Yuji Naka discusses SMS programmingPosted on July 31st, 2009 1 comment
I did a lot of testing to figure out how best to port Space Harrier to the Mark III, but the hardware had very strict sprite limits and I really couldn’t show much more than the player and his bullets. If I was going to port this game, I naturally wanted to retain all of the impact of the original at all costs, but if I had rely on sprites for that, the results would’ve been pretty depressing.
That’s when I began coding a system that drew [enemies] directly onto background tiles instead. That let me retain at least a bit of the original’s high speed, and it was ultimately what made Space Harrier possible on the Mark III. But I still kick myself over the square tiles that overlap all over the bosses! I tried really hard to come up with a software solution to this issue, but I just hit a wall when it came to CPU power.
OutRun started out the same way, in that I knew I wanted to recreate the up-and-down motion of the original no matter what. I coded it so that it pretty much redrew the entire screen to create the effect, but it wasn’t everything it should’ve been. It was close, but not close enough. I don’t know if it was my fault or the Mark III’s, but it was probably somewhere between the two of us.
Really, figuring out what game to port to which hardware at which time was a very important thing back then. You had to consider the development skills you had at hand very carefully, especially because the really flashy full-cabinet games like Space Harrier, OutRun and After Burner were coming out one after another that whole time. I pushed myself really hard from a technical standpoint during that era, so the time still conjures up a lot of memories for me.
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