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Ancient DOS Games Webshow

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Reply 3120 of 3133, by Gemini000

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xjas wrote on 2020-04-11, 06:19:

Was it written in BASIC? It kind of looks like it.

Just took a scan through the executable with a hex editor, and...

*drumroll*

...it was written in Microsoft C.

...though yeah, BASIC would've been a good guess all things considered. :P

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- Pixelmusement Website: www.pixelships.com
--- Ancient DOS Games Webshow: www.pixelships.com/adg

Reply 3121 of 3133, by Gemini000

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Ancient DOS Games Filler #81: Princess Remedy Games is online!

I've shown these games before on my livestreams but have always wanted to give them a proper look on my channel and now seemed like a fitting time to do so, as these games are all about healing and helping others suffering from a wide variety of ailments... most of which are ridiculous, given to developer Ludosity's trademark style of humour! :B

Plus they both have the visual style of ZX Spectrum games. How can you go wrong with that? ;)

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- Pixelmusement Website: www.pixelships.com
--- Ancient DOS Games Webshow: www.pixelships.com/adg

Reply 3122 of 3133, by Gemini000

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Ancient DOS Games Episode 267 - Gods is online!

OK, DOS may be my specialty, but I like other consoles and computers too; it'd be foolish not to appreciate what all this hardware created over time is capable of doing. So when it comes to games ported to multiple systems, I'm not afraid to admit when the DOS version of a game is inferior, and in the case of Gods, on the surface it looks almost like a PERFECT port from the Amiga, except... the audio's not as good, the reduction in vertical screen space isn't very helpful for new players trying to figure out the levels, and the controls have issues which make it very difficult to time your actions properly, including a very short but noticeable delay and a bug with how it detects the RELEASE of keys, which given how VERY precise you need to be to survive some sections, is just a recipe for disaster... at least until you have the game 100% memorized many hours and many game overs later. :P

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- Pixelmusement Website: www.pixelships.com
--- Ancient DOS Games Webshow: www.pixelships.com/adg

Reply 3123 of 3133, by xcomcmdr

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds GODS unplayable and way too hard. The player character moves like a brick wall. The levels are confusing. The graphics and sound are nice, but that doesn't make a good game.

I like the output of the Bitmap Brothers (SpeedBall 2 and Z especially), but I've always skipped this one and never understood how it could be fun.

Last edited by xcomcmdr on 2020-05-10, 06:01. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3124 of 3133, by DracoNihil

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The only thing I like about GODS is the MOD file on the Amiga version's title screen...

Like, nothing else about the game seems remotely interesting.

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Reply 3126 of 3133, by leileilol

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I never got the fascination behind a lot of the big AMIGA games (like Xenon2) besides the usual "It's about the music", i.e. the Persona defense

*hides*

i mean they all can't be lemmings

by the way, DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x

Reply 3127 of 3133, by Gemini000

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Ancient DOS Games Pro 13 - Password Hacking - Electranoid is online!

Yeah, it's a day late because I got mildly ill for a day while making this video and decided to take the extra time to try and pull a success out of this... but alas, I wasn't 100% successful in my attempts this time around, which was bound to happen sooner or later. Still made significant progress though and was able to document what I went through to get as far as I did! :B

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- Pixelmusement Website: www.pixelships.com
--- Ancient DOS Games Webshow: www.pixelships.com/adg

Reply 3128 of 3133, by DracoNihil

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Gemini000 wrote on 2020-05-10, 04:53:

Yeah, it's a day late because I got mildly ill for a day

I hope you're doing alright now, health-wise... Getting sick in this decade is terrifying now.

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Reply 3129 of 3133, by Gemini000

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DracoNihil wrote on 2020-05-14, 08:22:

I hope you're doing alright now, health-wise... Getting sick in this decade is terrifying now.

Oh yeah, it really only did last a day, just a very mild cold, but it was affecting my throat so I couldn't do my voiceover right and past experience has taught me that attempting to do voicework when my throat is in a bad state, even just a little, will end up making things worse. :P

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- Pixelmusement Website: www.pixelships.com
--- Ancient DOS Games Webshow: www.pixelships.com/adg

Reply 3130 of 3133, by Gemini000

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Ancient DOS Games Episode 268: Commander Keen in "Goodbye, Galaxy!" is online!

So... this game frustrated the heck out of me at first as it's REALLY FREAKING HARD. o_o;

Then I discovered that saving/loading functions pretty much exactly like save states and the difficulty became manageable at least.

But yeah, I'd never played the sequel to the original Commander Keen trilogy until today and I was surprised at how incredibly difficult they made it, though most of the difficulty stems from not knowing what's about to happen coupled with the one-hit deaths and is definitely something that can be adapted to and isn't hampered by broken/delayed/weird controls.

...the bottomless pits are kinda broken though. :P

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- Pixelmusement Website: www.pixelships.com
--- Ancient DOS Games Webshow: www.pixelships.com/adg

Reply 3131 of 3133, by K1n9_Duk3

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Additional Information and Corrections:

* The enemies aren't always active, or at least most of them aren't. What's actually happening is that the game chooses the initial walking direction for most enemies based on pseudo-random numbers when (re-)starting the level.

* The timing for the screen update code is extremely speed sensitive. To the best of my knowledge, version 1.4 is lacking any kind of forced delay between updating the display starting address and drawing to the video memory. The game uses double buffering and this quirk means that the game tells the video card to swap the buffers and then proceeds to draw to the buffer of which the game thinks it's no longer being displayed while the video card is actually still displaying that buffer. I think that having no delay at this point might have been a good choice for most of the systems back in 1991. The game usually has other things to do in between updating the display start address and drawing new things to the back buffer, like collision detection and such, so the CPU cycles were better spent doing that rather than just waiting. But that only applies to a rather narrow range of CPU speeds, unfortunaltely.

Anyway, I created a patch for Keen 4-6 that fixes this problem and as far as I can tell works perfectly in DOSBox as well as on all "real" DOS PCs I could get my hands on. I think the only configuration where this code doesn't work correctly would be DOSBox set to EGA with a dynamic core and maximum cycles. VGA and SVGA will still work fine with a dynamic core and max cycles, but such speeds tend to break the game's AdLib dectection, so I wouldn't recommend that combination of core and cycles settings anyway.

Reply 3132 of 3133, by Gemini000

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Hmm... I'm positive I've seen enemies behave as though they're still being processed off-screen though... Is it more apt to say their initial direction is random once triggered and THEN they act forever, on-screen or not? 'cause that would explain a few things. :o

Also, I downloaded the patch and your patcher and will check it out in a day or two, add some additional info into the video description if it does indeed improve DOSBox compatibility, though your description of how it's updating the screen coupled with how DOSBox does its video capture explains why it was rendering worse than it was capturing!

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- Pixelmusement Website: www.pixelships.com
--- Ancient DOS Games Webshow: www.pixelships.com/adg

Reply 3133 of 3133, by K1n9_Duk3

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Some game objects are always active (like the moving platforms, for example). Regular enemies are usually made inactive when starting a new level and will then turn active once they get close to the visible area (i.e. within 16-31 pixels outside the visible area). If an enemy has the ability to be turned inactive again, that enemy will be made inactive based on random chance once it moves a certain distance away from the visible screen area. That distance differs a bit depending on the game. It's 4 tiles (i.e. 64 pixels) in Keen 4 (and Keen 6) and 6 tiles (96 pixels) in Keen 5. The only reason why I know this is that I know the code pretty much inside-out. It's hard to tell what's going on just by playing the game without looking at the code.

You could see some of this in action by starting the first level in Keen 4 and just waiting at the spawn point. No matter which difficulty level you chose, there's always a poison slug spawned near the second stone hut. If that slug was active while off-screen, it should eventually make its way over to Keen's starting position if you wait long enough. But since the slug isn't active and is far beyond the "activity window", you could let the game run forever and the slug would never make it to Keen's spawn point unless Keen is moved close enough to the slug to make it become active.

But even if you move over to the slug and make it become active, you can usually run back to the level start and, if you do it quickly (and the RNG isn't completely working against you), the slug will never reach you.