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The stunning A8 version of Space Harrier rightly still recieves a lot of attention, but it's often unfairly i feel as an ex-800XL and C64 owner, compared to the UK version of Space Harrier coded by Chris Butler:
What is so often not mentioned is unlike Chris Hutt, Chris Butler had only 6 weeks to code and deliver Space Harrier on the C64 for Elite and unlike the stunning A8 version, Chris was very much still learning the C64 as he went along.Indeed he returned to the C64 to code a much improved version for the USA market:
And let us not forget Grandslam later had a crack at converting Space Harrier II to the C64:
Whilst i'm a fan of the sprites, the floor effect and sound FX leave a lot to be desired.The In Game music doesn't do much for myself either.
So, there's my attempt to bring a little bit of balance to conversion comparison corner :-)
I'd loved to of seen what Chris Butler could of done on the C64 with years of C64 coding behind him, 128K+ of Ram etc and put game out on C64 GS so he could use the cart to store samples, pre-calculated data etc.His C64 games like Powerdrift, Thunderblade and Ghosts N Goblins, showed he wasn't going to shy away from arcade conversions and things like Arnie and Turbocharge proved he was just as handy when it came to original titles on C64.
Some truly great ports there and amazing coding skill within such small confines of memory, but couldn't it be debated that with great Atari 8bit version of Space Harrier seeing coding been done, not necessary by talent but by present day coding techniques? As without the continued progress in today's coders versus yester-year one, that version of Space Harrier on a8 would never have been possible back then, no coder no matter how good would of been able to made space harrier on the a8 in the fashion of the one that's there now.
So in saying that what Chris Bulter pulled off was nothing short of unbeilable. I never own a c64, mainly because of my connection with Atari Ireland and secondly the graphic tools on the Atari 8-bit were far superior for creating artwork and vertical text scrolling for titling video tapes lol. I never though the c64's colour palettes matching those of the A8, but the sound of the c64 (Sid) was and still is phenomenal, Atari's pokey in the right hands could do incredible stuff and later on a.k.a the present day has tool sets to mimic and be on par with the sid chip. But no good in saying that now, what about back then?
A few year a video showed up on you tube with incredible promise at what looked like a gamer changer on the Atari 8, in my opinion if it had of been released and completed, could of been the best version of them all, I'm speaking of the OutRun remake that was to appear about 8 years ago, have a good and see what you think
As you can see the guy done an amazing job on the music, far cry from what we are used to on the A8, he updated the demo some 5 years with this, but nothing was heard off again, did they just throw in the towel? Something happen to the person doing this?
So as I've mention with recent coding skills and those that existed back in the 80's far differ from a different rule set of today and it's based on the progression of new talent showing people what is really achiveable on these vintage computers.
Edited by Greyfox, 12 February 2016 - 05:41 AM.
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Atari Gamer Magazine - Explore the Atari 8-bit in the 21st Century
I'm going to put my head on the block here and be 100% honest on how i view the A8 scene.
For myself, the A8 homebrew scene is literally jaw dropping....i'd never of expected to of seen the likes of Space Harrier or Bomb Jack running on A8 hardware, however.....it is a very, very different 'Animal' to that of the COMMERCIAL A8 scene i and many others grew up with, to such an extent i find it utter madness to even try and compare A8 homebrew to COMMERCIAL C64 games etc.
The Commercial A8 scene saw developers here in UK designing games to load from tape and run in the main on 48K machines, sadly so few games ran in 64K and as for those that used the 130XE's extra memory.....very few and far between.
Throwing up videos showcasing say 320K games like Bomb Jack on A8 that need the 800XL/130 XE/65XE/XEGS to run and making out the A8 is a far superior machine to the C64 is just a little rum in my view and just showcases just how little understanding there is to just why the games in question require so much Ram.
Going purely off memory, A8 International Karate..only 2 locations on tape version, 8 on Disk? purely down to fact if you wanted more than 2 locations, you needed to load them into memory each time, so tape version would of been unplayable due to a crippling multi-load.
Can you honestly imagine a developer approaching Atari UK saying we've a stunning conversion of Space Harrier/Bomb Jack or even Green Beret, Rampage etc, that knocks the socks off the existing C64 version, only thing is, it'll either have to be on a cart with ohhh 320K+ due to amount of sprite data engine needs to process, plus samples, music etc or...disk only and even then will only run on A8's with 64K or above....
There was no chance Atari would ever green light it.It's 1 thing to convert existing tape/disk games to cart for the 65XE/XEGS/XL/XE range, but it's cloud cuckoo land to think even if talented A8 coders had existed to do the conversions back then, they'd ever of been made a commercial reality.User base was so small.
As for the impressive Out Run Game Engine demo...it's sat there with the Silkworm/Turrican etc etc ones i've seen over the years.
Very brave attempts, but in terms of ever becoming a reality, sadly wasn't going to happen was it?.Sounds harsh, but reality simply was that for a starters as Space Harrier proved, these projects take years and so much in the way of resources...
Also, i'd hazzard a guess that what we see running on these YT vids have already maxed out the A8 hardware, just by doing what's present, let alone adding extra cars, collision detect, A.I routines etc etc
If you want to go further you do what? comprimise on visuals? throw everything onto cart to be pulled across when needed/pre-determine sprite routines etc?.I'm no coder, but it seems only option to myself.
I'd love to see someone use Chris Hutts methods/code etc to convert Powerdrift/Galaxy Force/Out Run/Power Drift/Afterburner etc to A8..is it going to happen?
Even if it did, it's still not 'true' A8 gaming in strictest sense...