Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

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BryanFRitt
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Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by BryanFRitt » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:46 pm

I noticed this with Supaplex 96 but it is possible this could also apply to other levelsets

For Supaplex 96 which is supposed to be a mirror of the classic Supaplex levels, the Electrons and the Snik Snaks don't kill Murphy on touch like in the classic ones.
For Supaplex 96 gravity doesn't get turned on/off, like the classic ones
(Changing these might mess up playing from some previously saved tapes)

Here are the one's I couldn't beat, How to beat them? Is it possible?

both CLASSIC ORIGINAL GAMES - SUPAPLEX, and SUPAPLEX 96
100 IQ! - Not enough red disks that are usable? Extra blockage that shouldn't be there?
105 One's Missing - How to unblock exit? (, etc...?)

SUPAPLEX - SUPAPLEX 96 (The mirror of CLASSIC ORIGINAL GAMES - SUPAPLEX)
076 ALL THE FAMILY! - The Zonks fall in a way that doesn't permit winning the same way as the level it's mirroring
093 Timing! - Tried to beat in the same way I did in the classic, but things seam to fall at different rates?, Murphy's relative speed? or am I doing something different?
101 ON-OFF! - Gravity issues?

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by Holger » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:14 pm

Yes, you're right -- all these problems with the level set "Supaplex 96" (and all other Supaplex level sets from the old Supaplex level colletion download from the "Levels" page) are due to the fact that the levels in these sets are still converted levels in R'n'D format from a time where the native Supaplex game engine did not exist in R'n'D yet. As a result, all these Supaplex levels are still played with the R'n'D game engine and not with the native Supaplex game engine available in R'n'D since some years. This causes some levels to behave slightly different, especially all those "bugs and tricks" in the original Supaplex game engine did not work in the R'n'D game engine (which otherwise can play Supaplex levels, too).

The original Supaplex level set from the "Classic Original Games" collection uses the native SP engine and therefore can be played 100% like in the original Supaplex game (including all "bugs and tricks" from the original game).

I already have an updated Supaplex level collection available, which I still haven't managed to release as an update to that old download... I will try to release it in January 2018! :-)

Therefore, to answer your questions: All Supaplex levels from the "Classic Original Games" collection are 100% solvable, while levels from the Supaplex level collection download may be unsolvable due to differences in the way those levels are played in the R'n'D and the Supaplex game engine.

The new Supaplex level collection will also contain the "demo" (tape) data for showing how to solve a level (solution tapes).

I wish you all a happy new year! :-D

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by BryanFRitt » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:48 am

Holger wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:14 pm
Yes, you're right -- all these problems with the level set "Supaplex 96" (and all other Supaplex level sets from the old Supaplex level colletion download from the "Levels" page) are due to the fact that the levels in these sets are still converted levels in R'n'D format from a time where the native Supaplex game engine did not exist in R'n'D yet. As a result, all these Supaplex levels are still played with the R'n'D game engine and not with the native Supaplex game engine available in R'n'D since some years. This causes some levels to behave slightly different, especially all those "bugs and tricks" in the original Supaplex game engine did not work in the R'n'D game engine (which otherwise can play Supaplex levels, too).

The original Supaplex level set from the "Classic Original Games" collection uses the native SP engine and therefore can be played 100% like in the original Supaplex game (including all "bugs and tricks" from the original game).
Thanks I was wondering why it different. :)
Holger wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:14 pm
I already have an updated Supaplex level collection available, which I still haven't managed to release as an update to that old download... I will try to release it in January 2018! :-)

Therefore, to answer your questions: All Supaplex levels from the "Classic Original Games" collection are 100% solvable, while levels from the Supaplex level collection download may be unsolvable due to differences in the way those levels are played in the R'n'D and the Supaplex game engine.

The new Supaplex level collection will also contain the "demo" (tape) data for showing how to solve a level (solution tapes).

I wish you all a happy new year! :-D
BryanFRitt wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:17 pm
Looks like Supaplex has more levels than then one downloadable from the Rocks and Diamonds site
9,10,11,12, 27, 92,93,94
http://www.elmerproductions.com/sp/levels.html
Guessing all the 'empty' levels are ones that would be incompatible?
Will the updated Supaplex level collection include all the ones from the elmerproductions page? (and more, if there is any?)(1-12,27,92-99; any idea on why they are numbered this way?)
Looking forward towards seeing how to beat the levels I couldn't.

On the Rocks'n'Diamonds homepage, and/or download page there I think there should be a link to it's downloadable levels, but I didn't see one.
http://www.artsoft.org/rocksndiamonds/levels/

Happy new year! :-D, and good luck on all your January 2018+ goals.

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by Holger » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:55 pm

Will the updated Supaplex level collection include all the ones from the elmerproductions page?
Yes! It will contain level sets 1-12,27,77,78,92-99. (No idea about the origin of the numbering scheme...)
Guessing all the 'empty' levels are ones that would be incompatible?
No, I think they simply never existed... If it's not on www.elmerproductions.com (which is a fairly complete Supaplex ressource), it probably never existed. :-)
On the Rocks'n'Diamonds homepage, and/or download page there I think there should be a link to it's downloadable levels, but I didn't see one.
You mean the "Levels & Artwork" entry in the "☰" menu is not enough? Maybe you're right that I could also point to the "Levels" page from the "Download" page... And with "homepage" you mean the "About" page? Oh well, I always wanted to create a "real" homepage for R'n'D, but currently it jumps directly to the "News" page... :-/

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by Holger » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:18 pm

Update:
(No idea about the origin of the numbering scheme...)
The "levels" page on www.elmerproductions.com has an explanation for the numbering:

"The next (small) list contains special levelsets (changed levels, unverified levels, converted levels)."

This refers to level sets 92 to 99.

Update 2:

The new Supaplex collection will also contain two sets about "tricks" (bugs) and "cheats" and another set "MZ levels".

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by BryanFRitt » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:58 am

Holger wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:55 pm
Guessing all the 'empty' levels are ones that would be incompatible?
No, I think they simply never existed... If it's not on www.elmerproductions.com (which is a fairly complete Supaplex ressource), it probably never existed. :-)
Maybe the levels numbers that were skipped existed at some point at least in spirit, but were later removed, or never added for whatever reason?
Holger wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:55 pm
On the Rocks'n'Diamonds homepage, and/or download page there I think there should be a link to it's downloadable levels, but I didn't see one.
You mean the "Levels & Artwork" entry in the "☰" menu is not enough? Maybe you're right that I could also point to the "Levels" page from the "Download" page... And with "homepage" you mean the "About" page? Oh well, I always wanted to create a "real" homepage for R'n'D, but currently it jumps directly to the "News" page... :-/
Thanks, I see the link now... :)
Holger wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:14 pm
Yes, you're right -- all these problems with the level set "Supaplex 96" (and all other Supaplex level sets from the old Supaplex level colletion download from the "Levels" page) are due to the fact that the levels in these sets are still converted levels in R'n'D format from a time where the native Supaplex game engine did not exist in R'n'D yet. As a result, all these Supaplex levels are still played with the R'n'D game engine and not with the native Supaplex game engine available in R'n'D since some years. This causes some levels to behave slightly different, especially all those "bugs and tricks" in the original Supaplex game engine did not work in the R'n'D game engine (which otherwise can play Supaplex levels, too).
Do you have the source code of the game?
As far as I know, the source code to the game has been lost 'in history'. Probably it was on someone's computer at some time, and did not get transferred to a new computer when it was replaced. If there were any backups, I am not aware of them and they have probably also been lost or deteriorated.
The changes made to the game in the SpeedFix version, have all been made with a lot of effort to the disassembled code of the game. Needless to say this is quite complicated at times as there are no meaningful variable or function names to work with. (Note that also in relation to the question above, I cannot give away any disassembled SpeedFix-related code that may still linger somewhere on my computer or in a backup).
http://www.elmerproductions.com/sp/faq.html
If you have the Supaplex source code, maybe you could give them a copy.

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by BryanFRitt » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:15 am

BryanFRitt wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:46 pm
Here are the one's I couldn't beat, How to beat them? Is it possible?

both CLASSIC ORIGINAL GAMES - SUPAPLEX, and SUPAPLEX 96
100 IQ! - Not enough red disks that are usable? Extra blockage that shouldn't be there?
105 One's Missing - How to unblock exit? (, etc...?)

SUPAPLEX - SUPAPLEX 96 (The mirror of CLASSIC ORIGINAL GAMES - SUPAPLEX)
076 ALL THE FAMILY! - The Zonks fall in a way that doesn't permit winning the same way as the level it's mirroring
093 Timing! - Tried to beat in the same way I did in the classic, but things seam to fall at different rates?, Murphy's relative speed? or am I doing something different?
101 ON-OFF! - Gravity issues?
Update: I've gone back and beaten 100 and 105, for both 'CLASSIC ORIGINAL GAMES - SUPAPLEX', and 'SUPAPLEX 96', so now I've beaten all the 'CLASSIC ORIGINAL GAMES - SUPAPLEX' ones. :)
Just 076, 093, and 101, of SUPAPLEX 96 in Rocks'n'Diamonds that I didn't solve, probably due to game engine issues, or something.

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by Holger » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:03 am

Regarding the site navigation on "www.artsoft.org", maybe it's indeed too minimalistic and I should re-add some more visible navigation like in the old (previous) version of the web site (that had an always visible sidebar navigation)...?
If you have the Supaplex source code, maybe you could give them a copy.
I do not have the source code of the original Supaplex, but only the source code of Megaplex, which I got from Frank Schindler for porting the game engine to R'n'D, but he asked me not to give away the Megaplex source code.

(The Megaplex source code is based on Herman Perk's SpeedFix disassembly of Supaplex, which Frank Schindler took to accurately re-create all assembler directives in VisualBasic. To get it into R'n'D, I wrote a simple VisualBasic-to-C translator in Perl, which created compilable C code, so the resulting code only needed some refinement and integration into R'n'D afterwards. Therefore, the native Supaplex game engine in R'n'D is indeed as compatible (100%) as the original Supaplex game, which can be proved by playing the available solution "demo" files for all Supaplex sets and levels. (In fact, the SP engine in R'n'D is even more compatible than Megaplex, as I added emulation for "illegally" moving the player off the screen (when possible), then "moving" through bytes of the Supaplex DOS process space. There are a few example Supaplex levels which can only be solved using such dirty tricks.))
Update: I've gone back and beaten 100 and 105, for both 'CLASSIC ORIGINAL GAMES - SUPAPLEX', and 'SUPAPLEX 96', so now I've beaten all the 'CLASSIC ORIGINAL GAMES - SUPAPLEX' ones.
That's impressive! Congratulations! :-D
Just 076, 093, and 101, of SUPAPLEX 96 in Rocks'n'Diamonds that I didn't solve, probably due to game engine issues, or something.
Yes, they should then be solvable with the re-released native level formats.

I'm impressed how many Supaplex levels still work fine when played with the R'n'D engine (with Supaplex game elements) instead of the "real" (native) Supaplex game engine, but I think it says more about the quality of the Supaplex levels which were designed to be playable and solvable without too many "dirty" tricks. :-)

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by Holger » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:20 pm

I already have an updated Supaplex level collection available, which I still haven't managed to release as an update to that old download... I will try to release it in January 2018! :-)
I have to postpone the release to February, I'm afraid. While I was working on that new level collection, I've found a few minor bugs in R'n'D that I would better like to fix before. But don't worry, I'm actively working on that new set now! :)

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by BryanFRitt » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:00 am

Holger wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:20 pm
I already have an updated Supaplex level collection available, which I still haven't managed to release as an update to that old download... I will try to release it in January 2018! :-)
I have to postpone the release to February, I'm afraid. While I was working on that new level collection, I've found a few minor bugs in R'n'D that I would better like to fix before. But don't worry, I'm actively working on that new set now! :)
Will the updated levels be compatible with the existing ones? Aka Can both be working on the same computer system? Some people might like the idea of playing the same level with two different engines.

The tape issues are the main one's that bugged me. e.g. I played the the Zelda game, and the timer had wrapped around twice, but when I went back to play the game(after exiting R'n'D), it had me dying around the 1st 94 minute mark. 100+ minutes of the game gone. From start to that point by Warp Forwarding was like half a dozen minutes or so. [distracted rough time estimate, didn't time it, maybe way off]

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by Holger » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:18 pm

Will the updated levels be compatible with the existing ones? Aka Can both be working on the same computer system? Some people might like the idea of playing the same level with two different engines.
Definitely yes! Both in a sense that the old and the new level collection will be able to co-exist on the same installation of R'n'D (because the level sets in that collection will get new names, which of course is not always the case when a level collection gets updated, but here it will be the case) and in a sense that both the old levels (using the R'n'D game engine) and the new levels (using the native, 100% compatible Supaplex game engine) will be playable with the same instance of R'n'D. But as mentioned, it may well be possible some levels of the old collection won't be solvable (as you already encountered by yourself), as the R'n'D engine (used by the levels in the old collection) is not 100% Supaplex compatible.
The tape issues are the main one's that bugged me. e.g. I played the the Zelda game, and the timer had wrapped around twice, but when I went back to play the game(after exiting R'n'D), it had me dying around the 1st 94 minute mark. 100+ minutes of the game gone.
I truly feel very sorry for this, and I apologize for this extremely bad experience due to this very old and very nasty bug that I still wasn't able to fix! :-( :-(

I by myself lost comparable tape time when playing and trying to solve Zelda and Zelda II using the F1/F2 snapshot saving/loading functionality (as the tape-replaying takes so much time for these two custom-element-heavy levels)! Finally, I was only able to solve these two levels by using the bare tape recorder (without using F1/F2), resulting in many full-replay interruptions that each took several minutes. :-(

I just spend another hour of debugging and (mainly) test-playing a well-prepared (at least I thought so) test level with lots and lots of debugging output, but wasn't able to bring snapshot saving/reloading out of sync. I will definitely spend much more debugging and test-playing work into this bug, as I really want to fix it, but unfortunately I cannot promise anything. :-(

Where you (and anybody else) could help me here: Which are the most simple levels where you encountered this bug? Zelda / Zelda II are just too heavyweight for debugging, but I know that this problem also occurs on "standard" R'n'D levels (that do not feature lots of complex custom elements).

I also would like to know if this problem is limited to certain engines, or if it occurs with all game engines (R'n'D, Supaplex, EM/EMC)?

Really would like to finally track this one down and wipe it out! :-|

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by BryanFRitt » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:50 am

Holger wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:18 pm
Where you (and anybody else) could help me here: Which are the most simple levels where you encountered this bug? Zelda / Zelda II are just too heavyweight for debugging, but I know that this problem also occurs on "standard" R'n'D levels (that do not feature lots of complex custom elements).

I also would like to know if this problem is limited to certain engines, or if it occurs with all game engines (R'n'D, Supaplex, EM/EMC)?

Really would like to finally track this one down and wipe it out! :-|
I've mainly been playing the Supaplex based ones, so I know it definitely happens with them. Looks like I have my 'EMC' set to 'AGA'. I don't know what 'AGA', 'ECS', and 'EMC' stand for or do. I remember playing with the settings when I first tried out R'n'D. Normally, if I can't figure out what a setting does, I'd leave a settings at it's default, but for this I didn't remember the default and just left it somewhere.

Looking at happens during a mess up, it looks as if the main character is doing moves from a different play segment, which of course usually end in death for where it's at. I noticed that after starting up R'n'D in trying to play back a saved game, if I stop it in the middle of it playbacking the tape, then exit the level, but not the game, the furthest the playback will go is the point where I stopped it originally, not where the tape actually goes to.

I can go through my old games and look for ones with a messed up tape, then post them. This bug should probably have it's own (sticky?) thread.

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by Holger » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:33 pm

Looks like I have my 'EMC' set to 'AGA'. I don't know what 'AGA', 'ECS', and 'EMC' stand for or do.
I have to make this more clear in the setup menu. Here's what it means:

- "EM" and "EMC" are just abbreviations for "Emerald Mine" and "Emerald Mine Club" and usually refers to the native game engine for this kind of levels.

- "ECS" and "AGA" are abbreviations for "Enhanced Chip Set" and "Advanced Graphics Adapter" and relate to the earlier (ECS) and later (AGA) Amiga custom graphics chip set. In R'n'D's EM/EMC context, it only means "use the graphics set with less (ECS) or more (AGA) colors", as the EMC level sets often came with two different graphics sets to choose from, depending on the Amiga hardware you're running the set on (back in the days).

In R'n'D, I really should replace this with simply "OLD" and "NEW" (and then use it for other engines as well, like for Supaplex graphics sets which could then support both low-res (upscaled 16x16) and hi-res (32x32) tile graphics).
I can go through my old games and look for ones with a messed up tape, then post them. This bug should probably have it's own (sticky?) thread.
I've added the parts of this thread related to the tape bug to a new thread.

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by filbo » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:05 pm

Instead of 'OLD' / 'NEW', it would be better if you could tag the graphics sets with what's unique about them, use those tags in the UI.

i.e. for ECS vs. AGA, 'low-color' vs 'high-color' or something like that. (Is there not also a difference in tile size?)

then for resolution, 'lower-res' vs 'higher-res'. I put those in relative terms because even 32x32 level of detail is probably not representable as high res in modern terms :)

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Re: Trying to beat Supaplex sets, Classic and 96... Gravity, and Snik Snak/Electron touch

Post by Holger » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:49 pm

I already have an updated Supaplex level collection available, which I still haven't managed to release as an update to that old download... I will try to release it in January 2018! :-)
I have to postpone the release to February, I'm afraid. While I was working on that new level collection, I've found a few minor bugs in R'n'D that I would better like to fix before. But don't worry, I'm actively working on that new set now! :)
OK, it's still February... and it's released now! *phew* ;-)

Please have a look at it. It contains 30 level sets for a start; more will be added in the future. Also, it currently does not contain the low-res original graphics as an alternative graphics set to choose. This will be added later, too.

(For those interested in recently added features to R'n'D, the custom artwork set for this new Supaplex level collection not only shows how to change the screen and playfield size, but also contains a few small examples for menu animations, like the little title screen animation after the main title screen of the original Supaplex set, or the "info page" sliding in/out animation on the main menu screen, triggered by an additional button.)

I hope you have fun with that level collection! :-)

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