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battlescroll

nostalgic console port

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9 hours ago, famicommander said:

You play the game. You don't grade on a scale for technical limitations. Either it's fun or it ain't, and it ain't. It could be the most technically impressive thing in the history of the world and it wouldn't matter one bit because it sucks major ass to play. 

But that is still your personal opinion. People can have fun with what is obviously a less than stellar version of the game in the same vein as that people enjoyed playing PSX/N64 games at an unstable 20 fps. 

 

Ofcourse, nowadays we take it for granted if performance is not near-spotless and stable. But back in the day... well. It was 1995. 3D was a big upcoming thing, so naturally, having Doom running on a last-gen machine (Or well, it was still current gen, the N64 was not yet out) was an exciting prospect indeed.

 

That is the lens through which this ought to be viewed, and not with 2021 goggles.

7 hours ago, famicommander said:

Which circles me back to the battered spouse metaphor.

 

Sorry man, but SNES, 3DO, 32X, and Saturn ports are ridiculously, ludicrously bad. 

Which is a terrible metaphor to have, in my opinion.

 

Every port has had some merit: Even the 3DO. It is (rightfully so) considered one of the worst ports, but hey, atleast the music was good (laughs). 

 

But the 3DO port was more a tale of facing impossible odds in the eyes of the developer, and an overly ambitious publisher who figured every 3DO owner at the time would buy Doom.

2 hours ago, famicommander said:

You seem pretty invested in defending horrible games. I'm sorry for whatever happened to you that made you this way.

The bolded is quite excessive to say when there is only a liking to the SNES port.

 

For all its faults, it certainly has had its merits: It provides a reasonable fascimile of Doom, and with the code now available, gives insight in how make Doom playable on systems lower power than Doom itself.

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Sega Saturn.  7 year old me was happy enough and didn't care about framerate, I just wanted to waste those demons.  I guess my parents got bored of me asking to use the DOS PC constantly :D

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Seeing how Doom 32X Resurrection plays on the 32X, I wonder how much better the Saturn would be with the same code. The processors are a bit faster, and have 1MB of 32-bit SDRAM instead of 256KB of 16-bit SDRAM. Instead of pulling data from slow 16-bit rom, it would pull from 1MB 16-bit DRAM and maybe 4MB of slow 16-bit DRAM from an Action Replay Plus cart. Graphics could be cached in the 512KB of vram, with VDP1 taking up the job of rendering columns and spans. When I get some time, I'll probably work on a libyaul version of D32XR for the Saturn. Requiring an ARP cart would be better than trying to pull stuff off the CD on the fly. Just load the wad file to ARP memory and treat it like it was a cart. All the code would be in fast 32-bit SDRAM, most of the game variables, arrays, and tables would also be in 32-bit SDRAM. The rest could be split between the low memory (1MB 16-bit DRAM) and the VRAM for VDP1. D32XR keeps a texture cache in the little bit of SDRAM available after the level loads, and you can bet it's nowhere near as big as the VRAM in the Saturn.

 

My nostalgic console Doom was Doom for the 32X. I had the Genesis + CD at the time the 32X came out, and figured at the price the Saturn was going to launch at, I'd be better off putting off getting a Saturn for a couple years and got the 32X instead. Got Doom, Knuckle Chaotics, Kolibri, Virtua Racing, and Virtua Fighter at launch. It was a solid launch that did well in the US, with much promise for the next year... and then Sega ordered all devs to concentrate on the Saturn. :(

 

So I got a PS1 instead of the Saturn, with Doom being one of the first titles I got on it. PSX Doom was awesomeness personified! I loved the atmospheric tracks used in place of the normal music.

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4 hours ago, ChillyWilly said:

Seeing how Doom 32X Resurrection plays on the 32X, I wonder how much better the Saturn would be with the same code. The processors are a bit faster, and have 1MB of 32-bit SDRAM instead of 256KB of 16-bit SDRAM. Instead of pulling data from slow 16-bit rom, it would pull from 1MB 16-bit DRAM and maybe 4MB of slow 16-bit DRAM from an Action Replay Plus cart. Graphics could be cached in the 512KB of vram, with VDP1 taking up the job of rendering columns and spans. When I get some time, I'll probably work on a libyaul version of D32XR for the Saturn. Requiring an ARP cart would be better than trying to pull stuff off the CD on the fly. Just load the wad file to ARP memory and treat it like it was a cart. All the code would be in fast 32-bit SDRAM, most of the game variables, arrays, and tables would also be in 32-bit SDRAM. The rest could be split between the low memory (1MB 16-bit DRAM) and the VRAM for VDP1. D32XR keeps a texture cache in the little bit of SDRAM available after the level loads, and you can bet it's nowhere near as big as the VRAM in the Saturn.

 

My nostalgic console Doom was Doom for the 32X. I had the Genesis + CD at the time the 32X came out, and figured at the price the Saturn was going to launch at, I'd be better off putting off getting a Saturn for a couple years and got the 32X instead. Got Doom, Knuckle Chaotics, Kolibri, Virtua Racing, and Virtua Fighter at launch. It was a solid launch that did well in the US, with much promise for the next year... and then Sega ordered all devs to concentrate on the Saturn. :(

 

So I got a PS1 instead of the Saturn, with Doom being one of the first titles I got on it. PSX Doom was awesomeness personified! I loved the atmospheric tracks used in place of the normal music.

Er? I thought the Saturn had 1.5 MB of VRAM and 2 MB of RAM.

 

That said, I'm not entirely sure about requiring a RAM expansion cart for it. I mean, it'd definitely help, as long as it's fast enough, but I got no idea how fast it'd be compared to the system RAM.

 

EDIT: Found a source.

 

Quote

High Work RAM: 57.2 MHz, 115mb/s, 32-bit (interleaved access)

Low work RAM: 28.6 MHz, 88mb/s, 16 bit

16-bit Cartridge RAM: 22-25 MHz 36-40mb/s, 16-bit

Even if that's megabits, you're still talking the ability to transfer 4-5 MB/sec off the RAM cart. That's probably plenty fast enough. The thing is, as I said, that'd split maps into haves and have-nots - you could boost the monster variety with a RAM cart, but then people without one would be forced to play cut-down versions of maps, etc.

Edited by Dark Pulse

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On 11/22/2021 at 4:48 PM, Dark Pulse said:

Er? I thought the Saturn had 1.5 MB of VRAM and 2 MB of RAM.

 

The 512KB of vram I was referring to is the ram that VDP1 has exclusive access to and is used for source textures/sprites and command lists. The 2MB of main ram is split into 1MB of High RAM, and 1MB of Low RAM. High RAM is fast, 32-bit wide SDRAM. It is meant for the game's code and primary data, which needs to be executed/accessed as fast as possible. Low RAM is moderate speed, 16-bit wide DRAM. It is meant of game data that will be used frequently, but isn't as time critical as to need to be in High RAM.

 

The CD has a buffer of 512KB, and the CD is a 2X drive. You clearly haven't seen the seek and read latencies on an old 2X CDROM. Doom is designed around having about 6MB of direct storage for levels and all sprites/textures/flats/sounds. While it can use less storage and pull info off the hard drive, doing so will cause hitches in the game when the drive is accessed. And that is on a hard drive, which is several magnitudes faster at getting and transferring data than a 2X CDROM. JagDoom was designed to access most of its assets straight from the cart (32X Doom as well). PSX Doom had to make it where it relied only on 2MB of ram and 1MB of vram, and Saturn Doom was probably the same. However, given how easy and cheap it is to get an ARP cart, I really don't see a problem in requiring it to avoid the game grinding to a halt every time something is needed off the CD. It gives you the dram storage, save space for saves, and can be used to help play other Saturn games with neat little changes. Here's one from Amazon for $40. And you'll get more use out of it than just Doom.

 

Anywho, this is all for the future. When I get to working on it, I'll let folks know what they will and will not need to run it. Who knows, maybe it won't need an ARP cart after all.

 

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On 5/11/2021 at 3:15 PM, battlescroll said:

what doom port to a console do you have the most memories with, for example mine is the snes port. I remember as a kid i would play the mediocre doom and Wolfenstein ports and have a blast. I also remember beating it and jumping up and down with joy. Ah good times.

I first played doom on pc but I wish I had memories on a console

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5 hours ago, ChillyWilly said:

The 512KB of vram I was referring to is the ram that VDP1 has exclusive access to and is used for source textures/sprites and command lists. The 2MB of main ram is split into 1MB of High RAM, and 1MB of Low RAM. High RAM is fast, 32-bit wide SDRAM. It is meant for the game's code and primary data, which needs to be executed/accessed as fast as possible. Low RAM is moderate speed, 16-bit wide DRAM. It is meant of game data that will be used frequently, but isn't as time critical as to need to be in High RAM.

 

The CD has a buffer of 512KB, and the CD is a 2X drive. You clearly haven't seen the seek and read latencies on an old 2X CDROM. Doom is designed around having about 6MB of direct storage for levels and all sprites/textures/flats/sounds. While it can use less storage and pull info off the hard drive, doing so will cause hitches in the game when the drive is accessed. And that is on a hard drive, which is several magnitudes faster at getting and transferring data than a 2X CDROM. JagDoom was designed to access most of its assets straight from the cart (32X Doom as well). PSX Doom had to make it where it relied only on 2MB of ram and 1MB of vram, and Saturn Doom was probably the same. However, given how easy and cheap it is to get an ARP cart, I really don't see a problem in requiring it to avoid the game grinding to a halt every time something is needed off the CD. It gives you the dram storage, save space for saves, and can be used to help play other Saturn games with neat little changes. Here's one from Amazon for $40. And you'll get more use out of it than just Doom.

 

Anywho, this is all for the future. When I get to working on it, I'll let folks know what they will and will not need to run it. Who knows, maybe it won't need an ARP cart after all.

 

I admit that I don't know as much of the Saturn architecture, but I've darn well experienced a 2x CD-ROM drive. That's what the PS1 also had, after all, and I'm well aware of the limitations - 300 msec just to seek to the area, even longer to begin reading it, and since it's a 2x drive, 300 KB/sec read - at best, if all the data is totally sequential, which is almost never the case. Cartridge-based systems can avoid all of this nonsense because access time is on the scale of 70-100 nanoseconds (several orders of magnitude faster) and the transfer speed is limited by whatever bus width the cartridge has (generally speaking, several MB/sec at a minimum).

 

Don't get me wrong, I understand the benefit of an Action Replay with the RAM expansion. Throw in 4 MB of RAM along with the 2 MB the system has, and that's certainly enough to do the original Doom perfectly and probably Doom II as well with a bit of clever switching around. (Kaiser mentioned how in Doom 64 nearly everything - sprites, textures, and flats - are paged in and out depending on what's in view, so basically set up the renderer to draw only what it needs to for that frame, and as soon as it's gone, strike it - and that's on a system with only 4 MB of RAM since Doom 64 didn't take advantage of the Memory Pak to double its RAM to 8 MB, but admittedly, Doom 64 cut some monster types - but for cart space reasons, not RAM ones.)

 

The thing is it still immediately classes the game as a have/have-not - if you design it with the cart in mind, you make your project not work without it, and these carts are already almost 30 years old and not getting any younger, and unless someone has stepped up to make new devices, these will eventually all fail, making the game no longer work. But doing it allows you to have maps much closer, if not identical, to the PC originals.

 

Designing it around the base system means you'd be forced to cut down levels similar to the PS1 version, but the flip side is they will "just work" on a Saturn with or without the RAM cart. But then it means the added bonuses of the RAM cart become pointless for the most part.

 

Maybe there's some way to create two sets of the maps, have the game detect if a RAM cart is present, and if it is, load up the full-fat version of the maps - otherwise, load and run the reduced ones.

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5 hours ago, Dark Pulse said:

Designing it around the base system means you'd be forced to cut down levels similar to the PS1 version, but the flip side is they will "just work" on a Saturn with or without the RAM cart. But then it means the added bonuses of the RAM cart become pointless for the most part.

 

Maybe there's some way to create two sets of the maps, have the game detect if a RAM cart is present, and if it is, load up the full-fat version of the maps - otherwise, load and run the reduced ones.

 

Well, it's already a have/have not situation. You can't burn "real" Saturn discs, so it's going to require a mod-chipped Saturn to play. If you have one of those, you've probably already got an ARP cart. But there's plenty of room on a CD (unless you fill it with CDDA music tracks), so being able to make two versions for have/have not should be doable. Also only loading just what the level needs should help keep the space needed down.

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19 hours ago, ChillyWilly said:

Well, it's already a have/have not situation. You can't burn "real" Saturn discs, so it's going to require a mod-chipped Saturn to play. If you have one of those, you've probably already got an ARP cart. But there's plenty of room on a CD (unless you fill it with CDDA music tracks), so being able to make two versions for have/have not should be doable. Also only loading just what the level needs should help keep the space needed down.

Naturally, and I'd advise that either way, of course. PSX Doom was pretty clever in that it had detailed files for a level that loaded only the textures it needed and only the sprites it needed.

 

The downside, though, is that load times were a lot longer. Theoretically having more stuff in RAM could mean faster load times, as then the only stuff being swapped in and out is the actual map's geometry data, but at the same time, I don't know if it'd be possible to keep a copy of all sprite and texture assets in RAM. Doom II technically only required 4 MB of RAM, but it really recommended 8 MB.

 

Maybe you could give it a shot and see? Assuming you can use both the system RAM and the 4 MB RAM cart at the same time, that'd be 6 MB of RAM. It's not 8 MB, but it might be enough with some finagling. Keep the sprites in the 4 MB of cart RAM, and the level data and textures in the 2 MB of fast system RAM to minimize load times.

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Well, I'd start with almost a 1:1 copy of Doom 32X Resurrection, with the wad occupying the ARP 4MB ram. It would load once at the start and never touch the CD again, except to play CDDA tracks (or PCM/ADPCM tracks). That would be the simplest thing to do to start. From there, things can then be changed to support things like different/bigger wad files, using the VDP1 for line rendering, etc. The main thing is getting things running on the Saturn. Once the base is done, it can be expanded on more easily.

 

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On 11/22/2021 at 11:25 AM, famicommander said:

You play the game. You don't grade on a scale for technical limitations. Either it's fun or it ain't, and it ain't. It could be the most technically impressive thing in the history of the world and it wouldn't matter one bit because it sucks major ass to play. 

I'm not a "console port hater" by any stretch, they're definitely inferior versions of Doom in one way or another - but as a kid who had a NES, N64 and Windows PC with Doom and Wolf3D, I used to occasionally play those absolutely unfathomably shitty Tiger Electronics-type handhelds, "because why not". Of course it's not like I was sinking countless hours into them, but my point is: if I could have 10-15 minutes of half-decent entertainment from a glorified digital watch back then, I'm not at all surprised there were people really, truly loving their inferior version of Doom on SNES or 32x or whatever. Yeah, it's not "full potential" Doom, but it's still several steps up from Tiger handhelds, which sold countless millions spanning a few decades.

 

For some it ain't fun. For others, it is. I could make an argument that SNES Doom is more entertaining than Pong, and you're going to be climbing a steep hill to convince me that Pong isn't fun (especially with a couple friends and beers). Comparing liking a shittier version of a good game to spousal abuse seems a bit.. brazen, don't you think? We're talking about little digital time killers here rofl, not something that actually means anything like domestic abuse.

 

I guess you could argue a lot of buyers have stockholm syndrome with games/game companies and should stop blindly paying for and accepting their anti-consumer bullshit, but I really don't know if some slightly dodgy ports of Doom 25+ years ago compares much at all to the rampant anti-consumer practices we see nowadays. It's not like the bad ports encourage child gambling or had DRM or whatever else, after all. They were just laggy stripped down versions of Doom, which is pretty tame by comparison.

 

The idea of having easy access to boatloads of high quality games for free is something we take for granted now, but it's definitely a post-2000s mindset. Back in the old days, whatever crappy games were being peddled at the local game stores may as well have been the only games in existence, and for the most part, people made an effort to enjoy what they got. Even if a lot of it was shit, looking back. If you have no basis for comparison - and most people didn't - does it make much difference? Maybe it does. I'm glad I pretty much always had a PC with Windows and Doom. Playing Doom & WADs back then was awesome.

 

I actually remember thinking for years that Doom would be cool on Nintendo, then I finally saw SNES Doom when I was 11-12 (so 2003) at a friends house and was stunned at how lame it was. But this friend (who was 2 years younger than me) seemed to really like it, he just had no idea what he was missing, so it was all the same to him. Going back home and playing Doom Legacy with WADs felt like an entirely different game, but seeing the SNES port just made me appreciate it even more. It was a dose of perspective that I was and still am thankful for. Much like the people playing the shitty ports don't know how "bad" they have it, the people playing the top-tier shit don't appreciate how good it is til they see the alternative, and that was me back then.

 

I guess it all evens out in some cosmic sort of way.

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32x was my first experience with doom,  Looking back I wonder how I ever played it but it sucked me in and soon after I played it on pc.  The PSX version in my opinion is the best of any console because it has Doom 2 levels, the super shotgun and almost 60 maps.  All good times.

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