- 11/16/2018 - New 1P kernel design is almost complete. Playable prototypes coming soon.
- 11/07/2018 - The SRS (Super Rotation System) is in place, and piece rotations are almost finished.
- 11/02/2018 - An unfinished 2-player joystick prototype is now available. (See page 6.)
Here's the original post:
After a bit of searching, I failed to find a "Tetris-like" game for the Atari 2600 / VCS that struck my fancy, so I've toyed with an idea to make one myself. I'm kind of surprised that there isn't a flood of them, even given the limitations and restrictions of the platform...
Twenty years ago, I wrote a few Tetris games using as many languages as I could manage and ended up with BASIC, Pascal, and C / C++ versions, with the latter being a crude stab at X Window programming on Linux and FreeBSD. Unfortunately, those programs and their source code were lost to the sands of time (i.e.; hard drive crashes.) This isn't entirely a bad thing, because none of my previous strategies would be even remotely fitting for realizing a "Tetris" within the constraints of the VCS and TIA...
I'm no stranger to assembly programming, as I've had a lot of experience with emulator programming and debugging in general, mostly concerning the Sega Genesis' Motorola 68k processor and FM sound chips, though I wrote an x86 assembly "kernel" for sprite handling for a Sega Genesis emulator project which gave an 80-90% speedup for the processors of the day, and I later wrote (half of) a TurboGrafx-16 emulator and ROM disassembler...that's close enough to the 6507 for my tastes.
That said, any good project needs to first have an idea and goal, though some concept "art" certainly doesn't hurt. Here is a (slightly enlarged) animated GIF mockup of the idealized game pieces in their various rotations, using colors close to the TIA's NTSC palette. The pieces are fairly close to being aligned with their center or "rotation" point, though there might need to be some minor adjustments:
I'm aware of "issues" with the limited amount of time for color changes regarding playfield and sprites, and most importantly...RAM...so I'm quite flexible with adaptation to change. Some of the pictured pieces would obviously require a "single-scanline" kernel, for instance.
If that image looks like "too much" for the 2600, I'm actually aiming for single-color pieces for 2-player modes (if 2P is feasible, of course... I'm not even thinking about a CPU opponent at this point.) Ideally, I'd like both 2-player cooperative and competitive modes, along with some other things that haven't existed in any version of a "Tetris" game...yet.
I want people in the future to be able to say that the best "Tetris" is only available for the Atari 2600!
Edited by AkashicRecord, Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:37 PM.