"How long can you survive on the lethal TOWER OF RUBBLE as it crumbles and rebuilds itself around you?"
- quote from the original PC game
Last year in 2018, the game was ported to the Commodore 64 and hopefully this year my port will be available for the Atari 2600 on an actual cartridge!
The original creator Flatgub (Chloe) said to be honored to hear that I was making a port, how cool is that? The honor is all mine, by the way!
About the game
Tower of Rubble is a simple, yet very addictive game, in which you control a little stick man that must survive on the 'Tower of Rubble' as long as possible.
Blocks of pebble will fall from the sky every second at random positions, building up the tower. And at the same time laser beams will tear down the tower by clearing out full rows or columns of pebble. Also the outside walls will slowly disintegrate and sink into the sea.
Sounds hectic? It is! But you have to keep calm and make the right decisions in a split second to stay alive.
The music is synced with the pace of the falling pebble, which helps to raise your adrenaline levels!
Control the game by moving the joystick (no fire button):
- left & right is for running across the blocks and jumping off - note that ledges are 'auto grabbed' if you jump towards them.
- up & down is for climbing up and down ledges
By using diagonal joystick positions, you can also combine some moves.
Below are the control-instructions copied from the original PC game, which explains it all:
Mastering the different kind of jumps is essential for survival on the tower.
If you never played this game before, please first practice all possible moves on the title screen. Then press fire to start the actual game.
Pushing the 'Reset' button at any time will take you back to the practice/title screen.
How to Play
After you have practiced the running, climbing and jumping on the title screen, you should be ready to go against the tower.
When the game starts, you will see two green converging laser beams that show you where the next block of pebble is going to land. Be sure to move away from that spot as quick as you can!
There are three different kind of beams in this game:
- Block Strike - this green laser-beam is harmless and only indicates that a block of pebble will be falling from the sky at that position soon. A falling block of pebble is lethal though :-)
- Side Stike - this yellow laser-beam will wipe out a full row of pebble
- Hyperbeam - this powerful white laser-beam will crumble a full column of pebble blocks within a few seconds
You can touch the beams, but don't wait too long as the strength of the laser builds up and will eventually vaporize you...
Also, the outside walls will slowly disintegrate and sink into the sea. Hint: you'll need to perform a 'long wall jump' to cross the emerging gaps.
Because of its pixelated graphics, single screen and usage of straight lines, the original PC game lends itself very well to an Atari 2600 port. Of course I had to make a lot of concessions along the way, as you all know the '2600 has its limitations.
My '2600 port of the game uses less than 128 bytes of RAM and 4K of ROM, but I managed to keep the same basic gameplay and smooth animation (30 frames/second) as the original game, without the use of any flickering - as I don't like sprite flicker in general.
At this moment, the basic mechanics and key elements are there and the game is already very playable.
The playfield is 16 blocks wide (compared to the 26 blocks of the PC game), which makes the Atari port a bit harder, but still very playable IMO.
Porting the music was a tough job, as some notes just aren't available on the '2600. Two-voice polyphony solved some of the issues and also Paul Slocum's Music and Sound Programming Guide helped me a lot to get good results here.
- Control and animation of the little stick man
- Title screen with practice mode
- Sea has independently moving tide
- Game screen having score at the top
- Collision detection between player and falling pebble & laser beams
- Green laser beam dropping pebble
- White (vertical) and yellow (horizontal) laser beams that clear out a complete column/row of pebble
- Music in sync with falling pebble
- Outside walls sinking into the sea
- Screen shakes when a row of pebble is cleared and when column sinks into the sea
- [new in v0.3] Support for diagonal joystick movement (8-way)
- Keep (and display) the high score. Support SaveKey / AtariVox for keeping high scores.
- Slowly ramp up game difficulty by using adjacent block height delta restrictions
- 2-player mode with acceptable screen flicker
- Sound effects (laser strikes, player die, etc.)
- Sound of the sea (splashing waves) in practice mode
- Double block-strike beams (using the TIA feature to have multiple copies of the same sprite)
- Some variation to the music
- Increase screen-shake if score > 100
- Automatically return to the title screen some period after the player died
Note that there are still a lot of things on my to do list. I'm aiming for a late 2019 release.
You can download the work-in-progress rom below for NTSC and PAL60.
As always: feedback and suggestions are very welcome!
Latest rom version (version 0.3):
- tor2600-NTSC-v0.3.bin 4KB 87 downloads Tower of Rubble v0.3 - NTSC
- tor2600-PAL60-v0.3.bin 4KB 35 downloads Tower of Rubble v0.3 - PAL60
Older rom versions:
- tor2600-NTSC-v0.2.bin 4KB 112 downloads Tower of Rubble v0.2 - NTSC
- tor2600-PAL60-v0.2.bin 4KB 30 downloads Tower of Rubble v0.2 - PAL60
- tor2600-NTSC-v0.1.bin 4KB 147 downloads Tower of Rubble - PoC - v0.1 - NTSC
- tor2600-PAL60-v0.1.bin 4KB 62 downloads Tower of Rubble - PoC - v0.1 - PAL60
Edited by Dionoid, Sun Apr 7, 2019 4:27 AM.