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2600 Tune (Or, The Joy of Boulderdash)

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vdub_bobby

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A FEW WEEKS AGO I finally got off my rear and worked up a rough draft of some music I promised I'd write. I got the go-ahead for the concept and I thought I'd post it here - I don't think anyone has ever blogged or posted (in the forum) the development of music for the 2600, and I thought it'd be fun.

 

Here's the rough draft: tune20060624.bin

 

The concept I had was something "plinky," with two different voices: one high, one low.

 

The drums are almost pure filler, and will probably bear only the smallest relationship to what they end up.

 

So then last night Rebecca went to bed early so I settled in for a good long session working on this some more. But...instead I played Boulderdash (with Atari800Win) for over an hour. :D Good times, good times.

 

I did end up doing a little work on the tune, but not as much as I probably should have. Newest version: tune20060628.bin

 

Not much different here...modified the existing melody line a little and added one more 4 bar section. Also added some code to reset the binary when you hit RESET, which is nice since you can't restart a binary in z26 like you can in Stella, and Stella seems to lag like crazy when I run binaries that play music. Of course, now that I have my Krokodile Cart, I can always hear my tunes on the real deal. :)

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With respect to 'Stella lagging when playing music', this is often related to the video rendering mode being used. If you're using software mode, try the OpenGL renderer. Or, if that's not possible, try turning on (or off) dirty rects in the Video settings.

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With respect to 'Stella lagging when playing music', this is often related to the video rendering mode being used. If you're using software mode, try the OpenGL renderer. Or, if that's not possible, try turning on (or off) dirty rects in the Video settings.

If that doesn't work, go into the debugger and NOP-out the STA VBLANK that enables the raster, and the music will again run full speed. I've done this a number of times on those crazy music demo kernels.

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Or I can just use z26. :lol:

 

Seriously - I love Stella; I use it all the time; the debugger is great for developing - but without an onscreen speed indicator I have a hard time trusting it for music, where full-speed execution is very critical. Especially since I have had issues with it lagging before.

 

Of course, now that I have a Krok Cart, it isn't as big of a deal. :)

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Or I can just use z26. :)

 

Seriously - I love Stella; I use it all the time; the debugger is great for developing - but without an onscreen speed indicator I have a hard time trusting it for music, where full-speed execution is very critical. Especially since I have had issues with it lagging before.

True, but I'd appreciate some testing so I can fix this issue. FYI, I've *never* seen this happen in Windows or Linux on my systems, so I can't fix what I can't personally see. And it will probably never be fixed if I can't track down what the problem is ... As I've noted before, Stella runs at full speed on a 200MHz GP2X device, so I know the code *can be* fast. But I'd really like to get this annoying slowdown in Windows fixed for good.

 

As for the onscreen speed indicator, is this in z26? I could probably add one to Stella easily enough.

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For what it's worth, the slowdown happens on the OS X port of Stella as well. Bob's R.O.D theme really stammers quite a lot.

Yes, I can see that now. Over the next few weeks, I'll be experimenting with some new rendering modes, and perhaps this will fix the issues. I'll be doing more testing on slower systems, such as on OSX with a 500Mhz G3. Also, my new ultraportable laptop has a 1.1GHz Core Solo processor and onboard GMA950 video, so making Stella work better on underpowered hardware will be a new goal for me :D

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