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Star Castle Arcade - Beta Release

Star Castle Arcade Atari 2600

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#26 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:26 AM

:idea: If you have problem playing the game at higher difficulty, here are two videos showing two different techniques, Corner to Corner and Bounce (after ~2 minutes).

Both should work in the 2600 version too.

#27 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:57 AM

In this build, for the first time, I am seeing a "jumping" or flashing that wasn't there before.
It is on the title screen, the high score screen, and during the game.
I'll have to try it again tomorrow, and on different displays, so I can describe it better.

#28 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:11 AM

I'll have to try it again tomorrow, and on different displays, so I can describe it better.

Yes, please. That would be very helpful, especially since you are the first one reporting this problem.

And please try to describe for all three screens. Some code is shared and some is not.

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:13 AM.


#29 Joe Musashi OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:12 AM

In this build, for the first time, I am seeing a "jumping" or flashing that wasn't there before.
It is on the title screen, the high score screen, and during the game.
I'll have to try it again tomorrow, and on different displays, so I can describe it better.


On my laptop TFT I also see some blinking of the graphics now and then.

This is most probably because the game frame rate (58.22 Hz) does not match the display refresh rate (60 Hz). You can turn off GL Vsync in Stella to avoid this, but then you get tearing. It should run fine on a real machine, though.

Never thought about this, but actually any game that does not exactly have 262 lines, can potentially show occasional hickups when run in an emulator.

BTW, not really a bug, but when I use an older version of Stella, I get a funny picture:

Star_Castle_Arcade_124.bin.png

I'm assuming the bank switching scheme and/or the high score saving is not supported in that version.

Edited by Joe Musashi, Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:14 AM.


#30 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:15 AM

That's the animation for loading the high score table from the Melody cart.

#31 Zoyx OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:31 AM

Idea. Is it possible to post something on the scoreboard if you do a reset before entering your initials? I've done a rage reset right after a sub-par game, and the score not get posted.

#32 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:37 AM

No, you have to press fire to save after entering (or not) your initials. If you press RESET before, you loose that score.

Why would it make sense to change that?

#33 Zoyx OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:41 AM

Not asking to take away hitting the fire button to save a score. Just asking to add reset button.

#34 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:01 PM

Ah, got you now. Done!

#35 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:47 PM

Wow, it is in Stella too as well as real hardware.
Definitely not there in 122 and 123 builds.
The Stella reports 270 @ 58.22 fps for all three builds,
I don't know enough about stepping through the debugger to see where it is blanking...
It is an overall brightening then blanking/blinking of the entire display, except for the player ship.
Here is 123 if that helps. This is for Stella only as I have not appended the ARM code.
Attached File  Star Castle_123.bin   28KB   264 downloads

#36 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:49 PM

Also it was blanking/blinking in build 121... not 122 and 123.

#37 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:12 PM

Can you describe a bit more in detail how that "blinking" looks like? Any tip how to force it?

#38 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:39 PM

Looks like this:

Looks the same running in Stella or from Harmony on real hardware in builds 121 and 124.

I didn't "do" anything to run it.
It looks the same in Stella or Harmony on real Hardware.

#39 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:48 PM

I saw a brief screen roll on the latest build, right near the start of the first wave. The whole screen hopped vertically. In Stella.

#40 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:50 PM

Now I can see it! Had to disable phosphor effects.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:51 PM.


#41 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:06 PM

Let me guess, you are using an LCD TV, right? I can see the effect on my LCD monitor in Stella, too. But not with my Harmony cart on a CRT. Also it is not showing in the debugger when single stepping the frames.

In Stella, try Video Settings, Framerate = 60. Then it should be gone.

I suppose the slightly off framerate of SCA confuses modern LCDs when combined with flickering.

#42 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:53 PM

Ok, it does go away when you turn on Phospher Effects, HOWEVER, some builds flash badly (121 and 124) and other builds don't flash (122 & 123) in Stella with phosphor mode OFF!!
There must be some small programming difference that causes this behavior.
I have played this since the beginning on LCD TV with real hardware, (and in widescreen it is beautiful by the way), and build 121 and 124 are the only versions that blank/flash badly!!!!!
You can't turn on Phospher Effects on real hardware. This game has played perfectly on Projector, LCD TV, and CRT until build 124.
I know about the "dots" and "lines" to make the vector look. I love that. I am NOT talking about that effect.
It is not the "slightly off framerate." It has never flashed like this!

#43 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:04 AM

I will try 122 and 123 to find the difference.

EDIT: I have a very vague guess. Can you please try playing with the DEBUG assembler switch in the different builds and see if it makes any difference? Just try with DEBUG = 0 and DEBUG = 1 in star.asm. It shouldn't make any difference, but that's the only pattern I can spot so far.

Thanks!

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:17 AM.


#44 Godzilla OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:12 AM

I found the difficulty to be nice and reminded of what I usually love about 2600 arcade ports, capture the gameplay, but it's no longer just trying to get my quarters :) The other earlier star castle is much more merciless, I enjoy both, but since I'm going to buy both, I hope they each maintain their unique character :)

#45 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:03 AM

Yea, I tried to get most from the Arcade version, except from the insane difficulty. Though at higher scores (>10000 points), I still find the game very hard for me. But maybe that's just me, so I hope for some feedback.

Please try left difficulty = A. Then the game starts with a difficulty equivalent to 8000 points.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:04 AM.


#46 Jess Ragan ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:10 AM

So there are two versions of Star Castle for the 2600 now? What happened to the game written by the guy who made Toki for the Lynx?

Anyway. This is a pretty spectacular achievement on the system, at least from a technical standpoint. I do have a few quibbles, though. First, the hard rock soundtrack at the start feels very out of place. For a minute there, I thought I was playing Reactor! Secondly, and this is where I have the most problems, it's difficult to tell exactly where your ship is pointed. Is there any way to make it thinner and pointier? It'd make your direction more clear and the artwork more dynamic. Finally, is there a way to better illustrate which segments of the castle walls have been weakened by your fire? I feel like it would be helpful information.

#47 Dan Iacovelli OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:14 AM

theres always been 2 version scotts came out first in limited quantity, thomas version was out in rom but wasn't complete but playable(until now)

#48 Cafeman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:25 AM

Is it possible for somebody to post a picture , running of real hardware & CTR? :-o :love:

#49 Cafeman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:26 AM

Is it possible for somebody to post a picture , running of real hardware & CTR? :-o :love:

#50 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:33 AM

Anyway. This is a pretty spectacular achievement on the system, at least from a technical standpoint. I do have a few quibbles, though. First, the hard rock soundtrack at the start feels very out of place. For a minute there, I thought I was playing Reactor!

Maybe Chris can comment on this. The soundtrack was there from the beginning, long before I joined. I like it, but maybe I just got used to it.

Secondly, and this is where I have the most problems, it's difficult to tell exactly where your ship is pointed. Is there any way to make it thinner and pointier? It'd make your direction more clear and the artwork more dynamic.

I sometimes fell the same at the beginning, but by now those problem are gone. We could make the ship even smaller (we already made it smaller) to get to an odd number of pixels, which make "pointier" graphics easy. Or go back to the old, bigger ships. But that was too big, IMO. I will discuss with Chris and Nathan.

Finally, is there a way to better illustrate which segments of the castle walls have been weakened by your fire? I feel like it would be helpful information.

The 1st hit disables half of the pixel of the segment. We would have to go to 2/3rd disabling. Not sure how that would look like, I may give it a try (if it is possible)

Many thanks for your feedback!

Anyone else having the same problems?





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