Author Topic: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?  (Read 1047 times)

saturndual32

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Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« on: September 27, 2017, 07:20:36 PM »
I was daydreaming about the PCFX being a success and how some of the popular 32-bit era games would look on it. Before reading, have in mind i have no tech knowledge. So correct me on whatever (everything?), i get wrong.

I have read the PCFX being called a 2d powerhouse, but is it really compared to contemporary consoles? Before you keep reading, have in mind i have no tech knowledge. So correct me on whatever (everything?), i get wrong.

From what i have read, PCFX has the Supergrafx 2 background and 2 sprite layers (128 sprites?). Is that with improved colors? For this part of the graphics hardware, it has 256KB of VRAM. My guess is that it wouldn be enough for a port of, say Street Fighter Zero 2, comparable to the Playstation/Saturn versions. PS1 has 1MB of VRAM and, in terms of animation, fell a bit short from the arcade game. While the Saturn has 1.5 MB of VRAM and was noticeable closer to the arcade. Not to mention both have much superior sprite capabilities.

The PS1, can display a ton of sprites, from which it also has to build its background layers, since it has no dedicated hardware for them. The Saturn has great sprite capabilities thanks to its VDP1, although not as good as the PS1 (i read). But Saturn also has its VDP2 which is a monster background processor, and ultimately gives it a big edge for most 2d engines.

So we have the PCFX with its 2 background layers, 128 sprites and 256 KB of VRAM from its legacy Supergrafx hardware. But seeing how the Neo Geo ports turned out on PCE AC, with only 1 background and 1 sprite layer, i have the feeling that the bigger issue would be VRAM.

But PCFX also has a pretty powerfull processor called King(?), which is said to be a pretty powerfull background processor itself. How much RAM does this procesor have access to? Although a game like SFZ2 doesnt really need memory for the backgounds, but rather for the tons of frames of animation for each character.

Do you guys think King would be the key for comparable ports of 2d games from the other 32-bit systems? The likes of Rockman X4, Castlevania Symphony of the Night, Darius Gaiden, Street Fighter Zero 3, Shienryu, etc.

I guess games with full screen scaling like Silhouette Mirage, Samurai Shodown 4, Soukyugurentai, etc are out of the question, since King might be able to do background scaling, but there would be no support for sprite scaling from the Supergrafx sprite layers.

Sorry, i might be over my head with this discussion, i dont really have much technical knowledge, only stuff i have read. I just  tought it would be interesting to hear and get corrected by people who actually know about the PCFX hardware. It usually doesnt get mentioned enough when comparing hardware.

SignOfZeta

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 04:24:42 AM »
Specs are cool but most FX games are super simple and donít even look like a good PCE game let alone a good Saturn game. If the FX is a ďpowerhouseĒ of anything Iíd sure like to see it. Street Fighter Zero 2? How about just Street Fighter II first?

Black Tiger

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2017, 08:54:39 AM »
The SuperGrafx with the load space of the PC-FX could do an "arcade perfect" port of SFZ2, aside from color. But a PC-FX version could use PC-FX hardware for most or all of the background with authentic looking color and the sprites would look close enough using PCE/SGX graphics/color.

The PC-FX isn't a 2D powerhouse by PSX/Saturn standards, but is better than 3DO and 32X.
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saturndual32

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2017, 09:01:39 AM »
The SuperGrafx with the load space of the PC-FX could do an "arcade perfect" port of SFZ2, aside from color. But a PC-FX version could use PC-FX hardware for most or all of the background with authentic looking color and the sprites would look close enough using PCE/SGX graphics/color.

The PC-FX isn't a 2D powerhouse by PSX/Saturn standards, but is better than 3DO and 32X.

Really?, the SGX by itself could do that?!. Pretty impressive. You dont think the RAM configuration of the PCFX would be an issue at all, for a game like SFZ2?

SignOfZeta

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 09:51:42 AM »
With an Arcade Card...or like a 200 mbit HuCARD, sure. That would make lots of things work on lots of systems.

I wonder about the overall smoothness of such a thing though. I love SFZ2, itís probably my favorite Fighter ever and certainly the one Iím best at playing, but if itís all looking like Flash Hiders I wouldnít be interested. The shadows have to work, the backgrounds change during supers, there are these shadows...even Capcom ditched almost all paralax and line scrolling when the series moved to this level. I donít know exactly why but I assume itís related to the huge bandwith needed to pump so many hundreds of frames of animation out and any kind of a hiccough being totally unacceptable in a quality arcade fighting game. There also a bit more going on with the actual code in this game when compared to really simple engines used on most PCE fighters. Every character has a super gauge and three supers that have three different levels. Thatís nine more moves for Chun Li or whoever. Thereís also zero counters.

I didnít address the whole thing where you sometimes have more than two fighters on screen...

Running it seems totally doable based on how well several PCE fighting games work but we are getting into some pretty large ROM sizes here. I think CPS topped out at like 100mbit it so but it isnít information I can easily find on my phone at the moment. Nearly Neo Geo sized stuff...does anyone have the unzipped file size of the original game? Anyway, I think itís probabky getting close to too much. The more assets you have to cram into a 1 min fight the more system you need. The limit of the PCE is probabky somewhere higher up the CPS/Neo scale than it actually achieved (super high quality SFIIí and Fatal Fury Special ports) but how much higher? Marvel vs Capcom? KOF2003? Probably not since even the systems designed to run those games barely could by that point. Super Turbo and Super Baseball? Totally.

What is the most impressive CP/Neo game that could run really well on PCE? Maybe Fatal Fury 3? Aliens vs Predator vs Loadtimes?

seieienbu

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2017, 12:07:19 PM »
The real problem of porting this game from my perspective would the visual effects that made SFA2 so striking at the time.  If you consider having 2 Sagats on screen both doing Custom Combos or supers you would wind up with 8 Sagats both throwing multiple tiger shots and suddenly you could end up with a lot of problems.  This might even be worse with 2 Zangiefs, but I digress.  When you consider that the backgrounds have moving sprites in them as well I would expect there would be flickering everywhere and it wouldn't look good. 

How many sprites can a PCE render on one line again?  I would assume that if you were using Supergrafx hardware the end result would be twice as many, but could a PC Engine render even only 4 Sagats and a couple of fireballs on one line?  I doubt that Sagat would be made of only one sprite.

If you're willing to make visual sacrifices then yes, I'm sure the gameplay could remain intact 100%.  You could likely have an authentic feeling SFA2 but I believe the visualizations would likely have to take such a big hit that it would feel like the neutered SNES port.  The SNES version (which I recall seeing in Walmart for $95 back when) compared to the Saturn version was similar to looking at, well, any other lousy arcade port during that era.  The SNES SFA2 was possibly the best argument for why it was time to buy the next generation of consoles; games were finally able to be more or less on par with their arcade versions.  You no longer had to feel like you were getting a vastly inferior port with 32 bit systems.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 01:25:04 PM by seieienbu »
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SignOfZeta

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2017, 12:28:44 PM »
Ha, yeah. I didnít think of that. Two Nashís hitting the CC at the same time can throw a LOT of Sonic Booms at each other at once. Quite the stress test...

saturndual32

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2017, 12:57:23 PM »
Great points, i hadnt considered those situations were you have more than 2 characters on screen.

Necromancer

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2017, 02:58:34 AM »
It can do 32 sprites per line, so figure 16 per character.  Using 2 sprites for projectiles, hit animations, etc. and allowing 2 sprites to make up each characters width (up to 64 pixels wide, nearly 1/5th the total screen width at 340x240 or 1/4 at 256x240), that would allow 7 duplicate character sprites for each competitor.

I'm not sure you'd need sprites for background animation, not when you can animate tiles.
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Michirin9801

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2017, 04:08:22 AM »
If they could get a functional version of SFZ2 on the SNES, I'm sure the PC-FX could get an arcade-close version...

I'm not 100% versed into the specs of the PC-FX, but I do know it has 7 Background layers and 2 Sprite layers, although I'm not sure how many sprites it can show on a single scanline, if we assume the two sprite layers work the same as the SuperGrafx then that would be 32 sprites which can be as wide as 32 pixels each, and of course, a total of 128 sprites on-screen, that's not a lot for a 32 bit fighting game, but who says we'd have to make the characters with sprites? We could use 2 of the BG layers to render the characters and the sprite layers to render all of the visual effects like hit-sparks, projectiles, particles, extra characters and what not, and we'd still have 5 BG layers left to build the proper backgrounds, which is probably more than enough...

saturndual32

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2017, 05:19:28 AM »
Michirin9801, i read that they did something like that with the Sega Master System ports of Mortal Kombat. One of the characters was made out of sprites, while the other was part of the background layer or something like that. Would there be any disadvantage by rendering the characters with the background layers?.

 I am reading that the prcessor King, has access to 1MB of RAM. If you could do what you say and use King to render the characters as background layers, you would have more memory for character animation, than the 256KB VRAM you get for the legacy background and sprite layers.

SignOfZeta

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2017, 08:20:32 AM »
Things designated as backgrounds by systems like this usually have special advantages and disadvantage. Sometimes they can have their gamma changed independently, scale, go transparent, or have larger max sizes. I donít know of any ďmode 7sĒ or whatever like that on a GG but maybe the FX has something.

Super kills cause full screen background swap outs on the CPS version, so thatís probably an opportunity for a special feature if there is one.

I keep thinking of this as a SFZ1 problem in my head. When I consider SFZ2, especially the BGs, it gets more complicated. Even the PlayStation has missing background elements in SFZ2 (Strider doesnít toss his Teddy bear).

SFZ1 has no OC/CCs and that would help a lot to make the FX or anything run more smoothly if there are any bandwidth issues, which there would be. SFZís backgrounds are bizzarely crappily simplistic with almost no animation and, IIRC, no forground objects. That helps a lot. There are way fewer characters, few moves, and less animation in general for some things.

Michirin9801

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2017, 06:31:59 PM »
NES, SMS and PCE games are no strangers from using the BG layer to render huge bosses and other stuff like that, and the NGPC had 2 BG layers, but it often used one of them to render your playable character considering how limiting the proper sprite layer was to work with, so this idea of rendering characters on the BG layers is not too far fetched, it's all a matter of the system having enough memory and processing power to animate a whole lot of tiles at once, I've got reason to believe that the PC-FX has more than enough processing power to animate 2 relatively big characters on 2 BG layers...

Arkhan

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2017, 06:12:19 AM »
You can't actually display 32 32px wide sprites on one scanline on the SGX/PCFX, though.   32 per scanline is the best case scenario, using 16px wide sprites.

The limit is 512px per scanline, so that would be 32 16px wide sprites.   If you're using wider ones, you get to enjoy clipping when you start using a lot of them on a scanline.

PCE does this but with 16 instead of 32 sprites.  You get 256 pixels per scanline.   That's 16x16.

and, no, the PC-FX is not really a 2D powerhouse by any means.   

The Saturn and PSX are.   If you compare the PC-FX strictly to the 16-bit era, yeah, it shits all over it.   It's neat hardware with some nice features that can produce some nice stuff... but once you start getting into like, Einhander territory, nope.   It's not happening.

The PC-FX is basically a SuperGrafx with a CD drive that nobody ever developed anything for.    The potential was there for a lot of great JRPGs and action platformers, but the thing was basically a stillbirth.

If it had more games like Zenki, Blue Breaker, and LIP, it would've really gone somewhere I think.  Banking on the FMV and digital comics was a dumb idea.    They basically did the same thing USA SegaCD did.

Animating something like giant Street Fighter sprites completely in the background is a recipe for disaster.   Nobody wants to program that.    It's unintuitive, and a pain in the ass.

I don't even know that it's actually feasible if you're also doing the rest of the game logic.   I'm not sure how fast it processes background updating.

Comparing it to PCE and earlier games that use the BG for a giant boss that has a few animation cycles is a completely different thing compared to trying to shove a high-frame-count fighting game sprite into the background. 

Twice.

The PC-FX has 6 BG layers, not 7, I thought.


This all being said, I think the PC-FX could do Alpha 2, it would just have some flickering and sprite-reduction liberties taken.

It would be funny to just make the backgrounds a bunch of FMV cutscenes with the sprites on top of them beating each other's asses.

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SignOfZeta

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Re: Street Fighter Zero 2, how well could the PCFX handle it?
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2017, 06:15:42 AM »
It could do a version of Alpha 2 that was as good as Mk on GG. I'll buy that, but that would have been severely below expectations at the time. :)