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The big deal with Sapphire.
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tg_drifter
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also thought that the dragon was very nice too... but Sapphire wasn't supposed to be a game with graphics based on hand-drawn animation because of its mainly futuristic theme (the dragon had hand-drawn animation because it's an animal and would probably look more like a robot if it were done with polygons).
But anyway, I get your point. As far as artwork is concerned (I believe that you'll agree with me) Beyond Shadowgate has the best ever seen on the system (plus it has excellent hand-drawn animation too). Of course there are others like Rayxamber III, Princess Maker I & II, the fighters that you mentioned, Kabuki and WH2 etc... but there are parts in Beyond Shadowgate (like the canyon) that have mind-blowing artwork which looks almost true-color. I read somewhere that by fiddling with registers, they could get more shades for a specific color. I don't know if that's the case with B. Shadowgate but it looks awesome anyway!
Unfortunately I've only played Vasteel 2 which has nice artwork but I haven't seen any noteworthy effects yet (who knows, maybe they're keeping them for the end of the game), so I'll keep Vasteel 1 in mind!
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Black_Tiger
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tg_drifter wrote:
I also thought that the dragon was very nice too... but Sapphire wasn't supposed to be a game with graphics based on hand-drawn animation because of its mainly futuristic theme (the dragon had hand-drawn animation because it's an animal and would probably look more like a robot if it were done with polygons).
But anyway, I get your point. As far as artwork is concerned (I believe that you'll agree with me) Beyond Shadowgate has the best ever seen on the system (plus it has excellent hand-drawn animation too). Of course there are others like Rayxamber III, Princess Maker I & II, the fighters that you mentioned, Kabuki and WH2 etc... but there are parts in Beyond Shadowgate (like the canyon) that have mind-blowing artwork which looks almost true-color. I read somewhere that by fiddling with registers, they could get more shades for a specific color. I don't know if that's the case with B. Shadowgate but it looks awesome anyway!
Unfortunately I've only played Vasteel 2 which has nice artwork but I haven't seen any noteworthy effects yet (who knows, maybe they're keeping them for the end of the game), so I'll keep Vasteel 1 in mind!


I haven't had a chance to get a hold of Beyond Shadowgate yet, but from what I can tell from the best screen shots I've seen, it appears that they found a way to use the PCE color diplay effectively.

It's another game where I don't think that the art style is my taste, but I look forward to the variety and animation(aesthetically) but will buy it for the gameplay/adventure.

Again, Vasteel II is one of the few decent+ games I don't own, but from what I've seen it looks different from part one. If you like Nectaris and can at least stand Macross/Robotech then you'll love the original Vasteel.

The only thing is that when units attack, you take control of your mecha.

The game may chug and flicker at times, but there's all kinds of cool graphic effects in it. Ironically, it's during the less impressive stuff like foreground pieces, that the game slows down.

Not only are there several battle backgrounds with a full layer of transparency(if its the flicker type, its not noticible) but one background of space art peels off of itself and the transparent layer continues to warp all over the place.

And I think I counted at least 10 and maybe quite a few more layers more of parallax at one time. This was all back in the day as a teenager when these games came out.

I'm still a fanboy, but most of my nitpicking came from appreciating it when it was still cutting edge.
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Rockman
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2004 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can get more than the 481 colors on the screen by changing the palette during a horrizonal retrace. You can make, say, the top half have one palette and the botom half have another palette. In Bomberman '94 they change the scroll registers during h-blanks to make the nifty rippling effect on the water levels.

The first I time I played Sapphire my eyes nearly popped out of thier sockets. All kinds of animation; in the foreground, in the background, and the enemies with rotation and scaling! The music is great (Lords of Thunder is slightly better). Sapphire is one one of the games that really shows off what the PC-Engine can do.

Has anyone played Faceball? It's kind of like tag with happy-face balls. In that game you move around in a 3d arena (like Wolfenstein minus the textures). The first person view was limited to abount 1/8 of the screen but two player could compete aginst each other each with thier own window This was a Super-CD.
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tg_drifter
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as colors are concerned, I was talking about the non-existent hues that can be "created" on the PC Engine.

The following page has several interesting demos, one of them being a greyscale demo displaying many shades of grey, certainly way more than the number of built-in shades on the system for this specific color.

http://www.zyx.com/chrisc/creations.html

It seems that in some games, developers used this technique to create more shades. One game that comes to mind is Dracula-X which seems to have more shades of Blue (i.e. the last boss fight with the scrolling clouds) than the standard provided by the system.

Faceball (I know we got off-topic, we're supposed to talk about Sapphire here, but anyway...) is quite impressive considering that the PC Engine was not designed for real-time 3D graphics. Even in 4-player mode the frame rate is acceptable and proves that a decent version of Wolfenstein could have been done on the system.
Besides Faceball, the hucard game Gunboat also had 3D environments made up with polygons (although not as good). Also, John Madden Duo CD football has a pretty impressive (by PCE standards) real-time 3D introduction where the spectator is guided to the stadium.
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Black_Tiger
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tg_drifter wrote:
As far as colors are concerned, I was talking about the non-existent hues that can be "created" on the PC Engine.

The following page has several interesting demos, one of them being a greyscale demo displaying many shades of grey, certainly way more than the number of built-in shades on the system for this specific color.

http://www.zyx.com/chrisc/creations.html

It seems that in some games, developers used this technique to create more shades. One game that comes to mind is Dracula-X which seems to have more shades of Blue (i.e. the last boss fight with the scrolling clouds) than the standard provided by the system.

Faceball (I know we got off-topic, we're supposed to talk about Sapphire here, but anyway...) is quite impressive considering that the PC Engine was not designed for real-time 3D graphics. Even in 4-player mode the frame rate is acceptable and proves that a decent version of Wolfenstein could have been done on the system.
Besides Faceball, the hucard game Gunboat also had 3D environments made up with polygons (although not as good). Also, John Madden Duo CD football has a pretty impressive (by PCE standards) real-time 3D introduction where the spectator is guided to the stadium.



Here's all of Chris' stuff along with everything else thats out there-

http://www.zeograd.com/creation_download.php

If you haven't browsed the demos in the last few years you won't believe what some people have created
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Rockman
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. That grayscale demo is a freakish thing. The author says, "this can best be described as a dirty hack".

Dithering can be used to give the impression of more colors. When two similar pictures are switched between fast enough (say every verical blank, or about 1/60th of a second), it gives the impression more colors. Dithering between blue and red produces a very convincing purple.

Sorry, I wan't trying to go off topic with faceball. I brought it up because its an example of the PC-Engine doing real-time 3d proving that sapphire (which has the added benefit of the arcade card) could easily be doing real-time 3d as well.
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Black_Tiger
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rockman wrote:


Sorry, I wan't trying to go off topic with faceball. I brought it up because its an example of the PC-Engine doing real-time 3d proving that sapphire (which has the added benefit of the arcade card) could easily be doing real-time 3d as well.


Ya, except that the Arcade card is just a ram cart.

If anything, it lets the pce take in even more stuff to slow it down.

Although I'm sure that the pce could do some simple 3D(Something like the triforce intro in Link to the Past), there's a big difference between mode-7 type stuff like wolfenstein 3d(really just 2d warping) and rendering actual flat shaded polygons.

If the SNES needed the fx chip to pull off simple stuff, then it'd be easier to just prerender animation on the pce. If the characters are on a fixed angle, then there's no point of doing 3d other than as a benchmark(especially when there is other stuff going on on-screen).

And although I know that a good programmer could get some sort of doom type game going in real time on the pce, Face Ball may very well be using prerender animation.

Just like Treasure Of Tarmin for Intellivision, Phantasy Star for SMS, Devil Summoner for Saturn and all those 3D dugeons in various NES games.

As with all the Space Harrier/Afterburner ports for SMS, no one would try to program in hardware scaling on an early console if the same image can be displayed with a few frames of simple animation.

If Sapphire's 3D(not just the first enemy in the game) was realtime, the game's overall graphics would've been cutting edge as a first generation PSX title and wouldn't have been achieved by the average 1st gen 3rd party Saturn developer.
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tg_drifter
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2004 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Sapphire one could argue since it uses the extra memory cart which could hold tons of frames of animation, but Faceball IS real-time. If the mazes and scaling enemies had to be prerendered then it would have taken up a lot of space on the disk even with heavy compression.
However, this is not the case. A small percentage (about 1/4) of the CD's storage space is used, which proves that the graphics are rendered on the fly.
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Black_Tiger
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tg_drifter wrote:
For Sapphire one could argue since it uses the extra memory cart which could hold tons of frames of animation, but Faceball IS real-time. If the mazes and scaling enemies had to be prerendered then it would have taken up a lot of space on the disk even with heavy compression.
However, this is not the case. A small percentage (about 1/4) of the CD's storage space is used, which proves that the graphics are rendered on the fly.


Ya, but it still means that the only true 3D PCE game manages to match the might of the Nintendo Gameboy.

Although I believe that Faceball is realtime, a 3rd screen, 2 sprite 6 color(3 & 3) maze wouldn't take up much space in stored animation.

Certainly alot less than the frames in in a game like Space Fantasy Zone, Power Drift or Afterburner II.

Which is why I was dissapointed that no one got around to making a decent 3D maze game on PCE. If not a FPS, then at least a Dungeon Master style RPG or something.
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tg_drifter
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Faceball doesn't have any sprites; I verified that by toggling sprites on/off in Magic Engine. Everything is drawn on the fly.
As for Dungeon Master type games, Dungeon Master itself as well as Might And Magic III were released for the Duo and I believe there are more games in the same style for the system.
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Black_Tiger
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tg_drifter wrote:
Faceball doesn't have any sprites; I verified that by toggling sprites on/off in Magic Engine. Everything is drawn on the fly.
As for Dungeon Master type games, Dungeon Master itself as well as Might And Magic III were released for the Duo and I believe there are more games in the same style for the system.


By sprites, I just meant that there's only two 3 color shapes(which could be prerendered as sprites) plus the bg.

When refering to 3D RPG's, I meant that it'd be nice if someone made a realtime 3D dungeon for PCE.

Even if it were simple, with no sprites till a fight, like Shining Wisdom.
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Kaminari
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I'm pretty much certain that if the 1MHz C64 was capable of wireframe 3D la Elite, the PC Engine was nothing short of raw power to just do the same. Only thing is: wireframe 3D was never a popular technology in Japanese video games in the days of old.

Now if you want to see what a 6502-based machine is capable of nowadays, you need to have a look at the demo Numen on the good old Atari 400. Prepare yourself for a shock. Faceball will just look oh so pathetic to you after this Wink
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tg_drifter
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Atari 400 computer was WAY WAY ahead of its time when it first came out (for those who don't know, it was released back in 1979).
With a little tweaking it could display a full 256 colors on-screen (I still remember typing the lines of a program called "Color Explosion", as well as nice wire-frame demo and being absolutely amazed by the output after running them). It was powerful in doing vector graphics and even had some flight sims made on it.
The PC Engine of course is more powerful but hardly anyone cared about creating 3D games on it. Everyone focused on its superb 2D capabilities, which is a good thing, but it would have been nice if several doom-like games were made on it.
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tg_drifter
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...Incredible. I downloaded the Numen demo and after seeing it I still can't believe what they accomplished on a system with a 1.79 MHz processor.
If this program was made 20 years ago, people's jaws would have dropped to the ground.
After witnessing what can be done on an Atari 8-bit computer, I am now sure that the PC Engine's full power has not been exploited yet.
Who knows, maybe we'll have to wait 20 years until someone creates something astonishing that surpasses everything that's been done to date on the PCE.
Unless of course if the Taquart team starts developing on it!
The PCE still has a lot of future ahead of it!
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Kaminari
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hehe...

In exactly three years, the PC Engine will be (can't be!) 20 years old. Time to brush up your assembly code, folks Mr. Green
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