Which games really pushed the Speccy?

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beanz
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Re: Which games really pushed the Speccy?

Post by beanz » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:11 pm

Horses for courses etc. I still love and play knightlore and was never really impressed with Ultimates other fare (other than sabre wulf). Never got into head over heels or batman...seemed too long winding...knightlore could easily be completed.

Driller and Castlemaster were slow as hell which makes them dull, by then though I think I'd moved on the the 16bits (I think) I enjoyed castle master on the 16bits and looking at driller etc the speccy it's painful, it's hard to go back etc. Still I probably would have put more time and effort into it if I'd still been glued to the speccy.
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stupidget
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Re: Which games really pushed the Speccy?

Post by stupidget » Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:39 am

Were the Freescape games sluggish and slow because there was no way of squeezing any more out of the Speccy, or were they badly designed?

I think what I'm after is what games squeezed every last drop from the Speccy? I know that games such as JSW, KL, DeathChase etc etc were impressive when they were released, but, as they were released relatively early on in the Speccy's life span they probably missed some potential tricks. Tricks that later programmers would use for stuff like Freescape games, the big sprites and use of colour and activity on screen in Savage and Dan Dare 3 or something as impressive as Hero Quest.
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Ralf
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Re: Which games really pushed the Speccy?

Post by Ralf » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:35 am

I was unable to enjoy full 3D games like Driller on Spectrum. They were just too slow, with framerate of one or two frames per second.

But yes, I can imagine it was impressive when it was released. Maybe more impressive to watch for a moment than actually play it ;)
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Joefish
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Re: Which games really pushed the Speccy?

Post by Joefish » Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:39 pm

I don't think Freescape used any 'tricks' - that's the problem; it was all just plain maths, no matter how long it took.
Starstrike II and I, Of The Mask used shortcuts, pre-calculated stuff, limited views, etc. so they ran a hell of a lot faster.
Being able to roll your view left/right in the Freescape games was the biggest waste of programming effort imaginable.

A good one for optimisation in large 3D environments is Damocles, the sequel to Mercenary, on the ST. It has obvious grand changes like from space with round planets, to atmosphere with a horizon and islands, then city street plans become visible, then down to an intersection with a wide road and one or two buildings visible.

But it also has subtle things like when you're in a vehicle the windows of buildings are solid so you can't see in, but then your craft might be able to bank and roll, so having less to draw makes the calculations quicker.
When you're on foot, you can see objects inside buildings through the windows, but everything is always upright so the maths for drawing them can be optimised.

Even Mercenary has its tricks - you can only get out of your craft by descending underground, and then there's a completely different 3D engine for doors, rooms and the objects in them. Notice that the rooms are simply cuboids with decals; you can't open a door and see the room beyond.
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Re: Which games really pushed the Speccy?

Post by 5MinuteRetro » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:42 am

Have any games using the Bifrost/Nirvana engine yet been mentioned? Some of those surely 'push' what the Speccy can do, given that its hardware was not designed to do what some of those titles actually achieve, colour-wise; and certainly I never expected it to be capable of such feats. Indeed, some of those effects seem to me like literal magic.
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stupidget
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Re: Which games really pushed the Speccy?

Post by stupidget » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:34 pm

5MinuteRetro wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:42 am
Have any games using the Bifrost/Nirvana engine yet been mentioned? Some of those surely 'push' what the Speccy can do, given that its hardware was not designed to do what some of those titles actually achieve, colour-wise; and certainly I never expected it to be capable of such feats. Indeed, some of those effects seem to me like literal magic.
That's a really good point. I suppose Einar Saukas is the guy that could tell us considering he built the Bifrost engine.
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Joefish
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Re: Which games really pushed the Speccy?

Post by Joefish » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:27 pm

Well, clearly multicolour engines are a step up from what was done before. They're 'pushing' in the sense that someone's had to sit down and work out exactly what the CPU is doing for each tick of its clock and making the most efficient use of that time to do whatever it is you want it to do, i.e. shift colours to the screen. But that's the engine, not the game. That only applies for the chunk of time it's actually doing the 'rainbow' processing.

The games built on that multicolour engine are not necessarily the most efficient things that could run on it precisely because they're using a generalised engine to do their rendering. To properly push it you'd need to see custom sprite and rendering functions and very tightly written game code wrapped around a multicolour renderer.

On the subject of efficient coding, one big 'push' was Joffa's scrolling in Cobra, which exploits loads of careful tweaks and optimisations to do its scrolling at speed.
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Re: Which games really pushed the Speccy?

Post by Pegaz » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:31 pm

stupidget wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:34 pm
5MinuteRetro wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:42 am
Have any games using the Bifrost/Nirvana engine yet been mentioned? Some of those surely 'push' what the Speccy can do, given that its hardware was not designed to do what some of those titles actually achieve, colour-wise; and certainly I never expected it to be capable of such feats. Indeed, some of those effects seem to me like literal magic.
That's a really good point. I suppose Einar Saukas is the guy that could tell us considering he built the Bifrost engine.
I agree.
The problem is, that football in Brazil is almost religion and therefore at the time of each World Cup, Einar literally disappeared from the forum. ;)
I'm glad it all ends on Sunday and I hope to see him soon here on sc, where he belongs.
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