10 Aug 2018 -
Evolution is now in-game. This is a JRPG featuring a cast of cute characters and randomly-generated dungeons. It has some really memorable music, too (not that you’d know playing it on WashingtonDC…I still haven’t implemented sound yet). Some of the enemies look like they belong in a PSX game, but the main party is pretty high-polygon and the lighting model this game uses looks amazing.
The technological improvement that made this game playable in WashingtonDC was the implementation of the PowerVR2’s YUV420 converter. What this does is implement part of the MPEG/JPEG image compression in hardware. Specifically, it doubles the vertial chrominance sampling and interleaves the luminance and chrominance channels together into a format that PowerVR2 can sample from as a texture. Evolution uses this YUV converter to show an intro cinematic of Mag and Linear entering the dungeon at the beginning of the game. Unfortunately, the still movie doesn’t actually get displayed becase the game sees that there’s something wrong with the audio hardware (which there is, because I haven’t implemented it yet) and gives up on showing it right after it begins. Nevertheless, I still had to get the YUV converter working so the game can proceed because the game does actually try to show movie before it realises there’s no audio hardware.
BTW, one interesting fact about this game: it got ported to the Neo Geo Pocket Color, of all platforms. In the waning years of SEGA’s hardware days, they gave up on trying to beat the Game Boy and threw their weight behind SNK’s handheld platform instead. Neo Geo Pocket Color received this, a 2D Sonic game, and Puyo Puyo Tsu (and probably more SEGA stuff too, those three are just all I can name off the top of my head). I haven’t had the pleasure of trying out the NGPC port of Evolution, but from what I’ve seen it does a great job of remaking Evolution’s 3D graphics as old-school pixel art.