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Sam's Journey on c64

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Why does it need a memory expansion here in the US?    Same problem with most of the demos they are in PAL but never converted to NTSC.    They complain it's too hard to make them for the format here.  I am sick of it.    NTSC was choosen here so stations didn't have to broadcast two seperate siginals and we didn't have to get rid of black and white sets for expansion color sets in the 1960s.   Did people in the UK have to ditch their old sets when PAL was adapted and by expensive color sets ?      It makes me feel like we commodore users in the US get no respect from the rest of the world.

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There is a technical reason for it - at least for Sam's Journey.. I'm sure someone will provide details.  I expect they would like to make for NTSC also for sales if there is no issue with it.

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Kamahl wrote on the Sega-16 (!!) forum:

 

The NTSC C64 does not have enough CPU time available per frame to handle full colour, omnidirectional scrolling like that, at least at the speed the game moves at. The Ram Expansion Unit is used for its ability to do fast memory copies.

 

The PAL version is running at 50 Hz with 312 raster lines and 63 cycles per line. The NTSC version is running at 60 Hz with 263 raster lines and 65 cycles per line. Do the math and you'll see that on PAL you get 19656 cycles per frame but only 17095 cycles per frame on NTSC. As long as you're working with the regular text/graphics screen that is 200 pixels tall, you have 112 raster lines in the border on PAL to do calculations outside of the visual effects, but only 63 lines on NTSC. That also explains why demos and games very closely tied to the raster interrupt, are hard and sometimes close to impossible to port over to the other format. I'm sure most demo and game developers really try but sometimes reality hits you. In the case of Sam's Journey apparently the developers solved this by precalculating frames stored in the REU instead of drawing them on the fly because there would not be enough cycles. However some people have reported to be playing the PAL version on their NTSC C64 with a bit of glitching but generally that it would work for them despite the timings are off.

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It bothers me that the OP just immediately assumes that the devs could but won't.  What happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt, or assuming they would if they could, so there must be a technical limitation.

 

Even if that all is not true, If the demo or game is created in PAL land, I wonder what format it will work best in (if at all)?  Why must the PAL folks ensure their stuff works on NTSC? It has nothing to do with respect, it has to do with the market demand, effort required to make sure it works on both platforms, and the cost of that effort compared to demand value.

 

Jim

 

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I get upset about it cause people people at Lemon 64 make fun of NTSC every time it is brought up.

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Well, there is not much to do about it. Games in NTSC will have a higher framerate, thus play faster but can not perform as many audiovisual tricks per frame as games in PAL do, and as long as programmers prefer amazing looking games that stretch the hardware to its maximum at the cost of a slightly slower gameplay, that is what you get. In theory you could get a PAL C64 if you have a TV that accepts its signal. I know it is super rare in the US to find a such TV, while it has been standard for at least 20 years over in Europe to get a TV that can display NTSC composite video. Blame the TV manufacturers for thinking that you don't need support for foreign video formats.

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If games made in the 1980s can work on both systems then this game and demos should to.  Slow the clock by giving it more frames of the same image to draw , slow the timer , anything.  Are there any ntsc demos? 

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So you think Sam's Journey technically is on level with the C64 games from 30++ years ago? Even Mayhem in Monsterland (1993) which for a long while was considered an ultimate masterpiece, fades a little in comparison.

 

While it isn't cheap, if you get an Ultimate-II+ you'll get both a cycle exact floppy drive emulator, a REU unit, room for cartridge images and more.

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Sam's Journey is a work of art. I hear you on the whole REU thing and while it is upsetting, not so much for Ultimate II+ users. There are a lot of reasons to own this cart aside from Sam's Journey mind you. SD2IEC is nowhere near what the UII+ can offer. I consider the SD2IEC a beginner device to give you the feel of the C64 software and the Ultimate II+ a device that you buy once you have "graduated" so to speak and want to really open up the computer for more interesting things.

 

Sounds like you need a UII+ in my personal opinion ;)

 

And, you mentioned if there are any NTSC demos. Why yes, yes there are. My old group (Entity) was a North American group and our demos are NTSC only....I can confirm they run like crap on a PAL machine ;)

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CSDb doesn't seem to have a PAL/NTSC flag in their database or at least not a searchable field, but it has 805 groups from the USA and 138 groups from Canada so there should be a bunch of demos, yes though I don't know how many made in the last 10 years.

 

Upon closer inspection, it turns out that Sam's Journey on NTSC needs the DMA controller in a 1700, 1764, 1750, 1750XL. It means that the somewhat affordable geoRAM clones (was $79, now $39.50) and NeoRAM cards won't work, despite adding extra memory. :( Bummer, as those mainly only are useful with GEOS it seems.

 

 

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I didn't really understand what the REU was/is until reading this thread.  (Kinda still don't) But I remember reading that it is part of the Ultimate II+.  I own an Ultimate II (no +), do I have REU?  As you can see, I've never consciously used it before.

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Yes, all models of the 1541 Ultimate series support 1750/1764 REU emulation up to 16 MB (default 2 MB). It is remarkably hard to find the specs of each model, as Gidjeon seems to replace old content with new content, and various wikis also appear to mix up the versions.

 

REU is just an acronym for RAM Expansion Unit, something Commodore came up with in the latter part of the C64's life. Things like GEOS, some disk copiers and apparently a few games can use it but it is overall not something everyone have or use. As mentioned above, in this case it is only required with the NTSC version of the game due to it precalculates data stored in the REU and then shifted in, instead of doing the calculations on the fly which there are not enough cycles for in order to not slow the frame rate into half I presume (or actually 30 Hz compared to the PAL 50 Hz).

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So . . . is this a true statement?

 

"The Sam's Journey cart/disk image will work on an NTSC C64 if loaded via the Ultimate 1541 II ( or II+)"

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10 minutes ago, BubbleBobble77 said:

I don't think that is a true statement. I think from everything I have heard you need REU for NTSC.

 

1 hour ago, carlsson said:

Yes, all models of the 1541 Ultimate series support 1750/1764 REU emulation up to 16 MB (default 2 MB).

 

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Yes, that is why the Ultimate series were recommended above, in particular to someone with the required amount of cash and no other memory card solution to begin with. Of course if it is just for a single game, you might be better off playing it in an emulator if possible.

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Unfortunately the EasyFlash 3 does not cut it in this case. It supports 7 slots à 1 MB EasyFlash images, 8 slots for alternative KERNAL ROMs and is compatible with Action Replay, Retro Replay, Nordic Power and Super Snapshot 5. It also has an USB port for easier reflashing. However what is lacking is the RAM expansion and DMA controller part.

 

The 1541 Ultimate-II+ (to name a product still in production) is partially a superset of the EasyFlash, as it also supports the freezer cartridges and some custom cartridges up to 512K (but not a full replacement for an EF it seems), plus that it has all the other functions including the cycle exact floppy drive emulation, USB storage devices, Ethernet, FAT/FAT32/ISO9660 support, real time clock, dual SID emulation, additional sample based audio capacities (not sure if those are used by anyone), the desired REU with 128 kB - 16 MB, tape emulation etc.

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I know I am going off topic slightly here, but I have to say 'Sam's Journey' what a tremendous game! It's like they outdid Alex Kidd or something. The colours, the silky smooth eight way scrolling, the costume changes that make the game play differently. It's a bloody masterpiece and I've got my digital but I haven't got round to my Cart order yet. I think I am going to bite the bullet and order it today. One of those games that had it came out in say 1991, people would have still

been buying the 64 in droves. Especially had it been bundled with it.

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On 2/13/2020 at 8:12 PM, brain said:

It bothers me that the OP just immediately assumes that the devs could but won't.  What happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt, or assuming they would if they could, so there must be a technical limitation.

 

Even if that all is not true, If the demo or game is created in PAL land, I wonder what format it will work best in (if at all)?  Why must the PAL folks ensure their stuff works on NTSC? It has nothing to do with respect, it has to do with the market demand, effort required to make sure it works on both platforms, and the cost of that effort compared to demand value.

 

Jim

 

It seems that a lot of people tend to go off "half cocked" these days. Unless you know a subject extremely well, it's dangerous to make assumptions in any situation.

On the whole, people's manner's are really bad today. What has happened to us?

The "problem" between PAL and NTSC should be well known by now, since it's a thirty year old, plus, problem.

 

 

 

Edited by motrucker
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5 hours ago, motrucker said:

It seems that a lot of people tend to go off "half cocked" these days. Unless you know a subject extremely well, it's dangerous to make assumptions in any situation.

On the whole, people's manner's are really bad today. What has happened to us?

The "problem" between PAL and NTSC should be well known by now, since it's a thirty year old, plus, problem.

 

 

 

For years NTSC got dissed on sites like Lemon 64 by Euros calling it Never Twice the Same Color who also act like everyone here gave up on the C64 when the NES came out.

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