First game using parallax scrolling?

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

Moderators: mknott, NickThorpe, lcarlson, Darran@Retro Gamer, MMohammed

User avatar
Doddsy
Posts: 957
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:15 pm
Location: Vice City!

First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by Doddsy » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:20 am

What was the first game to use this cool technique to great effect? Wikipedia says its Moon Patrol. I'd say it was Shadow of the Beast that really caught peoples attention and made it popular for subsequent games to follow.
I could be wrong...

User avatar
PaulEMoz
Posts: 610
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:11 pm
Location: Co. Durham
Contact:

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by PaulEMoz » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:21 am

There were tons of games before Shadow of the Beast that used Parallax scrolling and made a big splash. The Commodore 64 had loads of them if we're talking home computer games. So I definitely wouldn't use that as an example.

EDIT: Although I'm reading that it was more of a parallax effect than true parallax scrolling. Still, the idea is the same.

User avatar
Mootown
Posts: 3853
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:33 am
Location: Blacktooth Castle, Basingstoke...
Contact:

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by Mootown » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:12 pm

I wish it was Parallax that first used Parallax. I know it isn't, but it's the dream.

User avatar
Mootown
Posts: 3853
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:33 am
Location: Blacktooth Castle, Basingstoke...
Contact:

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by Mootown » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:13 pm

I can remember someone telling me Shadow of the Beast on Amiga has 13 layers of parallax. Used to stand in Dixons watching the title screen, amazed.

User avatar
Darran@Retro Gamer
Posts: 6764
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:34 am
Location: Bournemouth
Contact:

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:47 pm

Wasn't it Irem's Moon Patrol?
Image

User avatar
Matt_B
Posts: 5456
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:30 am
Location: 5 minutes from the beach, 30 seconds from the pub

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by Matt_B » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:09 pm

I'd also put City Patrol on the ZX81 in the frame, as it also had parallax scrolling in 1982. I'm not sure which came first out of it and Moon Patrol though.

Also, I'm sure there are some even earlier games that have parallax starfields, although I'm not sure if that counts.

kiwimike
Posts: 3695
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:20 am
Location: Chch, NZ

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by kiwimike » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:18 pm

Pretty certain WikiP has it correct, I remember Moon Patrol making headlines at the time for it's parallax scrolling. Showing my age :lol:

Taitos Jungle King/Hunt had parallax as well though didn't it? Was that before Moon Patrol?

User avatar
joefish
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:05 pm

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by joefish » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:45 am

Depends how technical you want to get about it.

Most of the early ones just used blocks of colour and each layer that scrolled at a different speed appeared on a separate row to the previous layer. It meant that there was never any overlapping of moving detail. A lot of later NES games managed this, scrolling separate bands of the screen at different rates.

Then there was the slightly cheaper effect (most popular on the C64, but also on the NES) of using a repeated background pattern, and scrolling the pattern in the opposite direction to the main screen scroll, so it looked like the pattern was moving at a different speed. That's what Parallax does.

Shadow of the Beast boasted 13 layers but it was only ever two layers that overlapped (three if you count the odd sprite drifting past behind the clouds, or between the mountains in the background and the trees in the foreground). More than half of those 13 layers were all in separate bands in the grass at the bottom of the opening level, with that repeating stone wall overlaid in front. As soon as you entered an underground level you could see the basic two-layer engine at work. It did look impressive at the time though. By the time of SotB3 they'd got very skilled at seamlessly swapping the two screen layers and sprites around to give the illusion of more layers. Brian the Lion was another example of sprites doubling for parallax layers.

Ultimate demonstration of this banding technique was Deathbringer on the ST/Amiga, which scrolled each pixel row of the backdrop separately to give a panning flat landscape behind the player, though it ran a bit slow for all that effort.

The 16-bit consoles could do multiple overlaid layers in hardware, so left the ST and Amiga far behind for 2D.

User avatar
Matt_B
Posts: 5456
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:30 am
Location: 5 minutes from the beach, 30 seconds from the pub

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by Matt_B » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:09 am

joefish wrote:The 16-bit consoles could do multiple overlaid layers in hardware, so left the ST and Amiga far behind for 2D.
Well, the ST was. The Amiga does have hardware support for two separately scrollable background layers, although you've got to sacrifice quite a lot of colour depth to use it.

User avatar
will2097
Posts: 3909
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:24 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire
Contact:

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by will2097 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:51 pm

Mootown wrote:I can remember someone telling me Shadow of the Beast on Amiga has 13 layers of parallax. Used to stand in Dixons watching the title screen, amazed.
Me too. It looked astonishing too.

User avatar
thebear
Posts: 1032
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 5:30 am

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by thebear » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:46 am

I'd have said Moon Patrol or Pole Position
one of the biggest collections of classic 70's, 80'S and on wrestling and boxing around - http://www.freewebs.com/cbenee

User avatar
joefish
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:05 pm

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by joefish » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:34 am

Matt_B wrote:The Amiga does have hardware support for two separately scrollable background layers, although you've got to sacrifice quite a lot of colour depth to use it.
Well, the ST had interleaved bitplanes so you could do the same tricks - though with even more drastic reductions in the number of colours. The problem was it didn't have the built-in hardware scrolling capabilities you need to make it move around fast and smooth, so such effects rarely made the leap from demos into actual games.

Orc, by Psygnosis, was one game that used only 8 colours in the foreground, leaving one bitplane for a monochrome parallax background. Though being a Psygnosis game, they then chose eight shades of mud so it all looked a bit dismall. At least on the Amiga you could then add hardware sprites with a different palette of colours.

As RG points out this month, with Forgotten Worlds (and, I think, R-Type II) the Amiga version uses two 8-colour playfields for parallax scrolling, meaning that the foreground graphics have half the colours of the non-parallax ST version. Whereas if they'd thought about it, they could have matched the ST's 16 colours and still have dropped in an extra monochrome parallax layer in the background.

User avatar
TMR
Posts: 5756
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:56 am
Location: Leeds, U.K.
Contact:

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by TMR » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:56 am

If just having two parts of the screen scrolling at different speeds counts then Defender got there first. If we're insisting that it only "counts" if the two layers overlap then it's probably the static starfield behind the landscape in Scramble. =-)

turboboing
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:09 pm

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by turboboing » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:32 pm

Hi guys,

just joined the forum and noticed you talking about my games 8) (Forgotten Worlds and R-Type II).

The Atari St didn't have any support for hardware scrolling (let alone dual playfield) so you had to do everything on the cpu which was very time consuming.
A lot of ST games would pre-shift the blocks that made up the background so you could quickly do smooth scrolling.

The Amiga had a dual playfield mode which gave you 8 colors per layer which we used on the Amiga version of Forgotten Worlds.

On R-Type II for the Amiga I borrowed a technique used on Turrican, where you would use the hardware sprites as a background parallax layer, this meant you could have more colours on the foreground layer. The downside to this was you needed a really complex coppa list for multiplex the hardware sprites. The max width you could do with the sprites was 64 pixels, but you could trick it into restarting again at another position. You will notice on R-Type II it used a repeating pattern of 64 pixels wide.

On another of my Amiga games, Dragon Breed, I used the coppa list to change the background colour every scan line. This is similar to the approach used on Shadow of the beast which used the coppa to set different scroll speeds on each scan line.

Tim.

User avatar
martyg
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:43 am
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Contact:

Re: First game using parallax scrolling?

Post by martyg » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:47 am

Parallax scrolling simply describes two or more separate layers moving at different rates from one another to create an illusion of depth. It in no way denotes how many layers have to be there (again, the bare minimum is two: a background and a foreground). Moon Patrol was just the first game to receive attention for it's use, but not the first to rely on it. Exidy's Star Fire is the earliest I'm aware of, using sprite based parallax scrolling to show motion in the star fields. This was followed by Atari's Battlezone in 1980, which uses parallax scrolling (The mountain scape, vs. the playfield, vs. the first person player targeting are all on separate moving planes). Then you have Sega's Turbo in 1981 which uses a combination of planar and sprite based parallax scrolling. (I.E. the buildings and other items along the track combine sprite parallaxing with scaling, the motion of side fields itself uses horizontal planar parallax scrolling, and the horizon/background is on it's own plane as well.) You also have Scramble that year as well, which uses forced scroll parallax scrolling. Finally, in '82 you have Zaxxon which uses parallax scrolling in several of it's stages, and of course Moon Patrol (released after Zaxxon that year).
Marty

ClassicGaming.Com
Atari Gaming Headquarters - http://www.atarihq.com
Midwest Gaming Classic - http://www.midwestgamingclassic.com
Electronic Entertainment Museum (E2M)
Syzygy Company - http://www.syzygycompany.com/

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest