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Stellar Overlord v0.95

Posted by TROGDOR, 30 August 2009 · 1,628 views

Stellar Overlord
Given Al's recent overhaul of the AtariAge website, this seemed like a good time to post the facelift I did for Stellar Overlord.

Posted Image
The new look

Attached File  so95.zip (605.91KB)
downloads: 250

New Features:
- Completely redid the font graphics from scratch. Wider is better.
- Shrunk the planets in the Galactic Display to make them look more like round planets, and less like footballs. (besides, Basketball is a peaceful planet.)
- There is a new sound effect for the victory at the end of the game. It's based on an idea posted by thegoldenband.

Minor Tweaks:
- Games now start at the slowest speed. I noticed that every time I played a game, the first thing I did was slow the game down to get my bearings.
- Changed the message at the end of the game.

Final Enhancements to Do:
- Add destroying all enemy fleets as a condition of winning the game. Currently, all that is required is conquering all worlds.
- Change ship production to occur on turn multiples of 10, rather than 10+1.
- Rewrite the frame-based computational load distribution system.
- Fleets should arrive when their ETA count-down reaches 0, not the turn after.
- Add a trig table to replace the simple Manhatton distances used for star distance calculations.
- Provide acceleration in level selection, similar to acceleration in ship selection.
- Tweak the kernel to center the text display.
- Reduce RAM requirement for randomization routine. Should only need 2 or 3 bytes.
- Save random buffer when the reset switch is pressed. This will provide much better randomization for subsequent games.
- Manual - Add joystick control diagrams. (Partially done.)

Known Bugs to Fix:
- If you are pressing left when the game should end, the victory conditions are not registered correctly.
- Streamline the combining of fleets when attacking a world. Two groups of 120 should combine seamlessly into a fleet of 240 ships that attack simultaneously.
- If the game ends with a ship landing, the planet where the ship lands is purple instead of color pulsing.
- World conquer or loss sounds should have precedence over ship landing or take off sounds.
- Spacing between text lines should be uniform throughout the game. Some spacing is still off.

Development Notes:
I completely rewrote the sound engine for this game. I was lazy when I wrote the original sound engine, and had all the sound effect counters counting up instead of down. After cleaning this up, and using more lookup tables to define the sound lengths and voices, I was able to shave off 40 bytes of ROM, even with additional code for the new phase effect.

I did more editing to the user manual, which is included in the download zip. The user manual has been reformatted with 4.25 inch by 5.5 inch pages, which are similar to the page layout of the original Atari manuals. When viewing the pdf, I recommend using View->Page Layout->Facing. If you have an aversion to using Adobe's Acrobat viewer for viewing pdf, I recommend using the free, unbloated Foxit Reader. With a double-sided printout, I can fit 8 of these small pages on a single 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. So the final manual should be printable on only 5 sheets of glossy paper, which will keep costs down.

(besides, Basketball is a peaceful planet.)

:ponder: One of my favorite lines from that film!

I got to see it back-in-the-day, during the original Star Wars craze. I think it was double-billed with a re-release of Dark Star. (They were putting any and every sci-fi movie back into theaters to cash-in on Star Wars' popularity.)
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Glad you're still plugging away at this; this is one of the first homebrews I discovered and loved - I keep hoping for a final release in the store. ;)
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was wondering why the BIN file was so large, nice ship pictures :ponder: I'll check out SO after work.
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Thanks guys. It's slowly but surely making its way towards release candidate. As suggested by the revision number, I only expect a few more versions before it's ready to go into a ROM. Making the manual has been fun, but also a lot of work. I've spent almost as much time on the manual as I did on the game.

One other thing that I didn't mention in the blog post is that I finally installed DASM V2.20.10. For the past 6 years I've been using the original 1995 version of DASM. I was forced to seek out the updated version when I started playing with illegal opcodes, which apparently aren't supported by the older versions. I'm liking the new version a lot, especially for faster debug without having to dig through log files.

Regarding Hardware Wars, I first saw that movie in 1978 at my elementary school when I was in third grade. I don't think I got the "4Q2" joke back then, and obviously neither did the teachers who showed the movie. My favorite scene is still the creature cantina. :ponder:
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