Author Topic: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"  (Read 14628 times)

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PCEngineFX

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Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
« on: October 08, 2007, 02:01:17 AM »
Welcome to a special Turbo Memoirs addendum feature: "The R-Type Memo".
(The following document has been acquired by pcengine-fx.com and is 100% authentic.  Because of the nature of the document, names have been removed and a Pcenginefx watermark added.)

In this document (created by the TGX-16 Game Support Group back in 1989 and addressed to Hudson Soft), they address the flickering issue with R-Type.  Hudson's reply to this memo will be reveled in part 2 of this post.


« Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 03:10:15 AM by Pcenginefx »
// Aaron Nanto | The NEC Console Resource
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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #1 on: October 08, 2007, 02:05:29 AM »
    Wow, this is awesome. thanx for sharing this Aaron  :mrgreen: . I always wondered if anyone cared that the games they released had flicker or not.

    Keranu

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #2 on: October 08, 2007, 03:51:04 AM »
    Holy, holy crap! First of all, I have NO idea how you get your hands on this stuff, Aaron, but it is really frickin' awesome! Now more importantly, I am sure this has to be the reason why the USA version had a shorter resolution in width so it could reduce the flickering! We have discussed this before in this thread and this document pretty much confirms it so I am willing to bet that Hudson's response to this document mentions this! :D I really look forward to the next update with Hudson's reply. Also on a side note, I noticed that when I was comparing the American and Japanese versions of R-Type, the Japanese title screen says "strike the empire" (or however it goes) while the American screen says "attack the empire". Does anyone know a reason for this?

    It's really amazing how strict America is with this issue and it only gives me more respect for the Turbo Grafx 16  :mrgreen: . I'd love to see any other technical situations that TGX-16 or any other American group disapproved of. Perhaps the addition of parallax scrolling in Exile: Wicked Phenomenon wasn't just an idea by Working Designs.
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    Joe Redifer

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #3 on: October 08, 2007, 04:42:14 AM »
    That's pretty awesome, Aaron.  They definitely did have a point.  It flickered almost as much as the SMS version.

    Keranu, the attack/strike thing may be a difference in the Japanese/US versions of the arcade and the home versions in each region may reflect that.  But I'm just guessing.  However keep in mind that I have never been wrong about anything in my entire life.


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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #4 on: October 08, 2007, 05:21:44 AM »
    I was wondering if the strike/attack thing was in the arcades as well, but my question still remains if that's the case.
    Adding PCE console specific layer on top of that, makes for an interesting challenge (no, not a reference to Ys II).

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #5 on: October 08, 2007, 05:37:01 AM »
    Remember that Nintendo released the R-Type arcade here in America.  "Attack" may sound far too evil for Nintendo.

    Keranu

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #6 on: October 08, 2007, 05:43:29 AM »
    Attack was the word used in America, strike was used in Japan.
    Adding PCE console specific layer on top of that, makes for an interesting challenge (no, not a reference to Ys II).

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    PCEngineFX

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #7 on: October 08, 2007, 01:58:47 PM »
    I'm entirely grateful that stuff like this even exists today and that I'm able to preserve (and present!) them.
    // Aaron Nanto | The NEC Console Resource
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    Keranu

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #8 on: October 08, 2007, 05:59:57 PM »
    Quote
    I'm betting that they changed it to 'attack' in the US so that stupid Americans wouldn't get confused and think that it was a bowling game.  :lol:
    Or baseball ;) .
    Adding PCE console specific layer on top of that, makes for an interesting challenge (no, not a reference to Ys II).

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #9 on: October 08, 2007, 06:46:35 PM »
    We Americans like attacking things, too.  So maybe it was changed to "attack" in order to get our testosterone flowing and make us say "I'M PUMPIN' QUARTERS INTO THIS MOTHERFUCKER ALL DAY!!!" or "GOD DAMN I'M BUYING ME ONE OF THEM TURBO THINGS AND R-TYPE AND ATTACKING SOME ALIEN TERRORIST ASS!!!"

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #10 on: October 11, 2007, 12:38:20 AM »
    I'm ready for part 2 of this post.

    Keranu

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #11 on: October 11, 2007, 01:50:01 AM »
    I'm ready for part 2 of this post.
    Me too. It will be the ultimate proof of why America kicks ass :D .
    Adding PCE console specific layer on top of that, makes for an interesting challenge (no, not a reference to Ys II).

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    PCEngineFX

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #12 on: October 11, 2007, 01:57:38 AM »
    Me too. It will be the ultimate proof of why America kicks ass :D .
    LOL!  Ok...well, prepare for some ass kicking in an hour or two from now (part 2 coming up).
    // Aaron Nanto | The NEC Console Resource
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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #13 on: October 11, 2007, 02:02:09 AM »
    Rad to the max! I'll stay up for it  :mrgreen: !
    Adding PCE console specific layer on top of that, makes for an interesting challenge (no, not a reference to Ys II).

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    PCEngineFX

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    Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 2)
    « Reply #14 on: October 11, 2007, 03:10:00 AM »
    Welcome to a special Turbo Memoirs addendum feature: "The R-Type Memo".
    (The following document has been acquired by pcengine-fx.com and is 100% authentic.  Because of the nature of the document, names have been removed and a Pcenginefx watermark added.)

    This is the response Hudson gave to TurboGrafx management answering the issue of the sprite flickering in R-Type.


    // Aaron Nanto | The NEC Console Resource
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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
    « Reply #15 on: October 11, 2007, 03:33:47 AM »
    Interesting response.  They should have referenced the Japanese version on the PC Engine since that one would have slightly more flicker due to the slightly higher resolution.  They should have said something like "We love America and made sure to fix the problem the best we could compared to the Japanese version since anyone who buys a system with a rad smiling dude on the box expect top quality!"

    I don't know where you are getting these, but it is awesome to read this stuff.  I also just noticed how the watermark seems to be "behind" the text itself instead of just a partially transparent image.  Are you luma keying?

    EDIT:  Now I want to go play R-Type.  :)
    « Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 03:37:54 AM by Joe Redifer »

    PCEngineFX

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
    « Reply #16 on: October 11, 2007, 03:47:46 AM »
    The appearance that the watermark is "behind" the text is just an optical illusion (I did a 50% fade on the layer...that's it).
    // Aaron Nanto | The NEC Console Resource
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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
    « Reply #17 on: October 11, 2007, 03:51:27 AM »
    Wasn't the response I was expecting, but still interesting to read. I was hoping they would specifically mention the resolution, but I guess they decided on that after this was released.
    Adding PCE console specific layer on top of that, makes for an interesting challenge (no, not a reference to Ys II).

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    nat

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #18 on: October 11, 2007, 10:41:53 AM »
    Me too. It will be the ultimate proof of why America kicks ass :D .
    LOL!  Ok...well, prepare for some ass kicking in an hour or two from now (part 2 coming up).
    Aaron snubbed us.

    It's almost 12 hours later and no part 2!!!

    nat

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
    « Reply #19 on: October 11, 2007, 11:33:07 AM »
    Aaron snubbed us.

    It's almost 12 hours later and no part 2!!!
    Huh?!?  Did you miss Reply #15 posted today at 12:10:00 AM (nearly 8 hours ago)?
    :oops:

    I guess I did. I must not have noticed there was a second page of messages.

    PCEngineFX

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo" (Part 1)
    « Reply #20 on: October 11, 2007, 11:38:56 AM »
    Me too. It will be the ultimate proof of why America kicks ass :D .
    LOL!  Ok...well, prepare for some ass kicking in an hour or two from now (part 2 coming up).
    Aaron snubbed us.

    It's almost 12 hours later and no part 2!!!
    I would never snub you guys!
    // Aaron Nanto | The NEC Console Resource
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    nat

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    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
    « Reply #21 on: October 11, 2007, 11:51:22 AM »
    As far as the response goes, I agree with Keranu, it's not at all what I was expecting.

    People keep referencing the Japanese version as having more flicker than the US version, but the difference is surely negligible. Their slight reduction in resolution had little effect. Playing the two versions back to back I'm hard pressed to point out where flicker present in the Japanese version is absent from the US version.

    I still believe had the game been released later in the console life the programmer's would've found ways to greatly reduce the flicker, however.

    Also, I'm a little puzzled by the response given in that letter. The writer sites "access times" as the cause of the flicker. But isn't the real reason the sprite-per-scanline limitation? I've never heard "access times" used to explain away anything negative about a game on a cartridge-based system.

    EDIT: Aaron, will you be adding this to the Turbo Memoirs site itself?
    « Last Edit: October 11, 2007, 12:05:01 PM by nat »

    Kitsunexus

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      Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
      « Reply #22 on: October 11, 2007, 12:54:20 PM »
      So their response was "LOL not our fault!" ? Wow, that's kind of lazy.
      Forgive me, my brain is on par with the Bubble System.
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      Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
      « Reply #23 on: October 11, 2007, 01:30:41 PM »
      Also, I'm a little puzzled by the response given in that letter. The writer sites "access times" as the cause of the flicker. But isn't the real reason the sprite-per-scanline limitation? I've never heard "access times" used to explain away anything negative about a game on a cartridge-based system.
      I too raised an eyebrow at the "access times" statement.  So they are saying that the cart couldn't send the info fast enough to the system, thus causing the flicker?...ehhhh

      EDIT: Aaron, will you be adding this to the Turbo Memoirs site itself?
      Maybe...not sure.  I like the idea of making forum exclusive features as they are easier and faster to get online.  Plus I can get instant feedback and discussion going about the feature right away from people instead of just waiting for email.  I will be doing more forum exclusive features in the future so watch for them!
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        Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
        « Reply #24 on: October 12, 2007, 01:50:48 PM »
        Here is the illustrated version of this story. (1.51 MB)
        Forgive me, my brain is on par with the Bubble System.
        THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS RULE!

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        Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
        « Reply #25 on: October 12, 2007, 02:19:31 PM »
        Here is the illustrated version of this story. (1.51 MB)
        Nice, but that wasn't TTI back then :)

        That was a very lazy response on Hudson's behalf.  I am irked by the "the programmers felt that if they HAD to give up something, they would rather have some flicker than tamper with the gameplay".  Basically Hudson is saying: "Look, the gameplay is great, and more important than graphics, so shut up".  Gameplay wasn't even mentioned as an issue by Irem.


        PCEngineFX

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        Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
        « Reply #26 on: October 12, 2007, 02:36:36 PM »
        Here is the illustrated version of this story. (1.51 MB)
        I LOL'd.  You should make a cartoon series related to the NEC consoles!
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          Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
          « Reply #27 on: October 12, 2007, 03:02:54 PM »
          Nice, but that wasn't TTI back then :)


          I need to brush up on my Turbo history.

          I LOL'd.  You should make a cartoon series related to the NEC consoles!
          I'm not good enough. I'm glad you liked it though. :)
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          nat

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          Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
          « Reply #28 on: October 12, 2007, 05:45:11 PM »
          Kitsunexus, where do you come up with these images?

          You always seem to have the "right" image on hand at any given moment. Do you keep a virtual catalog of every image in the world on your hard drive?

          Joe Redifer

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          Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
          « Reply #29 on: October 12, 2007, 06:00:42 PM »
          I LOL'd as well, despite the TTI reference.

          Keranu

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          Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
          « Reply #30 on: October 12, 2007, 11:26:53 PM »
          I love the art of the dude with glasses.
          Adding PCE console specific layer on top of that, makes for an interesting challenge (no, not a reference to Ys II).

          Click the banner to learn more about Alex Chiu and his "immortality rings"

          Kitsunexus

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            Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
            « Reply #31 on: October 13, 2007, 02:40:11 AM »
            Do you keep a virtual catalog of every image in the world on your hard drive?
            Yeah, I have Google Image Search bookmarked. :wink:

            I LOL'd as well, despite the TTI reference.
            I know, I'm sorry. :( I'm glad you liked it though. :D

            Nice job, Kitsune!  Paddle ball is always good for a laugh.  :dance:
            And they're awesome too. I wish I still had my Shaq paddle ball. ^_^

            I love the art of the dude with glasses.
            Thank you! He was my favorite to draw. ^__^

            Forgive me, my brain is on par with the Bubble System.
            THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS RULE!

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              Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
              « Reply #32 on: October 13, 2007, 03:26:46 AM »
              cool cartoon dude  8)

              Kitsunexus

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                Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
                « Reply #33 on: October 13, 2007, 03:34:07 AM »
                cool cartoon dude  8)
                Thankies! ^_________________________^
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                Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
                « Reply #34 on: October 13, 2007, 05:16:38 AM »
                Do you keep a virtual catalog of every image in the world on your hard drive?
                But still, you must know what to search for to find these images.

                You never cease to amaze.

                nat

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                Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
                « Reply #35 on: October 13, 2007, 01:55:47 PM »
                So, getting back to the memo, is it safe to say, then, that Hudson's response amounts to "We kinda ported some of the code and this is as nice as we could get it considering we didn't want to just reprogram the whole damn thing properly."  ?
                Pretty much.

                If this is kind of indifference Hudson Japan/NEC had towards the American market, it's no big surprise the machine wasn't a commercial success in the US.

                Keranu

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                Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
                « Reply #36 on: October 13, 2007, 06:21:16 PM »
                And they're awesome too. I wish I still had my Shaq paddle ball. ^_^
                May I require further info for this "Shaq paddle ball"?
                Adding PCE console specific layer on top of that, makes for an interesting challenge (no, not a reference to Ys II).

                Click the banner to learn more about Alex Chiu and his "immortality rings"

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                  Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
                  « Reply #37 on: November 02, 2007, 01:59:23 AM »
                  Also, I'm a little puzzled by the response given in that letter. The writer sites "access times" as the cause of the flicker. But isn't the real reason the sprite-per-scanline limitation? I've never heard "access times" used to explain away anything negative about a game on a cartridge-based system.
                  I too raised an eyebrow at the "access times" statement.  So they are saying that the cart couldn't send the info fast enough to the system, thus causing the flicker?...ehhhh

                  EDIT: Aaron, will you be adding this to the Turbo Memoirs site itself?
                  I think the 'access times'* is actually referring to the video memory bandwith, not the cartridge's. (*probably got badly translated as this, from Japanese)

                  You have to remember that 20 years ago RAM chips (as indeed all chips) were a hell of a lot slower than they are today. That was the main limiting factor in having more colours on screen or higher resolution screens. True Sprites also eat into this bandwith as they are actually overlaid into the video data being fed to the display (by direct memory access - DMA). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprite_%28computer_graphics%29

                  Since the memory/video memory of the machine is running a fixed rate, there is only so much bandwith available = limitations on the number of sprites on screen. This would also mean that if you dropped the resolution a bit, there would be more bandwith left over for sprites.

                  Anyone with an Amiga in the 80's will probably remember Chip RAM v Fast RAM - Fast RAM was faster purely because it was not shared with the graphics and sound co-processors, giving more bandwidth for the CPU.

                  These days of course we have graphics cards with dedicated ultra high bandwith memory on them in our PC's, so it's not an issue.

                   :D
                  « Last Edit: November 03, 2007, 02:58:36 PM by Ravij »

                  nat

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                  Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
                  « Reply #38 on: November 13, 2007, 01:57:06 PM »
                  Oh, yeah.

                  There has never been any doubt in my mind that had R-Type been ported post-1990 we would have been treated to a much finer product.

                  That's what bugged me about the CD version released in 1991-- nothing was done to fix the few (but nagging) problems present in the early port.

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                    Re: Memoirs addendum: "The R-Type Memo"
                    « Reply #39 on: December 05, 2007, 09:46:20 PM »
                    the Cd version was disappointing.  i can't believe they didn't address the issues in these games.  btw, the strike/attack thing may be easy to explain. the japanese word for both of these is 'syageki' (among others).  whoever localized it probably (and i guess correctly thought that attack worked better.  the japanese person who put the 'strike' in was just going for a cool looking word to impress his\her non-english speaking japanese audience.  he\she opened a dictionary, looked up syageki, saw the multiple meanings (assault, attack, strike, etc) and chose the coolest sounding one.  when the game was localized, they probably put 'attack' in there to avoid any possible japanese english which was WAY too common...and still is.