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Differences in the Amiga version of MI2


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I only just became aware of this, but apparently the Amiga version didn't include the "I hope LeChuck hasn't put a SPELL on him or anything" line at the end. Those of us who played the Amiga version had even less of a clue what the ending meant... no wonder we were traumatised 😆

 

I know there's some other minor artwork differences, but it makes me wonder when that line was added... or if it's just a bug? (Also wasn't aware until now that Tami Borowick led the Amiga conversion... I wonder what her memories of that project was, given that it was the version we played for so many Europeans.)

 

Video below will jump straight to the scene in question...

 

 

 

 

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
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That's bizarre. I've played the Amiga version and never saw that myself. It honestly looks like a jump cut in the video where some data was maybe lost, rather than a difference in the game itself, because I distinctly remember the scene fading out after Elaine finishes speaking.

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Scratch that, I checked my Amiga version of MI2 in an emulator and you're absolutely right! Elaine doesn't mention the "voodoo SPELL" line, and the scene just cuts immediately to black. It matches the video pretty well. Interesting!

 

Since the Amiga version also has the fish in the woodcutter's shop that was removed before the PC version shipped, I wonder if Elaine's line being added was a late change to the PC version... perhaps intended to shed light on what the intended interpretation of the ending was?

Edited by ATMcashpoint
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I'm trying to think back, because I did first play it on Amiga. It's funny, that line has always stuck out as a bit odd to me, and I think the reason why is because I never had it in the version I played.

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Very interesting! I'd like to see the script for this version and figure out what the reason is... I wonder if descumm can help. I'll have a look in the morning, but I won't get my hopes up 😂

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Okay, I hate to say it but this looks like a bug. I went right to the top with this and asked one of the cleverest people I know, Jimmi (serge) of Scumm Rev fame, if he could help me figure it out and he was kind enough to take a look. We checked the script using descumm and sure enough, Elaine's line about the SPELL is there and it's supposed to be displayed. The best working guess we have right now is that there's a call to the Amiga graphics settings to make the screen fade to black, and unfortunately it does this BEFORE it displays the line of dialogue. Which of course, to the player, is the same as turning the dialogue off because the screen has already faded to black. 

 

This may not be the exact reason for the bug, and I may have misinterpreted the explanation a bit, but the dialogue is definitely in the code for the Amiga version so I'm confident chalking this up as an error. 

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My old account seems to be hard to reach, so...

 

Just to add some nerdy details to elTee's explanation, and some things I noticed when I looked at it again. SCUMM has a wait-for-message command (Ron explains it a bit in the Video Game History Foundation video). It causes the script to wait until dialogue is done displaying before continuing. There are two things Elaine can say at that point (won't spoil the other one, just in case), and in the case of the "spell" line, there's no wait-for-message immediately after her dialogue. That's intentional: In PC VGA mode, the line is followed by a fade-out to black (fade all colors to black) over 25 frames, and then we have the wait-for-message call. Meaning it will fade out while she's talking. In EGA mode, the screen immediately cuts to black, with the wait-for-message coming before that cut (otherwise, we might not see the text at all).

 

And then there's the Amiga graphics mode. Which does exactly the same as the EGA mode - it cuts straight to black - but with wait-for-message after the cut. Meaning the script will tell the engine to display the line, and immediately change all colors to black - in the same frame. Which doesn't give Elaine much time to finish talking (none at all).

 

The thing I realized when looking again is that - like most fades in SCUMM - the low 16 colors in the palette aren't faded. Those are colors used for (among other things) dialogue lines (they're mostly the typical EGA palette). Meaning Elaine's dialogue line will stay on screen all the way through the fade.

 

The Amiga version actually does the same - it cuts all 256 colors to black except the low 16 colors - but the Amiga version doesn't use those colors for the text (or anything at all, actually). So that won't help either. It then looks like they tried to fix it by changing two colors back to full color intensity - probably the colors used for the text (but haven't looked further to be sure about that - may also be two colors used later). If it's intended for letting her text show, the problem with that is that that color change command comes after wait-for-message. So Elaine will be done talking before the two colors come back.

 

So:

1. Elaine says the line

2. Colors 16-255 are changed to black

3. Wait for Elaine to be done talking

4. Colors 46-47 are changed to full color again

 

ETA: Looked at colors 46-47 in the palette, and sure enough, they're dark gray and magenta = the color of Elaine's dialogue. So seems point 4 likely really was an attempt at a fix.

Edited by Jither
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2 hours ago, Jither said:

There are two things Elaine can say at that point (won't spoil the other one


Please spoil! What’s the other one?

 

Thanks for the incredibly detailed response. Definitely seems like a bug, or possibly a limit of the Amiga (which could only support 32 colours comfortably instead of the PC’s 256). 

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22 minutes ago, ThunderPeel2001 said:


Please spoil! What’s the other one?

 

Thanks for the incredibly detailed response. Definitely seems like a bug, or possibly a limit of the Amiga (which could only support 32 colours comfortably instead of the PC’s 256). 

 

If there's a way to WIN the amiga version of the game without actually playing it all the way through, give it a try ;)

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That's really interesting! Looking at the video now, it's obvious that the screen is blank for too long between Elaine disappearing and the credits starting up - I'm unsure if I thought that was weird when I first played it, but maybe.

 

The part I don't understand is...

 

2 hours ago, Jither said:

 

And then there's the Amiga graphics mode. Which does exactly the same as the EGA mode - it cuts straight to black

 

 

Why does it do that? It would make sense if they never implemented gradual fades on the Amiga, but there's one immediately before the Elaine scene! I'm sure there were gradual fades through the rest of the game too. It's weird that the attempted fix was to make Elaine's dialogue stay on the screen when they could have just fixed whatever was making the screen go black immediately - right?

 

Anyway, the main difference in the Amiga version of MI2 is that the Amiga version is amazing and the others are bad.

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31 minutes ago, ThunderPeel2001 said:


Please spoil! What’s the other one?

 

Thanks for the incredibly detailed response. Definitely seems like a bug, or possibly a limit of the Amiga (which could only support 32 colours comfortably instead of the PC’s 256). 

 

elTee just said it, about the other dialogue. 🙂

 

It's definitely a bug - even though the Amiga only had the 32 colors (using the colors 16-48 in a 256 palette, with the rest unused), the intention was clearly to either:

  • Not cut to black until Elaine was done talking (like the EGA version), or
  • Cut to black, but keep Elaines talk colors so the sentence would be on black (like it is in the PC VGA version).

Both could be done, either by:

  • Putting wait-for-message before the cut, or
  • Changing all colors (16-255) to black, then changing color 46-47 (the talk colors) to their actual colors - then wait-for-message.

In pseudo-SCUMM without the choices between display mode, and with a totally made-up color-lightness command (which isn't what it would actually be called or look like, but something like it):

 

say-line elaine "I hope LeChuck hasn't cast some horrible SPELL over him or anything."
wait-for-message
color-lightness of 16 to 255 is 0    ; only change colors to black when Elaine is done talking

 

or

say-line elaine "I hope LeChuck hasn't cast some horrible SPELL over him or anything."
...
color-lightness of 16 to 255 is 0
color-lightness of 46 to 47 is 255    ; undo the blackness of those two colors
wait-for-message                      ; NOW we wait for Elaine to stop talking - her dialogue will be visible on black background

 

Instead, the wait is after the cut, and the talk colors are "fixed" after the wait. 🙂 The actual Amiga code:

say-line elaine "I hope LeChuck hasn't cast some horrible SPELL over him or anything."
...
color-lightness of 16 to 255 is 0
wait-for-message                   ; all colors are now black, and we wait for Elaine to stop talking
; another command here to deallocate the Elaine actor
color-lightness of 46 to 47 is 255 ; now we change the colors of a dialogue line that's no longer displaying, hrm...

See, it's close (although trying to do both things at once) - just the order that's wrong. Probably someone not quite remembering exactly what wait-for-message actually does, or when screen updates are done.

 

Edited by Jither
Clarifications
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12 minutes ago, Huz said:

Why does it do that? It would make sense if they never implemented gradual fades on the Amiga, but there's one immediately before the Elaine scene! I'm sure there were gradual fades through the rest of the game too. It's weird that the attempted fix was to make Elaine's dialogue stay on the screen when they could have just fixed whatever was making the screen go black immediately - right?

 

Right 🙂 - but there are always these kinds of strange choices and mistakes in any programming - not least in SCUMM (Maniac Mansion, for example, has several different ways of waiting for actors to finish their dialogue, probably because things were implemented as they went along). There might have been a performance issue with fading just at that point, for whatever reason, and it might even have been fixed, but no-one remembered to change the code.

Edited by Jither
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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Serge said:

 

Right 🙂 - but there are always these kinds of strange choices and mistakes in any programming - not least in SCUMM (Maniac Mansion, for example, has several different ways of waiting for actors to finish their dialogue, probably because things were implemented as they went along). There might have been a performance issue with fading just at that point, for whatever reason, and it might even have been fixed, but no-one remembered to change the code.

 

The fades in Amiga MI2 were particularly slow, clunky and CPU heavy as I recall. Wouldn't surprise me at all if they were playing around with possibilities. (The limited Amiga palette did make one thing more obvious in the next LA game: In Fate of Atlantis, Indy's eyes would grow accustomed to darker rooms and gradually get brighter. It's so subtle on the PC version, but way more obvious on the Amiga one.)

 

13 hours ago, elTee said:

 

If there's a way to WIN the amiga version of the game without actually playing it all the way through, give it a try ;)

 

Oh THAT! :) I don't think there's any secrets left these days! (I do remember reading a comment once where a player complained that the ending from ALT-W sucked, so why should they bother playing the whole game. Made me die a little inside.)

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
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21 hours ago, Scummbuddy said:

This was fascinating. Thank you all.

Now, is this a to-be-reported bug for ScummVM to see if someone can patch this?

Please, please please, DO file it on the bug tracker! We might fix it and mark it as an enhancement!😁

Edited by AndywinXp
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Posted (edited)

Something else about the Amiga version I just came across on the HOL:

 

Quote

During play hold down ‘ALT’ and press ‘W’ to complete the entire game. ‘Shift’ + ‘F9’ for recording scenes. ‘Shift’ + ‘F10’ for playing recorded scenes.

 

"Recording scenes"? I've never heard of that feature before? Was this in the original releases?? Was it unique to the Amiga?

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
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Posted (edited)

It might be a debug feature that somehow got mentioned in the keyboard shortcuts on HOL even after being dummied out of hte published game. SCUMM had the ability to "record" gameplay sessions and write the logs to files for playback on other computers. The only time this was used in anything published was, oddly enough, in the MI2 DOS rolling demo, which is also why ScummVM doesn't play the demo properly and treats it like an interactive game.

Edited by ATMcashpoint
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I just gave it a quick try in WinUAE and those keys didn't work, but then again I couldn't get debug mode working on it either so I may have had issues with the keymap or a wonky copy of the game.

 

Shift+F9 and Shift+F10 are indeed the keys for recording/playing back a demo. Whether they are active depends on the version of the game. Normally I think you you need a full windex debug interpreter for the recording/playback functionality to be enabled (like the one included with the MI2 talkie prototype). So the pc cd version of MI2 doesn't let you do it, even in debug mode.

However that functionality is enabled in the pc floppy version of MI2 without needing to enable debug mode. So I can well imagine that there's a version of the Amiga MI2 interpreter where playback and recording is enabled.

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Posted (edited)

I just tested it in the MI2 DOS floppy release. Apparently Shift+F9 lets you record demo files (though you'd have to include the .rec file extension in the names you give them, like the "demo.rec" file used in the MI2 rolling demo), but Shift+10 doesn't allow playback. Still, it's pretty surprising that functionality was left in at all.

Edited by ATMcashpoint
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Er this demo functionality isn't new is it? I recorded a video of it many years ago and it wasn't new then either. Unless I'm missing something? 

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And so the cycle of making the same discoveries and getting excited about them continues.

 

Now, wait until I tell you guys about the deleted boot image I found on the floppy disks.

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2 hours ago, Thrik said:

And so the cycle of making the same discoveries and getting excited about them continues.

 

And will only continue as we get older and more forgetful. LucasArts: The gift that keeps on giving!

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