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Juno First - Final Version (Atari 2600)

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[b]EDIT: The final version of Juno First can be found [url="http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/125269-juno-first-final-version-atari-2600/page__view__findpost__p__1858381"]HERE![/url][/b].

Those of you who have been reading my [url="http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.php?automodule=blog&blogid=107"]AA blog[/url] will know that I have been developing a game called "Juno First" sporadically over the past two years. I'm happy to say that this game is now essentially complete and just requires some final testing. As a result, I'm posting the latest beta version here and will be very grateful if a few people could try it out and let me know if there are any problems.

[attachment=101239:JunoFirst.png]

Juno First is intended to be an Atari 2600 port of the [url="http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=8261"]arcade game[/url] of the same name. Naturally, my 2600 version required some significant simplifications, but I think the main elements are there. The visual style of the game is similar to [url="http://www.atariage.com/software_page.html?SoftwareLabelID=23"]Beamrider[/url], but it plays quite differently. The awesome sprite graphics were created by Nathan Strum, and the the excellent title music was created by Erik Ehrling (moderntimes99).

The beta version is attached to the bottom of this post (NTSC and PAL60 binaries are included). A manual is also included in the attached text file. The binary versions can be played using the [url="http://stella.sourceforge.net/"]Stella[/url] or [url="http://www.whimsey.com/z26/z26.html"]Z26[/url] emulators, and on real hardware using a Krokodile Cart or Cuttle Cart 2 (use F4 (32K) bank-switching). If you are playing with an emulator, make sure that you enable the Phosphor Mode (Alt-P is Stella or -f for Z26) to avoid excessive flickering. Most people will probably want to play the NTSC binary version unless testing with PAL hardware, in which case the PAL60 binary version should be used (assuming your TV can sync at 60Hz). AtariVox (and SaveKey) devices are supported when playing with real hardware and will store the high score table.

At this point, I don't want to make any big changes to the game, but I will welcome suggestions for improvement. In particular, I'd like to know the following:
[list=1]
[*]Is the game too easy, too difficult, or about right?
[*]Are there any features of the game that you find annoying?
[*]Did you find any bugs in the game (especially let me know if you spot any screen rolls, or if any levels cannot be completed)?
[*]Do you have any (small) suggestions for improvements?
[/list]

Many thanks,
Chris Edited by cd-w

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I had no idea there was a game named this. When I saw the title, this was the first thing I thought of:


[img]http://www.reelmovienews.com/images/gallery/the-juno-movie-poster_292x410.jpg[/img]

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[quote name='Snider-man' post='1514619' date='Tue May 6, 2008 1:58 PM']I had no idea there was a game named this. When I saw the title, this was the first thing I thought of: <snip>[/quote]

Yes, I think a lot of people are going to confuse the name with that teen-pregnancy movie! If only I had finished the game sooner :)

Chris

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Wowee... well I've played quite a bit of the arcade in my time, so I'll see about having a blast on this some point this week. Should be able to test it on both PAL and NTSC hardware too (I've got both flavours of 7800).

I've got the Konami conversion for the C64 here, would some scans of that help? In terms of images and any text itself includes...

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[quote name='Mayhem' post='1514644' date='Tue May 6, 2008 3:11 PM']Wowee... well I've played quite a bit of the arcade in my time, so I'll see about having a blast on this some point this week. Should be able to test it on both PAL and NTSC hardware too (I've got both flavours of 7800).
I've got the Konami conversion for the C64 here, would some scans of that help? In terms of images and any text itself includes...[/quote]

Thanks - it is only loosely based on the arcade as there are severe limitations with the 2600, and it also has the worst flicker since Pac-Man, so I hope you won't be disappointed!

It would be great if you could check if it works properly on 7800 hardware. I forgot to mention it above, but it does have some AtariVox speech if you have one of those units?

I haven't been able to find out anything about the back-story to the game. If there are any story details in the C64 manual then it would be great if you could scan them? The label and manual illustrations are being done by Nathan and DaveD - they already have a basic label layout, but I'm sure they would be interested to see any illustrations in the C64 manual.

Many thanks,
Chris

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There is some great artwork for the box (imo) so you never know, it might be suitable for the label and/or manual. I'll run it through my CC2 on both 7800s and see how it goes. I do have an AtariVox (the rare original v1 uncased version!) so I might be able to connect it up and check it works fine with that.

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[quote name='Snider-man' post='1514619' date='Tue May 6, 2008 3:58 PM']I had no idea there was a game named this. When I saw the title, this was the first thing I thought of:


[img]http://www.reelmovienews.com/images/gallery/the-juno-movie-poster_292x410.jpg[/img][/quote]
I knew that the game is in development but i never heard of this strange movie before! :lol:

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[quote name='Nathan Strum' post='1514827' date='Tue May 6, 2008 4:57 PM']It'd be nice to get a look at the manual.[/quote]
I'm not sure the movie comes with one.

..Al

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wow, this brought tears to my eyes. _BEAUTIFUL_ !

I need ot get back on to my games again, it's seeing stuff like this that gets me all motivated! :-)

-Thom

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[quote name='Nathan Strum' post='1514827' date='Tue May 6, 2008 4:57 PM']It'd be nice to get a look at the manual.[/quote]

I found the [url="http://www.idiology.com/8b/bacardi/Datasoft/datasoft_3.html"]box shot[/url] but no manual copy. I see a bunch of tiny arcade flyer images but nothing large enough to read the copy. And it appears that the arcade flyer site is down.

That Moon Shuttle box art listed on that same page is pretty cool. Edited by DaveD

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[quote name='Snider-man' post='1514619' date='Tue May 6, 2008 6:58 AM']I had no idea there was a game named this. When I saw the title, this was the first thing I thought of:


[img]http://www.reelmovienews.com/images/gallery/the-juno-movie-poster_292x410.jpg[/img][/quote]

This one is the sequel of Beat em and Eat Em.

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Wow, I'm going to put in a good chunk of time playtesting this thing. So happy to see it moving towards completion. It looks so polished. The high score page with all those open slots is something I haven't seen before on the 2600. This looks like a 'must have' when it's done.

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[quote name='tschak909' post='1514831' date='Tue May 6, 2008 1:59 PM']wow, this brought tears to my eyes.[/quote]
Yes, but if you enable phosphor mode in Stella, it reduces the flickering. ;)

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[quote name='Snider-man' post='1514619' date='Tue May 6, 2008 6:58 AM']When I saw the title, this was the first thing I thought of:[/quote]
Ha ha! Me too! ;)

I just tried this out for five minutes on Stella. The 'illusion' of flying over a 2D plane is actually very good; I really like how the 'hovering' enemies in the distance scale up smoothly as they get closer.
I will definitely have to spend some more time playing with this when I get home tonight. Edited by ls650

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You can download the Nostalgia-Version of Juno First (C64) from [url="http://www.gamebase64.com/game.php?id=4013&d=42"]gamebase 64[/url], there's a dox-file included with the background-story of the game etc.

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Some comments:
- the graphics are extremely impressive.
- I get that the ship movement is styled after Defender, but I wish that the fighter would 'coast' a little further when you stop pushing forward or backward. It seems to me that your ship coasts to a stop a little too quickly when actively thrusting.

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[quote name='mos6507' post='1514846' date='Tue May 6, 2008 11:13 PM']Wow, I'm going to put in a good chunk of time playtesting this thing. So happy to see it moving towards completion. It looks so polished. The high score page with all those open slots is something I haven't seen before on the 2600. This looks like a 'must have' when it's done.[/quote]

Thanks - much appreciated. The high score table only works with the SaveKey, which is probably why most other 2600 games don't have one. Incidentally, pressing SELECT during the game will skip to the next wave (handy for testing). I am planning to make wave 8 easier as it is nearly impossible to complete at the moment without losing a ship.

Chris

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[quote name='ls650' post='1515041' date='Wed May 7, 2008 6:26 AM']Some comments:
- the graphics are extremely impressive.
- I get that the ship movement is styled after Defender, but I wish that the fighter would 'coast' a little further when you stop pushing forward or backward. It seems to me that your ship coasts to a stop a little too quickly when actively thrusting.[/quote]

Thanks - I will try tweaking the inertia in the next release and see if it helps - I'm not entirely happy with the movement myself.

Chris

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[quote name='Waggie' post='1515152' date='Wed May 7, 2008 1:43 PM']Does the final score display after losing the last ship? All I could see was the text "Game Over".[/quote]

Yes, it is not very clear at the moment. The final score for the game is displayed in the LAST: entry at the bottom of the high score table. I will look at changing this in the final game.

Chris Edited by cd-w

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Played this some more. This is a great shooter! If it is released as a homebrew cart I would definitely be interested.

What's the story with the red ships? When you shoot them they drop a white energy pod or crystal that you need to pick up?

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[quote name='ls650' post='1515161' date='Wed May 7, 2008 6:06 AM']What's the story with the red ships? When you shoot them they drop a white energy pod or crystal that you need to pick up?[/quote]
The text file in the first post explains the gameplay.

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This is a really cool game!

Couple of things I thought of:
* Could you attach a points reward to shooting down multiple enemies with one shot? It might add a little more strategy to the game.
* I'd like a little indicator near the bottom of the screen to warn me where an enemy is behind me. Too often I am backing into them.

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