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About guppy

  • Rank
    Space Invader
  • Birthday 05/27/1975

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Cleveland, OH
  • Interests
    8-bit and 16-bit game consoles
    Nintendo, Atari, ColecoVision
    Retro style modern gaming
    Game development

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  1. Same here. I think Megamania is probably my favorite fixed shooter of all time, but if not it's definitely in my Top 5 Shooters, as well as being a Top 5 on the 2600. Megamania is very well-tuned, and you can get into a rhythm with it where if you hold the fire button down each shot seems to line up to hit the next enemy and you can string a lot of hits together in rapid succession when you get "in the zone" while playing it. Conversely, when you miss it seems like every shot you take is just slightly off, and you have to get your timing back so that you can get your shots to connect again. Threshold is a lot harder in difficulty, and the mechanics and enemy motion are especially frustrating compared to Megamania. Where Megamania is finely tuned and "rhythmic", and allows and encourages the player to get into a state of "flow", Threshold is sortof the opposite, by being off-kilter and off-balance, constantly knocking you out of "the zone" with the erratic way the enemies move. The enemy motion seems purposefully designed to frustrate, with enemies deftly evading your shots, moving in just such a way that your follow-up shots will also miss more often than not, making it really challenging to clear waves even though they all consist of just six enemies. So often the final enemy on a screen will be the one to kill me, and then I have to start the level over, and it's really annoying that the enemies I had destroyed don't stay dead, so that I can more easily clear the level and move on when I die. So that's why I'd like to try a hack of it where dying doesn't start the whole level over. I think it would be more enjoyable to play that way.
  2. I was playing Threshold recently. Hadn't played it in probably 35-40 years. I had it on the Atari 2600 when I was a kid. It was a tough game. My favorite fixed shooters back in the day were Megamania and Phoenix, but Threshold was a close 3rd favorite of mine. It was much more frustrating than the other two, due to the fiendish movement of the enemies, combined with the other mechanics that governed your movement -- you can only have one shot on screen at a time, so if you press Fire you can recall your shot and shoot again, but often this means that a shot that was about to hit an enemy is destroyed too soon, wasting an opportunity. And you can move vertically in the bottom half of the screen, but because your ship moves faster than enemy shots, you can sometimes back into shots that you've already dodged. Most frustrating of all, if you die in Threshold, when you respawn you have to restart the current wave all over. There's only 6 enemies to a wave, but when you die they all respawn, so you can only clear a wave on a single life or else repeat it. It occurred to me that a romhack that left the dead enemies dead and just respawns you when you die would make the game feel a bit less frustrating, and allow you to get further into the game. Has anyone created a hack of Threshold that does this?
  3. It isn't hard, exactly, but getting deep into the game requires a bit of time and some good luck/skill to not make mistakes. Starting over from the beginning is fine for a old school experience when games were meant to be hard and suck quarters out of pockets, but a "casual" difficulty level where you can start over on the screen you died as many times as you want would be welcome for some players. A lot of Atari games had "teddy bear" difficulty levels intended for small children, and I think there's a segment of the audience that appreciates this, while there's also a segment that appreciates a more difficult challenge.
  4. Suggestions: 1. Make introduction skippable by pressing button. It's cute but I don't want to sit through it every time I play. 2. Have an casual mode that gives you infinite lives.
  5. RIP Nukey. Thank you for your contributions and dedication. Your work touched many and will be remembered and enjoyed forever.
  6. Now I'm looking forward to: Lunar Lander Zookeeper Champ Sports Baseball Robotron 2084 Qix I feel like I'm forgetting one more. Sinistar 2600?
  7. Just played the updated demo, first time I played any version. Was able to get up to 20 points. It's probably too much to ask, but there should be a chiptune cover of Flock of Seagulls on the title screen.
  8. Do you mean CCAG? I'll buy it! Sent from my Armor_3 using Tapatalk
  9. I have a somewhat odd question, and I hope that this is the right forum to post it in. I have a game that I programmed for Windows using GameMaker Studio, which I have running on my Windows 7 PC, which works with XInput devices (XBox 360, and compatible devices.) I would like to see if I can get an Atari 2600 joystick connected to my PC via a Stelladaptor USB to DB9 connector to work as an alternative input device, because the D-pad on an XBox 360 gamepad sucks. I know that my Stelladaptor and joystick are working fine with the PC generally, because I can plug it in, launch Stella, and it works perfectly. From what I understand, it's possible to make DirectInput gamepads to work with games developed for XInput using a "mapper" program to map the DirectInput signals to XInput which the game program can understand, but I'm not sure if Stelladaptor is a DirectInput device. The Stelladaptor manual mentions neither DirectInput nor XInput, but says that it is a generic USB HID (Human Interface Device), and I'm not clear whether HIDs are DirectInput, Xinput, their own thing, or whether there's some degree of overlap with these device classifications, or what. I tried downloading and installing a free mapper application called InputMapper, but when I tried to enter sample inputs to create a profile for the CX40 connected as a USB HID via Stelladaptor, it didn't seem to detect anything. I'm either doing something wrong, or this application won't work, but maybe something else will, or maybe nothing will work unless I want to write it myself, and I'm not skilled enough as a programmer to write low level device drivers. Can anyone please steer me in the right direction?
  10. Superman is one of my favorite Atari 2600 games, and I've been fascinated by its design since I as a kid. A few years ago, I wrote an article analyzing the map topography, and more recently I've been thinking about alternative design concepts for the map. Using an annotated, decompiled source asm file from Nukey Shay, I was able to implement a few of these ideas, and build them into rom files. I think I've taken my exploration of the map about as far as I need to, but there are a few other things I would like to attempt with hacking Superman, only I don't have a working understanding of 6502 asm, so I am looking for someone who can help me. The two things I would most like to do with this project: Randomize the initial placement of the bridge pieces, so the game will be more replayable. The randomization routine will need to use a number of criteria, to avoid putting bridge pieces on certain screens where they shouldn't ever be found (on the bridge screen, for instance; or to avoid multiple pieces starting out on the same screen.) Put all the different map variations together into one romfile, each one a variation selectable via the Game Select switch. I don't expect that either of these will be extremely difficult to implement, and I will be trying on my own to figure it out, if I can, but it would be faster if someone who is already experienced would like to help out. Here are links to articles on my web site where I've discussed Superman, including links to download the rom files for the map hacks mentioned above. A collection of my map hacks is also attached here, for convenience. https://csanyk.com/2014/02/topology-metropolis-superman-atari-2600/ https://csanyk.com/2019/10/gdex-2019-presentation-and-slides/ https://csanyk.com/2019/10/hacking-alternative-maps-into-superman-1979-atari-2600/ https://csanyk.com/2019/10/superman-atari-2600-alternate-map-romhacks/ https://csanyk.com/2019/10/superman-atari-2600-alternate-map-romhacks-part-2/ https://csanyk.com/2019/11/superman-atari-2600-alternate-map-romhacks-part-4/ Superman.zip
  11. guppy

    Superman Hack?

    And here's a new romhack I just made, with the overworld map re-arranged into a grid. I think this one is better than the linear map I created yesterday, and might have appeal to players who don't like the odd topography of the original overworld, but I believe this version has lesser potential for speed running, due to the starting position of the bridge pieces, and the fact that the helicopter will be more likely to find pieces you've placed at the bridge, and remove them, due to the bridge screen being less isolated, with in-routes from all four sides. https://csanyk.com/2019/10/superman-atari-2600-alternate-map-romhacks-part-2/ Superman_grid_map.zip
  12. guppy

    Superman Hack?

    I made one small mistake in the ROM posted above; the exits to the Daily Planet subway room were inadvertantly changed by mistake. Reposting a corrected version. Superman_linear_H.zip
  13. guppy

    Superman Hack?

    I succeeded in making one of my romhacks of Superman. I'm pleased with how it turned out, and with how easy it was to set up the tools and figure out how to make the changes. https://csanyk.com/2019/10/hacking-alternative-maps-into-superman-1979-atari-2600/ https://csanyk.com/2019/10/superman-atari-2600-alternate-map-romhacks/ Superman_linear_H[1].zip
  14. guppy

    Superman Hack?

    The map is actually genius, but it is admittedly difficult to understand and confusing to new players. A deep understanding of the game's design is necessary in order to appreciate why the map is the way it is. Making Metropolis confusing and easy to get lost in makes the overworld seem larger than it really is. It's just 21 unique screens, but to most players it feels bigger. It's not easy to get lost in a world that is that small and isn't a maze, but they did it. Yet, it's also possible to traverse the entire overworld just by flying horizontally. That's very slick. By designing the map to work they way it does, randomly moving entities (such as the gangsters) are more likely to be found in certain screens than others. This clusters Lex and the gang near the jail, which makes the game easier to complete quickly, since there's less distance to travel on average to carry a found crook to the jail screen. Once you know a few critical paths (Phone booth to Daily Planet; Bridge to bridge piece starting screens; the neighborhood around the jail), it becomes possible to complete the game very quickly, in under 2:00, and often close to 1:15-1:30. As Nukey points out, the subway system is a way to re-orient a lost player, but it is also a key shortcut to two critical screens (daily planet, jail). As well it is a key way that the map weights randomness in the movement of the computer-controlled characters. It'd be interesting to play hacks of Superman with different map layouts and see how some of them make the game easier for beginners, while at the same time limiting speedrun potential by trading non-intuitive, potentially confusing shortcuts for easier to understand, predictable topography.
  15. guppy

    Superman Hack?

    Thanks for the info Nukey:) I guess a helicopter pack would be fairly inconvenient and/or hazardous inside of a subway... I'm trying to think of if I've seen him in there, and I know I've carried him through the subway en route to jail, and had him get released in there. But that is an interesting fact.
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