McMikey

Your SNES programming Questions

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Hi Guys,

I have made contact and planning to interview Amory Wong the Lead programmer for the SNES version of NHL '94. So once again I'm asking you guys if there is any questions you want me to ask. It my not make the final cut of the film, but at least it mite get into the Special Features on the Bluray/DVD.

So what would you like to know?

Cheers,

Mikey

PS; The questions you guys had for Jim Simmons was a huge help to me

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hm. well, I think the recollection period has probably long passed, but I'd love to know how "aggression" works, technically. I suspect it is the player's reputation with the referees, with higher rating making incidental contact more likely to be called as a penalty. proof in that area has been elusive. I figure he'd have to have detailed notes on hand or be a tracing master or something like that. I doubt he'd be able to be like "oh, yeah, no, it's nothing, actually... it sure affects the overall rating, though, doesn't it?!" also, is he still well versed enough to take a commission on a further hacking job, like, say, putting fighting back "in the game" for us? if he entertains these questions or not, be sure to give him serious thanks from those of us still obsessed with his works.

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Ask him for the nhl94 source code so some our smart nhl94.com people can pick the game apart

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wait... why don't one-minute penalties work?

  • Sad 1

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Tru, I'm pretty sure aggression has something to do with fighting, and was just left over from 93.

I would like to know if they kept track of TOI (Time On Ice). Genesis does, but I can't figure out if SNES does.

Why does the goalie move around like he's just sliding on the ice instead of skating? I feel like I'm playing Pong sometimes.

In Genesis, a successful check is more pre-determined (using player weights), where in SNES it's pretty random. How come the difference?

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wait... why don't one-minute penalties work?

I don't know why it doesn't work. They can be changed to almost anything from 2 minutes and up. But when it gets changed to 1 minute the game gets scrambled

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A few quick ones off the top of my head, but I'll have more:

How long did it take?

How many people worked on it?

What percentage of code would you say is original, and how much is ported from either the SNES or Sega '93 games?

How did you decide what to change from the previous game (NHLPA 93)? For example a lot of the graphics are different.

Were there any features you couldn't fit in that you wanted?

Did you communicate with the Sega NHL'94 team (Mark Lesser) about anything?

What was the feeling/thoughts when you found out they redid everything for 95? (I assume they scrapped most of the 94 code from both SNES and Sega versions, but I could be wrong)

What do you think of the assembly code language for programming the SNES (6502 processor?) compared to any other machines you might have worked on (68k, x86...)? (In trying to hack the SNES games, I found it frustrating dealing with banks and how many Load and Store (LDA and STA) instructions there were for everything)

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Any insights into how the AI works? Defensive/Offensive Awareness?

How does it determine if a check is successful or not?

Often you'll have a player on your team who, despite having low ratings, can skate super fast in a particular game. What's up with that?

If I were to download the source code, what would the URL for that be?....

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Did you look at the NHLPA'93 SNES code? Is it as bad as I imagine it was? (I tried hacking it a bit and it seemed a bit crazy sometimes, plus it couldn't play many sounds at once (sounds would get cut-off), the frame-rate was really low, etc...)

I'd heard they only had like 3 weeks to make the '93 port and weren't even familiar with the hardware, so I'm not judging, just asking :) :)

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...you'll have a player on your team who, despite having low ratings, can skate super fast in a particular game. What's up with that?...

yes! PLEASE ask him this one!

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uh... stop aiming at the post! so, I totally don't understand the desire to have fewer posts, as it seems to be just like actual hockey, where if you take a whole bunch of shots, the ones that the goaltender doesn't get -- because they were sent wide of him intentionally -- have a medium likelihood of hitting iron. you aren't aiming five, you are aiming one, two, three, four. you aren't aiming at the netminder's chest, you are trying to get it into the area around him but still in the net, leaving you not much room to get it right. even the best shooters hit the the post sometimes. I get that the Genesis version has vacuums for nets, so posts are almost all goals, so I understand when Genesis guys think SNES has too many "clank" results, but you're a SNES guy for life, right? do the (North)Stars and Wild not hit posts like one to six times per game? I just don't get seeing this as something that needs to be "fixed," as it seems to be working just as it was intended. could you please elaborate on your request and the reasoning for it?

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Why scoring with slapshots is rare?

Why the manual goalie control is the best goalie control ever created for hockey video video games?

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Great question. (Although, it's probably obvious in the source code, and a needle in a hay stack in the ROM)

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Please just tell him I love him. :red_heart:

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Any insights into how the AI works? Defensive/Offensive Awareness?

How does it determine if a check is successful or not?

Often you'll have a player on your team who, despite having low ratings, can skate super fast in a particular game. What's up with that?

If I were to download the source code, what would the URL for that be?....

smoz, these are great questions as they are a conversation starter!

tru, you got some good points and I will add some of your ideas into my questions, the "aggression" question is very important point to be honest.

c4outlaws, I admire your drive to use this opportunity to see if the game can be approved.

Does anyone have any general questions? With my experience talking with the designers is the code questions that are very specific are generally answered by "Well that was a long time ago". But a question like "Any insights into how the AI works? Defensive/Offensive Awareness?"

That sparks a conversation on how the code works to make the game fell organic.
But there is no such thing as a bad question.

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Any fun/funny memories/anecdotes from back then?

As we've learned, Mark lesser didn't even know the rules of hockey before he started on Sega 94. How much of a hockey fan was Amory back then? Other programmers on the game?

Did they think the game was particularly good / groundbreaking at the time?

Does he recall any particularly difficult parts of programming the game? Something that took a lot of time to get right, or bugs that took many many days to solve?

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Are there certain parts of the game he's particularly proud of?

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awesome smoz! those are all top notch questions!

Edited by McMikey

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Geeze, I can't believe an SNES port thread gets more attention than the Jim Simmons thread. Simmons started it all, guys!!!

Anyway, I hope everyone took a look at Mr.Wong's interview from this thread: http://forum.nhl94.com/index.php/topic/17390-interview-with-amory-wong-lead-programmer-for-snes-nhl-94/

Based on that thread I just have a couple questions. He mentioned that the SNES '94 was actually ported from the GENS '93 (because '94 for GENS ans SNES were coming out very close together).

So....

1a. When he says "port", are we talking function by function (or even line by line) copying/translating over, as much as possible? Or was it more like playing the game, and trying to code it so it had the same feel?

1b. How much code is based on '93 code, and how much was wholly original?

1c. Can he comment on some things that SNES '94 had that GENS '93 did not have, where porting was not possible? (Manual Goalie control, one timers, etc.) Was that more fun because it was creating instead of re-creating?

2. How familiar was he with GENs architecture, and how similar was coding for the two systems?

Thanks Mikey!

Edited by aqualizard

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- When was the actual release date of the SNES game? There is conflicting evidence on the internets.

- How come some rosters are left unfilled? The teams who lost their players to the expansion draft have empty spots in their roster (i.e. NYI only has Healy as a goalie).

- Tied into the above question, when did you finish developing the game? How long between completing the game, and the time of release?

- How many people were part of the design team?

- Did you have experience in programming sports games prior to NHL '94? (I'm giving softies to warm him up here)

- How much did you get paid by EA Sports to program the game? Was it worth it?

- Have you worked on any other game systems? Which ones were the hardest to code for?

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When they wrote the AI, did they just copy the NHL'93 AI for the most part (porting the logic to SNES code), or did they write their own AI logic?

Was it a conscious decision to make passing more accurate in the SNES game than the Sega game? Or just something that happened?

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PS Mikey you can click "follow this topic" at the top of the page in order to get notified whenever someone posts in the thread.

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I don't know if it's ever been explained, but why were was the theme song for SNES version different than the Genesis version? (I much prefer the SNES version!)

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rereading my post above about hitting posts....I feel pretty solidly that Genesis vacuum nets are weird and that SNES posts are perfectly balanced.  "gluchunk!"

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