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Big Blocky Things on my Intellivision

blocky color square low rez

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#1 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:46 AM

Intellivision programmers have to deal with a lot of color restrictions when writing programs. Each backtab card can only contain 2 colors, and each sprite can be only one color. Working around these limitations is part of the challenge of programming the Intellivision.

 

But, there is a mode in the Inteiilvision hardware called "Color Square" mode. In this mode the programmer can set any pixel to one of 8 colors. Using bitmap graphics techniques, the programmer has complete freedom to create multicolored sprites and backgrounds.

 

What's the catch? There are three....

 

1. Only 8 colors available (instead of the 16 available in other Intellivision modes...)

2. It's a pain in the neck to program.

3. Color Square mode pixels are 4 times bigger than regular Intellivision pixels - this mode is EXTREMELY blocky.

 

The Intellivision's regular modes have a screen resolution of 160 by 98 - which is considered blocky (Keith sells T-Shirts and buttons proudly proclaiming "Still blocky after all these years!".)  But the Color Square mode is only 40 by 24. Can anything worthwhile be done with such huge pixels?

 

(As far as I can remember, the only Color Square games done at Mattel were Snafu and Takeover. Mattel in 1982 decided that Takeover with its blocky screens was too crude looking to release as an Intellivision game...)

 

Sooo. inspired by Bob's "SplATTR" game for the spectrum ,

http://www.bobs-stuf...uk/splattr.html

but not wanting to just clone it,

 

I wrote some clipping and animation routines, and now I have some simple animations moving on the screen. (It is difficult to make animations that are detailed enough to be interesting, but not so big that they fill up the whole screen...)

 

I was hoping to do some kind of scramble/nemesis type game, but it's looking like with the big sprites only a shooting gallery type game (similar to Bob's game) is really practical.

 

This is what my test screen looks like today:

 

mvi_0004.gif

 

What do you think? Does this mode have potential? Is it just too blocky to endure?

 

Catsfolly

 

P.S. If we do come up with a good gameplay for this mode, the game could probably be ported easily to the Aquarius, which has 40 by 25 character resolution...

 

 

 

 

 

 



#2 Arnauld OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:02 AM

Dave,

 

It seems like some toys just escaped from the toy factory. :-)

Your test screen looks awesome. I personally think that it has enough potential for a complete game.

 

Arnauld



#3 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:22 AM

I think it has great potential for a children's game.  Although the demo looks cool, from a technology challenge perspective, in my opinion it is much too blocky.  For some reason, it reminds of "Duplo" block toys, as compared to the regular Intellivision "Lego" look. :)

 

      -dZ.



#4 tacrec OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:52 AM

Yea, it looks like a normal screen stretched out.



#5 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:32 AM

Yea, it looks like a normal screen stretched out.

I think you are refering to the squashed state of my video, which is how it comes out of Joe Z's utility.

Here is the corrected version:

 

blocky_traffic.gif   <-- Click to animate.

 

 

Catsfolly



#6 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:35 AM

I think it has great potential for a children's game.  Although the demo looks cool, from a technology challenge perspective, in my opinion it is much too blocky.  For some reason, it reminds of "Duplo" block toys, as compared to the regular Intellivision "Lego" look. :)

 

      -dZ.

Do blocky games have to be children's games? There are tons of LEGO games - do you think they are only played by children?

Maybe it's time for a Duplo-ish game....

 

Catsfolly



#7 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:19 AM

Coloured squares is definitely an interesting mode to use. I used t for the shot finale of the Rocketeer introduction animation. The shot starts out as a MOB because the coloured squares "circle" was just a bit too chunky in my opinion.

I could imagine a good tunnel effect being done with coloured squares mode (like Yoomp on the A8s). However, for a decent frame rate there'd have to be a whole bunch of programmer tricks.

#8 Rev OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 16, 2014 3:11 PM

Did you use Intybasic for this by the way?

 

Just curious, if so, I will add to the Intybasic database, thanks!   Looks good so far. 



#9 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:33 PM

Do blocky games have to be children's games? There are tons of LEGO games - do you think they are only played by children?

Maybe it's time for a Duplo-ish game....

 

Catsfolly

 

I just said it because, as discriminating adults, we can appreciate a more sophisticated visual style.  "Blocky games" do not need to be children's games, but the graphics in your demo to me are reminiscent of children's toys and games.  I did not mean it as an insult, just as an opinion, since you asked. :)

 

     -dZ.



#10 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:16 AM

Coloured squares is definitely an interesting mode to use. I used t for the shot finale of the Rocketeer introduction animation. The shot starts out as a MOB because the coloured squares "circle" was just a bit too chunky in my opinion.

I could imagine a good tunnel effect being done with coloured squares mode (like Yoomp on the A8s). However, for a decent frame rate there'd have to be a whole bunch of programmer tricks.

When I saw the gif, I thought maybe you were using coloured square mode...

I used this mode for the explosions in "Tennis in Space".

 

I'm not sure how a tunnel effect would be done. I am still experimenting with simple 2D blits...

 

Thanks for checking it out.

 

Catsfolly



#11 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:19 AM

Did you use Intybasic for this by the way?

 

Just curious, if so, I will add to the Intybasic database, thanks!   Looks good so far. 

No basic. This code is done in Assembly.

 

I am using a lot of "cartridge ram" in the code, and I am not sure how to set that up and use that ram  (other than with "peeks and pokes") under Intybasic.

 

Also the clipping and drawing routines need to be as fast as possible so I can put lots of objects on the screen...

 

So, no basic this time....

 

Catsfolly



#12 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:24 AM

 

I just said it because, as discriminating adults, we can appreciate a more sophisticated visual style.  "Blocky games" do not need to be children's games, but the graphics in your demo to me are reminiscent of children's toys and games.  I did not mean it as an insult, just as an opinion, since you asked. :)

 

     -dZ.

You are absolutely right - graphics in my demo are reminiscent of children's toys and games.

 

It sounds like you are saying that you wouldn't want to play a low rez blocky looking game on the Intellivision, even if it was a fun game, because you don't like that blocky look. If so that is useful information for me. Thanks,

 

Thanks for your comments,

 

Catsfolly


Edited by catsfolly, Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:25 AM.


#13 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:32 AM

When I saw the gif, I thought maybe you were using coloured square mode...
I used this mode for the explosions in "Tennis in Space".


For Rocketeer, the bloxels were pre-computed and RLE compressed because the shot animation always has a fixed start position. The data table and de-packer code ended up being smaller than a generic circle routine in the end.
 

I'm not sure how a tunnel effect would be done. I am still experimenting with simple 2D blits...


Its done by texture mapping the inside of a tube. It sounds much more difficult than it actually is. Demo coders have been faking it for years :lol:. Have a look at this video of the 2600's Ataventure demo from around 1:48 :-



Its even more effective when it slows down at around 1:55.

#14 1980gamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:59 PM

This mode could be used for a MAZE CRAZE clone.  

Do enough rows and columns exist to make viable mazes?

I don't know the resolution on the 2600.



#15 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:33 AM

This mode could be used for a MAZE CRAZE clone.  

Do enough rows and columns exist to make viable mazes?

I don't know the resolution on the 2600.

The 2600 has a horizontal resolution of 40, like the Intellivision color square mode.

Vertically, the 2600 could do 192 different lines. However, MAZE CRAZE looks like it has 24 rows of characters.

 

So, MAZE CRAZE is a good match for the color square mode, and could be done on the Intellivision.

 

However, since the maze is only two colors, it would probably be easier to do it in using the regular Intellivision graphics.

That way, the maze could have interesting textures.

 

Is this game fun? Is there a one player mode?

 

Catsfolly



#16 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:44 PM

The TI-99 guys'n'gals are discussing a similar kind of chunky mode on their machine here :-

http://atariage.com/...-nobody-wanted/

Some interesting ideas are being discussed in that thread which could also be adapted to the Inty.

#17 catsfolly OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:29 PM

The TI-99 guys'n'gals are discussing a similar kind of chunky mode on their machine here :-

http://atariage.com/...-nobody-wanted/

Some interesting ideas are being discussed in that thread which could also be adapted to the Inty.

Thanks for the heads-up. Looks like they are having fun with the tunnel idea....



#18 Rev OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:13 PM

I would love a Maze Craze clone for Intv. I love that game, and so do my kids!   How would Intv handle randomly generated mazes?



#19 wolfy62 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:19 AM

Big Blocky things look cool! ;-)







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