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View topic - Porting Castlevania Spectral Interlude from ZX Spectrum to SEGA Master System - Game Gear

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Porting Castlevania Spectral Interlude from ZX Spectrum to SEGA Master System - Game Gear
Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 2:45 am
It would be be nice porting this game to the colourful Master System - Game Gear, that's because this game is great (the custom story continues after Castlevania Symphony of the Night, and the AI is excellently implemented too).

The ZX Spectrum shares many similarities with the SMS, such us the processor frequency, the same resolution among others, these are the requirements for the game to work on the game's official page http://spectralinterlude.com/ :

System Requirements

ZX Spectrum 128 compatible computer
Z80 CPU with 3,5MHz or faster
128Kb RAM or higher
Yamaha AY-3-8912 soundchip or compatible
Tape recorder

The ram seems to be higher than the SMS's but optimization could be the answer to the question how to handle that amount of ram?. I recently contacted with Spectral Interlude's feedback asking for a SMS port but I was replied they have no sega programmers so they couldnt do it.

So this is my idea, making a team in order to port it so we can work with rewind team (Spectral Interlude's team), I think they would be willing to do so, but the inconvenient is that I'm not a programmer I only know the very basics, but my idea is that you the talented do your best porting this game, after this thread I made, I'm going to make another one in castlevaniadungeon.net so we can get more people involved.

What do you think, could you join this initiative??
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:17 am
You are essentially asking others to put up their hand and do all the work :p

On topic it is a very good game. Case of homebrew eclipsing most official titles. No point comparing RAM specs, Speccy very different beast.

It would be a good fit for SMS but i think you are under estimating the work involved in porting it.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:02 pm
Well, from my own experience, I can safely say that having the same cpu is a huge advantage, especially if have a cpoy of the original source code. A project like this would still not be easy though, but if you manage to get a copy of the source code, I would defenitly want to take a look, This game is one of the best spectrum examples of handling sprites, and since this machine dont have hardware sprites, I think there some lessons to be learned from that. I problably would not get involving on coding though, since I have my own big project to work with.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:37 pm
If you had the source code available, it might be possible to port the game, as most of the logic could be carried over. You'd still have to re-write everything that deals with graphics or sounds pretty much from scratch, and that would definitely not be an easy task. Plus you'd have to re-create all the assets (visuals, sounds) for the SMS as well, which would also be a huge amount of work.

The RAM size is probably the least of the problems, as a lot of the Spectrum's RAM is likely filled with program code and assets. All these could be accessed directly from ROM on the Master System, so I guess the remaining RAM would still be sufficient.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:48 pm
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:07 pm
Don't be too harsh, guys. It's a fair point but it's a way to start the discussion, if anyone did want to take on the project. I was more expecting silence.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:09 am
Hi guys I just sent an email to them (Spectral Interlude team) I was asking for their source code and I'm hoping for them to reply, and I asked them to let us porting this game and support us too.

Well I'm happy you are posting ideas on how to implement it, as for the work I'm willing to do work I'm doing some research by now I'll post as fast as receive an email from rewind team.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:18 am
You could make a decent Castlevania "port" with Calindro's KiddEd and some finesse.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:29 am
olaf wrote
You could make a decent Castlevania "port" with Calindro's KiddEd and some finesse.


Maybe but It would not be the same, I'll make a try so I got familiarized with sprites better, thanks for the advice...
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:21 am
That game looks primitive compared to sms games. You could make a prettier version for the sms as it seems have a larger palette and a capability of having more colors on screen.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:21 am
The Spectrum has memory mapped video RAM, which is nicer than programming through a keyhole like on a Master System, but also virtually no video capabilities (sprites, scrolling, colour limitations) which means most games end up devoting a large percentage of their time to things you get for free on the SMS. As a result, the game logic can end up optimised for speed at the expense of portability. None of this is specific to the game we're discussing in particular, for which I haven't seen the source, but are general issues with home computer ports.

Another issue with these systems which load the game into RAM is that they often end up using self modifying code for speed. This requires a lot of code changes.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:24 am
FeRcHuLeS wrote
It would be be nice porting this game to the colourful Master System - Game Gear


I'd follow ccovell's suggestion and start to learn how to code on SMS, that way you'll be able to port this and other games yourself.
And you shouldn't worry about being a newbie, we all were!
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:28 pm
Last edited by FeRcHuLeS on Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:19 am; edited 1 time in total
GOOD NEWS:

I've just received an email from a member of Spectral Interlude and he is sharing the source code to a strangers like us, I want to thank to him for it very much, and he is now a member of smspower, I have to say he is a very friendly and polite person one of the brilliant minds behind the production of the fantastic Spectral Interlude I'm glad to introduce to you to michellekg, please make him suit himself at home...

So here are the sources:
http://kg-portal.ru/michelle/castlevania_source.zip
Have a nice day! forum

PD: I was told that it’s TR-DOS version with saves on disk.
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:43 pm
I don't mean to be off-topic but isn't Michelle a female name? I'm wondering, since you wrote "he" and "him".
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:23 pm
Tom wrote
I don't mean to be off-topic but isn't Michelle a female name? I'm wondering, since you wrote "he" and "him".


If that's the case then I'm sorry but anyone can use the user name that likes. (It's easier in my native language not necessary say the pronoun)
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:33 pm
Check his website...
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:58 pm
Tom wrote
I don't mean to be off-topic but isn't Michelle a female name? I'm wondering, since you wrote "he" and "him".


Well I'm French Canadian and Michelle is a female name.Michel is a male name,there pronounced the same in English.Maybe in france there is a different meaning.
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:26 am
Getting off topic :) It seems his name is Михаи́л which is pronounced mʲɪxɐˈil, I think the same as Mikhail Gorbachev but he's welcome to romanise it any way he likes. Also, let's not get over excited at the prospect of a girl doing this sort of thing, that's never going to happen :)
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:51 am
Maxim wrote
Also, let's not get over excited at the prospect of a girl doing this sort of thing, that's never going to happen :)


LOL!!! :D

(but true...)
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:43 pm
Maxim wrote
Getting off topic :) Also, let's not get over excited at the prospect of a girl doing this sort of thing, that's never going to happen :)


You never hear men say this..well when women are around,I agree :)
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:05 pm
Back on topic, I skimmed the zip and as you might expect it's very complicated. I guess there's a few dozen hours' work at the minimum to port to SMS.
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:56 pm
A little tip to start the port is to use Video Mode 2 in the beggining. This mode can simulate the spectrum video nearly perfectly, in fact, many Spectrum to MSX ports used this thecninque.
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:11 pm
Maxim wrote
Back on topic, I skimmed the zip and as you might expect it's very complicated. I guess there's a few dozen hours' work at the minimum to port to SMS.


You are joking right?, Do you know by chance if the sprites have to be made from scratch? what did you figure out of the source code? I hope there arent many complications.
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:44 pm
Without looking at code i would assume you would need to...

- Create new music assets + sound assets.
- Create new graphic assets to make use of sms.
- Convert object routine to use sms sprites.
- Restructure to work with ROM and bank switching.
- Restructure to work with SMS VDP for screens (loading / updating stages + dialog, + info overlay). This would involve changing code routines and data.
- Convert input routine to work with controller.

That is assuming you can reuse...
- collision detection routines.
- engine scripting (controlling flow of game, what screen is next, load enemies here, load bosses here, what happens when boss dies etc).
- enemy behavior logic.
- all the glue that makes a game like this come together.

Truth be told you would probably need to modify these too.

Not trying to dissuade people from the task rather if its going to happen the first thing you need to do is break down the game, work out exactly what needs to be done and set up a project structure.

The good thing about this game and the reason I said it was a good fit is you should be able to convert it while keeping the integrity of the original. It is not like say converting after burner arcade to SMS. Also room for improvements with graphics.
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:41 am
My estimate was on the optimistic side, I didn't want to say hundreds of hours. FeRcHuLeS, you seem not to know what you don't know here.
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:49 pm
Is that obvious?, but I'm doing my best self-learning right now.
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:22 pm
What your experience with programming?
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:13 pm
gvx32 wrote
What your experience with programming?


This is: Object-oriented programming in java, c++ an very basic z80 assembler.
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Post Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:39 am
Tom wrote
I don't mean to be off-topic but isn't Michelle a female name? I'm wondering, since you wrote "he" and "him".


It really depends on the origin, in italian, Michelle is a male name (remember the F1 driver, Michele Alboreto?) in pt-br, it's a female name (the male version being Michel).

There are other names like that too, as Daniele is a male name in italian, but in other languages, the male version is Daniel, and Daniele is the female version.


More on-topic, if this project gets off ground, i wouldn't mind taking a stab at the music.
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Post Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:56 pm
tibone wrote
in italian, Michelle is a male name


Sorry, no. Andrea is a male name, whereas it's a female name in many other countries, but Michelle isn't an Italian name at all. Michele (single L), yes, it's a male name.
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