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Armscar Coder

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Armscar Coder last won the day on August 21 2020

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About Armscar Coder

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  1. After starting Pitkat from level 1 several times over the past few months, I finally decided to stay with it. This week I was able to finally finish the game. I was initially drawn to Pitkat because I was super impressed with the coding effort that went into it (at least what I can only imagine). As I kept playing and clearing more levels, I wanted more and more. I surprised myself because I didn't realize how much I loved puzzle games. Even on those levels that required me to press reset many, many times, it was always so satisfying to finally solve it (I eventually took up position on the very edge of my couch so that the reset button was within a good stretched arm's reach). Even though Pitkat is a port to the 2600, the product that @Jamtex and @MarcoJ have put together is nothing short of amazing. I still can't get over the fact that Pitkat is Marco's first 2600 programming effort. The features in the game really make the whole experience so much more enjoyable. The in codes and out codes allow the game to be played over multiple sessions without the need to always start from scratch (at one point my cheat sheet with all of my codes was recycled by a family member which induced a panic-stricken rummaging through the garage until I eventually found it). The rewind feature is also really cool and helpful (I didn't use it that much...yeah right) and being able to preview the screen by holding down the fire button and moving the joystick left and right is a really nice touch. The music is great, but you can turn it off if you want. With 99 normal levels and some bonus levels, I will definitely be coming back to play this game again without any worry of the puzzles being too familiar. There is even a speed run mode that I might even give a whirl at some point in the future. For some spoilers to the game ending, see below.
  2. That is a heck of a way to begin the round. By my unofficial account, that is the highest score presented so far. Awesome job.
  3. I have a potential conflict, but I went ahead and made plans to come anyway (all cancelable of course).
  4. @vitoco, absolutely not! Just send me a PM with where to send it and I'll take care of the rest. Congratulations! I have also added you to the patch list in the very first post. I am not sure how many patches I will give out. I have been giving some to family and friends. But there are still plenty right now. For anyone else who obtains a 1000+ point score, don't hesitate to send me your screenshot and where to send the patch. You don't have to post it here. You can just send me a PM.
  5. Quick update: The RAPTOR patches arrived about two weeks ago. I started shipping them last week with the last batch going out yesterday. The ones going to recipients in the USA should be delivered this week and hopefully the international ones soon to follow. Discovering the Atari homebrew scene has definitely opened up opportunities for me to interact with individuals from all over the globe, and for that I am so grateful. Case in point, the eight RAPTOR patches awarded so far represents AtariAge members from four different countries and three continents. Here a couple of pictures of the patches. The RAPTOR binary has been released for almost two months now. With no bugs reported, I think I am ready to call the game complete. We still have some work to do with the cartridge labels and box design. But, that should be wrapped up in a month or so.
  6. @jgkspsx, yes you can detonate the bombs when you are overheated. Couple of things to check/ be mindful of: - Be sure that you are double pressing and letting go after the second button press. The initial logic just looked for the second button press. But, I found that condition made it too easy for the bombs to detonate unintentionally. So, I changed it so that the bomb doesn't detonate until the second button press is released. If you hold the button down too long for either the first or second press, or you don't start the second button press soon enough, then the timers monitoring the button presses will expire and you would have to reinitiate the double press. - Also, be sure that you are stationary when initiating the double button press. During development, unintentional detonation was also an issue while the RAPTOR was moving when two quick laser blasts were fired. So, with the left difficulty switch in the "B" position, there can not be any RAPTOR movement to detonate a bomb, from the start of the first button press to the release of the second button press. This adds a conscious decision to detonate a bomb. And since the RAPTOR is almost always moving (at least when I play), this conscious decision pretty much eliminated all unintentional bomb detonations for me. If the left difficulty switch is in the "A" position, a bomb can be detonated while the RAPTOR is moving. I'm not sure if that is allowed for this round of the 2600 High Score Club, since the directions were to set the difficulty switches to "B" and "B". - Lastly, be sure you are fully depressing the fire button. I had the privilege to do some live play testing and one thing I observed was that the play tester was so caught up in trying to press the fire button twice fast that he wasn't pressing the button all the way down. Yes, you do have to press the button fast, but not lightning fast. Just be sure to fully press the button. Hopefully, that helps. Yeah, that is the nature of the randomized beast, I'm afraid. Sometimes, he is easily exposed and other times, he is hiding. I really don't have much advice here other than to take the opportunities when you have them. In an earlier post, I mentioned that the timer for the shield switching and the timer for the boss laser firing are constant, but aren't always offset the same. So, there should be predictability when the shields switch and when the boss is going to fire. But, sometimes it is really easy to destroy him and other times it is down right aggravating. I get it. I am no Stella expert, but I have not had that experience. When I have tested/played in Stella, I have not turned on phosphur mode and have no issues seeing the enemies behind the shields. Maybe someone else can chime in here? Thanks for the feedback and good luck!
  7. Here is a picture of the sample patch. Anyone scoring 1000 points or more on RAPTOR is eligible for a free patch. Just send me a PM with a photo of your game screen (emulator screen shots are fine too.)
  8. It has been fun following the RAPTOR scores over the last two weeks. I am genuinely impressed by the high scores, but also very encouraged at all of the improvements being made. I don't think there are a lot of tricks to getting a good score other than these three basic things: - Maximize points early by not using the boomerang bombs and getting the bonus points at the end of each convoy as well as destroying all of the bosses. - Avoid overheating, especially avoiding the sky sweeper, which makes you more vulnerable to losing a bunch of lives at once. Get a feel for firing the laser in short to medium bursts. The laser temperature comes down faster than it climbs, so even letting up on it occasionally works pretty well. - Bank as many lives as possible for the later rounds when it gets more difficult. Starting around 700 points or so, there is a shift in the enemy selection criteria that makes the game more difficult (less blutonium trucks, more rocket trucks). Remember, all scores of 1000 points or more are eligible for a free patch. Just send me a PM if you are interested. Here is a picture of the sample patch the vendor sent me today. I encourage everyone to keep giving it a shot. Even though the patches will still be available after the High Score Club Homebrew Weeks are over, I would like to give away as many of these as I can in the coming week. Good luck! Here are some additional insights/comments that may or may not be helpful: - The RAPTOR is faster than everything on the battlefield, except for the rocket truck at its fastest speed. Don’t immediately panic if any enemy gets by you. Even when a rocket truck gets by you when coming onto the battlefield fast, it is guaranteed to slow down at least one time. - Get a feel for the overheat cool down time of three seconds. There will be times that you feel like a bomb may be need to be used, but you may get your laser back just in time. - Unless you have a power boosted laser, be careful hanging out on the left side of the screen when the sky sweeper is active in the sky. It is a recipe for an instant laser overheat. - Where the sky sweeper exits the sky on the right side of the screen is not necessarily where it will reenter on the left side of the screen. The idea is that these sky sweepers are being fired by the next forward command vehicle (boss). - Two of the enemy vehicles move at the same speed as the sky sweeper: the humvee and the blutonium truck. When either of these two are close to the same horizontal position as the sky sweeper, it is difficult to shoot them without touching the sky sweeper. As the sky sweeper moves front-back (up-down), learn to fly in and shoot these enemies. All other enemies move at a slower or faster speed than the sky sweeper, so you should be able to time a better opportunity to shoot them (sometimes just waiting a moment). Beware though, at some point the sky sweeper's predictable movements do become slightly random. - At any given point there can only be one jammer on the battlefield. If there is a jammer on the battlefield when the random logic selects another jammer to come onto the screen, a rocket truck selection is forced. So, there is some additional benefit for destroying the jammer as soon as possible. - Similar to the jammer, there can only be one blutonium truck on the battlefield. If a blutonium truck is on the battlefield and another one is selected, a rocket truck selection is forced. Furthermore, when a laser power boost is active and a blutonium truck is chosen, a rocket truck selection is also forced. This is usually not as big of a deal because the power boosted laser makes it easier to destroy the enemies. But, that is why you may see more rocket trucks when there is a power boost. - The enemy protective shields only block the RAPTOR laser. So, it is possible to destroy an enemy with the RAPTOR laser even if the enemy is partially behind the protective shield. Bommerang bombs always destroy enemies behind the shields. - It is imperative to destroy the forward command vehicle (boss) on every level. Not only are the 25 bonus points a must for a high score, you lose two lives if the boss is allowed to retreat off the screen to the left. - Starting with level 2, the boss always comes out firing the sky sweeper, so just wait for him to come out first. - Only the end effector of the sky sweeper causes the RAPTOR laser to overheat. The sky sweeper beam projected from the boss is safe (the RAPTOR is actually flying in front of it in that perspective). - The sky sweeper firing length is constant, so when the boss fires is predictable. During the alternating shields levels, the shield switching is also predictable, but the timing difference between the boss firing and the shield switching is not the same level to level. - There is no penalty for overheating when battling the boss, so be aggressive. Generally speaking though, it is better to attack him when he is moving left and just after launching a sky sweeper. It doesn’t take a lot to destroy the boss, but sometimes it is more efficient when done in several small strikes rather than one lengthy strike. - There is almost always a moment just before the boss goes off screen for when he will not shoot the sky sweeper. But, don’t wait until then to inflict all of the damage.
  9. Stratovox: 25,550 @RaymanC, I enjoyed playing Stratovox. I especially enjoyed the sound effects. This type of game is not my strength, but after more than a few tries, I was able to crack my goal of 20,000.
  10. Well, this was my Friday afternoon and evening. Not sure I can do much better. This game is superb. I had to keep reminding myself that this isn't an NES game. I plan to give Stratovox 2600 a run later this weekend. Aardvark 78,500
  11. Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I especially appreciate the positive comments from my fellow developers, all of which have created some really cool games of their own. Even though I may have a second Atari 2600 game under my belt, I know I still have a lot to learn. @Thomas Jentzsch, thanks for bringing that to my attention. Any little nuggets such as this one that that can expand my programming knowledge is truly appreciated. FYI, I have started a RAPTOR patch list in the first post. I will do my best to add additional patch earners in the order that the scores are posted, either in this forum or in the 2600 High Score Club forum.
  12. Hey @Absalon, any chance you are playing the PAL60 version but in an NTSC setting? Over in the 2600 High Score Club, your latest post for RAPTOR seems to be that way.
  13. Thanks @Jasonhrb! All of those early mornings of coding must have paid off. With two kids, a job, and a commute, getting up early was about the only time to program. Thanks to you too @Lauren Tyler. Though I am biased, I think Herbie, my graphic designer, did a good job with the manual. Oh, and I hope RAPTOR gives you less frustration than Doggone It! did. Well, that didn't take long. Congratulations @Jason_Atari for being the first one to crack 1,000 points! I am enjoying watching the scores get posted and seeing some improvements. Keep them coming.
  14. Great score @sramirez2008! Someone has got to be the first one to 1000 points. You can do it. Around the 700 point mark, there is a difficulty shift where there are fewer blutonium trucks (fewer power-up opportunities) and slightly more of the harder/faster enemies. The key is still usually not to overheat, including avoiding the sky sweeper. Sometimes it is better to let one enemy go rather than risk overheating and then letting a bunch of enemies get by you. Needless to say, maximizing your escape monitor (lives left count) in the earlier waves and being stingy with your bombs gives you a better a chance of progressing when you get to these harder levels.
  15. As @KaeruYojimbo pointed out, when there is a jammer on the battlefield, the cross hairs are disabled/hidden. They reappear when the jammer is destroyed or when it escapes off of the right side of the screen. The code limits one jammer on the screen at a time, but there is no limit to how many jammers there can be per wave. The disappearing cross hairs have an indirect effect in that it may force you to use tracer fire to help aim which in turn may lead to more laser overheats. Another indication that a jammer is on the battlefield is a low level whirring noise when a jammer emerges from the left side of screen. Earlier versions of the game had the jammer sound louder. I found it quite annoying so I reduced its volume. Hopefully it isn't as annoying. As I mentioned during the ZPH stream yesterday, sound/music is hard for me. When I first started programming, this was probably the biggest shock to discover. I quickly developed a deep appreciation for sound and music in Atari 2600 games and I have much admiration for developers that do it well. Despite trying to up my game by rewriting my sound engine, I will never be able achieve some of the great things being produced out there. There are too many to mention, but a recent one that comes to mind is @Pat Brady's work on 1942. If you haven't seen/heard it, I encourage you to check it out.
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