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Alive 14
CT60 on Centurbo 2

                   (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

..Dazed 96ktro..
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

..Traal 64ktro..
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.

Alive 14