OpenLara - a stunning GBA port of the 1996 classic Tomb Raider


In what appears to be an impossible feat, GBAtemp member @XProger has managed to get the the original 1996 PlayStation and PC classic, Tomb Raider running on the Game Boy Advance.

OpenLara is open-source project that can function as a replacement engine for Tomb Raider (1996) and is available for a number of platforms (including but not limited to the 3DO, Raspberry Pi, Xbox and more).

Lead engine developer @XProger has gone a step further and managed to scale the project down to run under the GBA's 16.78MHz arm CPU at a frame rate that appears to hover around the 16fps mark - an outstanding display of technical wizardry.

In what @XProger describes as an alpha version, OpenLara for the GBA currently only offers 3 levels of the game and excludes original FMV sequences, however the developer has expressed their intent to continue work on the GBA port by improving performance, trimming cutscenes down and more. The author goes on to state that they expect the complete package will be able to fit within a 256Mbit ROM.

Hi guys, I'm the lead developer of OpenLara engine.
More than year ago I released a tech demo, back then I was not sure that the GBA is capable for such game. But over time I improved my ARM skills, found new ways to optimize rendering and logic. The result is what I can honestly call an alpha version. There are many further improvements in the plan, as well as optimization of content and video to fit the entire Tomb Rader game in a 32 MB cartridge, but so far only 3 levels are available.

Check out the video of OpenLara in action on the GBA above and follow the links below for further information and to support the dev.

:arrow: OpenLara Github page
:discuss: OpenLara discussion thread (GBAtemp)
 

hippy dave

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yay!!! more pointy tities :D
FB_IMG_1565490549915.jpg
 
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InfoAddict

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I remember when I first got into a hacking scene with the PSP, and people used to love the Doom and Quake ports based on their nostalgia and their minds boggled at having such games be available portably.

Tomb Raider 1 being playable on a GBA is a kind of version of that for me. Now I can see why people love porting Doom and Quake to everything!
 
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CowboyJoseph64

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I'll preface by saying that this is like, the best shit ever for GBA homebrew. It's not just the game running, it's the game running in an entirely playable state. I very much look forward to what more is done to this version of the game. With that said, I have some notes I'd like to share. I used an ez-flash omega to play this on an actual gba.

1. The controls work surprisingly well. Using L only as a "modifier" to make the other 3 buttons do something else is fairly clever, and easy enough to get used to. I just wish I knew why A and B are swapped (A is action and B is jump)... that's a bit annoying.

2. The framerate, while not ideal, I found to be perfectly serviceable. This is generally a pretty slow and methodical game, so you rarely need quick reflexes. (Not that the way Lara moves has ever allowed you to react quickly, anyway.)

3. The draw distance, on the other hand, is rather bad. Being able to assess your surroundings is rather important for the game, but the fog flat out disallows it the majority of the time. It makes it much easier to get lost. I'd go so far as to say that if the creator finds any further optimizations for the engine, pushing back the fog would be more important than improving the framerate.

Really though, this is so god damn cool to see in general.
 
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Rafciu

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ididn't know that GBA is able to generate 3D games at all, amazing. Performance is better than on N-Gage port.
 

Rafciu

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there are alot of 3d gba stuff lol

they just dont run very well for most part

Yes i know but for me is not really 3d looks like a mix between 3d and 2d (alot 2d sprites) open lara looks much better pushes hardware to the limits for sure.
 

pedro702

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Yes i know but for me is not really 3d looks like a mix between 3d and 2d (alot 2d sprites) open lara looks much better pushes hardware to the limits for sure.
there are several techniques some games are full 3d like street racing syndicate

and some others but like i said they never runned that well so they never made much of a splash on the gba community
 
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raxadian

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well the game and watch has technically 1 bit graphics (1 color) the gameboy uses 2bit graphics (4 colors). as for processing, i think 2 bit cpus exists but idk.

The modern Game & Watch is more powerful that a Gameboy Color and in fact hacked versions can run Gameboy and Nes games.
 

Urbanshadow

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stranno

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V&D's Asterix & Obelix is amazing as well.

They should have hired V&D for XXL2 as well (I guess they were working on COP - The Recruit). Instead, it was a crappy sidescroller by Mistic Software. Tate Interactive did a really great job with the PSP port, tho waves of enemies were much less populated, so it is a bit boring. But graphics-wise it is very cool.

At least XXL3 is bad in all platforms :rofl:
 
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raxadian

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That is way, way up there with the most impressive tech demos on the GBA, including the Raylight Studios ones… except it’s not a tech demo, it’s a playable game. Amazing work, I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work that went into optimising the engine.

3 levels if you wanna be specific.
 

Foxi4

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3 levels if you wanna be specific.
That’s still a playable game as far as I’m concerned, just one that’s a work in progress. It’s not like we haven’t seen less content on offer in the era of Early Access, three levels of a game that by all accounts grossly exceeds the hardware spec is no less astonishing to me.
 
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