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About Revontuli

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    Star Raider

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  1. I've been working on a lot of game-related stuff besides/around the code - cover art, instruction manual, things like that. I just posted this in my 2600 thread, and it's tentatively for my 2600 version, but this is a potential cartridge art design that might be shared between the 2600 and 7800: The above image is basically what happens when I listen to too much power metal while looking through archives of early 80's arcade marquee art. I'm not a good enough illustrator to properly mimic the classic Atari oil/airbrush/montage style the company used for a lot of their titles, although I might try making an "Activision rainbow contrail" style cover version for fun and see how it turns out. As far as my aesthetics and inspiration for the game go, I imagine "Dragon's Descent" as a the type of game that would have been released and forgotten about in the arcades during the Great Videogame Crash of '83, one of the last of the "Second Generation" games, an instant before scrolling graphics and the genres that used them came to dominate. While there were a lot of bad games, hardware, and decisions at the time, there were also a lot of unique games and ideas that were floating about. The 7800 seems placed in that same spot (even if it's technically a 3rd gen console, in design and paradigm it's in an odd transition between the NES, SMS, and the earlier Atari/Coleco/Intellivision systems), a strange place of possibility, forgotten potential, and roads not taken. While I might be making a few adjustments, most likely on the music, feature-wise I feel like I'm in a beta/bug testing phase at the moment. I still don't have a good way to play the game itself on an authentic 7800 myself - the closest thing I'm doing currently is testing with a genuine controller, 9-pin adapter, and MAME running a7800 on my dev machine or a RetroPie. I'll hopefully be having a few friends test the game in similar circumstances soon.
  2. I've been working on all the stuff peripheral to the actual game code. For instance, after looking at a lot of early 80's arcade marquee art, while listening to way too much power metal music, I ended up with something like this for potential cartridge art:
  3. Revontuli

    Dragon's Descent

    Screenshots from Roguelite/action game
  4. It was a blast! It's surprisingly straightforward, as any code logic can be moved over more or less as-is. For me the -hardest- part was updating the collision detection (especially converting playfield->tiles, but I did a lot of odd stuff with the playfield originally), and the -longest- part was updating the graphics. I really spent more time tinkering with the art and music than wrestling with the code, which I think is how it should be. Surprisingly, there -are- things you might miss from the 2600 - not being able to mirror sprites, for instance, especially since I was pressed for graphical space in the beginning. Collision detection is a trade off - the 7800 is more in line with my experience on pretty much any other platform, but having designed a game to take into account the 2600's pixel-based collision (to say nothing of the built-in scaling/doubling/tripling sprites and rolling over the screen edges) meant I had to manage some stuff that I took for granted on the older machine. Again, it's stuff I would have to do on pretty much any other platform, it's not too hard to implement, and ultimately works better for most things, but going from 1 line of code to 30 lines meant some extra work. This was mainly on the playfield/tile end, so if you're just concerned with sprites hitting sprites it's much more straightforward. The temptation for feature creep is very much there (you have so much more space to play with, although it fills up faster than you think...), but aside from adding in an easier mode, saving high scores (which is frankly harder to -not- do when you have the hssupport module), and music I think I managed to keep things under control. I'd say go for it - the Basic syntax is identical between the two machines, and it gives you a chance to learn about the quirks of the 7800 machine without the larger work involved with making a game from scratch. You also get a sense of liberation when you see how much RAM/ROM/cycles you have after squeezing a game into a 2600 ROM space.
  5. New latest build:DragonsDescent_6_25_2019.a78 (whopper of a bug in the last one - I rewarded something a bit too soon, that's what I get for cheating to jump to late game!)
  6. Latest build here: DragonsDescent_6_24_2019.a78 Some bug fixes and testing with late game states. Anyone get past Level 7?
  7. I fully realize the field for homebrews to add to the list is very competitive, but I'll humbly suggest folks check out a game I've been working on: Dragon's Descent - you can find the ROM, instructions, and other info here: https://atariage.com/forums/topic/286017-dragons-descent-rogueliteaction-game/ It's an arcade roguelike where you navigate dungeons, strategically trying to get some mixture of offense/defense/points as you go deeper into a procedural maze fighting a variety of monsters and bosses. I designed it with an arcade/scoring/competition dynamic in mind (including features like choosing a random seed to ensure folks can play the same "random" maze) Feature-wise the game is complete, and I've done a fair amount of testing, but would be curious to see how more people play it and what strategies they might come up with.
  8. New build here: DragonsDescent_6_20_2019.a78 Just a few minor bug fixes involving how the bosses are drawn - I'm currently trying different ways to approach late game, while searching for bugs.
  9. This was one of the reasons I added ammo to higher levels of firepower - I found myself simply holding down the fire button at one point in testing, and realized I had no reason let go of it. The thing is that I like the autofire rhythm/fire rate that's there, but to me there should also be a reason to -not- fire, under at least some circumstances. 😄 I'm really glad people seem to like the music/sound - I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull something off with the TIA. A lot of the credit goes to the music tracker included with 7800Basic - the tracker and sound system took care of a lot of stuff like sound priorities and pitch tables that are otherwise hard to get right or are a pain to code on your own. While the 7800 has the same sound chip as the 2600, you tend to have more space in ROM and cycles to play with, and that makes a lot of difference. The musical pieces I used are different public domain tunes I found and then arranged for TIA - For now I'll leave folks to guess what they might be...it might be a strange listening experience once you know what the tune originally was. While the tunes I chose are somewhat thematically appropriate, they were chosen more for sounding decent after being transcribed (you should hear what's on the cutting room floor...) I'll admit some folks have done amazing musical arrangement with TIA's various voices, but for my part (and limited musical skill) I really only like using voices 4 and 12 - the best voices for pitch range and the closest the TIA has to standard musical notes. I then added an echo to the notes - that, combined with the musical tracker's priority system means you can often hear "chords," and the echo seems to help "smooth" the hard edges you might get just using a pure tone. It's the chiptune equivalent to singing in the shower! As much as I dig on the TIA, I actually like its interface in its ultimate simplicity, you can do some cool stuff with it. To put things in perspective, I started programming on an Apple ][, where all I could do was click the speaker!
  10. Thank you! While the DPC+ is really cool, this game doesn't really play to its strengths (and vice versa) - I use a lot of RAM/ROM space to do calculations on the playfield and maze layout that the DPC+ uses for extra colors, sprites, and other graphical stuff, and I imagine I'd be hitting the cycle limit much sooner with the way it's structured. I am aiming to have Savekey/AtariVox support for the 7800 version (I don't have either at the moment, but some others have testing it and it seems to be working so far...) - In the case of the 7800Basic it's directly supported, and pretty straightforward to integrate. I'm not sure about adding it to the 2600 (although I'm taking a look at what would be involved), as I'm very close to the cycle, ROM and RAM limits already, and structurally the game is already fairly optimized and mature (i.e. hard to add stuff to).
  11. Awesome! I currently don't have the hardware to test the saving, so this helps a lot! With Batari Basic and 7800Basic it was pretty straightforward! Mechanically, the games are nearly identical, down to much of the code. While I like the 7800's specs, being in that interesting transitional phase of hardware, 7800Basic gave me the impetus to actually start coding for it. Porting an existing project also gave me a good excuse to learn without starting a whole new game from scratch. What would people recommend for testing the game on actual 7800 hardware? My Harmony cart serves me well in developing for the 2600, but I'm not sure what the best 7800 equivalent would be. It sounds like there are a few devices that are comparable, but each has their quirks and most are hard to find nowadays.
  12. Totally a valid strategy - I imagine you might go for mix of more offensive power as you gain practice and learn the maze layouts. That said, I find "tanking" on health is still a very valid strategy even with knowledge of what's ahead. While not powering up your fire breath means you don't have to worry about ammo when it gets dark, you -do- have to worry about tougher monsters! Thank you! 😀 I wanted to give a player valid choices throughout the game, taking into account one's skill and tactical philosophy, be it tank, glass cannon, score hoarder, or some mix of the three. How to balance the new encounters and features as one gets further in the game was also something I deliberated a long time on - I'm glad that all came through in the gameplay! A few design/philosophy notes I was thinking about as I watched (not criticism of your game play, which was impressive, as much as my justifications for adding certain mechanics): -The dark is sort of a "hurry up," a soft time limit partially to make sure people don't camp on a level to farm points, and partially to keep things interesting. If you're stuck in it and start panicking, remember it goes away if you manage to get to a new level. -I admit the dark can very nasty in a new, unfamiliar level, but the levels are persistent and can remembered or mapped. Even selecting "random" levels will give you their seed number so you can play them again if you want, and their room layout will be the same if you do. -While you didn't go this route in the video, I added limited ammo for stronger fire breath to give folks another reason to hunt enemies (they can drop ammo as well as health on occasion), while making sure players are careful with the power they gain. You still have your starting fire breath if you run out, but you'll likely encounter scenarios where you really miss that extra punch. And there's always that next treasure room to work your way back up... -As a designer, I wanted to give players a reason to continue to delve deeper into the maze - Things like the dark, the higher scoring enemies, the one-treasure-room-per-level, all were meant toward that goal. Awesome video - it's great (and helpful!) to see a full-length session like that, thank you for posting!
  13. Here is a new build, I hope -this- fixes it: DragonsDescent_6_19_2019b.a78 Hopefully that should correct things. I did a few little cosmetic changes as well (enemy dragon fire should look like yours, instead of the round "shot" bosses and Janus Guards use). The bug testing/reporting is very much appreciated - If you want, I can PM you a build that spawns stationary enemies at the boundaries. You might want to try in easy mode as well, to make sure you're not hitting the wall instead of an enemy when transitioning between screens. I wasn't able to reproduce the bug with these most recent builds, but with differences between emulators and setups, there could easily be something I'm missing.
  14. Latest build here: DragonsDescent_6_17_2019b.a78 [EDIT] Latest latest build here 😝: DragonsDescent_6_17_2019c.a78 Another quick update with a few bug fixes involving the boss music and drawing the final boss. [EDIT] and a minor collision fix that I didn't get to when fixing the wraparound bug I'm curious if anyone has been able to test the high score/save key stuff yet - I don't have the proper hardware (yet) and currently cannot test these features at the moment, and I've had the high score screen hang a few times as I've been coding, so I'm curious how it fares with other folks.
  15. [EDIT:] Ok, I think I fixed it. Try a new build here: DragonsDescent_6_17_2019.a78 [EDIT Original text:] Thanks for the bug report and video - I thought I had taken care of this bug but it looks like I'll have to do a targeted test to fully fix it. I'll try and have a new build up within the next few days unless this bug is nastier than I think, I need to see how my week goes.
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