Augmentinel

Struggling with Fuse or trying to find an emulator with a specific feature. Ask your questions here.
obo
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Augmentinel

Post by obo » Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:43 am

Enhanced Spectrum emulation isn't a new concept. Spec256 adds 8bpp graphics to some Spectrum titles. TileMap uses code hooks to synchronise game state across a maps, and add other game-specific enhancements.

With sufficient reverse-engineering you can enhance almost any aspect of an existing game, without having to completely rewrite it. And unlike a remake, the unmodified parts run as normal, reducing the risk of missing subtle gameplay details.

Take a classic game like The Sentinel, which pushes the Spectrum hardware pretty hard. It could be enhanced in a number of ways:

- eliminate landscape generation delays.
- remove the need to type secret codes for unlocked levels.
- improve accuracy of object selection.
- replace the stippled rendering with accelerated 3D rendering.
- restore the model and level colours from the PC VGA version.
- enhance the sound with C64 music and positional sound effects.
- replace the slow view panning with mouse free look.
- leave the rest of the Spectrum game logic running as normal.

Presenting: Augmentinel -- an augmented version of The Sentinel.

Download v1.0 (Requires Windows 7 or later and DX10 capable hardware).

If XAudio DLLs are missing on startup, install the DirectX runtime libraries.
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djnzx48
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by djnzx48 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:59 am

Nice job! I finally figured out how this game is supposed to be played, and managed to complete the first level. Playing through 10,000 levels does seem like a bit much though. Would it be possible to get RZX playback working in this?
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Ralf
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by Ralf » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:12 pm

Would it be possible to get RZX playback working in this?
You mean this one? 79 hours of recording? ;)

http://www.rzxarchive.co.uk/s/sentinel.zip
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... J0UH58MDVO
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Daren
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by Daren » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:46 pm

Ralf wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:12 pm
Would it be possible to get RZX playback working in this?
You mean this one? 79 hours of recording? ;)

http://www.rzxarchive.co.uk/s/sentinel.zip
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... J0UH58MDVO
Hehe, @Alessandro's epic rzx. Had fun making the video of it. YouTube only allows videos up to 12 hours long, hence why it's split into 7 parts. Alessandro managed to traverse all 10,000 levels by completing "only" about 260 of them, as you skip levels depending on how much energy you have after absorbing the sentinel.
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obo
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by obo » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:50 pm

djnzx48 wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:59 am
Nice job! I finally figured out how this game is supposed to be played, and managed to complete the first level. Playing through 10,000 levels does seem like a bit much though. Would it be possible to get RZX playback working in this?
I had wondered about RZX playback myself, so you could view the playthrough in first person or free moving camera (which I have in debug mode). It's not completely straight-forward to implement as it would need a different starting position and to continue all normal execution from that point. The current makes some assumptions, and skips some code that it doesn't need (slow drawing for starters). It definitely do-able, but dont' hold your breath on it getting done anytime soon. A related idea is to allow the current state to be saved out to a snapshot, which can be loaded into a Spectrum emulator to continue play. That's much easier, and more likely to be implemented.

If you think 10000 levels is bad enough, it's possible to restore the non-decimal landscapes that are skipped, to give a total of 57344 (0000 to DFFF). @Alessandro probably won't be up for doing another recording for that though ;)

I've updated the link target above to go to a regular web page. I've also added a separate download for Windows 10 users, which should run without needing the DirectX runtime, Non-gamer Windows 7 or 8 may still find they still need to install it.
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Alessandro
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by Alessandro » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:03 pm

Looks and plays great, and brings back many fond memories. Pity that although being based on the Spectrum version I cannot reuse the codes I obtained in the RZX recording run. I would also have preferred the Spectrum FX and music to be honest, maybe in a future version the player will be able to choose?
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obo
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by obo » Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:05 pm

Alessandro wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:03 pm
Pity that although being based on the Spectrum version I cannot reuse the codes I obtained in the RZX recording run.
Actually, you can! It's hidden from the front-end, but it still uses the original Spectrum secret codes behind the scenes. If you open up %APPDATA%\Augmentinel.ini you can add valid Spectrum codes to those already unlocked. I almost changed the code algorithm to make them incompatible with the Spectrum (like other platforms do), but decided to keep it compatible.

I also ended up writing a landscape code generator along the way, which can generate codes for all versions of the game. It can even generate codes for the extended hex levels that mostly lie in the gaps between the original levels (after 0009 comes 000A-000F, and then 0010). For example: 000B=57683886 That's one of the levels where you need to hyperspace from the starting position, as there aren't any visible tiles to build on.

I would also have preferred the Spectrum FX and music to be honest, maybe in a future version the player will be able to choose?
I can add them back in as an alternative sample set, as Tim Follin's music is nice. Or you could mix and match by choosing the versions of each sound you wanted. Keeping them as samples allows them to play in parallel to other stuff, rather than stopping the game with interrupts disabled.
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Stefan
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by Stefan » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:35 pm

obo wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:43 am
Presenting: Augmentinel -- an augmented version of The Sentinel.
Cool! Although today is a dangerous day to release this ;-)

Feature request: inverted Y-axis for mouse look please.
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obo
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by obo » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:03 pm

Stefan wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:35 pm
Cool! Although today is a dangerous day to release this ;-)
All part of the fun :D
Feature request: inverted Y-axis for mouse look please.
Sure thing. I've got the feeling I'm going to need an options dialog for a few things.
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obo
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Re: Augmentinel

Post by obo » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:01 am

I've just uploaded version 1.1 of Augmentinel. Here's the what's new:

- added VR support for OpenVR-compatible headsets.
- added launcher to select play mode and various options.
- added sky view from PC/ST/Amiga versions.
- added BBC Micro and Sinclair Spectrum sound effect packs.
- added music from Amiga version, or user’s own WAVs.
- added difficulty setting to adjust sentinel rotation rate.
- added optional access to hex landscapes (57344 total levels).
- added hyperspace shortcut (transfer when pointing up).
- added installer for Windows version selection and easier launching.
- changed so turn animations no longer block user interaction.
- fixed level load and tile visibility issues (thanks Jorma!).

@Alessandro: You can change to the Spectrum sound pack in the options (it defaults to the BBC Micro). You may want to turn off the Amiga background music too, for a pure experience.
@Stefan: There's now an option to invert the mouse Y-axis.
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