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L.E.M. Lunar Excursion Module


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#26 Ethaniel OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:51 AM

still too hard to land :(
i really like the explosion sprite and the new asteroid cheesie look :)

#27 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 19, 2010 4:11 PM

L.E.M. v04 released: L.E.M. redesigned to match original NASA Lunar Excursion Module.

Can someone test on his NTSC TV if reds (asteroid, score, fire) are ok and not too dark?
Another question.
When you land safely the top of the L.E.M. blinks.
What is the color?
On Stella it's a light green but on my TV it appears purple.

#28 Lendorien OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 26, 2010 3:01 PM

Hey. I figured I'd pitch in my 2 cents as well as some suggestions. Take them as they are.

This is a simple but fun game. I really like the lander animation and your use of sound. It's hard as heck. I always sucked at games like this.

Suggestions:

1) The option to map the thruster to the button was a good one. Maybe you could map it via difficulty switch. A for button, B for pushing the stick up. It would give you two variations of playing the game. Using the stick being the more difficult.

2) Also, perhaps don't have the game go to the title screen upon your last death until the button is pushed. This would allow those of us high score junkies time to take screenshots upon our last death.

3) I will say that the intro music needs work, perhaps an original theme. It's familiar for some reason, but the attempted harmony is just painful and sounds a little glitchy. Perhaps someone around here with more music experience can help.

4) Credit yourself as author on the title screen!

I'll try to play this on my Harmony cart later tonight and let you know about the color thing.

#29 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 29, 2010 2:15 PM

Hey. I figured I'd pitch in my 2 cents as well as some suggestions. Take them as they are.

This is a simple but fun game. I really like the lander animation and your use of sound. It's hard as heck. I always sucked at games like this.

Suggestions:

1) The option to map the thruster to the button was a good one. Maybe you could map it via difficulty switch. A for button, B for pushing the stick up. It would give you two variations of playing the game. Using the stick being the more difficult.

2) Also, perhaps don't have the game go to the title screen upon your last death until the button is pushed. This would allow those of us high score junkies time to take screenshots upon our last death.

3) I will say that the intro music needs work, perhaps an original theme. It's familiar for some reason, but the attempted harmony is just painful and sounds a little glitchy. Perhaps someone around here with more music experience can help.

4) Credit yourself as author on the title screen!

I'll try to play this on my Harmony cart later tonight and let you know about the color thing.

Thank you very much!
1) I think the game is already hard enough (but PAL 50 version is slower), in particular because it's not easy to stop horizontal movement and the landing pad is only one pixel wider than LEM.
2) The last score remains in title screen. I am not familiar with high score contests. Is it necessary to take a screenshot of the last playfield?
3) If you know Depeche Mode, this is the reason why the music is familiar! I used Visual bB Music Editor to enter the score. It would be necessary a more skilled person than me!
4) Thank you, but Atari doesn't allow us humble programmers to credit ourselves! Posted Image Perhaps I should add an easter egg when someone reaches 100000 points! Posted Image

I would be glad if you check NTSC's colors.

#30 nems OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:43 PM

I really like this game. Here are a couple suggestions...

As others have noted the landing pad really needs to be a unique color. Perhaps other programmers could help you find a way around the current ball/color limitation.

Currently the game seems too hard right from the get go. Why not have it start easier and then get progressively harder. First level no asteroids, second level repeating asteroid in one direction at half speed, third level faster asteroids, etc.

Edited by nems, Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:51 PM.


#31 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:14 PM

Thanks nems and nice avatar!
I would love to have a Computer Space in my living room!

I completely agree with you, those enhancements would improve the game.
I hope to have the time to try to include them.

#32 Lendorien OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:17 PM

Thanks nems and nice avatar!
I would love to have a Computer Space in my living room!

I completely agree with you, those enhancements would improve the game.
I hope to have the time to try to include them.


It's a great little game. I hope you do!

#33 yuppicide OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:40 AM

You could probably use some sort of flicker. One even scanlines draw one object, on odd scanlines draw the other object.. this way you can have a different colored landing pad.

By the way, I played V3. I like the new explosion a lot better.

Edited by yuppicide, Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:42 AM.


#34 ls650 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:41 AM

Currently the game seems too hard right from the get go. Why not have it start easier and then get progressively harder.

I agree - I've tried playing this game several times and have never been able to land successfully.

#35 KevinMos3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:46 PM

I too agree. It looks really good, but man is it hard!

#36 Lendorien OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:53 PM

I too agree. It looks really good, but man is it hard!


In terms of ramping up the difficulty, perhaps the landing pad needs start out wider at the beginning and then narrow progressively as the game proceeds with multiple landings. Also, one could make the speed slower to start with and pick up as the game proceeds.

Edited by Lendorien, Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:08 PM.


#37 KevinMos3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:58 PM

Maybe the landing pad needs to be wider. Start wide and narrow after multiple landings. Also could mess mess with the speed. Start slow and speed up.

That sounds like a good idea to me. :thumbsup:

#38 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:10 AM

Maybe the landing pad needs to be wider. Start wide and narrow after multiple landings. Also could mess mess with the speed. Start slow and speed up.

That sounds like a good idea to me. Posted Image

Thanks for suggestions.
As written in post #12, landing pad is a ball, so limited to a maximum of 8 pixels (and with playfield color).

The game is not easy because it is fast and the horizontal movement very sensible.
I will try to do something.

BTW, can someone test on his NTSC TV if reds (asteroid, score, fire) are ok and not too dark?
When you land safely the top of the L.E.M. blinks.
What is the color?
It should be light green.

#39 Lendorien OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:45 AM


Maybe the landing pad needs to be wider. Start wide and narrow after multiple landings. Also could mess mess with the speed. Start slow and speed up.

That sounds like a good idea to me. Posted Image

Thanks for suggestions.
As written in post #12, landing pad is a ball, so limited to a maximum of 8 pixels (and with playfield color).

The game is not easy because it is fast and the horizontal movement very sensible.
I will try to do something.

BTW, can someone test on his NTSC TV if reds (asteroid, score, fire) are ok and not too dark?
When you land safely the top of the L.E.M. blinks.
What is the color?
It should be light green.


Considering that I can't land the thing to save my life, I don't know if I can manage, but I'll try! I have a Harmony.

#40 Lendorien OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:41 AM

Thank you very much!
1) I think the game is already hard enough (but PAL 50 version is slower), in particular because it's not easy to stop horizontal movement and the landing pad is only one pixel wider than LEM.
2) The last score remains in title screen. I am not familiar with high score contests. Is it necessary to take a screenshot of the last playfield?
3) If you know Depeche Mode, this is the reason why the music is familiar! I used Visual bB Music Editor to enter the score. It would be necessary a more skilled person than me!
4) Thank you, but Atari doesn't allow us humble programmers to credit ourselves! Posted Image Perhaps I should add an easter egg when someone reaches 100000 points! Posted Image

I would be glad if you check NTSC's colors.


For high score contests, yes a screenshot is often wanted. You should know that the last score does not appear to remain on the title screen as you stated. This isn't a bad solution though. I would definitely implement it.

As written in post #12, landing pad is a ball, so limited to a maximum of 8 pixels (and with playfield color).

The game is not easy because it is fast and the horizontal movement very sensible.
I will try to do something.

BTW, can someone test on his NTSC TV if reds (asteroid, score, fire) are ok and not too dark?
When you land safely the top of the L.E.M. blinks.
What is the color?
It should be light green.


Ok, I checked the color of the landing light on my 7800. It does blink green. The asteroid is red, as is the score. The landing pad can sometimes be a little hidden, but not terribly so. On my LCD it's pretty obvious. I have no idea what it would look like on a standard tv.

I agree with you about the physics of the game. I think they are actually spot on. It'd be a shame to mess with them.

Here's some ideas on solutions to the difficulty thing. The game is quite challenging and fun as it is. Variation would be welcome, but it doesn't necessarily require it. I think it stands as it is very well.

But I figure I might help brainstorm a little in case you wanted to do something with it. You can always use the game switch to switch to various versions of the game. A lot of Atari games do this. Example: 1. vanilla as it is now, 2. difficulty increasing game 3. different difficulty increasing game, etc. If you liked, I'd get a kick out of writing a manual for it. :P

I'm not a programmer, so judge based on what you can do. I'm just throwing out ideas.

1) Use the difficulty switch. Let A be as it is now and B with two balls (twice as wide) as the landing pad. Two balls would make it a whole lot easier to play, but if you added things to adjust the difficulty as you play progressively, it could be offset.

2) To increase the difficulty, you could populate with two or more asteroids at some point after X number of successful landings, making dodging harder.

3) Make the speed of the asteroid increase after each landing (with a limit on how fast it could get of course). Perhaps slow down its current speed to start with to make it a little easier to start off.

4) Make sure there's a score that will achieve a free life. (I assume that the less fuel you use, the bigger score you get.)

5) How about after a successful landing, a take off instead to dock with the command module at the top of the screen. It could start by not moving and later be moving. It would have to be slow moving of course. A failed dock means you have to land again, but a successful dock would be twice the points of landing. Or maybe an extra life? I like this idea because it reverses the game a little and forces the player to use the game physics differently.

Anyhow, just ideas.

Edited by Lendorien, Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:48 AM.


#41 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:03 PM

Thanks for your feedback Lendorien!

You have found a bug in NTSC's version.
Last score doesn't appear in title screen as in PAL's versions (or NTSC's version #1 and #2).

All your ideas are good.
Unfortunately some of them cannot be made using "standard" bBasic without programming "tricks".
For example, I too have thinked about an ascent part.
I have no more sprites to move the ascent stage and leave the descent stage (legs) on Moon's surface.
BTW, NASA Apollo Lunar Module News Reference is an enteresting read.
I could move the entire LEM but I have no sprites for a Command Module and an asteroid.
I can get rid of the asteroid, have only a moving Command module, but its color would be the same of fire (red and not grey).
Same problem to add more asteroids.
Adding extra lives is simple, but I have to found a free variable (I have used all 26 variables).

Thanks again!

#42 nems OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 4, 2010 11:21 AM

What if the landing platform stayed the color that it is, but a yellow landing guide light is added to the left and right of the pad? I don't know how easy this would be but a simple bright (e.g. yellow) color on each side would help identify where the pad is located. If they could blink (a la real landing lights) even better.

When I do land correctly there is no problem seeing the green light on top of LEM, on my NTSC LCD TV.

The rocket fire coming out of LEM is a little dark on my screen (might just be my TV settings).

Edited by nems, Sun Jul 4, 2010 11:26 AM.


#43 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 5, 2010 1:19 PM

What if the landing platform stayed the color that it is, but a yellow landing guide light is added to the left and right of the pad? I don't know how easy this would be but a simple bright (e.g. yellow) color on each side would help identify where the pad is located. If they could blink (a la real landing lights) even better.

It would be very nice but... with a multicolor player (LEM, explosion) I can only have a singe color player (asteroid), a missile (fire) and a ball (pad).
Regarding red, perhaps I should try a step lighter.

#44 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:28 AM

L.E.M. v05 released:
- landing pad 1 pixel wider (9 pixels, game is now easier)
- landing pad flickers, so it is more visible
- asteroid appears only after 2 landings
- extra life after 2 landings
- rebound effect when lunar module lands
- LEM's top green blinking replaced with score blinking because in NASA Apollo Lunar Module News Reference I have read that original LEMs tops didn't blink after successful landings Posted Image
- red color on NTSC version slightly lighter (some TV's have problems displaying reds on black background).

#45 donnerkuh OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:42 PM

Good work! Is it possible to make the gravity a little bit slower? It feels a little bit to fast.

Really good work!

#46 sandmountainslim OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:12 PM

Love it!! Version 5 is the best yet.

This is VERY quickly becoming one of my most played games.
Wp

#47 Lendorien OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:19 AM

L.E.M. v05 released:
- landing pad 1 pixel wider (9 pixels, game is now easier)
- landing pad flickers, so it is more visible
- asteroid appears only after 2 landings
- extra life after 2 landings
- rebound effect when lunar module lands
- red color on NTSC version slightly lighter (some TV's have problems displaying reds on black background).


Oh! Time to fire up the Atari to try this one out!

Back.

Got to say that this is the best version yet. I love the bounce animation. It helps give the game a little more character and life. Definitely a great addition.

The additional pixel to the landing pad really does make the game a lot easier. I was about to land the LEM about half of the time, up from about a tenth of the time. I think that the choice to change it was a good one. I don't see the flicker myself. It might be the fact that I have an LCD and a svideo modded 7800. Maybe you need some feedback from others with CRTs.

The change to make the asteroid come out after a couple landings was a great gameplay choice. Likewise with the additional life.

Might I suggest increasing the asteroid speed after a couple levels to make it more challenging to avoid? I might also suggest lowering the amount of fuel available after a few levels, forcing the player to be more careful with fuel use lest they run out and crash.

A slowly increasing difficulty caused by those additions might make the game more challenging and give it more replay value. Perhaps something like this in multiples of two or three to stretch out the game a little:

Level 1-3: No asteroid
Level 4-6: Asteroid
Level 7-9: Lower fuel
Level 10-12: Faster asteroid
Level 13-15: Lower fuel
Level 16-18: Faster asteroid
(There would be a limit on both of these as too little fuel or too fast an asteroid and it'd be impossible to win. Either way you'd want the upper limit to be pretty challenging.)

I also suggest using the select switch or difficulty switch to switch between the larger and smaller landing pads to give your game even more replay value. Course, using the select switch would require you to include a number specifying which game mode it is printed on the screen. Many Atari games have multiple modes of this nature.

Course, you stated that you ran out of variables. And of course, you're hamstrung by using batari basic. You found at least two for the asteroid not being around and the addition of extra lives. Any possibility of additional options? I gather you're really stretching at this point. Perhaps reaching out to some of the other programmers? I wish I wasn't so lame as to be a bystander like this.

Regardless, I love what you've done. LEM is probably the homebrew I play the most, following Medieval Mayhem. Hehe. If you ever decide to do the homebrew cart thing with this, I'd be happy to help put together the manual. :D

Edited by Lendorien, Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:36 AM.


#48 nems OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:28 PM

Okay, everybody what is your high score? Mine is 25,000

Philsan, the changes in v0.5 are all excellent. This is now very addictive and fun. Nice bounce upon landing the LEM. Thanks for continuing to work in these improvements.

Looks like you dropped LEM's top turning green when there is a safe landing? Could that still flash green along with the player's score?

Is it possible that the first time the asteroids are introduced, they loop along a set path that does not change. Then after completing that level, the asteroids could travel along the varying paths (as the game currently does). This would help beginners ramp up their skill, rather than being overwhelmed the first time they see an asteroid.

Should the red blocks in the lower left represent LEM units remaining after the current one in play, rather than including the one in play? I'm trying to recall what is typical on other games. I know when I'm on my last LEM and I die, I quickly look over to see one red block remaining and think I have one more ship remaining (yet I really don't :( ).

Keep up the great work. This is a sweet game.

Edited by nems, Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:38 PM.


#49 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 1, 2010 12:38 PM

Thank you guys for your support.

Good work! Is it possible to make the gravity a little bit slower? It feels a little bit to fast.

It would be not easy (for me!) to slow down the game but anyway I think a slower game would be too easy.

The additional pixel to the landing pad really does make the game a lot easier. I was about to land the LEM about half of the time, up from about a tenth of the time. I think that the choice to change it was a good one. I don't see the flicker myself. It might be the fact that I have an LCD and a svideo modded 7800. Maybe you need some feedback from others with CRTs.

Might I suggest increasing the asteroid speed after a couple levels to make it more challenging to avoid? I might also suggest lowering the amount of fuel available after a few levels, forcing the player to be more careful with fuel use lest they run out and crash.
A slowly increasing difficulty caused by those additions might make the game more challenging and give it more replay value. Perhaps something like this in multiples of two or three to stretch out the game a little:
Level 1-3: No asteroid
Level 4-6: Asteroid
Level 7-9: Lower fuel
Level 10-12: Faster asteroid
Level 13-15: Lower fuel
Level 16-18: Faster asteroid
(There would be a limit on both of these as too little fuel or too fast an asteroid and it'd be impossible to win. Either way you'd want the upper limit to be pretty challenging.)

I also suggest using the select switch or difficulty switch to switch between the larger and smaller landing pads to give your game even more replay value. Course, using the select switch would require you to include a number specifying which game mode it is printed on the screen. Many Atari games have multiple modes of this nature.

Course, you stated that you ran out of variables. And of course, you're hamstrung by using batari basic. You found at least two for the asteroid not being around and the addition of extra lives. Any possibility of additional options? I gather you're really stretching at this point. Perhaps reaching out to some of the other programmers? I wish I wasn't so lame as to be a bystander like this.

If you ever decide to do the homebrew cart thing with this, I'd be happy to help put together the manual. Posted Image


1 Yes, the flickering is not very visible, in particular when it is not too bright.
2 Asteroid runs at maximum speed already but fuel amount could be lowered in higher levels.
3 It is a nice idea (with flickering I have solved the 8-pixels problem) but I would have to make too many changes in the program.
4 I don't have free variables but with a smarter programming surely I could find other variables.
5 Thank you. I have already designed cart label and box (I only need Spanish, French and German translations). When the game will be completed you could help me writing the English manual (English is not my mother tongue). I would like to use old Atari VCS games manual's style.

Looks like you dropped LEM's top turning green when there is a safe landing? Could that still flash green along with the player's score?

Is it possible that the first time the asteroids are introduced, they loop along a set path that does not change. Then after completing that level, the asteroids could travel along the varying paths (as the game currently does). This would help beginners ramp up their skill, rather than being overwhelmed the first time they see an asteroid.

Should the red blocks in the lower left represent LEM units remaining after the current one in play, rather than including the one in play? I'm trying to recall what is typical on other games. I know when I'm on my last LEM and I die, I quickly look over to see one red block remaining and think I have one more ship remaining (yet I really don't Posted Image ).

1 Yes, I've dropped LEM's top green because in NASA Apollo Lunar Module News Reference I have read that original LEMs didn't have this feature! Posted Image
2 It is a good idea, like Lendorien's fuel decrease. If I'll find variables I will insert it.
3 I think both systems are OK. I chose this one because, when the game starts, I prefer having three blocks instead of two ones.

Thanks again friends.

#50 ls650 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 1, 2010 1:06 PM

Just tried out v5 - definitely an improvement over previous versions! Very good!




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