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  1. Hey there! Wanted to show that networked NESs! As we prepare for game events to come we have tested our stand. Here you can see both NES connected to the tablet in the middle. The game server runs on the tablet itself, so there is no need for an existing network, what is on the table is autonomous. Convention center's Wi-Fi can be as unstable as it usually is, there will be no problem. Since this setup we found that the old laggy tablet was not suited for the task, with ping showing spikes up to 500ms. The stand will run with a modern laptop instead. Pretty excited to put it in the hands of strangers to see their impression! (Did you whishlist your cart? Doing it helps a lot, telling friends also helps https://super-tilt-bro.com/wishlist.html )
  2. Super Tilt Bro. 2.0-alpha9: Redrawn menu, replays, and wishlist What's new around the game? Wishlist the cartridge now! Ok, there is no Steam for retro game cartridges. We do it in the pure homebrew tradition: our wishlist system is crafted at home with love! To wishlist your Super Tilt Bro. cartridge, go to https://super-tilt-bro.com/wishlist.html and fill your e-mail address. This is a notification system, you will receive one mail when the pre-orders are available. Nothing more, nothing less. As soon as the mails are sent, the list will be deleted. We care about your privacy, and the well-being of your inbox. If you want to follow the game's development, you should also follow Super Tilt Bro.'s Twitter or join us on Discord Replays You outrageously out-played your opponent but forgot to record your screen? That happens all the time! We know this terrible feeling when you cannot show your best moves to the world. You deserve internet felicity for every win! So here comes the replay system. After playing an online game, you can now head to https://super-tilt-bro.com/replay.html to watch the replay of the game. As simple as that! It's then up to you to record your screen, and share the game. You can also use this page to watch games, it is kind of a Super Tilt Bro. TV channel. What's new in the game? Redrawn online menu The online menu has been completely redrawn by Martin Le Borgne Woah! Other menus have also been updated. It is more subtle but you may notice that there are more sound effects than before, the navigation is slightly better, and clouds' parallax is more consistent. Bad ping is gone About the infamous "bad ping" message when trying to connect to a server. This message happens when the game decides that the network conditions are too bad to even try to connect. It originally was when ping was above 200 ms. With time, and netcode improvements, this limit became too low. The game can handle 200 ms ping and still be playable. The limit has been raised to 800 ms. Gameplay improvements The fast-fall mechanics has been improved. Now, your character shines while fast-falling, and weird cases where you stayed in fast-fall mode for too long have been fixed. Added sound effects for jump, fast-fall, and land moves. Finally, the maximum time allowed on the respawn platform has been decreased, from five to four seconds. Kiki changes Most animations of Kiki have been extended. The goal is to smooth the animation, and to add end-lag to her moves. Kiki always has been a character with a good range, and strong attacks. The idea is that she is strong at punishing her opponent's mistakes, but should not spam here attacks. Search the weakness in your foo's play, and exploit it. Adding end-lag to her animations ensures that Kiki's player has to think twice before attacking. Animations change details: - Jab is now 16 frames instead of 12. It can still be cancelled by another jab at any point. - Side-tilt: Added 4 frames of end-lag. The animation is now 20 frames instead of 16. - Up-tilt: Added 4 frames of start-lag, and 4 frames of end-lag. Removed 8 frames with active hitbox. The animation's duration is unchanged, 16 frames. Talking about animations, Kiki now has a proper animation for drawing a platform above her head. When landing during an attack, Kiki slides on the ground performing the attack. This is not new, but has changed a little. Tilt-slide, and jab-slide distances are slightly reduced. Finally, Kiki's platforms now last 2 seconds instead of 2.40 seconds previously. This patch happens to be quite a nerf for Kiki. It will need some serious play-test to see if balance is not broken in the unusual way. Sinbad changes Slide attacks go slightly farther. What's new under the hood? Real NTSC compatibility There are some differences between the PAL and NTSC NES. The most impacting one is the frame rate. An NTSC NES displays 60 frames per second, while the PAL version outputs only 50 frames per second. Super Tilt Bro. has been primarily developed on PAL hardware. That said, since the beginning the game is playable on NTSC systems. Until now the trick has been to double one out of six frames, to virtually reduce NTSC frame rate to 50 frames per second. Frame doubling trick to get 50 FPS on NTSC While it basically works, it is far from ideal. This trick not only loses the extra smoothness of 60 FPS, it adds extra bumpiness by oscillating between 60 and 30 FPS. So, how do get rid of this doubled frame? There are three impacted domains: physics, animation, and audio. In physics, all speeds have to be slower on NTSC. An object that moves 1 pixel per frame at 50 FPS needs to move at 0.83 pixels per frame at 60 FPS, to keep progressing at the same speed (50 pixels per second.) So speeds needs to be multiplied by 0.83 but here's the catch, the NES is very poor at two things: multiplications, and floating point arithmetic. Full description of the solution would not fit in this release note. Long story short: by decomposing the multiplication byte by byte, and reserving 1 KB of ROM for lookup tables, it is possible to multiply by any constant (even 0.83) blazing fast. Characters animations also need to be slowed down. These animations actually do not run at 50 FPS, they are more like animated GIF: each encoded frame takes ROM space, so we limit it. For such animation, the frame doubling trick is completely unnoticeable, lightly extending one animation frame's duration from time to time. Just take care of always extending the same animation frames, so the animations are always played exactly the same. It is important to have consistent frame data in versus games. And the audio engine. Yes, the audio is impacted by the frame rate: in the NES, the most reliable timing information we have is the periodic display of a new frame. We naturally use it to regulate music's beat. As most authors compose for the NTSC NES, Super Tilt Bro.'s audio engine has been converted to NTSC-native. On PAL, it occasionally plays two beats in one frame to simulate 60 FPS. It is to be noted that while feeling the same, the game is slightly altered: 50/60 is not exactly 0.83, and frame data is not the same between PAL and NTSC. That sadly means that the netcode cannot accommodate a cross-play PAL/NTSC, desynchronizations would be terribly common. An option could be to fallback to the frame doubling trick only on cross-play, maybe better than nothing. And voilà! You know the fun parts of being PAL/NTSC compatible (the right way.) It's been a long time without "under the hood" section in the release note. Please tell if it was a nice surprise, or "too technical, didn't read." Maybe this subject deserves a complete devlog entry?
  3. Rapid update, you can now register your email address on https://www.super-tilt-bro.com to be notified when the physical release draws near It is a one-time mailing list. You will only receive the Kickstarter* launch notification, straight to the essential! * Maybe a preorder notification if we decide to go without Kickstarter.
  4. @fcgamerNo problem, I'll contact you via private message on VGS, that's ok? Note that it will still take months before the game is in a good-enough state to be sold. I want to make it the best I can before asking for money. In the meantime, you can play the alpha, which just received an update! Release-note time! ------ Super Tilt Bro. 2.0-alpha8: New musics, and fixes What's new in the game? New musics Two new musics, by Kilirane, can be heard in game. The first is inspired by Sinbad, while the second depicts Pepper's personality. You will also notice that the main theme is now played at correct pace in the menus. The audio engine has actually received some long-deserved love in this patch, including the feature of playing NTSC musics correctly on PAL system, and inversely. Kiki Kiki can now walljump While Kiki does not really need a walljump, it makes it available to all characters. Kiki was the only one unable to do it, disturbing after playing other characters. So walljump is now a standard move, like the double-jump, all future characters are expected to have it. Fixes Kiki can no more have a free jump by buffering the jump action during an aerial. Long-time bug, it was originally on all her moves, then reduced patch by patch. All should be squashed now. Kiki no more ignores gravity when spamming side-special. Kiki's AI no more KO itself when thrown out of screen. Before this fix, you could often have Kiki AI draw a platform out of screen, then run straight to the blast-line. Sinbad cannot bufferize grounded moves when his side-tilt lands aside from the platform. Pepper's teleport no more kill her randomly. Pepper's teleport on-spot hitbox is now correctly placed at her starting position. Join the bug-squashing squad! The game can be freely played (in emulator) here: https://sgadrat.itch.io/super-tilt-bro To find an online match, there is no place better than discord : https://discord.gg/qkxHkfx
  5. @LukeI am adding you to the list of people to notify when pre-orders are available. It may take months. By default, I'll notify you on your twitter (sorry for being hard to reach, I noticed your attempts!), If you prefer by mail or any other method, feel free to send me a private message
  6. Super Tilt Bro. 2.0-alpha7: Welcome Pepper & Carrot! What's new in the game? New character Pepper is a young witch from the awesome online comic Pepper & Carrot. She lives a thrilling life, learning alchemy and witchcraft while exploring the world, and its dungeons. The comic itself is of excellent quality, and free (go read it!) It does not only mean that you don't pay money nor watch ads to access it. It is free as in freedom, you are free to read it, print it, improve it (if you can), to do fan-art, ... Actually, to put Pepper in Super Tilt Bro. is assumed fan art! (Did you know? Super Tilt Bro. share the same freedom ideas.) Now, how does she play in Super Tilt Bro.? Pepper is a fast-moving, short-ranged character with unrivaled combo ability. She can teleport around, and fly on her broomstick giving her the mobility to follow combos, even on strong hits. She also throws firework potions around, giving her a decent zoning and strong juggling. Kiki changes Kiki's recovery move is to draw a platform behind her feet. It was originally her down-special, which was unintuitive. In the last version it was change to be the neutral-special, which was not better. The only good mapping for a recovery move is up-special, so it is finally correctly, and definitely fixed! Down-tilt had no startup-time nor end-lag. It was not on par with the design of Kiki, who should hit strongly but being punishable if she misses. It was also too strong, so there is now a little startup-time and some end-lag. Counter-strike now keeps some momentum. It should not impact gameplay much, but feels more natural. Formerly, you could fly by spamming up-special. It is fixed, try it and you will fall (while appearing ridiculous.) Common gameplay changes Fast-fall is now activated by releasing the down-button. It allows inputting down-aerial, and down-special without involuntarily fast-falling. Input of down and up attacks has been eased, the game is more tolerant to other buttons being pressed at the same time. It is especially noticeable when attacking at the beginning of a jump, controls feel more responsive. Fast-fall is now cancelled by mid-air jumps. Online mode Improved netcode on connections with high variance in ping. Because there is server-side prediction, on such connection it happened that the game receive inputs in the future. It was terribly handled, leading to big desynchronization between players. Fixed being disconnected for being idle more than 30 seconds in game (only on the web client.) Added a new menu “Settings” in online mode. From there you can create an account for ranked play, configure your Wi-Fi (only on real cartridges), or update the game (also on real carts.)
  7. Incredibly cool! I should try it one day, my Apple 2e is gathering dust (shame on me). Thanks for documenting the process!
  8. Hey! First time I share a release note here. I guess you homebrew players also are in the brewery, it may be of interest. Skim-read it, and see what's new. I will post such release note with each future version. Do not hesitate to give feedback on the content or the format. Super Tilt Bro. 2.0-alpha6: Worldwide ranking! What's new in the game? Ranked play You can now choose between “Casual” or “Ranked” mode. Casual plays just like before, while in ranked, your have a Match Making Rating (MMR). Winning a match gives you MMR points, while losing takes your MMR lower. A worldwide leaderboard is available on the brand new official website: https://super-tilt-bro.com/leaderboard.html Come, the top spot is waiting you! Private game You can ensure to be matched with your friend in this mode. Simply share a password to be matched together. Starting a private game Longer hitstun When you receive a hit, there is a small time on which your character blinks and you cannot do anything. It is essential for combos, which consist of repeatedly hitting your opponent while in hitstun to maintain them in this state. Also kill moves, which send the opponent far away, rely on it to avoid the momentum being cancelled by a special move. Hitstun duration has been slightly increased, it is now 1.5 times what it was. Before that, there was literally no true combo in the game. So, now Sinbad has more efficient combos, and Kiki's strong strikes are more dangerous. Kiki's moveset change Originally, Kiki's down-special put a wall bellow her while neutral-special was a counter strike. These moves swapped input, down-special is now the counter strike while neutral-special creates a platform. It is a simple fix, as the platform is Kiki's main recovery move, and it is unintuitive to press “down” to avoid falling. Kiki's counter strike revamp The counter strike has now more active frames, and more end-lag frames. Moreover, if down in the air, it slows Kiki's fall. The counter strike is still active at frame one. Kiki's new counter strike More active frames means your timing may be a bit less precise to pull it effectively. More end-lag, on the other hand, make it is easier to punish Kiki for missing it. The slow fall forces Kiki to setup a proper bait. The sudden change in momentum may make the opponent miss a strike, leaving Kiki vulnerable. It also lessens the risk being KO-ed by falling too low while in end-lag. What's new under the hood? New servers Originally, there was only one server per region. This server handled the matchmaking and the games. Now there is a new login server, which handles user accounts, a ranking server that computes MMR and a website. This architecture has been intentionally split in tiny very specific servers. Very specific servers are easier to debug and operate than big ones. It also allows for a future migration to cloud hosting, theoretically if we split the matchmaking from the game server, we could spawn as many game servers as needed to serve all players at any time. Spawnable game servers would have another advantage: the end of region server, just spawn the server near the player. Of course, all that is just wishful thinking for now but better be ready, it costs nothing.
  9. Wooo! Hello Itszor, I did not find a way to reach you online, very humbled that you are reaching me! I wanted to thank you for your work on 6502-gcc, I use it for non time-critical parts of my game, and really love it! Thank you. Since I tried it, I am advocating for it on any opportunity. About memcpy For the memcpy, the thing is the compiled code uses an 8 bits counter, and don't return the original address. So even the perfectly written memcpy can be beaten. Also, it is on the inlineable version that "gcc -O3" called memcpy instead of writing optimized code for the case. Compiled code is there: https://github.com/sgadrat/6502-compilers-bench/blob/master/code_samples/memcpy/memcpy_8bit_c_style_static.c Perfect asm (without unrolling): https://github.com/sgadrat/6502-compilers-bench/blob/master/code_samples/memcpy/memcpy_8bit_asm_static.s (just noticed it is buggy and copies from $401 to $201, anyway that's the idea) ASM output by gcc: benched_routine: ; frame size 0, pretend size 0, outgoing size 0 lda #$c8 sta _r4 lda #$00 sta _r5 sta _r2 lda #$04 sta _r3 lda #$00 sta _r0 lda #$02 sta _r1 jsr memcpy rts About the variables in random segments This code: int g_var; int const g_const = 5; int g_var2; void benched_routine() { g_var = 5; } Compiles to (gcc -O3): .code .segment "CODE" .export benched_routine benched_routine: ; frame size 0, pretend size 0, outgoing size 0 lda #$05 sta g_var lda #$00 sta g_var+1 rts .global g_var2 g_var2: .res 2 .export g_const .segment "RODATA" g_const: .word $0005 .global g_var g_var: .res 2 g_var2 is in "CODE" segment, while g_var is in "RODATA", while both should ideally be in "BSS" or at least in "DATA". Note for my game I don't use global variables, so I discovered it while doing these benchs. This is the first bug I encounter while using 6502-gcc everyday. The best would be to make it a github issue I guess. I wanted to take some time to search if there is an easy fix to make a pull-request instead of an issue (but you now... time... so rare a resource)
  10. You are definitely right. C is for the impatient, the one who want to iterate fast, at the expense of quality. ASM always brings the best results! Also I don't know of any compiler taking advantage of illegal opcodes. Knowing you, it is certainly a show-stopper
  11. Technical highlight: C compilers for 6502 benchmark: A new hope! Adding a C compiler in your game's toolchain is not an easy task. Each have their own strength, and weakness. You may want speed, ease of use, compliance to the standard, freedom, or anything. We'll try to compare some compilers, maybe it will help you. While choosing a compiler to enter my game's toolchain, the speed was the least of the concerns but discussions invariably derived to the subject. This article will mainly focus on this question: what compiler produces blazing fast code? Some code samples will be compared, each time with an explanation about the code, and why it may be useful to benchmark it. That done, I'll talk about my experience with each compiler. Their strong points, their weaknesses. This part is necessarily subjective, I'll try my best to be factual. Finally, a short "how to choose a compiler" guide will conclude the article. Hope it helps. Let's go! Introducing contenders cc65 is the most used compiler. It comes with an extensive toolsuite, is actively maintained, and has a big community of users. However, it is known to be slow... We'll see vbcc is the cool kids' compiler. Less used than the king, it has the reputation of generating largely better code. KickC is the young promising project. Is it a toy for nerds or a real option? 6502-gcc is the mysterious one. Nobody really masters it, the project seems dead, installation instructions are cryptic, ... We'll dig in its dark secrets! 6502-gcc has two interesting optimization flags: "-O3" optimize for speed "-Os" optimize for code size Run length decoding This benchmark comes from real life. It is a function prototyped in C for Super Tilt Bro. before being converted to assembly for performance. Data used are also the original ones. The function parses a compressed blob to extract some random bytes from it. It is pure loop logic, burning many cycles reading the memory. Red is execution time, blue is generated code's size. First thing first, cc65 lives by its reputation of sluggishness there. It is a complete KO. Code generated is big and slow. The winner is 6502-gcc, by a fair bit. KickC has a slight advantage over vbcc. Fun fact: the more popular the compiler, the worst it perform in this test. Memcopy Here is the super common task of copying bytes in the memory. It is important to compare compiler on what our programs will spend the most time. The bench comes in two flavors: The normal one directly copies bytes with a for-loop the compiler knows both addresses and number of bytes to copy, food for optimization The no-inline is "memcpy-like" function, copying at most 256 bytes at once, not inlineable the compiler knows nothing, it has to implement a generic copy function All graphs are sorted: slower on the left, speedier on the right cc65 is still on the last spot. KickC confirms to be slightly better than vbcc. Note KickC absence from the no-inline version: KickC seems to always work with the full source, so no way to forbid an inlining. 6502-gcc takes a hit. Worst, extensive tests showed that results are highly varying when changing little things to the code. Also, did you noticed how "-O3" poo'd itself in the inline scenario? gcc (the "real" one as well as 6502-gcc) works in two steps: the fronted optimizes C code, then the backend translates it to machine code. The fronted of 6502-gcc is the regular one, it does wonders, then comes the backend. The 6502 backend is seriously lacking love, and it is showing here: the fronted detected that the code is equivalent to a "memcpy", and told "copy 200 bytes from $0400 to $0200" to the backend. The backend was expected to implement it the most optimal way, instead it just called the standard "memcpy" function, which is far from optimal for an 8bit CPU. RPG engine This bench is voluntarily made to take advantage 6502-gcc strength: its fronted. It is an RPG engine with lots of abstraction. There are structs, functions making the player strike, functions for hitting monsters, the player is wielding a weapon, ... The benched function, initialize the game's state, play one turn, then return. So while there are functions updating structures, adding attack points, and subtracting hit points, the finality is just to set the memory in a particular state. cc65... it becomes redundant. Ok, this test is definitely not for cc65 which refuse to do high-level optimization. This benchmark actually tests the quality of the high-level optimize. KickC is a better vbcc performance-wise. That's a trend. 6502-gcc doesn't disappoint. It's frontend is world-class, and nails it perfectly. The generated code is a short list of "lda <constant> : sta <memory>", with even redundant LDAs pruned. Code tailored for cc65 Did you read Ilmenit's great essay "Advanced optimizations in CC65"? Here it is: https://github.com/ilmenit/CC65-Advanced-Optimizations Let's save cc65! Here we bench a code especially tailored for cc65, made by an expert. Should do it, yes? The code itself is comparable to the RPG benchmark: it is a uselessly abstracted RPG engine. The difference: it loops 100 times and print characters on screen each time (so, no way to reduce it to a list of LDA+STA, computations will be done.) Then, Ilmenit applies various optimizations to make it really fast. We'll bench two versions: the first one, without any optimization, and the last one, fully optimized. KickC disapeared, and vbcc is half absent! KickC had just too many limitations to compile the code: notably it refuses to output any runtime modulo or division. vbcc generated an infinite loop on the unoptimized code, and suffered my lack of experience when integrating it in the benchmarking tool (hence the lacking code size.) 6502-gcc exhibited a bad bug (or once again my lack of experience), it puts global variables in random segments. The assembly generated had to be fixed by hand. [Edit: the bug is fixed now, 6502-gcc works without manual intervention.] So, even before watching graphs: cc65 is the winner! It compiled this code! Interestingly 6502-gcc does not perform on the unoptimized version. After all what has been said about its magic high-level optimizations! The problem here is that it was not allowed to inline functions. In C, when you declare a function without preceding it by "static", it has to be accessible to other compilation units, it must be there and fully usable: passing parameters on stack and all that. Of course, cc65 don't inline anyway so it is of little difference to it. On the optimized version vbcc seems to be lacking, and cc65 is slightly better than 6502-gcc. The code has been optimized by hand to be straightforward to compile, so the compilers have not a lot of freedom to improve things. What about this "???" entry? If you didn't read "Advanced optimizations in CC65" by now (shame on you!), you don't know how the optimized code is a mess to read. All available tricks have been used, even the author does not recommend going so far in real life. The "???" is "6502-gcc -Os" on a version with only two of the 12 optimizations plus the use of "static" keyword. The resulting code is a lot like the unoptimized code, and the performance penalty is almost gone. That's why I think high level optimizations are what matter: it allows writing in C, without caring much of the assembly generated. Let low levels tricks to the compiler, focus on the logic. Aside of performance Ok, performance-wise it seems that cc65 is seriously lacking, vbcc and KickC are almost on par, and 6502-gcc varies from excellent to trash. Actually, performance should not matter a lot when choosing a C compiler. Be sure to learn the assembly language, and you'll be able to get perfs where it is needed. Here is a summary of pros and cons of each compiler. cc65 Pros Rock-solid and battle-tested, it will not let you down. Active development Great resources available to learn One of the most complete toolsuite out there Cons Performances (seriously, that's its only dark point) vbcc Pros Acceptable performances Active user base Extensive documentation Complete suite of tools (assembler, linker, versatile config files, ...) Cons Terrible licensing (like, I will recommend avoiding it just for that) Buggy KickC Pros Good performances Hard to integrate with other tools (made to compile an entire project) Active development (and a good base, may the future be bright!) Cons Compliance with C standard very partial (even "const" is badly supported) Compiling is slow Terrible compilation errors (at times, you just have a stack-trace) 6502-gcc Pros 100% compliance with the C standard God-tier high-level optimizations Generates assembly for ca65 (taking advantage of the cc65's toolsuite) Human readable and on-point warnings and compilation errors. Cons Development inactive Buggy Variable quality of the generated code Ok, but which one to choose for my project? As always, it depends! Who are you? Are you an experienced developer accustomed to a particular one? Stay on it. You already learned to master your tool, others bring little benefit. It is your first C project for the 6502? Go for cc65, it is the most mature, and you'll find help. You want high-level optimizations, and something that just work? KickC is made for you. You want high-level optimizations, to rely on fine-prints of the C standard, and are ready to build your own toolchain? 6502-gcc is the way. No, I won't recommend vbcc. It's licensing is terrible: it is closed source and you cannot use it for "commercial purpose" (without definition of it, nor if it applies to generated executables.) Also, it incorporates various tools and libraries with various licenses. If you want to do things "the right way", you will have to check at least three licenses to know if you can do what you have in mind. Last word Benchmarks are a nice tool to see the general picture, but never can be perfect. Especially these, it was my first experience with most of those compilers, and I may have had some details wrong. If you want to play by yourself, the tool used is available here: https://github.com/sgadrat/6502-compilers-bench it takes C files, and output speed metrics as well as the generated assembler. Hope this little research can help somebody out there. Remember, in retro-development, the most important is to have fun!
  12. Technical highlight: rollback netcode on the NES, the gory details Hey folks! Ready for a really technical one? Super Tilt Bro. ALPHA 5 just hit the public, and with it the ability to play online with any character on any stage. Time to take a step back, see how the netcode works, and what where the biggest challenges. As you know it from reading the precedent technical highlight (or at least the illustrated part), Super Tilt Bro. Implements a rollback netcode on the NES. It means that the game is always smooth, when the messages from the other NES take time to transit, the game just predicts it and continue. Sometimes it happens that the prediction was wrong, the game has to revert predicted frames, and re-compute the real ones. How the protocol works Rollback netcodes are notoriously hard to implement. Browsing the internet, you will see very long posts explaining that the Switch is not powerful enough to do it. How the heck can it run on the NES?! (Spoiler: of course, by cheating!) A very big pain point in traditional implementation of such a netcode is the memory management. The game has to keep a list of its previous states to be able to rollback from any of them. With only 2 KB of very slow memory, Super Tilt Bro. has to avoid it. The solution is to make the server smarter. When you press a button, a message is sent to the server. This message is tiny, it contains just the button pressed and a timestamp. In turn, the server computes the state of the game when you pressed the button, so it can send an enhanced message to the other NES. The enhanced message contains the button pressed, a timestamp, and the state of the game at this point. The NES receiving such a message now has everything at hand. It just replaces its current state by the received one, and rollback enough frames to compensate for transit time. The good point of this approach is that memory management on the NES is completely removed. Of course, there are drawbacks. The server must be smart, it actually has to incorporate an emulator to compute game's state. Worst, there is no way to switch to a peer-to-peer protocol. Time will tell if this rollback netcode is better than peer-to-peer input-lag netcodes. Introducing the main foo: the CPU Now the NES has an old state received from the server, and must simulate missing frames. It has to be speedy. We don't want to see characters moving in fast-motion to catch-up, that would destroy the timing of player's inputs, and make them miss combos. The goal is to rollback immediately, so the game is at the same point in time it was before the message's reception. We have exactly 20 milliseconds to do it without missing a video frame (on PAL.) The first thing to do is to be able to simulate a frame in “rollback mode”. In this mode, nothing has to be displayed, so the engine can safely skip placing sprites on the screen, updating the background, and anything visual. That done, simulating a frame in rollback mode take 25% of the 20 milliseconds. It would be enough to rollback four frames, and compensate 80 milliseconds of ping, if the rest of the game did not take 60% of the time. Notably, it has to simulate a frame in normal mode, to show sprites and other visual effects. All in all, it allows for almost no rollback. Next step is to optimize everything that is done multiple times per frame. Collision detection is where we get the biggest gains. It was an old code, mostly implemented while learning 6502, and is run for both players, for each platform, multiple times. With this code rewrote, it is finally possible to play online even on complex stages. Another big win is the optimization of the animation code. While in rollback we don't care about animating sprites on screen, in Super Tilt Bro. hitboxes are stored in animation data. Parsing all meta-sprites to extract an hitbox is time-consuming. Here the trick is to always put hitboxes at the beginning of such data, and stop reading there. Plus some low level optimization, it is always good to take. Optimizing gave space to rollback around three frames. The work is not over We are not yet fast enough to compensate big latencies. Thankfully, the server is smart. It can itself predict frames, and does just that to compensate for the minimal latency ever seen between players. That way, the NES just has to handle the variable part of it. Let's say your ping oscillate between 100 and 140 milliseconds, the server will predict for 100 ms, so in the worst case the NES will have to predict only two frames. What's next? First and foremost, this code needs to be battle tested. For sure, it is not yet perfect. The only solution is to try it, play with it, and report anything strange. The more it is used, the more we can find issues. Super Tilt Bro. needs you! Please bring some friends, play together, and send your feedback. It really helps! Your journey begins here: https://sgadrat.itch.io/super-tilt-bro If the online mode should work, it is still very light. There is only a very simple matchmaking available, and the user interface is the ugliest you can imagine. I guess I will now focus on the things around the netcode, beginning with a ranking system. Wouldn't it be nice to go to the official ranking page and find that you are the best player in the world?
  13. Little update on how's the project is going. As often, I went quiet for a long time. I was re-implementing the music engine from scratch. I had nothing fancy to share. The new engine is in its infancy, but already has some interesting features: Able to play Famitracker files with effects (Fxx, Gxx, Dxx, Sxx, Axx, Qxx, Rxx, 1xx, 2xx, 3xx, and 4xx for now) Speed and code size comparable to ggsound and famitone (if not better, always debatable) Data a little heavier than ggsound/famitone, but still better than Famitracker's driver I made my own engine to prepare for my idea of dynamic music. When the music adapts itself to what happens. The engine will be able to seamlessly switch between calm or nervous versions of the same track depending on the actual action of the game. Anyway, I will write a technical highlight on what is already implemented, I am sure it has enough technicalities to write a big wall of text. Also, I had to take a little break to make a new trailer, hope you will enjoy it. It was made by a good friend of mine that is starting to take freelance jobs in motion design. If you have similar needs, you may contact her
  14. If you are curious of the online mode you may want to join the discord. There, you will be able to find someone to play with you. Also, we are running a King of the hill tournament on it. Beat the king to claim his crown, as simple as that!
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