There has been a lot of buzz recently about Scotts Star Castle kickstarter (just a few days remaining to grab a copy). It has prompted some people to speculate about this effort, so I thought I would post an update of where things are.
This project is still very much alive, and the plan is to eventually release it through the AtariAge store. The main development is that Thomas Jentzsch (Thrust+, Boulderdash) is now involved, and the coding will now be a joint effort between him and myself. As I stated elsewhere, this is very much a team effort, and the following people have all been involved in the process so far:
- Nathan Strum produced the awesome sprites and artwork and spent a lot of time play testing the code.
- David Dries (and Nathan) are working on the label and manual for the game.
- Ivan Machado produced the awesome arcade style sound effects.
- Richard 'Kulor' Armijo produced the cool title tune.
- Fred Quimby helped with the ARM code to make the game work on the Harmony cart.
- Stephen Anthony extended Stella to support the Star Castle bank switching scheme.
The RC1 version that I posted had more-or-less reached the limits of the Atari 2600 frame timings. This meant that certain compromises had to be made, such as a reduced screen height. Thomas is now rewriting the core game logic to use time-slicing, instead of trying to do everything on every frame. Time-slicing was previously used to good effect in Boulderdash. The basic idea is that you have a queue of tasks that need to be done, and on each frame you do as many tasks as can be accomplished within the available time. When the game is very busy, some tasks may be deferred until the following frames, but this is unlikely to be noticeable (at 60 frames per second). Essentially it will free up more time to more time to allow us to improve the game, and make it even closer to the arcade version.
Moving to time-slicing requires a major rewrite of the game logic, and so it is likely to be some time until the RC2 version is released. I have also started a new job recently, and so my spare time is very constrained at the moment. However, Thomas is making excellent progress and has come up with an improved version of time-slicing from the one in Boulderdash.
I don't know exactly when the game will be released in the AA store, but it should hopefully be later this year or early next year.
As always, let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for improvements.
tl;dr - project still alive and undergoing major changes