Porting any Sonic Megadrive game to SNES

Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by Hez, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Uberham

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    One would assume it's one of those crappy "mini" consoles, modded to use power from the SNES and output vide through it too.

    Might make a "wow" at first, but that's about it.
     
  2. flamewing

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    I'd argue that Git S2 is better documented; but it is overall the same engine. But there is a trap: S2 (and S3&K, for that matter) are better optimized for the Genesis. Since the SNES has a different CPU and a different architecture, this doesn't mean anything. It could be that some optimizations they make would result in a slower game in the SNES, or would not be needed.

    Moreover, it is unlikely that any code would be reused; so it would be more like writing the engine from scratch. Since you are already doing that anyway, you can optimize as much as needed along the way, picking up what works best from S1, S2 and S3&K, and ditching what is irrelevant for (or irreproducible on) the SNES.
     
  3. Black Squirrel

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    There's no horizontal stretching on that system though - the pixels are square, unlike the SNES.

    Think: Sonic 2's two player mode, except all the time (and not quite as severe). It might not work out so well in some situations, and unless the art was re-drawn, there will be scrolling issues to contend with in boss fights and whatever. This is a disadvantage with the GBA version too.
     
  4. Overlord

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    Nah, wouldn't work. Try putting your name in on Unirally as Sonic and you'll see why =P
     
  5. Chaos Rush

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    I'd also like to mention Sonic Classic Collection on the DS, which had a resolution of 256x192. While those games were vertically scaled (meaning the 224 vertical pixels were squished into the DS's 192), they weren't horizontally scaled at all, they were just cut off. And it didn't really make much of a difference.
     
  6. KingofHarts

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  7. Tanks

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    I mean that's a minor thing though, is it not? Just getting the game running at some semblance of "full-speed" would be a feat in its self.

    I seriously want to see the SNES pull off a Sonic 3D special stage in Mode 7 though. Show me that I'll shake your hand or something people do to congratulate others.
     
  8. FireRat

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    Approaching current situation, I wanna just throw something here...

    [​IMG]
    It was an original idea by other of mine friends, but I was asked to join and help on anything it required, maybe documenting stuff about original engine, helping with the code logic, stuff like that. Main game coding is ran under SuperFX chip for this version
     
  9. The Game Collector

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    I just got into a debate on facebook today about how the Genesis alone doesn't seem to be able to run a game with such fluid graphics like Donkey Kong Country. The person came back with Super Donkey Kong 99 but I came back with yeah the graphics are ported, but the water is not moving and the music and physics are horrendous. Another guy said, that is because Genesis cartridge chips have never contained enough space to hold all the info a Super Nintendo cart did. So it got me wondering, since Sega CD increases all that storage space, I wonder if Donkey Kong Country could be ported to Sega CD and look/sound as good as or better than the SNES version. I wonder if someone will ever attempt it. With a CD soundtrack, it could even outdo the original if someone could get the physics and graphical animations ported to a T.
     
  10. Varion Icaria

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    While the CD grants you more space, It actually limits the current space you can access at a time depending on what mode WordRAM is in. It actually makes things a lot harder to program for. Your better bet would be to use the SF2Mapper to enable banking similar to the 32X and from there you can switch banks when you need to access more data perhaps.
     
  11. The Game Collector

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    So do you think it is possible someone could do much better than Super Donkey Kong 99 on pure Genesis hardware? Possibly close to that of the SNES original but with the Genesis' more metallic sound or Sonic game type sound?
     
  12. flamewing

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    I'd say that the best bet would be to use SCD in mode 1 and use the SSF2 mapper. You would have all the benefits of programming a regular cartridge (up to 32MB), and you also could use all of the SCD hardware. But sticking closer to stock Genesis, the SSF2 mapper would already enable wonders, particularly with something like Mega PCM.
     
  13. The Game Collector

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    Hmm, that's pretty cool. See people debate whether the Genesis or SNES is more powerful all around and porting the best looking games from one to the other in the most accurate way possible would be the best way to challenge the idea. A lot of people say the Genesis is graphically not as capable as the SNES just because it hasn't been pushed as far as the SNES in that sense. There aren't any 2D Mode 7 equivalents on the Genesis I.e. Kirby Super Star or Yoshi's Island, and even the Donkey Kong games look better than anything on the Genesis without Mode 7. But if someone were to really step up to the plate it might be able to show what really is possible without a 32X.

    The 32X itself is a whole other animal that has never reached its potential. Being 32-bit, many things could be attempted to be ported to it. Perhaps a version of Gex would be an ideal test dummy for that system being that it is a 32-bit 2D game. Bust-A-Move 2 might be another one that the 32X graphics could handle. Neither of those look that much far off from Knuckles' Chaotix.

    If a good enough port of Donkey Kong Country could be achieved and then the physics could be tweaked to allow the Kongs to run as fast as Sonic, there would be no question that the Genesis would come out on top, unless we find out that the SNES can in fact support Sonic with enough effort.
     
  14. Hivebrain

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    Donkey Kong Country is only 4MB, so space isn't the issue at all. There might be some transparency and other graphical tricks that wouldn't work on the MD, but there's no reason an almost-perfect port couldn't be done otherwise.
     
  15. MarkeyJester

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    Regarding cartridge space:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Nintendo_Entertainment_System#Game_cartridge

    Assuming those resources are correct, that would be 16MB of data.

    On the Mega Drive, the reserved ROM space is 4MB, however, the reserved Mega CD & 32X space can be used as ROM space (If /DTAK is provided on the cartridge) which pads up to a nice 10MB of possible data (at the cost of losing the Mega CD and 32X). While that is still 6MB shorter than the SNES, I'm not too familiar in knowing how many games actually did use 10MB, let alone 16MB. Mind you, I'm no SNES game expert, but given Hivebrain's note on Donkey Kong Country being 4MB and being a rather updated game, I'd assume not many games used the full potential space (due to manufacturing costs perhaps).

    I believe a port is possible within reasonable doubt, that is to say you could bluff your way around certain disadvantages, and no matter how limited it would be, the end result would still be impressive enough convince it as being a valid port. I guess it's all down to the reasonable acceptance of your everyday game player.
     
  16. Hivebrain

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    The biggest SNES game I know of is Star Ocean, which is 6MB (same as SSF2 and still smaller than Pier Solar's 8MB).
     
  17. Hez

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    I....I kind of want this
     
  18. Black Squirrel

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    Super Donkey Kong 99 is unlicensed garbage and doesn't accurately reflect the capabilities of the Mega Drive at all.

    There's no fundemental reason why Donkey Kong Country couldn't run on a Mega Drive (after all, there's a Game Boy Color adaption and it does an admirable job). The problem was always in regards to colour palettes - DKC uses quite a lot of them (particularly when you take into account the gradient backgrounds and whatever), which means some pretty noticable cuts unless you're a super duper brilliant artist (although it wouldn't be a problem for the 32X).

    As for the music, it can be done
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8HAzcsCrg4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYFyJA_4jVo
    etc
     
  19. Tanks

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    See, the music is a far different issue in my mind. You linked some ok stuff, and I do love the Genesis' yamaha based sound-chip a whole lot, but its not the same sound you'd have gotten out of the SNES' Sony-based chip had. I have a feeling that we would have heard a totally different style of soundtrack had Retro been working with a Genesis simply based on the style of sound you'd have gotten out of it. I mean, really its kinda dumb to argue which system had "better" sound since its like apples and oranges. The two are distinctly different in my mind. I'd actually be interested to see of the SNES chip is capable of producing a close copy of some of the Genesis' classic songs. I'm sure simply with sample access it wouldn't be too hard a feat to accomplish.
     
  20. Granville

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    I'd totally love to see someone attempt a Sonic port on the SNES. I am no technical expert myself but I think it could probably be done to at least some extent, perhaps even with some visual improvements with some time and effort. I've even heard some nice SNES renditions of Sonic music. Most floating around youtube unfortunately aren't that great in my opinion. I'm not a fan of DJYuzoboy's remixes for instance (and his are usually the ones that pop up first when you youtube search SNES remixes of Sonic tunes), but there ARE some really nice ones if you look hard enough. Here are a couple I found that I think are really well done for instance (the Chemical Plant one even has the pitch shift at the 0:53 mark)-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swabiuu9DuE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etkTvnpWUhQ

    Though I'd really like to see what could be done without the aid of any special chips such as the SA-1 or SuperFX. Those add a lot of extra processing power and I'd honestly like to see whether SNES on its own is capable at all. I've actually seen some Mario World hacks using the SA-1 chip that remove many of the technical obstacles with CPU limits (particularly using the clockspeed increase to brute force past most sprite limits)-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGmuaMoVO9I
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OJ_lhc-KkU

    I'd wager that's possible to do, I've even seen SNES games with a comparable if not better effect. Axelay did something like it for some of its levels. And later on Factor 5 took what Axelay did to an even greater height. Super Turrican 2's effect is actually really impressive, seen in level 4-1 I think-

    [media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds3mj064lIs#t=3159[/media]

    There's at least two different vertically scrolling layers that are being scaled at the same time, at different rates to give it a simulated sense of 3D depth. And the layer of fire or lava underneath is also animated with a ripple effect on top of being scrolled and scaled. The layer above ALSO casts a transparent shadow on the layer underneath that also scrolls and scales somewhat independently. Far off on the horizons there's also a gradient shaded layer of sorts going on to simulate a sort of transparent haze. And behind all of this, there's ANOTHER layer of animated fire in the background scrolling upwards. That's not even to mention the sprite effects including vehicles, explosions, lasers and bullet effects happening throughout this level. I didn't even notice any slowdown during all of this (and I was looking for it, if there was any it was negligible as even Axelay had some slowdown).

    On the subject of a DKC port to Genesis, I'm again not going to pretend to be an expert on the matter, but I'll concur that the Genesis pirate using DKC graphics is indeed a super poor impression of what a proper port could be like on the Genesis. A proper port from a talented developer could be infinitely better.

    That being said I am still inclined to believe a Genesis port wouldn't quite come up to par with the original graphically. I would imagine a noticeably lower color palette would be required just to begin, even the prettiest Genesis games tend to have far more dithering than the better looking SNES games. Compare the Genesis version of Lion King to the SNES version for one example, I actually think the Genesis version may have been the original version (and has a couple of minor visual advantages over the SNES version in the second level) but its color palette is far lower than SNES'. Also, all three DKC games make use of transparency effect fairly frequently. Whether it be beams of light, the surfaces of water, layers of textured scrolling fog and other effects.