Interesting story about the development of R-Type for the ZX Spectrum

Discussion in 'Game Design Documents' started by jonwil, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. jonwil

    jonwil Robust Member

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    I found this on another forum and thought people might be interested:
    http://bizzley.com/
    Its a free e-book and info about the development of the ZX Spectrum version of R-Type. Fascinating reading if you want to understand just what went into making a game back then
     
  2. Tatsujin

    Tatsujin Officer at Arms

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    Thx, saved for later :)
     
  3. drewmerc

    drewmerc Rising Member

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    i remember being amazed at the spectrum conversion back in the day, thanks for the info
     
  4. Conker2012

    Conker2012 Intrepid Member

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    Thanks for the link. R-Type on the Spectrum is one of the greatest conversions ever - to someone unfamiliar with the Spectrum it won't look like much, but you have to remember that the Spectrum has no hardware-sprites, no hardware scrolling, only fifteen colours, only allows two colours per 8x8 pixel square, and (in the 48K model, which is what this game was written for) the Spectrum actually stops dead whilst playing a sound*. Even so, the Spectrum had many of the best 8-bit games ever made, which shows what can be accomplished by talent and hard work, and makes you wonder what a PC could do if instead of having new hardware every couple of years, programmers stuck to one base model but really pushed it...

    Anyway, compare R-Type on the Spectrum to any other Spectrum shooter and you'll see how amazing the R-type port is.


    * Actually, by quickly stop/starting a sound, you can create the illusion of non-stop sound whilst the games are playing, as any decent game on the Spectrum does, but this does east into the CPU runtime. Clever programming overcame most other limitations, but as always, you ended up having to compromise on what you wanted versus the cost in memory and/or runtime. For example, a common trick in vector graphics games on the 8 bits was to create a look up table of values instead of having the 3D co-ordinates computed in real game time, as using a look up table was much faster than the 8 bit's relatively simple 8-bit, integer only, CPU. But of course this meant spending part of the very limited memory on the look up table, memory which could have been perhaps better spent elsewhere.

    In some respects, modern programmers have it so easy!
     
  5. retro

    retro Resigned from mod duty 15 March 2018

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    Thanks for the heads up. It was indeed a great conversion and no doubt this will be an excellent read!
     
  6. LMS

    LMS Active Member

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    This looks like a great read, thanks for sharing.
     
  7. LMS

    LMS Active Member

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    This was a really great read, I never had a spectrum but R-Type on the PCE was a big deal for me at the time.

    This part in particular was interesting news to me too..

    " There is some confusion as to just what happens when you get to the end of Level Six since it doesn't have an End of Level Boss like the other levels, it just sits there pumping out Pistons for a while but some people insist that when they got this far there was indeed an End Boss. This all stems from the PC Engine\TurboGrafx-16 version where after blasting away a number of these Pistons the screen starts scrolling again and introduces a large alien that hugs the ceiling and occasionally splits in half shooting off fireballs. I suppose somebody somewhere decided that the original arcade ending wasn't exciting enough or lacked symmetry with the rest of the game but it's not there in the original so we didn't put it into our versions."

    I never got that far in the game when playing the game in an arcade so I never realised that boss was unique to the pce conversion.

    *oops, sorry for the double post. I should have just edited the original.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  8. arnoldlayne

    arnoldlayne Resolute Member

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    When I think of R-Type on the Zx Spectrum, or C=64 for that matter...) I'm always reminded of the shameless cash-in by Rainbow Arts that, I think, got shelved because it was just too similar... or possibly better? Does any remember the name of the game?

    ...and thanks for the link, that's an interesting read!
     
  9. LMS

    LMS Active Member

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    I think you're talking about Katakis? Check page 76 of the book :)
     
  10. Xeauron

    Xeauron Intrepid Member

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    Forgot to say, thanks for posting this up. I love reading about development stories from the Spectrum era. If you've not seen it before it's worth watching commercial breaks on youtube which details the rise and fall of Imagine software - it also features Ocean software as well. About half way through the program the company (imagine) goes tits up due to overspending and they end up getting kicked out of their office by bailiffs!

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2015
  11. The Last Bandit

    The Last Bandit Member

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    Thanks for that, looking forward to reading it.
     
  12. coal stepping

    coal stepping Site Supporter 2014

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    Thanks for this readi g right now
     
  13. ph4nth0m

    ph4nth0m <B>Site Supporter 2012</B><BR><B>Site Supporter 20

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    Loaded this on my Kobo, will read this week, seems interesting !!
     
  14. wyndcrosser

    wyndcrosser Rising Member

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    Very nice, is there anything else for this system similar to this document? Very interesting read.
     
  15. link2rage

    link2rage Active Member

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  16. Zoinkity

    Zoinkity Site Supporter 2015

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    Since this got bumped anyway wanted send out a big thanks to the person who posted it. That's a great story, written well.
     
  17. Ekenmeremoved

    Ekenmeremoved i2 = j2 = k2 = ijk = −1

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    True, I read it a while ago and it was a fantastic paper. Good to have the story documented and preserved. Highly highly recommended.

    pd. The imagine fall docummentary was also really good. I do love those insider stories
     

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