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phoboz

Metroidvania for Atari Jaguar - anyone?

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Awesome stuff! The Jaguar has long since needed some original homebrew platformers. Thanks for working to fill that void!

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4 hours ago, sirlynxalot said:

 

The graphic artist for the game is a prodigy. It's the same guy who did the graphics for Neo XYX (and some of the graphics for Gunlord) on the neogeo, and there are several more 2d games for PC that he's worked on over the years as a hobby, primarily shooting style games like this. I was previously on a forum that he would periodically post on, the guy is (was?) extremely prolific, and as you can see, has that early 90s Japanese sprite style down.

 

I'd encourage anyone interested in this graphical style to try out Super XYX (its like $5 on Steam). It's the same artist.

 

 

Perry "Gryzor/Rozyrg" Sessions is the name of the guy who drew the visuals for those games. Good thing he gained recognition after the release of Neo XYX. He was inspired by Toaplan shooters and you can definitively notice that in ZPF, Super XYX and Neo XYX.

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A new video, mainly to showcase some new music and artwork by Krauser.

Also thank you to @SlidellMan for the "loading sector" dialog.

 

 

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Very impressive!

 

Of course this is a work in progress, and I am in no way qualified to criticize, so please don't take these observations the wrong way:

 

1) The "Sector Loading" dialog almost seems more of a distraction than the actual brief pause in action.

2) The enemy death animations are great!  Could their disappearance be smoothed out a bit with a palette fade of the deceased just before it vanishes?

 

Feel free to ignore these.  ;)

 

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I like how those Sasquatch creatures move! Do they have a name in the game? They look like the Abominable Snowman and Sasquatch had a "love child". 

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1 hour ago, MattelAquarius said:

Very impressive!

 

Of course this is a work in progress, and I am in no way qualified to criticize, so please don't take these observations the wrong way:

 

1) The "Sector Loading" dialog almost seems more of a distraction than the actual brief pause in action.

2) The enemy death animations are great!  Could their disappearance be smoothed out a bit with a palette fade of the deceased just before it vanishes?

 

Feel free to ignore these.  ;)

 

No palette fades possible as the sprites are hi-color (65536 colors, and no 256 color palette)

However, what is not captured properly in the video is the flashing/blinking animations (most of the time the sprites just disappear in the video capture) So the effect when the enemies disappear, just like when you have been hit, is that the sprite appears fainter because it is flashing very fast.

Edited by phoboz
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1 hour ago, Machine said:

I like how those Sasquatch creatures move! Do they have a name in the game? They look like the Abominable Snowman and Sasquatch had a "love child". 

You can propose a name for him?

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15 minutes ago, phoboz said:

You can propose a name for him?

 

Yetidae   = Yeti + Formicidae  (Bigfoot +ant)

 

Cromple  = Made up name of the "Monster" that lived under my son's bed (or so he thought when he was younger)

 

 

Edited by Machine
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I really like the parallax backgrounds, with the planet's surface.  That feature alone makes this look a generation or so more advanced.  Very nice!

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3 hours ago, phoboz said:

No palette fades possible as the sprites are hi-color (65536 colors, and no 256 color palette)

However, what is not captured properly in the video is the flashing/blinking animations (most of the time the sprites just disappear in the video capture) So the effect when the enemies disappear, just like when you have been hit, is that the sprite appears fainter because it is flashing very fast.

Oh interesting hardware property limit, but nice to see more hi-color graphics since that is what still stands out to me about the Jag and 3DO, higher than 256 color graphics. Really pops with pixel art color palettization techniques, usually only see that kind of saturation reserved for Neo Geo titles bitd, same with photoreal sprites.

 

Shame about the capture loss, there is a lot things on many platforms like that which simply gets lost in the average video capture process. More of those subtle things will be seen once 60fps capture becomes more common.

 

That background parallax vista, monochrome hue tint colorspace sure but it's such a big image to handle. Again mostly saw big sheets like that on Neo Geo, well done. 😲

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Great work Phoboz.  The progress you made is very impressive.  Looking forward to this one for sure.

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6 hours ago, BladeJunker said:

Oh interesting hardware property limit, but nice to see more hi-color graphics since that is what still stands out to me about the Jag and 3DO, higher than 256 color graphics.

The nice thing with the Jaguar is that it is possible to mix hi-color (65536 direct colors) sprites, and pseudo color (256 indexed colors) graphics in the same display. So the tile map foreground layer uses a 256 color palette, but since the sprites use hi-color (65536 direct colors), I don't have to care if different palettes are used on different levels in the game, the same sprites can be used on all levels independent of the palette. Also I can fade in/fade out the tile map, while the sprites are unaffected by the fade.

 

There are a lot of other nice effects you can use besides than palette fades (look at the intro screens of Kings of Edom), which dissolves the images, and gradually reveal them. In my opinion, I think that palette fades are a little bit over-used on the regular 16-bit consoles, since they are so easy to implement.

Edited by phoboz
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9 hours ago, Machine said:

 

Yetidae   = Yeti + Formicidae  (Bigfoot +ant)

 

Cromple  = Made up name of the "Monster" that lived under my son's bed (or so he thought when he was younger)

 

 

Cromple it is then!

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3 minutes ago, phoboz said:

The nice thing with the Jaguar is that it is possible to mix hi-color (65536 direct colors) sprites, and pseudo color (256 indexed colors) graphics in the same display. So the tile map foreground layer uses a 256 color palette, but since the sprites use hi-color (65536 direct colors), I don't have to care if different palettes are used on different levels in the game, the same sprites can be used on all levels independent of the palette. Also I can fade in/fade out the tile map, while the sprites are unaffected by the fade.

That is very nice, the Sega 32X does that too but in a much more limited way with 32768 color sprites and 64 indexed color tilemaps. Much easier to get something out of global 256 color layers, can really apply that rich system palette to it. By comparison on 32X you have to reduce the number art assets on the original hardware layers just to make the four index palletization process give a higher color count overall.

Definitely much easier to have independent palette index control per asset group, trying to palettize or worse re-palettize a global set of graphics again is no fun. The fade effect is quite nice. :)

 

I'm no audiophile but the more I listen to the music the more atmospheric it gets. Nice crisp sound effect samples too, the egg crunch and blade eject is great. 😉

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The progress is impressive. Maybe it's to early to talk about aditional graphic effects, but animated tiles for the layer and some dynamic scaling effects for sprites would be quite cool. 

IMO, compared to the Lynx, the Jaguar feels quite underused regarding creative use of sprite deformation.  

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50 minutes ago, agradeneu said:

dynamic scaling effects for sprites would be quite cool.

Currently sprite scaling is used for the explosions (e.g. see the drone crash sequence). First some smaller explosions, with random placement, and size appear on the drone, then it falls down down, and a larger explosion is displayed when it hits the ground (or a wall). It saves quite a lot of cartridge space to only have one explosion animation that can be displayed at arbitrary sizes :) 

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3 hours ago, BladeJunker said:

That is very nice, the Sega 32X does that too but in a much more limited way with 32768 color sprites and 64 indexed color tilemaps.

On the Jaguar, this is all what you program it to be. The object processor is capable of drawing a large number of arbitrary sized sprites, with selectable color depth (e.g. pseudo color, 1,2,4, or 8 bpp, indexed palette mode out of a 256 color palette, with arbitrary start index), or high color (65536 direct colors), and I think the Jaguar even supports 24bpp (16,777,216 colors)

 

So we programmed the GPU to draw a tile map using a large number of sprites (e.g. 20*12 = 240 individual 16x16 pixels sprites), in this case 8bpp out of a 256 color palette. The high color sprites, are on top of that, plus the parallax background. However, unlike the NeoGeo (which is actually 2 separate computers with completely separated memory spaces), on the Jaguar all system resources share the same bus. So if you blast way to much graphical data trough the bus, the audio will be suffering (because the DSP has lower priority than the object processor) So everything had to be tuned, like the sample rate of the audio, and what color depths to use for the different layers, and sprites. Also I wanted flexibility for the game sprites, so that's why I choose to use high color (direct color, e.g. no palette) for these.

 

Another solution is to use only one very large sprite for the tile map, and have the blitter copying the individual tiles to that sprite. However, we didn't mange to get good performance on that, because the blitter blocks the system for each and every tile to be drawn, unless you can find an intelligent way to do whole screen in one blitter job.

 

PS. We did manage to get good performance using the blitter by drawing only new columns, or new rows as the map scrolls. However, scrolling could occur only in the vertical direction, or in the horizontal direction for one loaded map. However, it turned out to be very difficult to be able to scroll both in the horizontal, and vertical directions (with different speeds) on the same map. This was a requirement for Kings of Edom, and now also used in Asteroite.

Edited by phoboz
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6 hours ago, phoboz said:

Currently sprite scaling is used for the explosions (e.g. see the drone crash sequence). First some smaller explosions, with random placement, and size appear on the drone, then it falls down down, and a larger explosion is displayed when it hits the ground (or a wall). It saves quite a lot of cartridge space to only have one explosion animation that can be displayed at arbitrary sizes :) 

I mean the possiblity of some "3D" special effects via sprite scaling/skewing/stretching.

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BTW 16 bit color for sprites/bitmaps does not mean it is displaying 65.000 colors. 

Usually you won't see much difference between 4 bit, 8 bit and 16 bit when it comes to small 16x16 sprites. The advantage with 16 bit is, like Phoboz said, that there are no (practical) limitations with the number and size of color palettes for the sprites. But an 16x16 4 bit color sprite will look just as good as an 8 bit or 16 bit one. Its just too few pixels to display  that many colors (16x16=256 pixels).

 

However, large bitmaps like backgrounds can show much more detail with 8 bit and 16 bit color. A large 16 bit backdrop displays around 2000-3000 colors (e.g. in Gravitic Mines). In that case you would see a noticable quality downgrade with 8 bit, 4 bit or even 2 bit (hehe). But it depends on the artstyle: low color pixelart mostly works with indexed color palettes of 4 bit or 8 bit, so 16 bit would not improve anything. 

 

The big advantage of 16 bit graphics is mostly that: you can display any colors of the 65.000 color space for your sprites and backdrops and don't need to deal with indexed palettes, that are limited to 256 colors maximum on the Jag, by the way. 

For artists, this means more freedom, possibilities and less compromises.

 

 

 

 

Edited by agradeneu
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35 minutes ago, agradeneu said:

The big advantage of 16 bit graphics is mostly that: you can display any colors of the 65.000 color space for your sprites and backdrops and don't need to deal with indexed palettes

Exactly, no need to care about palettes, and a very large BOSS can also take advantage of using many colors.

 

If you use pre-rendered sprites, it a great advantage to be able to use more colors as well.

 

For tile maps, I don't think that there is anyone who can that take much advantage of more than 256 colors. For that, it's probably better to use a large image instead.

Edited by phoboz
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1 hour ago, agradeneu said:

I mean the possiblity of some "3D" special effects via sprite scaling/skewing/stretching.

Maybe we do a BOSS that utilises some cool effects?

 

Can we expect to see some sprite scaling, and rotational effects in Odynexus for the Atari Jaguar?

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22 minutes ago, phoboz said:

Maybe we do a BOSS that utilises some cool effects?

 

Can we expect to see some sprite scaling, and rotational effects in Odynexus for the Atari Jaguar?

Yeah for a boss fight!

 

Honestly I have no idea.  But it would be cool :-)

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7 hours ago, phoboz said:

Maybe we do a BOSS that utilises some cool effects?

 

Can we expect to see some sprite scaling, and rotational effects in Odynexus for the Atari Jaguar?

Was just thinking about that, would be nice to see more rotating sprites on Jaguar, such a big thing from the 16-bit era and lots of it on SS and PS1 for what little 2D made it to the western continent heh. Loved those giant spinning boulders when I could get them.

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