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Galaga For Atari 2600

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14 hours ago, AW127 said:

Wouuuu i am dreaming, cause i really like such kind of puzzlers alot!

Check out my own 'Qb' if you haven't already. It's an action/puzzler of sorts. Very old now, approaching 20 years ago! but still fun for me, anyway.

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59 minutes ago, Andrew Davie said:

Check out my own 'Qb' if you haven't already. It's an action/puzzler of sorts. Very old now, approaching 20 years ago! but still fun for me, anyway.

I second that notion.  2600 Qb is a lot of fun and very much feels like an authentic 2600 style game. 

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I definitely think that there is plenty of room in our community for both types of games. Making original hardware games is one skillset, and making ARM-assisted games in another. There are plenty of people who appreciate both. 

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1 hour ago, Karl G said:

There are plenty of people who appreciate both. 

That's true.  But there is a growing subset who doesn't.  Back in the day, if you made bB games you were told a lot of the time "bB games suck!  You should make asm games".  I have a feeling it won't be long until we start seeing "Vanilla asm/bB games suck!  You should be using DPC+", etc.  I've already had one or two comment shot my way that if I ever do a Dungeon 3, it needs to be DPC+, 64k, etc.  Not knocking anybody else or their games.  They're great.  But the scene is changing.

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1 hour ago, Karl G said:

I definitely think that there is plenty of room in our community for both types of games. Making original hardware games is one skillset, and making ARM-assisted games in another. There are plenty of people who appreciate both. 

Thanks for saying this.  I can assure everyone that Champ Games is not making ARM based games to belittle or take away anything from the games that don't use the ARM and it saddens me to hear that there are developers as talented as Andrew that feel that it's not worth pursuing their own projects for fear of their work being compared or judged.  Andrew, you certainly have all my respect and it is pioneers like you, TJ, Dennis Debro, etc. that inspired me to get into 2600 games in the first place, and IMO Boulder Dash is an absolute masterpiece. :) 

 

I have been developing games for the 2600 for 13 years, starting with a 4K conversion of Lunar Lander, moving up to 16K for Lady Bug and Conquest of Mars.  I then burnt myself out by working on 4 games simultaneously (Avalanche, Wizard of Wor, Rip Off and Moon Cresta) and stopped developing for 8 years.  When I rejoined the scene back in 2015 and was introduced to DPC+ by Darrell, that inspired me to get back into game development because for me it was *fun* again!   Making a game like Scramble was very satisfying and challenging, and for me the ARM just set the bar higher as to what my expectations were and opened up a whole new door to an opportunity to be creative.  As much as the ARM may assist development (mostly because I can write game logic in C at the cost of using more ROM typically), the true challenge is still the 6502 kernels and bridging the two vastly different architectures to make a game that is fun and within the confines of the TIA (2 sprites, 2 missiles, the ball, and the low res playfield).  I also program with the ARM because, frankly, I'm getting old and the development is much more quicker.  I personally don't have the time or patience to work on a game for years and I take my hat off to those who can stick to a project that long (my limit is about 6 months ;)).  

 

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts, and back to what Karl G said; I think there is plenty of room for both types of games to exist.  Right now I think I'm the only one making ARM games as Darrell is on hiatus and most of the games coming out this year look amazing (my personal favorite is Aardvark).  Personally, I wish people would stop using the word 'cheat' to describe what we do as it does carry a negative connotation.  I am very transparent with everyone who asks "what's the magic" behind my games so I think we should leave it up to the players to decide whether or not they want to enjoy them for what they are.  :)

 

Thanks,

John

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, s0c7 said:

That's true.  But there is a growing subset who doesn't.  Back in the day, if you made bB games you were told a lot of the time "bB games suck!  You should make asm games".  I have a feeling it won't be long until we start seeing "Vanilla asm/bB games suck!  You should be using DPC+", etc.  I've already had one or two comment shot my way that if I ever do a Dungeon 3, it needs to be DPC+, 64k, etc.  Not knocking anybody else or their games.  They're great.  But the scene is changing.

Wow - this is really sad to hear.  :(   I love both Dungeon games and I hope you make a 3rd, and it should be done the way *you* want to make it, be it with bB, assembly, DPC+, BUS stuffing, or whatever makes you happy making it.  :)  If it's a good game people will appreciate it; there's always going to be one or two people that get under your skin but in my experience they are the vocal minority.  For every "you're cheating using the ARM" post I read, there are many more "thanks for making a fun game" posts to keep me inspired.  I'm sure it's the same for you with the Dungeon games! :D

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, johnnywc said:

Right now I think I'm the only one making ARM games as Darrell is on hiatus and most of the games coming out this year look amazing (my personal favorite is Aardvark).

 

@DEBRO is interested in it.  I'm planning to work up a CDFJ starter project for him in the next few weeks (after RL constraints settle down).
 

 

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13 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

I guess what concerns me the most is that I realised quite a few years ago that anything I wrote would have a very hard time "competing" with the ARM-based games with which it would inevitably be compared.

 

I don't find it's the case that the extra processor power of the ARM chip defines the success or popularity of a homebrew VCS game. Take for example a recent game 'Ninjish Guy in Low Res World' that's an F4 32K game. It's an incredible platformer that blew me away when we played it on the show recently (see video below). It has incredible level design, controls, graphics and sounds all without the use of an extra processor.

 

Gameplay has always been #1 and always will be, from all the way back to when games were just chunky blocks on the screen until now where modern PC gaming has photo realistic high frame rate graphics. No matter how good the graphics are, if the gameplay is terrible, people won't play it. There are plenty of 'retro' looking games coming out on modern systems with amazing gameplay and low res graphics finding great success.

 

Two of my favourite 2600 homebrew games are 'Wall Jump Ninja' and 'Ameoba Jump' both of which are only 4K games but have such an unbelievable control mechanism I can't help but come back to them over and over and over again!

 

Please don't give up making games! I don't see our community as a competition as there are plenty of room for all levels of games!! 😀

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

I look at Galaga and pretty much think "alas, I can't do anything that good" and that's disappointing.

 

In my day job I'm a filmmaker, and while I fully know that I will probably never make a film as good as Stanley Kubrick it doesn't dissuade me from making my own films. Each person has a unique voice and their own perspective on the world, and that translates both into film making and game making. Not everybody has the time or the programming knowledge to create some of these ARM processor games that have come out in the past few years but that shouldn't be a deterrent to anyone interested in leaving their mark on the community.

 

I have a dozen or so 2600 games that I want to make in the future. I think they'll be fun games that I want to play and hope others will too. They are games with approaches to gameplay that I've never seen made for the system. They probably won't be flashy with incredible sound and graphics but they will hopefully be fun and unique.

 

I never looked at Galaga as the be all end all when it came out. Yes, I was in awe of what could be done with this humble, unassuming system that's over 40 years old but I found it inspiring and made me want to create games EVEN MORE! That's the same feeling when I come out of a theatre after watching an amazing film, it makes me want to immediately start on a new film project.

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If it's a fun game, it's all good.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

 

Maybe so. But consider the screen draw/scroll system in Boulder Dash. That took several years to get working and perfect. Literally. I could almost have it written in an afternoon, certainly well inside a couple of days, with an ARM speedy microprocessor to do the work. The ARM changes the whole architecture of a game, not just the timing. I look at Galaga and pretty much think "alas, I can't do anything that good" and that's disappointing.

Yeah, I hear you, and understand completely why you're discouraged.  I think that it's because the average gamer doesn't understand the distinction and doesn't care, but how many people outside of these forums really buy and play homebrews for antiquated systems?  Isn't a rarified (and hopefully better informed) user base anyway?

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12 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

Check out my own 'Qb' if you haven't already. It's an action/puzzler of sorts. Very old now, approaching 20 years ago! but still fun for me, anyway.

 

I will have a look at that game, cause i have not played it until now. Good tip. Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

Never thought about these different styles of programming and their impact on how a game is received. My favorite game is Astronomer and that is a pretty simple looking game. 

 

Speaking of Qb, I would love to see more puzzle games. They're my favorite genre.

 

I hope Andrew Davie makes more games soon. I feel we have gone a long while without one!

Edited by hizzy
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9 hours ago, johnnywc said:

Andrew, you certainly have all my respect and it is pioneers like you, TJ, Dennis Debro, etc. that inspired me to get into 2600 games in the first place, and IMO Boulder Dash is an absolute masterpiece. :) 

...

Personally, I wish people would stop using the word 'cheat' to describe what we do as it does carry a negative connotation.  I am very transparent with everyone who asks "what's the magic" behind my games so I think we should leave it up to the players to decide whether or not they want to enjoy them for what they are.  :)

 

Thanks for that, very kind.

I also think the use of the word 'cheat' is inappropriate. I hope I haven't ever used it - don't think so! For each programmer, there's are different 'boundaries'. Those might be stock 4K cart, or allowing extra RAM, or Bb, or adding a coprocessor. None of these are cheating, or wrong. My boundary has been "allowing extra RAM", but I must admit I am interested in how well Boulder Dash would run given a coprocessor.  For example, there are parts of the game system that takes multiple frames to execute that could very well be done in sub-frame speed by a coprocessor. It would run much more smoothly, I think.

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Fantastic achievement with Galaga, but I'd expect no less from you John. :)

 

Just a quick comment regarding the side-topic...

21 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

It's a valid point. I guess what concerns me the most is that I realised quite a few years ago that anything I wrote would have a very hard time "competing" with the ARM-based games with which it would inevitably be compared. And that took some of the satisfaction out of pushing the machine to the absolute limit without coprocessor assist. I have little/no interest in developing for the ARM, but I still have interest in developing for the base hardware (+extra RAM). However, the reward for doing this (satisfaction/kudos) is being minimised especially when you compare the development effort required between the two systems.

...there are other systems where ARM co-processing doesn't exist, and even theoretically doesn't offer the same devastating graphic advantage as on the 2600. Console limits are still being pushed elsewhere, with only coding techniques. If you want to once-around-the-block again, you might consider one of these platforms. I'm pretty sure the 7800, CV, Intv, or Vectrex communities would be thrilled to have a veteran coder like you in the fold.

 

Anyway, just a thought.

 

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11 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

 

Thanks for that, very kind.

You're welcome - it's much deserved!  :)

11 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:


I also think the use of the word 'cheat' is inappropriate. I hope I haven't ever used it - don't think so!

No - you have not and apologies if I implied that you did!  I'm probably a bit oversensitive when I read some of the comments that suggest that we're somehow tainting or negatively altering the landscape of the homebrew community with our games.  'Champ Games' development is just me spending my free time doing something I love to do and hoping to bring some games people like to play to my favorite game system so I tend to take those comments probably a bit more personal than I should. ;)

11 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

 

For each programmer, there's are different 'boundaries'. Those might be stock 4K cart, or allowing extra RAM, or Bb, or adding a coprocessor. None of these are cheating, or wrong.

Agreed.  My 'boundary' has evolved over time, but I will admit that it was quite a challenge and a lot of fun re-visiting and finishing Avalanche earlier this year (a 4K game) with a ton of help from TJ.  Again, it's all about what inspires us as developers at a particular time since this is a part-time 'for the love of it' hobby.  

11 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

My boundary has been "allowing extra RAM", but I must admit I am interested in how well Boulder Dash would run given a coprocessor.  For example, there are parts of the game system that takes multiple frames to execute that could very well be done in sub-frame speed by a coprocessor. It would run much more smoothly, I think.

That would be interesting to see!  Certainly one of the big advantages of the ARM with Galaga is that I can run all of the movement and collision code every frame so the game is very smooth and controls are tight.  Of course there are a bunch of extras that I can do also, like the overlaid text during game play, the scrolling stars, etc. that would most likely require multiple frames to execute if not for the ARM.  

 

Good luck and I hope you decide to someday return to Atari 2600 development!   If you do decide to go down the 'dark path of the ARM' ;), I would be more than happy to teach you the ways of the force! :D  Darrell has some great tutorials as well!

 

Thanks,

John

 

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2 minutes ago, johnnywc said:

Good luck and I hope you decide to someday return to Atari 2600 development!   If you do decide to go down the 'dark path of the ARM' ;), I would be more than happy to teach you the ways of the force! :D  Darrell has some great tutorials as well!

I'll just throw you the Boulder Dash source code and let you convert it ;)

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6 hours ago, Andrew Davie said:

I'll just throw you the Boulder Dash source code and let you convert it ;)

How do others get this privilege 😉

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On 6/21/2019 at 1:12 PM, Andrew Davie said:

Check out my own 'Qb' if you haven't already. It's an action/puzzler of sorts. Very old now, approaching 20 years ago! but still fun for me, anyway.

 

I had a look now. Indeed a good puzzler and also with a sweet and friendly looking sprite-character. Will go on playing this game in next weeks. 8)  The Atari-800 version of this game i also saw on youtube, looks great with it's 3D view. Also this version i will give a try.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/21/2019 at 10:07 AM, s0c7 said:

That's true.  But there is a growing subset who doesn't.  Back in the day, if you made bB games you were told a lot of the time "bB games suck!  You should make asm games".  I have a feeling it won't be long until we start seeing "Vanilla asm/bB games suck!  You should be using DPC+", etc.  I've already had one or two comment shot my way that if I ever do a Dungeon 3, it needs to be DPC+, 64k, etc.  Not knocking anybody else or their games.  They're great.  But the scene is changing.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with creating (or not creating) games that take advantage of secondary expansion chips on the cartridge to enhance the experience.  NES games did it (especially for sound), SNES games did it, and even a few commercial Atari games from the back in the day used expansion chips.  If you feel it's needed for the type of game you're making, then do it.  People who piss and moan about using or not using expansion chips are just elitists/purists fishing for something to bitch about...

Edited by Fragmare

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I got to stage 9 and it wrapped back to 1. LOL! 🕹️💢

 

This game is awesome! Also novice starts with double ship? Does the arcade do this?

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7 hours ago, Fragmare said:

People who piss and moan about using or not using expansion chips are just elitists/purists fishing for something to bitch about...

People who insult people who have a different opinion win an entry in my ignore list. Congratulations!

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

People who insult people who have a different opinion win an entry in my ignore list. Congratulations!

That wasn't an insult, it was a general statement not directed at anyone in particular.  But i guess that shoe fit, so you decided to put that thing right on, didn't you?   😆

 

Buh-bye!

tenor.gif?itemid=8507589

Edited by Fragmare
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Fragmare said:

 😆

 

Buh-bye!

tenor.gif?itemid=8507589

 

"People who insult people who have a different opinion win an entry in my ignore list. Congratulations!"

 

Alita Jean approves. 🤣👍

Edited by Kosmic Stardust
Botched up quote tags 🤣

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13 hours ago, Kosmic Stardust said:

I got to stage 9 and it wrapped back to 1. LOL! 🕹️💢

 

Great job!  Yup, the demo only has the first 8 levels; the full version will have 99. :D

13 hours ago, Kosmic Stardust said:

This game is awesome! Also novice starts with double ship? Does the arcade do this?

Thanks!  Yes, Novice starts with double ships.  The arcade did not do this; STANDARD or ADVANCED are meant to be more like the arcade.  The NOVICE mode is more for beginners. ;)

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