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Yes it was me. From memory, I did the sample on the Spectrum version first. I redid the C64 version using the Covox Voice Master. I varied the pitch every so often.
It was certainly interesting to go through the procedure, it took a while to figure out what you'd done with the playback.

 

My family thought I'd lost it when I was recording the samples.
lol :)

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I loved this game, one of my favorite Firebird releases... I was very upset when the clamshell case cracked in half :D

 

Now I need to go load this up on my 1010 for nostaligia sake

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Thanks for your kind welcome! I was pleased with that pause screen too. I got the bands by using quad width PMGs the full height of the screen, so I could cycle those colours independently. I was a big fan of DLIs

 

Apart from the old stuff at chimera2010.com, there is the excellent resource here: http://www.birdsanctuary.co.uk/chimera/i.php

 

A transcript of the diary I did can be found here: http://www.birdsanctuary.co.uk/chimera/xt.php

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Something that I've always wanted to ask was whether it was the case that the software houses in the UK specified to developers that the Atari releases had to be 48k or less to cover the majority of the models in the Atari 8-bit family (not to reduce the potential market) or did they leave it up to you?

Edited by Tezz

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Something that I've always wanted to ask was whether it was the case that the software houses in the UK specified to developers that the Atari releases had to be 48k or less to cover the majority of the models in the Atari 8-bit family (not to reduce the potential market) or did they leave it up to you?

 

There were very few people who wanted Atari product in those days. I had to convince Firebird to take it in the first place. At the time of release, I don't think the 128k machines had even come out. (My memory on that is a bit hazy though) - I had to keep insisting, and eventually they took it. I doubt they would have wanted it if it had exceeded 48k. My first Atari game had to fit into the 16k machines, but only actually took about 4k. It was rubbish, but it got me into the business. :-)

 

My biggest regret with the Atari version was that I didn't do the same technique for screen updating that I ended up doing on the Amstrad, which was to update only the dirty rectangles. It was a complete screen update, like the Spectrum version. Despite the fast 2MHz processor on the Atari compared to the pedestrian 1MHz 6502 on the C64, the latter was the faster version because I used sprites and a cookie cutter technique to mask the hidden pixels.

 

Obviously, once the 130XE was out, I bought it - and absolutely loved it. Sadly, it was stolen, like all the rest of my equipment, including my treasured Apricot Xen, bought for me by Firebird, with an opulent 20MB hard drive and a paper white screen.

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There were very few people who wanted Atari product in those days. I had to convince Firebird to take it in the first place. At the time of release, I don't think the 128k machines had even come out. (My memory on that is a bit hazy though) - I had to keep insisting, and eventually they took it. I doubt they would have wanted it if it had exceeded 48k. My first Atari game had to fit into the 16k machines, but only actually took about 4k. It was rubbish, but it got me into the business. :-)

 

My biggest regret with the Atari version was that I didn't do the same technique for screen updating that I ended up doing on the Amstrad, which was to update only the dirty rectangles. It was a complete screen update, like the Spectrum version. Despite the fast 2MHz processor on the Atari compared to the pedestrian 1MHz 6502 on the C64, the latter was the faster version because I used sprites and a cookie cutter technique to mask the hidden pixels.

 

Obviously, once the 130XE was out, I bought it - and absolutely loved it. Sadly, it was stolen, like all the rest of my equipment, including my treasured Apricot Xen, bought for me by Firebird, with an opulent 20MB hard drive and a paper white screen.

I'd always made the assumption (but never asked) that the software houses would ensure to cover as much of the market as possible from their business perspective especially in the case of the much lower market share with the Atari in the UK. It's a shame from our perspective as a fan and user as much as I'm sure it would have been for yourself as someone who appreciated the platform too not to be able to take full advantage of the Atari with the forced memory restrictions that the market dictated and the lack of software houses willing to take on any Atari games full stop. Almost all of the Atari users I knew back in the day had 64k 800xl's and I was unaware back then that there was a conciderable amount of Atari 400/800 owners here too. I imagined the existance of the 16k 600xl restricted their decision also. Well done for convincing Firebird to release the game!

 

I had wondered why you'd chosen to update the whole screen on the Atari version rather than the method you used on the other versions. This was something I was planning to address in the revamp I started earlier in the year to rewrite it as you did with the c64 despite the amount of work it would be :) There was also the possibilty in doing so to make use of the rather unused feature of the A8 having the 4 player missiles as an overlay with Priority0 set so that the robot can have 3 independant colours from the background. Other than all that it was adding the samples and the Rob Hubbard music from the c64 version to make use of the additional 16k.

 

That's really terrible about the robbery, I can imagine how gutted you must have been losing all your work and equipment like that :(

 

Tezz.

Edited by Tezz

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There was also the possibilty in doing so to make use of the rather unused feature of the A8 having the 4 player missiles as an overlay with Priority0 set so that the robot can have 3 independant colours from the background. Other than all that it was adding the samples and the Rob Hubbard music from the c64 version to make use of the additional 16k.

Tezz.

 

What games really used PRIOR0 back in time... even from Poland there wasn't examples if I am thinking right...

Was it really a 'known feature?', was it because of the Memory?, was it because of the 'small time' to get things done?

 

 

What was the first real Game that really used that PRIOR0 over the soft sprites?

Even today... where are them, now there isn't the Memory issue...

 

 

(A list of games using PRIOR0 overlay in soft sprites, underlays on the Gfxs,... would be a good thing to put and discuss here at AA ;) )

 

 

:thumbsup:

Hope more 'old' coders will get into here!

José Pereira.

Edited by José Pereira

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A transcript of the diary I did can be found here: http://www.birdsanctuary.co.uk/chimera/xt.php

 

The Dynamic Priority Allocator (DPA) sounds interesting. What was the theory of operation behind that?

 

1) Work out what the dirty rectangle was for each movable object (usually two, the player sprite and one other, like the electric fence, bread etc.)

2) Draw the relevant section of the background screen into a buffer the size of the dirty rectangle

3) Draw the sprite over the top in the new position

 

At this stage you have what you need, except that the sprite will be in front of everything, so...

 

4) Overlay all higher priority objects into the buffer

5) Draw the buffer(s) onto the screen

 

There are two speed advantages to this approach:

i) The entire screen doesn't need to be drawn back to front as it was on Spectrum and Atari versions

ii) The lower priority objects don't need to be drawn again

 

This technique is very similar to Chris Stamper's Filmation engine.

 

The C64 version was better still, in that you didn't need to use dirty rectangles at all. I'd just cookie cut the higher priority objects from the sprite.

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I had wondered why you'd chosen to update the whole screen on the Atari version rather than the method you used on the other versions. This was something I was planning to address in the revamp I started earlier in the year to rewrite it as you did with the c64 despite the amount of work it would be :) There was also the possibilty in doing so to make use of the rather unused feature of the A8 having the 4 player missiles as an overlay with Priority0 set so that the robot can have 3 independant colours from the background. Other than all that it was adding the samples and the Rob Hubbard music from the c64 version to make use of the additional 16k.

 

That's really terrible about the robbery, I can imagine how gutted you must have been losing all your work and equipment like that :(

 

Tezz.

 

I could have done the spaceman using PMGs, but I'd still need to do the other sprite, like the terminal, the electric fence, and the other stuff I don't remember. :-) Even avoiding PMGs, using DPA would have been much quicker, if I'd had more time, I would have taken this approach for the Atari version.

 

Of course, the interesting thing nowadays is that none of these performance issues prevent you from doing pretty much anything you want to do (within reason)

 

So I'm very much looking forward to doing my remake, though it will be significantly different from the original in gameplay. The scream will remain of course!

Edited by shahid

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... the interesting thing nowadays is that none of these performance issues prevent you from doing pretty much anything you want to do (within reason)

 

So I'm very much looking forward to doing my remake, though it will be significantly different from the original in gameplay. The scream will remain of course!

Indeed. I'm looking forward to seeing your new ideas and concepts in the remake.

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What games really used PRIOR0 back in time... even from Poland there wasn't examples if I am thinking right... Was it really a 'known feature?', was it because of the Memory?, was it because of the 'small time' to get things done?
It was documented but I can't think of any examples off hand where it was used. It's unusual if it wasn't used much or at all because the use of the priority register for a 3rd colour with player overlaps was quite commonly used.

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Welcome Shahid... cool to see you here as loved Chimera as it looked not like a cheap port (like Gauntlet f.e.).

 

So next candidate for RG Interview if not happened at all already.

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4) Overlay all higher priority objects into the buffer

 

Thanks for the explanation. By priority I assume you mean depth "into" the screen?

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What games really used PRIOR0 back in time... even from Poland there wasn't examples if I am thinking right... Was it really a 'known feature?', was it because of the Memory?, was it because of the 'small time' to get things done?
It was documented but I can't think of any examples off hand where it was used. It's unusual if it wasn't used much or at all because the use of the priority register for a 3rd colour with player overlaps was quite commonly used.

 

it was not used because it is so special that even I have not used that feature in 20 years of demo coding... ;) so how would people using it coming from c64 or speccy?

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ok... and now tell me how can I press 3 keys in Atari800Mac with the mouse...

 

 

Simple solution: Kick the Mac where it belongs to and use a fully working PC ;)

 

Even better, quit being a poser and use REAL ATARI HARDWARE! :twisted:

Edited by Gunstar

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Welcome Shahid and a belated Happy Eid to you...

 

Hope you had a good time in Saudi, my mother in law just came back after making her first pilgrimage.

 

Sorry to hear about your bike and the idiots up there...

 

Like many in here I'm from the days like yourself when the machines were new and exciting, Chimera was one of my faves which was odd as I was never much into the isometric stuff (non spectrum owner).

 

After Chimera, what happened, its like most 8bit individual programmers just faded away as the Atari died, my old mate Noel Daniel (Sidewinder and Thunderfox on the 8bit Atari) just seemed to vanish (I think Carmel knows what happened to him.

 

DId you just move on to business stuff?

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It was documented but I can't think of any examples off hand where it was used. It's unusual if it wasn't used much or at all because the use of the priority register for a 3rd colour with player overlaps was quite commonly used.

 

it was not used because it is so special that even I have not used that feature in 20 years of demo coding... ;) so how would people using it coming from c64 or speccy?

Actually yes you're right about that, I was wrong it seems it wasn't documented anywhere that I can find rechecking the usual sources. I'm not sure how I learned about it myself but I can remember sometime roughly 1989 doing some test graphics for Outrun with double sized prior0 players over the car to show some c64 friends who didn't believe it was possible to do.

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4) Overlay all higher priority objects into the buffer

 

Thanks for the explanation. By priority I assume you mean depth "into" the screen?

 

Yes. I came up with "DPA" because I was making fun of all the silly acronyms people were coming up with at the time to make it seem they were cleverer than they were. I had no idea that over a quarter of a century later, people might make the same mistake with me! :-) :-) It was just a bit of fun.

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Welcome Shahid and a belated Happy Eid to you...

 

Hope you had a good time in Saudi, my mother in law just came back after making her first pilgrimage.

 

Sorry to hear about your bike and the idiots up there...

 

Like many in here I'm from the days like yourself when the machines were new and exciting, Chimera was one of my faves which was odd as I was never much into the isometric stuff (non spectrum owner).

 

After Chimera, what happened, its like most 8bit individual programmers just faded away as the Atari died, my old mate Noel Daniel (Sidewinder and Thunderfox on the 8bit Atari) just seemed to vanish (I think Carmel knows what happened to him.

 

DId you just move on to business stuff?

 

Thanks for the welcome DragonStomper, and many thanks for your Eid greetings. I have never been to Saudi, but would obviously like to go one day!

 

Really appreciate the sentiments about Chimera.

 

I continued to do quite a lot of coding, but mostly on other platforms. I ended up doing two more games on the 8-bit Atari.

 

After 1990, I got into music production and started making music for video games, featuring in games by Virgin and Core Design; then in 1992, joined BITS full time at first to head up their music dept and eventually moved into production. After that I left to join Virgin as a PRoducer, then Hasbro as a Senior Producer, then Exec Producer, then I set up a funding outfit called START! games, which got quite a bit of attention. I think some of this is mentioned in the About page on the chimera2010.com blog - really appreciate the interest.

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not documented in 623 prio register or GTIA in De Re Atari?
yes, surprisingly it's not mentioned in Mapping 623 / d01b or de re within pmgs / the gtia appendix

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After 1990, I got into music production and started making music for video games, featuring in games by Virgin and Core Design; then in 1992, joined BITS full time at first to head up their music dept and eventually moved into production. After that I left to join Virgin as a PRoducer, then Hasbro as a Senior Producer, then Exec Producer, then I set up a funding outfit called START! games, which got quite a bit of attention. I think some of this is mentioned in the About page on the chimera2010.com blog - really appreciate the interest.
That's really interesting, it was getting into professional music production around the same time that moved me away from coding / graphics and real :) computing. Early in the 2000's my interest in production was waning and I was busy with my job, I got back into the 8-bit and it quickly came back to me how enjoyable it was. Edited by Tezz

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