Author Topic: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha  (Read 552 times)

Offline dink

  • FBA Dev
  • ******
  • Posts: 2615
  • Karma: +197/-0
  • I <3 fried chicken
INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« on: December 19, 2016, 09:22:23 PM »
If you tried the game Power Drift, and noticed something isn't quite right with the steering - try this quick tip and you'll be enjoying a game in no time :)

The game requires a steering preset to properly control your vehicle, here's how to do it:

Load up Power Drift, then go to Input -> Map Game Inputs or just press F5.

Towards the bottom you'll notice 3 pull-down type boxes.  Pull down the first one and select "Player 1"
Pull down the middle box and select "Joystick 0", or "Keyboard" depending on what you want to use.
Pull down the 3rd box and select "Auto-Center", then click the "Use Preset" button.
Now, all you have to do is configure the buttons for Accelerate, Gear and Brake, press OK and start a game :)

This method works great using the thumbstick on either a DualShock or Xbox360-type controller.

Offline gamez fan

  • Expert
  • *****
  • Posts: 486
  • Karma: +11/-1
  • Arcade Addict
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2017, 05:02:06 PM »
Some games just dont transfer very well from Arcade to Emulator inputs wise, Power Drift controls like shit for me in two Emulators
now and nothing i can do to fix that :( BTW another one you may want to look at to tweak the input settings is Double Axle  also
known as Power Wheels.

Offline phozz

  • Newbies
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2017, 02:53:45 PM »
Hi all, I actually registered here specifically to discuss this issue and ask for help. As a long time fan of Power Drift (I miss that rotating cabin!) I have been struggling with the steering problem for a long time.

Historically speaking, the first emulator on which Power Drift was playable was Final Burn, which released in 2000 and (as far as I understand) was the predecessor to Final Burn Alpha. Its emulation was not perfect - the screen didn't tilt when the car turned - but other than that everything worked, and most importantly keyboard controls were responsive and razor sharp. With it I have no problems completing the game, often reaching the Bonus Stage (after a #1 streak). Despite being old the emulator works well on new PCs and it's still the one I use for playing this game.

In late 2002 development on Final Burn stopped, and soon Power Drift became playable on FBA and Mame. Unfortunately though, the controls were quite simply off. No matter what I did with these emulators I felt like a drunk driver, with the virtual wheel either responding too slowly or centering too slowly (or both) to be playable. I tried tweaking many settings while carefully comparing the behavior between FB and FBA/Mame (even using the game's diagnostics), but failed to find a satisfactory setting.

Last night I tried out the current version of FBA, fba64_029742. It actually seemed better, but still not perfect. I looked at the input settings and noticed this configuration line:
input  "Steering"         slider 0xcb 0xcd speed 0xe00 center 10

I compared it to the setting in Final Burn v0.518:
input "Left/Right"       slider 0x25 0x27 speed 0xe00 center 10

I tried to copy the values 0x25 0x27 but then the arrow keys stopped working - so I assume those are codes that determine which keys are used for steering and different values are used by the different emulators. But the speed and center parameters are the same, so.. why doesn't the slider behave the same?

Can someone with more knowledge shed some light and try to help? It's a shame that this game can't be played properly with modern emulators, and at some point Final Burn won't work on new machines any more. All that needs to be done is to compare the code responsible for the keyboard slider between FB 0.518 and the current FBA source, and make FBA behave the same as FB. (Well, at least it sounds simple...)
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 02:21:25 AM by phozz »

Offline Gab75

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 460
  • Karma: +19/-0
  • All games deserve to be emulated, more or less! :P
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2017, 05:22:09 PM »
Hi phozz,
you can try with this setting (obviously combined with an analog joypad/joystick):
input  "Steering"         joyslider 0 0 speed 0xe00 center 10

I use a compatible dualshock joypad and this setting works fine for me... :) (for this kind of games a device with analog controls is highly recommended)

Offline dink

  • FBA Dev
  • ******
  • Posts: 2615
  • Karma: +197/-0
  • I <3 fried chicken
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2017, 07:17:11 PM »
Hi phozz,
I'd like to help here, but, could you please be more specific as to what is wrong here - for example, are the arrow keys not reacting fast enough?  What do you think is the difference between the slider from then and now the current version?
It might help a lot if you PM me a link to the old version of FB[a] which reacts how you want it and I'll try it and compare.  If its not available on the web, upload it to http://www.sendspace.com :)

best regards,
- dink

Last night I tried out the current version of FBA, fba64_029742. It actually seemed better, but still not perfect. I looked at the input settings and noticed this configuration line:
input  "Steering"         slider 0xcb 0xcd speed 0xe00 center 10

I compared it to the setting in Final Burn v0.518:
input "Left/Right"       slider 0x25 0x27 speed 0xe00 center 10

I tried to copy the values 0x25 0x27 but then the arrow keys stopped working - so I assume those are codes that determine which keys are used for steering and different values are used by the different emulators. But the speed and center parameters are the same, so.. why doesn't the slider behave the same?

Offline phozz

  • Newbies
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2017, 01:55:36 AM »
Hey dink, when driving the keys are both a little slow to respond and a little slow to center - and in a game like this where timing is critical, that's the difference between going for #1 and crashing into a Victory Furniture billboard. On the other hand, in FB I can easily choose any of the 5 courses at the startup page while in FBA it seems to much more quickly jump to the extreme (A or E) selections so it's hard to pick B or D. So the wheel seems both too slow and too fast to respond, depending on the case! Now I've spent hours trying to tweak the settings (in Mame there are lots of them) looking for a combination that would replicate FB's behavior but failed. For example, if I set it to center quickly like it should then in some cases the car would not actually center but instead start drifting to one side rather than drive straight.

I really can't explain what "secret sauce" FB used, I guess a peek at the code is the only way to find out - though I don't have a copy of it. I hope it can be found somewhere.

I'm sending you a copy of the emulator. I'm including the ROM because there are slight differences in how FB preferred to have the data packed and named (try to use a current ROM file and it'll complain that something is missing. Still playable and behaves the same though). Remember in the Input menu to select Player 1, Kbd Centering Slider.

Another thing I'd like to mention is the High/Low gear setting indicator. In FB it's at the lower left corner (next to the speed indicator) and is very clear and readable. The characters are even styled to make it look like part of the original game. In FBA it's at the opposite corner and hardly visible - a handicap when playing. Perhaps this could be made more user configurable?

(For anyone else who wants to try: the emulator can be found at http://doperoms.com/files/emulators/mame/finalburn.zip . Use your current ROM file but rename it to pwrdrift.zip . Some sounds will be missing but the game will work.)

Thank you!
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 02:17:26 AM by phozz »

Offline dink

  • FBA Dev
  • ******
  • Posts: 2615
  • Karma: +197/-0
  • I <3 fried chicken
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2017, 08:58:38 AM »
Thanks for all the info and stuff, it helped me to replicate the behavior of the original FB.  With this setting and running FBA and FB side-by-side, both the car and the selection screen seem exactly the same with this input setting:
input  "Steering"         slider 0xcb 0xcd speed 0x900 center 10

For the next version I'll move the low/hi gear indicator to the lower left side of the screen.

best regards,
- dink
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 09:00:25 AM by dink »

Offline phozz

  • Newbies
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2017, 01:46:10 PM »
Wow, this is definitely much better! I hope you agree the game is a lot more playable now - and if you do, why not make this the default for everyone?

It still isn't an exact replica of FB's behavior however - it feels just a little bit different, and in the game's diagnostics > Input test > Handle right/left, the numbers are different. But I guess going for the exact behavior would require looking into the sources, and would take a lot more time and effort. I wouldn't mind doing it myself - do you have any idea where the old FB source code can be found? The original website is long gone. I can see a very old version of FBA (0.137) on the website - would that code likely be the same as the old FB?

Update: I've compared the sources. The FB source is found here:
https://web.archive.org/web/20040614184019fw_/http://www.finalburn.com:80/fb/source.html
The relevant function is InputTick(), found at burner/input.cpp. In the current FBA source it's in src\intf\input\inp_interface.cpp. There are some API differences but functionally they look identical. Oh well. Any tips on where else to look?

Thanks a lot!
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 03:31:24 PM by phozz »

Offline dink

  • FBA Dev
  • ******
  • Posts: 2615
  • Karma: +197/-0
  • I <3 fried chicken
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2017, 10:00:40 PM »
I did some testing and found:
0x800 will get the same values in the diagnostics as FB
0x890 though, is closer to the timing in FB, and the values in the diagnostics are a little different, but the game responds exactly the same IMO.  Try both and see which one you like better :)

best regards,
- dink
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 10:01:58 PM by dink »

Offline phozz

  • Newbies
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: INFO: How to play Power Drift in FBAlpha
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2017, 02:15:11 AM »
I've just played under the two options and it looks like 0x800 nails it - I felt no control issues and got a #1 streak for the first time under FBA! Yay :biggrin:

I strongly recommend making this the default value for the keyboard slider under this game, or at least mention it in the Game Notes (where the current string is "Select Auto-Center preset in Input Configuration").

Thanks again for your help!
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 07:05:58 PM by phozz »