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taylordurden

Porting existing videogames

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Hi

 

Long time happy and proud Atari user. Started when I was eleven with a 2600, followed by an Atari 1040 STFM, Lynx II and last but not least a Jaguar. 

My older sister had a Gameboy and my younger brother a Game Gear. We shared all three systems and had a great time. 

It seems that the Gameboy and Game Gear had a few more complex games, which the Lynx was lacking back in the 90s. 

I was always hoping for Storm over Doria or Eye of the Beholder. 

 

How complicated is it to port an existing game from one platform to the Lynx? I am not talking about games which are still owned by a software company (e.g. The Secret of Monkey Island, Lucasarts belongs to Disney). 
 

Are Amiga games "easier" to port to Lynx? Is there a preferred system when porting games? There are games I would love to see on the Lynx.

 

I don't have an IT background and I would like to know what is achievable on the Lynx. 

 

Cheers 

Taylor 

 

 

 

 

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Check out retroguru.com for some games which run on multiple platforms.

 

Porting means:

a) Change the GFX to fit to 160x102x16

b) Write the game in way that it behaves like the original version.

 

Porting is never "easy".

 

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Eye of the beholder has been released a couple of times on the Lynx in later years. I've only gotten to try it out very little, but it seems to be really well made.

I'd say the Lynx is very capable compared to other gizmos of the time, and we have big carts now too. But yeah, any way you would approach it, porting or creating a big game is a huge task.

Have you heard of Wyvern Tales by the way? Personally I haven't gotten so far in it yet, but it's a big game and the graphics are great. Songbird is re-releasing it at this very moment.
https://atariage.com/forums/topic/205836-wyvern-tales/
 

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/314140-sky-raider-redux-preview-for-the-atari-lynx/?do=findComment&comment=4904397

 

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57 minutes ago, Turbo Laser Lynx said:

Have you heard of Wyvern Tales by the way? Personally I haven't gotten so far in it yet, but it's a big game and the graphics are great. Songbird is re-releasing it at this very moment.
https://atariage.com/forums/topic/205836-wyvern-tales/

This is like Final Fantasy rpg on the Lynx. I was hoping for a little more crowd control spells. At least it has ways to inflict "damage over time". But the traditional dps stuff is ok.

 

I have played it through a couple of times while testing. A good game imho.

 

Go get it!!! It beats EOTB any day of the week.

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4 hours ago, 42bs said:

Check out retroguru.com for some games which run on multiple platforms.

 

Porting means:

a) Change the GFX to fit to 160x102x16

b) Write the game in way that it behaves like the original version.

 

Porting is never "easy".

 

Porting a game is mostly a technical challenge IMO. 

The game design and artwork are complete. 

When you do an original game from scratch, both elements will take a lot of work and time. 

On the other hand, you have more freedom when doing your own stuff. Which is probably more fun.

 

 

 

Edited by agradeneu

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Thank you all for your insight.

 

I thought Eye of the Beholder was never released. According to some sources it was 30% completed. 

My copy of Wyvern Tales has been ordered and I am looking forward playing it. I have read a few reviews and it seems like a great game.

 

The Lynx is a very impressive console and some games demonstrated it really well. 

 

Few more questions:

The game that has to be ported to the lynx has to be programmed in either Assembly or C?

Someone with this skill will be able to "rewrite" the game to run on the Lynx?

I reckon a 8-bit system game will be easier to port to the Lynx than a 16-bit game (due to the Lynx hardware limitation)?

 

Cheers 

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7 hours ago, taylordurden said:

The game that has to be ported to the lynx has to be programmed in either Assembly or C?

I can be programmed in whatever language that has a compiler for the 6502 CPU. At the moment C and ASM are the main options. Some knowledge of ASM can help to do tricky things on the system and most of the high level compiler can handle part of code written in ASM.

7 hours ago, taylordurden said:

Someone with this skill will be able to "rewrite" the game to run on the Lynx?

Of course, everything can be rewritten as long as the game can fit the small screen of the lynx and the resources can be adapted to stay in the small memory of the Lynx and in the relatively small capacity of a lynx cart

7 hours ago, taylordurden said:

I reckon a 8-bit system game will be easier to port to the Lynx than a 16-bit game (due to the Lynx hardware limitation)?

This can be true talking of porting existing sources, but porting games from other systems to the lynx usually requires much more effort than writing it from scratch. Rewriting a game from scratch is a creative process, often it require some "demake" like happens more and more often these days on pico-8

Edited by Nop90

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4 hours ago, Nop90 said:

This can be true talking of porting existing sources, but porting games from other systems to the lynx usually requires much more effort than writing it from scratch.

So true.

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On 9/16/2021 at 12:31 PM, taylordurden said:

I thought Eye of the Beholder was never released. According to some sources it was 30% completed. 

It was never released back in the day, but the game was indeed finished. I think I read that some major reasons for it not being released back in the day was that it would have needed a big cart + save possibility, also it was done really late in the Lynxes commercial life. It was then released some ten years ago if I remember correctly. The rom was released / leaked (depending on how you see it) to the internet at some point too, in the name of preserving the game for all Lynx fans, and there was some bad feelings involved. But I think even with a quite big re-release it would sell out quickly. The Lynx has become way more popular since then, with videos from MetalJesusRocks and the retro-scene growing etc.

 

Quote

My copy of Wyvern Tales has been ordered and I am looking forward playing it. I have read a few reviews and it seems like a great game.

Nice! Congrats! ☺👍

 

On 9/15/2021 at 7:10 PM, agradeneu said:

Porting a game is mostly a technical challenge IMO. 

The game design and artwork are complete. 

When you do an original game from scratch, both elements will take a lot of work and time. 

On the other hand, you have more freedom when doing your own stuff. Which is probably more fun.

 

I agree on all your points. It's a big help having the graphics already designed (even if you'd have to pixelate them again to fit the low Lynx resolution), having the music composed and omg I hadn't even though about the game design! That's such a hard and slow thing to get right, through iterations of play testing. 🥵 With that said, even with design/music and graphics done or half done, porting games take a lot of work.

 

Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx
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Thank you for all your feedback. It helps a lot to get my head around. 

 

I had no idea that the full version of Eye of the Beholder was released. Good stuff. Thank you for the links. 

I reckon its a bit too late to get a copy. Same for Zaku. 

 

In the past months, I have reconnected with my Lynx and the scene. It fantastic to see, that so many people are active and develop new games for the Lynx. 

I am asking all these questions as I am keen to give the Lynx community something in return. 

 

The maximum capacity of the Lynx cart is 1 MB?

If so, how big has the game to be successful ported to the Lynx e.g game is 4 MB big so I assume it has to be programmed in a way to fit into the 1 MB Lynx cart? (or is that how long is a piece of string question?)

 

Thank you.

 

Taylor 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by taylordurden
typos

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5 hours ago, taylordurden said:

The maximum capacity of the Lynx cart is 1 MB?

If so, how big has the game to be successful ported to the Lynx e.g game is 4 MB big so I assume it has to be programmed in a way to fit into the 1 MB Lynx cart? (or is that how long is a piece of string question?)

I have build 2MB carts with 64kB eeproms. It does not really take any special consideration in the game design to create big games.

 

Basically all games load in a level to the 64kB RAM and when you exit one level you can load in the next level. The background music can be streamed directly from the cart. The same is true for digitized audio. So a large cart allows for more levels, more variety of sounds.

 

One interesting use of a large eeprom like 64kB is to store changes scenery. In some games you can allow the player to modify the world at play time. There needs to be a store for these modifications.

 

One game that I am dreaming of will be Wizzy. The idea is to use the 64k eeprom to allow for saves and changed scenery. It may take a year to write it though...

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A point'n'click styled / adventure game on the Lynx would be really fantastic, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for your endeavour Karri.☺️

Really loved Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max and of course the Monkey Island games back in the day. Can't see any reason why the Lynx couldn't pull off great games in that genre.

@taylordurden The screen resolution is very small on the Lynx, so at least the graphics would take less room than on Amiga or PC. Also comparing to Amiga or VGA PC the Lynx has fewer colours, which also take less memory. Still the Lynx normally can show 16 colours on screen at a time from a palette of 4096, and that is enough for making graphics that look "16-bit". 😊

Also in bigger retro games packing is used extensively, and that way you can cram way more stuff onto cart / floppy / tape. I've used exomizer on the C64, which does everything automagically for you. It can unpack data in the middle of the game, so you would have room for much more levels, graphics, music or whatever. Still as the Sunday-coder that I am, I have very poor understanding of packing on the Lynx.🤔 At least the old and videly used graphics packer program for the Lynx is called "sprpck", so I assume it packs the graphics to take less space on the Lynx. I seem to recall there's the "packed" sprite type as well in the sprite block declarations, can't remember what that was about at the moment though.

Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx

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1 hour ago, Turbo Laser Lynx said:

A point'n'click styled / adventure game on the Lynx would be really fantastic, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for your endeavour Karri.☺️

Really loved Day of the Tentacle, Sam & Max and of course the Monkey Island games back in the day. Can't see any reason why the Lynx couldn't pull off great games 
😊

Lynx has one- Dracula the Undead- and it’s awesome. It’s also available on the Evercade’s Lynx collection.

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Yup, I'm aware of it. 👍 It's really well made and the graphics are nice! I think there would be room for more though. Personally I think something a bit more colourful would be cool in contrast to the big D. 😁

Edited by Turbo Laser Lynx
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