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Crimsonland Interview - Robotron Indie Gaming?

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the around-2084-bullets-onscreen-at-once dept.

Games 14

Thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing to a HomeLan Fed article interviewing the creators of Robotron-inspired PC arcade-action title Crimsonland. This retro-styled shooter started out as a freeware game from the small Finnish developer 10 Tons Entertainment, and was picked up by Reflexive Entertainment after the unofficial help of fellow Finns and Max Payne developers Remedy. As for Crimsonland itself, according to developer Tero Alatalo, "..the game uses features of modern 3D accelerators to draw good old 2D graphics. So you'll need to have a 3D card to run a 2D game, but basically you couldn't get the same smoothness, effects and frame rate with traditional 2D drawing methods."

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robots! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6275173)

Chicken! Fight like a robot!

3D rendering of 2D? (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6275248)

Seriously how many frames per second does a 2D game need?

Re:3D rendering of 2D? (3, Insightful)

easychord (671421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6275926)

60. Anything above that is overkill. Anything less and you lose hardcore arcade gameplay.

I'm pretty sure that he is talking about the effects that the game uses. It would be slower if he had to write his own 2d lighting routines for example.

Pretty much any modern computer can display pre-rendered bitmaps at 60 fps without breaking into a sweat.

Re:3D rendering of 2D? (3, Insightful)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6276064)

60. Anything above that is overkill. Anything less and you lose hardcore arcade gameplay.


It's a fairly arbitrary number entirely dependant on the player's ability to perceive frames at a certain rate of speed, and the monitor's ability to display them (also a factor is whether the player games with the lights on or off, and the frequency of those lights if they are on).

In theory, you want the raw framerate to be roughly 1.5 to 2 times the refresh rate of your monitor, and then enable v-synch to lock it at the refresh rate (preventing various problems caused by vertical refreshes when the card is midway through drawing a frame).

The most important part, though, is to make sure game logic is affected by framerate as little as possible (if at all), which some game developers (id comes to mind) seem to have a lot of problems doing.

Re:3D rendering of 2D? (1)

easychord (671421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6276473)

Actually, that makes a lot of sense.

Last time I did any (hobby) game development was on the Amiga using tv output. Refresh is locked to 60/50 Hz and you aim to vsynch with that or half with a slower more complex game.

Obviously, the game needs to be faster than the target framerate or you start to skip frames and lose the silky smoothness.

Still think that 60 is a fairly good number.

Re:3D rendering of 2D? (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6276823)

Personally, I can't use a computer for long periods of time with a refresh rate below ~75 Hz, as it causes me to get very bad eye-strain and related headaches. As I said before, it's different for different people. Generally, a TV refresh rate is much lower (~25-30 Hz, sometimes listed as 50-60 Hz because it is interlaced; non-HDTV and other high resolution standards), and non-digital movies are filmed at similar framerates, and for me none of these cause any problems, it's something unique to computer displays (and possibly some lights as well) that causes this problem for me. Therefore, I limit what resolutions I use based on whether or not I can acheive 75+ Hz with my graphics card and monitor.

Anyway, the idea from a developer's standpoint is to hit a minimum of 30 fps in the worst-case scenarios on a target low-end system. This will satisfy most customers, and provide a high framerate for the mid- to high-end systems. Ideally, you'd provide a framerate lock to maintain a maximum framerate for those people that actually know enough about what they're doing with game optimization to know that the difference between your highest framerate and your lowest framerate is where perceived slowdowns come from, even if the framerate never drops below 100.

Re:3D rendering of 2D? (1)

easychord (671421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6277353)

For normal computer use I don't like using anything less than 85hz.

A GUI with lots of lines and small text is different to most games though. Vice City on the PC sets the refresh to 60Hz and doesn't bother me at all.

3d vs old specialized chips (4, Insightful)

eamonman (567383) | more than 11 years ago | (#6275502)

It's funny how we need to use 3d cards, which have something on the order of 1e8 transistors, to draw something just as fast as the old chips (680?) which only has about 1e3 of transistors.

Too bad you can't draw with opcodes anymore ;)

Re:3d vs old specialized chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6275918)

The stuff they're drawing is a lot more complex now. The old chips wouldn't cut it.

Re:3d vs old specialized chips (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 11 years ago | (#6275979)

The effects this game uses the older game on 680? could only dream of. And a wet dream at that.

Using 3d to do 2d or iso is extremly beneficial. But you must design your 3d engine to take into account your fixed perspective to get the added performance increase. Then you get best of both worlds. Your effects can make change based on 3d data, whereas if it was straight 2d, the only other data you'd have aside for coordinates and color value would be (maybe) height data.

If i recall correctly Total Annihilation did this back in 97? The game was 2d top down, but the data was 3d. It allowed complicated line of sight and other 'neat' things (AA guns blasting your buildings if you didn't give them enough clearance)..

-malakai

Re:3d vs old specialized chips (3, Informative)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6276125)

If i recall correctly Total Annihilation did this back in 97? The game was 2d top down, but the data was 3d. It allowed complicated line of sight and other 'neat' things (AA guns blasting your buildings if you didn't give them enough clearance)..

TA did something slightly different. It was a 3d game done entirely on 2d hardware (as opposed to a 2d game done entirely on 3d hardware). TA had polygon-based models and did all of the proper calculations to model the 3d space, but drew everything using 2d graphics instructions. So, even to this day, the game doesn't take advantage of any 3d graphics hardware, but does take full advantage of CPU upgrades and video RAM.

I would give my right arm... (1)

immanis (557955) | more than 11 years ago | (#6276780)

for a serious update along these lines of Smash TV. Big Money! Big Prizes! I LOVE it!

Sweetness. (1)

nekoes (613370) | more than 11 years ago | (#6278894)

Bah, who cares if they're using accelleration to draw 2D graphics... like it matters if the game plays any smoother. Anyone who cares about PC gaming no doubt has some form of 3D accelleration in their boxen (and if you don't, you're just fooling yourself). So what's the difference?

Myself? I'm happy I've finally got another shooter to play, especially classic style. You don't see many of these games getting released these days... and hey, it's free! Why complain?

Re:Sweetness. (1)

easychord (671421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6282321)

Sure, this is a fun game. Can't blame slashdotters for wondering if it works in theory as well as practice though.

If you are looking for more, try here [pompom.org.uk] .
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