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I spent most of yesterday working on a program that parsed out iesposta's audio data written for my usual audio driver to see if I could optimize the data further to free up space. The data usage shrunk from 706 bytes to 606 bytes, which sounds great, however the drivers to deal with the more complex data arrangement will use more space. So I decided not to pursue that any further at this time. I'll take another look once iesposta sends me the final sound effects to see if that makes a difference as they may compress better or worse than the data I already have.

While I was disappointed by those results, it pales in comparison to my disappointment this morning when I went to post the voting rules for the ∆ Quadrant Contest. There's only 1 entry, and it was posted using an old build of the game.

It's almost enough to make me want to cancel Draconian - I won't though because many others have been working on amazing things behind the scenes. It does make me wonder if I'll still be committed to future projects like rebooting Frantic & Timmy!, and the CDF Tutorial so others could create advanced 2600 games like Draconian.

Addendum: I've extended the contest through Thursday. That'll leave two days for voting.


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Actually I would have been surprised if there were a lot of entries. Many people around are typical consumers only. And then the time was very short.


So no reason to be disappointed, IMO. And I am sure you can fill the gaps easily.

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Given the time constraint (damn Harvey!) I didn't expect there to be a lot of entries either, but with 68 downloads of the tool (between the blog post and the contest post) I thought there'd be more than 1.

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I didn't download the tool, but I thought about it. The reason I didn't, was because I figured there were going to be a lot of other people doing it and that anything I came up with, wouldn't be good enough. Since other people aren't making the effort to help, I'll download the tool and do what I can tonight. I'm not interested in winning the contest, I just want to help.

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I'm disappointed as well, but I'm not really surprised. I think that the process would be intimidating to non-programmers. If I didn't know how to lay stuff out in Photoshop and convert it, I don't think I could wrap my head around it.


That said, I would've hoped with all of the programmers that hang out on AtariAge, some of them would've stepped up and submitted ideas.


I hadn't planned to enter, but maybe I will now anyway. I have a pretty-good shot at winning. ;)


I understand your frustration though - and hope that you won't step back from other projects because of it. It would be nice, of course, if more people participated in things like this when invited to do so. But it's something that can't be counted on. And this never got onto the official AA contest page, or an announcement on the front page. So I don't think this got a lot of attention, especially due to the time constraints.


A lot of people have said a lot of positive things already about Draconian. You've already got two of the top five games in the AA store, so people are looking forward to this game, and I expect Draconian to climb its way up there as well.


Hang in there! You make awesome stuff.

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Yes I'd hate to see future projects and ideas canned. Many of your games have great attention to detail that is above and beyond.


At the same time it is easy for gamers to become complacent and just sit on their duffs awaiting the next release. A cycle of consumption.


I'm not the creative type in developing levels and such, I tried in the past, but somewhere sometime, always, they're too easy to figure out or not in-depth enough. So that's why I don't get involved in level design. My strengths lie elsewhere such as concept & design. That's a whole different thing which I'm better at.


If anything. The CDF tutorial and documentation MUST be completed. The inner workings of these games are nothing short of masterpieces. Art. An expansion of the VCS canvas first unwrapped in 1977. And these tools allow the canvas to be painted like never before.


Harmony-ARM-CDF-DPC+ and such things that go into making it all up is like THE ULTIMATE expansion "kit" for the VCS. And I want to see others begin doing more with these tools. I can envision a whole series of hi-fidelity ports, spinoffs, originals, and arcade remakes coming from such a toolkit.


We don't need more tools. We don't need better tools (other than spit polish on the chrome). We need them to be put to use.

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Just wanted to put in my two cents that making compelling levels is hard, if my experience with Mario Maker is any correlation. Some levels were amazing, some sadistic, and some just made you say wtf?


I didn't participate because I felt I had little to contribute, but I enjoy playing these games. So don't bash your head in because few submissions were made.


Draconian is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to see it to fruition. It feels like I am playing a 7800 game, not 2600, and that is a testament to how far the graphics have progressed.


Please do not beat yourself up over it. Just understand that the program you provided may be difficult for novice users to figure out, and I see much brilliant design in the stages you have added.


I cannot wait to hold the final product in my hands (and no, a rom on a harmony cart does not do it justice). Congrats on making what is perhaps the most fantastic homebrew I have seen to date.


You should be proud. I know I will be to play the final build upon physical release.


8) :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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I suppose the download counter is increased for every download, even if it is by the same person who forgot they already downloaded it or where they put the old file. Combined with plain curiosity, lack of time and getting stuck not understanding how to follow instructions, makes 0-3 actual contributions an expected amount.


I think most of us can relate to similar feelings, when several people express interest in some project of yours and you spend several hours setting up tools for them to get creative but in public nothing comes out from your project. Sometimes your project might be merged with other stuff in secret, although I'd doubt anyone is preparing alternative levels for Draconian which they'll hack into your final game instead of submitting them for your contest.


In the end, it is just one more example of the golden rule that if you want something to get done, you need to do it yourself. Pretty much everyone I speak to agree this is the case, that delegating tasks to others at best ends up with some botched up solution that is not what you expected, and at worst nothing happens at all. Possibly this rule can be circumvented by offering loads of $CASH to anyone you're delegating the tasks to, but most of us involved in hobbyist projects don't have the economy to pay others to do our work.

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Yeah, had the same issue when I posted a way to make playfields for Dodgeball. How many more quadrants do ya need? ;)



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Darryl, I tried to figure out how to do the Quadrant design, but without someone showing me what I'm doing, I'm lost. I don't have any programming experience so that's probably why I can't figure it out.

I content just being the Atari 2600 Homebrew Curator of the "List".


Still awesome work Darryl!!

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Please don't stop working on your homebrews! CDF will make it possible to do some amazing things. Is it possible that the tight PRGE deadline is sucking the fun out of it? Perhaps you should consider pushing the release after the show to give more time to finish things off?



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Graph paper! That's all this is.. Graph paper! I do not see any programming involved. Just copying points from your paper to a text file. I'm pretty sure I'm the dumbest chap around here, but I got it figured out in 20 minutes.


If you can draw on a grid, and count x,y positions, you're like 80% of the way done. V and H indicate station orientation. And F is where your ship starts. Presence or absence of "-" indicates which type of co-ordinate you are using, game grid or radar grid.


If you use radar grid co's the program generates game grid co's. If you use game grid co's the program snaps it to radar co's. Think of it as rounding up or down.


You have 8 stations to work with

You can use 0-255 for x,y in game grid co's

You can use 0-8, and 0-16, for x,y in radar co's


Lines that have " * " in the beginning are simply notes and are ignored.


Make your text file and save it.

Run it through dracsec.

And test the rom.







If I can get back in town to my desktop I might have something in time. Don't count on it. I know many great levels can be made for this. Too bad about the short notice. I'd try, somehow, to get it extended further. Or perhaps release the cart with a promise to reflash it at a later date - don't know how practical that'd be. Or simply sell the boxes with manual, and ship the cart in 2 weeks. Enough time to incorporate & test the levels.


It just feels so empty and tragic that a game of this caliber has to be cut short. Having to make schedule for a piece of entertainment software doesn't fit well with me. But then again and to be fair, I'm not in the business of selling Game Programs. So perhaps there are other factors I'm blissfully unaware of.

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How many more quadrants do ya need? ;)

I've allocated space for 16 ∆ sectors. There's already 1 entry of 4 sectors, so we only need 3 more entries.

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Perhaps you should consider pushing the release after the show to give more time to finish things off? Chris

I'm at the end of the To Do list, what's left is this:

  • drop in remaining sound effects from iesposta
  • drop in final ∆ Sectors
  • Nathan mentioned "Alert! Alert!" seems to sound when a new threat is sighted - whether a ship or a space station. But it doesn't repeat for each one.
  • new Quadrant Epsilon with random sector layouts (yeah a 5th quadrant sounds odd, but I like the suggestion)

When "Alert! Alert!" is to be said is rather ambiguous, so I'm thinking of leaving it as I currently have it - when entering the vicinity of a station.


Quadrant Epsilon also depends on there being space in the ROM for it after I drop in the final sound effects.

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FWIW, Google gives me a little over a half million hits on the fifth quadrant so it might not be as odd as it indeed sounds. Mastertronic even released a C64 game by that name.

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I simply thought of "E" quadrant as an alternate universe outside of normal space where geometry is messed up. That easily explains the random positioning.


It's likely out of the scope of the game, but it'd be amusing to see different laws. Like where your ship could go faster, or break into two if you cruised around the wrap-around areas. Or have something like a gravity well tug on your craft. Have multiple shots that fly in a temporary squirrelly pattern or even encounter a wormhole that drops you into another area where the stations are in motion. And sometimes enemy ships are friends where you have to dock with them. There could even be chain reactions where one station explodes violently if you hit it a certain way. And then the nearby station gets hit by debris and blows.. Screwy stuff like that. A super-easter-egg level. Q LSD mode.

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