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Re:items drops.

 

It's like when people converted PacMan to home formats in the 1980s, and each version varied enormously.  The Atari version put tunnels at the top and bottom and had a totally different maze.  Then someone with an eye for detail meticulously copies the arcade version pixel for pixel and the reviews say "arcade perfect".... But ultimately, no-one ever converted Pac Man with the accurate ghost behaviour because there was no way to work it out without the source code.

 

Bubble Bobble has been reported that the source code was lost, as I believe was the case with many Taito titles of the era.  You would have to dump the arcade ROMs, disassemble it all and examine the code to learn what triggers what.  Some of it you can work out through play (if you grab the walking stick, you'll always get a massive item at the end of the same level), but it would be really difficult to work out that the sweet drops are linked to jumps, shots, popped etc, especially as the counters don't reset between games.  On an emulator the counters all start at zero, but on the real machine it would be a challenge, especially as the item drops on the next level and it's only one per level.  (Eg, on level one trigger all the sweets and the shoe by running, shooting etc, and you'll get the items on levels 2, 3 and 4. It all looks random but you know it's not). 

 

So I'd imagine all the conversions for home, certainly anything that came out before the arcade ROMs were dumped and examined, would be a coder's best copy, based on their experience of the gameplay.  If they didn't spot the correlation between bursting water balloons and the potions appearing, it wouldn't happen on the conversion. Taito have definitely stated in interviews that they didn't have the source to refer to.

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32 minutes ago, dumpster said:

Then someone with an eye for detail meticulously copies the arcade version pixel for pixel and the reviews say "arcade perfect".... But ultimately, no-one ever converted Pac Man with the accurate ghost behaviour because there was no way to work it out without the source code.

 

Bubble Bobble has been reported that the source code was lost, as I believe was the case with many Taito titles of the era.  You would have to dump the arcade ROMs, disassemble it all and examine the code to learn what triggers what.

 

Isn't this how the boffins end up with the MiSTer FPGA cores? Or similar? I think one process involves dissolving the arcade PCB chips in acid in order to study and rebuild them in Hardware Description Language. Of course, that's at the hardware level. I have no idea how the code/software is carried across.

 

I don't know really, I'm stupid. I just turn it on and play it. 😕 I've heard stories about how, if the T-1000 was real (he isn't, I know), that he/it wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the board and the core.

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I have no idea how it's done, I just remember those arcade machines in flight cases that Ocean used to give away in Crash magazine competitions.  The programmers would be given the arcade machine and were to told to play it, then covert it to Spectrum.  I don't think there was more to the process than that!

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3 hours ago, dumpster said:

I have no idea how it's done, I just remember those arcade machines in flight cases that Ocean used to give away in Crash magazine competitions.  The programmers would be given the arcade machine and were to told to play it, then covert it to Spectrum.  I don't think there was more to the process than that!


I think it was the guy doing the ZX port of R-Type that didn’t even get that luxury… he had to visit the arcade each day and then go home to clone what he’d seen and played. xD

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I imagine if you can't do arcade directly then FPGA emulation is the nearest thing to it. When the game came out on home systems I had already move over to the Amiga and whilst I'm not going to argue that it was a better conversion than the C64, as I never played the latter, it looked good and played well.

 

Staying on topic and going for something from the leftfield, the homebrew Tiny Bobble, on Amiga, looks and sounds mighty good and appears to play faithfully.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, dumpster said:

I think Atari 2600 Pac Man was written by someone who never saw the machine and simply had it described to him.

 

I think it's more that he had three months to convert it to a system designed only to play Pong and Tank AND Atari weren't willing to move up to 8kb carts for it meaning the code had to fit in 4kb.

 

It's impressive he managed to get something so close with those constraints.

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I don't mean that nasty... It just makes you feel like there was a telephone conversation....

 

"We need to to make this game.  There's a thing call Pac Man.  Ghosts chase him"

 

How many ghosts?

 

"I'm sorry, you're not allowed to ask any questions. The PAC Man eats pills"

 

What shape are they? 

 

"No questions! There's a tunnel.  If you go in one side you come out of the other".

 

Is that left to right or top and bottom?

 

"Seriously, no questions. Stop asking.  Now..  when you eat a power pill, the ghost can be eaten.  You'll know you can eat them because they change colour."

 

What colour do they....

 

"SILENCE! You're wasting time! We have to ship in three months! Just for that, we're not going to tell you what the maze looks like".

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We always got the full arcade cabinet in the office when we were doing conversions. We had Race Drivin’, APB, Hot Rod and Skull and Crossbones at various points. We never got any more details like source or art assets though. One member of staff recreated the whole APB map by having a Spectrum with a map editor next to the arcade club and painstakingly driving about. It’s a big map. We didn’t even have access to decent video recording equipment back then.

 

I worked with some of the Bubble Bobble guys at Software Creations but it was much later so I never really asked them about how they did it.

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1 hour ago, carleton said:

We always got the full arcade cabinet in the office when we were doing conversions. We had Race Drivin’, APB, Hot Rod and Skull and Crossbones at various points. We never got any more details like source or art assets though. One member of staff recreated the whole APB map by having a Spectrum with a map editor next to the arcade club and painstakingly driving about. It’s a big map. We didn’t even have access to decent video recording equipment back then.

 

I worked with some of the Bubble Bobble guys at Software Creations but it was much later so I never really asked them about how they did it.

Loved APB on the Spectrum but it often crashed on my +2 when it was scrolling diagonally 😂

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I remember the gems in Rainbow Islands, falling to land on platforms and becoming a random colour. The screen was divided into invisible vertical stripes and the colour of the gem was determined by where it landed.  That was abusable as you tried to collect the set.

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27 minutes ago, dumpster said:

I remember the gems in Rainbow Islands, falling to land on platforms and becoming a random colour. The screen was divided into invisible vertical stripes and the colour of the gem was determined by where it landed.  That was abusable as you tried to collect the set.

Abusable by design, if I recall correctly; you could only finish the game in full by collecting all 7 coloured diamonds on each island, but if you collected them in ROYGBIV order than you also got access to a secret room for other special goodies.

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3 hours ago, dumpster said:

 That was abusable as you tried to collect the set.

 

Not abusable, rather a mechanic that encourages skillful play and rewards the player accordingly with an extra life and access to the bonus room for each world, granting a permanent power up and 100,000 points. Also essential for unlocking the last 3 islands. 

 

There's also lots of counters in Rainbow Islands, some good info here. 

 

Link

 

It's probably my favourite arcade game. The PS1 release of Bubble Bobble just about mentions that it's also included on the disc. What a package 😊

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Outside of emulation, I believe the Master System port very well regarded. Game movement and techniques all came over to the SMS port intact. The 'super' stages were integrated into the main game as levels 101-200 (plus additional new designs and secret doors) and you could achieve the true ending in single-player mode.

 

Interestingly the JP SMS cart aka 'Final Bubble Bobble', had hint dialogue that was just cut from the EU version, but there's now a translation patch for all 128 hints which can appear on the game over screen. Between the hints and the stage select when you continue, you can work through the secrets of the game without a FAQ beside you!

 

5648screenshot2.png.1f17c906829bbc9d0c9bb3aa6a7ac3b5.png

 

https://www.patreon.com/posts/40326586 for the SMS fans here!

 

 

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On 18/06/2022 at 16:50, Gregory Wolfe said:

I imagine if you can't do arcade directly then FPGA emulation is the nearest thing to it. When the game came out on home systems I had already move over to the Amiga and whilst I'm not going to argue that it was a better conversion than the C64, as I never played the latter, it looked good and played well.

 

Staying on topic and going for something from the leftfield, the homebrew Tiny Bobble, on Amiga, looks and sounds mighty good and appears to play faithfully.

 

 

 

Wow. That version does look and sound really good. Maybe just a tad too fast though?

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17 hours ago, MagicalDrop said:

 

Not abusable, rather a mechanic that encourages skillful play and rewards the player accordingly with an extra life and access to the bonus room for each world, granting a permanent power up and 100,000 points. Also essential for unlocking the last 3 islands. 

 

There's also lots of counters in Rainbow Islands, some good info here. 

 

Link

 

It's probably my favourite arcade game. The PS1 release of Bubble Bobble just about mentions that it's also included on the disc. What a package 😊

That page of info cuts off just when it's about to start talking about dip switches. Which is bloody typical. 

Considering how well documented most classic arcade games are online these days, it's strange how little info there is about what dip switches actually do. 

 

I mean, some info is out there. You can find, for example, that a certain switch in Double Dragon controls difficulty, but there isn't (or wasn't when I looked) anything to tell you exactly what that means - are enemies faster / stronger etc, or is there just a tighter time limit?

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And they want £30 for it, the chancers :lol:

 

I think I'm becoming a bit obsessed with Bubble Bobble. I've spent ages trying out many different versions now.

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39 minutes ago, Anne Summers said:

That page of info cuts off just when it's about to start talking about dip switches. Which is bloody typical. 

Considering how well documented most classic arcade games are online these days, it's strange how little info there is about what dip switches actually do. 

 

 

I found this with a quick search

 

Rainbow Islands Dip Switches

 

Intriguingly there seems to be 4 difficulty settings. 

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Aw man alive, dip switches in the Arcade.  Sega Rally at Alton Towers, with the hyper car cheat, still only managing to hit every checkpoint with a second or less on the clock, the robbing bastards.  I considered a thread a while back on Arcade dip switches but thought it too niche to get any replies.   But if anyone fancies, go into Mame, play Gradius 3 (lapanese, that's important) and stick it on hard with the TAB key menu and dip switch settings.  A complete nightmare, and a hell of a challenge if you're up to it.  Also Contra has a similar "holy shit who are these enemies" setting that sticks new enemies you've never seen before right in the game from the start.

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5 hours ago, MagicalDrop said:

 

I found this with a quick search

 

Rainbow Islands Dip Switches

 

Intriguingly there seems to be 4 difficulty settings. 

But, unless I am reading that wrong, it seems to not give any information whatsoever about what the different difficulty settings entail (just as I complained about in my post)?

 

Golden Axe is another one - has a number of difficulty settings but what they actually mean seems to be entirely undocumented. 

 

https://www.arcade-museum.com/dipswitch-settings/7966.html

 

 

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22 hours ago, Benny said:

 

Wow. That version does look and sound really good. Maybe just a tad too fast though?

 

Played some of this Tiny Bobble Amiga remake earlier. It's exceptionally good. I think I even like it more than the Master System version. The remix of the music is also I think the most easy on the ears I've heard.

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On 18/06/2022 at 11:53, dumpster said:

I have no idea how it's done, I just remember those arcade machines in flight cases that Ocean used to give away in Crash magazine competitions.  The programmers would be given the arcade machine and were to told to play it, then covert it to Spectrum.  I don't think there was more to the process than that!

From what I remember reading it was extremely unlikely for people to be given the source code of the arcade machines (Japanese makers did this a lot). They just had to work it out by playing the games. Which was a bit awkward when you think about given that arcade machines were generally hard as nails and even on freeplay it would be annoying.

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On 19/06/2022 at 11:28, carleton said:

We always got the full arcade cabinet in the office when we were doing conversions. We had Race Drivin’, APB, Hot Rod and Skull and Crossbones at various points. We never got any more details like source or art assets though. One member of staff recreated the whole APB map by having a Spectrum with a map editor next to the arcade club and painstakingly driving about. It’s a big map. We didn’t even have access to decent video recording equipment back then.

 

I worked with some of the Bubble Bobble guys at Software Creations but it was much later so I never really asked them about how they did it.

 

There used to be software developer interviews in Sinclair user years ago where such things were said. I think I remember one about outrun with probe software and them having a similar experience.

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1 hour ago, Benny said:

 

Played some of this Tiny Bobble Amiga remake earlier. It's exceptionally good. I think I even like it more than the Master System version. The remix of the music is also I think the most easy on the ears I've heard.


i watched the long play video of that and something seemed off with collision detection - the player finished the whole game without losing a life but there were a few occasions where I think they definitely should have.

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24 minutes ago, Darwock said:


i watched the long play video of that and something seemed off with collision detection - the player finished the whole game without losing a life but there were a few occasions where I think they definitely should have.

 

It seemed pretty solid to me, although it may still be a work in progress so I'm not sure. It was almost certainly better than the original Amiga version, and got me addicted for a while.

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It was also noticeable that they couldn’t use their bubbles at the very top of the screen to get back on at the bottom - this was possible on the Atari ST version that I grew up with, but which way is correct?

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