MSXdev'07 - Lotus F3

by wolf_ on 29-12-2007, 12:27
Topic: Software
Languages:

Finally, the previously announced race game from Daniel Vik and Vincent van Dam has been released today! This polished game is a top-view race game, features smooth scrolling, and comes with remarkable PSG&SCC music. The game comes as a MegaROM, ROM label and instruction manual are also available.

On your marks!

*** Update! *** An updated version is available, which switches to screen mode 4 on MSX2 to eliminate sprite flickering!

Relevant link: MSXdev'07 website

Comments (36)

By viejo_archivero

Paragon (1372)

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29-12-2007, 12:33

Awesome game, technically impressive. But the best thing is the keycode to set an oline worlwide top scores list: great and creative solution to make the game global, bravo!

By LeandroCorreia

Paladin (944)

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29-12-2007, 12:44

Nice one! The MSX needed a game like it. Smile

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5386)

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29-12-2007, 13:17

Yeah it's a lotta fun! Reminds me of an old (simpler) racing game on Atari or Coleco or smth.

I'd been the first to sumbit a score, if I didn't got beat at it by a C64 (of all things...).

Well, that and a bunch of Nikki's, Nigels and Nathalies. Tongue

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6181)

ARTRAG's picture

29-12-2007, 14:10

AWESOME!!
Some tech miracles need to be unveiled ...
1) what is the reduced video mode?
2) how the scroll works? I want it !! Smile
3) how the mem mapper works ? the flash saving is very nice

By KNM

Master (172)

KNM's picture

29-12-2007, 14:11

This is great!!It moves smooth and plays so sweet!!Congrats for Daniel and Vincent for this astonishing work!!!

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9758)

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29-12-2007, 14:13

I *estimate* the scroll works like in Malaika.. various scroll-variations in tiles, then it's a matter of drawing the correct tile according to the scroll position. Considering there aren't many different tiles in the game area, this all sounds plausible to me..

(and otherwise tiles from RAM -> VRAM upload each scroll position)

By GhostwriterP

Champion (503)

GhostwriterP's picture

29-12-2007, 14:30

Could it be that 64 kb in the rom contains all the tile variations?
128 tiles x 8 bytes x 8 x 8
And then update at 30 fps with tiles buffered.

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

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29-12-2007, 14:53

Seems nice, I should thy something like this later ...

By guantxip

Paragon (1594)

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29-12-2007, 15:09

Wonderful scroll!!!!

Congratulations, nice game!

By SLotman

Paragon (1205)

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29-12-2007, 15:45

Haven't played it yet, but it looks cool... I'm also curious about this "reduced video mode"... what is that?

Just played... very cool Smile

And one thing: sorry, but this isnt the first game with multi-directional scroll on MSX1 (as stated on the website)... for example we have Theseus, Rally-X...

By tfh

Paragon (1731)

tfh's picture

29-12-2007, 16:34

The scroll is pretty impressive I must say. Nice, speedy and smooth.
As for the rest of the game: Not that impressed (yet), but I will give it another few tries. Also the music doesn't really appeal to me...
But then again: there is no accounting about tast Wink

By Imanok

Paragon (1142)

Imanok's picture

29-12-2007, 16:44

Good job men! Smile

A technically very good game, with some details like the ghost car, the flash saving and the code system&web that make the game much more challenging. Of course a multiplayer mode would raise the playability, but I understand it's not an easy feature to implement due to the 1x1 pixel scroll... the only way I can imagine multiplaying is using a joynet multiplay or something like that...

Anyway, I wonder how cool and fast this game would have looked if the scroll had been 8x8 Wink

By spl

Paragon (1461)

spl's picture

29-12-2007, 17:39

Impressive and very playable game Big smile. At last... a new racing game for MSX!

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6181)

ARTRAG's picture

29-12-2007, 17:44

IMHO physics of the cars could have been a bit better,
e.g.
1) now when colliding with other cars, the opponent seems unaffected or stops completely,
instead both cars should bounce and one or the other of both should spin and loose control
2) when touching the green with one wheel, instead of arresting, you should spin and loose control

I know that this is an arcade, some small touches would have made brake and accelerator a bit less "decorative"

By Vincent van Dam

Hero (513)

Vincent van Dam's picture

29-12-2007, 18:59

Thanks for the comments! Nice to see that highscores have been submitted too, kick those idols out of the list Wink

The game uses a mixed mode of sc1/sc2, but on some msx1's this has a nasty side effect; being sprites ghosted on other parts of the screen too. The 'reduced' mode is screen1 only, which means there are less colors available (you can see this in the status bar on top). On a msx1 it will default to reduced (and you have to set it manually to msx1 colors), on msx2 and up it will default to msx1 colors.

The mem mapper is pretty regular, it's just assumes a Konami SCC mapper, and attached to that mapper is a flash rom instead of a regular rom (we assume the same one that's being used in the MegaFlashSCC). This type of flash rom can be flashed/erased by sending specific data to specific addresses.

We wanted to include multiplayer and had various thoughts about it. Split screen, or joynet were not feasable (the latter due to the bandwith of joynet iirc). We have some other ideas, maybe we will implement them in a future upgrade. The highscore website idea was born when we were thinking of adding multiplayer (being realistic, and taking the deadline and the romsize into account).

The scroll is (iirc) based on the engine Daniel built for the GnG demo, but he can give more details about that Wink

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5386)

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29-12-2007, 21:20

kick those idols out of the list Wink
So that's who they are! Big smile

By Vincent van Dam

Hero (513)

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29-12-2007, 21:32

Haha, yes, watching it right now :)

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

29-12-2007, 21:36

Thanks for the feedback. The first version of the game used sc2 with mirroring which as you know is not supported by all MSX1 machines. Our first fix for this was to reduce the frame rate to 17fps but it didn't work that well in this game. So then we switched to sc1 and the main impact was on the status bar but initially it also had some color impact on the game area. The reduced color option simply switches to sc1 but we wanted a non technical term to describe it in the docs and menus.

The scroll engine works pretty much like GhostWriterP said. Its 106 tiles but since tiles that are offset by only 1 horizontal pixel has 7 pixels in common, the whole table can be compressed to about 16k. Unfortunately there is an (almost) hard limit of 106 tiles in 60Hz mode to avoid flicker. Notable is that for each 'real' tile, we need at least 4 (often 8 or more) MSX tiles depending on what the neighbouring tiles are. So its a big waste of tiles to do multidirectional scrolling.

Another interesting thing is the sound engine. We developed an entirely new tracker to make music for the game. It supports real time phase shift on scc samples which makes those resonance filter type sounds.

Multiplayer is on our wishlist too but we haven't found a good working solution yet. I am a big fan of rally speedway (C64) but we weren't sure this was the best approach for lotus f3. Lets see what the future holds....

By LeandroCorreia

Paladin (944)

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29-12-2007, 23:42

After some playing, I have two complains...

1) Collision detection is not very precise. If it's a bounding box, please consider reducing it. It's hard to pass by other cars when you collide without even touching them, specially in those narrow roads. Sad

2) It doesn't work in MSXAdvance, no matter which mapper type I select. Sad

But anyway, it's a nice game, specially considering a game like Lotus did not exist for the MSX. Smile

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

29-12-2007, 23:47

MSXAdvance probably doesn't support IM2. Other emus like NLMSX seems to have problems with it too. Maybe a good reason to update these emus.

By JohnHassink

Ambassador (5386)

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30-12-2007, 02:37

The game runs smooth & problemlessly on NLMSX 0.48.

Expect for 60 hz mode; then I get a "realtime screenline-refresh shake" with the upper 1/4 of the screen (on MSX & MSX 2).

By Vampier

Prophet (2288)

Vampier's picture

30-12-2007, 07:01

For those who want to play this game on openMSX 0.6.3 add this to your database (just start after an </software> in the romdb.xml file

	<software>
		<title xml:lang="en">Lotus F3</title>
		<system>MSX</system>
		<company>dvik & joyrex productions</company>
		<year>2007</year>
		<country>EU</country>
		<dump>
			<original value="false"/>
			<megarom>
				<type>SCC</type>
				<hash algo="sha1">0f2c5a7c6cc9ff591c911e4f3f204e425bd3cf50</hash>
				<remark>
					<text>MSX-DEV07</text>
				</remark>
			</megarom>
		</dump>
	</software>

The openMSX team is working hard to get the mapper working in openMSX so we can all enjoy the nice saves and ghost cars.

Dvik/Vincent what is the mapper name in blueMSX?

ps Yes it's a great game Smile

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

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30-12-2007, 08:13

The game runs smooth & problemlessly on NLMSX 0.48.

Expect for 60 hz mode; then I get a "realtime screenline-refresh shake" with the upper 1/4 of the screen (on MSX & MSX 2).
Ah nice. I usually use my TR config in NLMSX and saw the problem. That may be a different issue then. I know IM2 was problematic in some emu but it must be some other then.

Dvik/Vincent what is the mapper name in blueMSX?
It's the Manbow 2 mapper which is basically a Konami Flashrom SCC mapper (that one works in bluemsx as well) with only the highest 64kB read/write. I made this mapper for Manbow 2 and it behaves more like a regular SRAM mapper with the saved data. The full Flashrom SCC mapper has some unexpected side effects but works as well for anyone that wants to try.

By hap

Paragon (2019)

hap's picture

30-12-2007, 12:36

Fun game, great lastability with the inclusion of the online highscore table (let's hope it won't be cracked). I can see you were running out of time, cause there's room for improvement, like better AI, more cars or at least different sprites, more tracks with themes (not all gray road with green grass), obstacles, jump ramps, speed boost arrows, etc. I'm looking forward to a future update.

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

dvik's picture

30-12-2007, 13:00

Unfortunately not that many of the features that you listed hap are doable. The gfx is maxed out (not a single tile can be squeezed in), even different cars since allmost all sprites are used. Number of cars is mainly limited by sprite flickering. The AI can be improved and more tracks are of course doable (mainly rom size limitations limited us to 8 tracks but a few more would probably fit). But other than that I think an MSX2 is needed.

By Manuel

Ascended (15450)

Manuel's picture

30-12-2007, 13:04

Note that the game works fine in openMSX even without the softwaredb.xml update. It is autodetected to be KonamiSCC mapper, which is fine, until you want to use the FLash part. That part works now only if you pad the ROM to be 512kB. Or, alternatively, if you emulate a MegaFlashROM SCC cartridge and use OPF to put Lotus F3 in it Smile

So, it uses IM2? Good that we just implemented that then in openMSX Smile
(Hmm, just tried on openMSX 0.6.2 and works fine there... without IM2...)

By viejo_archivero

Paragon (1372)

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30-12-2007, 20:07

* The game has been updated *. Apart from fixing bugs, the game now switch to screen4 when MSX2 is present to avoid sprite flickering.

By Vincent van Dam

Hero (513)

Vincent van Dam's picture

30-12-2007, 20:24

We found a new bug, later tonight we will release a final update of the game. Sorry for the inconvenience Wink

By viejo_archivero

Paragon (1372)

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30-12-2007, 20:29

But please, be as fast as possible, as the deadline is getting closer! Smile

By Vincent van Dam

Hero (513)

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30-12-2007, 21:11

Ofcourse, but not as fast as you do the updates Big smile

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

30-12-2007, 21:28

Just wanted to say: good job!
I agree with some of the comments here on the forum, regarding to car dynamics and to how the game could look better in some aspects if 8x8 scroll was performed. However, I understand that, technically, smooth scroll is very interesting and you focused on this aspect. I have to play a bit more with it, but my first impressions are good.

One question... I can see some comments regarding to the execution of the game in different emulators, but... I have not been able to run it in my Turbo R. I have tried with LOADROM and TRLOAD, and could not run the game. Which ROM loader do you use?

Again: good job!

By Vincent van Dam

Hero (513)

Vincent van Dam's picture

30-12-2007, 21:48

Thanks! We used the megaflash scc for testing (very cool hardware!). I think the problems you are facing are caused by the flashrom detection. It could be something else though, but I have no experience at all with these romloaders.

By jltursan

Prophet (2128)

jltursan's picture

31-12-2007, 12:53

Definitely nice!, my only complaint goes also to the collision phisics against the grass, the car gets completely stuck instead of deccelerate. Btw, is the bounding collision box reduced in the last version?, if it's not true must be that I'm getting better at driving Tongue

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

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01-01-2008, 00:48

Nice entry.
Tested the game on BlueMSX and this game is playable with just the CBIOS ...

By Imanok

Paragon (1142)

Imanok's picture

02-01-2008, 00:07

BTW... who is mimi at LotusF3 website??... Mimichael Schumacher?? Tongue
I've been playing a bit, but mimi's timings are quite unreachable.

By Whizzy

Master (197)

Whizzy's picture

03-01-2008, 00:59

Awesome game... just came in 10th on the 1st level... very nice ! LOL!

ps. playing on RuMSX