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[Aquarius] Anyone working on games or new stuff?

Mattel Aquarius Z80

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#1 barnieg OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:18 AM

I'm looking to resurrect some of my attempts at Aquarius programming and seeing a activity on the ZX81 recently there is some mileage in lowres pixel style games. Is anyone planning or working on anything at the present?

#2 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:05 AM

I'll have an update to share within the next week or so about my current Aquarius projects.

EDIT 3/31: See here.

#3 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:08 AM

Is there anything besides assembly for creating Aquarius carts? I'd even take a bootstrap for BASIC programs.

I'd love to make Aquarius games - even fake ones for the Sega Genesis.

#4 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:23 AM

Is there anything besides assembly for creating Aquarius carts? I'd even take a bootstrap for BASIC programs.

I'd love to make Aquarius games - even fake ones for the Sega Genesis.

If you were to write an Aquarius game using the built-in Microsoft BASIC, it's possible to convert it to a cartridge game by capturing a memory image and burning it to an EPROM. The Virtual Aquarius emulator (I posted a copy in another thread) provides a way to "quick type" the contents of a text file into Aquarius BASIC, so you can use a text editor of your choice on the PC to write the BASIC code, then "quick type" it into the emulator for testing. The only problem is that the program has to run from RAM (the cartridge would only be acting as a "fast loader" after the conversion), so anyone using it on real hardware will still need to have expanded RAM. But hopefully, that's a problem that I'll have a solution for in the near future.

For writing native cartridge games, you can theoretically use any language for which there is a Z80 compiler (such as C), but for now, I'm doing all my own games in assembly.

#5 barnieg OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:27 AM

For some inspiration
http://www.bobs-stuf...ittleghost.html

Bob's other stuff is amazing considering the limitations of the platform. Colourised versions of these sort of games could be quite impressive

jaybird3d: Any chance you will be releasing your screen designer at some point? :)

#6 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:30 AM

jaybird3d: Any chance you will be releasing your screen designer at some point? :)

Yes, in fact I just recently got a question from another Aquarius owner about that. The early "alpha" version that I created for my own use still has some nasty bugs, and the file format could use some improvement. I'll get back to work on it, and I'll post it as soon as I have a version that's ready to be shared with the public.

#7 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:00 AM

Is there anything besides assembly for creating Aquarius carts? I'd even take a bootstrap for BASIC programs.

I'd love to make Aquarius games - even fake ones for the Sega Genesis.

The z88 c compiler supports the Aquarius.
http://www.z88dk.org/forum/

#8 Aquaman OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:04 PM

For some inspiration
http://www.bobs-stuf...ittleghost.html

Bob's other stuff is amazing considering the limitations of the platform. Colourised versions of these sort of games could be quite impressive

Indeed quite impressive! I am not sure if all of these games are possible now with the current limitations of the Aquarius graphics, but this should be solved in a future project from Jay. After putting in the Aquarius colors and maybe even making use of the music chip within the Mini-expander, this could be obtained or even surpassed by the Aquarius.

#9 barnieg OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:05 PM

Bob's ZX81 games use ASCII & 64x48 bloxels* whereas The Aquarius has ASCII and 80x72 bloxels + colour in fact the
Aquarius is like a colour ZX81.

http://www.bobs-stuf...k/lumascii.html is a spectrum game using just ASCII


*Does anyone have another term for the pseudo pixel modes? :)

Edited by barnieg, Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:06 PM.


#10 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:54 PM

Bob's ZX81 games use ASCII & 64x48 bloxels* whereas The Aquarius has ASCII and 80x72 bloxels + colour in fact the
Aquarius is like a colour ZX81.

http://www.bobs-stuf...k/lumascii.html is a spectrum game using just ASCII


*Does anyone have another term for the pseudo pixel modes? :)

The color computer referred to printable graphics modes as semi-graphics modes.

#11 mvdsteenoven OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:02 AM

Is there anything besides assembly for creating Aquarius carts? I'd even take a bootstrap for BASIC programs.

I'd love to make Aquarius games - even fake ones for the Sega Genesis.


I like that bootstrap idea. The storage of BASIC programs is very flexible in the Aquarius as it needs to coop with stock, extended basic and disk drive commands. It should be possible to run the basic program in Rom while the variables are still in Ram. Maybe I am able to create some kind vbscript that can convert a CAQ file with a "true" basic program into a bootstrap with the basic file attached.

I will play with this after the weekend and get back to you.

Regs,
Martin

#12 mvdsteenoven OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 4, 2013 12:56 PM

Inspired by all the homebrew ideas, I have finished a first version of a bootstrap.
You can convert an Aquarius BASIC CAQ file to a binary file which can be loaded as a cartridge.
Once it is started from cartridge it can only run the program, it will not drop into BASIC immediate mode.
So your players / users can try to hack your code by pressing CTRL+C, it just wont work.
(it will reset the program).

I have placed the program in the Aquarius Machine Language Programming thread.

Enjoy!

Regs,
Martin

#13 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 5, 2013 6:54 AM

See, it's altruistic people like mvdsteenoven and jaybird3rd that keep classic consoles alive. It's all about having the MAXIMUM impact on the homebrew scene. What better way than to make the tools more accessible to a wider variety of game makers?

#14 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 7, 2013 7:02 AM

See, it's altruistic people like mvdsteenoven and jaybird3rd that keep classic consoles alive. It's all about having the MAXIMUM impact on the homebrew scene. What better way than to make the tools more accessible to a wider variety of game makers?


AMEN! That is also my aim for the Intellivision home-brew scene. Part of the reason we don't have many new home-brewed games is that, in spite of the fantastic support we have available from the community, highly talented and motivated individuals are confronted by the realities of a very crude platform, with arcane limitations that are hard to grasp.

I've seen over the years many great projects with amazing potential, eventually fizzle out due to the programmer losing interest or being unable (or unwilling) to commit the necessary time and effort in order to get even the most simple things done.

Making games is hard enough, and higher-level and more sophisticated tools that encapsulate the common and mundane functions should lower the barriers to success.

By the way, this is in no way to say that the current set of tools for Intellivision development are not good--they are fantastic, and I truly admire the work by Joe Zbiciak, Carl Mueller Jr., and Arnauld Chevallier, among many others. In spite of their great quality, however, the truth is that they are simply not enough.

I've made one game already, and I'm still by no means an expert. I plan on making more games, but I must admit that the prospect of committing one or two, or maybe even three years of my life to a single project, scares the hell out of me--and I have passion for this to spare! I can imagine how it may seem to the potential game programmer who finds his way casually into our community.

Keep up the good work, all!

dZ.

#15 Fushek OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 8, 2013 6:34 AM

AMEN! That is also my aim for the Intellivision home-brew scene. Part of the reason we don't have many new home-brewed games is that, in spite of the fantastic support we have available from the community, highly talented and motivated individuals are confronted by the realities of a very crude platform, with arcane limitations that are hard to grasp.

I've seen over the years many great projects with amazing potential, eventually fizzle out due to the programmer losing interest or being unable (or unwilling) to commit the necessary time and effort in order to get even the most simple things done.

Making games is hard enough, and higher-level and more sophisticated tools that encapsulate the common and mundane functions should lower the barriers to success.

By the way, this is in no way to say that the current set of tools for Intellivision development are not good--they are fantastic, and I truly admire the work by Joe Zbiciak, Carl Mueller Jr., and Arnauld Chevallier, among many others. In spite of their great quality, however, the truth is that they are simply not enough.

I've made one game already, and I'm still by no means an expert. I plan on making more games, but I must admit that the prospect of committing one or two, or maybe even three years of my life to a single project, scares the hell out of me--and I have passion for this to spare! I can imagine how it may seem to the potential game programmer who finds his way casually into our community.

Keep up the good work, all!

dZ.


As one of those who has started getting into programming and not gotten far, I would have to agree that if there were more development tools available, it would certainly help. As a business professional, with a wife and two kids (10 and 11) it makes finding time to learn/code very difficult, indeed! I've always dreamed of making my own game and would love still to do it ... but time is a luxury that I don't always have a lot of ... not to mention I lack many of the programming skills to make it happen right now.

I don't mind learning, in fact, I enjoy learning new things. And the idea of having a finished product is very exciting to me.

So there are so of us out here that would like to do more ... but may not have the talents at this point to make it happen.

Thanks again for everyone's hard work here helping to keep these consoles alive. Great work from all ...





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