Wednesday, April 23, 2014

3DS OutRun

M2's version of OutRun for the Nintendo 3DS is out in Japan. M2 have done a fantastic job with the previous SEGA ports, so it's exciting that OutRun has finally made it. Playing these titles in 3D for the first time is an awesome experience. This is also the first new port of the original OutRun for around ten years.

Whilst I haven't tried the 3DS version yet, I've checked out the videos and information online. There's a good interview with M2 in Japanese. Part 1 and Part 2.

There are plenty of solid features: 3D graphics, 60 FPS gameplay, widescreen mode, optional car colours, car handling settings and the usual difficulty and time DIP switch options from the arcade machine.

In terms of bugs, interestingly, M2 opted to fix the timing issues that we discussed in a previous post. However, the arcade mode uses the original timing. It's a confusing way of doing things I think as it creates two separate OutRun timing systems. The sprite scaling bug is fixed and the level object issue with the broken Gateway arches also appear fixed. Regarding the audio, the corrupt PCM samples are fixed.

So, you're probably thinking - is this the best best version of OutRun ever? Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks if you're looking for a truly faithful experience. The biggest gripe is the Ferrari substitution, an inevitability due to licensing issues.

Whilst the car is purely cosmetic, it's also THE memorable graphic from the original game. It would be disappointing to replace Sonic the Hedgehog with a blue badger for example, even if the gameplay was identical.

Other graphics that have been changed include the Porsche graphic, which has had the spoiler removed.

The Marlboro lookalike sign on the start banner has been altered further to differentiate it from the cigarette brand. I spotted a sign that had been edited to contain an M2 logo also. 

There appears to be a sprite clipping bug on Stage 2 with the large stone graphics. It's possible this is an optimization to help the game run faster on the 3DS, but the large stones are disabled as they get closer to the camera. It's also possible M2 forgot to update a hard-coded value in the drawing routine for this object for widescreen displays. 

The shadows also seem to be too dark, so I'm not sure what's happened there. Maybe a palette optimization with the translucency for speed purposes on the 3DS? The Saturn conversion got this right, so I'm guessing it's not an oversight.  

Regarding the extras to change the car handling, I have mixed views on their merits and will wait to see how they play. Maybe being able to bump into traffic with no ill effects, drive off-road at full speed, grip corners more tightly and drive at a higher speed will be awesome and add a new dimension to the game. Maybe these are just cheap and easy features for M2 to implement! ;) Either way, they are pretty easy additions to CannonBall if they prove to be popular and there is a genuine demand for them.

In terms of a commercial OutRun release, this is probably as good as it's ever going to get so please buy a copy when it's released in your territory and show M2 and SEGA some support.

I'll keep this post updated as I find out more information!


barito said...

Ouch, that "non-ferrari" logo hurts! :_(

In my opinion, Cannonball is still the best version out "there" :) (it only lacks Xinput rumble support)

yt said...

Once I've ported the mini-upright vibration code (for CannonBoard work) I will get it working with XInput. It's on the TODO list! :-)

Adrian said...

Interesting that they fixed the timing issues! Looking forward to buying this when it comes out in the UK eShop.

matt said...

So do we think they've done their own decompilation for this version, then?

yt said...

I'd hope M2 would have the original source code given it's an official port!

I think it's probably been converted to C through some sort of automation potentially, rather than emulation. That's just a guess though.

Their changes are quite basic, so not sure how low-level they got with the code.

pedrog said...

I've sent a link to the Cannonball homepage to M2 president some months before the Japanese release so they knew the bugs you fixed!

pedrog said...

In fact I've sent to him in December! Just a bit after Super Hang On was released on the US e-shop :P

Taggsta said...

Nice write up

Enkonsierto said...

Will you implement a 3D mode? I love 3D games and I can't wait for this 3DS conversion. I think a cannonball 3D side-by-side version should not present many problems.

So, I could play in 3D mode in a big screen.

Please, please!

Unknown said...

Time for a year old bump. So this version came out in the US two days ago (as of this writing), so have you gotten your mitts on this?

yt said...

It's a solid conversion. But I think AfterBurner 2 and Space Harrier were the best of this series of M2 releases, due to the innovative extra game features.

I mean, that extra mode in AfterBurner totally transforms it into a more playable game! It blew me away as a player.

The OutRun gameplay tweaks are a bit lame in my opinion and actually make the game play worse. It's all subjective though...

dustyjo said...

I know this is ancient, but I just wanted to mention that the new M2 sign replaced a KTM advertisement, who is a real-life motorcycle manufacturer.