After Impossible Mission

Want to talks about games you like, would like to see developed on the Oric, it's here.

Which game would you like me to work on after Impossible Mission?

Poll ended at Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:35 pm

Times of Lore(RPG)
2
13%
O-Type(Shoot em up)
8
50%
Wurlde(Mammoth Arcade Adventure)
2
13%
Lemmings(!)
2
13%
Gauntlet(Hack n Slash RPG)
2
13%
Prince of Persia(Platformer)
0
No votes
Other game(Suggest in thread)
0
No votes
Not interested, i'm an alien from the planet Zod
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 16

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Symoon
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Post by Symoon »

Tapes unless the game you want to make really can't be done this way, or unless we find a new disk hardware that can be easily produced for any Oric user. For the only reason that there are now so few disk users on real machines, that making disk-based games is now almost similar to programming for emulators only.
Don't get me wrong, I also want to see wonderful disk-based games. But if it can be done on tape (or maybe a simplified version ?), go for tapes.

Games like Le Diamant de l'Ile Maudite and Le Fer d'Amnukor show that, with some limitations, tapes could be used even if the program was bigger than 48KB.

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Post by Dbug »

Antiriad2097 wrote:Tape. Largely because of the limited use for disc as you mentioned.

It can be argued that you can do more and 'better' games with disc multiloads, but you could use that same argument to promote more efficient or clever coding to stay within 48k.
The problem with "more efficient or clever coding" is that it takes forever to do anything remotely ambitious.

Antiriad2097 wrote:The alternate is to create a disc based game but to also offer a (undoubtedly slow) tape multiload version. There's no reason the tape version can't operate in exactly the same way as the disc version. Not practical for those using real hardware, but for the emulation crowd who have a turboload option faster than real discs, it should work just fine.
A multi-load version is really not practical. On an emulator sure you go in a menu and select the file you want. On the real machine you have to fast forward/fast backward, using not much reliable tape counters, or you have to have all the files as individual files and use a pc or media player to select the files. If you get the wrong one the game crashes.

It's basically what I did in my first demo, and technically it works only on emulators. Watching the real demo on a real oric takes ages, and you better have a remote controlled tape drive.
Antiriad2097 wrote:My main desire for tape games is because DSOric only supports those, there's no disc support at all. I don't expect it to emerge either, given there's been virtually no development of it since release.
Well, I'm pretty much sure it's possible to do a DS version of Oricutron, as the author of Pandoricutron as shown :)

Limiting the possible type of software one could have access to because of the weaknesses of an emulators... is not going to convince me ;)
Symoon wrote:Games like Le Diamant de l'Ile Maudite and Le Fer d'Amnukor show that, with some limitations, tapes could be used even if the program was bigger than 48KB.
I'm clearly not heralding a disk based version of Pac Man.
Any game with a clear "part one" then "part two", like both games you named can be done on a tape, that's correct. Assuming each part fits in memory it's not really a problem.

Basically what I'm saying is that if Twilighte goes on O-Type with a tape design in mind, you are going to have few levels, mostly repeating graphics, each level using the same music, no high-score savings, no cool intro picture or intro sequence at all, no unique bosses that occupy half of the screen, etc...

If instead he goes Disc based, you can have the full game experience, you can have longer maps for each level, more varied graphics, because you can load stuff between the various levels.

We really need somebody to make one of these cheap disc drive replacement devices, HELPPPP !!!!. Sacrificing the quality and potentiality of the software because of the scarcity of hardware makes me sad. :(

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Post by Antiriad2097 »

Dbug wrote:Basically what I'm saying is that if Twilighte goes on O-Type with a tape design in mind, you are going to have few levels, mostly repeating graphics, each level using the same music, no high-score savings, no cool intro picture or intro sequence at all, no unique bosses that occupy half of the screen, etc...
Now that's an exaggeration. There are no end of tape multiload shooters for 8 bit systems, usually loading each level in turn. Just as an example, Salamander on C64.
The intro needn't be linked to the game at all, I'd happily watch it once but on subsequent plays its inevitably going to be skipped no matter what system its coded for, tape or disc. The more you play, the less the intro will appeal as it becomes an obstacle to getting into the game.

Rather than worrying about disc developments that will only impact a minority of users, would it not be more beneficial to work out a 'load as you play' system?
If you have a core game engine, you only need to keep level 1 in memory.
Load level 2 as you play level 1.
While playing level 2, load level 3.
If you die in level 2 or beyond, you can start level 1 again from memory and reload level 2.
You need 3 memory areas. 1 for level 1, then 2 for subsequent levels - playing level 3 would load level 4 into the space previously used by level 2, for example.

With some clever design, you could share tiles from either memory space in your level, so you could 'fade' into the new area smoothly, transitioning from (for example) the level 2 tileset, to a mix of level 2 & 3 tileset, to all level 3 tileset.

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Post by Dbug »

The systems you refer to have a standardized tape deck with remote control, so the game can control when to start and stop the tape system. We don't have that on the oric, they also are more reliable when loading.

If there's no such "multi load" thing on the oric (generally it's "side A/B based") it's probably for this exact reason: The programmer does not have control on the tape drive.

For the load stuff while playing, it has been done on the Atari and Amiga at least for two games, Saint Dragon and Ninja Warriors.

Doing that on a disk system definitely seems doable (even if tricky), doing that on tape seems to be very very difficult. The only examples I know of Oric games doing something while loading are Lone Runner and the Atmos Demonstration tape. Possibly the sequel of Tyrann was doing something similar but I don't remember it because due to the custom loading format I managed to play the game about once every 5 attempts at loading it.

Basically you are back to the concept of "clever design", which in programmers terms means "spend 5 months devise some nightmarish code which will probably work on your machine but not on anyone's else, instead of just using a non clever design which will only take 2 week to implement and debug".

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Post by Symoon »

Dbug wrote:
Symoon wrote:Games like Le Diamant de l'Ile Maudite and Le Fer d'Amnukor show that, with some limitations, tapes could be used even if the program was bigger than 48KB.
I'm clearly not heralding a disk based version of Pac Man.
Any game with a clear "part one" then "part two", like both games you named can be done on a tape, that's correct. Assuming each part fits in memory it's not really a problem.
Le Fer d'Amnukor wasn't in two parts. You had to load each town you wanted to travel to! (actually each maze map)
Not very practical but it did the job rather well. Of course it won't work with all kinds of games.

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Post by Antiriad2097 »

Dbug wrote:The systems you refer to have a standardized tape deck with remote control, so the game can control when to start and stop the tape system. We don't have that on the oric, they also are more reliable when loading.
Err, no.

Spectrum doesn't have control over the tape. It has only a headphone/mic connecting cable. Multiload is very common on Spectrum games.

Oric does have control over the tape. In exactly the same way as the C64, the Oric can stop the tape drive when it wants to, though this does require a tape deck with a socket for the 'remote' connection from the Oric.

With that in mind, its no more advanced than that on C64 - it can stop then restart the tape, but any fast forward or rewind is done manually by the user. Multiload is common on C64.

There are Spectrum and C64 games that load from tape while letting you play - see the classic Invadaload system for example.

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Post by Chema »

A figure emerges in a cloud of smoke from his hotel in Granada, where he is spending his vacation...

Hi folks. Just found a wifi connection and saw this interesting discussion.

All my programs are disk based. Pinforic because I need a lot of memory and needed to emulate a 128K machine using some paging scheme.

Space:1999 because I needed the extra 16K. Could have tried to make a game which fits in 48K, but graphics would have suffered (more repetitive), and also other game areas. And the only thing I could think of to keep it to 48K was loading levels from tape, but that was not where most memory was being lost (the bare maps), but in the graphics, which are used all around the game.

1337, of course needs the extra 16K. Forget about all extra features otherwise (private combat, for instance). And needs disk for loading missions and mission packs, although that could have been done from tape (with a crappy system).

It is ok for me if new games come in tape format. I like that, but personally I prefer to push the limits a bit and use disk if needed.

Now someone mentioned the Lucas and Sierra games. I have in mind to give a look at SCUMM (anybody remembers Maniac Mansion?)... should be doable, although graphics should be adapted (redone) for the Oric. Of course disk based.

But that after I release 1337 and rest a bit... :)

Gets back to vacation mode

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Post by Dbug »

Ok, if you say it's usable even without remote I guess I have to trust you.
Obviously the only way to have that working on all emulators is to split the games in as many tapes as you have sections, with numbers for the various parts that matches the tape counter.

Feels very low tech still.

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Post by ibisum »

We really need to resolve the disk situation. Maybe we should stop all this fancy software development and work together on a new disk peripheral that we can all use ..

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Post by Dbug »

Problem is that some people suck at hardware :) (ex: me)

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Post by Twilighte »

ibisum wrote:We really need to resolve the disk situation. Maybe we should stop all this fancy software development and work together on a new disk peripheral that we can all use ..
I do hope this suggestion was a jest rather than a serious proposition?
We all have different interests in the Oric and i doubt you'd ever get all of us interested in the same project, especially a hardware one.

Regards tape or Disk based, if I do Otype i think it'll probably be disk based. Disk has the advantages you mention but it also demands much more work to push the limits (as Chema put it) and fill the disk with(admittedly) cool stuff.

However there is no reason why a tape based game would not be as diverse in levels, music and features. It would just mean bigger loads from tape. But the big advantage of Disk is the extra 16K and the faster access to/loading of files.

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Post by ibisum »

I do hope this suggestion was a jest rather than a serious proposition?
We all have different interests in the Oric and i doubt you'd ever get all of us interested in the same project, especially a hardware one.
Of course I respect that we all have different interests, and I certainly wasn't suggesting that you drop everything .. but imagine if we actively could solve this disc problem for good? If we *all* had the ability to have decent storage on our Orics, this might ensure that our machines, themselves, have a longer future.

I believe we might have *another* new era of amazing software development if we can use SD cards on our Orics, and so on. One thing that I've always wanted for my Oric is decent storage, an editor, and a C compiler .. all onboard, so I don't have to cross-compile. Until I can get a disc setup like that, I'm not really going to be able to contribute the kinds of software that I'm interested in doing for the Oric .. I don't have a Windows machine, so the OSDK is out of the question, and I'm rather more a fan of having developer tools in the target environment, anyway.

So, take it as a light suggestion, certainly not a serious proposition.


That said, I have bought a Telestrat this week, with a working disc interface. I'm sure looking forward to getting it all crammed with as much good Oric-based development tools as I can! :)

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Post by JamesD »

ibisum wrote:Of course I respect that we all have different interests, and I certainly wasn't suggesting that you drop everything .. but imagine if we actively could solve this disc problem for good? If we *all* had the ability to have decent storage on our Orics, this might ensure that our machines, themselves, have a longer future.

I believe we might have *another* new era of amazing software development if we can use SD cards on our Orics, and so on. One thing that I've always wanted for my Oric is decent storage, an editor, and a C compiler .. all onboard, so I don't have to cross-compile. Until I can get a disc setup like that, I'm not really going to be able to contribute the kinds of software that I'm interested in doing for the Oric .. I don't have a Windows machine, so the OSDK is out of the question, and I'm rather more a fan of having developer tools in the target environment, anyway.

So, take it as a light suggestion, certainly not a serious proposition.


That said, I have bought a Telestrat this week, with a working disc interface. I'm sure looking forward to getting it all crammed with as much good Oric-based development tools as I can! :)
First of all, a decent C compiler running on a 6502 would be difficult due to memory constraints. Working around that by swapping things in and out of memory would take a while to design and build.

The only decent C compiler I've seen on a 6502 machine was on a IIgs which has the 65816. The CPU can address more RAM and the file system supports large files. I suppose an ORIC with a 65816, more RAM, and a decent file system could do it. You could just cross compile cc65 or whatever compiler to the 65816 and it should work.

As for the mass storage device... the hardware isn't the problem. You could have such a device in a short amount of time if there was a standard software API.

All the successful devices on other machines have some sort of standard DOS API the software goes through to access files. Atari and C64 go through a serial connection and have to talk to a standard drive API even if they bypass the DOS in the computer. The Apple II and Tandy CoCo have standard DOS calls which just require a different driver. Tandy people are even going through the serial port to a PC for a mass storage device with just a ROM. But instead of an API on the Oric, you have people insisting on hardware compatibility which is much more difficult.

There are fairly simple designs for both IDE/CF and SD interfaces made with TTL chips that could be adapted to the Oric. The IDE/CF interface published for the Apple would just need adaptation to slight timing and signal differences between the two machines. The SD interface I saw should work with similar changes. But if developers refuse to program for it because it's not hardware compatible and they want to bang the hardware, what is the point?

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Post by Dbug »

JamesD wrote:...There are fairly simple designs for both IDE/CF and SD interfaces made with TTL chips that could be adapted to the Oric. The IDE/CF interface published for the Apple would just need adaptation to slight timing and signal differences between the two machines. The SD interface I saw should work with similar changes. But if developers refuse to program for it because it's not hardware compatible and they want to bang the hardware, what is the point?
Well, I guess if somebody can comes with something that is VERY cheap, works on all the Orics without any problem, and can be programmed with minimal code, that may be worth a shot.

If it's easy to patch existing microdisc/jasmin software to use the new (incompatible) hardware, why not.

My point was just that if a new device is provided, it has to be possible to use the existing software. If the new device works only with new software, then no, really it's not worth trying because it will not provide a good incentive for people to buy it, and if there's not enough hardware around why even bother coding for it.

So assuming such a hardware can be produced in relatively large quantity, for a reasonably cheap price, and that with moderate effort it's possible to "fix" existing software (Pulsoids, Space 1999, 1337, the demos, etc...) to run on it, sure, worth a try.

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Post by ibisum »

I agree Dbug, I don't think it would be worth designing and developing a hardware microdrive replacement if it wasn't just plug and play, working with existing hardware.

Our Orics are getting older and older, the more we shovel into them to support 'new technology', the less likely we are to keep it alive. If we're all, however, using a new hardware module that gives us "microdrive"-simulation environments that boot Sedoric and don't require *any* patches, anywhere, to 'standard disc-using Oric software', we have a better chance to keep the scene alive.

I only wish I knew an Oric enthusiast who was in my area, and could handle a bit of hardware hacking. I've got all the tools to write an AVR-based emulator for the microdrive, but I just don't have the hardware chops not to burn my fingers and blow up my rare hardware..

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