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Expectations vs. Reality


Clint Thompson
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If you were an early adopter of the Jaguar like I was, what were some of your expectations and how did you feel it compared to reality once you managed to get the console/games? I think the one game I want to focus or emphasize on is Club Drive. I spent a lot of time looking at the back of the Jaguar box only to imagine which game I could get next and Club Drive always seemed to stick out in a positive light. I'm not really sure what I was expecting but the picture on the back of that Jaguar box sure made it seem like something far more grand.

 

Thankfully I didn't pay full price for Club Drive. Actually, I think I ended up doing a trade for some other games I had at the time, by that time probably sometime in 95. What a goofy game. Completely destroyed my hopes/expectations of what that game was supposed to be. While strange, it was fast and I do remember even attempting to do a 2 player very briefly, though I'm unsure who it was with. It didn't last very long, it just wasn't very fun plus you couldn't really make out anything.

 

Revisiting some screenshots, I don't remember the Atari building in the game and may have to check it out again just for that reason alone lol

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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You cannot take it with ya  :)

 

^^ This.

 

I know people that hoard stuff.  A whole wall of boxed items.  Not just 1 2600...they have a dozen.  To each his own...but not my cup of tea at all.  I like to buy stuff to PLAY and explore and enjoy.   

 

Back on topic...I'm guessing that some folks just collect more copies of Jaguar stuff (which is limited in quantity to begin with) and that's what drives the prices sky high.  The Jaguar is a system I'd love to try out and enjoy, but it sure seems like the entry price these days is way too high. 

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Yeah, regarding Checkered Flag: (notes from the source code itself, and this was just months before its release!)

 

"Noted within AI:

" BIG bad BUG - didn't make sure loop counter was properly initialized !!!!!"

"; make finished cars do one slow lap - actually want to park, so needs more thought"

"count car because its active; slow routine - needs to be faster"

" check for local blockages and adjust target if anything to avoid - must be made faster !!!!!"

" there really should be a detailed position analysis tool here, but left out for now"

Noted within MAPROT:

"; initial trial for rotating map
; rotate map onto main display screen
; using A2 for destination, scanning pixel by pixel, line by line, across a 128*128 zone of main screen
; using A1 for source, scannin at a fixed angle across the"

Noted in OUTER.GAS

"should these processes by managing subsequent sections ?
or should it all be top level management ? *so much uncertainty*
"

Noted in PDRAW.GAS

"; new program for producing a simple structure for drawing a polygon.
; ideally will work using the same blitter code as the old version, but
; with out the endpoint system.

; originally included z-buffer - now removed COMPLETELY"

Noted in SCRNSHOT.S

"; screen shot program, which reads the object list and copies everything into a known empty screen area
; the following rules are used :
; 1. test that object is an unscaled bitmap - otherwise finish
; 2. test that object is NOT RMW - otherwise skip
; 3. test whether object is 16 bit CRY
;    if so then use blitter, with transparency on
;    if not, perform full expansion using 68000
;    note that blitter could be used for 1 bit objects - and since these are the only other sort I use, its worth considering"

Noted in SHADOWS.S:

"; this is really nothing at the moment, but the intention is to allow proper shadowing as follows:

; 1. when building the complete 3d structure in the track generator, allow an extra stream, the shadow stream,
;    of exactly the same size as the buildings stream.
; 2. taking each polygon of the object in turn, project its points onto the ground along the sun direction, and
;    create a new object, which can then be used for the shadows.
; note that only polygons which are facing the sun need to be used (test by assuming viewpoint is sun - ie take the
; object zero point, and subtract $10000 sun vectors from it to give a viewpoint)
; because we assume a distant source, giving parallel rays, we can project without using the viewpoint.
; However the shape projected could be a problem, as overlapping will cause non-constant shadows, which would be silly.
; this is no problem for a cube - each faces shadow should match perfectly with all others - but in the case of a building which
; is non-convex, there will be problems.
; The obvious answer is to perform clipping of each new shadow polygon against the old shadow polygons, although perhaps a better
; solution would be to change the drawing routine to allow concave polygons.  Then the solution is to combine the polygons into
; one, which would require the same process as for the clipping, but would cut the drawing time slightly."

Noted in SKYFILLS.S:

"; modified sky blanker, to generate, using the blitter, a controlled, simple, linear colour gradient from pure blue at the very top - off the screen -
; down to white at the centre line, with a fixed intensity - preset - and then continue from there to green as currently used for the foreground, with
; the intention of reaching pure green in 16 lines"

Noted in STRIP.S:

"; This is INTENDED to do a blit of a strip from a 320*256 screen - the sky background from checkered flag - into a 2048*32 area.
; Whatever colour is in the top left corner of that strip will be taken as background - that is, replaced by zero to leave transparent.

; The position to write to will be determined by the current position - which can be calculated direct from the current direction
"

Noted in ZCLIP.GAS:

"Poly_draw:: ; hopefully re-written to properly z-cli"

Noted in REDSOUND.INC:

"; This is the file containing macro calls for the Chequered Flag / Red Line Racer game sound system""

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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Great article here on why Atari should never of used early screens of AVP etc for advertising:

 

 

https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/177756/the-terrible-tales-of-the-atari-jaguars-checkered-flag-and-fight-for-life

 

I honestly want to believe that at one point, Checkered Flag DID look like that in the beginning but it does make you wonder why the early screenshots were included in the source code discovered. When JSII was around, I posted a picture of Red Line racer showing modem support as well but I have no idea where that went and is probably long but lost, not that it matter, just that it was cool it was being considered. Even if no one would've wanted to play it lol...

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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I really would like to be able to compile this source code for Checkered Flag - have the linker and madmac program to compile it all I think and while I'm no coder, it would be fun to go in there and disable or alter things to see how it improves performance possibly. Windows 7 isn't a very nice environment for a lot of these old programs so I'll have to pull out the XP box again.

Edited by Clint Thompson

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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More interesting bits from the Checkered Flag source code: (or at least I think it's cool to read, though the rest of you may disagree lol)

 

=====================================================================================================
; temporary track for testing things on - just a f*cking huge oval

Track10::


    start    -150000,0,0

    flaginit    %001100000000000000000    ; long white lines, warnings, barriers both sides
;    flags are    :CCLDW----PTTB----PTTB

    straight    Obstrw
    objrel        Obibridge1,0,0,0
    straight    Obstrw
    straight    Obstrw
    objrel        Obbuild2,20000,0,0
    straight    Obstrw
=====================================================================================================


=====================================================================================================
;track 7 - arctic run [or is that arctic roll :~)

Track7::

    start    10000,-200000,$100
    flaginit    %011100000000100000001
;    flags are    :CCLDW----PTTB----PTTB

;============= STARTING STRAIGHT

    manbars        Obvhill01r,0    
=====================================================================================================


=====================================================================================================
Track_slow::            ; amount of speed to keep when off track for each track
    dc.w    9    ; green valley        grass is not too bad for slowing
    dc.w    9    ; river mouth
    dc.w    6    ; desert pass        sand slows a LOT
    dc.w    9    ; deep wood
    dc.w    9    ; the hole
    dc.w    9    ; island hop
    dc.w    9    ; the gorge
    dc.w    12    ; concrete canyon    concrete is not very slowing
    dc.w    6    ; sunset strip
    dc.w    8    ; arctic run        powder snow is bad for speed
=====================================================================================================


=====================================================================================================
; This should cover most eventualities, but one thing is worth noting :
; landscape features such as rivers will need to be coded separately in all likelihood,
; so there probably needs to be the option of passing these kind of features first, and then
; adding the rest on afterwards, reserving space of course.
; Also, the main list (trees buildings etc) will include the data for the cars, the wheels of which need to
; have 'rotation' set up, so the generator needs to pass the appropriate address for the spinner.
; At the same time, the cars address can be set up - these will probably best be placed after the other data.
; The starting positions need to be fixed somehow as well - probably using something like the trigger points.

; Additional item :
; to allow changing between different barriers / but using as little extra data as possible, we now have :
; New barriers [bar-left] [bar-right]        - where barrier codes are object codes
; entered simply by setting an extra bit in the command code - and then placing the two bytes after it.
; this will : a) if bar-left and bar-right are both 0, clear a flag in the flags register and
; set the left and right bar codes (two bytes in vardefs)
;         B) otherwise, set the same flag, and set the bar codes
; the mods to tgen will then go as follows :
; 1. modify the decode stage to take account of the above extra bit incorporation
; 2. allocate space for extra codes and additional flag
; 3. modify output stage to check for special barrier codes when about to output the barriers
; 4. modify pre-scan stage to allow for remote possibility that special barriers are not on stream 6

; Further addition :
; to allow sensible easy entry of the large scale landscape objects such as lakes,
; which are defined as a combination of fixed sized (grid) objects, we add a grid command and a
; set of extra commands to go with it. The grids are axis aligned and data is entered in x lines through z.
=====================================================================================================

=====================================================================================================
given target x,z, and current x,z and current direction y'
calculate the steps of length 'speed', decreasing by 'brake' per step,
that will pass through that point facing in the direction y"

difficult huh ?

cut down version is to say :

1. target speed is known, so we just take the distance to target,
 and divide it by the average speed, which will tell us how fast we
 need to brake and the number of steps involved - approx.

2. the total turn required is known, so it is reasonable to simply request
 that the turn step is the total turn divided by the number of steps

since this process will repeat every frame, there is no need to worry about
cars driving off into the sunset, as they will check and recheck their positions
so frequently.

however all this is doing is making sure the car is facing the right way after a #
given number of steps not making sure its in the right place.

this will require much more thought

possible quick solution : if the standard solution above produces a average direction - that is current direction
plus target direction over two - then this can be compared to the actual required direction to hit the target
however, steering is not maintained in current data block, which is not going to help matters

if steering was maintained, then what ?

maximum steer is already defined, so perhaps the steer assigned could be the amount needed to pass the required
direction [to hit the target] after half the steps
=====================================================================================================
 

Edited by Clint Thompson

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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I got a Jaguar in '94. Because I worked at a video game store in high school, I had access to used games and demos for the Jaguar, 32x and 3DO. Of the three, I never owned a 32x but I was able to sample the library. Given that I could play a lot of titles in store, I was never really surprised or let down by the games I bought. The pre-PSX games like Tempest 2000, Doom, Wolfenstein, AVP, Raiden, Iron Soldier and Theme Park all compared well to what was on offer on the other two platforms. I knew enough to stay away from dogs like Trevor McFur, Club Drive and Checkered Flag at the time.

 

The store closed all of the locations in my area in the summer of '95 so I was flying blind that Fall. I relied mostly on Next Generation for info during this period. For the most part, later releases, like Missile Command 3D, Battlemorph, Rayman and Primal Rage all held up reasonably well to the early Saturn and PlayStation games. I also thoroughly enjoyed Blue Lightning and Highlander, even though they get pretty bad ratings in most Jaguar discussion threads. For me, the biggest let downs during the Jaguar's commercial life were Supercross 3D and Fight for Life. Both had semi-favorable previews and screen shots leading up to release. Both were terrible disappointments.

 

Some happy surprises happened when the Jaguar went on clearance. I found that I really enjoyed the quirky, colorful titles Flip Out! and Attack of the Mutant Penguins. I also picked up the stellar Super Burnout at this time. Other happy surprises came with the Telegames releases. Iron Soldier 2 exceeded every expectation and Zero 5 became a lifelong favorite. In fact, I think the six Telegames releases are among the Jaguar's strongest titles. Later, when I got into Songbird's games, I couldn't put down Skyhammer. Other's, like Hyperforce or Soccer Kid, just aren't my cup of tea but I'm glad that Carl was able to save the work from the dust bin.

 

I was on a break from gaming when Battlesphere and BSG came out. I finally got BSG at a bit of a premium a few years ago from another Jaguar collector. After all of the buildup, there was no way it could meet my expectations. It is a solid game and has a tremendous amount of polish but I just don't find it as engaging as, say, Wing Commander 3.

Edited by atarilbc
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Strangely, I didn't really have expectations from Atari for the Jaguar. Then again, I was just a kid/teen and really enjoyed what I've come to learn and know about Atari at the time and thought it was awesome they were releasing a new console. Really, the naming was aggressive, it was a black 64-bit system that IBM was manufacturing and that's most of all I knew - that and knowing I wanted it! =D Never really dreamed or imagined I would get it and actually forgot about it for a few months until it was under the Christmas tree that year.

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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