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TI Scramble - Scramble clone

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Same version here, maybe it's a problem with my MESS install on my Mac. However, double-buffering alone is not enough, if you flip the buffer mid-scan you will still see tearing effects. So if you're not waiting for vsync, there is a real risk that you will see vertical tearing. And of course, this is much more obvious with horizontal scrolling than vertical scrolling.

I'm only flipping the buffers right after vsync. Is it possible to capture a screen shot of what you see? Perhaps Mizapf can clarify if it's possible for screen tearing effects to appear in MESS? It's been a few days since tried it on a real console, but I will do that tonight just to be sure.

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I just tried to take a screenshot, but although the line was visible on screen, it didn't appear in the screenshot itself. So I went to try and take a screenshot using osx's built-in tool and started MESS up in windowed mode and the effect was gone. So, I think it's safe to assume its a MESS on Mac issue.

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Did you try to use the utility in OS X CopyPaste?

 

It works even on videos playing. And you can select the size of the window to take a pic of.

 

You have to run the utility as a normal copy or paste does not analyze the graphics mode before it does the copy.

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Yeah, you might be seeing screen tear between MESS and your monitor, rather than between the emulated TI and MESS. :) MESS should have a VSYNC option, though, at least it does on PC. Can try checking that? :)

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Yup, adding -waitvsync to the command line did the trick, would've expected that to be the default though :).

Sorry for sending you on a wild goose chase, Rasmus ;).

Edited by TheMole

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Looks good so far! Being an MSX owner, I must say it looks quite colourless though. This is not an insult towards this TI-Scramble, which would be a good name for this game, :) but just caused by buying and seeing too many direct ports of monochrome Sinclair Spectrum games decades ago. ;) Fuel tanks have good contrast against monochrome background, but mostly game looks monochrome. As top of the ground has another colour in the arcade version, I was thinking, if it would be possible to alter graphics design a bit, to try to make background more colourful, by carefully designing and placing white tiles here and there. I am not talking about 100% imitation of arcade game now, in some diagonal places those white tiles must be thick (use two tiles), to prevent colour bleeding, and in some places you may have to not use white tiles at all, but it´s possible with careful designing. I am not saying your graphics design is bad, not at all. I am just trying to say some ideas to make this game to look even better. :)

 

I was also thinking about those missiles, as being tiles before they are fired, they have to be same colour as background. I got a thought that they are camouflaged and as they sit waiting in their missile silos, they are sitting in shadows, and that´s why they are in same colour as the background. When missile is fired, it comes visible and you can alter it´s sprite colour to same what it is in arcade game, it doesn´t have to have background´s colour anymore, as it is not sitting anymore in the dark missile silo. :)

 

My another thought for missiles was if you don´t run out of memory, missiles could have another sprite for fire which is coming from their motor. To prevent fire becoming invisible (as there will be many sprites in the same row), I thought you could use same sprite for every missiles´ fire (cycle them), it doesn´t look too bad, as fire is not a solid object. If you keep your original rocket design, which has missile and fire in same sprite, you can then have two coloured fire, if you add that flickering fire sprite there. :) And in moments where fire sprite will become invisible (because there are too many sprites in same row), it doesn´t matter too much, as missile already have fire. :) Fire will just loose it´s second colour when fire sprite becomes invisible when there are more than four sprites in the row. And you can give fire sprite plane the lowest possible priority, so all the other sprites are showed first and flickering fire sprite will show only when there aren´t too many sprites in that same row. :)

 

About two button problem, I have played many old games which always used joystick´s only one fire button only, so player´s bullets and missiles were fired at the same time and it worked good. I have also played some games which fired bullets and missiles separately, first bullet, then missile, then bullet, etc... it worked ok, and it increased excitement in those games, but surely there are games where it doesn´t work. So I prefer that bullets and missiles are shot at the same time, using joystick´s fire button only. No keyboard. Pressing fire button and moving joystick down is a good idea, but the drawback is, that if you are flying on a very low altitude, your space ship will dive and hit fuel tank. Sure you can make the ship not moving when launching it´s missile, but it may easily cause too much excitement (and easy dead) as you cannot control your ship while firing a missile. It´s a very short moment without control, but if some U.F.O. or meteor shower is incoming fast, you may think how nice it would be if you could have ship control while firing a missile. :)

 

These were just my ideas, please keep up your work, so TI folks can enjoy Skramble some day! :)

Edited by mäsäxi

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Thank you for the suggestions and I'm glad you like what you have seen so far.

 

The colors are important, of course, but what's essential for me is to recreate the smooth scrolling and update speed of the original. I think that's what we need most on the TI.

 

I would have liked to make the ground more colorful, and tried to make a one character thick border in another color, but soon discovered that it would take up far too many tiles. I only have 112 tiles available and they have to cover all combinations of horizontal transitions on a level of the game, which is about 256 characters wide.

 

Regarding the sprites they will be monochrome on the old VDP, but if you own a F18A you will get the original 4 color sprites with vibrant colors. It looks really nice.

 

I have already implemented the solution where shots and bombs are fired at the same time. It works quite well. You can also use the keyboard if you want separate keys.

 

Is there a decent Scramble clone for the MSX?

 

post-35226-0-28462200-1380577132_thumb.png

 

'Some day' is not far away!

 

BTW, does anyone know of a 'testbed' for developing sound effects for the TI? I'm trying to recreate the original sound effects, but it takes a lot of time to get them right when I have to assemble the project each time. I'm looking for something where you can easily play around with a sound list and export the result when you got it right.

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Thank you for the suggestions and I'm glad you like what you have seen so far.

 

The colors are important, of course, but what's essential for me is to recreate the smooth scrolling and update speed of the original. I think that's what we need most on the TI.

 

I would have liked to make the ground more colorful, and tried to make a one character thick border in another color, but soon discovered that it would take up far too many tiles. I only have 112 tiles available and they have to cover all combinations of horizontal transitions on a level of the game, which is about 256 characters wide.

 

Regarding the sprites they will be monochrome on the old VDP, but if you own a F18A you will get the original 4 color sprites with vibrant colors. It looks really nice.

 

I have already implemented the solution where shots and bombs are fired at the same time. It works quite well. You can also use the keyboard if you want separate keys.

 

Is there a decent Scramble clone for the MSX?

 

attachicon.gifscramble.png

 

'Some day' is not far away!

 

BTW, does anyone know of a 'testbed' for developing sound effects for the TI? I'm trying to recreate the original sound effects, but it takes a lot of time to get them right when I have to assemble the project each time. I'm looking for something where you can easily play around with a sound list and export the result when you got it right.

 

 

Try the ASLP available here->>>>> http://www.dsapsc.com/new-developments.html

 

You can compose, listen, edit, save, load and convert to E/A source code. It's music based but does great for SFX as well. Comes with several songs and sounds.

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You are right, Rasmus. Smooth scrolling and original speed are important things, and game will surely be more attractive with smooth scrolling even it will be less colourful. When I suggested another colour for the top layer of the ground, I was afraiding that you would tell me about having too few tiles. :(

There are still some ways to bring more colour, without being tile consuming. You could make "sand" (everything below the top layer) having other colour than black, and to prevent colour clash, you will need just one more (I think) tile, which has just one colour, all pixels are purple. That way colourful "sand" tile and top layer will not have any colour problems.

I do understand, that when missiles are placed in the open area, they may look a bit strange, if they will get more colour after they are fired to the sky.

I guess all explosions are made with sprite? Otherwise the explosion of the missile which is sitting in it´s silo, will be monochrome. As you are probably using sprites for the explosion, you can get more colourful explosion even just using just one sprite, by changing it´s colour on every frame. If you have any sprite memory left for just one sprite, you can use second sprite to make explosion have two colours, and you can still alter the colours of those two sprites on every frame, to make explosion even more colourful. This second explosion sprite must have low priority, so it will be showed only if there aren´t too many sprites on the same row. I think that colourful explosion is a simple but very effective way to get some extra colour, and having colourful explosion is always very satisfying for the player. :) Even more, if all the spaceships and missiles and comets/meteors are monochrome, then colourful explosion will look really good! :)

 

One more idea would be to use one flickering sprite to make flickering colourful windows for U.F.O., cycling the very same sprite for every U.F.O.. U.F.O.´s windows usually tend to be flashing in strange colours. :) Same idea could be used for meteor swarm, I think it would suit well for meteors, if you use that sprite for making fumes behind the actual meteors.

As far as I know, there is no decent Scramble clone for MSX. :( The best one is Super Cobra, and that´s not very much said. I do remember, that it looked allright in mid-eighties thought. There is one clone called Skramble from Aackosoft, but it´s totally monochrome and badly made, cannot be compared to what you are making right now. :) There was also one "clone" with funny idea, called "Scrambled Eggs". Game was like meteor shower stage, eggs coming at you fast, and when shot little chicks hatched and flew away. :) It was fun for few tries, but that´s all, there weren´t any ground targets and I think there were nothing more to see in that game, please correct me if somebody knows better. I am not sure if there was any more Scramble clones for MSX, but if there were, they weren´t any good ones. I have always wished to have decent very colourful original style Scramble clone for MSX.

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My Scramble clone, named TI Scramble, is now in a state where I dare releasing it for beta testing. There are both an E/A 3 version (TISC) and a E/A 5 version (TISCRAMBLE) on the disk, and I have also included an XB loader (thanks to Tursi). Most features of the original game are implemented, except the high score table which I don't consider that useful without saving the high scores (I want to keep the possibility of making a cartridge open).


The 32K expansion is required, but apart from that it doesn't require any special hardware, perhaps it would even load from tape?


You move the ship using SDEX, fire to shoot and Fctn to drop bombs. If you use a joystick the fire button is shooting and dropping bombs at the same time (which makes the game easier). In two player mode (press 2), player 2 is using joystick 2, but the keyboard keys are shared.


If you have an F18A board installed the original 4 color (ECM) sprites will be used, otherwise it falls back to monochrome sprites that also look perfectly fine. Anything else including the scrolling is using features of the 9918A only.


If you want to see the monochrome sprites on your F18A enhanced console you can hold down F when the game starts (this key is *not* available as a toggle when the game runs). Disabling the ECM sprites will also maintain your jumper setting for more than 4 sprites on a scanline. With ECM enabled this setting will be overridden to allow 16 sprites on a line.


Regarding the sprites, the game is using a flicker routine to cycle the order of the sprites. To facilitate the implementation I'm maintaining a sprite attribute table in CPU RAM that is copied each frame to the VDP. Early in the development I decided to limit the number of sprites to 16, which made it possible to keep both the attributes and the copying routine in scratch pad RAM. Even if you can't afford this luxury and need to keep the attributes in 8 bit RAM I can recommend the general idea because it makes it so much easier to update the sprites, and it may also improve performance (this depends on many factors).


Because of the high frame rate the game looks far better on a real console than in emulators, but it works OK in Classic99 (without the ECM sprites). In MESS there is a problem with the sound and with the keyboard control of player 2. It doesn't get past the opening screen in Win994a. I have tested it on my EU console with the 9929A, but not on a 9918A.


One last note: Each time the level/map changes there is a short delay while the next level is unpacked. I discovered I could use the speech synthesizer to mask this delay by saying a phrase from the resident vocabulary ('ready to start'). Perhaps it could be changed to say something more relevant, e.g. UFOs approaching, but I don't know if this would require an interrupt driven speech routine (which is not an option)?


Finally, a big thank you to PacManPlus, CyranoJ and SpiceWare for providing the original graphics.


I hope you enjoy the game, and please let me know if you find any problems.


Rasmus


tiscramble-beta1.zip

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Superbly done, I have never played the original, but it looks very arcade-like. Plays great.

I've only tried it in MESS, so I can't say, but does it include music during gameplay or only sound effects?

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Superbly done, I have never played the original, but it looks very arcade-like. Plays great.

I've only tried it in MESS, so I can't say, but does it include music during gameplay or only sound effects?

 

A short intro music, then only sound effects. How does it sound on your MESS?

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That is really good Rasmus. "Like I ought to be putting a quarter in" kind of good.

 

Plays a bit fast on an NTSC console (at least that's the way it appears to me and I am assuming your framing a 50 fps since you are in Europe ?) A slow down may be in order for us NTSC bound people. If you are not using the coincidence bit in the VDP then investigate using the 9901 timer feature. That will make your games NTSC/PAL proof.

 

Only thing that struck me as odd was the pause and speech between levels. I'd suggest finding another way to accomplish your zone un packing either without the delay or something that disguises it better.

 

Without a doubt the best port I have seen for the TI...

 

Good job....

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Plays a bit fast on an NTSC console (at least that's the way it appears to me and I am assuming your framing a 50 fps since you are in Europe ?) A slow down may be in order for us NTSC bound people. If you are not using the coincidence bit in the VDP then investigate using the 9901 timer feature. That will make your games NTSC/PAL proof.

 

It's supposed to run at 60 FPS, so it's the 50 FPS on European consoles that's wrong, but unavoidable. There are probably not that many of them is use without the F18A anyway.

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My Scramble clone, named TI Scramble, is now in a state where I dare releasing it for beta testing. There are both an E/A 3 version (TISC) and a E/A 5 version (TISCRAMBLE) on the disk, and I have also included an XB loader (thanks to Tursi). Most features of the original game are implemented, except the high score table which I don't consider that useful without saving the high scores (I want to keep the possibility of making a cartridge open).
I hope you enjoy the game, and please let me know if you find any problems.
Rasmus

 

Very nice. For first try, response and speed seem about right to me. I'll try it on my Geneve when things settle down around here and see if it works with the joystick (Geneve keyboard routine is different)

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A new version with some suggestion from Marc:



- Shots can pass through explosions (this makes it easier to make it through the tunnels)


- You are immune for 16 frames after a new life


- Bombs make a sound when they hit the ground


tiscramble-beta2.zip

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That scramble clone is TRULY IMPRESSIVE!

I must be turning into an old fart though, I could not get it to fire down at an angle, only straight ahead.

 

Thanks, you can't fire at an angle, but perhaps it looks like that when you fire and move the ship?

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It's supposed to run at 60 FPS, so it's the 50 FPS on European consoles that's wrong, but unavoidable. There are probably not that many of them is use without the F18A anyway.

 

Perhaps I'm too slow ;-)....

 

My frame of reference (no pun intended) was the C64 version and I'm probably just used to it. At any rate..... Really top notch stuff.

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Very, very, very nice! :)

 

Thanks, perhaps an incentive for emulating ECM sprites in Classic99? :)

 

Actually it was pretty easy to implement the multi-color sprites, even without emulation. All you need to do is to upload the different patterns if the F18A is detected, set up the palettes, and the rest of the code can be used on both VDPs. I have made a small Java program to turn PNG files into data statements for ECM color planes. It's not in a state to release as a general tool, but if anyone needs it you're welcome to the code.

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This game is impressive! I just played it on the bare metal (F18A enhanced).

You can't believe how good this game looks!! :-o :-o :-o

 

*Warning*

The pictures don't do the game justice. They were shot with my mobile phone, that's why they look unsharp.

Perhaps someone can take better pictures....

 

post-16219-0-99918600-1381064780_thumb.jpg

post-16219-0-52857700-1381064849_thumb.jpg

post-16219-0-04953000-1381065060_thumb.jpg

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Have now been playing TI-Scramble for a while, it's fun :D

 

Here's what I would change:

 

* Get rid of the speech.

It doesn't add any value to the game. I read it was used for entermaintent while the map is unpacking, but perhaps there's a better way to handle that.

* Add text to title screen for informing that the FCTN key is used for dropping bombs (took me a while to figure that out)

* Change (or remove) the tile on the upper right side (below the fuel bar). Don't know what it is for. Is it used to indicate the level?

* Pressing the 'P'-key holds the game, but it continues as soon as the button is released. Perhaps a key debounce issue?

 

* [EDIT] Add a demo mode. Pretty much just start the game, but do not read game keys. The ship should crash after being hit by the 6th rocket.

I think the arcade game behaved like that as well.

 

Either way. That's a mighty impressive work you did there. Very well done!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

 

Plays very nice on the TI-99/4A using my "The Arcade" joystick.

Edited by retroclouds

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