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 Post subject: Xymati - New PC-Engine vertical shmup from MindRec!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 4:19 pm 


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In addition to the Gunstar-like PC-Gunjin we are developing for the PC-Engine, we have also decided to make a true vertical shmup our next project. After PC-Gunjin's completion, full-on development will begin on Xymati (tentative title). Some proof of concept work and development has already been done with it, actually.

Here's an early picture, just to whet everyone's appetite :)

Image

Not a lot of details are finalized, but here is what we do have nailed down so far:
- It will have at least 3 ships to choose from (like DonPachi or Sapphire)
- It will be 2-player co-op (not common among PC-Engine shmups)
- It will have a "make-your-own-weapon" power-up system like Spriggan
- It will be a traditional space shmup (sorry cute-em-up fans)
- It will have chaining bonuses like more modern shmups
- It may even have some mild rank
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Last edited by FraGMarE on Thu May 25, 2006 12:36 am, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 4:27 pm 


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hmm, interesting... and it doesn't look bad.

But (and I know I am probably asking the obious thing here),
it's gonna be cd based and not hu-card, right!?
Or will it be emulator only?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:34 pm 


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Super Laydock wrote:
hmm, interesting... and it doesn't look bad.

But (and I know I am probably asking the obious thing here),
it's gonna be cd based and not hu-card, right!?
Or will it be emulator only?


It will be a fully commercial Super CD-ROM2 game.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:35 pm 


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Sweet. Looking forward to both this and PC-Gunjin.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:57 pm 


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By 'fully commercial' you're talking a pressed CD, with printed cover/manual/spine card, yes?

How much cash are we looking at here, and any release date?

One last question, what style of case are you doing? Fully English TG-16 style, or a Japanese style case with the game name in Japanese on one spine, English on the other?

Have to say, PC Gunjin looks absolute quality, I'm really looking forward to this. Gotta love run n' guns.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:20 pm 


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M0nk3y wrote:
By 'fully commercial' you're talking a pressed CD, with printed cover/manual/spine card, yes?


Yes, just like Implode and Meteor Blaster DX. :)

M0nk3y wrote:
How much cash are we looking at here, and any release date?


Probably the same or less than Meteor Blaster DX, 29.90. Release? At least a year away.

M0nk3y wrote:
One last question, what style of case are you doing? Fully English TG-16 style, or a Japanese style case with the game name in Japanese on one spine, English on the other?


Fully English, i would suspect. That's what we've done with previous games.

M0nk3y wrote:
Have to say, PC Gunjin looks absolute quality, I'm really looking forward to this. Gotta love run n' guns.


Thanks! We hope everyone who plays it enjoys it too. :)
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Last edited by FraGMarE on Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:56 pm 


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Looks nice so far! Like a bit of Blazing Lazers and Nexr perhaps? Any PCE shooters you guys are using in particular for inspiration?

I really like the sun in the background. BTW, have you thought about having some kind of static "cinema"/character story screens in between levels?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:58 pm 


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Although that screen looks to very a mockup of sprites, I'm guessing there won't be any bombs?


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 Post subject: Re: New PC-Engine shmup from MindRec!
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:41 am 


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FraGMarE wrote:
In addition to the Gunstar-like PC-Gunjin we are developing for the PC-Engine, we have also decided to make a true vertical shmup our next project. After PC-Gunjin's completion, full-on development will begin on Xymati (tentative title). Some proof of concept work and development has already been done with it, actually. Not a lot of details are finalized, but here is what we do have nailed down so far:

- It will have at least 3 ships to choose from (like DonPachi or Sapphire)
- It will be 2-player co-op (not common among PC-Engine shmups)
- It will have a "make-your-own-weapon" power-up system like Spriggan
- It will be a traditional space shmup (sorry cute-em-up fans)

Here's an early picture, just to whet everyone's appetite :)

Image


It looks cool, but one problem that plagued most PCE / DUO vertical shooters, is that the player's crafts, usually weren't agile / aerodynamic looking, but rather a bit blocky, with weird looking angles & curves.

You should make one that looks more like the Axelay, Raiden, RayStorm spaceships.
A vertical shooter without a cool looking craft is… hmm... well, a novel.

Only Vertical PCE shooter I can think of with a cool looking craft is Soldier Blade.
The rest look plain dull imo.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:42 am 


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I think I will second what St Dragon said, a more "streamlined" ship would be nice.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:48 am 


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Not to mention the lack of animation frames in the Bosses of most PCE / DUO shooters (Excluding Arcade CD games of course)

If one could make a fully articulated Boss similar to the Axelay 2nd Level Mech Boss on the PCE or DUO that would be a technical marvel.

By the way, how many on-screen simultaneous colours, is this new Xymati PCE shooter going to feature?
Is there any chance that we'll finally see the theoretical peak of 256 simultaneous on-screen colours, achieved in this PCE shooter?
That would rock!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the only PCE games that actually utilized all 256 colours on screen:

Detana Twin Bee
Magical Chase
Parodius
Street Fighter II
Strip Fighter II

Most other PCE didn’t use any more than 64-72 colours. Even Aldynes (SGX) for the SuperGrafX didn’t use more than 64 colours on screen.
So was the PCE’s low 8K main Ram bottlenecking the system from utilizing all it’s 256 colours, unlike the SNES which used all it’s 256 colour palette in most cases. (Donkey Kong Country, Axelay, R-Type 3, Super R-Type, Rendering Ranger R2, Terranigma, etc…)
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:19 pm 


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The PCE's maximum number of colours on-screen is 512 (256 for the BG, 256 for sprites), or about 482 after considering duplicate transparent colours. So, it's greater than the SNES (without using transparency), MD, etc.

However, what limits the real number of colours games use is the size of the global palette of the PCE, which is also 512 colours. It's much more limiting than the SNES' 32768 colour palette. So while the SNES could only have 256 colours total, if one wanted a nice greyscale picture, one could use 32 shades of grey on the SNES. On the PCE, you only have 8 shades of grey. So, technically the PCE can throw more colours on-screen, but the artists have fewer colours to choose from to make a pleasing picture.

Where did you get your list of games that used all 256 (512) colours? Sounds like it was made up to me. Anyway, the PCE does have some nicely coloured games, but there are just far more on the SNES because the artists had way more subtle shades to work with. It has very little to do with RAM limitations.

p.s. A nice articulated boss (but no rotation) is the "ED-209" copy in Gate of Thunder. Lords also had some great bosses that were supremely animated (like the crystalline boss near the end.)
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:43 pm 


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Yes, I know that the maximum colours the PCE can display is 512 (256 for the BG, 256 for sprites), or about 482, but I only referred to the 256 colours as a more realistic fishable value which can be compared to the SNES’ maximum colour usage, in the majority of it's games.

No, that list is by no means "official", I made it up after trying out all the verified PCE Roms on Magic Engine last summer, in search of some cool shooters. Those were the only ones that slicked out from the bunch as they used rich & vivid colour palettes comparable to those on the SNES & better looking than the equivalent Genesis games.
So that led me to believe, that those were the only PCE games that actually utilized something close to the 128-256 colour range.
The rest were either NES or Genesis standards (16-72 colours max)

Note that I'm not including Super CD, Arcade CD or SuperGrafX games, where you'll find many games that probably surpass 128 on-screen colours like Lords of Thunder, Saphire, the SNK Beat Em Up, maybe even Super Raiden, etc...
So it’s evident that the Super CD DUO system is able to handle the colour palettes better, compared to the basic PCE for some reason.

Lords of Thunder is an exception as "RED" pushed the DUO to its limits regarding the palettes & it's one of the best looking games on the DUO imo.
As for Gate of Thunder, I don't remember that specific "ED-209" Boss since I only played half way through it, but personally I don't think GOT or Aldynes on the SuperGrafX, use any more than 64 colours & can easily be compared to Thunder Force III & IV on the Geny.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:33 pm 


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ST Dragon, please don't attach numbers to your opinions, then. (For example, the PCE's "theoretical peak" of 256 colours; Aldynes having less than 64 colours. A person can't count "72" colours with his eyes.) It's definitely true that many PCE games look grainy and with low colour depth. It's a result of a combination of programmer laziness, aesthetics, HuCard limitations, and palette depth limitations, as I said before.

But... a quick check with screenshots from Magic Engine shows Aldynes to use 68 colours at one point; and Gate of Thunder, 60 to over 110 colours in many areas. It's a really colourful game. The reason we don't see many games that use over 100 colours on the PCE is that, as a result of the limited global palette of the PCE, for a game to use hundreds of colours it must use the whole gamut and be brightly coloured like some technicolor LSD flashback, if you know what I mean. Most games are more modestly shaded and -- remembering that the PCE has few subtle tones of colour -- thus use few colours.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:20 pm 


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No, a person can't count 72 colours but I've actually taken quite a few "raw" screen shots without the use of interpolation filters (which increase the colours substantially), provided by most modern PCE emus & I noticed when opening the pics on any simple paint program (which reveals the total amount of colours used) that the majority of the basic PCE games, utilize a colours range between 16 to 72 colours, with the exceptions of:

Detana Twin Bee
Magical Chase
Parodius
Street Fighter II
Strip Fighter II

Which actually go around 128-256 colours in some cases.

I didn't question the reasons of why so few games use more than 128 colours on-screen; I just said that it was a fact that remained till today.
So it’s a great opportunity for the talented developers at mindrec, to use the know-how of the past 15 years regarding the PCE’s hardware and change this disadvantage.

About "the theoretical peak of 256 on-screen colours" quote, many game developers & enthusiasts, would agree that the 256 colours was the main benchmark value used during the 2D gaming hey days.
So regarding this subject, it was not pointless to attach that specific number to my opinions.
Never the less, it would be exaggerating to expect a game on the PCE that will actually use all its 482 colours, when the gamut of possible colours is limited to 512.
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Last edited by ST Dragon on Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:55 pm 


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Dylan1CC wrote:
Looks nice so far! Like a bit of Blazing Lazers and Nexr perhaps? Any PCE shooters you guys are using in particular for inspiration?

I really like the sun in the background. BTW, have you thought about having some kind of static "cinema"/character story screens in between levels?


As far as the graphical style, I, personally, am drawing inspiration from arcade games like DonPachi as well as the great PCE shmups like Soldier Blade, Blazing Lazers, and Spriggan. As for gameplay, Xymati may feature some things that were virtually absent in PCE shumps, like chaining bonuses and maybe even some mild form of rank.

That sun background is just tentative. It will probably end up in a cinema for PC-Gunjin, to be honest. Xymati will, however, feature some great space backgrounds and, yes, it will also have some cinemas. I don't know about cinemas after every level, as that might break up the gameplay a bit... we'll have to see how things develop.

Ganelon wrote:
Although that screen looks to very a mockup of sprites, I'm guessing there won't be any bombs?


No, that's not just a mockup. Yes, Xymati will have bombs :)

ST Dragon wrote:
It looks cool, but one problem that plagued most PCE / DUO vertical shooters, is that the player's crafts, usually weren't agile / aerodynamic looking, but rather a bit blocky, with weird looking angles & curves.

You should make one that looks more like the Axelay, Raiden, RayStorm spaceships.
A vertical shooter without a cool looking craft is… hmm... well, a novel.

Only Vertical PCE shooter I can think of with a cool looking craft is Soldier Blade.
The rest look plain dull imo.


There will be at least two other ships to pick from. I'm sure at least one will strike your fancy. ;)

ST Dragon wrote:
Not to mention the lack of animation frames in the Bosses of most PCE / DUO shooters (Excluding Arcade CD games of course)

If one could make a fully articulated Boss similar to the Axelay 2nd Level Mech Boss on the PCE or DUO that would be a technical marvel.

By the way, how many on-screen simultaneous colours, is this new Xymati PCE shooter going to feature?
Is there any chance that we'll finally see the theoretical peak of 256 simultaneous on-screen colours, achieved in this PCE shooter?
That would rock!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the only PCE games that actually utilized all 256 colours on screen:

Detana Twin Bee
Magical Chase
Parodius
Street Fighter II
Strip Fighter II

Most other PCE didn’t use any more than 64-72 colours. Even Aldynes (SGX) for the SuperGrafX didn’t use more than 64 colours on screen.
So was the PCE’s low 8K main Ram bottlenecking the system from utilizing all it’s 256 colours, unlike the SNES which used all it’s 256 colour palette in most cases. (Donkey Kong Country, Axelay, R-Type 3, Super R-Type, Rendering Ranger R2, Terranigma, etc…)


Chris Covell already put this into words better than i could. Here's the scoop... take the most colorful PC-Engine game that you know of, take a screen shot in an emulator and then open it up in Photopshop. Reduce it to indexed color, and you'll find that it has no more than 70 or 80 colors. You see, on the PCE you run out of good colors to pick from, before you run into any kind of hard limit. Using 256 (or even 481) simultaneous colors in a PCE game is completely feasable, but your game would look rather silly using that many colors, unless you're drawing something like a rainbow. The most colors i have heard of a PC-Engine game using was maybe Ys IV using 80+ in some places. Both PC-Gunjin and Xymati will far and away be the most colorful games ever produced on the PC-Engine. PC-Gunjin will push 100+ colors in some places, and Xymati even more. The PC-Engine is very, very good at managing color palettes. The PC-Engine could handle up to 32 color palettes simultaneously (16 palettes for the background, another 16 available for sprites). This is twice as many as the SNES (maximum of 16 palettes), and eight times as many as the Genesis (maximum of 4 palettes). This means you can pretty much just throw wanton disregard to the number of palettes you are using on the PC-Engine, whereas on the SNES and Genesis (especially the Genesis) you had to be more mindful of not surpassing the system's palette limitations. The games you mentioned (Detana Twin Bee, Magical Chase, Parodius, Street Fighter II, and Strip Fighter II) in all actuality use no more than 60-70 colors at any given time.

To illustrate my point, I'll give you the following comparison. The picture on the left is a screenshot of the original Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. It uses 243 colors out of a global 15-bit palette. The picture on the right is the same image converted to the nearest 9-bit color (what the PC-Engine uses). The PC-Engine image uses only 88 colors. If you tried to add more colors to the PC-Engine image, it just wouldn't look right.
Image Image

The 8KB of work RAM in the PCE is not really a bottleneck issue at all. Many games never even use it. It's basically there just to store variables and run small programs that need use of some banked RAM. The game code itself is executed straight from the HuCard, instead of being transferred to RAM first, so it is like the HuCard is also the RAM in a roundabout way. This means as far as executing game code, you are only limited by the size of the HuCard (or System Card for CD games).

Big, scary, complex bosses are a personal graphics priority for both PC-Gunjin and Xymati, in my book. I once asked BT if he wanted big, scary bosses, and his response was "I want bosses that make people want to buy stock in Fruit of the Loom." :lol:

Here's an example from PC-Gunjin:
Image

If you liked Axelay's level 2 boss, you'll want to check out Gate of Thunder's level 6 boss... very similar. Some other PCE games with great bosses that come to mind are Lords of Thunder and Soldier Blade.
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Last edited by FraGMarE on Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:49 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:59 pm 


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FraGMarE wrote:
As far as the graphical style, I, personally, am drawing inspiration from arcade games like DonPachi as well as the great PCE shmups like Soldier Blade, Blazing Lazers, and Spriggan. As for gameplay, Xymati may feature some things that were virtually absent in PCE shumps, like chaining bonuses and maybe even some mild form of rank.

sold. can't wait.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:41 pm 


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captain ahar wrote:
sold. can't wait.


Wow, that's all it took, eh? :P

I guess i'm really getting inspiration from every shmup i've ever played, but especially those games i mentioned. I suppose i should also mention Sapphire and Psychic Storm, as those are two rock solid 2-player co-op vertical shmups on the PC-Engine.

On a seperate note, I've also been throwing around the idea of a branching level progression system, like Darius games.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:47 pm 


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i'm a big fan of independents, and it just so happens that i love my duo. so i figure, i can't lose.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:37 am 


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Those pics are exciting! PM sent...

This boat is steaming full-ahead, Mr. MarE. Expect some great things from "ye olde sound team"...

Arggh! Captain Ahar! Lookin' at yer kitty got me on a thing, here!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:13 pm 


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FraGMarE wrote:
Image


Blimey! :shock: That's looking amazing, I sooo want this game.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:56 pm 


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Nate wrote:
Those pics are exciting! PM sent...

This boat is steaming full-ahead, Mr. MarE. Expect some great things from "ye olde sound team"...

Arggh! Captain Ahar! Lookin' at yer kitty got me on a thing, here!


Oh yea... did I mention to everyone that Vodkatron is making some of the music for both Xymati and PC-Gunjin? :D

Many of you already know this, but for those who don't, a couple of forum members here (TWITCHDOCTOR and Nate) are members of Vodkatron.
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 Post subject: A few PCE ?s for FraGmarE...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:13 pm 



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Just a few techincal questions for FraGmarE:

1.) Can the PCE console display in TRUE "Tate" mode (similair to the PSX or Sega Saturn console when running shmup games in their native "arcade vertical screen format") when running vertical screen aspect ratio shmup games?

2.) And will your upcoming PCE Super CD-Rom2 based Xymati be presented with the option to play it in true "Tate" mode as well as the standard horizontal screen method of displaying Tate'd vertical screen aspect shmup games?

3.) Will you & your developement team at MindRec be showing off your newest PCE games at the upcoming Classic Gaming Expo 2007 show in the USA? (That would be a cool treat considering the huge retro gaming fans in the USA.) ^_~

I recall that a Duranik programmer made a surprise last minute visit to show off the 1st stage demo of the unreleased Atari Jaguar Native shmup game at the World of Atari '98 Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA back in August of 1998. I was even asked by the Duranik programmer if I wanted to try out the Native game (which was running on a special Developer's Jaguar console {which was a cool alternate colored scheme that consisted of a gray-colored version console & blue colored power button + all gray-colored Jag D-pad controller with blue colored push buttons instead of the usual all-black Jag console with red power button color scheme...Atari was checking out the gray colored Jag console as a possible color choice to release as it's default produciton console when they decided to release the all-black version instead} hooked up to a PC notebook & using a 2MB Jaguar Flash cartridge)...I said I like to. So a single gaming session of Native complete with BGM tunes and an end-stage boss and I was in shmup heaven! ^_~

I do have the Songbird Productions Atari Jaguar Demo CD of Native but it doesn't have the BGM tunes nor an end-stage boss to fight with + it blacks out after a few minutes of gameplay (as the demo program reaches it's eventual conclusion).

PC Engine Fan X! ^_~


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 Post subject: Re: A few PCE ?s for FraGmarE...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 7:20 pm 


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PC Engine Fan X! wrote:
1.) Can the PCE console display in TRUE "Tate" mode (similair to the PSX or Sega Saturn console when running shmup games in their native "arcade vertical screen format") when running vertical screen aspect ratio shmup games?

i've always wondered if this is within the feasible limits of the pce hardware...
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 Post subject: Re: A few PCE ?s for FraGmarE...
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:17 am 


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PC Engine Fan X! wrote:
Just a few techincal questions for FraGmarE:

1.) Can the PCE console display in TRUE "Tate" mode (similair to the PSX or Sega Saturn console when running shmup games in their native "arcade vertical screen format") when running vertical screen aspect ratio shmup games?


I guess it all depends on what you consider "true" Tate mode. The PC-Engine can display a maximum resolution up to 512x240 (512x448 with software interlace tricks), so displaying a tate oriented game with the tv/monitor tilted on it's side is certainly not a problem. If you're talking about the PC-Engine displaying a tate oritented game without having to tilt your tv/monitor, as in a "yoko" mode, then I'd have to say probably not. Most tate oriented arcade games that I know of use at least 256 for their vertical resolution, which wouldn't quite fit into the PC-Engine's maximum vertical resolution of 240 without shaving off top/bottom parts of the screen. That being said, I must note that the PC-Engine is probably the most flexible of all the 16-bit era systems with it's resolution modes. It was completely programmable, and could do any resolution from 8x8 all the way up to 512x240. 90% of games used 256x224, some like R-Type and Ninja Spirit used higher modes such as 336x224, and a few like Sherlock Holmes used 512x224.

PC Engine Fan X! wrote:
2.) And will your upcoming PCE Super CD-Rom2 based Xymati be presented with the option to play it in true "Tate" mode as well as the standard horizontal screen method of displaying Tate'd vertical screen aspect shmup games?


Xymati is being built from the ground up as a PC-Engine game, so there's really no need for any kind of tate oriented mode. Maybe if we were doing an arcade-to-PC-Engine shmup conversion, there would be some kind of tate mode option, but since it's being designed around the standard 256x224 resolution, adding a tate mode would really serve no benefit.

PC Engine Fan X! wrote:
3.) Will you & your developement team at MindRec be showing off your newest PCE games at the upcoming Classic Gaming Expo 2007 show in the USA? (That would be a cool treat considering the huge retro gaming fans in the USA.) ^_~


Good question! I really don't know what we're doing in 2007, to be honest. I don't think either BT or myself have planned that far ahead, in regards to any outings.
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 Post subject: One ship, two ship, red ship, blue ship. :)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:34 pm 


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Okay, I have started drawing the red ship. I remember requests for a more streamlined, less weird looking ship so I drew something a bit more standard looking. I kind of went for a little bit of a Raiden ship look here with maybe a little Soldier Blade and Blazing Lazers mixed in. I'm still tweaking it a bit, so it's not completely done. I've also tweaked the yellow ship a little too. Here are both pics, please leave feedback:

Image Image Image (3x normal size for easier viewing)

[edit] I drew the blue ship in quickly and added it here just as a reference. It, of course, is still a work in progress.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:06 pm 


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So what are you guys using for dev exactly? Obviously I assume it's an old second hand Hudson/NEC dev board, but how do you go about hooking it up to a PC and using it, ect.?

Also, do you think it'd be possible to use the dev kit to make scaled down/modified arcade ports on PCE that never made it to the system using dumped roms? Like say, would it be possible to use the dev kit to make a PCE CD port of say, Raiden II?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:23 pm 


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Looks pretty darn sweet. I want one.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:27 pm 


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^^^

Robotron, that new av and sig kick. How did you make the sig "now playing" animation?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:30 pm 


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Dylan1CC wrote:
^^^

Robotron, that new av and sig kick. How did you make the sig "now playing" animation?


Thanx!

Ulead gif animator 5.

EDIT: Unfortunately...I've just been told I must remove it.

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