Monday, 20 April 2015

Video game art on C64s part 2 - Implementation mockups

Video game art on c64s
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5

So I needn't digress once I get started, here's today's obligatory bit of off-topic gaminalia:

OK, now where was I? I was nowhere; I hadn't started yet. So here we are, examining another theme of C64 fan-art, slightly, subtly (and sometimes indistinguishably) separate from the last time I rifled through these archives of C64 high resolution fan artwork. Last time we looked at pieces celebrating games which never wound up on Commodore's venerable platform, and this time -- we look at renderings of rooms, designs and situations -- some from games-never-made-for-the-C64, as they would have appeared under that machine's once-supreme, eventually-lacking graphics capabilities, and other times, the artists have perhaps chosen to demonstrate that prettier versions were possible on the C64 than were officially produced -- typically striving to capture some of the splendor of Amiga versions. (I know, that's not a fair comparison -- it's comparing Commodores to Commodores!)

EDITOR'S NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that I have inadequately communicated that this isn't just a single piece of updated artwork, but an entire upgraded game, fully playable. Other titles to receive the plastic surgery treatment include Commando, Ghosts 'N Goblins, and even a slice of Zak McKraken.

Here's the "castle siege" mini-game from Cinemaware's Defender of the Crown (recently covered lovingly by The Digital Antiquarian) -- Amiga first! -- as drawn by "God", vs. how it actually appeared in-game on the C64.

Here's Scorpe's mega-sprite of Dr. Ed Edison from Lucasarts' Maniac Mansion, saying (translated from the German): "A meteor? Nonsense! Something like that is impossible!" just as he's about to get beaned in the head with a giant purple rock falling from outer space. The background also depicts a scene from the game, the house's front veranda (Did You Know: the mansion in question is actually based on the appearance and layout of George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch facility?), and strangely the doctor here has the meteor-zombified skin colour used only in the (second) NES version. Maybe this is the brainwashed Doctor being sockpuppeted by the meteor into denying the meteor's existence? Anyhow, here's a look at how he looked back on the C64.
And while we're on a Maniac Mansion bent, here's the office from its sequel, Day Of The Tentacle, in which the mansion's layout is presumably adapted a little less faithfully from Skywalker Ranch. (The picture's adaptation by EG, however, is quite faithful.)
I misnamed this one, causing myself no end of confusion. It's a Double Dragon level layout by JSL! (Here is how levels generally looked for this game's C64 conversion.)
This is a picture by Scorpe showing a scene from Michael Berlyn's curious illustrated text adventure "Tass Times in Tone Town" ("Tass" from Harvard's motto "Veritas", homophonically "very tass"... I told you it was curious!), though I couldn't find an equivalent scene from existing ports of the game for purposes of direct comparison.
And this is how Super Mario Bros. 3, the NES titan, might have looked subject to the limitations of the C64. Sure, you can display lots of colours, but how many at the same time? How many moving sprites can you display at once before they all start flickering? How much overscan border do you need to take up the screen with? I actually have no idea how the C64 would have fared in such a comparison (well, I know about the Great Giana Sisters, and I know that the C64 would have taken home the gold in the sound division) but that's an interesting exercise nonetheless. (Sorry, I have lost the provenance of this image, but I'm sure a minute on Google image search will uncover it.) [BladeJunker corrects me: this image is of a demake for the C64's multimedia-inhibited predecessor the VIC-20, which makes this item make far more sense.]
This would be a "room" from Coktel's puzzle game Gobliins on the C64, drawn by Slayer, as if the game ever been made for that platform: you can see what the same location looked like on MS-DOS over here.
I didn't find a 1:1 match for this seaside shot by JOL from Sega's car-racing game OutRun, but here's a similar shot from the Saturn version. (Nothing in the C64 version even comes close!)
Here's a stylish boss fight from Irem's horizontal space shooter R-Type -- this picture by The Sarge is quite a bit prettier than the same shot on the actual C64 version of that game. (Exercise to the reader: look up related Katakis anecdote.)
This picture by Frog enhances Starglider -- well beyond the appearance of its genuine C64 version, and closer by far to the Amiga version.
A look forward to the post-C64 future -- just kidding, the C64 will be with us always! This is a mock-up by Paul Bearer (pseudo much?) of what a C64 version of Fallout 3 might look like! (For obvious reasons, there's no direct point of comparison, so... here's a pic from the C64 version of Wasteland!) (Actually, isn't a surviving supercomputer one of the sub-quest elements in one of the Wasteland games? Or am I thinking of David Brin's The Postman? In any case, the C64 was hardly a supercomputer -- rather, a super computer!)
This boss encounter, initially from the arcade-originating Strider game, is a big improvement by Wile Coyote on the same character's appearance in the game's official C64 port! Edit: And, 2017, an after-the-fact addition: Vic McKracken by Tokra / Akronyme Analogiker from the 2017 Revision demoparty's Oldskool Graphics competition (where it won 7th place.)
This is of course a mock-up of the starting location of Lucasarts' Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, rendered for the VIC-20 computer on which it never appeared.

OK, stay tuned, retronauts! This isn't my final visit to the C64 hirez well, but I have some other business I need to clear aside before we return here.

Video game art on c64s
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5