Chaos engine Atari ST-STE

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dlfrsilver
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Chaos engine Atari ST-STE

Post by dlfrsilver »

Here is again a little gift ^^ :

CHAOS ENGINE ST version in Pasti.

Sorry about the lack of music and Richard Joseph missing voices,
as Bitmap Brothers stated themselves in the manual addendum.... :

* The chaos engine will only work on ST's with 1mb of memory or any STE.

* Unfortunately, due to the hardware limitations of the ST, there is no sampled speech in the ST versions. All important information is given either by appropriate sound effects or additional graphics.

* In order to continue in the time-honoured Bitmap Brothers tradition of mucking around with the password system at the last minute, The Chaos Engine now only awards passwords at the end of every WORLD rather than every equipment Screen.

Well so no music ingame here, graphics toned down, no speeches,
password only at the end the levels instead of each equipment screen,
and the game is way way more EASIER than Pc and Amiga version.

While the AI on amiga and pc is more strong, it's easy to go through the end hehehe ^^

Enjoy the original ^^ !
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Post by manicx »

Coooooool! Thanks a million for that!
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Post by dlfrsilver »

No pb ^^ 8)

i love that game too ^^ !
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Post by X3peri_MENTaL »

Nice One :)

So many downloads though (14 to date) and yet so little in the way of thanks :!:
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Post by tjlazer »

Thanks!!!
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Post by keili »

Many thanks, dlfrsilver :D .
It's pasti-week 8) .
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Post by punkrulesok »

nice game, but can anyone say what STE specific parts there are in the game?
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Post by unseenmenace »

It uses the STE hardware scrolling which explains why it only needs 512KB on an STE and 1MB on an STFM since it probably has preshifted map blocks or something on the STFM. Sadly it doesn't use the STE's DMA sound hardware, not even for the title music let alone the in-game sampled effects that they left out for no good reason.
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Post by dlfrsilver »

does it really use STE hardware scrolling ?

because i didn't notice anything about this in the game ?

i have run the game on my 1040 STF and also on Steem, and the result
is the same....The scrolling is hesitating a bit, and the monsters AI is severely toned down. What's good is that anyone can finish the game
because it's easier than other versions. Pc version is a copy of the A1200's
and the standard amiga version use extremmely accurate AI/lot more colors

About digitized samples, i guess they surely have tested the result before
saying 'relative to hardware limitations'.

Richard holds the answer, i will ask him personally.

The first version or one of the version i saw on amiga had 3 players at the
same time on screen, and they removed 1 of the 3. The legend said this version was running on a plain A3000 at 25mhz.

But i think it's not a story of STE is not capable of on the paper, because of hardware scrolling, DMA sound etc, etc.....

It's surely the whole thing together running that is the pb.

Richard is known to use high quality samples, and he's too perfectionnist
to let a game on which he works being wasted.

I'll post his answer here soon ! ^^

edited : after playing on A500 ECS version, the game appears to be
more smooth but it's quite slow, at least on Winuae and it's stressing out
CPU 100% power. The ST version is not smooth, but has better control to me. There is no slow downs on ST because there is no speeches and no music to handle. ...
Last edited by dlfrsilver on Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by unseenmenace »

I traced through some of the code using Steem Debug and it definitely sets the STE's hardware scrolling registers and runs pretty smoothly on STeem on my PC. As for the samples the STE can play 50Khz stereo samples with very little code and virtually no CPU usage at all so theres really no excuse. Of course its true to say that while an STFM can play samples it would slow the game down a lot and need yet more RAM.
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Post by dlfrsilver »

Yep i know STE can handle 50 khz samples, but you'll agree that
bitmap bros were the best programmers/artists of great-britain, with
excellent knowlegde of our machines.... There is a reason, or they have discovered something or by testing maybe a version with sound it was
not what they wanted it to be, and then in the end removed the speeches and
digitized music.

The program in itself is very complex, use excellent AI, and hell yes,
use high quality sound. The main title music takes up 310 kb alone, while
the rest takes 1,1 mb of samples + music.

About hardware scrolling, i regret to not possess yet an STE.
If i can find one in good state, i'll try to invest into one just to see the real machine running.

edit : i have found a site where a guy talks about the chaos engine running on his Mega STE, here it is :

The Chaos Engine
STE owners demanded special software. The Chaos Engine from The Bitmap Brothers of Xenon and Speedball fame, promised to be just that. Always discerning in choice and so far happy with my game collection, I looked forward to the Bitmaps' new creation with great anticipation, hoping that their STE enhancements would lift it above the quality of their previous ST versions of games. Impeccable style was order of the day in this game, surpassing even the Bitmaps' own high standards. Several advertisements appeared in the ST press and I quote, "Atari ST (STE Enhanced)", and ST Format 48 in July (actually June, remember print magazines come out at least a month ahead of their cover date) gave it a glowing review, 94%, ST Format Gold. "If you play on an STE, the Chaos Engine automatically detects its advanced features and runs an enhanced version of the game with faster, smoother scrolling and an increased colour palette." said the very last paragraph, supporting what I'd read elsewhere that the STE would feature the full 32-colour palette. That's it, I had to have it. Visited Virgin Games Centre on a Friday again then proceeded to examine the package during my afternoon Art lesson. Inside, there was a beautiful set of postcards depicting the game's six main characters. The manual explicitly stated Mega STE compatibility, excellent. Then... I found a scrap of paper with a message explaining that the Atari version lacked in-game speech due to the ST's hardware limitations. What?! Everyone knew the easiest way to STE-enhance a game was to slap in some straight sampled effects to be replayed by the DMA sound system, hence the glut of primitive PD games written in various dialects of BASIC and all sharing this attribute. Surely some mistake?

Worse was to come when I got home to play - it refused to load! Thinking maybe I'd got faulty disks(surely Rob Northern protection!), I tried it on a friend's 1040STE anyway, where it loaded and ran without a glitch. Up came the title screen with soundtrack by Joi, featuring very badly looped drums and distinctly YM-quality replay, no STE stereo! Already I was mentally deducting points but the biggest shock was saved for last... Onto the game and what dreadful scrolling! The playfield moved in steps of what looked like eight pixels, made worse by the low frame-rate. If this was as good as they could do on the STE I didn't want to see what it was like on the STFM, and the increased colour palette? Where? It certainly didn't look any more colourful than Thalion's finest 16-colour graphics.

ST Format's reviewer must have been looking at something completely different to be able to say, "Your characters move slickly and swiftly over the 2D backdrop and there's never a hint of jerkiness in the gameplay." and "The sound effects are sparse, but well thought-out with realistic gun-fire and explosion effects." Pardon?! I've just checked the game again and there is no gun-fire sound whatsoever (made a hundred times more annoying by the characters stopping dead in their tracks every time they fire, major design faux pas there, how can one really play this?), merely feeble swishing noises of exploding baddies that sound nothing like explosions.

To set the record straight on the graphics I recently did some objective tests and hereby present an A/B comparison between the STFM and STE. The STE has smoother shading even on the 16-colour screens but most surprisingly, screen-shots of the game itself prove to have 32 colours (actually my software counted 31) on the STE, I never would have guessed from the liberal use of dithering and dull tone.

[Screen-shot: The Chaos Engine on STFM]

[Screen-shot: The Chaos Engine on STE]

[Screen-shot: Navvie]

[Screen-shot: Thug]

Russell Hayward, co-author of the excellent Steem (STE emulator) confirms the frame update as every three vertical blanks, meaning a real-world 17 FPS, and scroll increments of six pixels, from Steem's register log file (strangely, when I measured on my real STE and colour monitor with pieces of masking tape and also direct screen-shots from Steem, I counted seven, though either value at 17 FPS produces diabolical scrolling by STE standards).
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Post by unseenmenace »

Well even if you use hardware scrolling it will still be relatively jerky if the frame-rate is low for other reasons (sprites, AI etc). It just means you don't have to shift the scenery data to draw it on screen as you would on an STFM (hence needing 1MB). As for samples I'm pretty sure anyone with any experience of coding for the STE will tell you there is no excuse for not having sampled sound effects. Sampled music (e.g. MOD) on the other hand still requires a fair bit of CPU even on an STE (just a lot less than an STFM).
Last edited by unseenmenace on Sat Oct 21, 2006 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Argonaut »

Sounds like there was some hype over that game with regards to using the STe capabilities. I remember feeling conned about that at the time too! I would say that if it was really using the STe to it's full capabilities it should have high quality sampled sound and run at least at 25fps. I guess it might still be quite a challange to get it running at 50fps, though I haven't loaded it up and looked how many sprites are on screen.

We can always consider what Enchanted Lands does on an STFM and then judge everything else against that ;-)
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Post by dlfrsilver »

I have pictures of the music hardware and Tools Richard has used
to make our beloved music on the bitmap games.

i don't see where is the hype, i don't see why the bitmap brothers
would take such an excuse, it would darken their reputation in programming.

Richard MUST hold the answer about this fact. He was the musician on the game.

also don't forget the first games were done first on atari ST !
Speedball 2 graphics were done on a ST, they knew very well the machine..

The same applies for Gods, all their games were done in 16 colors palettes,
all very well used.

So i wait for Richard's reply, i'll post his mail answer here.
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Post by Argonaut »

I wouldn't be surprised if ST Format got the wrong information, or just some kind of Chinese whispers effect was going on. I wasn't saying that the Bitmap Brothers were making claims themselves about STe hardware usage, framerate etc.

Maybe when Unseen Menace has finished Turrican Ressurection he can do Speedball 3 - STe only version ;-)
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Post by unseenmenace »

Argonaut wrote:Maybe when Unseen Menace has finished Turrican Ressurection he can do Speedball 3 - STe only version ;-)
LMAO, don't think so LOL, Speedball 2 kicks ass as it is anyway. As for sound the STFM would need YM effects anyway or it would be even slower and maybe even needed more than 1MB RAM so I guess they just didn't feel the need to use the STE's sound hardware just to include sampled effects that would only get used on STE's anyway. The hardware scrolling would have been relatively easy to implement without having to have 2 massively different sets of code for FM's and E's. Had it been coded from the start with STE enhancements in mind or as an STE only game then for sure it would have had a much faster frame rate and sampled sound effects as we have seen in many, many, many PD games and the odd commercial one (e.g. Stardust).
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