deluxe ii

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Another set of video games from the mind of a recurrent neural network:

  • Kimaramu (Rage Planets) (2001, Interactive Martech) (Windows)
  • Circus Vampires: Soul Brain Machine (2008, Vivendi) (Windows)
  • Fun Trim World Wail World Risk! (Tetris Deluxe II) (1981, Hewles DF) (WinC5)
  • Barrow Legend (Tom Clancy’s Ghost Heaven) (1983, Project Software) (C64)
  • New Driver: Forbidden Nightmare (2009, New Syscom) (iOS)
  • Super Cautou Bear Tournament (1997, Niogame) (Mac)
  • Resident Evil 3D: Void Edition (1984, Hewson) (Amstrad CPC)
  • Broken Man Simulation (1986, Elite) (MS-DOS)
  • The Wibble Championship (?, ?) (C16/Plus4)
  • Guns 2 (Love and Kids) (1988, SSI) (Apple IIe)
  • One Universal Simulator (2005, Renegade Software) (Windows)
  • Football EXE (1990, ASCII) (Amiga)
  • Pocket Madden Encounter (The Antica Research Space) (2003, -) (Windows)
  • SpongeBob Street Revolution (2012, Telltale Games) (iOS)
  • Space Kinkette (1987, Infocom) (Amiga)
  • Final Fantasy Drivin’ (1992, MC Works) (Game Boy)
  • Shadow Fishing Black (Falline Sword) (1992, Infogrames) (MS-DOS)
  • Cosmic Beat: End Engineer (2000, Interactive Box Games) (Linux/Unix)
  • Pocket Guide to the Missing Forever (2003, ?) (BeOS)

I’m working on a Tumblr/Twitter bot that automatically generates and posts these, so if I generate any further titles I’ll probably fold them into the bot rather than posting them here.

A few years before I started Old Games, New Kit, I was doing research into how graphics and sprites were made for 90s DOS games such as Doom. I know a lot of developers used Deluxe Paint II, and having toyed with it, I can see why. The ability to turn any part of the canvas into a custom brush is so intuitive and cool, I’m shocked very few modern paint programs have replicated it. How it handles transparency while staying within a chosen palette is especially useful, particularly when used alongside color stencils. These features allowed it to “fake” things such as modern layer effects.

In fact, it’s likely quite a few textures in Doom used these advanced techniques!

(Excuse the foul language. At the time, my tiny brain was genuinely shocked by this revelation.)

On the far right, we see an entirely new texture that I created with an LBM file taken from a pre-release build of Doom 2. I did so by combing two textures together using a custom brush and transparency in Deluxe Paint II. On the far left, you can see the raw results of the combination. If this is how id software made some of Doom’s textures, it would have required further clean up, but it’s obvious how powerful this technique would have been.

But it’s not just Doom, either. I’ve seen what I assume are similar tricks pop up in other games, such as Alien Carnage and Electroman:

(The fancy, plasma colored logo in Electroman, and Alien Carnage’s HUD, along with the gold and silver bricks in the office stages, likely used transparency blending, among other effects.)

What I haven’t been able to find much info about are DOS era procedural texture generators! Supposedly, the ZIMMER textures in Doom were generated using some kind of procedural texture generator. If this is true, the textures were named after the algorithm or program itself, but I can find little to no info about it. I also can’t figure out how they generated procedural effects such as clouds, noise, and so on.

Because this subject overlaps with New Games, Old Kit, I’ve decided to return to it out of a burning drive to figure out how graphics in older games were made. It’s entirely possible Deluxe Paint II might have been used to generate all of these effects, but I’m not sure how. I wasn’t able to devote much time into researching it back then. 

That’s where you come in! If anybody reading this happens to know anything about how these and other games would have achieved these effects, let me know. There’s a very good chance I may end up using vintage software as part of this project, especially if we dive into Amiga construction kits.