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Asmusr

Most wanted game for the TI-99/4A

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I don't mind ports but as I've mentioned before, I prefer enhanced ports of almost unknown games instead of demakes of the most popular games available everywhere else. Concepts and ideas that only emerged on an oscure system, with room for own improvements and mashups.

 

Regarding possible diagonal scrollers to port, you could aim high and go for Cobra Triangle (NES) or you could aim low and go for Turboat (MSX).

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I try and design my own, rather than do ports. Although my "Gauntlet clone" is hedging the line a bit, but I'm planning on it having differences to make it better in certain areas.

Im looking forward to your new game!

 

Way back in the early days of computing/gaming we had to choose one platform: Atari v Intellivision, Sega v Nintendo, etc. It was cost prohibitive to own more than one console or computer. You were going to have to be a TI guy, or an Apple][ guy, or a Commodore guy, or a Trash-80 guy.

 

If you wanted to switch platforms you would normally sell off the system you had. My own TI-99/4 system went into the classifieds in order to raise funds for my Apple//+. The Apple//+ was sold to help fund the Macintosh SE, etc. It was cost prohibitive to own multiple systems.

 

Many of the best 1980s game ideas came from superior arcade hardware and programming talent.

 

In the early days ports were essential. If you didnt have a port of Pac-Man for the TI-99/4, then TI-99/4 guys didnt get to play Pac-Man at home. Simple. Ports were awesome back then because they were your only hope.

 

Even if a port sucked back then it was better than nothing.

 

Today we can run emulators on Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, Switch, PCs or Macs; or even inexpensive Raspberry Pi computers. We can run the actual arcade ROMs on emulators. The actual ROMs!

 

How many versions of Mappy do we need?

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Century Electronic's "Hunchback" :)

 

I would love to see a conversion of this game for the TI, there was never an official conversion but the MSX did get one. Must note; the C64 version is the closest to the characteristics of the arcade, even copying the same font.

 

I myself have made Hunchback type games, but never trod the path of actually trying to make a direct copy or as near-as to it. I think it could be done, with some things taken out. Or if doing it with F18A in mind, I think a decent clone could be made?

MAME_ Hunchback (set 2) hunchbaka 10_01_2019 12_49_23.mp4

Edited by Retrospect

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Thank you for your interest in this little exercise. It has been a very good source for me to understand what people would like to see on their TI-99/4A computers. The far most votes have been towards arcade games, but there is also an opposition for more long lasting games. For now this has inspired me not to do any conversions at all, but to try my luck with something I haven't done before, which is to make a game for a bare console without 32K. I will, of course, come back to the list of wanted games later when I consider what to do next.

 

Here are some notes I have made for the games with 10 votes or more:

Galaga                24 I have thought about doing this before. Could use MSX version as guidance, but would that be satisfactory? Partial disassembly of arcade version exists .
Zaxxon                19 Interested in any diagonal scroller. Zaxxon would probably require F18A hardware for smooth scrolling.
Donkey Kong Jr.       16 Not very interesting IMO, but seems possible within limitations.
Galaxian              16 Not as interesting as Galaga.
Lemmings              15 Interesting. Would require software sprites. Too much work without source code or data
Gauntlet              14 I never really undestood this game, and I think there have been attempts to do it already. 
Gyruss                14 An old favourite of mine that I have thought about doing before. There are a lot of sprite patterns to handle. Great music by OLD CS1.
Ghost'n'Goblins       13 A good candidate for smooth scrolling techniques. Definitely interested. Or perhaps for the F18A?
Wolfenstein 3D        13 I think a game like this would have to wait for F18A MK2, to have more sprite video RAM.
Bubble Bobble         12 I'm not familiar with this game, so probably not something I would consider.
Asteroids             11 I think we have a bunch of versions already?
Choplifter            11 Hmm, I didn't really like this on the C64.
Commando              11 Another good/better candidate for smooth scrolling techniques. Definitely interested. Great music by Daniel Bienvenu.
Dungeons of Daggorath 11 I had never seen this game before, but it's really cool. Any source code?
SimCity               11 To be honest, even with F18A MK2 and SAMS and source code available, I don't think this it realistic for the TI-99/4A.
Vanguard              11 I don't think this game is using diagonal scrolling very well. I would rather use that technique for another game. 
Commander Keen        10 A huge complex PC game that I think, even with source code and additional hardware, would be very diffcult to port.
Rogue dungeon crawler 10 Oh yes, I would also love a port of Angband. But someone else who understands the ggc compiler better should do this.
Sinistar              10 This is not a game I grew up with, so it just looks like an improved asteroids to me.
The Bard's Tale       10 Yes, yes, yes. I have spent countless hours playing this on an XT. The data structures are well known, and it's definitely something I would like to consider. Do we have any 8-bit source code.
TRON                  10 I loved the movie and I have tried to make light cycle games many times, but it's not a candidate I would consider.
Edited by Asmusr
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SimCity               11 To be honest, even with F18A MK2 and SAMS and source code available, I don't think this it realistic for the TI-99/4A.

 

Yeah, from the little I know about the TI, the program itself would probably have to reside on an SD card and rely on the bank switching capabilities of the 1MB FinalGROM99 with some sort of GPL control code in the mix. The F18A could probably pull off a limited display portion with the extended portion of the SAMS used for active data and possibly a buffering device for the map contents. Of course considering the size of the saved data files a program like this might generate, a TIPI might be best for file storage.

 

The major problems I foresaw, but didn't want to mention at the time...

 

1) This is probably way too much for any single programmer here to handle and would probably require years to finish.

2) A good portion of the people here do not have all the equipment a program like this would need, so the user base would be too small for all the effort that would be required.

3) Some of the required hardware is not currently available, and might not be, even if a SimciTI came out.

 

It was an interesting poll though.

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I hope that your choice will go to a game than can be (at least) played just using only the 99/4A and extra memory. For 3 reasons:
It's a fantastic challenge.
It shows what the 99/4A can do when talentuous programmers code for it.
Because if all of us still continue to use the 99/4A, it is because of the nostalgia of this year 80 computer and its hardware that bring back fantastic souvenirs.

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Daggorath has source out there... I downloaded it once but didn't get very far into it.

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Huh. Someone has but up disassembled source code for Alley Cat on github. [...]

I played this game on my olivetti prodest pc1 for lot of time in the past. Still have the beep music printed in my mind.

Funny game.

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yes, i agree with Fabrice... my wishes was Ghost'n'Goblins, Commando and Out run. I will be satisfied at least with G'n'G :P

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Yep I have to also agree with Ghosts 'n' Goblins. It's one of my favourite games and I even tried to do a "clone" of it but gave up due to the amount of RAM it was gonna take in XB.

 

There's ports of this game for many computers including even the Commodore C16. The spectrum port could be used for the graphics?

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[...] The spectrum port could be used for the graphics?

I really hope an enhanced graphics for our ti99 version. The c16 one is ugly. I am in love for the c64 one, but probably it could be impossibile.

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Yes, you are both right, and yes the TI does deserve better.

 

I often look for the MSX version to see what's possible on the TI. But in this case they have actually ported the Spectrum version directly with software sprites and color clashes.

 

 

http://www.amusementfactory.com.br/msx/gngoblins/?p=0&l=en

 

Apart from not using hardware sprites, the 2D smooth scrolling if quite fast considering the about of data that will have to be transferred to the VDP every frame. Not having to update the full color table helps, I guess. Is the video recorded on a 7MHz MSX?

 

[Edit]

 

I noticed this:

http://www.amusementfactory.com.br/msx/gngoblins/?p=3&l=en

Improvements that will not be:
New graphic colorization.
The use of sprites on the main character.

:-)

Edited by Asmusr
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I noticed this:

http://www.amusementfactory.com.br/msx/gngoblins/?p=3&l=en

Improvements that will not be:
New graphic colorization.
The use of sprites on the main character.

:-)

Yes, good smooth scrolling considering all the datas to move . But my eyes are bleeding when I see the Spectrum graphics style. I wonder why they threw away the things that could offer a real MSX game. It really a minimalist port...Not enough time? Lazy? I don't know.

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Yes, good smooth scrolling considering all the datas to move . But my eyes are bleeding when I see the Spectrum graphics style. I wonder why they threw away the things that could offer a real MSX game. It really a minimalist port...Not enough time? Lazy? I don't know.

 

Well, you have to show you can do it better then.

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Didn't Alessandro Betori do a port of this game? I seem to remember seeing it on the gameshelf years ago.

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you mean this,

 

post-24673-0-20589800-1548008629.jpg

 

it was a good game, overall also for the digitized sound FX, but was not a porting at all... just a reminder of the original G'n'G game.

Edited by ti99iuc

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Well, you have to show you can do it better then.

 

Must I have to be a TI-99 game programmer to give my point of view :)

 

This kind of MSX 1 port based on the Spectrum computer is not a rare fact, on the contrary. The poor graphics that resulting on the MSX 1 is a well known problem. Already in the 80s, many european videogames studios have done this kind of port to reduce the time developpment of MSX 1 games. And their programmers didn't broke their head because these companies knew that their games were going to sell well, nevertheless. It's a pitty, because the TMS9918A/29A is better and clearly less impacted by the color attribute clash and uses Sprites.

Happily, a number of other companies such as japaneese have make much better MSX 1 games because they used the capabilities of the TMS9918A/29A.

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Concerning Gauntlet, there are only two attempts that I'm aware of for making it for the TI.

 

The first is Gold Vault, which was a project Quinton Tormanen showed me at the 1990 Portland TI Faire. It was not complete and he never finished it. I emailed him asking about it a few years ago, but he had some real life stuff going on so I don't know if it's going to be finished or not.

 

The second is my own project, which I started about two years ago. It's presently shelved because I want to finish my CRPG before I take on another big project. It will definitely require the SAMS card because I intend to make a better version than either the Spectrum or MSX delivered. I studied the MSX version to see how it was implemented, and I was able to discern most of it through the BlueMSX debugger. (The one thing I couldn't find it how they were doing the monsters. NO Gauntlet implementation actually does the cellular automata design that Dandy did.)

 

Just for kicks, here are some details:

 

The game uses bitmap mode (of course) and the top two tables both share a static pattern set. The game cuts corners in places to make sure all requisite graphics fit in the 256 character set; Lobbers only have one frame for example. The bottom 3rd of the screen dynamically loads patterns for the bottom edge of the map and the player statistics.

 

Animation is achieved by blasting a new frame set across the entire table, or most of it, so all monsters change frame simultaneously. Player graphics are entirely sprites, as are all projectiles. The game performs fairly well but monsters are not numerous compared to the arcade game; I suspect a limit of around 64, possibly 32 per level.

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