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Author Topic: Brice Rive, Programmer for Defender of the Crown,Guest star at cpcRulez.  (Read 6669 times)

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Offline MacDeath

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in a topic concerning AmstradPLUS mockups of existing games (yeah, not quite original) at CPCRulez (well known french site... I hope)


We had a visit from Brice Rive.


The guy did the CPC version of Defender of the Crown (Ubi Soft).


nice guy and he even gave us the source material for the game and a lot of cool stories.

http://cpcrulez.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4553&start=120

his pseudo is CPCplusplus.


So I guess you may expect some PLUS version (and perhaps even 128k RAM version) from this awesome game originally from Cinemaware.
(but let's not anticipate too much)

Perhaps if some of you bloggers would like to do some interview with him (he was already solicited by frenchs  for this of course...)


It is always good to get such informations from guys from the golden era who worked in the game industry.

It is also quite interesting to see those guys often keep their Datas somewhere on their  modern HDD... (provided no roof leak nor ex-bitc... er... angry ex-girlfriend screwed it up...)
 :D



http://www.cpc-power.com/index.php?page=staff&lenom=Brice%20RIVE

Brice rive also coded the game E.X.I.T (UbiSoft too)
a kool point-and-click in mode0.


Post Edit : ok, the original topic has been splitted into a special Defender of the Crown new topic..

it's there :
http://cpcrulez.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4796
« Last Edit: 15:19, 28 February 12 by MacDeath »

Offline Xyphoe

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Was Defender Of The Crown ever released in English / UK?

I only see the French version available for download on CPC-Power and TACGR websites :(

Offline MacDeath

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Quote
Was Defender Of The Crown ever released in English / UK?
Yeah, on Speccy I guess... ;D :D certainly the best version ever...


owd gosh those graphics really look gorgeous and saucy. ::)


Well, Ubisoft port is  from 1989... but the original game was from 1986/1987 I guess.

As you remember it was before the Maastricht and shengen stuffs, Europe still had those frontiers, citizen and goods could not travel as easily as now...


So it was probably not really released elsewhere.

Also the game use a full Floppy... you know, floppy disk, the thing not quite popular in Britania.



But the good point is that now the source codes are available, to get it into an international version is easier than ever...
Let's hope some English, Spanish, German and Greek versions may rise... perhaps even türk or Dane or whatever (Eire/italian ?)...



Needless to say, in France we mostly dream about a proper 128K and PLUS version. :)

But also why not dream about some mods set in other country and era...

a France one set during the 100year war could be really fun...
Or a reconquista Spanish one (fight between christian Spanish and Muslim Moors...)

Or I guess germany also may have a fair set of chaotic War-thorn times who may be quite suitable...

Perhaps even some fantasy setting, with different minigames and options...
 
« Last Edit: 00:17, 28 February 12 by MacDeath »

Offline Puresox

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Offline MacDeath

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Thx Puresox for your long and complete post, it's really motivating to see someone spend so much time on posts... :D


anyway, from what I see, Defender of the crown was not well known on CPC in non-French places...
Perhaps you still knew the game from other machines...

ST/PC/Amiga of course... perhaps even NintendoES or whatever else.. ?

If I remember well, Cinemaware was an american company. also they were a lot into the 16bit...

Hence the 8 bit ports are somewhat anecdotic and never really "British Z80 machine" oriented...
A bit like LucasArt...

I mean, no Loom nor Monkey Island nor The SCUMM engine on speccy and CPC...

It's even a miracle we got Nightshift and a few indiana jones action games, then most of those were shittily ported from speccy by those british (notorious for doing so...)

Which is such a shame when you know how good night shift could actually be.

Back to cinmaware.

They did a lot of "pseudo Movies on computer" oriented games, with a mix of strategic games and mini action games, and a lot a graphic heavy stuff.
them were mostly classical Holywood superproductions...

50's science fiction: rocket Ranger
50's horror : it came from the dessert (lol)
sword and cape (or knight medieval stuffs...) : defender of the crown...

Japanese Samourai show : lord of the rising sun.

Their TV sport series was quite good too.


Being rarely the basic arcade scroller type, those games could really have been magor hits on CPC...
Provided they were ported by french company and exclusively on Disk format (and even in 128K version) IMO.
not that they were particulary good, but they looked so good and were fun because of the storytelling too.

but clearly they are on the kind of stuff CPC can be good for.


a lot like the Scumm based Lucasart games...



Ok a few videos...

Rocket Ranger intro on Amiga : (yeah, the movie Rocketeer was inspired by this...)
Rocket Ranger Amiga Intro

It came from the dessert (lol) on Amiga :
Amiga Game Intros - It Came From The Desert (Cinemaware, 1989)

TV sport handegg (PC Dos)
TV Sports Football

Medley :
CINEMAWARE: DEFUNCT GAME DEVELOPERS in 5 GAMES, PT. 124

Some history lessons :
Matt Chat 41: The History of Cinemaware with Bob Jacob

enjoy.
« Last Edit: 20:48, 28 February 12 by MacDeath »

Offline Puresox

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Sometimes things need to be said and sometimes they don't. I am just expressing my amusement at your comments.When I have something to say I will say it.

Offline MacDeath

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no problem, I'm fine with this. :P

Offline Puresox

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Hope so ! Don't want a War! ;)

Offline MacDeath

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http://youtu.be/86lOTwzNuws

Anyway, a new video...

This guy's youtube channel is quite good, I have hust seen a few videos... reminds me a lot.

Offline MacDeath

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Ok, so we had the "whole" team, Grapic artist and coder.

They told us they used moded 3" disk drives   so the 3" disks could handle more Datas.

Quote
Le format de disquette est un format "Brice", physiquement lisible par un CPC mais incopiable par une machine de série. Brice a utilisé une particularité du contrôleur de disquette, qui pouvait lire des formats qu'il ne pouvait pas reproduire, à moins d'être bidouillé. Bref, on a travaillé sur des machines "kitées". Je souris d'émotion en me rappelant cette époque. Lors de la sortie du jeu, la société chargée de la duplication nous a contacté : ils n'arrivaient pas à copier le BAT ("bon à tirer")
The format is a special one, phisically readable by a CPC but copy-proof on an unmodified Machine.
Brice (the coder) used a particularity from the floppy disk controler (FDC) who could read but not re-write unless modified

so they worked on kited/kustomised machines.

The company who had to do the copies simply could not re-produce them at first (until they wer eexplained the trick).


As a result the cracked version use more disks than the original.

Quote
Forcément, a utiliser des secteurs de taille 6, ça faisait 240Ko par face pour 40 pistes, soit 480Ko au total et non compressé j'imagine à l'époque ?
Sectors with size of 6, so 240Ko for 40 tracks... 480ko total per disk (uncompressed)

Quote
Exactement. Ça fait un bon 80Ko de rab'. Largement assez pour tout le code
this allowed to gain 80Ko...(per disk...i guess...) enough to put the whole code.


Does anyone knew this trick ?
It could be sweet to get a DIY page for this at CPCwiki perhaps.

We will ask them if they can give us a schematic for such trick.



Also the source code was generated with Pyradev.

The Graphic artist used OCP art studio.


Quote
Mais je m'égare... Un dernier utilitaire bien pratique : upload et download de nos travaux d'un CPC à l'autre. C'était l'époque du Minitel, et on avait choisi d'avoir le modèle 1B (c'est ça ?) qui avait une prise externe vers son modem interne. Et vive le port série ! Du temps d'EXIT, point de Minitel, les disquettes de sauvegarde voyageaient à vélo.
they had a program which enabled to upload and download stuffs from one CPC to another through the Minitel...
one of the Minitel models had and external plug for its modem, so a serial port enabled to get the CPC into this.

They also told us they added a chat function because you couldn't phone while using the minitel...


OMG, they invented the internet on Amstrad CPC !!!

The coder will have a look if he can resurrect the program he used for this.

On their previous game (EXIT) they had to use Disks and a bike to share codes. :D
good old sneakerware.



Because the source code is now available, i suppose some of you may be interested in some translation job so this game could get some proper German, English, Spanish and whatever versions... (even a greek version perhaps)

We French aim at a 128k and/or PLUS version...
a few bugs are still to be corrected too.
« Last Edit: 15:13, 29 February 12 by MacDeath »

Offline arnoldemu

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Does anyone knew this trick ?
Yes the trick is known. It gives max &1802 useable per track. Which gives 240K per disc.
A hardware modification designed by Rob Scott, allows a modified CPC to write this format without trouble.
I have one that was modified by him. I am not allowed to give out the information about how the mod can be done.

The writing code, writes &1800 bytes then turns off the disc motor.
The mod stops the fdc from destroying the rest of the track, so this data is useable.
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Offline TotO

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If the head loop and overwrite the track begin, why not putting the data of the track begin at the end of the buffer ?
So you start to write the end and finish by the start ???
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

Offline MacDeath

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I am not allowed to give out the information about how the mod can be done.
Sorry but I think this soon won't be a secret anymore. :(

Offline arnoldemu

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If the head loop and overwrite the track begin, why not putting the data of the track begin at the end of the buffer ?
So you start to write the end and finish by the start ???
you can't control how the fdc writes the data.. it writes the initial gaps, then the id header, then starts to write the data field. you pass it the data for the data field. What happens though is that a track can only hold about 6.5k of data, but size 6 is 8k of data and it doesn't matter if you don't send the fdc anymore (and for an overrun), it will still continue to finish writing the sector, it will loop back to the start and write over the headers again.

The headers are written using special mfm data sync marks that can't be simulated using normal data (I think they have missing clock values in them - each data byte becomes 16 mfm "bits", mixture of data and clocks for synchronisation) . I think the missing clocks is how the fdc recognises id fields and data fields correctly - but I would need to test that.

the mod, stops the disc motor, stops the fdc trying to write anymore data.. and it doesn't overwrite the initial gap and id field.

the same disc format was used by speedlock/alkatraz and others from about 1990 onwards.
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Offline Grim

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"Sweet 6k, the STS Copymod" article by Rob Scott (published in WACCI) is available as a PDF on teh Interweb for several years now. So it's not much of a secret already :)

[edit] Attached the PDF below. Dunno if it's OK to share this or not tho. (you know, copyright and stuff...)
« Last Edit: 23:04, 29 February 12 by Grim »

Offline Executioner

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A hardware modification designed by Rob Scott, allows a modified CPC to write this format without trouble.

 Interestingly I've never seen that article. I designed it, and I designed the routines in Xexor to work with it. It is simply a gate applied to the READY line of the FDC output so the FDC stops writing data as soon as the drive motor is switched off because it thinks the drive is not ready.

Offline arnoldemu

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 Interestingly I've never seen that article. I designed it, and I designed the routines in Xexor to work with it. It is simply a gate applied to the READY line of the FDC output so the FDC stops writing data as soon as the drive motor is switched off because it thinks the drive is not ready.
I did publish some info on it, then got told off by Rob. So I removed it.
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Offline Gryzor

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Thanks for some very interesting posts, MacDeath! I'm heading over there to read the whole thing...


Regarding the secrecy of the copy mechanism, all I can say is, what the heck?

Offline Nich

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Yeah, on Speccy I guess... ;D :D certainly the best version ever...

owd gosh those graphics really look gorgeous and saucy. ::)
The Spectrum version of Defender of the Crown isn't an official conversion, as this World of Spectrum forum thread explains. Apparently, it was written by a group of Hungarian coders for their own amusement, and then later, they contacted Mirrorsoft to see if they wanted to release a Spectrum version, but they weren't interested.

A number of features have been omitted, but even so, it's amazing that they managed to fit a game as big as Defender of the Crown into a 48K Spectrum! :o It's not even a multi-load game!

Offline MacDeath

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Yeah, I have seen it was actually an unoffical release by some east european coders.
but you know I never miss any occasion to display my love for the Speccy.
 ;D


Hey, I guess good SamCoupé or Enterprise (or even MSX2) ports could be done and would be awesome too.

Enterprise could even just keep the CPC version, but with upgraded palettes, juste like an AmstradPLUS lite version...
This would be a CPC version yet a bit closer to Atari ST visually.
could be sweet to tell the information on those Source codes to the enterprise scene.

SamCoupé and MSX2, due to being spectrum sized (X=256 wide screen, or even X=512) would need graphics redone, but could be amazing due to those 256x192x16 video modes.
The nintendo NES version was also in 256x192... but i t just suckass graphically...


Anyway, to get it into non french version, it would be great if someone could find the datas from some other versions...
I mean, no need to retranslate by ourselves...
The English version do exist of course, what about other languages ?

German version must exist (i think i saw it  on a screenshot somewhere).

what about Spanish and Greek ?

Please it could be sweetif any of you could provide such hack from Atari/Amiga/PC version of the texts so just to have the game translated would be quite easy..



Anyway, those guys are crazy... they kept all !



Post edition : it seems the source code is nearly complete, with all libraries and so on...

Has someone here (coder) got a look at this ?


Also does anyone remember if Defender of the Crown was released elsewhere than France ?
« Last Edit: 17:09, 06 March 12 by MacDeath »

Offline Cholo

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...
Regarding the secrecy of the copy mechanism, all I can say is, what the heck?

The first rule of FDC club is: you dont talk about FDC club  :-X

Seriously tho i do understand the secrecy .. even today. Not that it can do much harm today as the hardware is getting close to obsolete i guess, so its actually moved far into the areas where you think more of preservation.

You may think im being a bit paranoid, but just look at the soft/hardware today. Like the PS Vita has been out what .. 2 month in Japan and 2-3 weeks in europe? and there has already been 2x "hello world" hack on the hardware (well both by the same person, but the exploits is by 2 different people). Of cause we have the internet now and we didnt have that back in the '80 but still .. any soft/hardware exploit or leaks usually spread like wildfire .. even back then.

Also having superior hardware knowledge was really importent back then. Like the the Darling twins obviously had a lot of "drive" to make games and there was 2 of them .. but simply having a friend make them a cpc-2-spectrum transfer cable obviously gave them a huge vital advantage. The "development teams" being as small as just 1 person means that even a small leak could be devastatingly bad (and not just for the team).

Its easy to think a bit more cynical today especially as most teams today are giant and run by huge firms and there rarely goes a month without some programmer gets angry of getting a paycut and suddenly there is some "internal" SDK floating on the net .. thus luring a whole bunch of people to buy more products simply because that they think itll be easier soon to pirate on the unit.
Its a completely different thing back in the '80 .. especially if it was "mom who printed the game labels and dad who did the PR"-kinda loyalty, we will be luck if we ever hear of it  ;)
« Last Edit: 01:24, 11 March 12 by Cholo »

Offline steve

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Yes of course, if people are making money from a product they must protect it, but we are talking of software which is long since abandoned and forgotten by the IP holders, no-one is losing anything by this software and any special techniques contained within it being revealed, they have had their profit from us and now it is time for them to give something back to the community that kept them in sports cars  :P   for so many years.

Offline MacDeath

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well... funny thing is that a "secret" recipe is still hold secret by some people while it is old news... long after.

"don't put a wire on your 3" Floppy disk driver... or else you will get 400K disk and bypass a few anti-piraty mechanisms..."

seriously WTF ?


BTW it was fun to discuss with the original team, Frenchies and young at the time, who did an "Atari ST port" of a classic game.... (but also another purely original game... despite adventure, not arcade one).

quite reminded me when the original R-type speccy/CPC peoples came here.


Whatever, I just hope a properly copy-able (3"1/2... 720K double faces) un-bugged version will be soon available in many languages...
(engrish, spanish, german and even greek perhaps ?) with some better 128k loading... or even a proper PLUS version (would look so good... could be like a wide pixels Amiga500 version actually...)

Please "non-french" sceners... don't hesitate to post there at CPCrulez... to share your impressions.
« Last Edit: 02:31, 16 March 12 by MacDeath »

Offline genesis8

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Expect a news on genesis8 soon with all the informations coming from the cpcrulez thread.

The french part is already written, waiting for corrections and the go from the authors before a painful english translation.

I will post the english text so you can correct my awful english.
« Last Edit: 01:05, 02 April 12 by genesis8 »
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Offline genesis8

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Expect a news on genesis8 soon with all the informations coming from the cpcrulez thread.

The french part is already written, waiting for corrections and the go from the authors before a painful english translation.

I will post the english text so you can correct my awful english.

The news is on the site, post here any english corrections please.
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