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HeliCommander. Arcade like Choplifter coming soon to the Atari 8-bit


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#51 VladR OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 2:31 AM

 De Re Atari

 

remembers me that I still got a German Copy... :)

Really ?!? I don't suppose you would remember if the book was accessible before The Wall ? Even though we got some German magazines smuggled from West, never any technical books, so this is a very disturbing piece of historical information...

 

Would be nice to see him release a disk based game which would need at least a 64kB machine, or even extended RAM, considering what he can squeeze out of 16kB.  Too bad disks are so easily pirated though.

I was actually just thinking how this game could be upgraded if he did a 256 KB build - speech, many different backgrounds, mission screens, maps, more sprites :)



#52 Bilejoni OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 6:06 AM

I`m still very interested on this game, even after the bad opinions. Come on, it`s just an old 8 bit computer! And that`s why it is so fun!

#53 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 6:26 AM

I should start off by stating, anything you see in the screenshots or videos of games still not released are not final. They are a "work-in-progress." Even right after the game is released, some authors do "blind update" where something is changed without being announced. I try to fix a problem before too many of a particular gets sold. I am experimenting with posting videos and screen shots about a month before the game is released so others can review it and provide feed back to see if anything can be improved. Thank you for your feedback, it has been useful. After a few weeks I do have to cut off improving the game so it can be prepared for release.

 

I am experimenting with some different color schemes and other little things to clean up the display. Most of it is just changing color registers or changing pixels used for the sprites. Anything that requires a major rewrite of the code is not going to happen now. The sound effect system is inside the VBI that simply sends values to sound registers in a sequence. Good for gunshots, lasers, explosions, bumps, beeps, etc. Based on something I found in Computer Magazine, article called "sound command"  that was meant to run from Basic. This however was not really geared towards music. Helicommander is using the 1.0 version of this routine. I have done some later experiments so it can play short music tunes, sort of a "Mini RMT." Has a small note table for pure tones. Currently it won't fit into the current version of Helicommander without some major optimizations and more compression.  I pushed Helicommander to the limit, trying to add as many enemies and little extra features as I can. 

 

I was never a big music person like KJMANN, but I know how to do sound effects. The issue I always had with RMT is that it is memory hog to do all those different instruments and different sounds. It is better for games that use up the 64K ram area, or big cartridges. Not really good for what I am trying to fit into 16K. 

 

From what I understand, the 16K boards Video61 cost less to put a game on them versions ones the require 32K or more. Bigger EEPROM chips, Logic chips, time to burn or flash them, etc. 



#54 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 7:06 AM

Could be possible to do the Title screen with theme music and final score screen with march style music. Just for those not in game...  it could be something as simple as rim shots on a snare drum.... cadence.


Edited by _The Doctor__, Wed Feb 7, 2018 7:09 AM.


#55 video61atarisales OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 8:15 PM

Could be possible to do the Title screen with theme music and final score screen with march style music. Just for those not in game...  it could be something as simple as rim shots on a snare drum.... cadence.

 i already have three tunes written for helicommander. what i wanted was one for the splash screen like on ataris xe version of choplifter, but there seems to be no more room left.

 

lance

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#56 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 9:26 PM

That's why when looking at what's been presented, and details given, I suggest a tiny repeating military drum cadence that could be implemented, that should take very little room could be integrated a number of ways.



#57 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 8, 2018 6:24 AM

When I was looking through the source code, I discovered it was still using the original version of "Inflate" and not the one we modified last summer that is smaller and inflates faster. Using that and compressing what you see on the title screen may open up just enough space to add a short tune. Helicommander is not using RMT because that takes up way too much room and CPU time. Currently what I have can play some short pure tones on one channel.  Doing such modifications also risks messing up a perfectly working game and may cause some glitches. That was why I was restricting to just editing the sprite image data or changing color registers. 


Edited by peteym5, Thu Feb 8, 2018 7:21 AM.


#58 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:05 AM

 

I am working on some tweaks, updates, and late bug corrections.  I slightly altered the color palette for the clouds, which everyone who seen it before I posted it here stated it looks much better and more realistic based on the limits we have for the Atari. When the Helicopter is at the bottom, it is now landed and cannot move horizontally. You need to be landed to be able to rescue people from the ground. I added some beginning and end level short tunes, and the sound effect for extra life had been replaced with an actual music piece. 

 

Now adding stuff like music is a work in progress. Since I see many people here are eager for the release of the game, I am going to limit what I am going to modify. See what I can do in the next few weeks. I did open up some space on the cartridge so I can add the sound effects routine that supports short music tunes. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • HeliCommander_03.jpg

Edited by peteym5, Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:22 AM.


#59 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:18 PM

I liked the mix of grey/white fluffy cloudswit and the bright sunlit clouds, and the change that happened on different levels reminded me of different time of day..

I'm sorry to see it gone, old and new could have co existed, different day or time different clouds.

 

It was nice to hear a tune. Cool beans.



#60 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:49 PM

The goal was to "unflatten" the graphics. Now it looks even more flattened.

#61 ZylonBane OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:25 PM

I liked the mix of grey/white fluffy cloudswit and the bright sunlit clouds, and the change that happened on different levels reminded me of different time of day..

 
I'd like whatever drugs you're on that make those actually look like clouds.



#62 Stephen ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:05 PM

 
I'd like whatever drugs you're on that make those actually look like clouds.

They are puffy, in the sky, and in 8-bits.  WTF do they look like to you?  I'd like a pill that is an antidote to your level of asshole-ism, but I don't think I have yet found it.



#63 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:31 PM

I know sometimes when I convert videos or uploaded them to YouTube, things can get distorted. Seems to be an issue with luma, contrast, and saturation settings. So I am experimenting with ways to correct for this issue. But the still screenshot is closer to what the game looks like.



#64 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:13 AM

the clouds and brightness are better in the video you has reposted in your very first message. the greyish whitish blueish back ground clouds mixed with the brighter yellowish clouds made it look like sunlight clouds and chafe. If the whiter greyish blueish clouds were tied to one of the other layer in the para scrolls it would give it a real world effect and it shouldn't cost you much if anything to do. It would complete your 3D effect. The description that kept throwing you off was not 'FLAT' in terms of the paint job... I was Flat in terms of dimension. getting two layers of cloud by tying one layer to a ground layer might complete the desired result. At that point I would debug tweak and polish, wrap it up in a bow, it might just be ready for sale. Some of the misunderstandings took you in a wrong direction flat should have meant 2D as opposed to 3D, a scrolling layer independent or tied in. I suggest tied to another since space is limited and you have several to chose from. Even a singular independent band of cloud scroll would do it...

 

To sum it up you have depth on the bottom but not the sky. I know this is what I was trying to convey, and I believe the same said by eMkay. Just not in words that translated well.  A couple clouds need to move at a different rate or direction than the others probably slowly.. you might even be able to pull that off moving the already existing cloud pattern in memory without all the other ideas floated in this post. More than one way to go about it.


Edited by _The Doctor__, Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:22 AM.


#65 emkay OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:14 AM

I know sometimes when I convert videos or uploaded them to YouTube, things can get distorted. Seems to be an issue with luma, contrast, and saturation settings. So I am experimenting with ways to correct for this issue. But the still screenshot is closer to what the game looks like.


Altirra has a nice recording feature.

#66 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:52 AM

yeah I guess different speed for clouds could spice it up more... :) and add own speed... so when you stay still with your chopper clouds move slowly and when you scroll you add chopper speed to the speed of the clouds...

 

see my little attempt here:

 


Edited by Heaven/TQA, Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:06 AM.


#67 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:09 AM

Altirra has a nice recording feature.

That is where I get the recording from. I was using AVIDEMUX to convert to XVID, Resize, and Add a Watermark, but I traced that was where the issues with video contrast levels was coming from. Here is the video converted with a different program that I am trying and it looks much more like the actual game. I decided to remove the old videos and figure out something that looks like the actual game so no one believes they are watching videos while they are taking narcotics. 

 


Edited by peteym5, Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:11 AM.


#68 Mclaneinc OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:30 AM

Would be nice to see him release a disk based game which would need at least a 64kB machine, or even extended RAM, considering what he can squeeze out of 16kB.  Too bad disks are so easily pirated though.

 

Lol...does seem a shame to limit your creativity because you want to fit on a non disk medium, Helicommander could have loadable levels, mixtures of tunes, a huge variety of enemies etc etc..

 

His game, his rules....I get that..

 

Oh and its looking better from the latest screen shot..



#69 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:27 PM

This version of HeliCommander will be cartridge only. 

 

Here is the replacement video for "Putt 18 Miniature Golf" that I processed through this other program. Looks like the game with the actual colors. This seems to be an issue with games that do not have a black background and trying to convert videos for YouTube. 

 



#70 jefffulton OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:50 PM

This looks great. I like the color techniques you used, and it seems pretty fun.  Does Lance have carts available yet? 



#71 pseudografx OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:57 AM

Ok, my workflow for YouTube uploads from Altirra:

1) Record the video (I use uncompressed mode for recording) and open it in VirtualDub.

2) Go to Video > Filters, add the Resize filter and set it to 300 x 300 % relative size. This will effectively make the video 720p. Use "Nearest neighbor" for the filter mode.

3) Set compression settings. I use XVid codec with 3000kbps bitrate, single-pass. For audio, I use Lame MP3 encoder and set it to constant bitrate around 256 kbps. Variable bitrate may cause A/V syncing issues.

3) Save the output video and upload to Youtube. There you are - 720p crystal-clear video with 50/60 fps!

Thank me later ;-)


Edited by pseudografx, Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:59 AM.


#72 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:54 AM

I think I figured out something that works for converting video. I am not sure if VirtualDub is capable of doing a watermark. However my latest Videos now show what the game looks like.

 

I cannot satisfy everyone's suggestions on improving the game, if I did, the game will never get released. I looked at the easiest and the ones that kept to what I envisioned for the game. I believe it looks and plays great right now. Many now agree there is no reason to attempt to make it better. What will be in the final game is something everyone will have to wait and see. I am compiling and testing the game right now before sending it over to Video61 for the EPROMs to be burned. Hopefully the game will be available on cartridge soon.



#73 kiwilove OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:25 PM

Even those who have doubts over this game - still wish you the best for succeeding in producing a fun and enjoyable game.

Not everyone would be tempted to purchase the game on cart - but I wonder - that if you did release a playable early version - even if it's half a level - that might? entice some doubters into purchasing - maybe not?  ie. seeing it running on the original hardware.

 

We all like to see a new helicopter game - but we all have our own conceptions of how that might be like.  The hardest part would be to have it looking not like a typical Atari 8-bit game that suffers from having limited sprites available.

Making it look the exception - will not be easy - but that's the challenge in making something exceptionally good?

 

Harvey



#74 flashjazzcat OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:28 PM

I am not sure if VirtualDub is capable of doing a watermark.


Well, I typed "virtualdub watermark" into Google and the first hit was a guide on adding watermarks to videos using VirtualDub. :)

#75 peteym5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:27 PM

Even those who have doubts over this game - still wish you the best for succeeding in producing a fun and enjoyable game.

Not everyone would be tempted to purchase the game on cart - but I wonder - that if you did release a playable early version - even if it's half a level - that might? entice some doubters into purchasing - maybe not?  ie. seeing it running on the original hardware.

 

We all like to see a new helicopter game - but we all have our own conceptions of how that might be like.  The hardest part would be to have it looking not like a typical Atari 8-bit game that suffers from having limited sprites available.

Making it look the exception - will not be easy - but that's the challenge in making something exceptionally good?

 

Harvey

Video61 made this recording for HeliCommander on the 5200.  I am going to ask him to make a video for the 8-bit with commentary. However, recording something with a camera is not going to look as clear as making a video  to a DVR , PC with TV tuner card, or with an emulator. 






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