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Drakkhen for SNES — Anyone know, definitively, if it runs in Mode 7, or is it drawing crude polygons?


RH
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Member · Posted

Well, I got in a discussion with someone on reddit who was looking for non Super FX/2 games that had polygons on the SNES.  He mentioned Drakkhen and I decided to do a bit of research.

TL;DR- Some put it on the Mode 7 list, others don’t.  Articles I’ve read have assumed that the main world is polygonal, but not provided evidence.  Wikipedia is often a reasonable source for these lists but, surprise, Drakkhen is not on there.

Is there a way to determine if this is a Mode 7 game or not? I don’t use PC emulators much so I’m not sure about any debug tools that can check for flags use of game registers.  Does anyone know, or can provided strong evidence, to whether the scaling in the game is software-based polygonal graphics or if it’s just really terrible sprites rendered and scaled by the Mode 7 engine?

 

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Member · Posted
11 minutes ago, Reed Rothchild said:

Screenshot_20200108-092721.png

Well, see... this is why that statement, to me, doesn't clarify.  It mentions "sprite scaling".  Wasn't that the point of Mode 7?  The Super FX chips allowed for rudimentary polygons, but all that the Mode 7 chip did was take a sprite (even a big one) and scale/rotate it.

I've not looked at a ton of Drakkhen footage (honestly, today is the first I'd heard of it) but, honestly, it looks like they had really big sprites made op of crude images of only 2-3 colors, and used Mode 7 to scale them. But, I could be wrong about that.

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Editorials Team · Posted

If it was ported over from Amiga it wouldn't be Mode 7, unless they redid it from scratch.  

And Mode 7 is the scaling and rotation of a layer, not sprites.  When games tried to use this to pass off a layer as a sprite (ie Skyblazer) it was for one singular large boss.  But that's just a single layer.  In Drakkhen you wouldn't be able to pass off two different scaling objects unless they were actually the same layer.  I just can't imagine that's what we were seeing.

And it plain doesn't look Mode 7 to me at all (I played through both games).  There is a very identifiable look to it IMO (ie 7th Saga dropping into a battle) that D/DV never really reminded me off.

 

TLDR: I don't know, but my money's on no

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Member · Posted

Ok, thanks.  Your further explanation makes sense. My (poor) analysis came from pulling up a 2 hour long "Let's Play" video, and just scrolling through various parts of it, watching 5-10 seconds at a time.  I didn't see multiple "polygons" and my use of "sprites" was more to say one stretched image/tile/whatever you'd call it.

But, again, I'm not familiar with this title or the sequel.  My assumptions could be wrong, and likely are.  It'd still be interested to know if anyone with a homebrew background, and who knows how to follow a SNES debugger, has ever dug into this game and reverse engineered it. If they are rotating and scaling polygons without specialty hardware, that's actually quite amazing considering that this is an early SNES title and, you know... they did it on a SNES?!

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Editorials Team · Posted

One exception to Mode 7-like effects on sprites handled neither by pre-drawing nor by external chips occurs in Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean, where re-rendering of sprites on the fly is done entirely by the software.

Although there is no hardware-native feature comparable to Mode 7 in the Amiga, some of its games use programming tricks that resemble the effects of Mode 7—for example in Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad, Lionheart, Obitus, and Brian the Lion

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20 hours ago, Reed Rothchild said:

One exception to Mode 7-like effects on sprites handled neither by pre-drawing nor by external chips occurs in Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean, where re-rendering of sprites on the fly is done entirely by the software.

Although there is no hardware-native feature comparable to Mode 7 in the Amiga, some of its games use programming tricks that resemble the effects of Mode 7—for example in Mr. Nutz: Hoppin' Mad, Lionheart, Obitus, and Brian the Lion

Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean are the biggest SNES games (a whopping six megabytes!!) right?  Apparently the biggest US games were only 3-4 MB:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.video.nintendo/yTvcBjnJhj0

 

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