Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Translation Update & Driving Cabinet

Currently going gang busters on the slave CPU road code. It's big, it's ugly, but it's unfortunately necessary to translate a large chunk to C++ before I can proceed with more visible aspects of the game code. The level generation is highly dependent on it. Even after translation, I expected to spend a couple of weeks doing a line by line debug - Visual Studio vs. Mame Debugger. Let battle commence.

Meanwhile, Garnet Hertz provided an update back in October, with regard to their real life OutRun driving cabinet.

Check out a recent video here:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sprite Support Implemented

A big step forward; I now have full sprite support in my framework.

Furthermore, I have ported all the low-level OutRun routines from 68k to C++ that abstract the sprite hardware from the general game code. This was a considerable effort and required some serious debugging.

You can think of the dependencies as follows:

High-Level OutRun Game Code (68k) -> Low-Level OutRun Sprite Routines (68k) -> Video Hardware.

I'm at the stage where the second two components in this sequence are done. The ported routines control some of the following areas:

  • Initializing and caching sprite palette data in RAM
  • Ordering sprites based on priority
  • Converting the programmer friendly format used by OutRun game objects to the format required by hardware
  • Setting horizontal and vertical zoom settings from a lookup table
  • Setting the height and width from a lookup table in relation to the above
  • Setting the sprite anchor point
  • Setting rendering hints based on horizontal flip bits etc.

Here's a slightly dull screenshot, which shows the OutRun logo being rendered. Well most of it, the observant among you will notice I didn't hook up the bird sprites as it was getting late:

It doesn't look like much, but the important thing is I can initialize a sprite simply by setting a few jump table properties using fully ported code. Here's an example of the code required to initialize a sprite object, where 'e' is a jump table entry:

e->jump_index = 0;
e->x = 0;
e->y = 0x70;
e->road_priority = 0xFF;
e->priority = 0x1FA;
e->zoom = 0x7F;
e->pal_src = 0x99;
e->draw_props = 0;
e->control = 0;
e->shadow = 3;

So progress is good. Once I get to the stage where there is something more interesting, I'll release a demo build.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

OutRun Papercraft Model

Picked up the September 2004 issue of Dorimaga magazine. It includes Sega History Papercraft Vol 4, which is a constructable model of the hydraulic sitdown OutRun Cabinet. How cool is that?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Support for Tile Layers Implemented

The hardware tile layer is now supported in my framework. So in addition to the text layer previously mentioned, the ported code can now utilize tiles.

Here's a screenshot to provide an example of this, using ported code to display the tiles from the music selection screen:

Much of the detail from the music select screen is missing, because it also makes use of sprites, which are currently unsupported by the framework.

To summarize the components of the port, the following 68k code has been ported to C++ in order to reach the above stage:
  • Routines to setup palette ram
  • A new text routine to blit text with a height of two tiles to the text layer (this displays the Select Music By Steering text string) 
  • The routine which decompresses a tile map from rom and outputs it to tile ram
  • The routine to update tile hardware on a vertical interrupt
And the framework itself emulates the following:
  • Tile Layers
  • Text Layers
  • Palette Hardware
So we're getting to a stage where basic routines are coming along nicely. The final ported C++ code is more readable and far more concise than the original assembler.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The OutRun Rewrite Begins

I've made a start on the rewrite. Here's a quick summary of what I've been up to aside from brushing up on my C++ skills. Firstly I've installed and configured a suitable build environment, which consists of:

- Visual Studio 2010 Express C++
- DirectX SDK
- SDL (for rendering)

From there I've written code to:

- Read the tile and data roms into memory.
- Ported emulation code to emulate the text layer and convert the pixel format.
- Rewritten three 68k assembler routines decompiled from the OutRun source code.

The end result is that I can now use a fully ported C++ routine that blits text, in the form of tiles, to the screen. This routine takes the precise same input format as the original code. In the following screenshot, I've called the routine to display various text strings from the game. A simple call to blit_text(address_of_text_data) renders the text with the correct palette and screen positioning. Exactly the same as the original assembler.

The structure of the text data (which contains palette info, tile info and screen positioning) is pulled straight from ROM. Although I imagine I will eventually extract such data structures so that they are completely native.

I appreciate that drawing some text isn't particularly riveting, but the first steps in a project are always the most laborious. I'm pretty happy with the way things are going.