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06.May 2006
Markus Watterott / Tales of Tamar-Team (ANF)


Tales of Tamar in HiRes for the Amiga
The massively multiplayer strategy game Tales of Tamar now runs on the Amiga also in highresolution screenmodes. Details on this and other news on the game does the Tamar team comment as follows:

It is done! Finally, after eight months of continued work, we are pleased to present to you Tales of Tamar HiRes 2D!

The new client of our massively multiplayer strategy and role playing game runs in a resolution of 1024*768 with double buffering in 15, 16 and 32 bit as well as still in 640*480 pixels in 8 bit.

So Tales of Tamar still runs on all Amiga systems from an A1200/AGA with 68030 turbo card up to the most modern computers but takes advantage of the faster hardware of an Amithlon PC, an AmigaOne, a Pegasos or a fast UAE system.

Some older screenshots can be seen here but the engine's already improved in the meantime.

Unfortunately do many Amiga computers come to their limits with this engine. E.g., for the hires map is a 68060 processor and a graphics card the minimum requirement. An uncluttered installation is needed as well. Should this not be the case you'll have to stick to the 640*480 resolution in 8 bit.

Our experiences with speed are as listed below:

A1200/AGA

640*480/8 bit = yes
1024*768/15 bit = no
1024*768/16 bit = no
1024*768/32 bit = no

Reason: AGA cannot display a 1024*768 screen and would be too slow, either.

A500/A1200/A2000/A3000 with graphics board and 030/040 processor

640*480/8 bit = yes
1024*768/15 bit = no
1024*768/16 bit = no
1024*768/32 bit = no

Reason: the processor is too slow to run the hires map.

A500/A1200/A2000/A3000 with 4 MB Zorro II graphics card and 060 processor

640*480/8 bit = yes
1024*768/15 bit = yes/no
1024*768/16 bit = yes/no
1024*768/32 bit = no

Reason: the map works with 15 or 16 bit but not particularly fast as the bandwidth is limited by the Zorro II bus. 32 bit do not work as the graphics card comes with too little memory.

A1200/A3000/A4000 with 4 MB Zorro III graphics card and 060 processor

640*480/8 bit = yes
1024*768/15 bit = yes/no
1024*768/16 bit = yes/no
1024*768/32 bit = no

Reason: the hires map works with 15/16 bit when the OS installation is proper and optimized.

A3000/A4000 with PCI graphics card with at least 8 MB and 060 and PowerPC processor

640*480/8 bit = no
1024*768/15 bit = yes/no
1024*768/16 bit = yes/no
1024*768/32 bit = yes/no

Reason: the hires map works nut not fast. Usable with proper and optimizes OS installation.

Pegasos/AmigaOne/WinUAE/Amithlon

640*480/8 bit = yes
1024*768/15 bit = yes
1024*768/16 bit = yes
1024*768/32 bit = yes

Time will show whether we can improve these values any further. Surely not witjout assembler code - and there comes the question to mind whether the support for the project is still enough.

Out last call for testers followed almost 40 users but only a small number did really test. So, if you want to see this project continued on the Amiga help us and participate. Alternatively we do not see any chance to fix all the possible bugs.

Now here are the features and bug fixes:

New features
  • HirES mode activated
  • 24 bit graphics support integrated
  • Auto conversion of 8 bit graphics integrated
  • From the residence you can return to the main screen using the ESC key
  • Input handler rewritten
  • The client now works with the prerelease version 4 of AmigaOS 4
  • The FTP download via tavern does not block the mouse anymore so that you can still work with the system in the meantime
  • Small optimization of the map screen (speed increased)
  • Tales of Tamar now uses the expansion.library to decide whether it runs on an AmigaOS 4 "Classic" system or an AmigaOne (thanks to Stephan Rupprecht)
  • The client loads the graphics faster on some systems
  • Descriptions of cities and landscapes remain when scrolling
  • Much program code of the map now supports the PowerPC unfortunately offering only a little speed increasement under WarpOS
  • Numbers about the workers remain visible when scrolling
  • New catalogs added
Bug fixes
  • FTP code changed and improved, bugs removed
  • Workaround for a MorphOS blit bug in CyberGraphX 5 integrated
  • WarpUp under AmigaOS 4 deactivated because it is slower due to the context switches with cache flush than the 68k emulation
  • Many more bugs fixed
Known bugs
  • Packed24 modes do not work
  • Under AmigaOS 4 there may appear some font errors (reason yet unknown)
  • CyberGraphX 4 color fonts >8 bit do ot support transparency
  • CyberGraphX 3 yet untested; as ForceChunky is missing there may appear colour bugs in the game (we need testers!)
  • Moduleplayer could still lead into problems under AmigaOS 4 (no testers = no information)
Download: ToT_Amiga_V0.55_R1.lha (15,6 MB)

The current 2D hires map is further on an integral part of the upcoming 3D map that will be built in first into the PC version to avoid a loss of time due to compatibilitiy problems and missing testers. On this note it was an important step for us.

A personal note: This 2D hires map is my personal thank you to the Amiga computer that has accompanied me through a great part of my life now. It is an ideal completion for the game and further development can only take place if enough gamers keep the game running.

The hires 3D map marks a step at least as big as this 2D map and it is indispensable that many testers take actively part in such a further development to identify bugs. Just a small example: only two or three AmigaOS 4 testers really support us in this project. The result is that bugs that are not obvious aren't found if you do not spend yourself very much time. So we wish that the support in the Amiga community will increase again.

Special thanks go to Stephan Rupprecht with whom I had many controversial discussions over weeks about the way of the blitting and whom I have to thank that Tales of Tamar runs smoother than before. Thank you, Stephan! Though it was not up your alley you had listened to me for weeks. :-)

Another thank you goes to Wolfgang Vogel. Without his PowerPC card I wouldn't have beeen able to finish this version as my two boards are broken once again.

Thanks to Frank Mariak, too, who is always there when there are CyberGraphX problemes. Hopefully development on CyberGraphX continues. ;-)

And thanks go to the whole AmigaOS 4 team and the MorphOS team. Both supported me well.

How does it proceed?

The hires 2D map wa ported to the PC now. There'll be some tests and then it will be released.

The Mac version will now adopt the finished sources and then offer the hires map, too.

With Richard Drummond we could contract a new developer who'll be working exclusively on the Linux version (PPC & x86) as well as possibly a Zeta version. Richard should be known to some AOS4 users and already present a first working Linux version. He, too, already owns the hires source codes and he will try to adapt the Linux client accordingly.

In addition we could sign a capable and known authoresswho ,to our pleasure, has dealt with the subject of Arbanor and therefore will write a book about Tales of Tamar. With this does will an old idea from the last century been picked up again. :-)

But nonetheless we need above all graphic artists who want to push our project. All in all we are looking for:
  • pixlers for 2D hexagons and improvements of the GUI
  • 3D object designers & 3D textur designers
  • Assembler programmers for optimizations in the 68k code
  • Musicians for Digibooster/Fasttracker modules
  • Translators for Portuguese
  • php programmers to support our browser version
  • Programmers for improving the Amiga installer script
Many regards,
Wolfen
and the Tales of Tamar team (snx) (Translation: wk)

[News message: 06. May 2006, 16:30] [Comments: 0]
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