Author Topic: Rodland  (Read 30476 times)

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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #75 on: 20:53, 22 June 20 »
The Amstrad version is terrible, let's hope someone does justice to this beautiful game! :D


It looks ok. Everything looks to be in there, it is just very very slow! Which I do not understand as the Spectrum version is very fast and smooth and the CPC has a faster processor.  :picard:




I think it is fair to say that, Rod-Land CPC was just really badly done.

There is no excuse with this, it doesn't even scroll in game and you don't even need to do that, just fade in new level if you had to.


Edit: (added comment above)
« Last Edit: 20:56, 22 June 20 by Vince »
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Offline Mr. DVG

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #76 on: 21:04, 22 June 20 »
@Mr. DVG

Your site is very well done. It takes a lot of work to do such a thing!




Thanks for the appreciation, that wiki has been my favorite hobby for more than 10 years!

There is really a lot (too much) material up there! :-\
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #77 on: 21:10, 22 June 20 »
There is really a lot (too much) material up there! :-\


No, it is a great resource for people like me !
Do you cover Bubble Bobble ?


---

The Spectrum version of Rod-Land, has to be one of the best games on the system!!


It is brilliantly done. They got rid of the colour and the backgrounds for clarity
and I think that really works.

Not sure if I think the 'Colour Mod' is good or bad. ?

I'd be interested to hear what others here think of the Colour Mod for the Spectrum version.


The original plays like a dream. Very smooth. The falling. It is in feel just as the Arcade and that is the best thing I could say.
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Offline Mr. DVG

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #78 on: 21:37, 22 June 20 »

No, it is a great resource for people like me !
Do you cover Bubble Bobble ?


---

The Spectrum version of Rod-Land, has to be one of the best games on the system!!


It is brilliantly done. They got rid of the colour and the backgrounds for clarity
and I think that really works.

Not sure if I think the 'Colour Mod' is good or bad. ?

I'd be interested to hear what others here think of the Colour Mod for the Spectrum version.


The original plays like a dream. Very smooth. The falling. It is in feel just as the Arcade and that is the best thing I could say.

Bubble Bobble I have an information sheet, but it is completely to be revised. ::)

The Spectrum version is a masterpiece (and runs in just 48K). :o

What do you mean by "Color Mod"? A conversion of the Spectrum version for Amstrad CPC with the use of color? Or the use of color on the Spectrum version? (in that case the color clash would be unacceptable which is why we opted for monochrome) :)
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #79 on: 00:46, 23 June 20 »
Bubble Bobble I have an information sheet, but it is completely to be revised. ::) 
Ah! BB is my favourite game of all time! I may be able to help you. I have a whole folder of information about the game and it is quite extensive.
The Spectrum version is a masterpiece (and runs in just 48K). :o 

Incredible! Just incredible. It has absolutely everything, save for the hidden game. The hidden game has been missed by all the people working on conversions.

I prefer the animals and cuteness of the main game. The war and science of the second game doesn't make sense to me.

What do you mean by "Color Mod"? A conversion of the Spectrum version for Amstrad CPC with the use of color?

The Colour Mod is the Spectrum version where someone has added colour. It has added 'colour clash'.

I prefer the original... even though I always complained about all games being monochrome on the Spectrum as a kid.

If it works on any game, it works on this.
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #80 on: 00:55, 23 June 20 »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohv4Wl47koI


This is a video of the Modded game.


I know it is colourful, but it also clashes all over the place. I understand some clever guy recently found a way to stop colour-clash on the Spectrum, but I forget the game it was done in.
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Offline Mr. DVG

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #81 on: 02:36, 23 June 20 »
Ah! BB is my favourite game of all time! I may be able to help you. I have a whole folder of information about the game and it is quite extensive.
Incredible! Just incredible. It has absolutely everything, save for the hidden game. The hidden game has been missed by all the people working on conversions.

Thanks for collaboration! I also have a lot of material, but I am working on other cards at the moment and on Bubble Bobble on the net you can find whole books that talk about it ... to have the time! :-[ 
As soon as I have a couple of free months I will start working on it!



I prefer the animals and cuteness of the main game. The war and science of the second game doesn't make sense to me.

The Colour Mod is the Spectrum version where someone has added colour. It has added 'colour clash'.

I prefer the original... even though I always complained about all games being monochrome on the Spectrum as a kid.


If it works on any game, it works on this.

I didn't know this colorful version of Rodland for Speccy! It looks very good, but I also prefer the "old" monochromatic version! :D
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #82 on: 16:18, 23 June 20 »
Really like that colour mod of Rodland on Spectrum.  Way better.  I don't mind some colour clash if it means I can actually see some colour.  The all-mono looks bores the hell out of me especially on a cute arcade game.

Turns out the guy who added colour did so with some other games too such as Golden Axe, Renegade, Pac-Land, After The War etc.  I downloaded some of them from:
https://www.everygamegoing.com/landingAuthor/index/author_id/6537/author_name/Rafal%20Miazga/Trying to find digital versions of Rod-Land, Renegade and some others cos it links to a site where you have to pay for cassette and i just want the rom :P
Found Rod-Land and some at https://www.zx-spectrum.cz/index.php?cat1=4&cat2=2&article_id=coloured.php
« Last Edit: 18:46, 23 June 20 by Carnivius »
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #83 on: 18:09, 23 June 20 »
Actually.


I've just run a complete longplay mp4 side by side and do you know what?

I now think, having watched it through, that they did a fine job. B


Because there is no background, it is still very clear so the colour clash doesn't say matter as much as if there had been a full screen background behind the rest. I'm not too keen on the backdrops in the Arcade or Amiga version and perhaps my way , not on 8 bits of course , would be to use Alpha blending to darken the background layer so that it enhanced the distiction.


Yeah. Looking at it like that they did a good job!

NB: Maybe because I have watched the mono video a hell of a lot recently (long story), I am just 'used to it'.


I see whoever has done this has been wise to select their colours carefully for each screen.


Does the Rod-land Spectrum mod run on a native 48k machine or is it 128k only ?
« Last Edit: 18:11, 23 June 20 by Vince »
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Offline sigh

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #84 on: 20:15, 23 June 20 »

Does the Rod-land Spectrum mod run on a native 48k machine or is it 128k only ?
48kb.
This is one Spectrum game that I wish the CPC had a Speccy port of.
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #85 on: 20:51, 23 June 20 »

@sigh

Ha! Yeah.


I think it is one of the very best Spectrum games going. I used to know the artist, Shaun, but we fell out, which was a massive shame, but I cannot not acknowledge the incredible job he did on this game (and many of his others for that matter, to be fair).


The Amstrad port 'looks' quite good, but man it is so so so very slow which I cannot work out, not only is it a fixed screen platformer with no scrolling, but you also have a faster processor.
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Offline Nich

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #86 on: 23:42, 23 June 20 »
I know it is colourful, but it also clashes all over the place. I understand some clever guy recently found a way to stop colour-clash on the Spectrum, but I forget the game it was done in.

Are you thinking of Pac-Land?
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #87 on: 01:13, 24 June 20 »




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohv4Wl47koI

I know it is colourful, but it also clashes all over the place.


Are you thinking of Pac-Land?
I think I was being quite unfair actually, they did a good job. I refer you to my later post-

Actually.


I've just run a complete longplay mp4 side by side and do you know what?

I now think, having watched it through, that they did a fine job.

Because there is no background, it is still very clear so the colour clash doesn't say matter as much as if there had been a full screen background behind the rest.
NB: Maybe because I have watched the mono video a hell of a lot recently (long story), I am just 'used to it' ?

I see whoever has done this has been wise to select their colours carefully for each screen.
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #88 on: 01:44, 24 June 20 »
@Nich . Not sure now if you were referring to the clash or the game without clash.

I remember clearly years ago seeing a spectrum game without clash completely.


I forget the name, but recently a game was given big plaudits for pulling off the same trick and the same way I believe, but I can't think of the name of that one either.
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #89 on: 04:15, 24 June 20 »

I remember clearly years ago seeing a spectrum game without clash completely.


I forget the name, but recently a game was given big plaudits for pulling off the same trick and the same way I believe, but I can't think of the name of that one either.
Do you mean ones that move everything in chunks of 8 pixels (which works great on fast moving games with large characters but not much use for games with small characters and needing to scroll smoothly)? 
Like Astro Marine Corps?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0yNtFWm6i8

A recent game doing similar is the rather beautiful Valley of Rains which is very similar to the 80s game Savage (by Dave Perry and Nick Bruty)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6nPqgR0PK8
« Last Edit: 04:17, 24 June 20 by Carnivius »
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #90 on: 07:57, 24 June 20 »
I don't know exactly, but I would have assumed moving 8 pixels? at a time would be a very jerky experience.

The one I remember clearly was a kind of shoot 'em up thing. I don't think it moved that rapidly, though the
scroll was smooth and fast.


I always wondered if it was possible to swap the colours over quick enough to avoid it that way, especially on a flick screener.


Or can you not draw the main 'sprite' 'mob' 'bob' behind scenery would that do anything ?

I'll do my best to find the game I am talking about
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Offline andycadley

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #91 on: 11:02, 24 June 20 »
Are you thinking of Old Tower, which uses multicolour tricks (think along the lines of rasters) to create the impression of smooth scrolling, clash free colour:


https://youtu.be/4rHJEpqoH3A

As for a "faster processor" it's not quite that simple. The Amstrad suffers from uniform contention no matter where in ROM or RAM you access, so there is always some slowdown. In contrast the Speccy is only contended when it absolutely has to be, so it is possible to squeeze the full performance out of the code. This also has the side effect that when code is directly moved from the Speccy to the CPC, as was common, it's rarely optimised for the CPC. Coupled with the fact you are also pushing something like four times as much graphics data around, it's not surprising the CPC versions are often somewhat slower.
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #92 on: 11:26, 24 June 20 »
Are you thinking of Old Tower, which uses multicolour tricks (think along the lines of rasters) to create the impression of smooth scrolling, clash free colour:


https://youtu.be/4rHJEpqoH3A


No I wasn't but that's great. I'll check that one out.

Do you know any more about the 'tricks' used ?
As for a "faster processor" it's not quite that simple. The Amstrad suffers from uniform contention no matter where in ROM or RAM you access, so there is always some slowdown. In contrast the Speccy is only contended when it absolutely has to be, so it is possible to squeeze the full performance out of the code. This also has the side effect that when code is directly moved from the Speccy to the CPC, as was common, it's rarely optimised for the CPC. Coupled with the fact you are also pushing something like four times as much graphics data around, it's not surprising the CPC versions are often somewhat slower.



Ah, Right, ok. Thanks for this!


Why are you pushing 4x the graphics data around?

(I want to convert some of my games. I've got one or two books on asm for the CPC but they don't seem to have too much on the memory layout and make up of the CPC specifically - any recommends would be much appreciated !)



« Last Edit: 11:29, 24 June 20 by Vince »
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #93 on: 11:42, 24 June 20 »
@andycadley


Andy.


Proves the whole point of coding the games from line one on the target machine really. Can you elaborate or point me in the direction of some more information on coding the CPC series? I've got a book or two on asm but they have a lot of gaps when it comes to explaining the hardware set-up.


In contrast, I've got books on the c64 that are incredibly comprehensive, going right down to the number of cycles.







Edit: woke up this morning not knowing how to spell 'Elaborate'.

« Last Edit: 11:44, 24 June 20 by Vince »
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Online Sykobee (Briggsy)

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #94 on: 12:13, 24 June 20 »

I'm not sure about 4x - it depends on the porting technique - the following is very rough:

A common Speccy port technique is to retain the spectrum rendering code to a buffer that looks like the Spectrum screen layout, emulate or drop the attributes completely, and then copy that buffer into CPC screen memory at the end. So there's 1x the standard rendering code, +copy (read 1x, transform 1bpp Speccy to CPC 2bpp (possibly reading 1 attribute as well per 8 bytes) which is a table lookup, write (twice as much)). That's 5x the memory accesses.


A better port replaces the spectrum renderer with direct to CPC screen memory rasterisation of the Speccy graphics - that saves using the intermediary buffer. 3x the memory accesses.


A great port changes the spectrum graphics with CPC graphics, removes the transform stage, but obviously is reading twice the data. It also needs twice the game graphics data memory, luckily the extra RAM on the CPC helps here, especially if you've configured a Speccy size screen. So even in this best case, you're still doing twice the work. It could turn a 25fps spectrum game into a 17fps CPC game. Target machine optimisation was important - but there was no time in the game port budget for that.


And that's before considering non-aligned sprites, masking and merging sprites onto whatever is on the screen already which requires its own memory accesses and logic.


And that's why computers with hardware sprites like the C64 were popular with coders!
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Offline Carnivius

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #95 on: 13:37, 24 June 20 »
yep.  Still, a new port of Rod Land could easily improve on the speed issues of the original port. We've seen far more impressive games running at faster speeds.  Guess it depends who wants to actually make such a thing though.  Sigh's improved graphics sure deserve to be used.
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Offline Axelay

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #96 on: 15:46, 24 June 20 »

48kb.
This is one Spectrum game that I wish the CPC had a Speccy port of.


A spectrum port is not about the graphics, it's about the code.  In all likelihood it is a spectrum port.

The Amstrad port 'looks' quite good, but man it is so so so very slow which I cannot work out, not only is it a fixed screen platformer with no scrolling, but you also have a faster processor.


Basically it looks like it probably is a spectrum port with no thought put in to how the code design would work on CPC.  Even if not a spectrum port, it's been coded like one.  There's two main things it's doing that really weren't ever going to work well on the CPC that take the vast majority of the time.  One was the pretty common use in spectrum ports of a software copied back buffer with a string of LDI instructions.  With such a comparatively large play area for employing that method, it takes around 2.7 screen refreshes.  So that's down to 17fps to do 'nothing'.  Then there's how it handles updating that back buffer.  It doesn't just update what's animated or moved, no dirty tiles, it reprints the entire background screen every frame.  That also takes over 2.7 screen refreshes.  Add over a screen refresh for everything else and you have a game running at 7.5 fps and down.
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #97 on: 16:30, 24 June 20 »
yep.  Still, a new port of Rod Land could easily improve on the speed issues of the original port. We've seen far more impressive games running at faster speeds.  Guess it depends who wants to actually make such a thing though.  Sigh's improved graphics sure deserve to be used.

Yeah, there is a good game to be made here. It isn't a technically demanding game by any stretch.

It looks like it probably is a spectrum port with no thought put in to how the code design would work on CPC.  Even if not a spectrum port, it's been coded like one.  There's two main things it's doing that really weren't ever going to work well on the CPC that take the vast majority of the time.  One was the pretty common use in spectrum ports of a software copied back buffer with a string of LDI instructions.  With such a comparatively large play area for employing that method, it takes around 2.7 screen refreshes.  So that's down to 17fps to do 'nothing'.  Then there's how it handles updating that back buffer.  It doesn't just update what's animated or moved, no dirty tiles, it reprints the entire background screen every frame.  That also takes over 2.7 screen refreshes.  Add over a screen refresh for everything else and you have a game running at 7.5 fps and down.
Ok with that in mind. Is it not possible and forgive me if this is 100% nonsense as I have yet to code a game for the system

  • Don't have a backbuffer.
  • Draw the screen once at the start of a level.
  • Loop entails drawing/erasing sprites and checking collisions. If you have the ability to draw pixels direct to the screen once you have set up the frames of animation I am not sure what the issue is. Just cycle through and copy the relevant data.
  • with Flowers have an array and as they get collected just update the array so they no longer get drawn.
How much have I got wrong, it's fine. Just spitballing.

Also if needed why not have a small backbuffer just for the 'sprites'.
« Last Edit: 16:33, 24 June 20 by Vince »
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Offline andycadley

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #98 on: 17:19, 24 June 20 »

No I wasn't but that's great. I'll check that one out.

Do you know any more about the 'tricks' used ?



In principle, it's just a matter of re-writing the attribute memory whilst the frame is being displayed. It's a bit more complex than that because the Speccy doesn't have any line interrupts to help so the whole thing has to be synchronised to the display and run with exact timing (which varies between Speccy models). There are modern engines like Bifrost and Nirvana which can some of the complexity out of multicolour rendering, but you're also severely limiting the amount of processing the available for game logic so they tend to be simpler titles overall.


Why are you pushing 4x the graphics data around?

(I want to convert some of my games. I've got one or two books on asm for the CPC but they don't seem to have too much on the memory layout and make up of the CPC specifically - any recommends would be much appreciated !)


Because I can't math first thing in the morning.  :laugh:


It is more like a minimum of 2x, because the Speccy display is always 1bpp whereas the equivalent screen mode on the CPC is 2bpp (and others change pixel size rather than memory usage).


Much is made of the fact the CPC should therefore need 2x the memory for graphics, but that is only true for static backgrounds. On the Speccy you typically can't get away with treating a zero pixel as transparent (as it all just leads to everything bleeding together) so sprites almost always end up needing a mask to go with them.


The wiki pages are a good place to start as most of the information needed can be found there. And of course if you have specific questions then asking in the forum's here will almost certainly get you answers from some of the best CPC coders around (and other mere mortals like myself)
« Last Edit: 17:25, 24 June 20 by andycadley »
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Offline Vince

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Re: Rodland
« Reply #99 on: 20:20, 24 June 20 »
So...

Say you had a 1 screen puzzler or a 1 screen platformer, in theory I should be able to avoid clash?  :)
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