Jump to content
seanhq

Galaga For Atari 2600

Recommended Posts

So I'm wondering if Galaga was ever officially ported to the Atari 2600? I know Galaxian was and is pretty much the base code for Galaga, but I was thinking tonight it would be awesome to play Galaga on the Atari 2600.

 

If it wasn't officially ported to the 2600, is there a homebrew or Galaxian hack/modification for Galaga out there? If so, I want to get it and if not, I'm thinking this would be an awesome game to get coded up.

 

I did a search around the forum and didn't come up with anything. If my question has been answered before, please direct me to that thread. Thanks.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I know, there is no Galaga for the 2600. Although, there is one for the 7800.

It would be pretty awesome to have a 2600 version. Only if I knew how to program Atari 2600 games... I would make Galaxian into Galaga in a heart beat.

 

Speaking of Galaxian, Galaxian Arcade is really awesome. Jess Ragan did a fine job of modifying the original. Now that would be the version to convert into Galaga :)

 

I do have the 7800 version, it's ok, but I do prefer the NES version. Seems to be pretty close to arcade perfect.

Edited by seanhq
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does appear on the CX master list (CX26116). It was never finished, the programmer told me that he only did preliminary work on it (only a few test screens).

When you spoke to the programmer, did he still have his preliminary work/code laying around? Just imagine taking the code from the original programmer and combining it with Jess Ragan's Galaxian Arcade code... Galaga would live on the 2600 :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Galaga - what a disappointing release on the 7800...timing is totally wrong on this...I can deal with the less than arcade perfect graphics but the timing is horrendous...

 

I can't help but think Galaga on the 2600 would be disastrous. I maintain that Galaga is one of those titles that you "gotta do it right" if you're going to port it cuz it's going to be picked apart if it isn't.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't help but think Galaga on the 2600 would be disastrous. I maintain that Galaga is one of those titles that you "gotta do it right" if you're going to port it cuz it's going to be picked apart if it isn't.

I agree with you 100% that Galaga needs to be done right. The NES port is pretty nice.

 

Have you seen Galaxian Arcade for the 2600? If not, when the AtariAge store is back up, you should pick up a copy. It's been really fixed up graphics and sound wise. It would be a great starting point for a Galaga port and with the ability to add more memory into cartridges now with homebrew stuff, a Galaga for the 2600 could look pretty good IMHO.

Edited by seanhq

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it'll be flickerific!

Hehe... you really think so? Galaxian Arcade has very minimal flicker.

 

As I said in my previous comment above, with the ability to add more memory into cartridges now as seen with homebrew stuff and with programmers having a way better understanding of how the 2600 works, I would think that a Galaga for the 2600 could look pretty good, especially after looking at Galaxian Arcade.

 

I'm now temped to read up on how to program Atari 2600 games. I've done all sorts of other programming in the past, and being a fast learner, maybe I can get something going on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The closest Galaga you will get is the 7800 version.

 

it would have the same music, because 2600 = 7800 thing

 

But all the other things you can forget about because it would go down the tube.

 

Worser slowdown, alot of flicker, and alot less graphic wise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own Galaxian Arcade and I highly recommend it. It's way better than the 5200 port of Galaxian.

 

I would applaud someone that could pull off Galaga for the 2600 but then I ask why would you want to? You could spend the same or maybe even less effort programming for more machine like a 5200 which will yield a better result.

 

How is a 2600 going to produce a swarm of bees dive bombing into formation? I can't see it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own Galaxian Arcade and I highly recommend it. It's way better than the 5200 port of Galaxian.

 

I would applaud someone that could pull off Galaga for the 2600 but then I ask why would you want to? You could spend the same or maybe even less effort programming for more machine like a 5200 which will yield a better result.

 

How is a 2600 going to produce a swarm of bees dive bombing into formation? I can't see it.

Indeed Galaxian Arcade is really nice and I also highly recommend it.

 

As for why I'd want a 2600 version of it is because, well I own an Atari 2600 and not a 5200, plus with Galaxian Arcade already pretty close to Galaga, I would think it wouldn't be too much more work to convert it.

 

Now for the swarm of bees dive boming into formation, Galaxian Arcade does something similar already.

Edited by seanhq

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it'll be flickerific!

Hehe... you really think so? Galaxian Arcade has very minimal flicker.

Yep - the entry patterns, bonus rounds, etc. In the arcade the aliens in formation get closer together, then farther apart which would be hard to do on the 2600. I guess moving them in lock-step like Space Invaders or Galaxian would be an option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always wondered why there are so few home ports of Galaga anyway... Galaxian seems to have been ported to almost every console and home computer, while Galaga has very few official ports, like on the 7800. On the C64 there's only an unofficial port/clone, most systems don't seem to have it at all.

Edited by Herbarius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Now for the swarm of bees dive boming into formation, Galaxian Arcade does something similar already.

 

In Galaxian, the aliens are already in formation at the beginning of each stage. In Galaga, rows of aliens dive bomb from the top and bottom of the screen before entering formation.

 

I just see that alone as a blocky ol' flickering mess...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Now for the swarm of bees dive boming into formation, Galaxian Arcade does something similar already.

 

In Galaxian, the aliens are already in formation at the beginning of each stage. In Galaga, rows of aliens dive bomb from the top and bottom of the screen before entering formation.

 

I just see that alone as a blocky ol' flickering mess...

Yeah, I was not totally awake when I posted that comment. I still think it would be neat to try.

 

Not being an Atari 2600 game programmer I don't know the limitations, but is it lack of memory on the cartridge why this would be a hard port to do? Most original 2600 games are 4KB, Galaxian Arcade is 8KB and Stella's Stocking is 64KB (largest game so far).

 

Looking at the NES Galaga ROM, it's approximately 40 KB, so looking at some other Atari homebrew/hack games, memory on a cartridge shouldn't be an issue and with people in the homebrew scene being able to do things never heard of back in the late 1970's and 1980's with 2600 games abd the 2600 hardware, my brain tells me it could happen, but again I'm not a Atari 2600 game programmer, just someone who really likes the game Galaga.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Not being an Atari 2600 game programmer I don't know the limitations, but is it lack of memory on the cartridge why this would be a hard port to do? Most original 2600 games are 4KB, Galaxian Arcade is 8KB and Stella's Stocking is 64KB (largest game so far).

 

Looking at the NES Galaga ROM, it's approximately 40 KB, so looking at some other Atari homebrew/hack games, memory on a cartridge shouldn't be an issue and with people in the homebrew scene being able to do things never heard of back in the late 1970's and 1980's with 2600 games abd the 2600 hardware, my brain tells me it could happen, but again I'm not a Atari 2600 game programmer, just someone who really likes the game Galaga.

 

I'm not a programmer either - Spiceware would be able to provide the best insight.

 

But, I suspect that the limitation may be the TIA which may be why all the cracks about flicker given that Galaga has much simultaneous sprite movement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since an early comment above confirms Galaga is on the CX master list (CX 26116), someone "back in the day" thought it was conceivable, and since the original programmer did some preliminary work on it (only a few test screens) and with modern cartridge board/memory technology and people knowing how to really push the limits of the 2600 in the homebrew scene I would think it possible to be done today.

 

Something else comes to mind, doesn't the Atari 2600 have similar capabilities on the graphics front as the NES? The NES port which is 40KB looks pretty darn good. I own Galaga for the 7800 and it's all squished looking but the sound is ok, which from what I've read the 7800 uses the 2600 sound board, so again here I am hoping :)

 

Maybe a "Galaga type" of game could be done?! Not a direct port but something close?

 

Anyway, maybe I'm just in dreamland with this idea, but if it could be done, it would be pretty awesome and I'm sure many people would want it.

Edited by seanhq

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not being an Atari 2600 game programmer I don't know the limitations, but is it lack of memory on the cartridge why this would be a hard port to do? Most original 2600 games are 4KB, Galaxian Arcade is 8KB and Stella's Stocking is 64KB (largest game so far).

 

I think it's not just the lack of RAM or ROM that we are talking about here, but also the timing and hardware object limitations for drawing that many independent, multitasked sprites on a line. I mean, if you don't care at all about accuracy, I suppose you could just change all the Galaxian graphics to bees :) But Galaga has a lot more going on "horizontally", particularly when the enemies are entering formation and during the Challenge Stages. Not saying it's impossible, but it's certainly not just a "hack" of Galaxian. I imagine it would be rather difficult game to accurately port to the 2600.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always liked Galaga in the arcade, but got precious little time to play it. I would love to see it on the VCS. Like most conversions to the VCS, there will likely be many compromises.

 

...

Something else comes to mind, doesn't the Atari 2600 have similar capabilities on the graphics front as the NES? The NES port which is 40KB looks pretty darn good. I own Galaga for the 7800 and it's all squished looking but the sound is ok, which from what I've read the 7800 uses the 2600 sound board, so again here I am hoping :)

 

Maybe a "Galaga type" of game could be done?! Not a direct port but something close?

...

I think it's not just the lack of RAM or ROM that we are talking about here, but also the timing and hardware object limitations for drawing that many independent, multitasked sprites on a line... ...Galaga has a lot more going on "horizontally", particularly when the enemies are entering formation and during the Challenge Stages. Not saying it's impossible, but it's certainly not just a "hack" of Galaxian. I imagine it would be rather difficult game to accurately port to the 2600.

 

I think jrok is on the right track here. I've done a lot of reading about the hardware capabilities of the 2600 (stroking my fantasy of programming my own game), and from what I understand the NES and 2600 are miles apart as far as facilities. To be more accurate, the NES is miles above the 2600. The NES gives programmers multiple multi-colored sprites which can be on-screen simultaneously. Not to mention bit-mapped backgrounds and playfields which, IIRC, can easily be slid around the screen with mere tweaks of a control byte or two.

 

The Atari 2600, OTOH, only has two single-color, bit-defined sprites. There are two missiles and a ball sprite, which can be lines or dots but aren't bit-defined. Programmers can change the sprite's color on subsequent scan lines, but that's it. One can "re-use" the same sprites on different parts of the screen to give the effect of multiple sprites, as long as they don't occupy the same horizontal scan line. If you want multiple, adjacent sprites on the same line, say hello to my little friend flicker. [scarface stars in a horse movie :D]

 

The challenge levels might actually look better than the regular levels. IIRC, there are only two single-file line formations of aliens moving on the screen, albeit moving in complex patterns, on the challenge levels. Two sprites, replicated down the screen to give the illusion of a flowing single-file formation, might not require flicker. Now add Space Invader-like block formations AND one or two sprites breaking away to twirl around the screen: Sounds like a trip to flickerville is inevitable.

 

Speaking of twirling sprites, they're going to have to be all one color, at least while they're moving. A programmer can make a sprite look like it's multicolored by changing colors between scan lines, as long as the object never changes its orientation. A sprite that twirls around but whose "striped" color scheme stays horizontal is going to look really odd.

 

There's one thing that our as-yet unnamed, valiant Galaga programmer won't be able to borrow from Galaxian: The object that occasionally breaks formation, comes down to about mid-screen, and stops - then shines its "beam" down so you can get "caught," which costs you a ship but you can subsequently shoot it and you get a double-ship along with its double-fire capability.

 

Mmmm, Galaga...

 

I would be interested to see some of the hot-shot VCS programmers here weigh-in on the possibilities and the limitations, as well as correct me on any errors in my assertions about the VCS's werx.

 

-tet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a good question.

 

Clearly the VCS needs a Galaga type of game. With ship capture and challenging stages essential.

 

Games like Phoenix and Galaxian on the VCS hint at the possibility of a Galaga type game being technically feasible. The challenging stages would be straightforward to implement without using too much memory. No AI involved, the offenders stick to a predetermined route.

 

Setting up the offender flock for main screen gameplay would use predetermined routes as well. You would need logic for up to 4 offenders coming down from the flock to attack and logic to determine when to drop a capture offender. If a programmer could get around the difficulties of flickering and producing some cool sound FX the logic of the game itself would not be all that complicated.

 

The original Galaga allowed two defender projectiles to be in the air at once (four if you had two bases.) I think that is another thing that is essential, it makes the game much more lively and fun.

 

The 6507 can address up to 8K. That allows for quite a bit of machine language code actually. It might be doable.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not have the pre-formation dive bombs a seperate stage and how ever many aliens you miss, that's how many line up on the next screen in formation. Almost like the challenge stages but not for bonus points.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as flickery and blockiness, take a look at Parker Bros' rendition of Gyruss on VCS. Galaga can be done similarly and still be fun to play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm no programmer, but I am a big fan of both Galaga and Gyruss. I have home versions of both. I've logged my share of hours with the 7800 Galaga and, so long as I max the difficulty, I have zero complaints about it. I don't play my 2600 Gyruss as much, but I've enjoyed it from time to time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...