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This is not Ultima (Atari 2600)


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#26 SpiceWare OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:35 PM

Yep, in my RPG demo as well.  If you use Stella's Fixed Debug Colors mode, activated by Developer Key ALT-COMMA (linux, windows) or COMMAND-COMMA (Mac), you can see how the screens are generated.

 

Basic Programming (1979) (Atari).png

 

Homestar Runner Demo #2 (2004-03-29).png

 

penult.png

 

The debug colors are visible on the debugger's TIA tab. Hit ` to enter the debugger.

Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 3.31.44 PM.png



#27 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:24 PM

I have coded the statusbar and messagebar below the map, and am happy with how it is looking so far.  Time to actually add some gameplay!

 

penult_13.png



#28 orange808 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:39 PM

How are you imagining the game mechanics?

 

Without a keyboard, interacting with the game could devolve into hunting through menus--or is that what you're going for?



#29 SpiceWare OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:39 PM

How are you imagining the game mechanics?

 

Without a keyboard, interacting with the game could devolve into hunting through menus--or is that what you're going for?

 

 

I could see using a joystick in one port, keypad in the other.  Have an overlay for the keypad, be sure to do the overlay for all 3 styles - the others are Kid's Controller and Video Touch Pad.

 

I've posted an example of reading the keypad on my site.  One of these days Dragon Defense Squad may see the light.



#30 orange808 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:09 PM

 

 

I could see using a joystick in one port, keypad in the other.  Have an overlay for the keypad, be sure to do the overlay for all 3 styles - the others are Kid's Controller and Video Touch Pad.

 

I've posted an example of reading the keypad on my site.  One of these days Dragon Defense Squad may see the light.

 

You could.  The keypad would definitely be useful if magic or a large inventory are essential components.  That would be a solid solution.

 

On the other hand, I worry that adding another controller encourages unnecessary complexity.  Sometimes, solutions looking for problems are seductive and we add complexities for the sake of complexity.  

 

I found Garriot's design decisions to be unnecessarily complex.  For instance, when I stand on a castle, it's obvious I would enter.  Having to hunt the "k" key to "klimb" ladders in a dungeon seemed unnecessary; I obviously want to klimb or decend.  Yes, you could have a ladder that reached across multiple levels, but was it worth the complexity?

 

I think Garriot saw the keyboard had lots of keys, so Garriot believed he must have something for each key to do.  Versus imagining what he wanted to happen--and coming up with an easy way for users to interact with the game world.



#31 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:39 PM

I've considered a joystick / keyboard combo, too, but I'm going to see how well I can do an interface with just the joystick first. Since I'm not actually doing an Ultima port, I can make design decisions that go with a streamlined interface.

#32 Gabriel OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:47 PM

If no one has mentioned it yet, it didn't work on my Harmony.  I got a message that it was an unsupported file type.  I was trying to play on a 7800.

 

But I did boot it in Stella.  It's been a while, but this is the Ultima 3 map?

 

There were a few Ultima style RPGs back in the day that used single button joystick interface.  Legacy of the Ancients comes to mind.  I'd say just pushing toward the enemy should be enough to attack.  Touching a town, stairs, or ladder should be enough to enter/climb.  Pressing the button can bring up a status screen or menu.



#33 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:24 AM

Yes, this is a 64K ROM, so you would need a Harmony Encore or an UnoCart to see it on real hardware.

Yes, I am using the Ultima 3 map for the initial phase of development, which is handy for doing side by side comparisons with the actual game. Eventually it will be replaced with my own maps and story.

#34 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:59 PM

New version is up with a lot of improvements under the hood to allow for switching maps (overworld to town/castle, etc), and map trigger functions for the currently loaded map.  Visible changes include:

 

  • Status and message lines have been added.
  • Castle may now be entered/exited (find the two secret areas!).
  • Lava is colored correctly by changing the accent color as appropriate on overworld map (check the dungeon entrance south then east of the starting square).
  • Wind is implemented, which affects sailing.
  • Food now decrements, but reaching zero has no effect.

 

Note that this is still just a map demo, so no gameplay/combat elements have been added yet, and talking to NPCs has still not been implemented.

 

 

penult_16.png

 

 

penult_17.png



#35 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:38 PM

I wasn't intending to upload another version so soon, but I've completed and tested a new line-of-sight algorithm that seems to look better, and feels less "claustrophobic"  when you are near walls.  I don't "think" it reveals anything that it shouldn't, but please post any screenshots that show otherwise!

 

penult_18.png



#36 ZeroPage Homebrew ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:14 PM

The progress on this is incredible and the line of sight is a lot better now. The framework you have already will make for such an immersive Atari 2600 RPG.

How much detail are you planning to put into the game? Multiple people in the party? Conversations? Separate combat screen? At this point I'm sure the only limitation will be the size of the ROM you'll be able to create.

 

Also, we'll be demoing your WIP on ZeroPage Homebrew on April 3, 2019, our first show back from our hiatus!

 

I wasn't intending to upload another version so soon, but I've completed and tested a new line-of-sight algorithm that seems to look better, and feels less "claustrophobic"  when you are near walls.  I don't "think" it reveals anything that it shouldn't, but please post any screenshots that show otherwise!



#37 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:49 AM

The progress on this is incredible and the line of sight is a lot better now. The framework you have already will make for such an immersive Atari 2600 RPG.

How much detail are you planning to put into the game? Multiple people in the party? Conversations? Separate combat screen? At this point I'm sure the only limitation will be the size of the ROM you'll be able to create.

 

Also, we'll be demoing your WIP on ZeroPage Homebrew on April 3, 2019, our first show back from our hiatus!

 

 

High praise indeed.  Thank you!

 

ROM size is a consideration, of course, if I'm going to stick to 64K.  The data alone from the world, city, castle and dungeon maps from e.g. Ultima 3 would nearly fill 64K all on their own.  A city map in U3 is 64x64, which is an entire bank of data all on its own.  The castle map I made for my demo is 40x28, and I'd be able to fit 3 such maps plus supporting code in one bank, I think.  Anyway, I'm going to see how much I can fit into 64K, and I'll explore my options for a bigger ROM if it seems like I can't make the game I want to with that size limitation.

 

Anyway, RAM and controls are also a consideration.  I'm not doing a full party a la Ultima 3, but you will have a companion who will be with you from the start, and will fight by your side.  I do plan on implementing separate combat screens with turn-based combat.

 

Being able to converse with people is an important part of a game like this, and each NPC other than merchants and guards will have a name and something unique to say.  Vital clues to the game can be found by talking to the right people.

 

I'll try to make it to the livestream on the 3rd.  :)



#38 ZeroPage Homebrew ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:39 AM

I'm not sure how feasible this will be but you could divide up the world onto separate carts if you hit a wall with the ROM size and you'd be able to use the AtariVox to carry over the player data from cart to cart. I think Ultima IV had four disks for the game so it would be a similar idea to that.

Of course this presents its own problems in the fact that not everyone has an AtariVox and I'm not sure where the ROM size vs. cost of carts crosses over.

 

ROM size is a consideration, of course, if I'm going to stick to 64K.  The data alone from the world, city, castle and dungeon maps from e.g. Ultima 3 would nearly fill 64K all on their own.  A city map in U3 is 64x64, which is an entire bank of data all on its own.  The castle map I made for my demo is 40x28, and I'd be able to fit 3 such maps plus supporting code in one bank, I think.  Anyway, I'm going to see how much I can fit into 64K, and I'll explore my options for a bigger ROM if it seems like I can't make the game I want to with that size limitation.



#39 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:24 PM

Well, an alternative to an AtariVOX or SaveKey for game saving would be generating a save game code, but this would be long and tedious.  It does make me wonder if anyone has tried to make a single Atari game span multiple carts before, though.  :)



#40 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:36 PM

So, I finally tried my WIP version on real hardware with a CRT, and I wasn't thrilled with the results.  I have since darkened the water color so that it contrasts better with the tile color.

 

The reason this kernel has blank lines every other line is because I'm combining a 96-pixel routine with an asymmetric playfield to provide the accent color for water, lava, etc.  If I didn't use the playfield and have the accent color, I could draw on every line, and use the "flickerblinds" technique to make the flicker less noticeable at the cost of a completely monochrome map.  I love having the accent color and having the ability to make different cities look different from one another by changing this color.

 

I am questioning now if the color is worth the sacrifice of more solid-looking tiles, however.  Maybe I should make an experimental version that does monochrome with flickerblinds along the lines of RoboMechanick so that I can get input as to which looks/works better?

 

Anyway, for now, here is a version with a darker water color for more contrast.  Is there anyone who has tried a previous version that could compare it to this version?  Also in this version, I changed the accent color inside the castle to a royal purple to give a demonstration of how different areas could get a slightly different look by changing the accent color.

 

Attached File  penult.bin   64KB   20 downloads



#41 easmith OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:44 AM

very cool so far.  Probably a dumb question , but why not make the background a  color other than black . Maybe depending on the environment ?



#42 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:15 PM

In part it's to mimic the look of the classic Ultimas, but more importantly, the background would be per line, whereas a single line could contain a variety of terrain types.

#43 orange808 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:00 PM

You could go with a grid password system (pioneered by Megaman 2 and Castlevania 3).  



#44 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:21 AM

I've released a new demo on the first post.  There are more internal changes than visible ones, including lots of code cleanup, and better map support.  The differences can be seen walking around the outside of the castle - it now fills in a default tile beyond the edges of the map.

 

Note that James of ZPH has reported crashes on his system, but I haven't been able to replicate these on the two systems I have tried (an Atari Jr and a 7800, both using the Unocart).  Please let me know if anyone else can reproduce any crashes on real hardware.

 

penult_19.png



#45 DirtyHairy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 1, 2019 4:02 PM

This looks and feels awesome, definitely conjures up my Ultima memories ;) Would it be possible to switch to a true flickerblinds kernel for stats and messages? I actually find that I like the "stripes" look of the map graphics, but it looks odd to me on the text.


Edited by DirtyHairy, Mon Apr 1, 2019 4:02 PM.


#46 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 1, 2019 4:42 PM

This looks and feels awesome, definitely conjures up my Ultima memories ;) Would it be possible to switch to a true flickerblinds kernel for stats and messages? I actually find that I like the "stripes" look of the map graphics, but it looks odd to me on the text.

 

Thanks!  The map and the text have blank lines for different reasons.  The map does so because of the extra time needed for the async playfield, and the text needs it because it is doing an ORA for the left and right characters on the fly for each line that fit into each player graphic register.  I could build it in RAM outside of the kernel each frame, but this would take 60 bytes of RAM.

 

Oh, and a shout-out to RevEng, who helped me with the text kernel design, originally slated for a batari Basic add-on.  :)



#47 orange808 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 1, 2019 5:00 PM

It's too bad the text kernel never made it to bB.  :(



#48 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 1, 2019 5:07 PM

It's too bad the text kernel never made it to bB.  :(

 

Yes it did.   :)



#49 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 1, 2019 7:52 PM

Well, an alternative to an AtariVOX or SaveKey for game saving would be generating a save game code, but this would be long and tedious.  It does make me wonder if anyone has tried to make a single Atari game span multiple carts before, though.  :)

 

Very soon the AA store will have SaveKey's back in stock and plenty of them. The SaveKey could be a great way to save with your game.



#50 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 2, 2019 8:53 AM

 

Very soon the AA store will have SaveKey's back in stock and plenty of them. The SaveKey could be a great way to save with your game.

 

Maybe there can be a deluxe boxed edition that includes a SaveKey and a cloth map.   :-D






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