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Juno First

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There has been some discussion on these blogs lately about good arcade games to port to the 2600. In particular, Manuel posted a list of obscure titles in his Planet Bob blog. Since I hadn't heard of most of them before, I decided to fire up MAME and try them out on my new X-Arcade stick. The game which I enjoyed the most is probably Juno First, which is a bit like a vertically scrolling version of Defender. I am surprised this game isn't more popular as it seems very similar to the classic Williams games, and is great fun to play. It looks like a Juno First port would be possible on the 2600 with a bit of effort, as it is not too graphically demanding. As noted elsewhere, the game plays a bit like Beamrider on the 2600. However, in Beamrider you can't move backwards, and you are fixed at a particular speed. As a result, I decided to hack up a quick kernel which uses a Beamrider-style display, but enables you to change speed. The result is attached to this entry, and I think it gives a good feeling of motion. I was rather surprised to see that Supercat also posted a Juno First kernel today in his blog! His solution uses the ball sprite to draw a dotted play area which is more faithful to the original game. I haven't decided if I want to take this any further yet, but I think the two versions should provide a good starting point for discussion of the best approach for the 2600.Chris

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Hi there!

 

Uihjah! Interesting parallel efforts. That now looks also very cool and it's ultra-smooth. I wonder how important a sense of horizontal motion is to the gameplay.If it's mainly the vertical motion that matters, this approach seems to be suited better.

(At the cost of giving up the original dotted look of course)

 

Greetings,

Manuel

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Uihjah! Interesting parallel efforts. That now looks also very cool and it's ultra-smooth. I wonder how important a sense of horizontal motion is to the gameplay.If it's mainly the vertical motion that matters, this approach seems to be suited better.

(At the cost of giving up the original dotted look of course)

 

I don't think the horizontal motion is particularly important to the game. The entire width of the screen is always visible, so the horizontal motion is just for effect. The vertical motion in my demo is very smooth as I am using a 1LK unlike Beamrider. However, I'm not sure if it will be possible to retain this when displaying the aliens, as some of the lines will be required for sprite repositioning.

 

Chris

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I think this is looking great. It gives the "feel" of Juno First very nicely. Horizontal movement isn't really important to the game. You don't move very far left or right until you hit the "edge" of the grid.

 

Completely ignorant question - can you keep the single scanline kernel, but have the grid draw using every other line? So you keep the high resolution, but sacrifice a little smoothness in the scrolling to get sprite repositioning?

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Hi there!

 

However, I'm not sure if it will be possible to retain this when displaying the aliens, as some of the lines will be required for sprite repositioning.

 

Hm... you could just dynamically decide on which lines you reposition, as the pattern leaves most lines unused so far :)

 

Greetings,

Manuel

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Completely ignorant question - can you keep the single scanline kernel, but have the grid draw using every other line? So you keep the high resolution, but sacrifice a little smoothness in the scrolling to get sprite repositioning?

 

That should be possible. However, I think I can reposition a sprite and draw the background in a single line by doing a bit of pre-calculation. This might require the width of the screen to be reduced slightly, but I will have to run some tests first. The response to this demo seems to have been very positive, so I am now thinking of taking this further, though I do feel like I am stealing the idea from Manuel :)

 

Chris

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