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8-bit programmer of Donkey Kong speaks

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#1 bcombee OFFLINE  



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Posted Thu Mar 6, 2008 12:53 PM

Landon Dyer, the developer who did the Atari 8-bit version of "Donkey Kong" as well as the PD "Myriapede", just put up a blog entry about his experiences at Atari and on developing the game. It's fascination, especially how much more thorough he was than the typical Atari programmer.

Read it at http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=987. Some great stuff, like

It was a portent of things to come. My first officemate didn’t know how to set up his computer. He didn’t know anything, it appeared. He’d been hired to work on Dig Dug, and he was completely at sea. I had to teach him a lot, including how to program in assembly, how the Atari hardware worked, how to download stuff, how to debug. It was pretty bad.


Technical details. Kong is in graphics mode $E (192 scanlines by 160 color clocks wide). When a level is started up, the background is stamped once. Barrels and other creatures are XOR’d onto the screen (I had some mask-and-repaint code at one point, but it was way too slow). Mario is a few player objects (three, I think). The “prize” objects (umbrellas, etc.) are the remaining players. The XOR graphics are pretty annoying to me, but most other people didn’t seem to mind and some people even thought it was cool.

Edited by bcombee, Thu Mar 6, 2008 12:58 PM.

#2 Ransom OFFLINE  



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Posted Thu Mar 6, 2008 2:24 PM

Thanks for the link!

It's depressing to think how many companies all over the world function in much the same way as he describes Atari (mal-)functioning in the early 80s.

#3 Goochman OFFLINE  



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Posted Thu Mar 6, 2008 2:52 PM

The first release of Dig Dug on the 8bit was horrendous...................

#4 Stephen OFFLINE  



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Posted Thu Mar 6, 2008 5:25 PM

Good read - thanks for the link.

Stephen Anderson

#5 kchris73 OFFLINE  


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Posted Fri Mar 7, 2008 7:33 AM

Good read - thanks for the link.

Stephen Anderson

Agreed, thanks!

#6 Sean39 OFFLINE  



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Posted Fri Mar 7, 2008 8:10 AM

This is so cool since my dad worked at ATARI too..........He would be 68 years old if he were alive........he was one of their Engineers....


#7 Almost Rice OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 7, 2008 8:52 AM

I hope we can get his original commented code. Maybe even the 20K verson of DK.

#8 Defender II OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 7, 2008 10:40 PM

Thanks for the link!!!! :!:

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