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ColecoFan1981

Another Reason Pole Position Should've Been Released for the CV...

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Hi,

 

I have another reason as to why Pole Position should've been released for the ColecoVision: as a 32K ROM cartridge it could've had more of the arcade version's original tunes. Most of these were not used in any other pre-1984 home versions of the game (cf. Atari 600/800XL/5200, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, Commodore VIC-20 and 64, etc.) aside from the qualifying run start tune.

 

Exhibitions:

*The jingle that plays when you finish in 2nd place or lower in the qualifying run. An adaptation of this tune is also used on some versions of the arcade game (and its sequel, Pole Position II) as the name entry jingle.

*"PREPARE TO QUALIFY!" and "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'VE QUALIFIED FOR THE RACE." These two spoken comments in the arcade game are another reason why the CV could've had a speech synthesizer unit (a la the previously mentioned Atari 8-bit family and the TI-99/4A).

 

~Ben

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I have another reason as to why Pole Position should've been released for the ColecoVision: as a 32K ROM cartridge it could've had more of the arcade version's original tunes. Most of these were not used in any other pre-1984 home versions of the game (cf. Atari 600/800XL/5200, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, Commodore VIC-20 and 64, etc.) aside from the qualifying run start tune.

You're making the assumption that they would have released it on a 32K (or 24K) cartridge... just for the sound. That would definitely have increased the materials cost of the cartridge, especially if they went with the multiple-8K-chips layout of the typical cartridge. The most expensive part in the cartridge (at least back in the day) was the chips. Even 2 bucks per 8K chip would have added $4 to the parts cost, either cutting into profit, or requiring a higher retail price. The bean-counters surely would not have gone for it.

 

(To use a single 32K chip would require a 4-input NAND chip to combine the chip selects, so it still wouldn't have been a single-chip board.)

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I have another reason as to why Pole Position should've been released for the ColecoVision: as a 32K ROM cartridge it could've had more of the arcade version's original tunes. Most of these were not used in any other pre-1984 home versions of the game (cf. Atari 600/800XL/5200, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, Commodore VIC-20 and 64, etc.) aside from the qualifying run start tune.

You're making the assumption that they would have released it on a 32K (or 24K) cartridge... just for the sound. That would definitely have increased the materials cost of the cartridge, especially if they went with the multiple-8K-chips layout of the typical cartridge. The most expensive part in the cartridge (at least back in the day) was the chips. Even 2 bucks per 8K chip would have added $4 to the parts cost, either cutting into profit, or requiring a higher retail price. The bean-counters surely would not have gone for it.

 

(To use a single 32K chip would require a 4-input NAND chip to combine the chip selects, so it still wouldn't have been a single-chip board.)

 

You don't need a speech synth to do speech on the CV. Why make people buy hardware they don't need.

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You don't need a speech synth to do speech on the CV. Why make people buy hardware they don't need.

Eh? I said nothing about a speech snyth chip. I was talking about the extra memory needed to hold the extra sound data. (But you do need a speech synth chip to do speech without spending way too much on ROM chips.) I hate to shatter your dreams, but extra stuff doesn't come free.

 

As I was saying, every extra 8K (enough memory to hold 2-4 seconds of raw audio) you had to add to a cartridge meant a couple dollars in extra costs. Extra costs mean either lower profit or you have to raise the price of the game. Neither was a attractive proposition once The Crash started to take hold.

Edited by Bruce Tomlin

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Eh? I said nothing about a speech snyth chip.

 

I know. I wasn't responding to your post. I was responding to ColecoFan's post. Sorry for the confusion.

Edited by Vectorman

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Well... another, more important question is what Pole Position would have looked like on the Colecovision. Those 3D graphics are not too easy to implement. Sure, with more memory you can implement more complex games, but speed is also a factor here. The TI-99 version, for instance, eliminates all scrolling lines on the side of the road, the only one remaining is the middle line. It also eliminates the sideways scrolling as you go left and right, instead of this your car moves left and right while it stays in the middle in the arcade version. And, most of all, the TI-99 version has a terrible framerate... the street and background moves at maybe 1-2 frames per second, the oncoming cars do maybe 4 fps... although the background graphics (mountains and such) have been beautifully converted. Of course, the Colecovision has got a faster processor than the TI and also more RAM available, so a faster speed could have been done here.

 

As for the music, the TI version is lacking in this field (as many TI games by Atarisoft are)... the music has been simplified, and part of it has been converted to monophonic.

 

As for speech, I don't know how to do this on the Colecovision software-wise, but I do know that the TI version doesn't support the speech synthesizer add-on. Out of curiosity, I just tried to convert the "Prepare to qualify" sample from the arcade to LPC using QBOX, and when compressed, it comes in at a bit about 200 bytes, so I think the whole speech could have done in about 1K using the speech synthesizer. On the other hand, the original sample, when re-converted to LPC, is pretty hard to understand, probably due to the fact that already the original version was heavily downsampled. I don't know exactly which sampling rate they run, but it must have been 2000 to 4000 Hz at most. The original voice ROM of the Atari version, by the way, is 8K, but I don't know how much of it is actually filled with speech data.

 

And regarding the size limit, I think by the time Atari started making games for the Colecovision, they already moved up to using 32K ROM's, as we can see in their available Colecovision prototypes. We only haven't seen them on the market because the crash and Jack Tramiel's subsequent cost cutting efforts prevented those big games from being completed or released. But the games they did put out on the Colecovision, in my opinion, were pretty good, so they could have done a good job on Pole Position too if they would have been allowed continuing support for the Colecovision.

 

By the way, I think an even better version could have been done for the not-so-popular Creativision console which has got a pretty fast CPU (a 6502 clocked at 2 MHz!), which could have made the 3D much faster than possible on the Colecovision.

 

Oh, and just for comparison... the total ROM size of the original version is 193K.

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A very good pole position is perfectly doable on the coleco.

 

Something far better than the TI99 version.

 

With 32k rom no problem to do that. (but may be without the digitalized speech)

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A very good pole position is perfectly doable on the coleco.

 

Something far better than the TI99 version.

 

With 32k rom no problem to do that. (but may be without the digitalized speech)

I'd love to see a version of Pole Position on the CV, especially if it were to support the steering wheel module, but I have the feeling it would be far from a piece of cake to implement. I mean, look at this YouTube video of the arcade version: (click here)

 

For it to feel like Pole Position, the player's car needs to stay at the center of the screen at all times, and the road needs to "ondulate" properly around it, otherwise it would just be a glorified version of Turbo or Pitstop. The ColecoVision's VRAM I/O being pretty slow, I believe it would be hard to reproduce the road ondulation properly, especially if graphic mode 2 is used. And then there's the mountain scrolling, the other race cars and the publicity panels on both sides of the road. I believe it would take some pretty tight programming to pull all of that off...

 

As for the speech issue, the solution is self-evident: Let the plane with the banner move in, and when both plane and banner are centered on the screen, freeze the video, play the speech sample ("Prepare to qualify", or "Prepare to race") and then unfreeze the video to let the plane leave.

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i agree for the speech, but when i say "may be with the speech" , it is because of memory . (i target a 32k cartridge , not a megacart).

 

But i think you can also have a good pole-position but having the car not centered. Look at the Vic 20 version.

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I think we need to be clear about something here. In the subject line you say "should've been released", which to me implies "back in 1983-1984". And that's the point of view in which I'm telling you it would not have happened, probably not even if the crash had never happened.

 

But if you're talking about today, then there's a different problem. In that case it's "then why don't you just play the original on an emulator"? It's one thing to make homebrews of new or under-represented games on an older system, but porting existing games which already had plenty of ports... there just doesn't seem to be much of a point.

 

...and not that the game impressed me all that much back in the day anyhow. I was specifically not impressed when I learned that no matter how good you were, you only got five (?) laps for your quarter, and then the game ended, period. (However, I didn't mind the absolute ending as much on Outrun, because the design of the game made it obvious from the start that there was an end, and each stage lasted longer too.)

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Continuing this topic, I am going to veer off topic for a bit about Konami's Hyper Rally for the MSX:

 

Listening to the sound of the engine, it sounds like the engine soundbyte from the Commodore 64 version of Pole Position:

 

~Ben

Edited by ColecoFan1981

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i always imagined that an accurate tms9918-based version of Pole Position perfectly possible - the sacrifice might be on those usual pattern-based 8-pixel jumps - the other cars i don't know if they would be pattern or sprite based - the rail and stripes might use the same method used on Outrun (Master System version)

post-21957-0-55861000-1401045613_thumb.png

Edited by nitrofurano

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a sprite sheet (with tms9981 palette and 8x1 colour limit correction), for people that might want to start some experiments

post-21957-0-57481100-1401099216_thumb.png

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Actually the VIC20 version looks very good, VIC20 have very limited hardware specs. Actually Sargon Chess II (now we are off topic I know), is a very good and strong playing chessgame for the VIC20 ;)

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hmmmm so PP was never produced on the CV?

Nope. Atarisoft did have plans to release it on the CV way back in the early eighties, but like Pac-Man, Dig-Dug and Moon Patrol, they were never released. I don't think a proto of Pole Position even exists.

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might be worth having a crack at then, is it something a lot of CV users would want to have? Couldn't imagine getting the rights to use the name but not harm in doing an homage.
biggest issue as I see it is the 4 sprite per line issue is insurmountable, but apart from that its fairly simple to do.

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biggest issue as I see it is the 4 sprite per line issue is insurmountable, but apart from that its fairly simple to do.

Really? Given the constraints of the video RAM, I would think the biggest challenge would be the undulating track. Aside form that, you can do the cars mostly with tiles and perhaps some super-imposed sprites.

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Nah the tracks not that hard, just need to use some sensible character mapping and limit the amount of scrolling....which is where the cars start to be a pain since you can't really map it into the charset properly......that needs some planning.

I'll have a ponder on it for a few weeks, and might get into it when I've finished my current project.

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a test that i coded now on Boriel’s ZX-Basic Compiler (there are still bugs on the joystick, even after getting help from CrazyBoss and nanochess - i really have no idea of what is wrong there - i'm using both joysticks as bitwise-or, because this bug )

poleposition_colecovision_test.zip

Edited by nitrofurano
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i were making some improvements on the msx1 version, soon i'll convert the code to colecovision and publish it here (in this version, i know that some routines could be faster (using more inline-assembly for speeding up), and i don’t know how to implement the “s” curve as mentioned at http://www.extentofthejam.com/pseudo/, or how to travel in a defined circuit ) - hopefully, this version might have interesting ideas for people that might get seriously interested (or not necessarily) on making a pole-position version for colecovision

poleposition_msx_v3.zip

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