Screen flipping in platform games

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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by STEdawg »

Retrogamer_ST wrote:Unfortunately only a few companies took advantage of the new hardware in STE.
And even then it wasn't used to anywhere near it's potential. The STE was due to have a lot more custom chips/hardware(to rival the Amiga 500), but that never happened due to a few reasons, surprisingly cost wasn't one pf the main reasons.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by AtariZoll »

Looking back to those years clearly says that: developing quality SW takes lot of time. I would say that about 2 years were required to fully utilize HW, and make good SW, so games too. Despite fact that Atari ST and first Amiga version (1000) were released in same year, 1985, Atari had advantage with sw and games too until about 1988 - because of much bigger user base at start. And Amiga 1000 was not used so much for gaming, of course.
In 1987 Amiga 500 arrived, and price was approx. as price of 1040 ST. In 1988, Amiga was leading game machine, with more releases than for Atari ST. Atari reacted on it in 1989, but that was simply too late. And I would add that STE still missed something, already present in most of micros of that time: universal expansion bus (present only in Mega ST, and not 100% universal).
So, we can say that SW companies needed 1-2 years for developing STE quality SW, but many (if not most) of them turned to Amiga and consoles instead. Additionally, there was need to maintain ST compatibility, so making big parts of code in 2 versions. That was made actually in max 20-40 cases by big game developers.
In 1991 it was already lost battle. Couple years ago even Amiga lost - first victory of Chinese against US :mrgreen:
Famous Schrodinger's cat hypothetical experiment says that cat is dead or alive until we open box and see condition of poor animal, which deserved better logic. Cat is always in some certain state - regardless from is observer able or not to see what the state is.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by Retrogamer_ST »

I remember when the swedish computer magazines talked about a new Amiga killer, a new powerful STE model from Atari. Their first complaint was the limit of (still) 16 on screen colours while Amiga could display 32. Later it was complaints about the incompatibility. I remember myself being quite upset because some of my old games didn't worked on my new ST, like Speedball for exemple. Else the bigger pallette, the custom chips and extra ports was a great enhancement from the orginal ST model.

I think that both STE and Falcon were released too late, if Atari could have been quicker to deliver these computers things could have looked different.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by exxos »

A few weeks back when I was editing some STOS game to work correctly/better, There was a platform game. The screen was just blanked then the new one drawn. I used screen swapping to draw the screen then swap that to the physical screen, so you did not see the "world blocks" drawing one by one. Though later I revamped it so it ran ultra fast. I actually put 2 options in the code to turn on and off the screen going blank between screens. When it changed instantly from one room to another kinda thing, it was very disorientating to what was going on. So I deliberately added in a screen wipe of the physical screen to black the room totally, then the new screen come up.

My point here is, at least for "screen flipping" as you guys call it, if its instant, it just does not seem right somehow. If there is a delay, then it seems a lot better. Though if the screen goes black for more than a second, then that is also bad. I think the trick there is to make sure the screen change wipes the screen, but not to short and not to long. I personally have no problems with that. Starquake I always used to play, that didn't scroll. I would prefer to have screen flipping than a jerky scroller type game.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by joska »

Retrogamer_ST wrote:I think that both STE and Falcon were released too late, if Atari could have been quicker to deliver these computers things could have looked different.
I doubt that. Atari and Commodore had lost even before they started their 16-bit projects. They lost when the first cheap PC- and AT-clones were made in Taiwan. If their new machines had been PC/AT-compatible it might have looked different.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by Retrogamer_ST »

What i meant was that Atari could have been in there for perhaps 2 more years, instead Amiga was the leading computer for some time, then it was all about PC.

The only chance for Atari and Commodore to survive would be to release a powerful games console, and they did. Unfortanly Amiga CD32 was anything but a saviour for Commodore and Jaguar didn't stand a chance against the competition. The next year both Ataris and Commodores consoles practically got trashed by both Sony and Sega and the japanese empire of consoles would last until 2001 when Microsoft released Xbox.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by AtariZoll »

joska wrote:
Retrogamer_ST wrote:I think that both STE and Falcon were released too late, if Atari could have been quicker to deliver these computers things could have looked different.
I doubt that. Atari and Commodore had lost even before they started their 16-bit projects. They lost when the first cheap PC- and AT-clones were made in Taiwan. If their new machines had been PC/AT-compatible it might have looked different.
That's not correct. In 1985-1990 PC clones were expensive and with poor graphic, sound. First really cheap PC clones were made in Taiwan (correct), but somewhere around 1990-1 ....
Famous Schrodinger's cat hypothetical experiment says that cat is dead or alive until we open box and see condition of poor animal, which deserved better logic. Cat is always in some certain state - regardless from is observer able or not to see what the state is.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by joska »

AtariZoll wrote:That's not correct.
Yes it is. The IBM PC had well documented hardware and expansion busses, and an OS that everybody could buy separately from IBM's hardware. This opened up a huge market for expansion boards and complete PC's *not* made by IBM, which forced the prices way down. Atari, Apple and Commodore could not compete against this with their closed hardware and OS.
AtariZoll wrote:In 1985-1990 PC clones were expensive and with poor graphic, sound.
It didn't matter. IBM PC/AT clones outsold every other 16/32 bit platform in the 80's and 90's by a huge margin. And not only for business use, but in the home market as well. Even Apple almost went down, the IBM/MS solution dominated the market completely and outsold all competitors. This only changed when usage shifted from native applications to the internet - that's when Apple started to make money again. IBM/MS were simply too big to take on.
AtariZoll wrote:First really cheap PC clones were made in Taiwan (correct), but somewhere around 1990-1 ....
The first Taiwan-made clone I saw was marketed in Norway in 1984 by a Danish (?) company called Josty. They used to make electronic hobby kits, and sold the basic "Josty PC" cheaper than the 520ST that was launched a year later. I still have a magazine with the first review of the 520ST when it was launched in Norway. They liked the machine a lot, but had two reservations: It was more expensive than a PC clone and there was not much software for it compared to DOS. And they were right. The ST could never really compete because DOS/Windows machines were a better choice for most people. Except for some niche markets it had inferior software, and "power without the price" was just a slogan. Add a harddrive and a monitor and it was more expensive than a PC clone that got the job done.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by AtariZoll »

Joska, it seems that we lived on different planets :D I don't want to spam thread with long memories. Facts are that some decent PC clone costed much more than Atari ST or Amiga (with monitor, hard disk) until 1990-1991. I remember engineer spent about 5000 DEM for 386SX with VGA graph and color monitor, in 1993. Atari and Amiga were actually first multimedia machines, at price affordable for western people, and even those in "communist" lands. I bought my first PC in 1994 - used one parts combined. Getting new would cause bankrupt :mrgreen:
Famous Schrodinger's cat hypothetical experiment says that cat is dead or alive until we open box and see condition of poor animal, which deserved better logic. Cat is always in some certain state - regardless from is observer able or not to see what the state is.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by Retrogamer_ST »

But if you look at it.

EGA, CGA and DOS, it was stoneage compared to Atari ST, and even when Windows 3.11 was released in 1992, much of work had to be done within DOS. And when Win 95 arrived it was so many bugs that you had big problems to get anything done. (ask me as a programmer back then).

And to be honest, i don't remember PC being a cheap computer back then.

For me, it was a mystery how PC could be such success but i guess that the big industry was the main reason for that, PC standard.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by joska »

Retrogamer_ST wrote:For me, it was a mystery how PC could be such success but i guess that the big industry was the main reason for that, PC standard.
Exactly. PC's were big even before the ST and Amiga existed. Nobody ever caught up. Look at PC's today - 100% x86-based machines. That's all you get, and probably 90% of them is shipped with Windows.

Specs didn't matter much. Only enthusiasts cared about that. For almost everybody else the important thing was to have a computer that could run the same software as the computers at work or at your friends' house. Let's be honest - if technical specs were that important why did we buy ST's after the Amiga 1000 came out? And why didn't everybody buy Enterprises in the 8-bit era? I have a stack of old computer magazines at home. In 1984 you could buy a 8088-based PC with 256Kb RAM and a floppy drive for less than the price of a 520 a year later. For the average user the choice was easy.

The home computer history is full of amazing hardware that failed commercially, because the manufacturer did not understand that technical specs only sells computers to a few enthusiasts. If you want to sell to the masses you need a lot more.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by Retrogamer_ST »

You could see the same thing when video was something new and exciting. VHS wasn't the best system but VHS soon became standard. In the beginning you could find small selections of movies to rent for Betamax and Video 2000 but very soon it was only VHS left.

Another big reason for the success of PC was the built in harddrive.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

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as Pera mentioned, here in 80's behind the Iron Curtain, PC were out of our our scope due to horrible price. That changed at the beginning of 90's, when we could buy a 286 or 386sx mounted from used parts (!) in a reasonable, but a much still higher than ST price.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

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AtariZoll wrote:Facts are that some decent PC clone costed much more than Atari ST or Amiga (with monitor, hard disk) until 1990-1991. I remember engineer spent about 5000 DEM for 386SX with VGA graph and color monitor, in 1993.
This is not what people bought in the 80's. They bought cheap 8088/8086-based machines with CGA, EGA or Hercules cards and 512Kb RAM. In 1988 - when the ST and Amiga were at it's commercial peak - a friend of mine bought such a machine (with 20Mb harddrive) for ~NOK12000. I switched to a 1040STFM that year - it cost me NOK9000 with an SM124 and buying a harddrive was totatlly unrealistic. Another friend of mine bought a 1040STF with SM1224 and a Panasonic printer in 1987 and paid NOK14000 :D Still no harddrive.
AtariZoll wrote:Atari and Amiga were actually first multimedia machines, at price affordable for western people, and even those in "communist" lands.
Yes, the ST and Amiga were technically superior when it came to video and sound. It didn't matter in the long run because like the 8-bits before them they were incompatible with each other and every other platform out there. The PC was the only "safe" choice. It was less fun and more expensive than buying an ST or Amiga, but people did not want a "breadbox" occupying the living room TV anymore. They bought Segas and Nintendos for that :)
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by Zamuel_a »

Here in Sweden PC computers didn't get popular until middle of the 90th. They started to sell "multimedia PCs", that was a 486 with soundcard and CD player an so and it was at an reasonable price for "normal people". Before that only companies bought PC.

I remember in 93, then I was looking into either buying a new computer or keep my Atari 520STE. A new computer (286) with VGA graphics and no sound cost a lot (something like EURO 1500 back then) and I wouldn't get anything that was better than the Atari I had. It ended with me buying more RAM to my Atari instead :wink:
I didn't buy my first PC until 96. There wasn't anything I couldn't do on my Atari that I needed a PC for before that.

The first thing I noticed when I started to program on PC was how primitive it was and how difficult it was to handle the memory and 32bit instructions. The x86 felt like stone age compared to the 68000.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by alexh »

@joska

I disagree, in the UK prior to 1991 you would not even consider buying an x86 PC (read 386/486) for the home because they were just too expensive. Everyone I knew in 1991 had a home computer and no-one had an x86 PC. They all had 16-bit wedge computers, Amiga 500, Atari ST(e), Archimedes A3000.

Our school was all RM Nimbus 386/486 PC running DOS/Windows but no-one I knew had one at home. And the games you could run on them (which we did try when the teacher wasn't looking) sucked ass compared to Amiga/ST.

I don't know what happened in late 1991 (could it have been the release of the 486-DX2? Or Windows3.1) but everyone (except myself) jumped ship around that time. I didn't join the crowd until 1998 when I threw in the towel and bought a Celeron 300A and Nvidia Riva TNT card.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by Retrogamer_ST »

I remember when i started to work with PC's in early 90's and how primitive i thought it was compared to my ST. Several of my friends bought (expensive) PC's, the only thing that impressed me was how little computer power you really got for your money and how tiresome everything was. It wasn't until many later when Windows took care of most basic things and you got descent graphic cards, that PC became interesting for me.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by joska »

alexh wrote:I disagree, in the UK prior to 1991 you would not even consider buying an x86 PC (read 386/486) for the home because they were just too expensive. Everyone I knew in 1991 had a home computer and no-one had an x86 PC. They all had 16-bit wedge computers, Amiga 500, Atari ST(e), Archimedes A3000.
Here's a good article describing why the PC succeded and all other platforms failed.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

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I really don't understand Joska. Everyone here talks that PC's were too expensive before 1990-1992. It may be that in USA percentage of PCs was higher than in Europe, and % of MACs was surely much bigger, what may be explained by government help and generally lower prices. I remember exactly that prices in US were lower for some 20% than in EU for computers and related. Still, real PC bum happened only after creation of custom chips: POACH (PC on a chip) - for 286, 386 mainboards. It may be that there were some cheaper tries from unknown manufacturers, but people does not like to buy such things, with good reason.
And why PC succeeded, and Amiga, Atari and many other not ? One of the reasons is that IBM did not patented it. Practically same case as with BHS vs. Beta (video recorders) - Sony wanted all self, and VHS became much more spread, despite worse specs. But that's not all. IBM knew well something what others not: how to maintain compatibility with old SW. This is something what Atari wanted too (with DR as OS developer), but they did not it too good. Everyone wanted to make PC clone, including Atari and Commodore. And that was stupid, and just another nail in coffin for ST, Amiga line. They wanted quick money, and did not care to keep own line enough.
But main reason was advance of technology, and dropping of prices. Combined with cheap Asian workers. It allowed new firms to jump on market, free of paying licenses. Taiwan became main manufacturer of mainboards, with own brands. Still they rule that part of market - ASUS for instance.
Imagine that some serious firm want to equip self with some Ataris or Amigas ... It was very rare case. They went on PCs, even before 1990. Maybe that segment was about what Joska talks. But most of PCs is sold for home users after 1992.
I think that World is just not ready for many computer architectures. Look about popular PC OS-es: there is Windows, then big pause, then MAC OS,Linux, and after that almost nothing. Situation was better 20 years ago. And may happen that will be better with new architectures - at least on tablets there is some choice.
Famous Schrodinger's cat hypothetical experiment says that cat is dead or alive until we open box and see condition of poor animal, which deserved better logic. Cat is always in some certain state - regardless from is observer able or not to see what the state is.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

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Retrogamer_ST wrote:I remember when i started to work with PC's in early 90's and how primitive i thought it was compared to my ST. Several of my friends bought (expensive) PC's, the only thing that impressed me was how little computer power you really got for your money and how tiresome everything was. It wasn't until many later when Windows took care of most basic things and you got descent graphic cards, that PC became interesting for me.
Think it was around mid 90s I got my first 286SX25 (I think). mostly donated parts, HUGE massive PC case. Only running DOS. Took weeks to get DOOM working in DOS, but did it in the end after changing a lot of hardware and settings about. Mostly it was for getting on the internet, but didn't happen until a couple years later.

I remember a guy who was always buying PC stuff at the time, he turned his nose up at the impossible thought of just turning off the power to the ST rather than having to "shut it down" like on his PC. Plus rather than having to reinstall the OS every couple of days, the ST did that on every turn on. Can't help but feel the Atari still has some cool advantages over the PC.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by Retrogamer_ST »

He he

A friend of my bought a high end 386 PC in mid 90's that costed him a fortune and some of the games were delivered on 15 or more diskettes to install on the harddrive. Yet my SNES and Amiga CD32 wiped the floor with his PC in terms of fluid graphics. Even Xenon II wasn't as good as the ST version. Don't even mention the game 7'th guest (on cd), it was more a slideshow then a game.

I remember myself installing "Crystal Reports" on my job computer. The program was delivered on 10 install diskettes, it took nearly 4 hours until everything was installed and ready to tun. It was many cups of coffee for me that morning while waiting.

It wasn't until several years later that PC became resonable easy to work with. USB, Win XP and new powerful graphic hardware made PC a powerful and much more easy computer to deal with. Today most things is quite easy to perform and often a "click and go" thing.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by FedePede04 »

Hi
In Denmark before 90 was it most companies that had PC, due to cost and also that computer was mostly use for games, so all had home computers like c64 and Amiga and then there was me with my Atari STfm520 :lol:

I bought a 486dx in 92, could not wait any more for the next Atari to come to Denmark (Falcon)
i gave 13.500dkr (in today money around 21.120 dkr = 2816€) it was including a cheap 14 color monitor.

in 94 i bought a Pentium 90mhz retail for 17900 dkr (in today money around 24.612 dkr = 3281€)

btw i bought my ST around 86-87 don't remember it exactly, but i gave 6245dkr for it (today money around 13.739 dkr = 1831€)

and i gave 25ddk (today moneys 7,3€) for my first floppy disk :lol:

the PC was also a really great computer before windows arrived :D
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by exxos »

Most people today only know of "upgrades" as plugging in a USB stick or something. Some will know to plug stuff together to build a PC. But where is the fun in that ? Upgrade the RAM in a ST and spend hours soldering, tracking cutting, wirings, that's a REAL hardware upgrade. You can learn a lot by doing that. How much is learned by plugging in a PCI card ? Computing years ago was all about the hardware and getting it to work, and pushing beyond the limits and upgrading. Just don't get that anymore with PC stuff.

Just look at the demo coders in the past, pushing past 16 colours with raster demos, removal of the borders. It is amazing stuff. Of course all that is "lost" on the PC. We have high res stuff, millions of colours, super frame rates, big deal ? Where is the challenge and the skill to break those limits on hardware which wasn't designed to do that in the first place. Who ever took a knife to a PC motherboard and upgraded the colours from 16 to 32 ? Computing isn't just about "what games to play" but sadly its how it seems to have gone with PCs of today.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by SteveBagley »

exxos wrote:Just look at the demo coders in the past, pushing past 16 colours with raster demos, removal of the borders. It is amazing stuff. Of course all that is "lost" on the PC. We have high res stuff, millions of colours, super frame rates, big deal ? Where is the challenge and the skill to break those limits on hardware which wasn't designed to do that in the first place. Who ever took a knife to a PC motherboard and upgraded the colours from 16 to 32 ? Computing isn't just about "what games to play" but sadly its how it seems to have gone with PCs of today.
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Re: Screen flipping in platform games

Post by Zogging Hell »

I think probably cheap PC clones were about, but we just didn't notice them because they were hidden in offices. Amstrads PC clones sold by the bucket load in the UK but I can' t remember seeing them (we may have had one at school next to the BBC micros), though they must have been about as wikipedia mentions they had 25% of the European computer market at one point. They cost about the same as an ST or Amiga (£399 for the base model) and also ran GEM amusingly (for a brief moment GEM must have been the most widespread GUI!). Also lots of people in offices were using terminals, these cost a bomb but linked together quite well - although I still remember them crashing in lots of retail enviroments and making life hell for sales assistants. And then there were loads of 'word processor' computers that seemed to be crappy CPM PCs knocking about as well. They were all just sneaking around in offices plotting the death of fun computers...

Back on topic I'd say I'd quite happily see anything Probe programmed being changed to flip screen, their scrolling routines were bloody awful (Final Fight, TMNT Arcade game and quite a few others ruined by the worst, jumpiest, scrolling ever). US Gold often get a good beating for lack lustre conversions but when Probe was on the case the results were often abysmal..
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