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Pushing the limits of original 8bit computers with modern programming techniques

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Pushing the limits of original 8bit computers with modern programming techniques, example 1, a Commodore C64 running an entire Sonic the Hedgehog game.  This runs on original hardware with the requirement of a 256k expansion board which was available from Commodore at the time: (PAL version)

I find it amazing that they got the fluid motion of this 16bit game with all the music included.
With modern knowledge, I wonder what could have been achieved on the Atari 8 bit computer, or even an Atari 2600.

David Hess:
These system, but not the 2600 as much, had considerable help from a display list processor which allowed smooth scrolling and hardware sprites.

Looks like a very nice implementation of the game. It is a port of Sega's version for the Sega Master System though, which is also an 8 bit machine (Z80-based).

I am surprised that this game is apparently available for free -- with Sega's blessing? The C64 implementation uses the original names and graphics, which must still be copyrighted and which Sega continues to commercialize. The C64 developers can't be paying royalties to Sega and then giving the game away for free. So has Sega decided to be generous here, given the limited number of C64 systems still in active use?

What do you mean with "modern programming techniques"?

The CPU they run this on is the same as it was back then and there were also very good programmers at that time, so what techniques are you referring to? Is there a mention in the video, which I have to confess I did not watch to the end?

As an assembler programmer myself, at least in that era, I also wrote specific code for the 6502 that had to be timed to the microsecond which meant trimming every unnecessary instruction.

If you look at the C64 demo scene way back then and what they pulled off, it is not really all that surprising.

That particular game probably makes heavy use of the VIC raster interrupt, custom character sets and sprites, which kind of explains the requirement for 256k of memory.


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