Thursday, 20 January 2011

Demo/Game remakes

Just some little thoughts I had about remakes. Things like downporting some random popular demo/game on a retro platform.

I can't deny it, it's funny even interesting to run some of them. It's astonishing when you watch one of the most classic demos ever on a C64. Even the wild parodies of this demo were funny. It was extremely impressive to see Desert Dream on the C64 which was a quite good remake, much better in terms of quality and resemblance to the original than the SR port.

We used to dream about Second Reality 128, a rewrite for the Amstrad CPC 6128. I had this thing in mind, I would like to do it then, I even thought it would be fun and challenging to try to keep as close to the original as possible without sacrificing much speed. It would be fun to fit so many different parts in the limited CPC memory. Someone also told me that it's an easy way for making your demo famous. Second Reality 64 was a top C64 at Pouet for a long while there were much better demos even then. But that wasn't the matter, I loved the idea and I still love watching funny conversions from other sceners. But there is something that is missing..

Somehow I feel like I wouldn't like to start such a project today. Why try to recreate a classic demo for yet another time when with that effort you could make a big CPC megademo which will also be at least more original. I thought in the past that it would be interesting, I feel like at some points it will be boring. At least it's still funny to see other people doing this. I am not against demo remakes.

Another aspect is games. Everyone in the retro scenes is writting a remake of a classic game. Why? Because they love the original and they would love to watch it running on their favorite machine. But also it's more appealing to announce that you are working on a retro conversion of that classic masterpiece than any other random game.

I remember several recent Spectrum games found on World of Spectrum which were supposed to be remakes of classics. Mortal Kombat (and various versions), Civilization, Castlevania, Doom, Wolfenstein and others. Some were unfinished, some were too slow and bad. Some were at least impressive even if I wouldn't bother playing them.

There are also some interesting remakes currently being developed on CPC. Gianna Sisters remake, Elvira or R-type remake. Some of them are interesting and looking good compared to the original commercial releases. Yes, some of them are remakes of a game that already existed on CPC several years ago, games that were ugly ports from Spectrum and not rewritten entirely focused on the CPC color and hardware capabilities. Some of these remakes are trying to achieve exactly that, to show how a good Gianna Sisters or properly programmed R-type would look on CPC today. That's another case, taking an old game concept and rewrite it in the way it should be if the programmers weren't lazy. That's interesting.

But not my thing. I also had these dreams, how would be a remake of Metal Slug, Castlevania, Eye of the Beholder or say Grand Theft Auto (someone thought about that actually :) on the CPC? Another funny side is to take a game from an older platform and rewrite it for a modern computer. How would ghost n'goblins or commando or gianna sisters look like if they were coded for a modern PC? Some of these remakes make more sense and I have spent time playing them, not just because of the better graphics/sound but mainly because the gameplay and controls have been improved from the original.

For example take a look at Zub for Windows. This is a remake of an old Speccy/Amstrad game I didn't even know in the past. After I finished the remake I thought it was a very nice game and decided to download the Spectrum or CPC versions. The control sucked, for example when you jumped you couldn't change the direction on the air, a feature that exists in many modern platform games and makes it easier to control where you want to fall. In the Windows PC version you had full control of this. Another nice remake I enjoyed both on PC and gamepark handhelds is Giana's Return which is not even a remake, but a new game with different levels and graphics and sounds. This is another funny thing for a remake, to try to make for example Fruity Frank 2, Kung Fu Master 2 or Eye of the Beholder 4 for example. An imaginary sequel of an original game or something like that. I would enjoy this.

But personally, I am not even thinking about this anymore (I was thinking about Kung Fu Master 2 personally, because I have played the first so much). I think if I start working on a game I will be focused at creating something entirely on my own, not a remake, or a game based on a popular franchise, because I feel like doing something more original. The only thing my game will have to the classics is inspiration. I might like to make a game that has some similarities to a classic but with additional ideas and things done differently as I feel they would make a better and more addictive game. I am also interested in using some impressive tech in my future game projects for CPC.

I have been playing with a wolfenstein engine on CPC (just vertical wall span rendering at the moment) recently and the first thought that might come on your mind or people might suggest is, go make a port of the original wolfenstein game. But as I said no, it would be boring to just recreate the original maps as perfect as possible (also, things wouldn't be the same, maybe many textures, objects, too much memory needed) and then wolfenstein is a bit too straight forward. I was thinking about mixing wolfenstein action, scenario and some adventure elements. Just a first thought. But the point is, why just make a port of wolfenstein and not your own game with some interesting or impressive elements not found on the original?

That's how I think about it. If one don't want to code a precise wolfenstein or second reality port in his retro machine, at least he can do something different, more original and maybe even more impressive than porting the already existing stuff.

p.s. Work on the wolfenstein engine has been seized for a while. I have been busy with real life crap and other stuff and I didn't even worked for one day. Although, I am about to port it from PhrozenC to SDCC compiler soon. There is a possibility something (not a full game) will be released in few months from now but I don't promise anything.

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