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jrok

Would we get flamed?

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I'm very new to this hobby, so I've spent a lot of time recently browsing old forum threads and trying to learn a little more about the dynamics of homebrew community, particularly when it comes to batari Basic programming.

 

When I first got the itch to start programming for the 2600, I started by reading alienbill's website and trying to get my feet wet in Assembly. It was a little daunting, so when I started reading up on the bB compiler's capabilities, it sounded like a lot of fun as well as a way to prototype and to gradually teach myself ASM by studying the output. Its also been really helpful to read the kernel memory maps and to examine and customize some of the batari kernels and mini-kernels. I doubt I'll be programming anything remotely fun or even functional in pure ASM anytime soon, but bB has been a great beginner's tool for me to at least grasp the fundamentals of the TIA.

 

That said, programming in bB has been really fun for me, and I've noticed a lot of bB games that folks here are developing that seem quite good. At the very least, it seems that many people are putting a good deal of thought and work into these games. And in general, everyone in the A2600 programming threads seems to be supportive of the notion bB could attract fresh blood to the community and the system.

 

But over the last couple of days I've come across a couple of threads that seem to sort of disparage or in some way stigmatize Atari games that are written in bBasic. They aren't nasty or anything, and I absolutely understand the reasoning behind these opinions, given that simple love for the console is very different from loving the challange of programming for the 6502. That said, I decided to get into this hobby to have fun and talk about Atari games, not to be made fun of for having a smaller brain and/or not knowing the rules... I have a wife for that :).

 

So when I saw AA's list of games in development, I was curious whether or not it would be considered presumptuous or "bad manners" or something for those of us working on bB games to post there, even if it was one we were very serious about completing. Despite the number of titles people are working on, the list seems quite small, and - at least, from the descriptions and screenshots - it doesn't appear that any of them are being composed in bB (although, I suppose its possible they might have been prototyped in it).

 

Does the community at large - programmers and collectors and fans - make a firm class distinction between ASM and bB games? Honestly, It's not that I have a fragile ego or anything, but I hate being "that guy" at the party who just doesn't "get it," and who everybody laughs at behind his back (like I said, already got a wife... :) )

 

Cheers,

Jarod.

Edited by jrok

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Yes, being a programmer myself, I make a clear distinction between Assembler and bB games. Because they are programmed very differently. For me bB is a way to get people into programming and then hope that at least some of them eventually will start coding in assembler.

 

As a player, on average(!) bB games tend to be less good than assembler games. Actually except for Deimos Lander I cannot remember any bB game now which I played a lot. With larger ROM sizes available, the bB games tend to become a lot better than 4k games. So the gap closes a bit then. But a lot (if not most, I lost track) of smaller bB games are not good enough to get my attention. I don't give negative comments then, because I do not want to disencourage aspireing programmers.

 

I am no collector, but I suppose I wouldn't make any difference there because even complete crap (NERDS), bB or not, is probably considered collectible.

 

BTW: Some finished games (Colony 7, Incoming etc.) need to be removed from the games in development list.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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As a player, on average(!) bB games tend to be less good than assembler games. Actually except for Deimos Lander I cannot remember any bB game now which I played a lot.

 

Well, sir, that almost sounds like a challenge! :)

 

Thanks for the frank answer! Although I'm still unclear if it's considered taboo to post a bB game to the In Development section.

 

Cheers,

Jarod Kitchen

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I embrace all Atari 2600 programming no matter what language someone codes in.

 

I suggested something like bB many many years ago. Early to mid 90's maybe is my earliest recollection of something like this. When I finally found the Stella list and said something there people said it couldn't be done. I still had hope.

 

You see, I wouldn't mind learning ASM. I just do not do well without a "classroom" type learning environment. We read from books, do assignments, and have interaction with one another.

 

The trouble for me with learning here is not that I don't have drive. I get frustrated when I don't understand something. I need instant answers and don't like to wait for a reply. I can't read a book for the life of me, unless I fully understand it.

 

I would gladly pay thousands of dollars if some college offered a class geared towards ASM/2600, but alas I doubt anyone ever will.

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Honestly, I don't make any distinctions. I haven't worked with bB yet, but from all the different prototypes and in-progress games, it just seems like a faster, yet less efficient way of programming. I mean, it's a decision, with both programming methods having advantages over the other and each with their shortcomings.

 

Look at the complexity of Dungeon. Hell, that's better than many games written in raw assembly (in my opinion :)).

 

I mean, is there a wrong or right way to create a good game?

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As a player, on average(!) bB games tend to be less good than assembler games. Actually except for Deimos Lander I cannot remember any bB game now which I played a lot.

 

Well, sir, that almost sounds like a challenge! :)

 

Thanks for the frank answer! Although I'm still unclear if it's considered taboo to post a bB game to the In Development section.

 

Cheers,

Jarod Kitchen

 

Maybe you want to start by posting your idea and/or progress in the "Homebrew Discussion" forum?

http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.php?showforum=29

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You know, you could always not reveal if the game was written in batari Basic. ;)

 

I think many wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

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You know, you could always not reveal if the game was written in batari Basic. ;)

 

I think many wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

It depends. Certain bB modes have pretty strong "telltales"... not many non-bB games have that playfield, or quite the same score, etc.

 

The big difference, of course, is the kernal... and the thing is with bB you don't even need to know what one is!

 

I wrote JoustPong in straight assembly, and by far and away the hardest part was the kernal... I developed a serviceable one, but then Paul Slocum hand coded something so startlingly clever, perfectly crafted for my game (realizing that if you pushed a player to the right side and doubled it, you could then reuse it for the left player, thus freeing a sprite). bB would've been nice for the game logic though... I don't know how many times I had to look up the basic math routines...

 

I could have made a passable version of JoustPong in bB, though I'm not sure it would've been quite as cart worthy. Mighta saved my marriage ... (probably not, that would be mixing up the cause and effect of my geekdom)

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You know, you could always not reveal if the game was written in batari Basic. ;)

 

I think many wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

It depends. Certain bB modes have pretty strong "telltales"... not many non-bB games have that playfield, or quite the same score, etc.

 

The big difference, of course, is the kernal... and the thing is with bB you don't even need to know what one is!

 

I wrote JoustPong in straight assembly, and by far and away the hardest part was the kernal... I developed a serviceable one, but then Paul Slocum hand coded something so startlingly clever, perfectly crafted for my game (realizing that if you pushed a player to the right side and doubled it, you could then reuse it for the left player, thus freeing a sprite). bB would've been nice for the game logic though... I don't know how many times I had to look up the basic math routines...

 

I could have made a passable version of JoustPong in bB, though I'm not sure it would've been quite as cart worthy. Mighta saved my marriage ... (probably not, that would be mixing up the cause and effect of my geekdom)

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I'm still unclear if it's considered taboo to post a bB game to the In Development section.

In my opinion, bB is a development tool, and it shouldn't matter whether a game is being coded in assembly, bB, 2600 C, 2600 Fortran, 2600 COBOL, or 2600 KitchenSink-- a game that's in development is a game in development, period. So it should be okay to post about a bB game in the In Development section. But then, I'm not a moderator, so my opinion isn't worth the computer screen it's printed on! :)

 

If you did post there, would you get flamed? Maybe-- but you could also get flamed posting in the bB section, or posting about movies in the movies section, or replying to someone's post about their job or their girlfriend or their pet hamster. Don't let fear of being flamed stop you from posting, or you'll end up never posting anything, and become a lurker. :)

 

Michael

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I just looked at the details of the forum in question.

 

Can a user even post anything to it? It looks to me like a list that a moderator or the site owner would have to add to, so any flaming should be minimized as a result of that process. Besides that, it says if you're a developer working on a game to "contact us" so there shouldn't be a concern about doing that.

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