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Screen Mockup: Pick Axe Pete - attempt in bBasic

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Hey Guys:

 

Just wondering how 'do-able' it would be to attempt to port 'Pick Axe Pete' over to the 2600. I've made a screen mockup (hopefully it is fairly close) of what it might look like on the 2600. Here are the specs:

1) Sprites are 8x16

2) Horizontal playfield lines are 4 pixels high

3) I've made the 'boulder-throwers' 4 playfield pixels wide. If that doesn't work, maybe we can use missiles or the ball

4) If we do a 30Hz Flicker between player 0 and player 1, that would give us 4 sprites.

 

If the extreme vertical bars of the maze have to go to make this more workable, I could see that. Then we would have to make the screen border the same color as the maze.

 

Can anyone think of why this wouldn't work in bBasic?

post-1787-1191200487_thumb.png

Edited by PacManPlus

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Hey Guys:

 

Just wondering how 'do-able' it would be to attempt to port 'Pick Axe Pete' over to the 2600. I've made a screen mockup (hopefully it is fairly close) of what it might look like on the 2600. Here are the specs:

1) Sprites are 8x16

2) Horizontal playfield lines are 4 pixels high

3) I've made the 'boulder-throwers' 4 playfield pixels wide. If that doesn't work, maybe we can use missiles or the ball

4) If we do a 30Hz Flicker between player 0 and player 1, that would give us 4 sprites.

 

If the extreme vertical bars of the maze have to go to make this more workable, I could see that. Then we would have to make the screen border the same color as the maze.

 

Can anyone think of why this wouldn't work in bBasic?

 

A few suggestions:

 

1. You'll either need to use a custom score routine for the 8-digit score, or somehow convert it into 6-digit format.

 

2. Your sprites (assuming 8x16 isn't a typo) will either need to be 8x8 to have 4 per line or with 8x16, only have two of them (unless they are similar, stationary, objects; which you could make copies of across the screen).

 

3. Currently, bB limits you to 5 sprites anywhere on the screen, period, so you might have to reduce your sprite count.

 

4. From my experience, 30hz flicker is tolerable, if it's controlled.

 

5. The vertical bars seem fine, I just don't think they will be as close (I'm referring to the right one, here) to the edges of the screen as you hope them to be.

 

6. I don't think you can (currently) change the color of the playfield mid-scanline like that, so the borders (which are located on the same scanline as the color change) would most likely be the same color as your "Boulder Throwers".

 

Other than that, you should be fine; good luck! :D

Edited by Dragnerok X

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Apologies...since the Atari and the O2 displays are so different from each other, maybe you could change the graphics to be larger and more detailed? That way, less objects are shown at a time, but what is shown, plays to the strengths of the system.

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Ok - some small adjustments.

 

Removed the side borders, (we could make the screen border the same color as he playfield, no?)

Made the ladder Playfield graphics

 

Question - What if we made the boulders the ball (or maybe missiles) - could you 'flicker' those? I know the boulders would then be square, but they are almost square now...

post-1787-1191246287_thumb.png

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Thanks for answering me :)

 

1. You'll either need to use a custom score routine for the 8-digit score, or somehow convert it into 6-digit format.

Being that it's a 1-player game only, I can pull the left four digits out.

 

2. Your sprites (assuming 8x16 isn't a typo) will either need to be 8x8 to have 4 per line or with 8x16, only have two of them (unless they are similar, stationary, objects; which you could make copies of across the screen).

Hmmm. The only reason I did that is because I saw other sprites made with 11 and 12 x 8 so I figured 16 wouldn't be too much worse. Also, the pixels seem to be bigger on the O2 so this killed two birds with one stone. I may have to revisit this.

 

3. Currently, bB limits you to 5 sprites anywhere on the screen, period, so you might have to reduce your sprite count.

Five sprites, huh? I just saw that you can have up to 6 boulders on the screen at once, so that's out... That is, unless we actually can flicker the missiles or ball (or use both). That will lead to square boulders, but that's happened before on an Atari game ;)

 

4. From my experience, 30hz flicker is tolerable, if it's controlled.

:) Cool

 

5. The vertical bars seem fine, I just don't think they will be as close (I'm referring to the right one, here) to the edges of the screen as you hope them to be.

I that that was a result of the screen-shot I started with; I actually want to center this Asymmetrical playfield.

 

6. I don't think you can (currently) change the color of the playfield mid-scanline like that, so the borders (which are located on the same scanline as the color change) would most likely be the same color as your "Boulder Throwers".

I removed the left and right borders in the above mockup, with the hope that we can change the screen border color to match the playfield for a given screen. This way we don't need to change playfield color mid-line (although I then changed the ladder to be playfield graphics, but maybe the ladder can be the same color as the boulder throwers - I don't think that's as big a deal).

 

Other than that, you should be fine; good luck! :D

Thanks! :)

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Hmmm. The only reason I did that is because I saw other sprites made with 11 and 12 x 8 so I figured 16 wouldn't be too much worse. Also, the pixels seem to be bigger on the O2 so this killed two birds with one stone. I may have to revisit this.

 

Yes, that's fine. Just realize you are limited to two 8 pixel-wide sprites per scanline (without flicker or duplication), so without flicker, you could only have one movable 16-pixel wide sprite per scanline and looking at your screenshot; you'd probably be better off with two smaller sprites. This is assuming you mean 11 or 12 pixels wide. The 2600 allows you to make sprites as tall as you'd like.

 

Five sprites, huh? I just saw that you can have up to 6 boulders on the screen at once, so that's out... That is, unless we actually can flicker the missiles or ball (or use both). That will lead to square boulders, but that's happened before on an Atari game ;)

 

If you are sure using that won't hurt the gameplay, go for it (heck, one of my bB homebrew projects, Atari OS, used a missile for a mouse pointer and it worked much better than a sprite ever would). Otherwise, I'd suggest you just keep your sprite count down.

 

I removed the left and right borders in the above mockup, with the hope that we can change the screen border color to match the playfield for a given screen. This way we don't need to change playfield color mid-line (although I then changed the ladder to be playfield graphics, but maybe the ladder can be the same color as the boulder throwers - I don't think that's as big a deal).

 

The screen border(s) is/are part of the "background". The background color encompasses the entire screen, so I don't think you can create an artificial screen border in bB (at least without inline assembly). However, unless you are aiming for complete O2 accuracy, most 2600 players would probably be fine without one. Also, the playfield ladder color idea seems fine to me.

 

Thanks! :)

 

No problem. ;)

Edited by Dragnerok X

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Hi:

 

Ok - I think that's where we are not on the same page - I was referring to 16 pixels high. Only 8 pixels wide. :)

 

Thanks again!

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Hi:

 

Ok - I think that's where we are not on the same page - I was referring to 16 pixels high. Only 8 pixels wide. :)

 

Thanks again!

 

I concur.

 

16 pixels high should work fine. :)

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Ok. So I think I have it now:

 

1 - There is a maximum of 5 boulders on the playfield at one time (I thought it was 6 but I was wrong). Using Missiles 0 and 1 quad-size, and multiplexed (30 Hz) and the Ball should give 5 boulders (please let me know if I'm wrong about this)

2 - The playfield will have no left or right walls, so as not to interfere with the 'Boulder Throwers' and the ladder

3 - The 'Boulder Throwers' and the ladder will be the same color, as they will both be using playfield graphics as well

4 - The Player will be player 0, and the Pick Axe and Key will be multiplexed as player 1

 

Limitations:

1 - The boulders are square

2 - No left / right walls (but the boundaries are there)

3 - Ladder is made up of straight lines (playfield graphics)

 

Did I cover everything as far as the 2600's ability? (Never mind my own) :P

Edited by PacManPlus

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Ok. So I think I have it now:

 

1 - There is a maximum of 5 boulders on the playfield at one time (I thought it was 6 but I was wrong). Using Missiles 0 and 1 quad-size, and multiplexed (30 Hz) and the Ball should give 5 boulders (please let me know if I'm wrong about this)

2 - The playfield will have no left or right walls, so as not to interfere with the 'Boulder Throwers' and the ladder

3 - The 'Boulder Throwers' and the ladder will be the same color, as they will both be using playfield graphics as well

4 - The Player will be player 0, and the Pick Axe and Key will be multiplexed as player 1

 

Limitations:

1 - The boulders are square

2 - No left / right walls (but the boundaries are there)

3 - Ladder is made up of straight lines (playfield graphics)

 

Did I cover everything as far as the 2600's ability? (Never mind my own) :P

 

One correction: #4 - The Player will be player 0, while the Pick Axe, Key and any other objects (player 1) should be placed so there is only one of a given object per "level" of the playfield to avoid any needless flicker.

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Can anyone think of why this wouldn't work in bBasic?

 

One might be able to do a somewhat workable version in bB, but there are a few things one could do using a custom kernel that would be harder or impossible in VB. I'm not sure one could do all of them without extra RAM (or even do all of them, period) but...

  • Write to COLUBK twice near the center of the screen on scan lines with the doors. This would allow the doors to be drawn without using any type of object to do so. Although the playfield could be used very nicely to draw the door, that would force the Ball to be the same color as the doors.
  • Make the boulders slightly less boxy than simple squares, by using HMOVE and NUSIZx to manipulate the missiles on different scan lines. You could either have boulders be two pixels wide on the top and bottom and four pixels between, or four on top and bottom and eight between.
  • Reposition one or both missiles and/or the ball on a 'per-level' basis, allowing potentially up to four objects plus the player in each "zone".

My thought is that it might make the most sense to have P0 be the human, M0 be the ladders, P1 be a key or pickaxe, and the Ball be the boulders. I don't remember what 'boulder throwers' look like since I haven't played the game in ages.

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One correction: #4 - The Player will be player 0, while the Pick Axe, Key and any other objects (player 1) should be placed so there is only one of a given object per "level" of the playfield to avoid any needless flicker.

That actually works out well - as the Pick Axe and the Key are never on the screen at the same time (the player turns a different color when he's picked up the key, and then the Pick Axe can get thrown out again) I just put them both in the mockup to show sprite shapes.

 

One might be able to do a somewhat workable version in bB, but there are a few things one could do using a custom kernel that would be harder or impossible in VB. I'm not sure one could do all of them without extra RAM (or even do all of them, period) but...
  • Write to COLUBK twice near the center of the screen on scan lines with the doors. This would allow the doors to be drawn without using any type of object to do so. Although the playfield could be used very nicely to draw the door, that would force the Ball to be the same color as the doors.
  • Make the boulders slightly less boxy than simple squares, by using HMOVE and NUSIZx to manipulate the missiles on different scan lines. You could either have boulders be two pixels wide on the top and bottom and four pixels between, or four on top and bottom and eight between.
  • Reposition one or both missiles and/or the ball on a 'per-level' basis, allowing potentially up to four objects plus the player in each "zone".

My thought is that it might make the most sense to have P0 be the human, M0 be the ladders, P1 be a key or pickaxe, and the Ball be the boulders. I don't remember what 'boulder throwers' look like since I haven't played the game in ages.

The doors actually *are* the Boulder Throwers :) They just animate when they throw out a boulder. They alternate frames between the regular 'box' size "" and a very thin size " I " (and they actually use the letter 'I' for the thin frames!) That's why I made them 4 playfield pixels wide so I can alternate frames between 2 and 4 pixels during the animation when it throws out a boulder. :)

 

 

Thanks guys! Although I have to admit, Supercat, that I have to figure out what you mean by the first two points (which is why I was going to try this in bB) :-P ;)

Bob

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IMHO, the most challenging part of a PAP port would be refining the gameplay. As I've ranted in the past, the gameplay is a bit unfocused, to put it charitably. You just kind of wander around and there isn't really any clear objective.

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Hey Zylon - thanks for the input, although I think it's going to be a moot point now. :(

 

I tried to start this in bBasic, but I think it's either too limited or I just don't know enough about it to do it. I've attached my attempt below. The issue is I need to use the multisprite kernel (becuase of the 5 rocks) but if I use that I cannot specify the height of the missile & ball (which I was considering using for the 'boulder throwers'). I also cannot change colors of each playfield row (an alternative solution for the boulder throwers).

Unfortunately, I don't know enough about the 2600 to attempt it in assember.

 

So I think I am not going to go forward with this (at least for now).

pap.txt

pap.txt.bin

Edited by PacManPlus

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I'm gonna have to agree with ZylonBane on this one. It's not just that the game is lacking a clear goal; it's also outrageously unfair. The key darts around the screen, making it almost impossible to catch, moving around the playfield is a laborious process, and you frequently get cornered by clusters of boulders and gold ore because there's simply no way to escape them. I like the concept of a Donkey Kong-style game that's not quite Donkey Kong, but if someone were to translate Pick Axe Pete to another system, I would hope they would take the time to fix all the mistakes the developers made with the original.

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I'm gonna have to agree with ZylonBane on this one. It's not just that the game is lacking a clear goal; it's also outrageously unfair. The key darts around the screen, making it almost impossible to catch, moving around the playfield is a laborious process, and you frequently get cornered by clusters of boulders and gold ore because there's simply no way to escape them. I like the concept of a Donkey Kong-style game that's not quite Donkey Kong, but if someone were to translate Pick Axe Pete to another system, I would hope they would take the time to fix all the mistakes the developers made with the original.

 

to whomever made this: i personally would like to see a k.c. munchkin remake.....

 

and funnily enough, converting O2 games to 2600 could be a new direction in the making of homebrews...

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to whomever made this: i personally would like to see a k.c. munchkin remake.....

 

and funnily enough, converting O2 games to 2600 could be a new direction in the making of homebrews...

not really

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IMHO, the most challenging part of a PAP port would be refining the gameplay. As I've ranted in the past, the gameplay is a bit unfocused, to put it charitably. You just kind of wander around and there isn't really any clear objective.

 

I'm gonna have to agree with ZylonBane on this one. It's not just that the game is lacking a clear goal; it's also outrageously unfair. The key darts around the screen, making it almost impossible to catch, moving around the playfield is a laborious process, and you frequently get cornered by clusters of boulders and gold ore because there's simply no way to escape them. I like the concept of a Donkey Kong-style game that's not quite Donkey Kong, but if someone were to translate Pick Axe Pete to another system, I would hope they would take the time to fix all the mistakes the developers made with the original.

 

Okay:

 

1) What's your high score on this? It sounds like you've played it maybe twice and have bitched about it ever since.

 

2) It ain't Donkey Kong. Attempting to play it as if it were Donkey Kong would be akin to trying to apply the strategies of Space Invaders to Megamania and then deciding the game is stupid because you never seem to get the mothership.

 

3) Good luck. The display on the O2 allows a lot of objects on the same scanline and any port of PAP to the 2600 has to deal with this problem in some manner.

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I'm well aware that it's not Donkey Kong. I don't expect it to be exactly like Donkey Kong, but no matter how you look at it, Pick Axe Pete is a fundamentally flawed game. You get a single life, and cheap, typically unavoidable deaths are all over the place. There's no logic to the placement of the key, and it moves constantly, making it nearly impossible to collect it. Reaching the bottom of the screen takes forever, IF you can get there without getting clobbered by boulders. Ducking and jumping the aforementioned boulders is a mess due to the poorly implemented single button control. Shall I go on? Do I really need to go on? Donkey Kong is a tough act to follow, and not every game can live up to that standard. However, Pick Axe Pete comes up short even when judged solely on its own merits.

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I'm well aware that it's not Donkey Kong. I don't expect it to be exactly like Donkey Kong, but no matter how you look at it, Pick Axe Pete is a fundamentally flawed game. You get a single life, and cheap, typically unavoidable deaths are all over the place. There's no logic to the placement of the key, and it moves constantly, making it nearly impossible to collect it. Reaching the bottom of the screen takes forever, IF you can get there without getting clobbered by boulders. Ducking and jumping the aforementioned boulders is a mess due to the poorly implemented single button control. Shall I go on? Do I really need to go on? Donkey Kong is a tough act to follow, and not every game can live up to that standard. However, Pick Axe Pete comes up short even when judged solely on its own merits.

 

Unavoidable deaths? Hardly. The game only allows five boulders at one time on the screen. The key flies to the top of the screen, but fades after a while and a new one shows up if you don't get the one that's there. Both the pickaxe and the key show up after a collision between two boulders, so you can catch either one by watching for collisions. But from the sound of it, you haven't realized how to control jumping up or down, si the rest of the game doesn't matter much anyway. At that point I have to ask (and yes I hate sounding like the E.T. cultists): Have you read the manual?!? Jeez, you do know you're supposed to njump through the doors once you have the keys, right?

 

And what's your high score?

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A bit OT, but:

 

The discussion of this game made me curious, so I found a ROM for this, and an Odyssey2 emulator (O2EM for OS X), but...I don't seem to be able to get anything to happen. So, for those who know O2EM -- should I be able to move Pete with the arrow keys? What am I doing wrong?

 

This is my first foray into Odyssey2 gaming, actually...it seems like exactly what I'd always read, limited graphics but lots of sprites and a unique flavor all its own. Having tried a few games, I'm getting very mixed results with O2EM -- in about half the games I've tried, I don't seem to be able to move my character at all...

Edited by thegoldenband

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I'm well aware that it's not Donkey Kong. I don't expect it to be exactly like Donkey Kong, but no matter how you look at it, Pick Axe Pete is a fundamentally flawed game. You get a single life, and cheap, typically unavoidable deaths are all over the place. There's no logic to the placement of the key, and it moves constantly, making it nearly impossible to collect it. Reaching the bottom of the screen takes forever, IF you can get there without getting clobbered by boulders. Ducking and jumping the aforementioned boulders is a mess due to the poorly implemented single button control. Shall I go on? Do I really need to go on? Donkey Kong is a tough act to follow, and not every game can live up to that standard. However, Pick Axe Pete comes up short even when judged solely on its own merits.

 

Unavoidable deaths? Hardly. The game only allows five boulders at one time on the screen. The key flies to the top of the screen, but fades after a while and a new one shows up if you don't get the one that's there. Both the pickaxe and the key show up after a collision between two boulders, so you can catch either one by watching for collisions. But from the sound of it, you haven't realized how to control jumping up or down, si the rest of the game doesn't matter much anyway. At that point I have to ask (and yes I hate sounding like the E.T. cultists): Have you read the manual?!? Jeez, you do know you're supposed to njump through the doors once you have the keys, right?

 

And what's your high score?

 

So if I went back and replayed the game to your exact specifications, is it going to change your mind about it? No. I owned this game when I was a kid. I read the damn instruction manual. I played the game on an emulator recently and found it to be deeply flawed; a hollow shell of what I remembered from my youth. I'm not the only one who feels this way, and just because I can't rack up a score of forty seven million points doesn't instantly invalidate my opinion. The fact that I can't make any progress at all only strengthens it.

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