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Anyone think Ballblazer is possible on the 2600?


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#1 Segataritensoftii OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:56 PM

It's a very simple game. It doesn't look like it would take too much to run, So I'm pretty sure a port to 2600 is possible. What are your thoughts on this?

#2 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:23 PM

Tod Frye had begun working on it back-in-the-day, and apparently had a decent split-screen kernel working. A prototype has never turned up anywhere though.

#3 tschak909 ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:32 PM

Tod Frye had begun working on it back-in-the-day, and apparently had a decent split-screen kernel working. A prototype has never turned up anywhere though.


Yeah, he bragged about it quite a bit in Once Upon Atari... The code has _GOT_ to be on a disk in Curt Vendel's Atari Corp. pile _SOMEWHERE_....

Otherwise, who's up for the challenge? ;-)

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#4 Impaler_26 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:33 PM

Rob Kudla made a nice ballblazer-demo, maybe this would be a good start for a 2600 conversion?

#5 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 1, 2008 3:40 PM

Rob Kudla[/url] made a nice ballblazer-demo, maybe this would be a good start for a 2600 conversion?


The checkerboard that almost "defines" BallBlazer could probably be done, but overlaying the solid checkerboard with anything else would be difficult. Using 30Hz flicker would almost certainly be necessary, but it would look horrible with anything even remotely resembling the colors used in the other BallBlazer games.

It might be possible and practical to draw a pretty good "grid" as opposed to a checkerboard. This would only really work well down to a minimum spacing of nine pixels per line, and couldn't very well co-exist with anything else in its part of the frame, but the results might still look quite nice. Flickering the grid lines would probably be less annoying than flickering a solid background.

#6 Cybergoth OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 2, 2008 1:45 AM

Rob Kudla[/url] made a nice ballblazer-demo, maybe this would be a good start for a 2600 conversion?


The checkerboard that almost "defines" BallBlazer could probably be done, but overlaying the solid checkerboard with anything else would be difficult. Using 30Hz flicker would almost certainly be necessary, but it would look horrible with anything even remotely resembling the colors used in the other BallBlazer games.


Hm... why do you think that? AFAIR there is nothing else on the playfield except the ball, the other player and the goal, which sounds pretty doable with two sprites and two missiles.

#7 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 2, 2008 12:40 PM

Hm... why do you think that? AFAIR there is nothing else on the playfield except the ball, the other player and the goal, which sounds pretty doable with two sprites and two missiles.

The goalposts don't overlay the grid I believe. So it's just the other player and the ball.

To my mind the main issue is (a) when you are near the edge of the field you need three colors per scanline:
ballblazer1.png
though you could probably get away with two, and (b) using the PF for the grid would make for some very chunky scrolling.

#8 Cybergoth OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 2, 2008 1:48 PM

using the PF for the grid would make for some very chunky scrolling.


Well, definitely. supercats post was in response to Robs old demo though, which does just that, so I thought that was given. The demo looks aktually okay if you ever tried it, the chunkyness isn't that bad.

Just discussing it technically btw, since IMO the game itself isn't really worth the effort of porting it anywhere...

#9 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 3, 2008 10:31 AM

using the PF for the grid would make for some very chunky scrolling.


Well, definitely. supercats post was in response to Robs old demo though, which does just that, so I thought that was given. The demo looks aktually okay if you ever tried it, the chunkyness isn't that bad.

Just discussing it technically btw, since IMO the game itself isn't really worth the effort of porting it anywhere...

Yeah, but you hate sports games anyway, so what do you know. :P :lolblue:

And you're right - I hadn't seen that demo before, and it doesn't look that bad. Probably using a symmetrical PF, though, which likely wouldn't really work...maybe.

#10 Artlover OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 3, 2008 11:00 AM

Yes, I think it's possible.

Now someone do it! :P

#11 Cybergoth OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 3, 2008 2:05 PM

Yeah, but you hate sports games anyway, so what do you know. :P :lolblue:


I guess you're right. It's probably just me lacking appreciation for one-on-one soccer without goalkeepers ;)

#12 Robert M OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 4, 2008 5:05 AM

Rob Kudla made a nice ballblazer-demo, maybe this would be a good start for a 2600 conversion?



When I look at that demo I think it would be interesting to invert the animation so the checkerboard is in the sky as "clouds", to provide a movement reference for a two player battlezone style game. Putting the cloud animation above would free up all the system objects to draw targets/obstacles on the "ground".

Edit: My original post is not really clear. What I mwan is that if the game objects are in the portion of the screen opposite where the PF graphics are used to make the grid/clouds; then there will be more cycles to allow single line res multi-color objects for shots and enemies and such.

Edited by Robert M, Thu Sep 4, 2008 11:06 AM.


#13 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 4, 2008 5:22 AM

Or... keep the checkerboard on the ground, and make it a sky-based game.

#14 vdub_bobby OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 4, 2008 2:07 PM

Yeah, but you hate sports games anyway, so what do you know. :P :lolblue:


I guess you're right. It's probably just me lacking appreciation for one-on-one soccer without goalkeepers ;)

:D

But even so, you are still right - I've owned, and liked, Ballblazer for 20+ years, but take away the fantastic audiovisuals and there isn't a great game underneath. A good game, but not great.

#15 ZylonBane OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 4, 2008 5:30 PM

But even so, you are still right - I've owned, and liked, Ballblazer for 20+ years, but take away the fantastic audiovisuals and there isn't a great game underneath. A good game, but not great.

So Ballblazer was even more ahead of its time than we knew.

#16 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 4, 2008 7:22 PM

(b) using the PF for the grid would make for some very chunky scrolling.


How would the game look with three-pixel resolution for the checkerboard (i.e. using lots of well-timed STA COLUBK / STY COLUBK / etc.)? Are the squares ever less than nine pixels wide?

My guess would be that three-pixel resolution would be too chunky, but if it would look okay the lots-of-stores approach would allow the use of all five sprites for other purposes.

#17 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 5, 2008 4:07 AM

(b) using the PF for the grid would make for some very chunky scrolling.


How would the game look with three-pixel resolution for the checkerboard (i.e. using lots of well-timed STA COLUBK / STY COLUBK / etc.)? Are the squares ever less than nine pixels wide?

My guess would be that three-pixel resolution would be too chunky, but if it would look okay the lots-of-stores approach would allow the use of all five sprites for other purposes.


I made a test with 2 lines and I stopped, it looked damn crappy. I've attached the bin so you can see. Maybe you could build the checkerboard with sprites, but I've not reached that part of the tutorial yet :D

Attached Files


Edited by roland p, Fri Sep 5, 2008 4:07 AM.


#18 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 5, 2008 8:19 AM

Maybe if I make the tiles bigger (start with 18 pixels) so the difference isn't as extreem... (18-21-24 instead of 9-12-15 etc.) I'll try that.

#19 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 6, 2008 3:21 PM

It's looking more like Ballblazer now, so I call it ballblazer.bin

The checkerboard is now 20 lines heigh. It consists only of vertical stripes, but it looks pretty good for a atari 2600 game. I also added some sky just to make it look nice. Now all I have to do is some animation and turn the stripes into tiles...

Attached Files



#20 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 7, 2008 1:10 PM

Added some horizontal movement. You can use left/right to move!
Some small glitches in the lookup table to fix.
I've only tested it in Stella so far. What do you think about it?

Attached Files



#21 birdie3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 7, 2008 1:39 PM

Added some horizontal movement. You can use left/right to move!
Some small glitches in the lookup table to fix.
I've only tested it in Stella so far. What do you think about it?


Wow!! If you can get this working with two seperate controllers for a player 1 and 2 top and bottom view, you would definitely be achieving something.

#22 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 7, 2008 8:13 PM

Hmm, I'm impressed. This does have potential...

#23 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 7, 2008 8:23 PM

Nice! I wouldn't have expected to see even that much. Ballblazer or not, that would be worth hanging onto for other potential games.

The trick now I guess, is getting forward/backward movement with the checkerboard.

Edited by Nathan Strum, Sun Sep 7, 2008 8:23 PM.


#24 roland p OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 8, 2008 4:10 AM

Two players should be possible. I'll take just small steps for now :)
I'm now doubling the vertical resolution, the tiles at the sides will benefit from this, well... it makes everything look better.

I also want to make a finer grained control of the movement to get that 'techy'-look. The horizontal movement is now 20 pixels, I precalculated a vector that turns 45 degrees in 20 steps and used that to control the movement of the grid. I like to calculate 256 pixels heigh vector and use only the upper 20 pixels of it so the horizontal movement has 256 possible positions. Anyone know how to calculate vectors?

For vertical tiles I have to make a sort of sinus-table to make the tiles smaller in the distance. Any ideas on this are also welcome.

The brown border of the checkerboard needs als to be done. I'll get to this when I've the checkerboard the way I want.

#25 cd-w OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 8, 2008 4:14 AM

Added some horizontal movement. You can use left/right to move!
Some small glitches in the lookup table to fix.
I've only tested it in Stella so far. What do you think about it?


Very nice work! It looks like you are creating the stripes simply by changing the background colour at the right time? This is a nice approach as you should be able to create the checkerboard simply by fliping the colours at various points down the screen. It also frees up the PF/ball colour to be used for other things. However, this approach won't leave you much time for displaying the sprites over the board. The alternative is to display an asymmetrical playfield, but this will require a lot of different patterns to be stored.

Chris




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