Author Topic: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel  (Read 2690 times)

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Offline chinnyhill10

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ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« on: 03:10, 20 June 14 »
Finally got round to launching my Youtube Channel. ChinnyVision will be looking at lots of games and hardware for all sorts of systems. But from the CPC owner point of view with one BIG difference.


Whereas many multiformat Youtube channels and certain other retro outlets are hopelessly biased against the CPC, I've been a CPC owner since 1985 as well as having owned every major system of the era apart from the ST. I know the system inside out and know what's good, what isn't and what the machine can do.

In addition wherever possible, I'll be capturing direct from original hardware and will only resort to emulation where no other option is available to me (in the CPC's case I don't have a Plus for example). So every bit of capture you see in episode 1 is from real genuine hardware.


Episode 1 looks at Chronos for the Spectrum and CPC. I thought it better to start with a weaker game to test the format. Episode 2 will have a much stronger game!


ChinnyVision - Episode 1 - Chronos - YouTube


Enjoy.


[nb: Wasn't sure if this should go in games as the channel will cover games or if it should go in General. Sorry]
« Last Edit: 03:14, 20 June 14 by chinnyhill10 »
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Offline MacDeath

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #1 on: 14:35, 20 June 14 »
Dammit !!!

first game and it is a speccy port, won't this nightmare end anyday ? >:(

also note to you :

to get the youtube video displayed in the forum, erase the "https" part of the address.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UaUlsk27YM

Magic!!!


otherwise, nice video, well realized and nice intro.
Thx for your support of CPC.
« Last Edit: 14:47, 20 June 14 by MacDeath »

Offline TMR

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #2 on: 14:38, 20 June 14 »
ChinnyVision will be looking at lots of games and hardware for all sorts of systems.

Okay, who else has the ChuckleVision theme bouncing around their head how...?

Whereas many multiformat Youtube channels and certain other retro outlets are hopelessly biased against the CPC, I've been a CPC owner since 1985 as well as having owned every major system of the era apart from the ST. I know the system inside out and know what's good, what isn't and what the machine can do.

So you're planning to be hopelessly biased towards the CPC? [Evil grin =-]

Episode 1 looks at Chronos for the Spectrum and CPC. I thought it better to start with a weaker game to test the format. Episode 2 will have a much stronger game!

i've always been a fairly big fan of Chronos on the Spectrum and have completed it a few times over the years (i think a friend and i took turns to loop it twice in a single game on his 48K in the 1980s). The CPC version is a little less responsive to play and their not converting Follin's tune was a shame, but it's still quite solid and i seem to remember beating it once on our CPC464. Chronos was presumably coded around that time when power-ups were only just starting to make their way into home computer titles (somewhere between 1986 and 1987, give or take) so, since it's balanced about right to give the player enough laser death to get the job done, it can be forgiven for not having any.

i'm not sure it's correct to say that the CPC version is moving 16K around though, someone'd need to wander around the code to confirm but i'd assume that it only juggles the play area and whatever parts of the status need refreshing.

Offline MacDeath

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #3 on: 15:09, 20 June 14 »
Straight Speccy48 ports would just change some routines and re-address the whole thing into CPC memory map... and use a routine to convert the 1bpp graphics into 2bpp graphics when put into the RAM bank used by video.
perhaps also get rid of the colour attribute part...
And add some different sounds. having a PSG (AY) may turn it a beneficial part CPU wise, but may take some extra bit of RAM as well, but converting the graphics when put into "VRAM" would waste some CPU yet the graphics storage take as much space in RAM (1bpp, 1 bit per pixels)

as a result, it doesn't really take much more RAM space than the speccy48 version and fit well into the 64K, which explain why such method were used to begin with.
Well sometimes they would discard a few sprite frames or some few bits of gameplay to gain more RAM/CPU so it fit the CPC.

Also as the video used RAM is reduced into 12K instead of 16K because screen is resized into Speccy-size there is quite a good gain.

320x200x4 = 16k
256x192x4 = 12k (approximately)
on a speccy I think the "VRAM" was more like 7-8K ? 6K for the basic 256x192x2 + 1-2 ks for the colour attributes ?

Many of those "issues" wouldn't have been used provided CPC had something like 80k or 96k of RAM to begin with... (with the extra components in CPC6128 to allow bankswitches of course)
the extra RAM banks would enable to store properly heavier graphics, just a few bankswitches needed then but less CPU wasted to convert the graphics when tiles are moved into Video used RAM bank.

Another classic waster of CPU was when they put raster effects to display more colours instead of simply use betterly less colours.
A game like Pacmania actually has quite a lot of raster palette changes, to no effect but looking more speccy and being slowlier.

having only +16k to speccy48 was somewhat not enough to really compensate, but +32k or +48k (double RAM as speccy48) may really have been enough... as it would let the "VRAM" bank and something like 2 extra 16k banks to store the doubled weight graphics or extra sounds.

Still most games would end up slowlier anyway, msot probably, but not as badly slowlier as it was, too often.
Speccy had some extra features to map tiles/characters a bit faster...

but still CPC wasn't really the sluggish shit most speccist/Commodorks claim it to be.
« Last Edit: 15:22, 20 June 14 by MacDeath »

Offline TMR

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #4 on: 15:37, 20 June 14 »
on a speccy I think the "VRAM" was more like 7-8K ? 6K for the basic 256x192x2 + 1-2 ks for the colour attributes ?

6,144 bytes of bitmap and 768 bytes of attributes.

Chronos appears to be juggling a 224 by 128 pixel area without attributes though, so that's 3,584 bytes per refresh on the Spectrum and i'm assuming 7,168 on the CPC right?

but still CPC wasn't really the sluggish shit most speccist/Commodorks claim it to be.

There's no need for name calling. Blame the software companies for doing half-arsed or lazy jobs rather than the non-programming gamers looking at what's available and deciding against the Amstrad.

Offline MacDeath

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #5 on: 16:40, 20 June 14 »
what name calling ???
 ;D

not to be taken too seriously by me, lol...

Quote
6,144 bytes of bitmap and 768 bytes of attributes.

Chronos appears to be juggling a 224 by 128 pixel area without attributes though, so that's 3,584 bytes per refresh on the Spectrum and i'm assuming 7,168 on the CPC right?
Thx for the precisions...
thou truelly arst a speccy-ialist...
« Last Edit: 16:42, 20 June 14 by MacDeath »

Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #6 on: 19:14, 20 June 14 »
Dammit !!!

first game and it is a speccy port, won't this nightmare end anyday ? >:(




I don't really have the hang up that some CPC users do about Speccy ports. Porting is a way of life and economics state how long you can spend doing a conversion.
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ChinnyVision - Reviews Of Classic Games Using Original Hardware
chinnyhill10 - YouTube

Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #7 on: 19:20, 20 June 14 »
Okay, who else has the ChuckleVision theme bouncing around their head how...?

So you're planning to be hopelessly biased towards the CPC? [Evil grin =-]



What you'll see is balanced coverage, not the kind of coverage I've seen elsewhere recently where games aren't played properly and the CPC gets dismissed in a single breath amongst a load of C64 and Speccy fanboyism. I like and own those machines I'm going to call things as I see them.


Chronos was chosen only because I wanted an average game on only two machines to test the format. Episode 2 will feature another budget game but on multiple formats and where the CPC has a very strong version. Stay tuned......
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ChinnyVision - Reviews Of Classic Games Using Original Hardware
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #8 on: 19:22, 20 June 14 »

I don't really have the hang up that some CPC users do about Speccy ports. Porting is a way of life and economics state how long you can spend doing a conversion.

You put some effort into it if you expect people to buy it and any future products you create. 
Favorite CPC games: SwitchBlade, Stryker in the Crypts of Trogan, Turrican II, UN Squadron, Oh Mummy

Offline TMR

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #9 on: 19:32, 20 June 14 »
what name calling ???
 ;D

not to be taken too seriously by me, lol...

i've mentioned this previously, but do unto others and all that...

Thx for the precisions...
thou truelly arst a speccy-ialist...

Actually, i'm a "Commodork" [ahem] who just happens to be writing Spectrum code at the moment...

Offline MacDeath

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #10 on: 19:38, 20 June 14 »
Quote
Actually, i'm a "Commodork" [ahem] who just happens to be writing Spectrum code at the moment...
Who let the enemy in ?
 :D

Offline TMR

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #11 on: 19:49, 20 June 14 »
What you'll see is balanced coverage, not the kind of coverage I've seen elsewhere recently where games aren't played properly and the CPC gets dismissed in a single breath amongst a load of C64 and Speccy fanboyism. I like and own those machines I'm going to call things as I see them.

The evil grin was there for a reason... unless i'm getting hopelessly mixed up (and that happens more and more with age) we know each other in passing and i was just being cheeky.

But i know from experience that it's hard to remain totally objective with reviews and there'll always be people who disagree regardless of how hard you try. The Shadow's Nose
The Shadow's Nose does something similar and, although he sometimes falls into that trap of picking games up for the first time rather than getting into them before recording footage, the results are more often than not how i'd have called them. Your footage looks better, though.

Offline TMR

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #12 on: 19:54, 20 June 14 »
Who let the enemy in ?
 :D

i've been here so long that i've since learnt enough Z80 to think about cobbling my own games together! =-)

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #13 on: 20:05, 20 June 14 »
I read Retro Gamer magazine. I've got in on subscription.

Latest issue has Yie-Ar Kung-Fu. There is a comparison between each of the machines.

In the magazine they say that the graphics are good but it's a bit sluggish.

I've only played the BBC Micro and Amstrad versions. I did enjoy the CPC version, can't remember if it was slower than the BBC one or not.

I've no idea why it's more sluggish than the other versions.

Reading various comparison reviews and websites it appears this is common for Amstrad. Game is sluggish and Amstrad version has poor scrolling.

Some websites have obvious bias, a Finnish one appears to have an obvious c64 bias, but Retro Gamer appears to be about right.

But if you take off your "rose-tinted-glasses" generally they are quite accurate in their assessment. Lets not forget the CPC is probably pushing more data than the other platforms to get the graphics, but the reviews don't care about that. They care about how good is it to play, how well does it respond to player input, can you sit and play it without it inducing a headache.

Yes, the cpc has some games with terrible scrolling. Yes, some CPC games are a bit sluggish when compared to other platforms.

Now, the reason they are like this is down to how the programmer chose to make them.

For example, a poor spectrum port on the CPC may store the graphics in Spectrum format and perform conversion to the CPCs pixels at runtime. This means the CPC version is sluggish because it's performing a lot more work than the Spectrum version is including pushing more bytes to the screen.

Why is Chronos slower than Spectrum version? No idea. Perhaps it's storing everything as 1-bit per pixel graphics and performing conversion at runtime.

Each game has it's own issues.

What can we do? Well we could patch them and make them faster/smoother within limits, we could make new versions. Or, we can get on and make new games that show off what the cpc can do.
My games. My Games
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Offline arnoldemu

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #14 on: 20:13, 20 June 14 »
i've been here so long that i've since learnt enough Z80 to think about cobbling my own games together! =-)
I hope my code examples have been helpful?
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #15 on: 20:19, 20 June 14 »
The evil grin was there for a reason... unless i'm getting hopelessly mixed up (and that happens more and more with age) we know each other in passing and i was just being cheeky.



Sorry, didn't even notice it was you! Yes we have met, twice IIRC, and used to frequent the same Usenet groups.


I'm using professional capture hardware (and some bodges to get the ropey non spec signals old hardware outputs into it) so the quality should be as good as it possibly can. Sadly Youtube does knock a bit out of it as the master footage as captured is full 50fps PAL video using a 4:2:2 video codec. I have to convert it to 25fps 4:2:0 video to get it onto Youtube (upload 50fps video and Youtube plays it as 30fps which cocks things up).


As a C64 guy, you'll be pleased to hear that the capture hardware is playing nicely with the C64's approximation of S-video so there's some nice sharp capturing going on.
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Offline TMR

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #16 on: 20:27, 20 June 14 »
I hope my code examples have been helpful?

i've not got particularly far to date so haven't got past the "total n00b" stage, but i have read through and actually understood bits of them! =-)

Offline Axelay

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #17 on: 05:09, 21 June 14 »
Why is Chronos slower than Spectrum version? No idea. Perhaps it's storing everything as 1-bit per pixel graphics and performing conversion at runtime.



They do store them as 1bpp.  Even the screen buffer is still 1bpp, and in the original Spectrum dimensions of 32x16 characters, though on CPC it's only using 28x15.5 characters.

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #18 on: 10:39, 21 June 14 »

They do store them as 1bpp.  Even the screen buffer is still 1bpp, and in the original Spectrum dimensions of 32x16 characters, though on CPC it's only using 28x15.5 characters.
So here we have our answer. Everything is done in spectrums native pixel format and runtime converted to Amstrad's 4 colour mode. So as well as doing the same work as spectrum it then does extra to get it onto the cpc screen.

So without a big rewrite we don't get more colours or speed. It probably doesn't have anything to do with ram, it just needed cpc graphics and a software scroll more suited to Amstrad and it would have been better.

If you compare yes it's sluggish. The gameplay is also more frustrating and less responsive because of it.
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #19 on: 15:23, 21 June 14 »
Chronos was presumably coded around that time when power-ups were only just starting to make their way into home computer titles (somewhere between 1986 and 1987, give or take) so, since it's balanced about right to give the player enough laser death to get the job done, it can be forgiven for not having any.
I'm not that bothered by lack of power ups.  A choice of different weapons might have been nice though but as you given it's age it's not a big problem.   Axelay is one of the finest shoot 'em ups ever made and that has no power ups whatsoever.  You just choose a few weapons from the selection before each level and get on with it.  In a sense that's more realistic than just finding objects floating about in space that just so happen to be compatible with your spaceship, equipping it with new weapons simply by touching it.   :)

Anyways yeah Chronos wasn't a bad game given the time it came out and the price.  Kept me entertained in quick bursts anyways.
Favorite CPC games: SwitchBlade, Stryker in the Crypts of Trogan, Turrican II, UN Squadron, Oh Mummy

Offline MacDeath

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #20 on: 18:48, 21 June 14 »
Quote
Even the screen buffer is still 1bpp
how is that even possible ? :o
is the screen buffer what is read by the CRTC/GA ?
or does the speccy code create a buffer that is then converted into 2bpp screen RAM hence it uses even more RAM than needed

Quote
it just needed cpc graphics
which are using 2x time more RAM to store.

Still not sure it wouldn't fit anyway.
Not every speccy48 games were using the full 48K, lol...
Many if those simple early games had quite simple tile/sprite sheets, not using that much space actually.

And to replace a speccy routine by a CPC routine doesn't necessarily mean more RAM used, just it need the coder to spend more time to re-code them...  :D

but Coder Time was a rarely purchased luxury, when dealing with speccyports. >:(

BTW, would be fun to see those games in mode2 with reduced screensize (pixel per pixel)... very small screen but should be fast as hell.
« Last Edit: 18:54, 21 June 14 by MacDeath »

Offline Gryzor

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #21 on: 21:43, 21 June 14 »
Thanks for the heads-up about your videos mate :) Moving this to longplays/reviews as a more appropriate board.

Hadn't ever played Chronos before watching your vid the other day, it's a cute little game though!

Offline TMR

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #22 on: 23:10, 21 June 14 »
how is that even possible ? :o
is the screen buffer what is read by the CRTC/GA ?
or does the speccy code create a buffer that is then converted into 2bpp screen RAM hence it uses even more RAM than needed
which are using 2x time more RAM to store.

i'm assuming that the game builds a 1BPP back buffer and chunks that forwards to the display RAM to avoid tearing, so the CPC version is doing the 1BPP to 2BPP conversion as part of that process...? If there's enough spare memory for a second display buffer it could be recoded to render 2BPP to the back buffer and flip rather than copying forwards?

Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #23 on: 01:24, 22 June 14 »
i'm assuming that the game builds a 1BPP back buffer and chunks that forwards to the display RAM to avoid tearing


Odd you mention tearing. I was worried the capture was going wrong until I noticed that the game had tearing issues in certain sections without the capture running. Most noticeable on the large text bits as they scroll past.
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Offline Axelay

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Re: ChinnyVision - A new Youtube Channel
« Reply #24 on: 06:29, 22 June 14 »
how is that even possible ? :o
is the screen buffer what is read by the CRTC/GA ?
or does the speccy code create a buffer that is then converted into 2bpp screen RAM hence it uses even more RAM than needed
which are using 2x time more RAM to store.




By 'buffer' I meant the working screen, rather than the display screen, so it has the original spectrum sized 1bpp buffer at 32x16 characters, but only uses 28x15.5 characters of it for the CPC.  It then copies that the to active or display screen by software copy, using a conversion process.


In fact, this one:
Code: [Select]
ld a,(de)
dec e
ld l,a
ld c,(hl)
inc h
ld b,(hl)
dec h
push bc
which copies two bytes to the screen using a pair of lookup tables to get the converted bytes for 2bpp and the stack to write them to the screen.


i'm assuming that the game builds a 1BPP back buffer and chunks that forwards to the display RAM to avoid tearing, so the CPC version is doing the 1BPP to 2BPP conversion as part of that process...? If there's enough spare memory for a second display buffer it could be recoded to render 2BPP to the back buffer and flip rather than copying forwards?


I guess on the original Spectrum the process avoids both flicker and tearing with that kind of screen size, if that's what you meant?  After to conversion to the CPC it will always end up tearing with that software copy approach, the conversion & copy process in Chronos is taking more than 2 screen refreshes.  There is probably enough RAM free for a second 2bpp display, though not currently in a single block, and if the firmware, which appears to still be present, cant be removed, there'd be a lot of juggling around required.