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C4 - 2008 discussion

Discussion in 'Saturn Dev' started by RockinB, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. RockinB

    RockinB Staff Member

    Hello dear SEGA Saturn fans,

    in a few weeks, it gets time for us to celebrate another Saturn coding contest. But before, I'd like to ask for your oppinion about the objective of the new contest.

    The feedback to the previous contests has always been very positive. :) However, some people mentioned that they would rather like to have full game entries that are completely finished, instead of tech demos that are just nice to look at. So our "customers" would like something to play and enjoy for a couple of hours, to be entertained and to have fun.

    I agree with them, this is a point that we should improve on, in general. In the past I left the choice of the type of the entry to you. The less restrictions, the more contestants.

    This year, I'd suggest to make a clear mission that still leaves plenty of freedom to you: a Saturn Porting Challenge!

    Porting games to Saturn is the most efficient strategy in order to get high quality and high quantity output. To create original games it takes a lot of time, only a few ones are finished. It is just natural that open source homebrew games that have been developed by multiple persons over several year, that these games are much more sophisticated.

    :rock: What do you think about a Saturn Porting Challenge this year?:rock:

    I think a list of well chosen "games worth porting" could make it easier for people to select a title to port, if they don't already have a favourite title in mind.
  2. gameofyou1

    gameofyou1 New Member

    I think that is an awesome idea! I would like to nominate a port of Space Channel 5. This was ported to the GBA, so I think it would be possible on Saturn.
  3. RockinB

    RockinB Staff Member

    Wow, I didn't know that funny game has been released for GBA, too. Awesome!

    However, we can only consider games for porting, that are available as source code. Space Channel 5 is not open source, so there would only be the option to make a clone for Saturn. But a clone is almost just as making a new game from scratch, the benefits of porting (do less and still get more :biggrin:) are gone.

    I will have a close look at what open source games are available. Anyone knows "no gravity", that one looks good. I'd like to port some game for the contest, too, maybe even multiple games.
  4. Amon

    Amon Staff Member

    I was hoping to continue to work on my previous games for the next c4. Before my vacation I was working on a non sgl/sbl version of my last entry. Porting could be fun though as well as increase the number of complete games :).
  5. RockinB

    RockinB Staff Member

    I appreciate when you continue working on your last entry. It is a promising one and to finish what you started is desirable.

    Porting a game is much less work. You as a developer have the benefit of getting a success-experience quickly, this gives fresh new motivation for long-term projects. Another positive aspect is, that it ensures that entries are created especially for the contest. This is how I would like it to be.
  6. Skeetz

    Skeetz New Member

    IQ/Kurushi would probably have been better off on the Saturn anyway in the first place. And there are a few open source versions of the game on Sourceforge.
  7. vbt

    vbt Staff Member

    Great idea Rockin'-B, a gaming port contest is nice. I always like to port stuff and add my own ideas. Porting stuff can get faster results but it's not that easy and if you do wrong port choice you can miss the target date. Last year I used a game in Pascal as a start and got many memory problems, I was really close to faill the port.

    I've already checked for some ports for this year but didn't find yet something suitable for me. At least I've started to port something (not for the C4) but the result is a bit disapointing, this time port was really easy but the result is not what I want. You'll see that tomorrow I think. :)
  8. Amon

    Amon Staff Member

    How well known does a game have to be for it to be used for this contest? Would we be alowed to port a clone of a game, if we were the ones to make the clone?
  9. RockinB

    RockinB Staff Member

    Writing a clone is different from porting a clone. All you could benefit from were graphics and sounds, which could be ripped. It's also nice to know that one is going to implement a gameplay that proved to work fine. There are thousands of open source games out there, so it's not unlikely that you could find one or two of them which you like.

    But I'm not sure if self written clones should be forbidden. What do the others think?
  10. SeGaFrEaK_NL

    SeGaFrEaK_NL New Member

    I'd love to see Wolf3D on the Saturn, if possible.
  11. vbt

    vbt Staff Member

    (Bump) :) About Wolf3d, it would be needed to reuse a port because if i remember well there was some parts of x86 asm in the free sources.
  12. +peter

    +peter New Member

    hey! first time poster...

    ...so, what is going on with this years C4?
  13. vbt

    vbt Staff Member

    Welcome here +peter :) No idea about the contest, it hasn't started yet, Rockin'-B is surely busy. Maybe it will start next year or it could be a 2008-2009 contest.

    I'm in the starting blocks and ready to start it.

    Would you participate to the next contest ?
  14. RockinB

    RockinB Staff Member

    Hello +peter, you are welcome to join the new contest which has just started now. The objective and the new prize method will make the contest more attractive to everyone and especially for newcomers like you :)

    You're right, I were busy but now finally the contest can begin. I'll enter some games myself and I'm feeling very happy to start to work on the entries. The porting will be fun!

    Now here the official announcement:

    SEGA Saturn Coding Contest

    Porting Party winter '08/'09

    It is time again for another episode of the annual SEGA Saturn Coding Contest. A few small changes compared to previous contests mean significant improvements for all contestants:

    Your effort is directly rewarded with a prize. No more "I don't have a chance to compete with contestant x", because your prize does not depend on your rank. Instead the amount depends solely on your effort.

    The goal to port games over to saturn lowers the amount of annoying debugging work, so you get more result out with less work and you can concentrate on the funny things of homebrew coding.


    As Porting Party suggests, the objective is to take an existing game of your choice and port it over to SEGA Saturn! This implies that the source code of that game is available and written in C or C++. It's totally up to you which game you choose! Choose your game carefully, try playing it yourself before starting to port it. You'll be best off picking up a game that's finished, very enjoyable to play and that doesn't exceed the hardware capabilities of the SEGA Saturn console.


    The contest is running during winter 2008/2009. Meteorologically, this is the time from december 21st 2008 to march 20th 2009. So march 20th 2009 is the deadline for submitting your entries. To submit your entry: upload the Zip-compressed ISO CD image to a file hosting service like megaupload.com and submit the link via email to C4@rockin-b.de.


    All entries are rewarded, no matter which rank. The better your entry is, the more money you win. The more entries you submit, the more money you win.

    • Money: Every entry wins as much money, as it got points from the judges. So having achieved the maximum results in: 90 point = 90 euro. Even more if you collected extra points by using special saturn hardware features. Multiple entries means multiple times money! Money is transfered via paypal, contestants in the EU can alternatively use bank transfer.

    • USB Data Link v2: This device connects your Saturn with your PC and transfers game saves, bios and uploads homebrew games for testing. Version 2 is brand new and exclusive to contestants, it transfers data much faster than version 1, you can't get it anywhere else. All contestants who haven't got a one last year, will get one for free. Those who won such a device last year, can have it upgraded to v2 for free!


    The entries are judged in the three categories: graphics, sound and gameplay. The judging is done by 5 to 6 judges in parallel. Every judge rates each entry in each category by giving a rating between 1 and 5 points. This means each entry can get up to 75/90 points regularly.

    Additionally, extra points can be achieved by using special hardware features of the Saturn console.

    So happy coding everyone. Porting is perfectly suited to submit multiple entries, because each single entry is being rewarded!

    The Rockin'-B
  15. mic

    mic New Member

    What about those of us (might just be me..) who only develop RAM cart (PAR+) stuff? I wouldn't be able to test an ISO since my Saturn isn't modded. And I can probably fit the entire game in RAM anyway.
  16. Amon

    Amon Staff Member

    Could you go into more detail as to points. Will points be awarded to those that avoid using Sega Libraries?
  17. RockinB

    RockinB Staff Member

    If you can fit the entire game into RAM, perfectly. An ISO is easily created from a PAR-game 0micgame.bin using mkisofs:

    mkisofs -quiet -sysid "SEGA SATURN" -volid "SaturnApp" -volset "SaturnApp" -publisher "SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD." -preparer "SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD." -appid "SaturnApp" -abstract "ABS.TXT" -copyright "CPY.TXT" -biblio "BIB.TXT" -generic-boot ip.bin -full-iso9660-filenames -o micgame.iso cd 
    You will need an IP.BIN file, which should be multi-region. You can test that ISO in an emulator (yabause..), or perform the swap trick on your saturn, or have one of the others (me, for example :smile2:) try it out. In the past, I've accepted binaries, too and created the ISO myself. There would only be a problem if it wouldn't work as ISO.

    The points system is the same as in the previous year. For extra points, have a look at this list from 2007. It says there is an extra point granted for "usage of homebrew libraries, instead of SGL and SBL". On the last years result page, you can get an impression about the points being granted, too.

    Since this year, points translate directly into money, I will probably grant multiple points for some things in the list.
  18. +peter

    +peter New Member

    Well, it appears I may have jumped in a bit prematurely.

    I was hoping to offer my ability as a 3D artist to any of the contestants. However, the focus this year is on porting existing games. I think my talents are ill suited for this contest.

    I definitely understand the value in porting existing games to the Saturn. The contestants will end up with much more presentable results, and hopefully bring more interest to the Saturn development community.

    On a side note: It's a little dream of mine to get some of my own graphics working on actual Saturn hardware. If anybody is interesting in having a little collaborative fun, send me a message!
  19. RockinB

    RockinB Staff Member

    A couple of saturn devvers (vbt, me and possibly others) have a strong interest in 3D graphics. In fact, we've been looking for years for someone to team up with. I played with the idea to make a 3d focussed contest and I still would like to in the future. As for this contest, I could imagine to equip the intro or startup menu with your graphics :rock:.

    That could certainly become true. I've been working on a 3d SGL export plugin for Blender. It exports both, polygon AND texture data (the latter one is the real magic) for use on Saturn. There is a saturn demo, with wich you can display the result. There is also some more 3d runtime stuff for displaying huge areas (wip 3d racing game project). Blender can also import a lot of popular 3d file formats. Due to my lack of 3d design experience, I only managed to create this 3d world shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZDhupDyLuo

    The popup there is due to a bug in visibility detection.
  20. RockinB

    RockinB Staff Member

    I'm currently porting GemDropX (by Bill Kendrick) to Saturn, a funny little SDL game (not too hard, but not as simple as TicTacToe, which was from the same author). It's basically done, bgm, sfx and gfx work flawlessly. Screen resolution is 640x480.

    What's needed is some finetuning regarding gameplay timing, button press reaction and such stuff. It's already much fun playing :) .

    I've ported it by faking all used SDL and SDL_mixer calls with a custom wrapper, similar as I did with TicTacToe. Quite a lot of them could be implemented being empty (without any function). The graphics are done with SGL's bitmap library. Sound effects are preconverted to PCM, music preconverted to CDDA, graphics manually converted to pcx with all having the same palette. Everything except CDDA fits into the binary itself.

    As you can see on the left screenshot, yabause does not support the VDP2 window function.

    Attached Files:

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