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Core Dump - Work In Progress

Episode 50

December 1, 1997 : Difficulty of Compression

I've had a few very busy weeks, as I'm in the middle of an exam period. Pat claims he's drawn some good-looking enemies, but I haven't seen them yet. And I've been wanting to really check out Final Fantasy VII on his Playstation. But it will all have to wait, because I'm just far too busy.

Difficulty levels

Besides that, I've been having some trouble judging serveral things. First, there is the difficulty. I hear that usually, European versions of games are harder than Japanese version. Or so they tell me. But for the Japanese version of the promo, I even made some enemies more difficult. So that could prove to be a problem. But making different versions (other difficulty levels) is a gigantic task, because it's flippin' hard to make even one version the right difficulty level!

I should know. The best-balanced game we ever did was Blade Lords. The only mistake there was level 2-9... but I corrected that with a patch. It was just too difficult. Akin was too easy, Black Cyclon too difficult.... the list goes on.

Pat has ensured me that he will try to kick me until the end of the game is really hard. Black Cyclon hard. Well I will try, but it is very difficult really, because you play your own games all the time during development, and so you know all the tactics. It all becomes easy, and you lose judgement.

Compression method

On the other hand I have been trying to pick a compression method for the game. Now, everything is sitting (rather peacefully) on my Harddisk. But it has to fit onto a number of floppy disks. How many actually depends on the method of compression. In Akin I used a modified "POPCOM" routine. But that had a little bug in it, and caused these white dots you'd sometimes see in levels. They were rare, but it happened sometimes and that was really annoying.

Other options are the usual archivers. PMARC/PMEXT, ZIP, LHPACK. While most of them are (too) slow at decrunching, I read that LHPACK is really quite fast with decompression. So I would like to investigate that option. Trouble is, I don't have a "LHPACK.COM", nor can I find in anywhere in the MSX-archives. Strange. I read about it in MCCM, a dutch magazine.

I will post a question about this in the newsgroups soon, but if anyone has that program, feel free to mail it to me. Or something like that.

Go on...

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