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Star Raiders - was it ever fixed?


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#1 KLund1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:17 PM

Probably one of the best games for the 8-bits made. I love it, play it.
But there are some little bugs and quirks in the program that I was wondering if anyone ever did a hack on to fix.
For example, when a ship explodes, and the debris field slows the game because of the long calculations the cpu has to do to draw them. Or the odd delay between back to front view when tracking only one ship that sometimes happens. Having the attacking ships move differently has your speed increases. (not really a bug, but you know what I mean)

Has anyone thought about going into the code and doing some fine tuning. Nothing to change the overall play, but a tweek here, an optimization there? My programming skills are know where near the ability to do that. But I'm sure there are many out there that could. I did a quick search in here and did not find much, or I missed it.

just wondering.

#2 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:20 PM

Not that I know of.

The best "fix" for SR would be to source-ify the entire game then optimise all the slow stuff, ie utilize ~ 32K of space to build bulkier but much faster routines.

#3 doctorclu OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:30 PM

Has anyone thought about going into the code and doing some fine tuning. Nothing to change the overall play, but a tweek here, an optimization there? My programming skills are know where near the ability to do that. But I'm sure there are many out there that could. I did a quick search in here and did not find much, or I missed it.

just wondering.


Yes they did, and man that is a vicious game. :) If you check in the older messages here on Atariage about a year to two ago someone reduced the pixels in the explosion, which made for nearly no slow down. The result to me was devistating. Over the years I got used to the break that the explosion gave as I moved from target to target. This one you destroyed one, and without any down time you were being shot at by other ships. Really quite amazing.

#4 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:37 PM

Over the years I got used to the break that the explosion gave as I moved from target to target. This one you destroyed one, and without any down time you were being shot at by other ships. Really quite amazing.


Kind of like the way the slowdown in certain SNES shmups actually made the games easier to play :)

#5 doctorclu OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:40 PM

Over the years I got used to the break that the explosion gave as I moved from target to target. This one you destroyed one, and without any down time you were being shot at by other ships. Really quite amazing.


Kind of like the way the slowdown in certain SNES shmups actually made the games easier to play :)


:) A lot like that.

Here is the link to the patched version...

http://www.atariage....ost__p__1399884

#6 KLund1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2012 3:11 PM

Thanks everyone. Got the link to the patched thread. But the last entry of that thread would good for someone to do. It would take some time and someone with really good ATARI 8-bit programing skills. -- not me, sadly :( -- But it would be really fun to play!!!!! Just a thought. But if someone did it, and it played good, I'd be willing to pay a reaonable cost for it. Perhaps other would?

#7 Chris++ OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2012 3:35 PM

Just as an interesting tidbit, this is from an old article of mine in our newsletter (now website). The programmer's comments about the explosion are in boldface.

---

Doug Neubauer designed Star Raiders for the Atari 8-bit; few folks realize that the same guy designed the POKEY, the chip inside the Atari 400/800 that handles sound, controller reading, keyboard reading, random-number generation and serial communication to peripherals.

In October of 1986, he told Lee Pappas of Analog Computing that the 800 was "originally planned to [have] the same audio as on the 2600." [The 7800 was the console that wound up having the same audio as the 2600, unfortunately!] Pappas asked him what the inspiration for his famous game was.

"Star Raiders was to be a 3-D version of the Star Trek game played on the mainframe computers of that time. The Star Trek game was all text and not played in real time, but it had the idea of ship damage and sector scanners and charts. It also used names like 'Commander' or 'Super Commander,' which gave me the idea of a rating rather than a score."

Before working at Atari, Neubauer had been at National Semiconductor. "While at National, I did up some demo screens of star backgrounds, and the whole thing seemed feasible. But I didn't get to implement it until a couple of years later."

There were no games for the 400/800 when Neubauer started working on the game in early 1979. The interviewer explained that a lot of Analog Computing's readers had bought their 8-bits just to get Star Raiders. "It's pretty amazing, the way the game caught on," said Neubauer. "I think it was the first game to combine action with a strategy screen, and luckily, the concept worked out pretty well. I guess the part I liked best was the [enemy ship] explosion; I never was really satisfied with the hyperwarp display."

Pappas got him to talk about the actual coding of the game. "The routines in Star Raiders are total hacks!" Neubauer revealed. "It was the first game to use 3-D algorithms, and the ones I came up with were terrible. They worked, but were slow. That's why the game slows down when there's an explosion. The explosion consists of about 64 separate pieces, and moving them around in 3-D space took a lot of computation time."

Pappas asked him what he could have done with Star Raiders if there had been more then 8K available. "It would be interesting to try and get a planet-landing sequence, wherein you start from space and approach the planet, and as it gets bigger, more detail appears."

He went on to design the overrated Solaris for the 2600, of course; but Star Raiders is the daddy of windshield shooters. Can you imagine some guy designing a revolutionary microchip and a revolutionary game in the climate of the industry now?

#8 FujiSkunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2012 3:47 PM

Overrated?

#9 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2012 4:08 PM

Probably one of the best games for the 8-bits made. I love it, play it.
But there are some little bugs and quirks in the program that I was wondering if anyone ever did a hack on to fix.
For example, when a ship explodes, and the debris field slows the game because of the long calculations the cpu has to do to draw them. Or the odd delay between back to front view when tracking only one ship that sometimes happens. Having the attacking ships move differently has your speed increases. (not really a bug, but you know what I mean)

Has anyone thought about going into the code and doing some fine tuning. Nothing to change the overall play, but a tweek here, an optimization there? My programming skills are know where near the ability to do that. But I'm sure there are many out there that could. I did a quick search in here and did not find much, or I missed it.

just wondering.


That odd delay you mention between and front and rear views "sometimes" isn't a bug, that's when the enenmy is on either side of you playing hide-and-seek!

#10 KLund1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 3, 2012 5:17 PM

Yes, I remember reading that post a long time ago.
I wonder if someone could talk to Doug Neubauer and get him out of retirement, and work with one of you good programmers, and make a 'finished' version Doug likes. Just another good thought

#11 morelenmir OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 3:50 PM

I have never played SR - but I believe it is the 'Atari Elite' as it were? 'Elite' certainly came after SR, so I wonder how much Bell and Co. were inspired by the Atari title?

#12 LynxVGL OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 3:57 PM

I thought the 5200 Port had some other bug fixes in it as well.

#13 ZylonBane OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 9:59 PM

I have never played SR - but I believe it is the 'Atari Elite' as it were? 'Elite' certainly came after SR, so I wonder how much Bell and Co. were inspired by the Atari title?

First, OH MY GOD.

And second-- no. Star Raiders is to Elite as Doom is to Deus Ex. Elite was probably inspired in part by Star Raiders, but calling Star Raiders the Atari's Elite would be a gross distortion. It's a real-time first-person port of the old mainframe Star Trek games, nothing more.

#14 idavis OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 12:57 AM

I am still confused why you would want to even touch this. To me it's like wanting to spruce up the Mona Lisa, you know, just a few light touches here and there. Or maybe do a couple little tweaks to a P-51 Mustang. Anyone got a hankering to do some remodeling over at the Taj Mahal? I know that sounds extreme, but in my opinion the only people that would suggest this weren't around when that game came out. I would venture a guess that it fueled quite a few careers. What you are calling bugs and quirks, are just parts of the gameplay. To me it's inspiration. Lets just leave it alone, there's no fixing that needs to be done here.

#15 Chris++ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 1:51 AM

I have never played SR - but I believe it is the 'Atari Elite' as it were? 'Elite' certainly came after SR, so I wonder how much Bell and Co. were inspired by the Atari title?

They were both early, windshield-view space shooters with sector maps, hyperspace and docking, so that's a great point. Elite added the buying and selling of goods, as well as weapon upgrades -- but it would slow to a crawl when there were any graphics onscreen to speak of, and it was far more tedious than the great 8-bit Star Raiders, in my opinion. I liked the sequel (Elite: Frontiers, I think it was called) a lot more, once it appeared for the Amiga.

#16 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 1:54 AM

I have never played SR - but I believe it is the 'Atari Elite' as it were? 'Elite' certainly came after SR, so I wonder how much Bell and Co. were inspired by the Atari title?


/me staggers around in utter disbelief

Never played Star Raiders?????

Back of the class with the dunces hat on now!

You have missed out on a classic for the Atari and a game respected across platforms, Star Raider just blew me away, there was me on Star Raiders with the tracking computer on and it was the same display for Luke when bombing the Deathstar or was tht Vader shooting the ships.

How could you not love that ;)

Do have a good play..its just superb fun...(btw, read the manual re Hyperspace on harder settings)

Paul....

Edited by Mclaneinc, Wed Feb 8, 2012 1:54 AM.


#17 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 3:12 AM

never played SR? I love the game. Strategic+Action+SF feeling... but my first touch with such games was Star Master on 2600 done by Activision. That is cool, too.

#18 morelenmir OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 4:18 AM

I do actually have a bit of a story around SR... At Christmas 1984 I was given my very first computer - a second-hand atari 400! It came with a solitary PacMan cartridge - which at least was not the 2600 version. Inevitably all my Christmas money that year was spent on new games at... BOOTS of all places!!! Which admittedly won't mean much to non-british readers! Anyway, we were out between Christmas and new year looking for another new cart. My father picked up a very battered copy of 'Star Raiders' and said it sounded good. Idiotically I however chose 'Galaxians' because my friend had told me how ace it was on Spectrum... Oh dear... My father waved the bent and torn box at me even as I was queuing up and asked me if I was sure... But I insisted and I have regretted the decision ever since. Galaxians. What a mistake. The best bit being the end where the screen stretches and you can't see your ship anymore!

MOST bizarrely - when I much later received a genuine windfall of Atari games on disk from my uncle, one of the very few I could not get to load was... inevitably... 'Star Raiders'!!! It makes me smile to think back on it all now. Really, I think the 'Atari Elite' was Ultima IV in its own way.

My best friend Ben and I would literally spend entire nights playing 'Elite' on his father's BBC Master during the summer holidays of 1990. Grinding out the trading and docking, cashing in credit by credit for that most aspirational of all purchases - the military laser!!! He was FAR better than me at pitching and rolling his way through Pirate dogfights whereas my thing was docking without needing to buy docking computers. I cannot say how disappointed we were once the lusted hardware was finally bought and fitted that - firstly it did not look like the Deathstar super-laser when you fired and secondly you could not cut your way into space stations and then fuel scoop up the uncounted numbers of cargo crates that we fully expected would drop out afterwards!!!

Happy, happy days. I must be getting old.

You get nothing like it now, not even Skyrim.

#19 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 4:34 AM

To me it's like wanting to spruce up the Mona Lisa, you know, just a few light touches here and there.


You might want to read up on its history. The Mona Lisa has seen quite a bit of touching up and vandalism over its 500+ year history.

#20 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 6:13 AM

I was never into Elite, it was too long winded for me (I worked very very long hours) but I did enjoy a small blast on Frontier on the Amiga. Actually that's the game I use as an example of just wha you can get on a floppy disk, Fontier was HUGE (and hugely bugged) but what a lot of game there was.

Would most likely come on a Blu-ray these days just for the into :)

#21 idavis OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 9:33 AM

To me it's like wanting to spruce up the Mona Lisa, you know, just a few light touches here and there.


You might want to read up on its history. The Mona Lisa has seen quite a bit of touching up and vandalism over its 500+ year history.


Facepalm!! Ok, let me revise. To me it's like wanting to spruce up the Mona Lisa, you know, getting a new model to pose and photoshopping her in.

#22 Fox-1 / mnx OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 9:44 AM

The difference is that with SR the original will stay untouched. The modified one is just a copy. No harm done, just more choice.

#23 morelenmir OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 11:26 AM

Frontier came out just before Christmas 1993. Another anecdote - I actually bought a copy of the PC version in February 1994.... two months before I even had a pc!!!

Just as a last word (maybe!) on this, if you check out Ian Bell's site there is actually an A8 beta of elite to download!

#24 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 11:34 AM

That'd be the test created by Wrathchild some time back. There shoud be a few threads around here with more recent releases.

There were rumours about an "official" Atari version being started in the 80s, but I've never seen any form of proof that a conversion was even considered, let alone started.

#25 morelenmir OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 12:03 PM

For all my Elite'ing needs I go to 'ooLite' now! A true A8 elite would be awesome.

On the SR front though, I think there was a sequel?

Which after a bit of research I learn was a re-badged edit of 'The Last Stafighter' tie-in!

Edited by morelenmir, Wed Feb 8, 2012 12:31 PM.





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