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Fixing the Tempest proto

Tempest Carla Meninsky

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#1 CDS Games OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 5:39 PM

"I started working on Tempest, mainly because people said it couldn’t be done on the 2600." - Carla Meninsky

Ok so this is pretty cool. A few days ago I started messing around with the Tempest proto, basically trying to make it more playable. Isolated and fixed a few of the main problems. And the more I'm playing this new version, the more it impresses me as a remarkably faithful translation from the arcade and a pretty fun game as well.

 

Here's a new, partially fixed ROM, and a list of what was changed: Attached File  tempest_fix401.bin   8KB   257 downloads

 

Tempest401.jpg

* Level screen redesigned with 8 vector-style lanes/rails
* Shooter and enemy positions tweaked accordingly
* Player shot speed increased
* Player shot and enemy angles can now be varied independently
* Disappearing shot problem fixed
* Copyright partially restored (this was in the code already, just wasn't visible, then I tried to fix the 6-digit code but botched it up)

It's still rough I know, but even with those few hacks it is much easier to play and much more enjoyable. My high score so far is 37050 and I made it into the red levels.

The problems with the proto seem to have more to do with it being incomplete than it being a bad game. But give it a try, see what you think. This all has left me convinced that Carla Meninsky did a fantastic job on this despite everyone from 1983 right up to 2016 saying you couldn't do Tempest on the VCS.

 

You can, and she did!
 



#2 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 6:14 PM

This was one of my dream carts back in the day. Kept looking for that silver shininess every place I went hoping it would one day show up. Alas, just like Qix, Choplifter, and Zookeeper, it just always eluded me because, of course, it never existed.

None of them did. Or did they?

Nice work by the way. Thanks for making this your project!

#3 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 6:15 PM

Anything interesting hidden in the code other than the copyright?

#4 CDS Games OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 6:44 PM

Anything interesting hidden in the code other than the copyright?

 

The "TEMPEST" title lettering from that magazine article on your site--I guess that's not really hidden though. Also, point values show up when you shoot the fuseballs.

 

Here's one intriguing thing. The entire program is set up for 8 lanes/rails: player movement and shooting, enemy movement and shooting. So why does the original "underwear" screen have only 7? When you play the proto, it treats the center lane like 2 lanes. Also, if Carla was planning on sticking with 8 lanes, that screen with alternating light/dark lanes could never have worked. With a reflected playfield, lanes 4 and 5 have to be the same color.

 

I'm pretty sure that original screen was just a placeholder..something they threw up there temporarily while the game mechanics got ironed out. No sense spending time on an elaborate level design if it can't be accommodated by the movement routines.



#5 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 7:40 PM

So did Carla actually work on Tempest or not?  I thought that rumor had been debunked?



#6 CDS Games OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 7:49 PM

She said she worked on it:

 

http://willnicholes....aMeninsky_2.htm



#7 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 8:35 PM

Hmm. I guess I'll have to update my page then.

 

EDIT: Looks like I had updated it a while back but never pushed the new version.  Fixed that.



#8 TrekMD OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 8:44 PM

Cool to see this being done.  :)



#9 Bakasama OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 8:46 PM

http://willnicholes....aMeninsky_2.htm


That's the first time I've heard of another version of Dodge 'em.

#10 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 6:34 AM

Do you use a Joystick, Paddle, or Driving Controller with it?

 

And is it "worthy" of adding Trak-Ball support like the 5200 version?



#11 CDS Games OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 7:01 AM

It uses the joystick, and you push fire and up to activate the Superzapper.

 

I would imagine the driving controller would be a good candidate for this, although then you'd have to use a second controller for the superzapper.

 

The 5200 version has Trak-Ball support? I would think Tempest would be hard to play with that. *shrug*



#12 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 7:33 AM

That's the first time I've heard of another version of Dodge 'em.


That and her other version of Battlezone have been rumored for years. It would be nice if one of them turned up. Sounds like she decided to leave Atari while working on BZ, I wonder why no one picked up on her version? The interview isn't clear on that.

#13 Foxsolo2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 9:26 AM

This was one of my dream carts back in the day. Kept looking for that silver shininess every place I went hoping it would one day show up. Alas, just like Qix, Choplifter, and Zookeeper, it just always eluded me because, of course, it never existed.

None of them did. Or did they?

Nice work by the way. Thanks for making this your project!

 

2nd time you have mentioned Choplifter, wonder why?  Anyway a version of it did exist at some point (as you most likely know) for a member on here told me he actually saw it exhibited back in the day.



#14 CDS Games OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 9:44 AM

By the way Tempest, out of everything I've read, your discussion of the proto was the best and most thorough hands down. Most other people focused on the worst aspects of it and didn't recognize what was actually accomplished. We should include a link to it here:

 

http://www.atariprot...est/tempest.htm

 

Though I hope this changes your mind about it shouldn't have been tried. ;)



#15 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 10:20 AM

By the way Tempest, out of everything I've read, your discussion of the proto was the best and most thorough hands down. Most other people focused on the worst aspects of it and didn't recognize what was actually accomplished. We should include a link to it here:

 

http://www.atariprot...est/tempest.htm

 

Though I hope this changes your mind about it shouldn't have been tried. ;)

 

I always try to give the programmer the benefit of the doubt when it comes to games.   It's easy to fall into the trap of 'the programmer should have known that this sort of thing wouldn't work on the 2600' or 'How could the programmer not see and fix these flaws?'.  Things are always clearer in hindsight and of course things are easier with modern tools. 

 

 

 

2nd time you have mentioned Choplifter, wonder why?  Anyway a version of it did exist at some point (as you most likely know) for a member on here told me he actually saw it exhibited back in the day.

 

He's just looking for attention.  Ignore him.



#16 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 10:35 PM

It uses the joystick, and you push fire and up to activate the Superzapper.

 

I would imagine the driving controller would be a good candidate for this, although then you'd have to use a second controller for the superzapper.

 

The 5200 version has Trak-Ball support? I would think Tempest would be hard to play with that. *shrug*

 

No… 5200 Tempest is awesome with the CX53 5200 Trak-Ball controller.

 

It was really cool playing it last year at the Davis Atari Party with the Trak-Ball with Dan Kramer - creator of Atari's Consumer Trak-Balls - and Keithen Hayenga - programmer of 5200 Tempest - in attendance and cheering us all on!

 

http://www.newbreeds...015/photos/#top



#17 sramirez2008 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 11:03 PM

Nice pics Lynxpro!  I would love to get my hands on an Atari 5200 controller equipped with paddle.  Also, that 3 button trak-ball is really cool.

 

Thanks for sharing.



#18 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 11:47 PM

CDS,

 I never thought there was that much in that prototype!

 

Check out tempest twenty-six thousand: Attached File  tempest26000.bas.bin   32KB   131 downloads

 I found this Basic attempt, not by me, but can't find the original thread. It has a lot of the designs. Press up to go through them all. Not that you need to do anyting with this, but just to show what the screens can look like (until there is a 2600 bitmap mode and enough CPU to make use of it. Hey, I can dream!)

 

Nice work!



#19 CDS Games OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2016 2:30 AM

 

No… 5200 Tempest is awesome with the CX53 5200 Trak-Ball controller.

 

It was really cool playing it last year at the Davis Atari Party with the Trak-Ball with Dan Kramer - creator of Atari's Consumer Trak-Balls - and Keithen Hayenga - programmer of 5200 Tempest - in attendance and cheering us all on!

 

http://www.newbreeds...015/photos/#top

 

Huh! I stand corrected. :)



#20 CDS Games OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2016 3:32 AM

Thanks for reminding me, iesposta, I actually meant to post links to both bBasic versions but forgot:

 

Here's the thread by Gorf: http://atariage.com/...nother-attempt/

And your mock-up too....very clever how you got the spikes in there!: http://atariage.com/...empest-mock-up/

 

The way the code is set up now, the proto can't accommodate a 360-degree level. Your shot must go up, and enemies must travel down. We can add that functionality I think, but we may run into problems with memory and cycle time. Plus Gorf's designs have 12 lanes and we have only 8 lanes to work with, though if we can solve the 360° issue, your level design could definitely work.

 

Just to throw this into the development stew as well, here are some flat-level mockups I did...you lose the 3D perspective but the levels look cleaner.

 

steps.jpg vee.jpg parabola.jpg doubleu.jpg



#21 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2016 10:12 AM

Nice pics Lynxpro!  I would love to get my hands on an Atari 5200 controller equipped with paddle.  Also, that 3 button trak-ball is really cool.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Thank Bill Kendrick. It's his party and pics.   :)

 

The 5200 controller modded for a Paddle that Dan Kramer and others are holding up in those pics is an original Atari Consumer Engineering CX52 joystick prototype that was later converted into a 5200 Paddle Controller. As Dan points out, you can tell it's a leftover proto they used because instead of the * and # keys, both are labeled "Atari" instead. Gary Rubio most likely converted that particular controller into a Paddle - since he did most of 'em in Atari's Lab back then - although Dan may have done that one himself.

 

We didn't get around to trying the Paddle on 5200 Tempest. There's no code in 5200 Tempest to support a true rotary controller though but Keithen did code in native support for the Trak-Ball. It takes a few minutes to adapt to it for long-time Tempest arcade and Tempest 2000 veterans but it works incredibly well once you adapt to it. And at the Davis Atari Party as you can see, we had 5200 Tempest, Jaguar Tempest 2000, and a Tempest arcade cabinet there so you could play all 3 of 'em. Nobody brought a Nuon with Tempest 3000 last year though [as they have in the past]. Edit: We also had Atari 8-bit Tempest Xtreem there too. Needless to say, there was a lot of Tempest present.

 

As for the 3-fire button Trak-Ball Controller, that's Dan's own custom design he built back-in-the-day. He's the only known Atarian who still has a copy in existence of 3-Base Missile Command for Atari 8-bit computers that Atari employees played in-house. It's frikkin' awesome and it cheats like a mofo. 


Edited by Lynxpro, Sun Apr 3, 2016 10:14 AM.


#22 SSG OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 3, 2016 9:41 PM

I wonder if in the future we could get this on a cart.....



#23 sn8k OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 10, 2016 12:22 AM

This would be really cool if completed.

#24 Tangentg OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:19 PM

I'm kinda confused as to whether it is you or she who worked on it...

I think the rails was the biggest improvement over the original.



#25 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 10, 2016 3:36 PM

This would be really cool if completed.


..with DPC+

I know it's AtariAge specific, but it'd be cool anyways.





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