Jump to content

Photo

What's the deal with Star Castle 2600?


811 replies to this topic

#251 potatohead OFFLINE  

potatohead

    River Patroller

  • 4,201 posts
  • Location:Portland, Oregon

Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:25 PM

This:

http://www.atariage....ttach_id=240760 (link to the source code, and the first link I clicked, because I know I'll seriously appreciate the game play after having looked it over.)

is why I enjoy it here. It's not about free games. It's not about piracy, or some expectation that I am owed something. It's about how the hell did that guy get the VCS TO DO THAT? Better? CAN I DO IT TOO, or maybe even, MAYBE I CAN DO IT BETTER?

(rhetorical, because I can't right now, but I sure enjoy being able to read, learn, play and fully appreciate)

We got here for that simple ethic. The simple truth is that ethic has taken a machine to a potential NOBODY expected. Has happened many, many times. Damn straight! 8 bit land is a very fun place to be, and it wouldn't be anywhere near that level of fun without the idea of just putting stuff out there complete. When I was a kid, we shared code. Well, most of us did. There was that Greg guy who kept secrets. We kicked his ass working together. Object lesson in '82. Valid today. (Apple computers)

Many of the greats were done by disassembling the existing works and building on what was found there. The idea that one doesn't even have to go prying open the tin is again the very best ambassadorship there is. Thanks again. Just wanted to highlight WHY that open culture matters, and it's so often taken the wrong way.

Edited by potatohead, Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:26 PM.


#252 Random Terrain ONLINE  

Random Terrain

    Visual batari Basic User

  • 24,963 posts
  • Controlled Randomness
    Replay Value
    Nonlinear
  • Location:North Carolina (USA)

Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:31 PM

Before I get pounded on, please consider my earlier "door always open" comment up thread . . .


If you mean your back door, I'm there! I'll pound your back door any day! :D

#253 trent OFFLINE  

trent

    Chopper Commander

  • 115 posts
  • Location:Boise, ID

Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:52 PM

IMHO, Scott is somewhat not well understood. Prolly will catch a bit of heat for this, but he is who he is, operates the way he operates. Nothing bad was intended here when he jumped in to share in the way he feels he can. It was taken badly though, and after some considerable time and discussion, here we are. It could have gone better. No blame either. Not about that. It could have gone better, that's all. Just think about times people have come and been ran off, or scared away. Happens. Just think about that too, again no blame, I include myself in that call to just think about it.


Well put. Never had anything against Scott or his idea of sharing. Different than mine but that's what makes the world rotate. I do wish this had been more of a friendly rivalry instead of Star Castle - Spite Edition. Maybe that can still happen. I'd love to play both versions side by side. I'd also love to see both sets of source to how two different heads solve the same problem.

#254 solidcorp OFFLINE  

solidcorp

    Moonsweeper

  • 439 posts
  • Location:Wheaton Illinois

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:16 AM

I haven't had a chance to play Chris's version yet but judging from the screenshots and the blog updates it looks FANTASTIC, he did some awesome stuff in that game and it's great that he shared it and blogged the process with everyone here. I've been really busy and haven't had a chance to get the new Stella to check it out since the early first ring demos (which were 11k ;) ).

There's no rivalry on my end. I said someone should make one in the other threads and these guys knocked it out of the park! We made different projects for what I can only assume assume are different reasons. I know I made mine alone in response to the HSW interviews to prove it could be done in 1981 in 8K then had some fun making the physical cartridge and box. I assume that Chris was looking for a new project, saw the demand and challenge in Star Castle after the hubbub surrounding my not sharing mine and decided to make a first class homebrew version. If there's any rivalry or animosity on his end I can't tell by his posts. He and his team made a sweet modern version (no games over 16k were released before 32 in 1 in 1988 and Fatal Run in 1989) with more features for the good people here on Atari Age (and Andrew Davie ;) ) Maybe Thomas could have squeezed a little more into my game, but there is no way I could fit that cool title screen, music, or the high score list. We used the system in different ways and also made different design decisions and sacrifices that will differentiate the games game play.

Once again, hats off to you guys.

Scott

#255 Pioneer4x4 OFFLINE  

Pioneer4x4

    River Patroller

  • 2,014 posts
  • Atari + R.O.B. = Completed
  • Location:PA

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:27 AM

I know I made mine alone in response to the HSW interviews to prove it could be done in 1981 in 8K then had some fun making the physical cartridge and box.

Any chance on more detailed pictures of the actual cartridge, and info on how you manufactured it? To me that is as interesting as the programming.

#256 solidcorp OFFLINE  

solidcorp

    Moonsweeper

  • 439 posts
  • Location:Wheaton Illinois

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:46 AM

You've probably already seen all these,but they are all I have... I wish I took more video of the machining but I was in such a rush the before the 2011 VGS that I just didn't do it.

https://picasaweb.go...i2600StarCastle

The PCB - I made in ExpressPCB and cut out with a Dremmel - I should have used the CNC.

The electronics design - EEPROMs that I had on hand from SNES/Genesis development, PLDs I had on hand from previous electronics projects.

The cartridge case: It took a lot of engineering to make the case, a lot of measurement and CAD work but in the end I ran out of time and had to make it from scrap on hand in the shop. I bonded two sheets of 1/4" polycarbonate (Lexan) together to make a 1/2" slab, then machined the cartridge halves out of it. I only have three orthogonal axes on my CNC router and couldn't machine the posts to open the cartridge door into the case so I had to cut those separately from 1/8" polycarbonate. If I remember correctly it takes just under an hour to machine a half, front and back; I have to flip the piece over to machine both sides of each half to make the curved edges, label recess, and nut/bolt recesses.

Was there anything more specific that you were curious about?

#257 SpiceWare OFFLINE  

SpiceWare

    Quadrunner

  • 8,246 posts
  • Medieval Mayhem
  • Location:Planet Houston

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:46 AM

Was there anything more specific that you were curious about?

I'm curious about the board design, why is the ground (top boards) everywhere and so close to the other traces? I don't recall having seen that in other carts I've opened, and it seems like it would make it very difficult to solder w/out causing a bridge. Does it help cut down RF interference or something?

Edited by SpiceWare, Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:47 AM.


#258 solidcorp OFFLINE  

solidcorp

    Moonsweeper

  • 439 posts
  • Location:Wheaton Illinois

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:02 PM

The top board shows the back of the board, and the bottom board show's its front. I flooded the bottom with a ground plane. It's good for RF, it's good for power delivery, it's good for the environment because it uses less etchant and wastes less copper but takes more solder to tin I guess. I *probably* should have a can over the chips for RF. Since the boards come through hole plated and pre tinned, solder bridges weren't a problem, as a matter of fact, they were a hell of a lot easier to solder than surface mount parts. I wanted to make sure the ground plane could get between the pads around the chip pins though I could have left a little more space.

I really like ExpressPCB for quick prototypes. You can get three 2.5" x 3.8", double sided, through hole plated boards in about 3 days for around $60US. Their free board layout software is decent too. That's pretty handy for prototypes. I used to make my own boards but that's a lot of work and mess - more than $60 worth :-)

#259 Pioneer4x4 OFFLINE  

Pioneer4x4

    River Patroller

  • 2,014 posts
  • Atari + R.O.B. = Completed
  • Location:PA

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:10 PM

You've probably already seen all these,but they are all I have... I wish I took more video of the machining but I was in such a rush the before the 2011 VGS that I just didn't do it.

https://picasaweb.go...i2600StarCastle

Was there anything more specific that you were curious about?

I missed those! Very impressive. That was a great idea of layering the plastic to make it thick enough to machine away. I get SO MANY ideas looking at that. Nice label and box as well.

I guess the only thing left I am real curious about is the same as most every one else. Why not release/sell copies for a realistic price? I can imagine how much time in the design, setup, and manufacturing of everything, and I don't know what I would consider a fair price if I was selling it, but I'm sure there are customers out there.

#260 ntavio OFFLINE  

ntavio

    Stargunner

  • 1,323 posts
  • I play a super stuntman on TV.
  • Location:Latitude: 2547′16″N, Longitude: 8013′27″W

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:32 PM

I have but one question: Can you play Chris' version with the Harmony Cart or just on the Stella emulator?

#261 PFL OFFLINE  

PFL

    Dragonstomper

  • 733 posts
  • Location:Advanced Tech and Research Institute

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:41 PM

Just Stella (latest build) just now... :)

#262 ntavio OFFLINE  

ntavio

    Stargunner

  • 1,323 posts
  • I play a super stuntman on TV.
  • Location:Latitude: 2547′16″N, Longitude: 8013′27″W

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:56 PM

Thanks Che. ;-)

#263 FujiSkunk OFFLINE  

FujiSkunk

    Quadrunner

  • 6,017 posts
  • Behold the Fuji!
  • Location:Planet Houston

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:04 PM

I am very, incredibly, stupifyingly late to this discussion, and therefore any comment I make at this point is probably not going to contribute positively. But having just read through both threads on Star Castle, I was reminded of something I feel compelled to share...

A long time ago, I was really into electronic keyboards, Yamahas and Casios in particular. I became a walking encyclopedia of model numbers, features, different technologies, just about everything there was to know about them short of cracking them open and studying the circuitry.

One day a piano tutor was talking to my mother, and I noticed she had a Casio keyboard with her. I looked it over, and started talking about how it was good but not great, about how it had okay sound but not the best accompaniment, and so on. I meant absolutely no harm, and in fact I was elated I could talk to someone about what I knew. She stopped me cold with one single question: "Do you have any idea how hurtful you sound?" She wasn't hearing a keyboard geek having fun spouting off random trivia and self-educated opinions. She was hearing someone she didn't know from Adam rag unprovoked on something that she paid good money and which worked perfectly fine for her. I learned a big lesson that day.

Maybe the original author doesn't think he's doing anything wrong by creating a game, showing it to the public, and stating his terms for making it available, something he has no doubt done many times before. But, in my opinion, he doesn't understand his audience, that is, the community here at AtariAge. I agree with ROM Hunter; Propane13 explained eloquently who and what the AtariAge community is, and why so many here are put off by what they see as obliviousness at best, attempted exploitation at worst.

This is not to say the author's terms are wrong, or that he isn't free to do whatever he wants with his creation. However, I think if he would be a little more sensitive to the differences between his perspective and the community's, and phrase his responses accordingly, there would be a lot less animosity toward him.

And sometimes the best response is none at all. Like I learned that day, not every piano tutor needs a compare and contrast of her keyboard's specs when it simply does what she needs it to, and not every retro gamer needs to hear repeatedly about a game they have been told they probably will never get to play.

#264 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

accousticguitar

    Quadrunner

  • 5,791 posts
  • Sherlock made it to 15 before he left us.
  • Location:Idaho

Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:13 PM

Something really good came out of all this because now we do get to play it, thanks to cd-w. :)

#265 cd-w OFFLINE  

cd-w

    Stargunner

  • 1,249 posts
  • Juno First!
  • Location:Glasgow, UK

Posted Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:29 AM

I have now posted up a Harmony compatible version of Star Castle RC1 in my blog for those who are interested. Let me know if there are any issues?

Chris

Edited by cd-w, Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:46 AM.


#266 cd-w OFFLINE  

cd-w

    Stargunner

  • 1,249 posts
  • Juno First!
  • Location:Glasgow, UK

Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:16 AM

I assume that Chris was looking for a new project, saw the demand and challenge in Star Castle after the hubbub surrounding my not sharing mine and decided to make a first class homebrew version. If there's any rivalry or animosity on his end I can't tell by his posts. He and his team made a sweet modern version (no games over 16k were released before 32 in 1 in 1988 and Fatal Run in 1989) with more features for the good people here on Atari Age (and Andrew Davie ;) ) Maybe Thomas could have squeezed a little more into my game, but there is no way I could fit that cool title screen, music, or the high score list. We used the system in different ways and also made different design decisions and sacrifices that will differentiate the games game play.


You are correct - there is no animosity on my part - maybe just some friendly rivalry! Seeing your version motivated me to see if I could also create a version for the 2600. I believe my implementation is quite different to yours. I could probably squeeze my version down a bit, but I find that kind of space optimisation work tedious, and it makes the code difficult to change. As long as it works on the Harmony cart, then that is good enough for me!

Chris

Edited by cd-w, Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:17 AM.


#267 save2600 OFFLINE  

save2600

    Quadrunner

  • 8,520 posts
  • Location:WI

Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:41 AM

Just got through playing a game using my H6'er and Harmony... holy smokes is this game HOT! A wee bit on the difficult side maybe? but I love the modern hi-res homebrew look and "feel" of it. The way 'scoring', 'lives', 'get ready', etc. is drawn, emulates an X-Y monitor really well too. Colors are absolutely brilliant. :love:

Incredible job Chris!!

Now to give it a shot using the Starplex controller... [edit] yep, superior experience playing it with the Starplex!! Score of 6290 so far. :)

#268 ComputerSpaceFan OFFLINE  

ComputerSpaceFan

    Stargunner

  • 1,727 posts

Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:38 AM

I couldn't play it on my Harmony. I mean, I could see the ship and fly it around but the center enemy was just a jumbled mass. I could shoot the shields on the left side but the rest of it looked like chaotic code. Is this a Harmony glitch? To specify, I could not get the Harmony starRC1.cu file to run at all (might be my BIOS version, I'll get back to you on that) but I was able to get the previous starRC1.bin running, just with jumbled code in the center of the screen.
Will the original starRC1.bin be updated or will only the starRC1.cu file be worked on from now on?

Guess I finally have to update my BIOS, darn it.

#269 save2600 OFFLINE  

save2600

    Quadrunner

  • 8,520 posts
  • Location:WI

Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:39 AM

Guess I finally have to update my BIOS, darn it.


Update to v1.05 is nice... menu color cycling is now disabled when your TV switch is set to color. :)

#270 cd-w OFFLINE  

cd-w

    Stargunner

  • 1,249 posts
  • Juno First!
  • Location:Glasgow, UK

Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:56 AM

Will the original starRC1.bin be updated or will only the starRC1.cu file be worked on from now on?


The CU file is the only way to make the game work properly on the Harmony. It really isn't difficult to update the Harmony BIOS. Just download the latest version and follow the instructions.

Chris

#271 Jinks OFFLINE  

Jinks

    Stargunner

  • 1,615 posts
  • Location:Canada

Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:57 PM

Well this is really awesome work by both solidcorp and cd-w. A feat many of us will never even begin to comprehend.
I myself am a master technician on semi trucks. I know what its like to accomplish things and understand technicalities that to most people would not have a sniff what i am talking about.
So congrats to both programmers for their skills that provide us with a service and enjoyment in 30 + year old system.
Ps please solidcorp sell your game on a boxed cart like boulderdash was done. You would then get some money for your effort...Or not who am I to say....

#272 ComputerSpaceFan OFFLINE  

ComputerSpaceFan

    Stargunner

  • 1,727 posts

Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:47 PM


Guess I finally have to update my BIOS, darn it.


Update to v1.05


Okay now I am confused. The good news is I was mistaken, I find starRC1.bin is actually the one that has jumbled unplayable signal and starRC1.cu is the one that (mostly) works on my machine.

This is good .... except ... this is what I see.

Posted Image

And I definitely already have BIOS 1.05 so that's not an issue.

Posted Image

Any ideas what's wrong? The ship flies around just fine, I see the AtariAge logo title page and on the left side of the enemy area of the main screen the shield can be seen rotating, but what's with the weird gobbildy-gook over the right side of the enemy?

#273 iesposta OFFLINE  

iesposta

    Stargunner

  • 1,916 posts
  • Retro-gaming w/my VCS
  • Location:Pennsylvania

Posted Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:11 PM

Seems like that bank switching format is not compatible with a cartridge modified Atari flashback 2 or flashback 2+
It works on everything I've played it on except my cartridge modified flashback 2+ which looks exactly the same as the screenshot you posted.
I especially like the animated high score table with the music. Thanks Flashback 2+!

Attached Files



#274 cd-w OFFLINE  

cd-w

    Stargunner

  • 1,249 posts
  • Juno First!
  • Location:Glasgow, UK

Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:58 AM

Any ideas what's wrong? The ship flies around just fine, I see the AtariAge logo title page and on the left side of the enemy area of the main screen the shield can be seen rotating, but what's with the weird gobbildy-gook over the right side of the enemy?


What kind of console are you playing this on? I suspect it must be a clone console, or some other kind of non-regular 2600?

Seems like that bank switching format is not compatible with a cartridge modified Atari flashback 2 or flashback 2+
It works on everything I've played it on except my cartridge modified flashback 2+ which looks exactly the same as the screenshot you posted.


The game uses extra RAM, so it won't work on the FB2 like the other extended RAM games ...

Chris

Edited by cd-w, Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:59 AM.


#275 ComputerSpaceFan OFFLINE  

ComputerSpaceFan

    Stargunner

  • 1,727 posts

Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:37 AM

The game uses extra RAM, so it won't work on the FB2 like the other extended RAM games ...
Chris


Oh well, I'll just chalk this up as another homebrew I can't play, like others. Too bad, it looks pretty impressive.




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users