe they topped out at 4Mb, while Match of the Millennium was four times that size.

 

I was working on artwork for a Lynx fighting game, but dropped out of the project because I wasn't happy with my sprites and couldn't make them work in the context of a post-apocalyptic setting. I don't know what happened to that project, but I assume that it was dropped because it was too ambitious and beyond the scope of a small development team.

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Ah yes, i had forgotten about the cart size diference.

Its a shame that you fighting game project had to be dropped, but it is true that fighting games are one of the toughest genres to homebrew, well good fighting games, that is. The post apocalyticc setting sounded pretty cool.

Do you still have that picture of Match of the Millenium recolored for Lynx?, would be interesting to see.

And of course, we can always look forward to Ultra Vore, right?

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I actually cropped a picture from Match of the Millenniuum and dropped the color depth as an experiment to see how it might look on the Lynx. It holds up pretty well... the status bars had to be removed and a few of the colors looked less vibrant than before, but past that everything looked all right. It seems very feasible, at least if it weren't for the tiny size of Lynx game cartridges. I believe they topped out at 4Mb, while Match of the Millennium was four times that size.

 

I was working on artwork for a Lynx fighting game, but dropped out of the project because I wasn't happy with my sprites and couldn't make them work in the context of a post-apocalyptic setting. I don't know what happened to that project, but I assume that it was dropped because it was too ambitious and beyond the scope of a small development team.

 

Do share?

 

I'm curious if I can make them work. The Lynx is a unique challenge...

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yeah that'd be interesting to see, I think in terms of power, the Lynx shouldn't have a problem, it would be the visuals that I would be concerned about. One of my main concerns with the lynx and graphics is the size of the sprites. Do they only look good because they are so large? What is the Lynx's screen resolution compared to the NEO pocket?

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Hm, I should probably ask Carl before I divulge more details. It's been a few years but maybe he still has plans for it.

 

EDIT: All right, here's a comparison between the Neo-Geo Pocket version of Match and how it could look on the Lynx. The Lynx's resolution is 160x102, which is very coarse even in comparison to contemporary handhelds like the GameBoy and the Game Gear.

post-393-1218507843.gif

post-393-1218507849.gif

Edited by Jess Ragan

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Judging by your screenshot, then it seems like it could work well in the Lynx. Thanks for sharing your screenshot Jess Ragan.

So whats the diference between the Lynx and the NGPC color pallette. What i have read is that the Neo can display about 146 colors at once, againts 16 per scanline on the Lynx. But from the games i have played, i havent seen any Neo titles that shows anywere that amount of colors, hell, i would way that i have seen more colorful graphics on the Lynx, than i have seen on the Neo.

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The Neo Geo Pocket Color's fighting games don't really do it justice from a hardware perspective.

sonic6.pngsonic8.pngDark_Arms05.gifsvcpc.5.gifbampc1.gifms2nd3.jpgbeast4.jpg

 

I don't think the Lynx could run what the NGPC could run.

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I am not a hardware know it all, but i would say that just as you say the Lynx couldnt run those games as well as the NGPC, i dont think the Neo could run Warbirds, Virus, Blue Lightning, Batlewheels, Checkered Flag, etc, as well as the Lynx does.

Thats why i like both systems, each has its strenghts.

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The Neo Geo Pocket Color's fighting games don't really do it justice from a hardware perspective.

Actually, i was very impressed with Capcom VS SNK, the games moves very smooth, animates great, and the characters are pretty big. I find it to be more impressive than some 16 bit console fighting games. What game would you say is the morst impressive from a technical point of view? I would like to try Neo Poke Kun (is that the name), its said that in some of its minigames, it displays some pretty impressive effects, such as sprite scaling.

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I am not a hardware know it all, but i would say that just as you say the Lynx couldnt run those games as well as the NGPC, i dont think the Neo could run Warbirds, Virus, Blue Lightning, Batlewheels, Checkered Flag, etc, as well as the Lynx does.

Thats why i like both systems, each has its strenghts.

The NGPC has a better Display (TFT) as the Lynx(LCD) and a bit higher resolution.

The NGPC has also more Colors(146) but from the same palette of 4096.

The CPU and the other Hardwarefeatures are better on Lynx. To make a game like the shown screens you only need the coder who can make it. Here are some Hardwarefeatures:

simultanois sprites: NGPC-64 Lynx-limited only by RAM

Link: NGPC Seriell 19KBit Lynx 8Players by 62KBit/sec

Sound: NGPC 6Channel Z80 8Bit Lynx: 4 Channel 16Bit by Suzy

Virtual Screen: NGPC 256x256 Lynx 512x512pixels

Hardwarescrolling: NGPC:no Lynx: Yes by suzy

etc.

and The Lynx is made 10 Years before!

 

Greatings Matthias

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The Neo Geo Pocket Color's fighting games don't really do it justice from a hardware perspective.

Actually, i was very impressed with Capcom VS SNK, the games moves very smooth, animates great, and the characters are pretty big. I find it to be more impressive than some 16 bit console fighting games. What game would you say is the morst impressive from a technical point of view? I would like to try Neo Poke Kun (is that the name), its said that in some of its minigames, it displays some pretty impressive effects, such as sprite scaling.

The problem with the fighting games is the character models, which in most cases were limted to two or three colors at a time.

 

The games that I think look best are Sonic Pocket Adventure and Dark Arms. Sonic has vibrant colors, a lot of action, and a lot of movement and it looks beautiful with only minor slowdown.

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It seems very feasible, at least if it weren't for the tiny size of Lynx game cartridges. I believe they topped out at 4Mb

 

How much can bank switching and Compressing help out the Lynx?

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I don't know if there's a ROM limit set by the hardware or if Lynx games were only 4Mb tops because that's as much as Atari could afford to squeeze into such a small cartridge. If the latter is the case, then it seems like it could be easy for developers to put 16Mb, 32Mb, or even 32 megaBYTES on a Lynx cartridge. I'm not an expert, though... maybe we could get a definitive answer from TailChao or someone else who's actually worked with the Lynx hardware.

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The problem with the fighting games is the character models, which in most cases were limted to two or three colors at a time.

The games that I think look best are Sonic Pocket Adventure and Dark Arms. Sonic has vibrant colors, a lot of action, and a lot of movement and it looks beautiful with only minor slowdown.

Yeah, its a shame the sprites are limited to those few colors, but i think that the rest of the graphical package made up for it in Capcom vs SNKs case. I had Sonic, and it is really good, not as polished as the Megadrive ones, but easly better than the Game Gear/Master System outings, and i even liked it better than the GBA/NGage Sonic Advance/N. Also i thought that the Neo handled the bonus levels pretty darn well.

About the 146 colors that the Neo can display at once, i think that figure refers only to still shots, because i have never seen a games that comes close to that, actually the games i have seen are closer to the Lynxes color pallette (16 per scanline?), than to 146.

I have what might be a pretty stupid question to guys who understand hardware specs:

What is better, the 6 8 bit sound channels of the Neo Pocket, or the 4 16 bit sound channels of the Lynx. I guess it would be a matter of quality over quantity?

What about the Wonderswan Color? From the games i have played, it looks better than SNKs portable, but games are slower and there doesnt seem to be much action in comparison. One seems better suited for RPGs and the other to action games, hey, its the MegaDrive vs SNES all over again! ;) . And again maybe both beat the Lynx in picture quality and colors, but the Lynx beats them with its 3Dish effects.

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I don't know if there's a ROM limit set by the hardware or if Lynx games were only 4Mb tops because that's as much as Atari could afford to squeeze into such a small cartridge. If the latter is the case, then it seems like it could be easy for developers to put 16Mb, 32Mb, or even 32 megaBYTES on a Lynx cartridge. I'm not an expert, though... maybe we could get a definitive answer from TailChao or someone else who's actually worked with the Lynx hardware.

 

The Lynx is limited to a 512KB ROM size due to the way it is configured to load data. However, this is without bankswitching. Using the AUDIO_IN pin to control a memory mapper on the cartridge could yield much more space. A 1MB cartridge could be made with very little circuitry. Atari was probably very cheap.

 

As for comparisons between the Lynx, NGPC, and Wonderswan, it's difficult to pick a clear winner:

*In terms of graphic effects, the Lynx wins hands down, but the screen resolution is very low as is the color depth. However, the Lynx can use 4bpp graphic data, which the NGPC cannot.

*Both the NGPC and Wonderswan are completely tile based. This makes them very different beasts than the Lynx.

*The Lynx uses a shared bus between Mikey and Suzy, this eats some CPU time (although it's not a huge problem), its ROM access is also extremely slow. Thus, you usually have to keep most of your things in the 64KB of RAM. The NGPC has better banking with the ability to address 2MB of ROM.

*The NGPC has a dedicated CPU for sound, this makes life easier. But the sound chip is more limited than BOTH the Lynx and Wonderswan.

*The WonderSwan (Color) is probably the most capable of the bunch, but the games in no way reflect it.

*The Lynx is nearly ten years older than both the NGPC and Wonderswan, better hardware naturally gets cheaper.

 

Best to just pick what has what you want to play, honestly. :)

 

Edit: I should clarify something about the NGPC sound hardware. While there are six channels, and two of them are just direct access to DACs, it's difficult to get good sample playback due to restrictions on the Z80 (Metal Slug 2nd Mission shows this well). Essentially, you're mostly limited to the three square waves and noise, and with only 4KB of RAM for the Z80 to play with, it's surely to be an audio programmer's nightmare. The NGPC in general isn't fun to work with. The Lynx and Wonderswan are much more friendly.

Edited by TailChao

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Thanks TailChao, that was some info that even i could understand!. I really enjoy reading about how systems compare to each other. And about wich system is the best, well its pretty close, each with its strenghts, but i think that whoever gets Zaku is the clear winner to my eyes :D .

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Hm, I should probably ask Carl before I divulge more details. It's been a few years but maybe he still has plans for it.

 

EDIT: All right, here's a comparison between the Neo-Geo Pocket version of Match and how it could look on the Lynx. The Lynx's resolution is 160x102, which is very coarse even in comparison to contemporary handhelds like the GameBoy and the Game Gear.

 

If we're going to dream, let's go all the way...

 

post-12969-1218788531_thumb.png

Edited by A Sprite

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Did anyone ever complete any of Ultra Vortek?

 

I used to chat with a dude that was working on that over AOL back in the day. Haven't got a clue what his name was.

 

AX

 

Carl Forhan of Songbird Prdoction have the rights but i think the dev is on ice or very slow

 

Greatings Mtathias

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I don't know if there's a ROM limit set by the hardware or if Lynx games were only 4Mb tops because that's as much as Atari could afford to squeeze into such a small cartridge. If the latter is the case, then it seems like it could be easy for developers to put 16Mb, 32Mb, or even 32 megaBYTES on a Lynx cartridge. I'm not an expert, though... maybe we could get a definitive answer from TailChao or someone else who's actually worked with the Lynx hardware.

 

The Lynx is limited to a 512KB ROM size due to the way it is configured to load data. However, this is without bankswitching. Using the AUDIO_IN pin to control a memory mapper on the cartridge could yield much more space. A 1MB cartridge could be made with very little circuitry. Atari was probably very cheap.

 

As for comparisons between the Lynx, NGPC, and Wonderswan, it's difficult to pick a clear winner:

*In terms of graphic effects, the Lynx wins hands down, but the screen resolution is very low as is the color depth. However, the Lynx can use 4bpp graphic data, which the NGPC cannot.

*Both the NGPC and Wonderswan are completely tile based. This makes them very different beasts than the Lynx.

*The Lynx uses a shared bus between Mikey and Suzy, this eats some CPU time (although it's not a huge problem), its ROM access is also extremely slow. Thus, you usually have to keep most of your things in the 64KB of RAM. The NGPC has better banking with the ability to address 2MB of ROM.

*The NGPC has a dedicated CPU for sound, this makes life easier. But the sound chip is more limited than BOTH the Lynx and Wonderswan.

*The WonderSwan (Color) is probably the most capable of the bunch, but the games in no way reflect it.

*The Lynx is nearly ten years older than both the NGPC and Wonderswan, better hardware naturally gets cheaper.

 

Best to just pick what has what you want to play, honestly. :)

 

Edit: I should clarify something about the NGPC sound hardware. While there are six channels, and two of them are just direct access to DACs, it's difficult to get good sample playback due to restrictions on the Z80 (Metal Slug 2nd Mission shows this well). Essentially, you're mostly limited to the three square waves and noise, and with only 4KB of RAM for the Z80 to play with, it's surely to be an audio programmer's nightmare. The NGPC in general isn't fun to work with. The Lynx and Wonderswan are much more friendly.

WoW, how about Compressing if someone did make that 1MB cartridge what can we see games at 1.5MB or 2MB or even more? That would be awesome!

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Hm, I should probably ask Carl before I divulge more details. It's been a few years but maybe he still has plans for it.

 

EDIT: All right, here's a comparison between the Neo-Geo Pocket version of Match and how it could look on the Lynx. The Lynx's resolution is 160x102, which is very coarse even in comparison to contemporary handhelds like the GameBoy and the Game Gear.

 

If we're going to dream, let's go all the way...

 

post-12969-1218788531_thumb.png

Nice!, so thats an advantage the Lynx has over the NGPC, sprites can use a bit more color, right?.

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Thanks TailChao, that was some info that even i could understand!. I really enjoy reading about how systems compare to each other. And about wich system is the best, well its pretty close, each with its strenghts, but i think that whoever gets Zaku is the clear winner to my eyes :D .

Heh, thanks :)

 

WoW, how about Compressing if someone did make that 1MB cartridge what can we see games at 1.5MB or 2MB or even more? That would be awesome!

It depends on the compression, but you could probably get that much data packed in there without too many issues. However, you really don't need that much compression on the Lynx anyway, since the graphics are automatically stored in a packed format and depacked during drawing. This is why you can go so far with the Lynx's 64KB for RAM, the graphics compress very well.

 

Nice!, so thats an advantage the Lynx has over the NGPC, sprites can use a bit more color, right?.

Yes, the NGPC can only use 2bpp (4 color/3 color + transparency) graphics. Sonic Pocket Adventure gets around this by layering tiles on top of each other for the main character. The Lynx can use 1-4bpp at will. However, that screenshot would have to have no more than 16 colors per line to be possible on the Lynx (although it probably does). Although 16 colors onscreen is more realistic.

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