Author Topic: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood  (Read 1251 times)

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Offline chinnyhill10

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ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« on: 13:37, 12 June 15 »
Another week and another video and this time it's Super Robin Hood on the CPC, Speccy and C64. It was of course the Oliver Twins first game for Codemasters and was coded on a CPC 6128


[youtube]! No longer available[/youtube]


All real hardware used as usual!


As I say in the video, how on earth did they fit that much speed into a game that uses 38k of memory?
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #1 on: 14:02, 12 June 15 »
Good game though the lack of colour on the CPC game (predominantly green, white, brown-red and black) always made me remember it as Mode 1 when it's Mode 0. 

Also yay Robin of Sherwood!  One of my three all time fave TV shows.  I even did a (non-CPC) concept sprite over ten years ago based on that one cos I wanted to make a platformer out of it (thus making it similar to Super Robin Hood rather than the quite good official Robin of Sherwood text adventure that came out on the 8-bits).   :)    You're right in that it seems a genius idea for the Olivers to release a game based on the same legends at the time the TV show was on and getting high ratings.  The Oliver twins made a nice amount of money from this game too.


Damn that sprite looks a bit sloppy with colour usage these days.  Still it was well over a decade ago.  I may redo it and see if I can improve it. :)
« Last Edit: 14:21, 12 June 15 by Carnivac »
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Offline EgoTrip

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #2 on: 15:26, 12 June 15 »
I don't think there is anything wrong with the colours used. It looks good for Mode 0, and as its a medieval setting, brown, red and greens are right. Using blues and pinks would not work.
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Offline CraigsBar

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #3 on: 15:39, 12 June 15 »
I don't think there is anything wrong with the colours used. It looks good for Mode 0, and as its a medieval setting, brown, red and greens are right. Using blues and pinks would not work.
and is *that* why there is no BBC version ;)

Offline Carnivius

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #4 on: 15:56, 12 June 15 »
I don't think there is anything wrong with the colours used. It looks good for Mode 0, and as its a medieval setting, brown, red and greens are right. Using blues and pinks would not work.

Yes but that's almost all it's got.  It seems a bit of a waste using Mode 0 if it was just going to predominately use just 4 colours with barely any shading.  Plus it looks like the people in it could use a bit of sun...
« Last Edit: 15:57, 12 June 15 by Carnivac »
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #5 on: 17:01, 12 June 15 »
Yes but that's almost all it's got.  It seems a bit of a waste using Mode 0 if it was just going to predominately use just 4 colours with barely any shading.  Plus it looks like the people in it could use a bit of sun...


Bit harsh to criticise it when it cost £1.99 and was knocked up by two 17 year olds working in shifts in their bedroom. I think they'd probably admit they are designers and coders rather than graphic designers.
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #6 on: 17:09, 12 June 15 »

Bit harsh to criticise it when it cost £1.99 and was knocked up by two 17 year olds working in shifts in their bedroom. I think they'd probably admit they are designers and coders rather than graphic designers.

How is me wishing the game had better colour usage different to you saying the backgrounds look too busy and turning them off?  Yes it was an early game but it doesn't make it immune to some criticism.   :)   I'm not a fan of Sorcery but it came out the year before and had much better sprite work and colours.  :)
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #7 on: 17:32, 12 June 15 »
How is me wishing the game had better colour usage different to you saying the backgrounds look too busy and turning them off?  Yes it was an early game but it doesn't make it immune to some criticism.   :)   I'm not a fan of Sorcery but it came out the year before and had much better sprite work and colours.  :)


Yes but Sorcery was done by a team of five people with a higher budget and a game that cost about £15 compared to £1.99. They almost certainly had a graphic designer on the team.


Super Robin Hood does have basic graphics and also uses the system font but it was an early budget game from young programmers. Sorcery was a full price game by established professional coders probably with a full time graphics artist on the team.
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #8 on: 17:44, 12 June 15 »
Yeah but point is I can't see why I cannot say the graphics aren't as good as they could have been given the graphics Mode used.   It just seems really odd to me that they didn't even use the fleshy pink colour on the sprites which was already used on the large image on the left.  Or perhaps the low colour sprites (3 plus transparency) is a reason there was memory available for all the sound samples but if that's true why not go for Mode 1 and have the extra detail and clarity which is what they did for their next game Ghost Hunters which has generally better defined graphics and is likely a reason that Dizzy was then done in Mode 1 too.

I don't get why I can't debate and wonder the reasons behind game and graphic design decisions.   I just find this sort of stuff interesting.
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Offline Nich

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #9 on: 20:37, 12 June 15 »
Yeah but point is I can't see why I cannot say the graphics aren't as good as they could have been given the graphics Mode used.   It just seems really odd to me that they didn't even use the fleshy pink colour on the sprites which was already used on the large image on the left.  Or perhaps the low colour sprites (3 plus transparency) is a reason there was memory available for all the sound samples but if that's true why not go for Mode 1 and have the extra detail and clarity which is what they did for their next game Ghost Hunters which has generally better defined graphics and is likely a reason that Dizzy was then done in Mode 1 too.

There's a technique you can use in MODE 0 whereby, through careful choice of inks, you can XOR sprites to the screen without causing any corruption, which is significantly faster than the alternative option of using a mask to erase what's underneath the sprite, then ORing the sprite on to the screen. You draw your sprites using a particular combination of 4 inks from the palette, and you use another combination of 4 inks to draw the background.

I strongly suspect that's the technique that is being used in Super Robin Hood. You'd be surprised at the number of games that use this technique, although I agree that it looks ugly and doesn't fully exploit the graphical capabilities of MODE 0.

Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #10 on: 21:23, 12 June 15 »
I don't get why I can't debate and wonder the reasons behind game and graphic design decisions.   I just find this sort of stuff interesting.


Nobody is saying you can't debate. But there often good reasons why games are done as they are.


You mention Ghost Hunters and Dizzy being Mode 1. The reason for that was not aesthetic, it was simply so the Oliver Twins could port the game easily to the Spectrum themselves and get more money. They didn't want somebody else doing the port as had happened with Super Robin Hood when with careful coding they could do a Speccy and CPC version at the same time for twice the money.
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Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #11 on: 21:24, 12 June 15 »

I strongly suspect that's the technique that is being used in Super Robin Hood. You'd be surprised at the number of games that use this technique, although I agree that it looks ugly and doesn't fully exploit the graphical capabilities of MODE 0.


Ghost and Goblins being one, and as I said the other week I suspect Buggy Boy does it as well.
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Offline Phantomz

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #12 on: 02:25, 13 June 15 »
I enjoyed the Video, cheers  :)

That C64 version is bad  :o

I don't know if it matters to you, but it might to some people.

I've updated my GX4000 Conversion of this game, the Options now work and can be selected with Fire Button 2.
Y = Fire Button 1, N = Fire Button 2 and you can Quit with the Console Pause Button.

I thought I'd better try and get the options working after you said how bad the backgrounds were.  ;D

The New Version is on the Converted GX4000 games page.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #13 on: 03:34, 13 June 15 »
I enjoyed the Video, cheers  :)

That C64 version is bad  :o

I don't know if it matters to you, but it might to some people.

I've updated my GX4000 Conversion of this game, the Options now work and can be selected with Fire Button 2.
Y = Fire Button 1, N = Fire Button 2 and you can Quit with the Console Pause Button.

I thought I'd better try and get the options working after you said how bad the backgrounds were.  ;D

The New Version is on the Converted GX4000 games page.
excellent news, if you had not done it, that was task for tomorrow.

Offline Dizrythmia

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #14 on: 05:14, 13 June 15 »
This is one game I never got to when I was younger. I think I might give it a bash :)

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #15 on: 11:38, 13 June 15 »
Confirmed, it is exactly as Nich says.

The sprites are XORed, the palette is repeated and this explains the reduced colours.

In addition there is no double buffer, it's quicker to draw the sprites this way, so less chance of flicker.



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Offline EgoTrip

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #16 on: 11:23, 14 June 15 »
There's a technique you can use in MODE 0 whereby, through careful choice of inks, you can XOR sprites to the screen without causing any corruption, which is significantly faster than the alternative option of using a mask to erase what's underneath the sprite, then ORing the sprite on to the screen. You draw your sprites using a particular combination of 4 inks from the palette, and you use another combination of 4 inks to draw the background.

I strongly suspect that's the technique that is being used in Super Robin Hood. You'd be surprised at the number of games that use this technique, although I agree that it looks ugly and doesn't fully exploit the graphical capabilities of MODE 0.

Can you go into more (full) detail please? This technique interests me.
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Offline andycadley

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #17 on: 12:01, 14 June 15 »
Can you go into more (full) detail please? This technique interests me.

Think of each ink number as a 4-bit number: ABCD. Now assume that the first two bits, AB, are background colours. We have two bits, so the gives us four colours. We set the inks that match the pattern AB00 to the appropriate colours.

Our foreground colours are in bits CD, 00 is transparent and so the remaining three are free for us to use. We set every ink the matches the pattern xxCD to the appropriate ink (there will be multiple inks in the same colour). Our sprites are drawn in Inks 00CD.

Xor-ing any foreground sprite with the background will therefore be a combination of AB00 and 00CD and thus never alter the bits used for colour selection. A foreground pixel where CD=00 will result in AB00, the background, whereas any other selects an ink colour which matches xxCD, which will be the appropriate foreground colour.

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #18 on: 12:30, 14 June 15 »
Can you go into more (full) detail please? This technique interests me.
the method involves sacrificing colours in the displayed palette in order to draw sprites faster on a background which is not a single colour.
sprites are drawn using xor mode. This drawing mode can be also used in basic.
when xor is used and two pixels of different pens are placed over the top of each other, another pen is shown. It's due to the way the bits are changed by xor.
Normally there are 16 colours in mode 0, but here we reduce that number. We choose colours so that when xor is used the colour of the resulting pen has the same colour as the original colour in the sprite. The colour no longer appears to change but we had to sacrifice pens to make it happen.
This reduces use able colours in the sprite to 4. We are also forced to reduce the number of colours in the background down to 5.

Using xor method is quicker because we can use xor to erase the sprite too and normal masking sprites need more operations per pixel to draw. So we saved time to draw but we had to make a trade off.
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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #19 on: 13:11, 14 June 15 »
Thanks for the explanations, I think I follow. Is there a chart somewhere that lets me know which ways ink/pen numbers interact with each other? Maybe an example?

(also, maybe a mod can split this off into a new topic)
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Offline andycadley

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #20 on: 14:04, 14 June 15 »
A quick bit of Excel:

Pen   Bit pattern   Colour
0   0000    B0
1   0001    F1
2   0010    F2
3   0011    F3
4   0100    B1
5   0101    F1
6   0110    F2
7   0111    F3
8   1000    B2
9   1001    F1
10   1010    F2
11   1011    F3
12   1100    B3
13   1101    F1
14   1110    F2
15   1111    F3

B is background colour, F is foreground. Sprites would use colour 0 for transparent pixels.

Offline chinnyhill10

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Re: ChinnyVision: Super Robin Hood
« Reply #21 on: 17:23, 14 June 15 »
The Oliver Twins have kindly commented on the video and have revealed that Super Robin Hood has no custom loader so that's why it takes so long to load.


Perhaps someone could re-do it with Bleepload for 464 owners to load it in quicker?
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