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21 Blue, an Atari 2600 homebrew


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#151 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 19, 2011 11:25 AM

[edit...]

Ok, after a bit of research I see where you're coming from. I'll see what I can do to make it more accurate.

#152 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 19, 2011 5:22 PM

The first post has been updated with a version that does the hole-card check prior to the player's moves, to be more accurate.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to help straighten out the simulation, Mayhem! :thumbsup:

Now I'm crossing my fingers that this will really be the last one. :D

(but please do still report bugs folks!)

#153 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 19, 2011 6:11 PM

I see you have the choice auto select STAND if you make 21 in some way, that's probably the best compromise :)

Haven't spotted anything else yet, haven't had the dealer get a blackjack yet with an ace showing heh...

#154 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 19, 2011 6:41 PM

Hmmm, I think the code works but it isn't 100%. I've had twice where the ace is showing and offered insurance, declined and the dealer has had a blackjack. One time it revealed the card before I had a chance to hit and ended the hand, the other time I went through my hand first before it revealed the ten value card.

#155 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 19, 2011 8:01 PM

Nice catch - I had missed some of the ten-value cards in that check.

I've replaced the binary in the first post with the fixed one.

#156 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 19, 2011 9:32 PM

New to the whole thing, but have been playing along for a couple of days now! Great game, and I would definitely buy it if released on a cart.

I'm no blackjack expert, but this game is very fun to play, particularly with the difficulty levels and the more aesthetically pleasing interface (talking about the cards, the ladies are lovely, no doubt).

Would love to see a companion game to this with Poker. (I know that was tossed out there early on in this game's development).

Keep up the great work!

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#157 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 20, 2011 9:26 AM

Thanks, StanJr! I'm glad you're enjoying it.

A poker game is definitely something I'm keeping in mind, though I've got a few projects I want to tackle before that. (first of which is getting this thing on cart! :))

#158 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 20, 2011 10:36 AM

Always a pleasure to do some quick testing for people ;)

Btw Vegas rules has it if you split aces, you only get one card on each, you can't hit afterwards. Just had my very first split ace time, so I thought I'd comment on that. I did hit blackjack on both hands too hah hah...

Only other comment is that one of the dealer comments is missing an apostrophe, it says "IM" not "I'M" somewhere... oh just found it, it says "IM HOT TONIGHT" rather than "I'M HOT TONIGHT".

I keep finding stuff... how many decks is the program running btw? Only I encountered five 8s in one hand between myself and the dealer heh...

#159 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 20, 2011 11:45 AM

Always a pleasure to do some quick testing for people ;)

Btw Vegas rules has it if you split aces, you only get one card on each, you can't hit afterwards. Just had my very first split ace time, so I thought I'd comment on that. I did hit blackjack on both hands too hah hah...

Yeah, that's the common rule, for sure.

I decided a while back that I'd just follow liberal rules for splits, and just leave it up to the player to decide if they want to follow more rigid rules.


Only other comment is that one of the dealer comments is missing an apostrophe, it says "IM" not "I'M" somewhere... oh just found it, it says "IM HOT TONIGHT" rather than "I'M HOT TONIGHT".

No more pixels left to squeeze in the apostrophe. :)


I keep finding stuff... how many decks is the program running btw? Only I encountered five 8s in one hand between myself and the dealer heh...

Difficulty A=8 decks, difficulty B=4 decks.
[edit - should have been A=4, B=2]

Keep the issues coming, if you see any more!

#160 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 20, 2011 5:47 PM

Guess that's what happens when I don't read the manual heh. Although it says 4 and 2 decks, not 8 and 4. Still, at least I also found out the answer to another question...

Strategy section is good, although there is one slight misconception in there; you say if the dealer shows a 7 or better, then hit until you have at least 17. If the dealer is showing a 7, then they only have a 1/3 chance of revealing a ten value card or ace (and hence auto standing), 2/3 chance they will have to hit. Quite often I've won by taking the odds, the dealer having to hit showing a 7 and then busting. Then again, maybe that's why I figure I'm good at the game and don't owe Vegas heh...

#161 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 20, 2011 6:03 PM

The manual is right. I misremembered.

I'll revisit the strategy section of the manual and see if I can fine-tune it. Its a bit of a trick to provide a strategy that's easy enough for beginners to follow but close to ideal strategy.

Most online sources use odds tables to explain ideal strategy, but I think rote memorization sucks all of the joy out of it.

To me, a fun part of blackjack is making adjustments to your strategy based on realizations that dawn on you as you play, just like the one you explained.

#162 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 21, 2011 10:04 PM

Indeed. It's very similar to the old phobia I see from players who insist on sticking on 12. They have a 1/3 chance of busting (getting a ten) and 2/3 chance of bettering their total. And many people just freeze when they see a total over 11 and think they will always bust if they take another card.

#163 Tin_Lunchbox OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 31, 2011 5:56 AM

The models are the three roommates I live with. They're very liberated and really dig Atari. The whole thing was their idea actually!


LOL! The aerobics instructor, the cheerleader, and the actress, right?

#164 Tin_Lunchbox OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 31, 2011 6:06 AM

Maybe things could have been done differently to squeeze some more space, but I'm not tearing everything out and doing it over at this point; I'm happy with how the game turned out and ready to call it done.


Heh heh heh! We are not letting you off the hook for yet more improvements, eh? It's your own fault for accomodating us. ;)

Can't resist throwing another suggestion out there. Tint each model in a different color, like you have the title picture. In the 1920s and 1930s film-makers would tint otherwise B/W footage for pleasing effect. A forest scene in green. A sailing or flying scene in blue. Here I think you could get away with blue, green, sepia, pink, maybe yellow or brown or tan.

You simply must do a nice boxed release of this great effort, RevEng. I'm sure there must be an experienced partner around here to undertake the manufacture and boxing etc.

#165 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 31, 2011 10:08 AM

LOL! The aerobics instructor, the cheerleader, and the actress, right?

Did I mention that the cheerleader's sorority sisters like to come over and party too? :P


Heh heh heh! We are not letting you off the hook for yet more improvements, eh? It's your own fault for accomodating us. ;)

:) I have no regrets.

The parts that I've tweaked since saying that have been what I'd consider bugs, at least in the broader sense.

If someone does have a brilliant idea I can implement in a handful of bytes, or if any more bugs are found, I'll definitely take them on.


Can't resist throwing another suggestion out there. Tint each model in a different color, like you have the title picture. In the 1920s and 1930s film-makers would tint otherwise B/W footage for pleasing effect. A forest scene in green. A sailing or flying scene in blue. Here I think you could get away with blue, green, sepia, pink, maybe yellow or brown or tan.

I tried that early on, and I wasn't really pleased with the results. Because I'm using fairly similar luminances to the dark background - to avoid flickering - that means any color I add is very saturated.

So I can only tint with red instead of pink, etc. The blue and yellow/brown work out OKish, but after a while my eyes would get fatigued more with the deep-color versions than when looking at the black and white version.

Based on that I figured a splash of color on the titlescreen would be nice, but black and white would be better for the main game.

If the 2600 could produce less saturated colors at lower luminances then tinting would have worked out better, but it can't, at least not without more flickering.


You simply must do a nice boxed release of this great effort, RevEng. I'm sure there must be an experienced partner around here to undertake the manufacture and boxing etc.

The cart is being arranged, and a quality box will definitely be available!

#166 Tin_Lunchbox OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 31, 2011 11:08 AM


Only other comment is that one of the dealer comments is missing an apostrophe, it says "IM" not "I'M" somewhere... oh just found it, it says "IM HOT TONIGHT" rather than "I'M HOT TONIGHT".

No more pixels left to squeeze in the apostrophe. :)


I hesitated to suggest this because it is so minor, but consider making it "me hot tonight" because bad grammar is less grating than bad spelling.

#167 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 31, 2011 11:45 AM

Ok, I've tweaked the text to be "so hot tonight" instead. The "me hot" felt off too.

I'll update the first post binaries if another fix comes along, or in a few weeks if nothing else pops up.

#168 Tin_Lunchbox OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 1, 2011 10:02 AM

If the 2600 could produce less saturated colors at lower luminances then tinting would have worked out better, but it can't, at least not without more flickering.


Well wait, aren't these saturation and flickering matters in substantial part monitor-dependent? I swear this will be my last suggestion, but consider using the BW/COLOR switch to give the option to have the models appear tinted in various colors.

#169 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 2, 2011 11:43 AM

Well wait, aren't these saturation and flickering matters in substantial part monitor-dependent? I swear this will be my last suggestion, but consider using the BW/COLOR switch to give the option to have the models appear tinted in various colors.


I ran tests on a few different 2600's, TVs, and also in Stella. The fact that the saturation at the lower luminance end is way heavy compared to the higher luminance end is very consistent.

Increasing the brightness of any of the luminances will decrease the saturation, but increase the perceived flicker... I experimented for days until I settled at the existing luminance levels.

Considering that games on the more difficult levels may run for a long time, I don't feel the results are worth including the tinting option, especially since it will perturb the existing BOSS key functionality which presently uses the BW/COLOR switch.

I do appreciate the suggestion, but I'm just not enamored with the results. :)

[edit - attachments removed]

#170 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 2, 2011 10:03 PM

I ran tests on a few different 2600's, TVs, and also in Stella. The fact that the saturation at the lower luminance end is way heavy compared to the higher luminance end is very consistent.


The 2600 adds a luminance signal to a fixed-amplitude chroma signal. One consequence of this is that saturation is very high with darker colors, and very low with brighter ones. Another more interesting consequence is that flickering between chroma X1 luma Y1 and chroma X2 luma Y2 will yield a color similar to flickering chroma X1 luma Y2 and chroma X2 luma Y1.

Have you tried using different colors on alternate frames? Flickering between two colors whose chroma values differ by four will yield a color whose tint is about halfway between the two colors, but whose saturation is considerably reduced. Increase the difference to six and the saturation will be reduced even further.

#171 Tin_Lunchbox OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 3, 2011 4:35 AM

Considering that games on the more difficult levels may run for a long time, I don't feel the results are worth including the tinting option, especially since it will perturb the existing BOSS key functionality which presently uses the BW/COLOR switch.


Ah, I didn't know about that, excuse me. Cool that you're fitting that switch in in one way or other.

#172 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 3, 2011 5:17 AM

Have you tried using different colors on alternate frames?

Yup. It does decrease the saturation to acceptable levels, but it has the side effect of uniquely coloring every other line of the image, due to the flickerblinds. Not really happy with that trade-off.

Using different periods to avoid the lines makes the color flickery.

Ah, I didn't know about that, excuse me. Cool that you're fitting that switch in in one way or other.

No need to excuse - the tinting would have been a cool effect if it could be pulled off right! :)

#173 supercat OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011 6:44 AM

Yup. It does decrease the saturation to acceptable levels, but it has the side effect of uniquely coloring every other line of the image, due to the flickerblinds. Not really happy with that trade-off.


The flicker-blinds are just for luminance, right? You have picture data on every scan line? Because luminance and chroma are independent, I would think that scan lines which flicker between e.g. $64 and $A8 would look pretty similar to those flickering between $A4 and $68. Do they not?

#174 RevEng OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 4, 2011 7:40 AM

The flicker-blinds are just for luminance, right? You have picture data on every scan line? Because luminance and chroma are independent, I would think that scan lines which flicker between e.g. $64 and $A8 would look pretty similar to those flickering between $A4 and $68. Do they not?

There's unique picture data on every scan line. It's a single line kernel.

So during even frames the darker color will be on even lines, and during odd frames the darker color will be on odd lines.

If you change the chrominance every other frame, than one chrominance is used on the even lines, and another chrominance is used on odd lines. Always.

Overall the saturation is acceptable, but it stripes the two colors throughout the image and makes single-pixel height features take on one color or another. Check out petra's eyes and lip, with Stella phosphor on...

21Blue-chrome.png 21Blue-grey.png


Increasing the period of the chrominance flicker to every 2 frames avoids the effect, but it makes the display blinky...

Attached File  21Blue-chromaflicker.bin   32KB   65 downloads

#175 StanJr OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jun 5, 2011 4:46 PM

Had a blast playing 21 Blue today, and I managed to "get to know" all three girls! :lust:


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