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#1 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 7, 2011 4:14 AM

Got a few more spare time in these days (also got a pneumonia :( that forces me to stay at home...) and, if wife and daughter let me do it, I could do many PC jobs that I couldn't do in other times... :D !

One of those little works is to create boxes for the "Arcade series" of some VCS games...
As I did before for the RK's Pac-Man Arcade and Defender Arcade, then here is another, of course in the same "Arcade-series Light SIlver" color ;) !

SpaceInvadersArcade_LightSilver_NTSC.jpg
SpaceInvadersArcade_cart.jpg
SpaceInvadersArcade_end.jpg


There'll be soon others like Galaxian,Asteroids... then, boxes and artworks for all those wonderful hacks that you programmers are giving us !

Edited by macdlsa, Tue Jun 7, 2011 2:59 PM.


#2 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 7, 2011 4:09 PM

The "Deluxe" version

Space Invaders Arcade Deluxe Box_NTSC.jpg
Space Invaders ArcadeDeluxe Cartridge.jpg
SpaceInvadersArcadeDeluxe_end.jpg

Edited by macdlsa, Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:58 PM.


#3 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 8, 2011 5:06 PM

Asteroids

AsteroidsArcade_Box_NTSC.jpg
AsteroidsArcade_cartridge.jpg
AsteroidsArcade_end.jpg

(btw: could be my settings for Stella or the .bin file itself... but I see the asteroids "blinking"/"flickering", while the "DC" version boulders don't. Issue or b/w "empty" asteroids effect ?)

#4 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011 4:43 AM

(btw: could be my settings for Stella or the .bin file itself... but I see the asteroids "blinking"/"flickering", while the "DC" version boulders don't. Issue or b/w "empty" asteroids effect ?)

Asteroids uses what is known as '30 Hz. flicker'. That is, half the frame is updated one second, and the other half the next second. This leads to the flickering you see in the ROM. The same thing would happen on a real console and TV.

Now, many people find this distracting, so Stella has a 'phosphor mode', which basically mixes the two 30Hz frames together and eliminates flicker. However, it is only enabled for ROMs which it knows need this functionality, by making use of its internal database. I suspect the the "DC" version you mention is in the Stella database, while the other one isn't.

#5 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011 7:47 AM

Thanks, Stephena !
This means Stella does a kind of "progressive" process for all those roms for whose is programmed to do this.
Also ok that what I see on this game (as in all the other played on a real hw...) should be called flickering (one frame the boulders, the other the ships) and not blinking (like, for example, Pac's (and Ms' and Jr.'s...) ghosts) which consist in VCS limitation in drawing two sprites at the same scanline (sorry...I'm not too smart with VCS' drawing attitudes but I do for "basic" CRT TV working ;)).
I can't check it in a right way on my *real* hw 'cause it's a PAL L6, but of course the original PAL Asteroids does flicker a lot (slowly but more "eye-disturbing" than the NTSC)...

Edited by macdlsa, Thu Jun 9, 2011 7:54 AM.


#6 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011 8:09 AM

Thanks, Stephena !
This means Stella does a kind of "progressive" process for all those roms for whose is programmed to do this.
Also ok that what I see on this game (as in all the other played on a real hw...) should be called flickering (one frame the boulders, the other the ships) and not blinking (like, for example, Pac's (and Ms' and Jr.'s...) ghosts) which consist in VCS limitation in drawing two sprites at the same scanline (sorry...I'm not too smart with VCS' drawing attitudes but I do for "basic" CRT TV working ;)).
I can't check it in a right way on my *real* hw 'cause it's a PAL L6, but of course the original PAL Asteroids does flicker a lot (slowly but more "eye-disturbing" than the NTSC)...

What I call '30Hz. flicker' should really be called 'two-frame' drawing. That is, it takes two frames to show the entire contents of the image. I make that distinction because under PAL, it would still be two frames, but 25Hz, since a PAL display runs at 50 Hz. The reason it's called phosphor mode in Stella is because on certain TVs with high-persistence phosphors, the flicker would be less noticeable.

I'm not absolutely sure, but I believe Pac-man uses 20Hz flicker, and takes 3 frames to draw the entire image. This of course will result in even worse blinking, and since Stella phosphor mode only mixes up to two frames, it can't hide the issues entirely.

EDIT: I should add that this 2-frame drawing isn't actually an interlaced display, which may be how I described it above. In an interlaced display, every other scanline is drawn in alternating frames. In 2-frame drawing, an entire image is drawn every frame, but each frame only consists of a subset of the game objects (ie, in Asteroids, first you see the boulders, then the ship, etc). In either case, you'll get a flickering/blinking image, but behind the scenes something different is occurring.

Also, you can press 'Alt-p' toggle phosphor mode in Stella, and it can be saved for a ROM by accessing 'Game Properties'.

EDIT 2: If you enable or disable phosphor mode in Stella and then go into the debugger and press 'Alt-f', it will step through each frame, and you'll clearly see what I mean.

#7 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011 8:37 AM

Perfectly understood !
As, of course, perfectly explained !

Pac-Man: OH !!! Ok, that's why also Stella's does flicker/blink...

Hehe, just from the beginning I saw what you just explained simply catching snapshots, whose are, depending on the frame I pressed the "F12" key, alternating two (or more) fields...
For example, to "insert" the frame onto the rear side of the Asterods-Arcade box, I had to "mix" 2 snapshots... (thing I did every time for the games whose require such a simple editing).

#8 stephena OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011 9:17 AM

Perfectly understood !
As, of course, perfectly explained !

Pac-Man: OH !!! Ok, that's why also Stella's does flicker/blink...

Hehe, just from the beginning I saw what you just explained simply catching snapshots, whose are, depending on the frame I pressed the "F12" key, alternating two (or more) fields...
For example, to "insert" the frame onto the rear side of the Asterods-Arcade box, I had to "mix" 2 snapshots... (thing I did every time for the games whose require such a simple editing).

If you turn on phosphor mode for such ROMs and take a snapshot with F12, it will capture exactly what you see onscreen. So you won't need to do any post-processing to mix snapshots; Stella will do it for you. Of course, it won't work for ROMs that take more than 2 frames for a complete image, but I think it will make your work much easier.

#9 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011 10:53 AM

That would be the very first thing i'll do tonight when I'll be on my pc...
Thnks for the advice !

Oh, if all the editing works could be like VCS' shots' (I mean when colors are not much and, especially, not "mixed" together !) one, well... Where'll be the fun :) ?!!

Edited by macdlsa, Thu Jun 9, 2011 11:17 AM.


#10 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 9, 2011 3:36 PM

Ok, phosphor function set in the "on" position also for Asteroids Arcade...
GREAT job, indeed, Stephena !

#11 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:30 PM

Galaxian !

Galaxian Arcade Box_NTSC.jpg
Galaxian Arcade Cartridge.jpg
Galaxian Arcade End.jpg

#12 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:19 PM

Just 2 words about Donkey Kong ARCADE...

Donkey Kong Arcade (Box - NTSC).jpg
Donkey Kong Arcade (Cartridge).jpg
Donkey Kong Arcade (End).jpg

NOTE:
seeing the wonderful hacks and homebrew games that have been "baked" in the last years and more I wonder why there isn't still a "full version" of DK ! I know it could certainly be better, or at least more arcade-perfect, even than the ColecoVision's !!!

[ UPDATE - modified ]close view of the screen on the back of the box ;)
Donkey Kong Arcade_SCREEN posteriore.jpg

Edited by macdlsa, Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:44 AM.


#13 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:22 PM

The box and the mockups for DK Arcade look very nice.

#14 raindog OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:29 PM

NOTE:
seeing the wonderful hacks and homebrew games that have been "baked" in the last years and more I wonder why there isn't still a "full version" of DK ! I know it could certainly be better, or at least more arcade-perfect, even than the ColecoVision's !!!


I think there are a couple reasons we haven't seen as many attempts to improve Donkey Kong as there have been for Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

1. The original 2600 Donkey Kong is very playable, and looks and plays more like the arcade version than I'd have expected possible on the 2600. Yes, we were underwhelmed in 1982 by the missing screens and animations, but we still played it like crazy, unlike Pac-Man. It's an amazing feat in 4K, and I think Garry Kitchen should be proud. Almost 30 years later, the sound effects he made are still being used as generic video game noises on TV all the time.

2. Nintendo enforces their trademarks more ardently than Namco or Taito.

Nonetheless, I've seen some graphics demos that look even more impressive than your mockups (the one I was immediately able to find in my collection was Ivan Machado's) and someone's already put out a ROM of the elevator level based on the Coleco version, albeit not playable.

...close view of the screen on the back of the box ;)


That does look sweet. The score and bonus on screen at the same time will probably not be possible without flicker. It could actually be possible to improve Donkey Kong's sprite, or at least the parts of it that aren't on the same scanline as any playfield stuff, since he's quad-width anyway. I seem to remember the Colecovision version flickering when Mario was on the same level as him, so maybe it's okay to flicker Mario's player to give him a lighter tan face/ears, chest and feet, and maybe even give him blocky little whites in his eyes by making clever use of the playfield as well. On the first level, the ladders pretty much have to be the same color as the slanted girders, or the bottoms of the ones at the lower end of each girder will have to be drawn using something else, making a pretty complicated kernel. The oil cans have to either be the same color as the playfield, or not occur on the same scanlines as other playfield items (an alternating line thing here would be fine for me, don't know about others), or be made out of a player, which will create flicker when Mario and a barrel/fireball are on the same level as one. I'm sure there are other practical issues as well but those are what jumped out at me.

I think it could certainly be more playable than the Colecovision version given the same space (16K) or even less. But if I were to try it (and I did get as far as starting work on a kernel for the girder screen a few years back; that or Moon Cresta would probably be my next 2600 project now that someone else came up with a Ballblazer that makes my demo look dumb) it'd be from scratch, and I probably would be trying for something like "Congorilla" or, I don't know, "Super Pick-Axe Pete" rather than "Donkey Kong Arcade". Doing something that takes comparatively little work and getting more attention than people who actually write brilliant stuff... been there, done that.

#15 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:45 AM

Yeah, Garry "guide to the galaxy" Kitchen's job was (is) awesome, considering as it is a 4k program... but here we thought Coleco didn't want a complete DK for the VCS nor the Inty... the rest is history ;) !

Oh, yep... as I said I'm not smart with VCS programming, but I took a look at the "beginner's guide" then I modified the 1st screen, following your "hints". Ladders' color follow the platform's when in the same scanline, while on the others there is the "light blue".
[I didn't follow the TIA palette, so sure colors don't match...]
The can is blue but now it alternates the "double scanlines" (reading the manual I thought: tere are double scanlines to save some bytes in the kernel's "weigth"...) with the ladders on the right, while the counters on the top alternate their lines (single scanline)...
For the 4th screen: yes, Mario and Kong would sure flicker, but it's just for some instants that they are on the same platform ;).

Copyrights: well, just a couple of months ago I contacted (through a friend who is the official italian translator of their booklets) a man from Digital Leisure, asking him about a *possible* VCS version of Dragon's Lair. We talked a lot (oh, I forgot: sorry for my "school English" :)), also rimembering the time when we of the Daphne Team asked the rights for sharing the official captures of their laserdisc-based games, and the DigLeis "headquarter" answered me there wuold be not enough "money reasons" to say no to that project... You know what I mean: *only* 100 or more cartridges sold are not properly an affair for them, but they said they sure want to be informed about it. Well, then this project was stopped almost from the beginning, although I still have an almost complete set of mockupped sprites, kernels and a storyboard :).
Nintendo ?
Well, I think you're right... the names of Mario, Kong and Pauline are still worth lots of $... but never say never ;).

Edited by macdlsa, Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:17 AM.


#16 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:16 AM


Edited by macdlsa, Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:21 AM.


#17 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:36 AM

Ok, I set all the colors according to TIA NTSC palette and following your [raindog] advices about scanlines...
Donkey Kong Arcade_SCREEN posteriore.jpg
[ also UPDATED here ]
Well, ladders on the 1st level are of the same color of the hammer handle and the right (time) counter (which is of a different color of the left (score) counter and does ALTERNATE scanlines with it !); the can has the same blue of Mario's trousers and does no longer share any scanline with the ladders on its right. Kong is yet a "2-frames" quad-sprite.
On the 2nd level we have the platforms sharing the same color of Mario's face, the same can of the 1st level, while ladders and hammer handle are white. Kong is the same 2-frames quad-sprite of the 1st level, but it can MOVE HIMSELF across the platform on which it is (maybe with flames' pattern), hindering Mario when he attempts to climb the last stairways, just like it happens playin' the coin-operated...
In the 3rd level Kong returns to be a "fixed" sprite like in the 1st level, lifts has the same color of the platforms and bouncing springs/coils are the "new" enemies; ladders are white but when they have to share scanlines with platforms they turns in the color of these last. Too much sprites, indeed... flickering would be inevitable :(.
The 4th level is a bit different from the original Kitchen's game: Kong is the same 2-frames-quad of the 1st and 3rd level, but is now placed in the center of the upper platform, blocking Mario's way (just like in the arcade): flickering ? Yes, but only for a few seconds... just the time to unlock the bolts ;).

... I think you already *caught* I'm a die-hard DK fan, as well as Dragon's Lair ;) :D !

Edited by macdlsa, Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:46 AM.


#18 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:56 PM

Ah, so, will you be making this hack given your die-hard fandom for DK?!? :)

#19 macdlsa OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:28 PM

That should be the second on the list, Capt. Kirk
Posted Image
;)

#20 Crimefighter OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:45 AM

Just 2 words about Donkey Kong ARCADE...

Donkey Kong Arcade (Box - NTSC).jpg
Donkey Kong Arcade (Cartridge).jpg
Donkey Kong Arcade (End).jpg

NOTE:
seeing the wonderful hacks and homebrew games that have been "baked" in the last years and more I wonder why there isn't still a "full version" of DK ! I know it could certainly be better, or at least more arcade-perfect, even than the ColecoVision's !!!

[ UPDATE - modified ]close view of the screen on the back of the box ;)
Donkey Kong Arcade_SCREEN posteriore.jpg


Is this FOR REAL? I'd like to see a video of this on youtube!




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