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Champ Games - Galaga 2600


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#1 johnnywc OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 8:45 AM

Hello all!

Yesterday, the Champ Games 'secret project' was revealed live on Zero Page Homebrew's Twitch stream:  Galaga for the Atari 2600!
 
This game was developed over the last 6 weeks by Nathan Strum (graphics, game design), Ross Keenum (music and sound) and myself (design and programming).  It is about 90% complete with just a few bugs to be fixed and bells & whistles to be added.
 
Here are a few pics of the game in action:
 
galaga_10.png galaga_11.png galaga_12.png
 
galaga_13.png galaga_14.png galaga_15.png
 
galaga_16.png galaga_17.png galaga_18.png
 
Game features:

  • 1 or 2 players (alternating) with plans to add in a 2 player co-op mode
  • NOVICE, STANDARD and ADVANCED skill levels
  • a special CHALLENGE game mode where you compete with only CHALLENGE stages
  • all enemies from the arcade included (thanks Nathan!)
  • all music and sound from the arcade included (thanks Ross!)
  • High scores for all game modes; will support save to Atarivox/Savekey
  • Will support Nathan Tolbert's multi-tap (QuadTari) for 2 player with Atarivox/Savekey
  • A/B switch to enable/disable auto-fire (A = no auto-fire aka like the arcade; B = auto-fire with button held down)
  • Pause game via Color/BW / Pause (7800) switch
  • Technical details:  the game uses the new CDFJ driver (Stella 6.1 or better) and runs on both the Harmony & Harmony Encore.  It also runs on the latest community build of Stella on the Retron 77 (thanks Nathan for the confirmation!)

 
A video of the reveal and the game in action can be viewed on ZPH's Twitch stream archive (link above).
 
We are planning on releasing a playable demo ROM sometime in the near future once a few bugs are fixed.  A cart release has not been planned yet (I haven't talked directly to Al about it since the reveal) but I'm sure it will be available in the AA store at some point. :)
 
Thanks to Nathan and Ross for all their hard work in getting this game together in such a short period of time, and special thanks to James & his team at ZPH for taking the time to debut the game on the ZPH Twitch stream.  It was a lot of fun! :D

 

EDIT: I just realized that the screen shots are super small (not sure why).  I was trying to give Nathan a break from having to do all the work but obviously I should leave this stuff to the experts! :lol:


Edited by johnnywc, Thu May 16, 2019 8:53 AM.


#2 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 8:50 AM

This is just sick.



#3 Karl G OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 8:58 AM

All of that was done in six weeks? That is amazing!

#4 sramirez2008 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 9:08 AM

The team should be proud. Will purchase a copy as soon as it hits the Store. :)

#5 deepthaw OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 9:49 AM

Yeah, these devs need to be careful openly pulling off this kind of black magic for fear of being burned at the stake for witchcraft.



#6 Jin OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 10:01 AM

Sweet jeebus that is astounding! Between Mappy, Galaga 2600 and DK Arcade the Atari 2600 is really getting spoiled with amazing quality homebrew arcade ports this year! :o

#7 John Stamos Mullet OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 10:23 AM

200.gif



#8 DaveD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 10:38 AM

Very cool. I loved the password unlock during the reveal and the fact the password was distributed among various people. Plus the nod to Wargames.

 

Pardon my ignorance, but I always heard Galaga would be an enormous challenge on the 2600. Why is that? The number of moving things onscreen? Compared to what I've seen you guys pull off in Ladybug & Mappy I'd think Galaga would be a cakewalk. I'd love to hear some juicy details of some of the clever things you had to invent to make this a reality.  



#9 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 10:41 AM

Great job!

 

I'm looking forward to seeing the boxed cartridge for sale in the store. :)



#10 sramirez2008 ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 10:51 AM

Very cool. I loved the password unlock during the reveal and the fact the password was distributed among various people. Plus the nod to Wargames.
 
Pardon my ignorance, but I always heard Galaga would be an enormous challenge on the 2600. Why is that? The number of moving things onscreen? Compared to what I've seen you guys pull off in Ladybug & Mappy I'd think Galaga would be a cakewalk. I'd love to hear some juicy details of some of the clever things you had to invent to make this a reality.


The nod to WarGames was cool.

#11 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 11:01 AM

That cool engine seems to allow other space shooters from that time. How about Moon Cresta next?


Edited by Thomas Jentzsch, Thu May 16, 2019 11:02 AM.


#12 iesposta OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 11:22 AM

That cool engine seems to allow other space shooters from that time. How about Moon Cresta next?

 

Worked on previously by CHAMP Games Johnny said, and done by Bob DeCrescenzo on the 7800. 

Bob has shared his Astro Blaster enemy data with me. He would probably do the same for Moon Cresta if asked. 

That means the sound is already done as well in TIA (for both)...

 

I hated both as 25¢ arcade games, but as a home console game, Astro Blaster 7800 is one of my top favorites!



#13 x=usr(1536) OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 12:13 PM

Wow.  Just... Wow.

 

This looks awesome - and I'm saying that as someone who doesn't generally have a huge interest in the 2600.  It's one hell of an accomplishment, and especially so given that this is where it sits after just six weeks.

 

Looking forward to this release.  Good job to all involved!



#14 DirtyHairy OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 12:31 PM

  • Technical details:  the game uses the new CDFJ driver (Stella 6.1 or better) and runs on both the Harmony & Harmony Encore.  It also runs on the latest community build of Stella on the Retron 77 (thanks Nathan for the confirmation!)

 

 

 

It should also run on 6502.ts, so that should do until we have a stable release of Stella 6.1 ;)



#15 johnnywc OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 1:04 PM

That cool engine seems to allow other space shooters from that time. How about Moon Cresta next?


Yes, it's a very flexible engine that can definitely support a few other shoot-em up type games. Nathan has a suggestion of one of his favorites that we actually started as a POC and has mocked up some of the graphics also. :D
 
 

Worked on previously by CHAMP Games Johnny said, and done by Bob DeCrescenzo on the 7800. 
Bob has shared his Astro Blaster enemy data with me. He would probably do the same for Moon Cresta if asked. 
That means the sound is already done as well in TIA (for both)...

Yup, Moon Cresta was started way back in Spring of 2007 (I actually borrowed the star scrolling code from it for Galaga :)). I had asked Bob back in 2011 when he finished MC for the 7800 and he has already graciously agreed to let me use the sounds and pattern data. Satan's Hollow is also a good one, but it doesn't lend itself nicely to this engine since it would require playfield/background color updates to get the SH look (Galaga does not use the PF at all during the game and the ball is used for the stars).

#16 johnnywc OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 1:05 PM

It should also run on 6502.ts, so that should do until we have a stable release of Stella 6.1 ;)


Oops - I forgot to mention Stellarator support too... thanks DH! :)

#17 johnnywc OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 1:13 PM

Hi Dave!
 

Very cool. I loved the password unlock during the reveal and the fact the password was distributed among various people. Plus the nod to Wargames.

Thanks! The password distribution shtick was a little off-the-cuff and impromptu but provided some good drama. ;)
 

Pardon my ignorance, but I always heard Galaga would be an enormous challenge on the 2600. Why is that? The number of moving things onscreen? Compared to what I've seen you guys pull off in Ladybug & Mappy I'd think Galaga would be a cakewalk. I'd love to hear some juicy details of some of the clever things you had to invent to make this a reality.


Galaga was difficult to pull off, especially the in-formation enemies with the scrolling stars, but I had some help with the pattern in-flight engine and pattern data which made it much easier to port this game vs. the others. I 'borrowed' my code from my PC conversion of Galaga that I did back in 1997 which really sped up the development process.

 

IMO, Mappy was *much* more difficult to convert due to the multiple elements that require precise timing (asymmetrical playfield scrolling, background color changes for the trampolines, etc.) plus Mappy is a much more complex game.  Lady Bug was one of my first games so looking back it was very challenging since I had just learned 6507 programming, plus I didn't have extra ROM/RAM/ARM to help. :)



#18 DaveD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 1:26 PM

Satan's Hollow is also a good one, but it doesn't lend itself nicely to this engine since it would require playfield/background color updates to get the SH look (Galaga does not use the PF at all during the game and the ball is used for the stars).

 

 

I'd sell my soul for a 2600 version of Satan's Hollow. Love that game. 



#19 insertclevernamehere OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 2:10 PM

Nice. I'm going gaga for Galaga. I was planning on buying Galaga for the SGM2/Omni but now I think I'll get this version for my beloved Atari 2600 instead.

#20 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 2:24 PM

When I was a kid in the late 70's there were like 40 something carts available for the VCS. More or less. So each game was highly sought-after. And every time there was a new release my grandparents made a big stink about it. They followed the releases as much as us kids. And then they bought home carts every now and then. Very unpredictable. And each time was a big surprise because of that.

 

Well it seems we have it happening all over again with this release! Minimal hype and teasing. No crowdfunding. No nothing. Good old-fashioned fun.



#21 chewy OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 16, 2019 2:40 PM

i was looking up the old 7800 version and i think your modern 2600 version is graphically superior to the 7800 version


Edited by chewy, Thu May 16, 2019 2:40 PM.


#22 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 17, 2019 7:39 AM

Lady Bug was one of my first games so looking back it was very challenging since I had just learned 6507 programming, plus I didn't have extra ROM/RAM/ARM to help. icon_smile.gif

IMO Lady Bug is still your masterpiece. Love it! 



#23 mmervine ONLINE  

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Posted Fri May 17, 2019 8:00 AM

Watched the video...really amazing work!!!



#24 johnnywc OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 17, 2019 8:45 AM

IMO Lady Bug is still your masterpiece. Love it! 

 

Thanks Thomas - I agree!  Lady Bug (and Caverns...ummm I mean CONQUEST of Mars ;) were the two that really got me into developing games for the 2600 and they will always be my most proud accomplishments (Lady Bug especially :D).

 

Galaga, Mappy, Scramble and Super Cobra aren't too shabby either... :lol:



#25 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 17, 2019 8:51 AM

Galaga, Mappy, Scramble and Super Cobra aren't too shabby either... icon_lol.gif

Definitely!






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