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HSC01 Round 2: Space Fortress

Astrocade High Score Club

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#1 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 1:26 PM

(This post was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 15, 2016 as message #14301 and on February 18, 2016 as message #14324.)

"Space Fortress" won the Astrocade High Score Club Round 2 poll. The final results were 4-0-- I guess no one was in the mood for pinball. Feel free to start playing and submitting scores for "Space Fortress." Round 2 will end on Sunday, February 28'th at 8pm Mountain time.

Space Fortress

manual_space_fortress.jpg
Season 1 - R 02 - Space Fortress (Screenshot).gif

"You command a lonely outpost far away in the galaxy. The alert sounds. You're being attacked by alien ships from all directions. You destroy some-- but they keep coming faster and faster. You'll find Space Fortress positively addicting. It always keeps your interest because of the increasing speed of the enemy assault from all sides."

The "Space Fortress" cartridge ROM image (called "spacefrt.bin") is part of this archive:

http://www.ballyalle...deROMCollection

The "Space Fortress" manual is here:

http://www.ballyalle...ce_Fortress.pdf

Here is a video review of "Space Fortress" by "Nice and Games:"



The "Space Fortress" play settings for the Astrocade High Score Club are:

Bases: 3
Intensity: 5


Round 2 has an AstroBASIC bonus game by George Moses. Playing it will require a real Astrocade, as the emulator doesn't support tape input. Don't worry though, a bonus game is just for fun and is only worth 1 point (which you earn simply by playing it).

Astro Zap 2000!

Astro Zap 2000 (George Mose)(Type-In Listing).gif
Astro Zap 2000 (Screenshot).jpg

This is a BASIC version of "Space Fortress." It was released on tape SB-G15 (as a freebie), but it was originally published in "Arcadian," Vol. 4, Pg. 88 (later reprinted in Arcadian, Vol. 6, Pg. 89). "Astro Zap 2000" was the $100 prize winner in the July 1982 issue of "Arcadian." Just for playing this BASIC game you get a bonus point-- if you get the highest score on this BASIC game, then that's another bonus point.

You can download "Astro Zap 2000" here:

http://www.ballyalle...ames/games.html

This was the program I was trying to get to load from my PC. It eventually loaded using an older laptop. I'd like to hear from anyone who has success (or failure) loading this AstroBASIC game.

Now, get cracking on "Space Fortress" folks-- and good luck, everybody!

Round 2 closed on Sunday, February 28'th at 8pm (Mountain Time)

NOTE: Round 2: "Space Fortress" has ended. A chance to post a score will happen in later "catch-up" rounds this season. Since the first two rounds of this Astrocade High Score Club took place off of AtariAge, I will be re-posting some of the interesting topics that showed up during the two week round.

Adam



#2 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 2:57 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Lance Squire on February 15, 2016 as message #14302.)
 

"Space Fortress" won the High Score Club Round 2 poll. The final results were 4-0-- I guess no one was in the mood for pinball.


Actually, they are two of my best games. I just figured I could get a better score on Space Fortress. :)

Lance

#3 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 2:58 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Benjamin Bauer on February 15, 2016 as message #14308.)

Ok, I am ready to play this round! I just had to figure out how to capture the video. It turns out that I had an old Elgato EyeTV Hybrid and I am using EyeTV to record the video!

Benjamin

#4 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:01 PM

I finished re-setting up my Bally for play. In a more comfortable spot.

Had to test it, so I also recorded a play.

And what a score to set the bar at:

24000

Season 1 - R 02 - Space Fortress (24000)(Lance).jpg

I will upload the vid later tonight.

Lance

#5 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:02 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Benjamin Bauer on February 20, 2016 as message #14334.)

Nice score to set the bar! :-)

Benjamin



#6 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:03 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Lance Squire on February 20, 2016 as message #14335.)

My 24000 play video



Enjoy,

Lance



#7 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:07 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Brian Ciesicki on February 20, 2016 as message #14336.)

I've got a video.  Just submitting it for the high score club and to ask the opinion of the capture.  Is this a better capture than my first Astrocade Astro Battle capture?  How did you like the quality of my capture going through a DVD Recorder on this and my second Astro Battle Capture?  Finally did you verify my score forAstro Battle of around 3100?

["Space Fortress Score: 12,475]

Space Fortress video:



Brian



#8 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:07 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Lance Squire on February 21, 2016 as message #14337.)

The capture looks good.

Your controller knob looks like it needs help.

Lance



#9 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:08 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Benjamin Bauer on February 20, 2016 as message #14339.)

Here is my first try. Not too bad 27975!

Here is the video



Benjamin



#10 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:12 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 20, 2016 as message #14340.)
 

Just submitting it for the high score club and to ask the opinion of the capture.


Your score of 12,475 has been noted. The video looks good. I don't watch these videos straight through, I just get the highlights.
 

Is this a better capture than my first Astrocade Astro Battle capture?


Without comparing the two videos side-by-side, I'd say that the new capture looks better.
 

How did you like the quality of my capture going through a DVD Recorder on this and my second Astro Battle Capture?


Hmm. I like this newest video recording just fine-- is there something about the "Astro Battle" capture that you'd like me to check out in particular?
 

Finally did you verify my score forAstro Battle of around 3100?


When the Astrocade HSC sub-forum is created on AtariAge, then I'm going to revisit the first round scores. I'll be creating a Round 1 thread so that the complete season is available on AtariAge. Then all scores can be posted there-- it will make running the High Score Club much easier for me.

Please note that there is no need to capture video of your whole gameplay session to submit a high score. A screenshot works just fine. Having said that, I certainly don't object to these videos: it is REALLY cool to see these Astrocade gameplay videos making there way to YouTube. I'd love to see somebody upload a video of the bonus game "Astro Zap 2000!" There aren't many videos of AstroBASIC games available for anyone to watch-- just adding one more would make a dent in the total number of Astrocade BASIC program videos.

Adam

#11 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:16 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Brian Ciesicki on February 21, 2016 as message #14342.)

They are labeled respectively, Composite and Component. Search my Youtube name jackofallgamestv

By the way, you looked at the highlights, but didnt notice it was 2 separate games. And you have to freeze frame it to see skill 3 for the first game and skill 4 for the second, because I used keypad input. From now on I dial the options to have a better record of it and to more easily counter claims of cheating (trust my, disqualifiying ms is not worth it because Im just average or slightly better. Insist on this from the high score masters.

By the way about Space Fortress, this is the best I can do without buying an Atari-controller-to-Astrocade-system converter, and connecting a Beeshu Sega Master System Arcade ambidextrous joystick, assuming a Master system controller defaults to Atari 2600 mode when in any other 9-pin machine. Rapidly pulling that trigger is tiring, whereas going Street Fighter on Space Fortress would get me a better score.

Brian

#12 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:17 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Lance Squire on February 21, 2016 as message #14339.)
 

Rapidly pulling that trigger is tiring, whereas going Street Fighter on Space Fortress would get me a better score.


You Bet it is!

I blistered my trigger finger back in the day playing against my Brothers. :)

Lance

#13 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:18 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Chris++ on February 22, 2016 as message #14350.)

Adam, forgive the question if I'm already supposed to know the answer but missed a sentence along the way, but should high-score posts (and / or group-related messages in general, I guess) be posted in the pertinent AtariAge forum now, or do we anticipate most of them remaining in e-mail form? Or should both be done, at least for the scores? If it's actually up to each member, then what would you prefer, in terms of keeping the group intact but also achieving what you were hoping with the inception of the AA forum?

Chris++

#14 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:19 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Chris Federico on February 24, 2016 as message #14352.)
 

should high-score posts [...] be posted in the pertinent AtariAge forum now, or do we anticipate most of them remaining in e-mail form?


The Astrocade forum on AtariAge still doesn't have an Astrocade High Score subforum, so (for now), just continue to post scores on the Bally Alley discussion group.

I'll be continuing to use the Bally Alley discussion group; I don't plan to abandon it. I fell that they both have worthwhile features.

Adam

#15 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:22 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 24, 2016 as message #14362.)

I played "Space Fortress" on real hardware and I managed pretty good-- not NEARLY as good as Lance or Benjamin (!), but enough to satisfy me... for now:

Space Fortress - 15,850 (Real Hardware)

Season 1 - R 02 - Space Fortress (15850)(Cropped).jpg

I also played this under MAME emulation using a standard Atari 2600 controller. I thought that I'd do better-- but it didn't help with my score at all (I actually did quite a bit worse). The 2600 controller DID allow my trigger finger to step back out of the limelight for a little while and relax. Wheh! It needed it. I think I may try playing "Space Fortress" using my X Arcade controller.

So far, during this second round of the high score club there have been four submitted scores (including my own). No one has yet submitted a score for George Moses' AstroBASIC game (based on "Space Fortress") called "Astro Zap 2000!" I'm certainly going to play it-- does anyone else plan to submit a score for the bonus game?

Adam

#16 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:22 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Benjamin Bauer on February 25, 2016 as message #14363.)

I find the trick to the trigger is to figure out how far you have to press until it is engaged. The trick is to not fully depress it. That said even doing that can be very tiring compared to having a button to hit.

Benjamin

#17 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:25 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 25, 2016 as message #14364.)

I finally got a chance to play George Moses' "Astro Zap 2000" last night using AstroBASIC. I managed a score of:

Astro Zap 2000 - 26,250

 

Season 1 - R 02 - Astro Zap 2000 (26250)(Cropped).jpg

I've attached a screenshot for reference. Remember this is a BONUS game, it's worth just one point... but you earn that point easily-- just for playing the game and submitting ANY score. Of course, you'll need a real Astrocade to do this because MAME doesn't support tape input.

Here are a few comments I've made about "Astro Zap 2000:"

1) It's must easier to be hit from the top or bottom of the screen because the invading missiles have less distance to travel to hit the fortress.

2) Once you start getting hit around a score of 20K, then you're game is going to end quite soon, as the missiles become VERY fast. If you play the game anything like me, then you'll lose all of your men pretty-much right in a row.

3) If you have a good ear, then you might be able to play the game with your eyes closed! That's because George made the missile's sound effect's pitch slightly different depending on which direction the missile is coming from. Pretty neat.

4) Twice, while playing this game, I was destroyed by a missile coming from the right-side of the screen. I shot the missile, but instead of the missile being destroyed, the missile's sound effect pitch increased and the missile came faster! I'm not sure if this is a bug or if it is meant to be part of the game.

5) I REALLY like that you don't need to point the controller AND press the button to fire in this game. Just press the controller up, left, right or down and your fortress's missile fires in that direction. Too bad "Space Fortress" doesn't play like this! When playing "Space Fortress" your pressing that fire button constantly-- it wears me out.

The BASIC type-in program and instructions are here:

 

http://www.ballyalle...e_09.pdf#Page=4

 

I've OCRed the instructions the the advice for typing the program into BASIC:

"ASTRO ZAP is similar to the commercial arcade game "SPACE ZAP" by Midway, only you don't need a quarter to play. It will keep score for up to four humans, using 1 hand control for each. When you RUN the program, input the number of players from the keypad. When the game starts you will use only the joystick to fire back at the invading missiles. No trigger is necessary. You will receive 250 points for each missile you eliminate. A Kamikaze will orbit your space fortress at random intervals. You must shoot it down before the second orbit or it will dive into you. Each human begins with three bases and will be awarded a bonus base every 10,000 points. As points accumulate the missiles will travel faster until you can no longer keep up with the onslaught. If the missile hits the base there will be a terrible explosion which goes on and on and on. If you get sick of watching yourself explode, pull the trigger to abort the fireworks. This will bring up the next player's turn. The only other use of the trigger is at the GAME OVER display if you wish to start a new game.

"IMPORTANT. Never put any spaces in this program unless you see the "[Space]" symbol. Any spaces you see are only in there for clarity. A word of caution about the letter "O" (as in OH). It is used as a variable in lines 21, 22, 101 and 510. Use care not to confuse it with the "0" (as in zero.) Also use the computer command word "INPUT" in line 500 instead of typing the word out. You should have 47 bytes of memory left, a minimum of 40 bytes are needed to handle the scorekeeping strings."

I'd be extremely pleased to see someone post a video of this game!

Go, AstroBASIC, go!

Adam



#18 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:25 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Ward Shrake on February 25, 2016 as message #14365.)

Just chiming in to say that I like Adam's description of the Basic version of the game. It made me download that PDF file, just to check out the code. I won't be able to do anything with it, for now ... but I'll mentally file it away.

Ward
 



#19 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:27 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 26, 2016 as message #14370.)
 

I like Adam's description of the Basic version of [Astro Zap 2000.].


Most of that wasn't "my" description of the game: much of it came straight from the "Arcadian" newsletter.
 

It made me download that PDF file, just to check out the code.


It's a pretty short program-- though it does fill up all but just a few bytes of the AstroBASIC's RAM.

Don't forget to submit a score for "Space Fortress."  Just two days to go.

Adam

#20 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:28 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Ward Shrake on February 26, 2016 as message #14371.)

Guys -- (probably stupid?) technical questions for ya'll.

Is there some way to do the equivalent of using a modern PC to "edit" the (as running, under emulation) memory map of the Astrocade; in the area that is reserved for AstroBasic?

The main thing that's making me think along these lines is that the size of the file, for the AstroBASIC version of Space Zap, looks super-short. Seems like, if it were technically possible, typing in the "token'ized BASIC" version of the code (to steal terms from early Commodore computers) on a PC would get us most of the way past the current "no tape loader in MESS" hurdle.

What I'm thinking is sorta-kinda along the lines of SneakerNet, in that I'm thinking that if someone could -- (and I'm just presuming this is possible, due to the ability to do it on other old computers, but do not know for a fact it's a thing which can be done on an Astrocade) -- do a memory dump of a real machine, when it was running, mainly in that area reserved for AstroBasic, then perhaps we could hand-edit a "save state" (or similar) emulation file?

So it would go from a real Astrocade to a printout or non-executable text file of some sort (aka: magazine type-in programs?!) to a typed-in emulated PC file of some sort. (Just food for thought. Or a random interruption. Or who knows what...?!)

Ignore this and continue on playing, though, if this is totally dumb/off-topic!!

Ward

#21 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:28 PM

HSC, R2: "Space Fortress"
Feb 26, 2016
#14372

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by "realpeterjack" on February 26, 2016 as message #14372.)

I managed to do that, once. I took a MESS snapshot and over wrote th RAM (screen) area with a Bally Basic program. While I didn't take care to preserve the screen contents by correctly interleaving the bytes (the screen went temporarily blank as the snapshot was reloaded), it worked. From that I managed to make some screen shots of Basic games.

The problem is that snapshot files may vary from one version of an emulator to another, so, it may be hard to make an easy, convenient way to make it work. It could be made, of course, but... it hasn't been, yet.

"realpeterjack"

#22 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:33 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Brian Ciesicki on February 26, 2016 as message #14373.)

[Astro Zap 2000: 35,000]

Astro Zap 2000 (35000)(Brian).gif



P.S. Was wondering if

a) you got my correct high score for Astro Battle. Last 1 of 2 emails had a timecode of when my level 3 game ended.

b) wondering the difference between the RF-> Composite VCR-> Hauppauge compared to RF-> Component DVD-R -> Hauppauge? Do you see more details in the component capture?

Brian

#23 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:35 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by Chris Federico on February 26, 2016 as message #14374.)

I tend to suck at pure-reaction games. Apathy sets in when I realize that I won't be called upon for any exploring or strategizing. Kaboom! is another game that's high on my (obviously subjective) "Overrated" list.

Having said that, my reactions are much faster now than at any prior time in my life (take that, old-age theorizers), and I dig the colorful, explosive and occasionally nutty take on Space Zap that the Astrocade guys came up with.

The only tip I can think of: Switch hands every minute or two!

Space Fortress: 13,125

Season 1 - R 02 - Space Fortress (13125)(Chris)(Cropped).jpg

Astro-Zap 2000: 15,000

Season 1 - R 02 - Astro Zap 2000 (15000)(Chris)(Cropped).jpg

Thanks to Adam for the photography and access to the real console!

Chris++



#24 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:37 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 27, 2016 as message #14375.)
 

typing in the "token'ized BASIC" version of the code (to steal terms from early Commodore computers)


You're not stealing terms from Commodore, for AstroBASIC's keywords are also tokenized. That's why keywords take up just one byte. Most 8-bit BASICs are tokenized, aren't they?
 

get us most of the way past the current "no tape loader in MESS" hurdle.


The only truly useful way to get past the "'no tape loader in MESS' hurdle" would be to (surprise!) get tape support added into MAME. Remember, MESS is no longer supported-- there's just MAME now. The current version of MAME now supports the arcade games and the home consoles and computers.
 

do a memory dump of a real machine, when it was running, mainly in that area reserved for AstroBasic, then perhaps we could hand-edit a "save state" (or similar) emulation file?


I like Ward's idea-- it is VERY similar to creating a BASICart (run a BASIC program from cartridge). However, the BIG drawback, is that each BASIC program would have to be re-done for MAME separately. Adding tape support to MAME would only have to be done once. Plus, if tapes were support in MAME, then programs could be created under emulation and saved to "tape" and then loaded on a real machine. Remember, that although AstroBASIC was primarily used for BASIC programming, the tape interface can just as easily be used to load machine language programs.

"realpeterjack" pointed-out that save states vary from emulator to emulator. Not only that, but save states are not guaranteed to be supported from one version of MAME to the next version of MAME. A save state for the current version of MAME might only ever work in that version of MAME.
 

Ignore this and continue on playing, though, if this is totally dumb/off-topic!!


Ward, you forget-- for many of us, considering ideas like this IS a form of playing! Also, talking about the Astrocade can't be off-topic in a Astrocade discussion group, can it?

Adam

#25 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 4, 2016 3:39 PM

(This follow-up posting was originally posted to the Bally Alley Yahoo group by me on February 27, 2016 as message #14376.)
 

Thanks to Adam for the photography and access to the real console!


Chris and I played both "Space Fortress" and "Astro Zap 2000" at my house on Thursday night. He allowed me to play a few extra games by giving me the tip to switch the controller from one hand to the other hand. This would NEVER have worked with an official Atari 2600 joystick (it would feel awkward to me)... but the Astrocade's controller isn't left or right-hand specific. I'd never paid attention to this feature before, but it sure came in handy when my trigger finger was wearing out.

When Chris was playing "Space Fortress" on the Astrocade, I pulled up "Space Zap" under MAME and played it. That's a great game-- and it's weird that it's B&W with color overlays.

I have to thank Chris, for it is incredibly fun to play these classic game systems with someone who appropriates them AND is, you know, currently in the same room with you. It's great that we can all share our scores here on the discussion group, but imagine if we were all in a living room together around a "giant" 25" CRT console television from the 80s. We'd be screaming obscenities (at least I would-- every time I lose a base), mocking each other's game-playing, or maybe (for those of use who are nice) even cheering each other on.

I end up enjoying older games even more when I can talk about them with someone who, you know, "gets it."

Adam



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