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Maes

HyperScan port possible?

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I really didn't know anything about the HyperScan game console (until I watched the AVGN episode, but it seems like it's a sweet little system with specs that, in some aspects at least, are superior to the first-gen PSX and Sega Saturn (especially RAM).

I'm not sure if the raw CPU power would be enough to get over the critical 40 MIPS required to get 486-like performance, but the display mode would be ideal for some limit-removing, Alpha-like 555 RGB mode. There don't seem to be any 3D capabilities, so we're talking about pure software rendering here.

Not sure about how easy it is to get compilers for it, as the used SunSoft SPG290 SoC is not really ARM compatible (though later cores by SunSoft are ARM based).

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Also apparently you could store 96 bytes of data on one of those RFID cards, which would be interesting to try and adapt to Doom. Storing data for which level you're on and health/armor/ammo would be pretty trivial, and storing all the normal savegame data to pick up in the middle of a level would be impossible.

Lemme think... storing all the important data for the player's status at a new level start would only take up 5 or 10 bytes, right? Let's say 80 bytes left over just to be generous. Could we also store some sort of incomplete version of the information needed to save in the middle of a level?

Let's store player position only at the unit level, so that's 2 bytes for X and Y. Direction could be approximate, so 1 byte there. 75 left.

You'd want to store which secrets have been visited. I think the most in any vanilla level is 22? Let's allot 3 bytes for those. 72 left.

For monsters, we could just remember whether each one is dead or alive, and place them back at their spawn point either way. The most in any vanilla level is... 300ish? So 38 bytes. 34 left.

You'd also want to remember item pickups too. There must be at least as many pickups per level as monsters, right? So we're already hitting our limit.

Plus we're not even keeping track of whether S1/W1/G1 linedefs have already been activated, or if any crushing ceilings or what have you are moving, or anything else...

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Probably best to go the PSX route and have the player stats + level number, starting the level from the beginning but no mid-level state. There's clearly not enough room to have a real save-game.

Besides which, it was notoriously difficult to get the console to actually read one of those cards. Assuming that the HyperScan has no copy protection, leaving out the card functionality would make such a theoretical port far more accessible than forcing the user to deal with that crap.

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Haven't heard of this before but it looks like it should be easily possible. A quick search suggests people have already done some home brew for it. I'm almost surprised nobody has done Doom already.

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I actually like the concept behind the console, but it really does look like one of those 'if it came out a few years later or weren't as cheap about it.'

Now the whole hyperscan thing can be done via smartphone.

How much data does a level that doesn't use custom textures take up?

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Looks like they tried to compete by using a gimmick (the RFID tags), and I think any time you use a technology gimmick like this you have to be very careful that it does something to improve the game rather than making it worse. The AVGN episode for example shows how they incorporated it into Mortal Kombat, but in a way that just made the game more frustrating to play.

If pulled off correctly, the RFID thing could have been a big boon for them. Kids love to collect things - think about the Pokemon franchise for example, or Pogs, or collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering. Companies have been making money this way for decades selling collectible items, and if you can integrate it into a video game then you potentially stand to make a lot of money.

It's interesting to see that game manufacturers actually seem to be returning to this collectible RFID tokens concept, but instead of cards, they're using little collectible figurines that have to be placed on a platform that is an RFID scanner. When I saw the video games section in a shop recently, I saw a bunch of competing examples of these on sale: the big ones seem to be Amiibo (Nintendo) and Skylanders. Maybe there's something more compelling about having little figurines instead of collectible cards, but I suspect that the idea is just much better executed than Mattel could manage, because they're done by companies that know how to make a good video game that incorporates the technology, rather than a toy company trying to do the reverse.

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Better execution plus the collectable itself is more attractive than a credit card.

Granted I personally think skylanders looks like happymeal toy shit, but I can see the appeal.

I actually like the idea of scannable objects especially if you have a way of saving additional data onto that object. Think of it like this: finding a weapons locker containing a shotgun you bought that has mods you'd put on it before saving so it wouldn't get lost, or an NPC marine you can find that can help clear out rooms (or more often turns into something enemies will kill instead of you since AI is derp.)

The concept is appealing, but if the avgn episode is to go by, very poorly executed.

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