CT60 on Centurbo
(or "Look what else I found daddy!")
This is the sort of thing that can happen in the nullspace when you get
bored, when the world apart from spammers ignore your emails, the release
date of everything is postponed forever and nothing much of anything of note
is going on...
I remembered in the course of noodling around with various things, that a
small proportion of the intros made for the CT60 weren't restricted to the
higher end cpu, and could run in a fashion, on lesser specced hardware. The
'Episode 666' and 'Acid Tear' 4ktro's sprang to mind as happily working
So what if there are other avowedly '060-only demos which could run on non-
060 hardware? I'd figure I'd use some of these moments of dullness-based
ennui to find out. So here's how I got on!
I'm going to use a spaghetti-western based rating system for each demo,
depending on how well, or not, it can run away from '060 based hardware. The
categories are, in descending order, 'Good', 'bad', and 'Fugly'! You'll have
to make your own Ennio Morricone soundtrack up in your head, we don't have
one of those for this version of the Alive shell!
The alternative test machine is my other Falcon. Extra power is supplied by
Roldolphe's CT60 precursor, the Centurbo 2, with a 50mhz 68030, fast bus and
fastRAM etc.. This is somewhat quicker than a stock machine, but nowhere
near an '060 equipped Falcon of course.
..Episode 666 4ktro..
I went back to some established and trusted favourites first. This 4ktro was
stated as running on anything from '030 upwards but only really worth
watching on '060, as there were 1000-plus polygons involved. On the CT2, the
end result was reasonable, a little bit choppy on the framerate, but not a
total horror-story either. This would seem to be a good place to kick off
this investigation. - GOOD
..Acid Tear 4ktro..
A similar result was reported for this 4ktro. The blur-based dot patterned
effects are slower to clear, which isn't too bad in itself, the plasma
tendrils run more slowly, and the 3-D parts are a little bit choppy again,
but not obnoxiously so. I would consider this as one which you could get
away with showing off on a CT2. - GOOD
..Earx's Scape 4ktro..
The limitations of even boosted '030 hardware start to become much more
apparent here. With some heavy shifting of voxel landscaping going on, the
smooth '060 ride drops down to a chuggy 2-3 frames per second. Which could
still work as a fast slideshow, if you hadn't already seen the '060 version
running. Ah well... - BAD
I went for something more ambitious and unlikely next. I seem to remember
that Deez likes to put restrictions in his code to prevent precisely this
sort of malarky, only in the case of this DHS Online competition entry,
something got missed off in the rush! This darkly themed intro from
Evolution DOES run on a fast '030 machine, but again, the advisability of
doing this has to be questioned. The performance of the 3-D parts of this
intro are at slideshow values, and it isn't one to recommend showing to
friends! - FUGLY!
..Eskimeau Experience 96ktro..
I was on a roll, what was worth trying next? the answer came with the other
DHS Online compo entry, the 'Eskimeau Experience'. The news was mixed for
this one. The non-3D parts ran rather well, the plasma stuff was fine, the
snowflake effects were spotless, and even the 'Northern lights' scene
managed to disguise its inherent slowness pretty well. Of course where
reality shoved its ugly face back in, was with the more hardcore 3-D based
scenes. Both of these trudged along at 2-3 frames per second, so perhaps not
the ideal circumstances to show these off either. - BAD
This little intro, made by 'groupless aRt' was attempted, and it ran on
here. It tried really really hard to disguise the fact it wasn't running on
an '060, and almost carried it off, even in the bit where there were a lot
of 3-D polygons flying around onscreen, but not quite.. - BAD(but not too
Now here's a sure prize-winner for the screen best able to run on lower spec
hardware. This DHS and Ephidrena co-production starts nicely, the slowdown
giving the rolling clouds at the start a more authentic impression of speed.
The glass 3-D object in the next screen hardly slows at all. Even the
massive objects hurtling around the forest sky screen managed to stay
credible. Maybe we got to see more motion-blurring and less 3-D object in
the penultimate screen, but no real harm was done. All in all, ths intro was
probably the best attempt at running on something lower down. I wonder how
much of the original code started life on on something other than an '060-
based machine? - Clint Eastwood GOOD!
..The Genocidal 96ktro..
This DHS intro from last year's Outline Party uses a later and more
optimized version of the DHS 3-D engine it seems. The hadcore 3-D parts are
a bit faster than for the previous demos, more in the region of 4-5 frames
per second. A fair effort, but still not really ideal, but hey, it works,
and if you haven't got a CT60, then beggars can't be choosers! (Or they
could choose to download a video of it and watch it how Evil intended it to
look!) - BAD
..Outline '06 invitro..
I liked this invitro when it came out, it had a cheerful and bright design,
in contrast to the dourly toned and fashionably darkened intros that
preceded it. The non-3-D parts, especially the super-chromed scroller part,
performed admirably. The 3-D textured boulders screen was having a lot to do
within a limited cpu and it showed on here. The blurry starburst object at
the end was very very slow. So a rather mixed outcome for this one. - BAD
And did we dare to try to run this Uber-demo on the Centurbo 2?! You bet we
After an undistinguished start, the first real test was the 'Silkcut'-alike
mountainscape show. This was as slow as expected and was a sharp reminder of
the difference in power between an '030 and '060. The next sequence with the
rippling water worked rather well in contrast. The credits in the forest
screen was okay as well, but the next hardcore 3-D sequence, where the nerve
endings in the brain are drawn and faithfully textured dropped right down
again. The rest of the demo followed this pattern, with succeeding parts
working, but barely. The key 'inside the asylum' ran at around 3-4 frames a
second. The final part of the main demo disappeared altogether, although the
golden Falcon right for the endpart came back at around 2-3 frames a second.
On a second viewing on the 'correct' hardware (060 Falcon), there seemed to
be one or two other things missing from the CT2 test. The spinning foetus
just after the mountains went AWOL for one thing.
If you are absolutely desperate to see this running on some sort of original
hardware, then go ahead, otherwise watch the movie (or get a CT63!) - BAD
but FUGLYin places.
The other big demo release from last year, Supernatural, from Evolution also
ran here. And I thought Deez would have covered this with some kind of
coding injunction against non-060 machines.
Unlike Derealisation, there were no parts of this one which were easy on the
cpu, it was all hardcore 3D stuff, and it all chugged along at 3-4 frames
per second, apart from the 'slug on car' junkyard sequence, which *really*
chugged! - BADto FUGLY
I thought I'd also mention the Mikro port of Quake to the Atari. Although it
is '060 optimized, it does run on the CT2 as well, but you would have to be
really into pain and suffering to want to play it on that system! A
framerate of 2-3 per second is the BEST that it gets, with further slowdowns
once it gets busy! On a further related note, Duke Nukem was too sensible to
want to bother to run.
So what did we find out from this little exercise?
Well certainly all of the above do run on the Centurbo 2, and if you really
don't have access to a CT60/63, or Evil's Youtube recordings, and insist on
using real hardware at all costs, then the CT2 will certainly do the job. In
the case of the two DHS 4ktros, it is adequate, and in the case of 'Traal',
does a pretty fair job. I'd also say that 'The Genocidal' was almost there.
However, with the rest, as soon as the CT2 comes up against any really
hardcore 3-D stuff, then it starts to show its relative lack of power
compared to the '060.
CiH,for Alive Mag,April '07.