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Thread: SonicGX (Sonic homebrew for Amstrad GX4000)

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    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Default SonicGX (Sonic homebrew for Amstrad GX4000)

    Just ran into this today and didn't notice any threads on it -



    Looks like they intend to port the whole Master System game to it and release it by the end of the year.

    The game looks kind of cool, definitely the most impressive thing I've seen running on the console, but even so it really cements that the system was under-powered. I mean, this console was released two years after the Mega Drive and the same year as SNES but they're going for enhanced Master System/Game Gear ports, that tells you a lot to be honest.

    The low resolution (one of the console's biggest weaknesses) actually doesn't look too bad here though surprisingly, I think the high-ish colour counts help to mask it somewhat. The game looks pretty smooth as well, which is nice.

    There was also a homebrew port of Ghosts N' Goblins released a few years back



    ------------------------------

    The GX4000 was a British console released in 1990 by a company called Amstrad, who had success in Europe selling Home computers prior to trying to enter the console market. Its often considered one of the worst consoles ever made and had very little commercial software made for it.


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    Death Bringer Raging in the Streets Black_Tiger's Avatar
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    It's nice to see some attempts to show what the console is capable of.
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    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Yeah whoever came up with the GX4000 at Amstrad must have been shoving mushrooms up their nose. A console that can't even be called better than the master system (lower resolution) in 1990 was never going to be successful...

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    Mega Driven Raging in the Streets cleeg's Avatar
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    That looks really nice, the high colour count really does lend it a shade more polish. Cool.

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    WCPO Agent segarule's Avatar
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    Looks like they intend to port the whole Master System game to it and release it by the end of the year.
    It looks like a GG game more.
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    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    Yeah whoever came up with the GX4000 at Amstrad must have been shoving mushrooms up their nose. A console that can't even be called better than the master system (lower resolution) in 1990 was never going to be successful...
    Sure it kind of sucks for the release year, but I don't think its fair to compare it unfavourably to the Master System, I mean, yeah the resolution is way too low, but like I said the larger master palette helps to mask this as they can blend the colours together better so that its less noticeable. Master System is higher resolution but the colours clash with each other more (GX4000 is also near full screen unlike the SMS, which is bordered)



    Actually, its more comparable to a full-screen Game Gear console in some ways due to the resolution and master palette difference.

    I can't remember much of the GX4000 details that we all talked about years ago on here anymore, but IIRC there were 16 16X16 pixel, high resolution sprites per line? (twice the width and, twice the number of SMS sprites per line) and you could expand them X2, simply doubling up the pixels.

    Well as soon as you give up and go with the low resolution mode, you'd might as well use X2 magnification on all of the sprites as well to bring them into consistency with the background resolution. Unless I'm misunderstanding something, at that stage your sprites are absolutely huge in comparison to the normal Master System sprites and match the background resolution, which greatly lessens the GX4000's problem with sprite multiplexing (in regards to 3rd gen, 4th gen is a lost cause).

    Sound was just outright better on GX4000.

    Either way the GX4000 was considerably better than your beloved Amstrad CPC6128 Kamahl, a £300 overpriced dog with a mandatory monochrome monitor unless you wanted to pay even more! at least the GX4000 was cheap
    Last edited by Thenewguy; 04-21-2020 at 04:52 PM.

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    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thenewguy View Post
    Either way the GX4000 was considerably better than your beloved Amstrad CPC6128 Kamahl, a £300 overpriced dog with a mandatory monochrome monitor, at least the GX4000 was cheap
    Beloved? Bit of a strong word there, I do like the homebrew scene of the CPC but the machine itself is really uninteresting.

    The GX4000 (and the CPC+ line) is weird in that it has 4th gen console tier sprites per line, but would really struggle to multiplex them so it ends up being closer to 3rd gen sprite numbers.
    The X2 magnification is the way to go for low res games.

    It might be possible to pull off a stylish high resolution game with some work though, I mean, the Atari 800 can do pretty looking things with 5 colors per line, and that's in low res with only 256 colors for a master palette. But for 1990? That's after the Amiga, Lynx, PC Engine, Mega Drive and SNES. Outdated is an understatement.

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    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    Beloved? Bit of a strong word there, I do like the homebrew scene of the CPC but the machine itself is really uninteresting.
    Seeing SonicGX makes me somewhat interested in the GX4000 homebrew scene.

    Given that it was a UK console I'd kind of like to see someone port Robocod to it, with the gradient backgrounds and everything. That game appeared on most consoles of the time so it definitely would've ended up on GX4000 if it had been successful here, I also don't think its out of the GX4000's capabilities, heh.

    I have a little interest in the CPC464 homebrew, there's a racing game in development that looks pretty unbelievable.

    No interest in 128k Amstrad machines, crappy things they were.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    It might be possible to pull off a stylish high resolution game with some work though, I mean, the Atari 800 can do pretty looking things with 5 colors per line, and that's in low res with only 256 colors for a master palette.
    Yeah I remember the conversations, heh, I think I made a mock-up of Mario World and Magical Chase? the pictures don't exist any more.

    I still have the picture of Spectrum Arkanoid though, I considered making a demo of it in Spectrum Arcade Game Designer.

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    Hero of Algol Kamahl's Avatar
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    Right, now I remember, the Magical Chase one looked really good!

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    Raging in the Streets Sik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamahl View Post
    Yeah whoever came up with the GX4000 at Amstrad must have been shoving mushrooms up their nose. A console that can't even be called better than the master system (lower resolution) in 1990 was never going to be successful...
    "Our computer hardware division is falling apart and we need to do something to stay relevant."

    I mean, it seems to be the common pattern for all those consoles from that time based on computers.

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    The Future Is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingRaging in the Streets Leynos's Avatar
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    I only heard of this thing on forums within the last decade. Had no idea it's specs were that low. Tho fan projects like this are cool. So I know very little about British electronics and computers. I know of Amstrad through the Ashens channel. In some British shows, they joke how made in Brittain means bad(not always electronics tho). Were UK electronics really poor quality? Not trying to throw flames. Just honestly curious.

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    Amstrad was and still is a company that mostly release one time of gadget products often based on somebody elses design that they just licence. They just say that consoles where on their way up so they thought we can do that to. Commodore did the same thing. Atari also abandone their rather succesfull ( in europe) computer line to focus on consoles. These companies were struggling and tried to find a way out. I like the GX4000 it plays well but sadly most games suck dick. That happens when companies like Ocean are your main provider of games .

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    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sik View Post
    "Our computer hardware division is falling apart and we need to do something to stay relevant."

    I mean, it seems to be the common pattern for all those consoles from that time based on computers.
    You've also got to remember that the PC-Engine was never properly released in Britain, and the Mega Drive wasn't released here until Autumn of 1990. These guys were likely completely out of the loop I think, they were making something to compete with a resurgent 8-bit console market, primarily aiming to take on the Sega Master System which was about to have its second wind in Britain as a budget machine.

    Had it come out a year earlier it might have had a chance in Europe I think (and only in Europe), but they also would've needed to actually invest money in software development, just re-releasing Amstrad CPC games is unacceptable and makes the system look very inferior to the NES and SMS.

    Of course had the PC-Engine had a proper nationwide release in the UK in the late 80s it likely would've dominated, so any chance of success the GX4000 really could've had was down to their competitors screwing up in the beginning anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leynos View Post
    In some British shows, they joke how made in Britain means bad (not always electronics tho). Were UK electronics really poor quality? Not trying to throw flames. Just honestly curious.
    The cars were bad, especially in the 1970s. Marxism really screwed up post-war Britain, but that was coming to an end in the 1980s.

    The computers were pretty cool, maybe not as fancy as some of the big US computers, but they have their own quirks and often represented great value for money IMO.

    The consoles not so great, other than the GX4000 was the Atari Jaguar actually which was made here, heh, I've heard there was a lot of promise with that hardware but that Atari forced the designers to release it unfinished or something. Getting companies to develop software for the thing was pretty hard too, given that Atari's name was largely just associated with out of date hardware by that stage.

    Not really familiar with much else really, Britain hasn't made a whole lot of electronics goods for a long time now, there are the Dyson vacuum cleaners, which I've heard people rubbish online somewhat, but my family have never had any trouble with them and my parents used to talk about them in high esteem (as high an esteem as someone can manage for a vacuum cleaner). I think they still have the same one they bought near 20 years ago actually.

  14. #14

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    The Fact that the British invented the mothafuckin ARM chip range that everybody and his dog uses these days must count for something

    Also what you guys are missing is pricepoint The GX4000 was released at 99 pounds (with two controllers and a game) the Mega Drive was £189 (with a game and a controller). The reason why a lot of companies like Amstrad and Commodore released console versions of their home computers was to battle the rampant piracy here in europe. However the prices for the cartridges where much higher then tapes or disks. So everybody just stuck with their homecomputers instead of the console versions.

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    Master of Shinobi Thenewguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlandcattle View Post
    Also what you guys are missing is pricepoint The GX4000 was released at 99 pounds.
    But the Master System was released at that price here as well.... three years earlier. By 1990 the Master System had also had enough time to build up a library of older games that could be sold for cheaper, it was much better positioned as a budget machine.

    and as Kamahl said there were still a few hardware trade-offs even!

    GX4000 needed to turn up a decent amount of time prior to the British launch of the Mega Drive to have any chance.

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