Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Played Daytona 2 & Scud Race Emulation--Thoughts...

Let me say this before I begin... Many of us have found "Shangri-la" with this Supermodel emulator. I feel good having played these games for the first time. I feel pressured to talk about Daytona 2, Scud Race, and maybe Sega Rally 2 (when I get around to it) and NOTHING ELSE for the next six months. Well, hey, there's still much more things to talk about. I'm still the greatests creative thinker/philosopher on the Internet, am I? So whatever, onto the main point:

Yesterday, I downloaded the new Supermodel emulator and fire up Daytona 2 and Scud Race.  At first, the game is running at about 70% of the speed, the sound's working just fine, and I was playing with the keyboard.  Note though that the sound effects are rather "tinny" because the game doesn't run seamlessly but that's okay--engines & music come through great.  I was put off a bit at first because I was tired and wasn't really in the mood for gaming.  So I tried to put the Supermodel emulator in the back of my mind so I could pay attention to school.

Today, I decide to try Daytona 2 again.  I changed some of the command parameters.  This is what I have the best luck with on Daytona 2 & Scud Race:  Go full-screen but don't go max-resolution. Yeah, it sucks that you lose pixels but I never noticed:

Supermodel -fullscreen -no-throttle -ppc-frequency=50 -res=1024,768

Then I assigned input to the joysticks.  If you want to try it, type in "Supermodel -config-inputs" in the command line.  It saves your input to the Config/Supermodel.ini file.  This is from my ini file.  It's an ASCII file which means you can open it in Notepad with no problem:

InputStart1 = "JOY1_BUTTON10"
InputCoin1 = "JOY1_BUTTON9"
InputServiceA = "KEY_1"
InputServiceB = "KEY_2"
InputTestA = "KEY_3"
InputTestB = "KEY_4"
InputSteering = "JOY1_ZAXIS"
InputAccelerator = "JOY1_BUTTON6"
InputBrake = "JOY1_BUTTON5"
InputGearShift1 = "JOY1_POV1_UP+JOY1_POV1_LEFT"
InputGearShift2 = "JOY1_POV1_DOWN+JOY1_POV1_LEFT"
InputGearShift3 = "JOY1_POV1_UP+JOY1_POV1_RIGHT"
InputGearShift4 = "JOY1_POV1_DOWN+JOY1_POV1_RIGHT"
Rest of inputs say "NONE".  I'm not playing anything other than racers ATM.  You get this on my current Logitech USB Joystick:

Yeah, that's right.  You flick the left joystick diagonally to change gears.  It's brilliant!  No need to worry about being stuck in neutral.  In all honesty, any future racing games with a 4-gear shifter need to assign the gears to one of the joysticks and not the buttons.  If you're still having trouble with getting the control input working, I guess I could help with that if you ask.

So anyway, after making these two major changes, they had a HUGE impact on the game.  It's running at nearly 100%!  The frame rate is always at 60 except in a few places that always lag for a half-a-second, like under the pirate ship and in the park next to the baseball fields.

The difference from 70% to 100% speed is TREMENDOUS.  I swear, that frown just left my face.  Words cannot explain what this game feels like at its original speed.  You have to play it and feel it for yourself.  This isn't me playing but I believe this is close to 100%, maybe 95% since recording in Fraps slows things down.

The biggest annoyance though is that the car handling is really twitchy if you steer left or right very quickly.  The camera just jerks all around.  The reason why is because the game was deliberately programmed for steering wheels and hence the programmers didn't expect people to be able to turn the wheel THAT fast.  The game can also get obnoxiously choppy at some point (running at 60 fps but you can't keep up) but with the parameters I mentioned above, the game becomes tolerable.

Anyway, this is great...I'm okay at the game but not as good as I once was.  Obviously, if you try to jump back into a game you've never played in five years, it's going to be a little tough.


So let me get to what I meant with my initial paragraph.  For me, let me just say that being able to play Daytona 2 again is great.  From February 1, 2005 to September 28, 2011, it's been a real sonuva bitch not being able to play Daytona 2.  But it's not the end of my "journey."

As a matter of fact, this is almost a bitter moment.  You play the game today and it's great but there's nothing changed from its original 1998 release.  This is a game we should've played at home ten years ago but we never got it.  Sega bailed on it just like that.  And since it's an arcade game, the game isn't really "structured"--there's only four cars, three tracks, and all you can do is run loops over and over again trying to get high scores.  No multiplayer (as of now), no new content on the horizon (duh), and still a couple of things about the game I would still change.

Don't get me wrong because Daytona 2 is one of those games, along with other Sega racers, that, to me, I don't feel the need to play them non-stop (well, it is a very intense game that can tire you out fast). It's moreso the concepts & ideas that got me by.  Fast-paced racing, blue skies, everything's cool...I still feel good about it.  They affected me more than other games do so that's why they're my "favorites." So maybe this is why I'm not so "shocked" about being able to play Daytona 2 again because I held on dearly to the memories about it. I still know the music, the cars, the scenery, the physics, it's still there. And I'd be hard-pressed to actually get back to the feel of the old arcade cabinet...when I was young and I was getting a hang of the game, oh man that was a blast.

On the other hand, a Daytona USA Megamix with more cars & I'd HAVE to play that all the time.

My main regret is I wish I could've done more to help save Sega racers. I mean, Sega's releasing some mysterious Daytona port & we got tons of emulators. I'm still here though, doing my "part." But no matter--I'm pleased that the community gets to play these games too so if you've never tried it, then go do it now, no matter what computer you're using. Apparently, this latest update supposedly improves the game's performace. See ya later...