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Amstrad CPC Ripping Tutorial
#1
This is a tutorial on how to rip sprites from Amstrad CPC games.

Firstly you need Caprice Forever. Make sure the version you have is 18.6 or above because it means that you have the graphics explorer (tile viewer). You will need 7Zip to extract the emulator to the folder of your choice.

So now that you have the emulator and found some games, you're ready to rip but before that...

Some advice before we load up the games. There are many different versions of a game out there and it can get a bit confusing. Some later games have copy protection included however if they are listed as Spain release, these don't have the copy protection that is included in the UK release, Ocean was often known for doing this. There are cracked versions of a game that remove copy protection or transferred from disc to tape however some cracked versions have bugs affecting the game whether it is poorly removed copy protection or the hacker decided to change a few things. Trainers are games that have cheats in them such as infinite lives, time or ammo however again some trainers have problems with the games creating some bugs along the way, mostly the older scene releases.

I've mentioned copy protection and there are many types of copy protection. Some require |CPM to be booted up or unable to use some commands. Ones that say gaps and weak sectors even affect the discs themselves making them harder to copy and even preserve because they are more likely to fail over time, it is more recently that those can be copied and preserved.

Last thing, if you see compactages anywhere online and wonder what that word means well... They are scene releases of games using the original source (whether disc or tape), compress them to use as less space as possible, removed copy protection and maybe also have improvements such as cheats, new better title screens on some games, faster loading, music and even bug fixes ranging from working on machines that might not before to some critical problems that makes you able to complete the game while you couldn't before!

Then there are different versions of the game altogether such as Double Dragon 1 and 2. One by Richard Aplin (the good one) and one by Animagic (the bad one).

So to recap:

Spain Release (Ocean games) = Recommended over UK release due to no copy protection but still official and in English.
Cracked = Removed copy protection or someone has transferred the tape to disc on tape only releases.
Trainer = These include cheats to make your life easier playing the game.
Compactages = Cleaned up releases that might have cheats or improvements. Also include bug fixes for certain games!

Loading the games

After double clicking the exe, the emulator loads up. If its blurry like on Windows 10 with a high resolution monitor, it would have to be changed (because we are print screening). You would have to right click the exe before loading up and go to Compatibility, High DPI Settings and then Override via Application. First we need to put the disc in so go to Disk, Load image into Drive A, select your game and click Open. There are a very few games that have more than one disc so put Disc 2 into Load image into Drive B.

Unlike retro consoles where the game starts straight away and modern consoles where you have a menu, you have to know commands but luckily the Amstrad CPC was considered simple enough to use when it came out. If you know how to use the run command in Windows (or similar commands in Mac and Linux assumingly), then it should be simple but you may have to do this step every time because it is easy to forget what to type sometimes.

Chances are unless the place where you got your games told you how to boot up the game or found instructions, you won't get past the boot up screen. So you have to know a few commands. First type cat , this will list what it is on the disc/tape. If there is a file listed as game.bas, you'll type:

run"game 

Then press enter.

[Image: SlyuVDO.png]
(An example of booting up Hyper Sports)

Don't panic if you typed cat and then the screen has gone funny. It's because either the game has copy protection or has a different way of booting up. In those cases, reset the emulator (Emulator, Cold Reset). After that type |CPM

Some games its just run"disc or run"disk. It varies between game to game or even version of the same game.

It is best to use discs instead of tapes because it is much faster to boot up the games as in instead of taking minutes, they're take seconds. Only use tapes if you can't find a disc version or a "cracked version" where someone has transferred the tape to disc.

To remove the scanlines, you go to Display, Display settings. Then you untick Draw Scanlines. Also if not ticked, make sure Keep original Aspect Ratio is ticked.

Sprite ripping

Firstly you need to get towards the part of the game that you want to rip (most of the time, it is just getting into the game itself). Then go to Emulator, then Pause. This is so that you can take your time ripping.

After that go to Extra, Graphics explorer. 

[Image: 4Umbl2S.png]

An explanation of the things:

Zoom: Keep it as 1 however it's not quite 1 as I'll explain later on...

Size:

X is the sprite size (width). Different sprites have different sizes from 1 all the way to more but usually around 16 is the cut off point. You have to keep adjusting this one to get what you are looking for.

Y is the vertical box size (height). This is just basically the higher you go, the less you have to do on an image editor of your choice (Paint, GIMP, GraphicsGale, etc). Some like this game has a neat box like the swimmer here.

Mode: There are 4 options in terms of graphics display. The default is whatever was loaded into the tile viewer that might or might not be what you are looking for.

Mode 0 - 16 colours. Used in many games. Much of the time, this is the one that you want to select.
Mode 1 - 4 colours. Used in Spectrum ports or ports to the Spectrum. Some games might intentionally use this Mode if they want a cartoony or a detailed look.
Mode 2 - 2 colours. Very rarely used for games like Amstetris being the few that do but is used in games for text.

Many games also mix modes so you have Mode 0 characters but may use Mode 1 for the HUD and Mode 2 for the text.

Addressing: Leave it as Linear. Screen is just a more complicated way of doing a print screen. WinApe does have Reverse as well that is used in games such as Twin Turbo V8 and 750cc Grand Prix but currently this emulator doesn't support that.

Memory: Even I have no clue what this does because it doesn't seem to do anything! Just leave it. There's banked and RAM by the way.

-1: Lowers the offset by 1

+1: Raises the offset by 1

You have to do both if you want the sprite to be in the box without cutting off.

Finally the bar at the bottom is where the graphics are, just scroll left to right and do the above to find them.

Not all games are neat and tidy like this! Some games have a neat and tidy size set up fitting into a 16X16 square while others are completely random, in that case have the height being around 150 or so for less cropping. Some are even upside down. Then after that just print screen and paste the image on your preferred image editor, crop the sprites and paste. You might have to fiddle with the offset, width and height for every sprite as some games just do it in their own way with no standard.

After everything is done, the sprites have to be shrunk to 50% of their size since the tile viewer displays them twice the size despite the Zoom being at 1. This was spotted when you use the height function and it is displayed double in an image editor. There is an exception that Mode 2 graphics are correct in width however they have to be shrunk 50% in height instead (also the sprites from Ghosts 'n Goblins as well but it is one of those exceptions rather than the rule, you get that quite a bit).

Note if you just want to rip the title screen, go to Display then Small Screenshot. This saves a bmp file so convert it to a PNG. Same advice if you want a game icon for tSR. In case you want to know why for both the sprites and the screenshot? It is because most Amstrad CPC emulators do it by the monitor resolution while we are ripping from the pixel resolution.

There is a black background and the sprites use black! I can't rip the sprites.

Until recently, this would have been it with no way to continue however because of this tile editor, you can change the background colour. To do this highlight the tile that you want to edit, then double click. This takes you to the Tile Editor

[Image: SxmsJfG.png]

Click on the Palette icon that is circled, then click on the first colour to change it choosing which one out of the system palette to choose from, the dark green second one down from the middle column or the pink are recommended. It might also be the last colour as in the case of Whopper Chase. Click apply and it changes the palette so it can be ripped, if it doesn't show click Refresh.

In this example; the hair colour should be black but its white and the swimming should be white but its red.

Note: This can not be done on Mode 1 games because they use 4 colours and sometimes use the black as part of the sprite with the game handling the mixing. In some cases, games actually use the background with the sprites.

Help, the instructions don't work on the game that I'm ripping from!

Sadly not every game can be ripped this way and yes, this includes some of the best from the computer. A few like Jet Set Willy you can use a tile viewer such as YY-CHR to view the sprites however they are the exception.

The wiki has a list of games that are very hard to rip or pretty much impossible. So if you're a fan of By Fair Means or Foul, it means that you won't be able to ever see a sprite rip of that game on here or anywhere for a looooong time.

Update 16 July 2018: Added note about Mode 1 games that have a black background and removing the scanlines.
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#2
Excellent tutorial.
I don't have plans to rip from the system for now, but when I do i'll be sure to keep this tutorial in mind. Smile
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#3
[Image: Problem.PNG?width=1389&height=706]

So uh what do you do when this issue comes up?
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#4
Oh... Tried recreating the problem but couldn't. It looks like a display problem. While myself did have an issue with the emulator with no text appearing on the options, that got fixed in the current version.

Try any of these steps:

1) Is the mode correct for the game? If it is Gauntlet that you want to rip from, you need to change it to Mode 0. Sometimes the default one isn't always the correct one. Like the Hyper Sports example in the tutorial, that had to be changed to Mode 0 because default it is to Mode 1.

2) Reinstalling the emulator. Remove the current one and then re-download the emulator. Make sure that its in its own folder and rename to remove [Windows] before extracting.

3) Might be a graphics card/display issue. Check to see if your drivers are okay or that they need updating.

4) Might be a DirectX issue so you might have to check to see if its up to date. The emulator runs on DirectX 9. Then again, you don't need DirectX to use Caprice.

There is an ini file near the emulator and don't load the emulator until the settings are saved. Open up Notepad and load that file in. There are a couple of settings that you could try. One is UseOpenGL so change that to UseOpenGL=1 then save. See if that changes the graphics explorer window. The other setting is ForceGDI however that is reserved for older computers.

5) Might be a resolution problem and this is my gut feeling. Your window is larger than mine and shouldn't have had rows of 30. Now, I don't know what resolution your computer runs at so if you can, go to the edge of the window where that +1 is and then shrink it down.

If your monitor/screen is 1080p, go to the ini file and change what you already have to:

GraphicsExplorerFormLeft=0
GraphicsExplorerFormTop=0
GraphicsExplorerFormWidth=1122
GraphicsExplorerFormHeight=602

(These are my settings)

The sprites look like they are interleaving. An issue that I got ripping Space Harrier and exists for Glider Rider however they were designed like that, not for every game. Personally speaking it should not be like that.

6) This might sound crazy but it might be the discs themselves. If they are in .zip files, the emulator might not read them properly so you would have to extract them.
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#5
(9 hours ago)Yawackhary Wrote: Oh... Tried recreating the problem but couldn't. It looks like a display problem. While myself did have an issue with the emulator with no text appearing on the options, that got fixed in the current version.

Try any of these steps:

1) Is the mode correct for the game? If it is Gauntlet that you want to rip from, you need to change it to Mode 0. Sometimes the default one isn't always the correct one. Like the Hyper Sports example in the tutorial, that had to be changed to Mode 0 because default it is to Mode 1.

2) Reinstalling the emulator. Remove the current one and then re-download the emulator. Make sure that its in its own folder and rename to remove [Windows] before extracting.

3) Might be a graphics card/display issue. Check to see if your drivers are okay or that they need updating.

4) Might be a DirectX issue so you might have to check to see if its up to date. The emulator runs on DirectX 9. Then again, you don't need DirectX to use Caprice.

There is an ini file near the emulator and don't load the emulator until the settings are saved. Open up Notepad and load that file in. There are a couple of settings that you could try. One is UseOpenGL so change that to UseOpenGL=1 then save. See if that changes the graphics explorer window. The other setting is ForceGDI however that is reserved for older computers.

5) Might be a resolution problem and this is my gut feeling. Your window is larger than mine and shouldn't have had rows of 30. Now, I don't know what resolution your computer runs at so if you can, go to the edge of the window where that +1 is and then shrink it down.

If your monitor/screen is 1080p, go to the ini file and change what you already have to:

GraphicsExplorerFormLeft=0
GraphicsExplorerFormTop=0
GraphicsExplorerFormWidth=1122
GraphicsExplorerFormHeight=602

(These are my settings)

The sprites look like they are interleaving. An issue that I got ripping Space Harrier and exists for Glider Rider however they were designed like that, not for every game. Personally speaking it should not be like that.

6) This might sound crazy but it might be the discs themselves. If they are in .zip files, the emulator might not read them properly so you would have to extract them.

[Image: k6sX5Xh.png]

As you can see, the mode is currently 0. I went into the INI and changed the graphicsexplorer to exactly what you said.

Turning on OpenGL didn't help any, ForceGDI basically just slows down the loading of the games and it didn't do jack either.

[Image: JIaP1XJ.png]

What I did here was redownload the emulator (and remove the [windows] in the zip folder before extracting it) and edited the ini with the 1080p settings, and I started messing around with the x and y axis and sure enough I got this result. The sprites aren't the same size as the ones shown in game though, that's something that will eventually be an issue.

Why did I have to remove the [windows] though?
My very being towers above all. All things, the whole universe!
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