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Screen Testing

Posted by SpiceWare, in Rally S 01 May 2007 · 1,584 views

Test screens for my next project. Roads 3 PF wide, with 5 scan lines per PF block
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Nope, road's too squished, let's try 3 PF wide, with 6 scan lines per PF block
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Still squished, and not enough room for radar, score and lives remaining. Just for fun, 3 PF wide with 7 scan lines per PF block
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Roads look OK, but no room for anything else.

Same test, roads 2 PF wide, 5 scan lines per PF block
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2 PF wide, 6 scan lines per PF block
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2 PF wide, 7 scan lines per PF block
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Think we have a winner with roads 2PF wide, 7 scan lines per PF block.

If you haven't figured out what this is, turn your head sideways :ponder:. I figured the radar will have to be wide instead of tall, so I rotated the maze.

I used to play Radar Rat Race all the time on my VIC 20. The VIC didn't have sprites, so they used customer character sets for everything. For Radar Rat Race everything was drawn using 4 characters arranged in a 2x2 format. Scrolling was very chuncky, with the mouse moving 1 complete character(8 pixels) at a time, but the game still played well. I was hoping a 3x? size would work for "better scrolling", but I think using 2x7 for the Atari will work just as well. It'll be easier to code for, plus use 10 bytes less of RAM to store the visible portion of the maze.

I'm also planning to make this resize for PAL, increase the scan lines per PF block and make the sprites taller.

Rally S is a tentative name - I may want to give this a different theme as I'm looking to use both Player1 and Missile1 to draw all the enemies so as to reduce flicker. This would limit what the graphics could be. Lock 'N' Chase and Dark Cavern come to mind as other games that did this.

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Batari used players and missiles to good effect in Rally B. He flickered things at 30Hz, and I think it was something like:

Frame 1:
Player car: Draw with blue player
Opponent #1: Blue missile
Opponent #2: Yellow player
Opponent #3: Yellow missile

Frame 2:
Player car: Draw with green missile
Opponent #1: Red player
Opponent #2: Red missile
Opponent #3: Green player

Thus:
Player car: Cyan, with blue wheels
Opponent #1: Purple, with red wheels
Opponent #2: Orange, with yellow wheels
Opponent #3: Green-yellow, with green wheels

Other colors could be chosen, of course.
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If you haven't figured out what this is, turn your head sideways . I figured the radar will have to be wide instead of tall, so I rotated the maze.


That seems to be the way to go for this layout. I figured the same would work best for Bosconian as well ;)
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Hm, the roads in Radar Rat Race look squished too. ;)

BTW: I remember a similar game which was done as a mix of Venture (switching between map and rooms) and Rally X. So you don't need the radar screen at all and can utilize the whole screen for gameplay.

EDIT: The game is called Route 16.
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I'll have to check out Rally B again - I don't recall the cars being different colors. There was probably some updates to it since I last looked.

The roads in RRR don't look that squished on the real thing - at least on the NTSC version.

EDIT - I take that back - it is pretty squished.
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Once it's done, I could license the engine and turn it into Rally-X ;)
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Just finished fiscal month end at work and my folks are arriving today for a 2 week visit. As such, I don't expect to see any additional progress on this for a couple more weeks.
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Personally, I would prefer normal orientation of the playfield than 90 degree rotation. The radar screen would be tough to do sideways anyway, given that the maze is 32x56 not including the borders.

You could simply show a centered strip of radar below the maze, maybe 32x24 or so, or better yet, make the radar a separate screen accessed by a console switch or alternatively, right joystick fire or booster grip's second button or something. You could tap the switch with a foot to briefly view the radar screen, sort of analogous to 2D maps in first person shooters.
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56 across wasn't going to work, so I plan to divide both directions in half and use 28x16.
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