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Author Topic: Trevor Raynsford: Programmer and the porter of Zool 2  (Read 32490 times)
doctorclu
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« on: August 09, 2009, 09:50:38 am »

Trevor Raynsford is credited as a support Programmer for the game Bubsy.  However, it would seem that perhaps his greatest accomplishment was the porting of Zool 2 to the Jaguar.

Here is Trevor Raynsford's LinkedIn page.  It would appear that Zool 2 (and Bubsy) were just very early points in a very successful career.
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/trevor-raynsford/3/9a1/722

Naturally an invite has beeen sent to stop in, hang out, and talk about old times when working o the Atari games.  I know I would love to hear more about the porting process.

« Last Edit: August 09, 2009, 12:32:37 pm by doctorclu » Logged
Trev
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2009, 08:32:09 pm »

Thanks for the appreciation  Smiley

The Busby credit is for the Jaguar music player (also used in Raiden and Tempest 2000).  Our studio also did the awesome in game and CD version of the Tempest music.  AFAIK we were the only studio with Jaguar launch games with in game music and SFX.  Before the Jag I did a Falcon music player which ran on the 56000 (used in Humans IIRC) and a SNES music player on the sound chip (I forget what for).
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doctorclu
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2009, 11:55:22 pm »

"Thanks for the appreciation"

Thanks for accepting the invite.  Great to have you here.

"The Busby credit is for the Jaguar music player (also used in Raiden and Tempest 2000)."

Very awesome.  Was that written on the standard Atari dev system, or the PC type?  (Not sure if the PC existed then, but thought I'd ask.)  Smiley

 " Our studio also did the awesome in game and CD version of the Tempest music.  "

Your studio did that?  I know there are a lot of Tempest fans here who would like to hear more about how that came together, and really anything else you can say on that.  (Some of the best music for the Jaguar!)

"AFAIK we were the only studio with Jaguar launch games with in game music and SFX."

I would have to pull out the early launch games and check that out.  Probably right.  So what was SFX?   We are currently studying how Bubsy for the Jaguar was made and there is a "SFX.DAT" file.  I'm guessing that was the game sound file?


  "Before the Jag I did a Falcon music player which ran on the 56000 (used in Humans IIRC) and a SNES music player on the sound chip (I forget what for)."

Was that Humans for the Falcon or the one that was eventually ported to the Jaguar?
SNES music player on a sound chip?  What type of music would it play?   I know that between the music on the SNES and Genesis for the Bubsy titles I prefer the SNES sound better.

And Zool2, would love to hear about that.  What did it take to bring Zool from the Amiga to the Jaguar?   We're trying to learn the porting techniques so would love to hear anything about that.  And Zool2 is a neat game.
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overlord
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2009, 02:22:26 am »

Hello Trev, thank you for stopping by! We are very glad to have you here!  Smiley
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BobbyBobBob
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 10:47:32 pm »

Hello Trev, good of you to drop by.

The Busby credit is for the Jaguar music player (also used in Raiden and Tempest 2000). 

Could you tell me a bit more about this? I know the music in Tempest 2000 is modules, but Raiden? That sounds so different to me, it sounds every bit as cool to me but (Raiden is one of the games I go back to all the time). I'd like to know what kind of sound engine that was, cheers. I haven't played Bubsy so I can't comment on that one :/
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Trev
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2009, 08:25:39 pm »

So many questions; so long ago Smiley

MOD files were the format of choice for many game musicians. They originally came from the Amiga I believe with its special hardware providing the ability to do pitch, volume and mix (PVM) on up to 4 samples with no CPU overhead.

When the Falcon came out it had a 68030 and the DSP 56000, but it still had only a single fixed rate sample output for the 68030.  Somebody at Imagitec had already written a 4 channel PVM routine for the 68030 in an attempt to improve the in-game music quality but, of course, it used loads of CPU.

(Incidentally, I learnt a neat trick for profiling game code (which you can't use nowadays).  Enter a routine of interest - set the border to red, say, when you exit reset it to black. Shift the horizontal hold slightly and you can see how much frame time is spent in the routine.)

Anyway, the 68030 based PVM used about a third of a frame, IIRC.  The DSP 56000 couldn't access main memory but it did have (a huge then) 96k bytes of private memory. So I wrote code to dump the samples there and DSP 56000 code to do the PVM.  Enough for all the samples for most game tunes.  The 68030 then just needed to tell the DSP based PVM routine which samples to play - almost no effort at all.

For the Jaguar, Atari gave developers some nifty DSP code for playing samples with effects like flanging. It was easy to port 68000 based mod player code to the Jag and use the DSP for the PVM part.  It sounded great.  Only problem was, it didn't work in a game!  By default, the display hardware had a higher bus priority, which meant, even with the huge bus bandwidth and fast chips, in Humans the sound was trashed every time the player moved.  Raiden just sounded awful!  We tried setting the DSP to have a higher bus priority, the graphics got trashed instead.  (I think the bus priority mechanism was broken.)  I spent 20 minutes on the phone to one of the Tramiel brothers trying to explain there was a problem.  In the end I abandoned the DSP code and wrote a new version which did the bare minimum PVM and importantly played the next sample at the top of the timer initiated loop to ensure accurate timing.

The upshot was Imagitec had a way to do in game music and SFX on the Jag.  We told Atari; they told Jeff Minter; Howie at Imagitec ended up doing the mods for Tempest 2000; Jeff used my code in his game. It won an award for best in-game music.  Doesn't get much cooler than that!
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remowilliams
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2009, 10:12:20 pm »

Trev, thanks so much for joining up and sharing with us.  I love to hear this stuff!   Grin
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Hellcat
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2009, 10:16:56 pm »

Trev, thanks so much for joining up and sharing with us.  I love to hear this stuff!   Grin

Welcome and Seconded. Talking about this stuff is priceless.
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sh3-rg
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2009, 10:49:59 pm »

So many questions; so long ago Smiley

Excellent, this is exactly why I just joined this website - thanks for sharing. It might not seem like it, but for us fanbois your reply was very special. Cheers!
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doctorclu
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2009, 11:05:52 pm »

What no followup questions?   I mean the Tempest 2K soundtrack.  That was some good stuff.

Was there ever much talk during the composition of the mods?   Would love to know more about the people behind that since those were probably the coolest mods I've heard in the mod scene.

And Raiden has a awesome soundtrack too.  I think that is what makes it shine is when you start the music comes on loud and strong and gets you in the mood to fight.

Just FYI, the only gripe I have about Raiden was half the screen being taken up with a control panel.  Was that to keep too many items on the screen at the same time I wonder?
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Trev
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2009, 01:06:42 am »

Just a programmer me with an ear for music quality. I used AxelF testing the Falcon player - must have listened to the intro a thousand times. It was important to get the crisp, clear high decaying notes, the bass notes, the silence.

Howie was the great composer. Don't know where he got the inspiration.  Raiden was an arcade game though - we had to play through levels in the office to help Freddie figure out where the bad guys were.  I think the music was made to sound like the arcade machine version.  It was great.  And yes the panel was probably deliberately large to reduce the sprite count!

We did have a guitarist for a while that Martin the boss had found busking in town.  IIRC his father made guitars.  Now he was just gifted.  He did a whole long piece for Zorro which could have gone in a film. Went off to become a session musician.

Some other guys who I didn't know re-did Tempest for the CD version.

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Trev
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2009, 01:16:28 am »

[b"]Very awesome.  Was that written on the standard Atari dev system, or the PC type?  (Not sure if the PC existed then, but thought I'd ask.) "[/b]

I used the TT based Jaguar dev kit - with a huge monochrome monitor; no idea what res.  Loads of screen real estate for multiple windows.  Biggest I have ever used.  In those days the ST based dev systems used a standard -was it 24 x 40?monitor. Take off 4 lines for status, title, menu and toolbar - not much room left to actually work!

I was only game programming for about 20 months.  The next job I had used my extensive experience to try and make a Jaguar based set-top box. This was when 28.8 modems were the newest way to get online! Then I used the PC based tools.
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Hellcat
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2009, 01:28:01 am »

Thanks for more details Trev!
How does your new found older console celebrity status feel?  Grin
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sh3-rg
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2009, 01:33:14 am »

Howie was the great composer. Don't know where he got the inspiration.  Raiden was an arcade game though - we had to play through levels in the office to help Freddie figure out where the bad guys were.  

That's great, forget getting given the assets on disc with a huge doc explaining how everything works - play the game & remake it - that's just great Cheesy

I think the music was made to sound like the arcade machine version.  It was great.  And yes the panel was probably deliberately large to reduce the sprite count!

I'm not lucky enough to have played the arcade machine but when I hear that Raiden music that's exactly where I feel I am, in an old arcade hall!

Some other guys who I didn't know re-did Tempest for the CD version.

The Tempest CD is good, but I prefer to hear the original mods as I play that legendary game.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2009, 01:37:12 am by -kZa- » Logged


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Trev
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2009, 08:51:03 am »

"That's great, forget getting given the assets on disc with a huge doc explaining how everything works - play the game & remake it - that's just great
"


Yes. I had the cushy job with Zool-2. All the (well-written) Amiga source code and assets and a VHS video of someone playing through the entire game.  I used to step through to see exactly how some of the animations were supposed to run and get the sprite placement correct.  The sprite alignment was slightly different between the two machines - I forget why (maybe top-down vs bottom-up?) so I had to change every set of sprite data.  Luckily we had a shiny new VHS player with decent freeze-frame operation.  It was actually used by the team doing some body motion capture work but they let me borrow it occasionally.
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