AuthorTopic: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand  (Read 34489 times)

Offline alspal

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #10 on: March 17, 2010, 01:34:36 am
Thought I'd flex my nerd muscles by mentioning that "Shatterhand" is a westernized port of a Japanese game called "Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain", which in turn is based on a TV Show about robot cops or something.

Incorrect.

Quote from: JoshF
I used the site Game Kommander for that information, which is far more reliable that Wikipedia.

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/hzk/kommander/rvsrs.html

From what I can tell it calls Shatterhand the original, and says Bandai made them update it to include one of their licenses for the Japanese release.
http://forum.insomnia.ac/viewtopic.php?t=3096

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #11 on: March 17, 2010, 01:15:47 pm
That's a stunning reversal of form with that japanese liscencing!

And I am really stunned this is just 220kb. More respect for the artist(s)!

Offline ptoing

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #12 on: March 17, 2010, 02:22:09 pm
More respect for the artist(s)!

And coder(s) and musician(s) :)

There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Kasumi

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #13 on: March 21, 2010, 01:36:17 pm
I hope a more technical post will be appreciated. If not, I'll head back into lurk mode. The NES stuff always pulls me out.  :-X I also apologize if I compared to other games too much, but I thought it might help understanding.

Just a few corrections here to start:

The cart (probably Konami-designed) has modifications to increase memory size to fit in more sprite and tile data. Effectively this means that this game couldn't have come out as an NES launch title or anything of the type. Keep this in mind if you think 'huh the NES came a long way since super mario and other simple looking arcade ports to this'. The artists came a long way but also, the cart configurations changed. I'm sure we have some actual NES cartridge wizards in the forum that could more assuredly talk about their specs.

Well, I can try. Shatterhand is an MMC3 game. MMC3 and the other MMC series were Nintendo developed as far as I know. This means Shatterhand doesn't have any more of a complicated cart than 1988's Super Mario Bros. 3, and in fact uses less space for code/data/levels, probably to save money since ROM was expensive. (Both games use 128 KB for graphics, but SMB3 uses 256 KB for code/data where Shatterhand only uses 128KB for that. But... I suppose that's not useful info for this discussion) Therefore you can chalk a lot of Shatterhand's graphical victories to its artists, rather than its cart.

It's all about color usage and tile busyness I think. It takes a page from the Batman game, the black color is the universal color here that ties almost every tile together and frees up the other two colors per tile to be whatever else since black can dither into anything for an extra darker shade and unifies.

Three. If black is the universal color in all background tiles, then each tile palette still has three other colors to choose from. There are four background palettes that have: black, and three other colors. It's sprites that only get three colors since the universal color used for all sprite palettes just becomes transparent instead when the sprite is drawn.

Don't be afraid of complicated tile configurations either, you have (imaginary) cartridge space.

In fact, this game could have used twice as much space as it did for tile/sprite data. It just would have been more expensive to produce.

On the whole "parallax scroll debate"

The splitscreen parallax:

I assume they scroll the screen during scanline interrupts?

Is it possible to scroll one part to the left, the other to the right?

Sprites are always layered afterwards?

Yes!

Yes! See Megaman 3 (another MMC3 game.) Press start on the title screen and watch the top and bottom parts of the screen scroll in from the left, and the middle scroll in from the right to make up the robot master select screen.

Not necessarily. ptoing went over the basics of that.

The best "parallax scrolling" I've seen is in Battletoads. (Note: Battletoads is NOT MMC3 but...) One of the features MMC3 adds is a scanline counter. This allows different vertical portions of the screen to have different horizontal scroll values. (Split screen scrolling as described in Megaman 3 above) On the title screen of Shatterhand don't press start. Eventually you'll see an enemy shooting, and a guy will pan in from the right blocking the bullets with his arm. That's an example of this. It's not exactly as wonderful as parallax scrolling with different background layers though.

But actually split screen scrolling can be used in carts with no special configuration. See Super Mario Bros. where the level scrolls but the HUD (score, world etc) doesn't. MMC3 just made that kinda thing MUCH easier since you didn't have to wait in idle loops to change the scroll value mid screen. You could rely on an interrupts. I can't even guarentee at this point if that scene is done the MMC3 way or the SMB way without looking at how it's running through a debugger, but "easy" split screen is a fun feature of MMC3.

I might make a more detailed post regarding what this game does with its graphics codewise during gameplay, as well.

Edit: Or not. A quick run through shows it barely does anything neat. Doh. Ptoing covered that.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 02:06:36 pm by Kasumi »
I program NES games. Thus, I'm the unofficial forum dealer of too much information about the NES.

Offline Green_Hell

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #14 on: March 21, 2010, 10:46:20 pm
Feel free to add more screenshots to the discussion. I think I need to play a little more before I can get some of the later areas.

Let's get cracking! :yay:

This might be usefull:
http://www.vgmaps.com/Atlas/NES/index.htm#S
http://www.retrogamezone.co.uk/shatteredhand.html

Hope it did not ruin the fun of cracking. I cheated my emulator (mednafen) and then remembered about these sites with sprites and maps.

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #15 on: March 22, 2010, 08:34:55 pm
Kasumi thank you very much for the informative technical post :)

Offline pmprog

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #16 on: March 26, 2010, 12:10:07 pm
Several C64 games supply parallax scrolling beyond scanlines (Creatures, Mayhem in Monsterland, Turrican).

Basically, as the background is made up from the character set, which have custom "font", this can be done by having several characters with "scrolled" versions of the same character (if there's enough free characters), or, the other option is to edit the character set data during the game.

A prime example of the latter is Barbarian, whilst not used for parallax scrolling, the characters are "drawn" into the background using this method. I'm not sure why they didn't use hardware sprites for Barbarian, but still plays well
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 12:11:57 pm by pmprog »

Offline Kasumi

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #17 on: March 26, 2010, 03:17:53 pm
Kasumi thank you very much for the informative technical post :)
You're welcome.

Since I finally got around to really playing this, I've got one more.

This game has a "parallax scrolling" thing too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN6r2MPdNmw

It's fine for a beat'em up like Battletoads because those games progress horizontally, without a lot of vertical scrolling.
I don't think it works on this style of game, though, because it prohibits the part of the level you can interact with from being any higher than the highest point of the level with a "normal" scroll. Vertical scrolling with it is also pretty out of the question without headaches, so they opted out.
Also interesting to me, is how this game really likes (liked?) to avoid scrolling horizontally and vertically at the same time. I almost get the feeling they didn't have a way to do it when they started the game, and only added areas like this when they updated the engine.

Play the first level again. It seems pretty carefully designed so that it's never possible to scroll in both directions. You go horizontally. You reach a vertical drop. You can't go back to the horizontal area once you drop down. When you get the end of the drop to scroll horizontally again, you can't scroll back up. Without being really techinical, scrolling in two directions at once is difficult on NES because it doesn't have an offscreen buffer to draw tiles to in each direction. On the chance if it has to scroll both in the same frame it becomes a real problem. Metroid switched the type of scrolling every time you went through a door. (That's why the map is horizontal rooms next to vertical hubs) Megaman switched it when needed. Kirby's Adventure tried scrolling both ways during the level select hubs, but never during an actual level (that I know of). But that's likely getting off topic. I think I'll try the challenge, since I need the practice for my own game. I talk a big talk, but I'm really not so great at (NES) tiling.  :crazy:

Several C64 games supply parallax scrolling beyond scanlines (Creatures, Mayhem in Monsterland, Turrican).

Basically, as the background is made up from the character set, which have custom "font", this can be done by having several characters with "scrolled" versions of the same character (if there's enough free characters), or, the other option is to edit the character set data during the game.

A prime example of the latter is Barbarian, whilst not used for parallax scrolling, the characters are "drawn" into the background using this method. I'm not sure why they didn't use hardware sprites for Barbarian, but still plays well

You can mess with the characterset on NES as well, if you use CHR RAM, instead of CHR ROM. (which Shatterhand uses). I'm always amazed by the tricks these games used to get what they could from bad specs.
I program NES games. Thus, I'm the unofficial forum dealer of too much information about the NES.

Offline Helm

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #18 on: March 30, 2010, 03:58:57 pm
Again, really informative post!

I kinda like how Shatterhand doesn't allow you to scroll in both directions at once, somehow it makes the game feel more... tight. I don't know if anyone else feels likewise.

Offline robotwo

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Re: Commercial Critique - Shatterhand

Reply #19 on: April 26, 2010, 05:11:31 pm
Still have my ex of "Shatterhand" complete in the box  :)
One of my all-time favourites next to "Journey to Silius" and "PowerBlade"  ;D