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Should I release Alpha 0.3 now?


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#1 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:00 AM

Hello,

I'm basically finished with the programming for bB 0.3a except for vdub_bobby's multisprite kernel. The C programming is easier to me than the 2600 kernels and integrating them into bB, so I end up doing all of the C programming first. I imagine it will take me another week or so to get vdub's kernel fully integrated, but the rest of bB is ready now.

I wonder if I should release now or wait until the new kernel is in place. If I release now, it will probably take a little longer for the next release because there will likely be new bugs discovered that will need to be fixed, since there are a lot of new features that haven't been tested much.

Anyway, let me know. Here's what's been done since Alpha 0.2 by the way:

standard kernel now has the ball
8.8 and 4.4 fixed point types
- automatic conversion from one type to another in assignments
- addition/subtraction routines do automatic conversion if multiple types are used
- immediate decimal numbers allowed, either negative or positive
- 8.8 types can be used wherever integers are used
- 4.4 can't be used anywhere but can be added/subtracted/assigned to other types
data statement length keyword
remove trailing commas from data statements
set optimization for size/speed
full divide/multiply
- optional: multiply can produce a16-bit result or divide can produce remainder
bit operations - assign one bit to another
for-next loop bug fixed (foward loops by step >1 ended too soon)
"else" allowed in if-thens
Able to set the filename of variable alias file
set ROM size to 2k or 4k
smartbranching now accessed via set instead of rem
REFPX bug fixed
uses includes file for spcifying kernels and organizing modules
include additional modules with include command
pfread function (determine if pixel is off or on)
fixed bug in decreasing for-next loops
function declaration for user functions:
- functions can be in bB or asm
- optinally can be compiled separately and included as modules
score=score+ var now supports vars other than a-z
fixed bugs in if-thens for bit reads
longer variable names allowed (50 chars max.)
allow arrays as arguments in all functions (in user functions or built-in
fns like pfpixel)
improved error handling/reporting:
- more descriptive errors
- line in file now echoed
const statement for defining constants
optimized code
fixed < and > comparisons, and added <= and >=
fixed collision checks
used lex to help with parsing/preprocessing
score=score-1 bug fixed
fixed bogus gosub/return errors
on...goto now allows labels instead of just linenumbers
allow negative numbers in code

Edited by batari, Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:02 AM.


#2 Random Terrain ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:25 AM

I can't wait to have the gosub problem fixed as well as a few other things. I haven't done much of anything since I have been waiting for the gosub problem to be fixed. I would have to know what vdub_bobby's multisprite kernel is before I gave a thumbs up or thumbs down though. Is it about multiple sprites or multicolored sprites? If it's colors, I could wait another week or so.

I have an extra question. No matter what you decide to do, will it work with the IDE or will that have to be updated?

#3 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:11 AM

I can't wait to have the gosub problem fixed as well as a few other things. I haven't done much of anything since I have been waiting for the gosub problem to be fixed. I would have to know what vdub_bobby's multisprite kernel is before I gave a thumbs up or thumbs down though. Is it about multiple sprites or multicolored sprites? If it's colors, I could wait another week or so.

I have an extra question. No matter what you decide to do, will it work with the IDE or will that have to be updated?

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Multiple sprites. Multicolored sprite kernels will come later, and will be based on existing kernels but have a ball or a missiles or two removed to free up enough cycles for the colors. This will be a couple of revisions down the line.

Also, yes, 2600IDE does work with 0.3a, but not right out of the box because the 2600baside.bat file needs a couple of lines changed. I'll post an updated 2600baside.bat file to the 2600IDE thread when I release 0.3a.

#4 Random Terrain ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:28 AM

Multiple sprites.  Multicolored sprite kernels will come later, and will be based on existing kernels but have a ball or a missiles or two removed to free up enough cycles for the colors.  This will be a couple of revisions down the line.

Also, yes, 2600IDE does work with 0.3a, but not right out of the box because the 2600baside.bat file needs a couple of lines changed.  I'll post an updated 2600baside.bat file to the 2600IDE thread when I release 0.3a.

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Thanks, then I vote for now. It would be nice to get started using the version that has fewer bugs. If I had to pick one command, I would say gosub is my favorite, so getting rid of the gosub bug is near the top of my wish list.

#5 Tom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:32 AM

It's simple: The earlier you release, the earlier you get bug reports, which is imo a good thing.

#6 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:16 AM

I was gonna say, "Don't rush the release... take your time and get it done right," but Tom goes bring up a good point. If there ARE bugs in the code, you'd have a better chance of finding them with two dozen playtesters instead of just one.

Whatever you decide to do, you've got my support. I'm just wondering how you'll use Vdub's sprite kernal... what will the limitations be on the extra sprites? Will they be able to move independantly of the first two sprites, or will they mimic their onscreen movement?

JR

#7 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:27 AM

I was gonna say, "Don't rush the release... take your time and get it done right," but Tom goes bring up a good point.  If there ARE bugs in the code, you'd have a better chance of finding them with two dozen playtesters instead of just one.

Whatever you decide to do, you've got my support.  I'm just wondering how you'll use Vdub's sprite kernal... what will the limitations be on the extra sprites?  Will they be able to move independantly of the first two sprites, or will they mimic their onscreen movement?

JR

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I can almost guarantee that the code will have bugs.

I guess I'll work up a release then - I just need to finish up documenting the new features, and I'll package everything and post probably late Monday evening.

Vdub's kernel has six sprites, two missiles and the ball, but the tradeoff is that the playfield is symmetric. Each sprite has its own color, NUSIZ, height, X and Y coordinates.

You can position one sprite anywhere with no limitations, but the other five have vertical placement limitations. You can assign whatever Y-coordinate you want to each of these five sprites but if any overlap on the same horizontal line, then all or part of the sprite will not be displayed.

At some point in the future I might update the kernel to automatically flicker any sprites that would overlap but it will take a while before I do this.

#8 s0c7 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:51 AM

A fully working gosub would really help me out on the thing I'm working on now. So, release away! :)

#9 potatohead OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:11 AM

I'm all for a release as well, but am not time sensitive. We have a nice body of code to compile now in search for bugs.

I'm going to probably rewrite Ooze to work with 0.3. Hoping some of the new features will let me scrunch the code down to free some room to really complete the game. I won't get to that for a little while yet. I'm up for some quick testing of new things however. The eariler they are fixed the sooner we move on to bigger and better things.

#10 kisrael OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:16 AM

I'm in favor of an earlier release. (Maybe the new kernal could be a V.35, or V.3b) Some of the fixes are pretty fundamental things that will have a positive impact on the perceived reliability and functionality of the language.

Should the use of lex improve the "blank line with space = poison" type problem? That's one that keeped biting me. (Partially because Textpad tends to preserve the tabination of the previous line)

Also, was there talk about a list of keywords and reserved words? I'd like to make a Textpad Syntax file to highlight all the special words in color as I code...

#11 h0trod OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:38 PM

I've been waiting for a 0.3 release before jumping in too far, so I'd love to get my hands on it. Thanks for your work!

Anyway, let me know. 



#12 batari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:12 PM

Should the use of lex improve the "blank line with space = poison" type problem? That's one that keeped biting me. (Partially because Textpad tends to preserve the tabination of the previous line)

Yep - the parsing is very good now. Probably not bulletproof yet, but still good. I've just barely scratched the surface of what lex can do.

Also, was there talk about a list of keywords and reserved words? I'd like to make a Textpad Syntax file to highlight all the special words in color as I code...

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Yes, and I did promise this but got sidetracked. After the release later tonight I will start on it - it will be a good break from programming for a couple of evenings.

#13 Tork110 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:38 PM

I welcome it. I haven't had much luck with Batari 0.2, so hopefully the next version will allow me to do the stuff I wanted to do without my crummy programming skills defeating me. I especially welcome the ability to use more gosubs.

#14 jjsonique OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:08 PM

Er, apparently I'm the only one DYING for the multi-sprite kernel (my project requires a bunch of tricky (for me) switching between different drawscreens otherwise), but if the majority wants .3 now, so be it. It will be good for bug finding/squashing to commence.

#15 1980gamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:30 PM

I'm in favor of an earlier release.  (Maybe the new kernal could be a V.35, or V.3b)  Some of the fixes are pretty fundamental things that will have a positive impact on the perceived reliability and functionality of the language.

Should the use of lex improve the "blank line with space = poison" type problem? That's one that keeped biting me. (Partially because Textpad tends to preserve the tabination of the previous line)

Also, was there talk about a list of keywords and reserved words? I'd like to make a Textpad Syntax file to highlight all the special words in color as I code...

View Post



I am also a user of TEXTPAD, maybe the greatest tool I have ever used!
( I quess that is for people that use very large files anyway! )
If you make the syntax file will you post it? Please :)

Batari, great work! I am looking forward to additional sprites etc.
I never thought I would be able to even make "Hello World" for the atari 2600
But now I may have a game put together in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for the "stepping stone", but at the moment for me it is the development
environment I need to use. I hope to learn some ASM as I go.

Be well,
Geno




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