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Horse Racing (a demo)

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Hi everyone. Been about a year since I've been on here. Sorry for the long absence -- had a couple deaths in the family, and between that and kids and work, I've been pretty busy.

 

I do need to get back to manufacturing my Adam SD Drive sooner or later -- but in the mean time, I thought I'd give game programming a try. For my first effort, I decided on Horse Racing, since the picture of it always looked SOOO exciting to me when I was a kid. Attached is demo.

 

What works:

You can move two of the horses left/right/up/down with the controllers.

You can dodge in and out of the other horses (collision detection works).

 

What doesn't work (yet):

No real strategy to the game.

No score is kept.

No computer AI on other two horses (they just move about randomly).

 

I tried to be as accurate as possible to Coleco's picture (I blew up a copy of the picture, overlaid a grid on it, and then translated it to the screen). Some sacrifices had to be made due to the Colecovision's limitations. I did however add some other graphics (trees, people, cars, etc) to liven things up a bit more.

 

I've only ever tried this on an emulator, since I don't have the means to try it on the real hardware -- so there may be glitches with it that I'm not aware of.

 

Let me know what you think....

HorseRacingRev01.zip

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Really Really cool!! :D

Awesome actually!

 

I had made some works over this one, I'll happily give them to you if you want them!

I also made a box for Horse Racing wich look really close to those early box shown in the Press Kit

 

 

Keep up the great work!

 

 

+1

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Very nice indeed.

 

What type of control scheme do you envision would be used to actually race? I would have though the button mashing used in Track and Field would work well in horse racing - with the added challenge of up and down movement to not collide with the other horse racers.

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Hi everyone. Been about a year since I've been on here. Sorry for the long absence -- had a couple deaths in the family, and between that and kids and work, I've been pretty busy.

 

I do need to get back to manufacturing my Adam SD Drive sooner or later -- but in the mean time, I thought I'd give game programming a try. For my first effort, I decided on Horse Racing, since the picture of it always looked SOOO exciting to me when I was a kid. Attached is demo.

 

What works:

You can move two of the horses left/right/up/down with the controllers.

You can dodge in and out of the other horses (collision detection works).

 

What doesn't work (yet):

No real strategy to the game.

No score is kept.

No computer AI on other two horses (they just move about randomly).

 

I tried to be as accurate as possible to Coleco's picture (I blew up a copy of the picture, overlaid a grid on it, and then translated it to the screen). Some sacrifices had to be made due to the Colecovision's limitations. I did however add some other graphics (trees, people, cars, etc) to liven things up a bit more.

 

I've only ever tried this on an emulator, since I don't have the means to try it on the real hardware -- so there may be glitches with it that I'm not aware of.

 

Let me know what you think....

AWESOME Derek !!!! I LIKE it! Just played it and WON! :-)

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Very nice indeed.

 

What type of control scheme do you envision would be used to actually race? I would have though the button mashing used in Track and Field would work well in horse racing - with the added challenge of up and down movement to not collide with the other horse racers.

Not a bad idea, Andrew. :)

 

I know it would probably make the game slightly different than originally intended, but if it was up to me, I would associate a power bar to each horse, which would represent the current stamina level of the animal. There would be a second overlapping power bar which would represent the "jockey's demand" on the horse.

 

The system would work as follows: The stamina of the horse would fluctuate more or less randomly during the race, and the player would need to tap the fire button as rapidly as possible to boost the jockey demand power bar. The idea is to keep the stamina and demand bars lined up to get the best possible performance out of the horse. When the stamina bar becomes shorter than the demand bar, the player needs to tap the fire button a little less rapidly to give the horse a chance to regain some of its stamina.

 

Put too much demand on a horse with low stamina, and he will fall behind, and his stamina will have trouble coming back. Fail to put enough demand on a horse while its stamina is high, and not only will its stamina decrease, but the jockey will lose control over the animal, its trajectory will fluctuate (up or down) on the track and he may collide with the other horses (even though the player may do his best to control his horse with the joystick).

 

The pedigree of a horse would give a good (but not certain) indication of how much its stamina will tend to fluctuate during a race, and how rapidly it can regain stamina during the times it gets a little tired. A horse with a lower pedigree will burn a lot of energy in sheer emotion and his stamina bar will fluctuate more as a result. The higher the pedigree ranking, the more "experienced" the horse is, and the more stable his stamina bar can be expected to remain. However, even the best horse can have a rough time sometimes, so a horse may not finish first even with all the pedigree odds in his favor.

 

The money earned from winning races would allow you to trade your horse for a better one, but when you do this, the other horses in the next race will also receive a pedigree upgrade (just to keep things interesting).

 

With such a system, the game could theoretically be played with the Track & Field controller, but you'd need to rotate it 90 degrees, in order to tap the red button with one hand, and press the white buttons to control the horse up or down on the track.

 

CPU-controlled horses and jockeys would have their "personalities" set at the start of a race, and the personality of the jockey would determine how well it can manage to keep the demand bar lined up with his horse's stamina bar. A bad CPU jockey will have a harder time getting the best performance out of his horse, and will likely fall behind. CPU-controlled or not, there would always be a 1% chance that the horse could hurt one of his legs during the race, which would force the jockey to stop and leave the race track. A totally unfair event...

 

I think this control system could work quite well, with proper adjustments. What do you guys think? :)

Edited by Pixelboy

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Pixelboy...

 

I was thinking along the lines of the power bar as well. However, instead of fluctuating randomly, I was going to try implementing what's known as a "leaky bucket" scheme. Basically, stamina builds up (fills) the bucket at a constant rate, and stamina goes down (leaks out) depending on how hard you push your horse. Your horses speed depends on how full its bucket is. This will allow you to push your horse for a while, but eventually it will cost you. Of course, this is pie-in-the sky at this point. I'll see how it goes actually trying to implement it all....

 

P.S. What do you guys think of the scenery I added? I'm on the fence about it. I think it makes the game a lot more interesting, but then again does deviate from what the Coleco picture showed. I'm not sure how closely to adhere to the original Coleco drawing (of course, it's not like Coleco always followed the drawings either).

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Pixelboy...

 

I was thinking along the lines of the power bar as well. However, instead of fluctuating randomly, I was going to try implementing what's known as a "leaky bucket" scheme. Basically, stamina builds up (fills) the bucket at a constant rate, and stamina goes down (leaks out) depending on how hard you push your horse. Your horses speed depends on how full its bucket is. This will allow you to push your horse for a while, but eventually it will cost you.

By "random fluctuations", I was actually thinking of a leaky bucket system, but I couldn't put a proper name on the idea, like you did. :)

 

Of course, this is pie-in-the sky at this point. I'll see how it goes actually trying to implement it all....

Yeah, it could be a little difficult to implement in a satisfactory manner... But well worth it. :)

 

P.S. What do you guys think of the scenery I added? I'm on the fence about it. I think it makes the game a lot more interesting, but then again does deviate from what the Coleco picture showed. I'm not sure how closely to adhere to the original Coleco drawing (of course, it's not like Coleco always followed the drawings either).

Personally, I have no problem with the deviations in appearance. The scrolling is a little slow, however. Lots of room for optimizations. :D

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Very nice indeed.

 

What type of control scheme do you envision would be used to actually race? I would have though the button mashing used in Track and Field would work well in horse racing - with the added challenge of up and down movement to not collide with the other horse racers.

Not a bad idea, Andrew. :)

 

I know it would probably make the game slightly different than originally intended, but if it was up to me, I would associate a power bar to each horse, which would represent the current stamina level of the animal. There would be a second overlapping power bar which would represent the "jockey's demand" on the horse.

 

The system would work as follows: The stamina of the horse would fluctuate more or less randomly during the race, and the player would need to tap the fire button as rapidly as possible to boost the jockey demand power bar. The idea is to keep the stamina and demand bars lined up to get the best possible performance out of the horse. When the stamina bar becomes shorter than the demand bar, the player needs to tap the fire button a little less rapidly to give the horse a chance to regain some of its stamina.

 

Put too much demand on a horse with low stamina, and he will fall behind, and his stamina will have trouble coming back. Fail to put enough demand on a horse while its stamina is high, and not only will its stamina decrease, but the jockey will lose control over the animal, its trajectory will fluctuate (up or down) on the track and he may collide with the other horses (even though the player may do his best to control his horse with the joystick).

 

The pedigree of a horse would give a good (but not certain) indication of how much its stamina will tend to fluctuate during a race, and how rapidly it can regain stamina during the times it gets a little tired. A horse with a lower pedigree will burn a lot of energy in sheer emotion and his stamina bar will fluctuate more as a result. The higher the pedigree ranking, the more "experienced" the horse is, and the more stable his stamina bar can be expected to remain. However, even the best horse can have a rough time sometimes, so a horse may not finish first even with all the pedigree odds in his favor.

 

The money earned from winning races would allow you to trade your horse for a better one, but when you do this, the other horses in the next race will also receive a pedigree upgrade (just to keep things interesting).

 

With such a system, the game could theoretically be played with the Track & Field controller, but you'd need to rotate it 90 degrees, in order to tap the red button with one hand, and press the white buttons to control the horse up or down on the track.

 

CPU-controlled horses and jockeys would have their "personalities" set at the start of a race, and the personality of the jockey would determine how well it can manage to keep the demand bar lined up with his horse's stamina bar. A bad CPU jockey will have a harder time getting the best performance out of his horse, and will likely fall behind. CPU-controlled or not, there would always be a 1% chance that the horse could hurt one of his legs during the race, which would force the jockey to stop and leave the race track. A totally unfair event...

 

I think this control system could work quite well, with proper adjustments. What do you guys think? :)

 

 

You have some good ideas...but how about holding the left or right fire buttons in instead of mashing on them. I am not a fan of hitting a button 4 times a second even on an arcade cabinet. I don't think games like Centipede would have been nearly as popular if not for the fact that they allow one to just hold down on the fire button for continuous fire.

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Great work, Else! And Welcome back! :)

 

Sooooo.. sounds like some of you guys want this to be Excitebike on the Colecovision is what I'm reading. :)

Edited by Murph74

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You have some good ideas...but how about holding the left or right fire buttons in instead of mashing on them. I am not a fan of hitting a button 4 times a second even on an arcade cabinet. I don't think games like Centipede would have been nearly as popular if not for the fact that they allow one to just hold down on the fire button for continuous fire.

It's true that the stock Coleco controller doesn't lend itself well to button mashing. Do it long enough and you'll get cramps in your index finger. Perhaps just holding down the button to increase the demand bar (and letting go to let the bar decrease) would be good enough. That's up to else, anyhow. :)

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HE could always make it a Super Action game, where one button moves on leg, and you have to trot with your fingers. :) <-I'm kidding-- kind of!

 

Not that I'm seriously suggesting that right now, but I'd be interested in actually trying that control scheme and see if there's anything to it. If it's tried, I'd suggest going form the pinky, up. That seems to be a fairly natural motion. :)

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Very nice demo Else.

 

However...

 

This is one game that will seriously suffer from the 4 sprite per scan line without flicker weaknesses of the ColecoVision. To make this look nice I think you would need 2 colors for the horse and 3 for the jockey. Could characters be used for the other 3 horses and sprites for the players horse?

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Hi Else

 

Here's the wip I've done with Horse Racing

I do really wish you'll use it as this is how it was planned by Coleco

 

There were 2 different mockup of this game, so here's the other as well as my WIP works :)

post-11933-0-50619900-1306466531_thumb.png

post-11933-0-01194300-1306466540_thumb.png

post-11933-0-86738000-1306466548_thumb.png

post-11933-0-13410600-1306466559_thumb.png

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Wow, hadn't seen that version of Horse Racing before. Was that from a flyer? Ug, it figures Coleco would show two different versions. Hummmmmm, which one to use? Decisions, decisions!!!

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New version of the game attached.....

 

Improvements:

- Faster scrolling routine -- over 2x speed improvement!!!

- Computer-controlled horse AI code implemented.

- Stamina system implemented. You now get penalized if you whip your horse too much.

- Side button now controls when you whip your horse (you don't use right any more).

- Curves implemented. You now get penalized the farther you are to the outside when on a curve.

- Graphical improvements to the starting gates.

 

Still to do (these are all pretty minor, I think):

- Implement scoring system.

- Implement 2-player game play.

- Implement betting system.

 

Overall, I think the game plays pretty well at this point, so give it a try!

 

-Derek

HorseRacingRev02.zip

Edited by else

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Wow, hadn't seen that version of Horse Racing before. Was that from a flyer? Ug, it figures Coleco would show two different versions. Hummmmmm, which one to use? Decisions, decisions!!!

Those versions are from a flyer from the 1983 "press kit" that I believe was from the CES of that year.

 

Personally, I think that the 3D layout looks too ambitious with the character/sprite scaling that would be involved and don't think that it would work well on the CV. It also looks bland and unappealing and I would be concerned about trying to gauge how my horse is doing and its position when it becomes a small dot in the distance as it moves up the racetrack.

 

My preference is for the side-scrolling approach that you have taken.

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Wow, hadn't seen that version of Horse Racing before. Was that from a flyer? Ug, it figures Coleco would show two different versions. Hummmmmm, which one to use? Decisions, decisions!!!

 

There's not really 2 different version since both was to be in the same game :)

The screens I posted are the curves of the course

 

I think it would look more non-linear when using those "curves"

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Personally, I think that the 3D layout looks too ambitious with the character/sprite scaling that would be involved and don't think that it would work well on the CV. It also looks bland and unappealing and I would be concerned about trying to gauge how my horse is doing and its position when it becomes a small dot in the distance as it moves up the racetrack.

I could be wrong, but I think the camera is intended to follow the horses along the track in the curves. The guardrail on the inner side of the track could be animated, and the brown/black walls in the background could be animated in a similar manner, giving the illusion of forward movement.

 

That's just a guess on my part, of course. :)

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Personally, I think that the 3D layout looks too ambitious with the character/sprite scaling that would be involved and don't think that it would work well on the CV. It also looks bland and unappealing and I would be concerned about trying to gauge how my horse is doing and its position when it becomes a small dot in the distance as it moves up the racetrack.

I could be wrong, but I think the camera is intended to follow the horses along the track in the curves. The guardrail on the inner side of the track could be animated, and the brown/black walls in the background could be animated in a similar manner, giving the illusion of forward movement.

 

That's just a guess on my part, of course. :)

 

This's how I figured it too, I think using those "curves" would make the game to look more apealing and also non-linear

 

Don't get me wrong, Else's demo look wonderfull, but by adding those "curves" it will look like you are racing on a "ring" course instead of a "lineal" course

 

My two cents :)

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Personally, I think that the 3D layout looks too ambitious with the character/sprite scaling that would be involved and don't think that it would work well on the CV. It also looks bland and unappealing and I would be concerned about trying to gauge how my horse is doing and its position when it becomes a small dot in the distance as it moves up the racetrack.

I could be wrong, but I think the camera is intended to follow the horses along the track in the curves. The guardrail on the inner side of the track could be animated, and the brown/black walls in the background could be animated in a similar manner, giving the illusion of forward movement.

 

That's just a guess on my part, of course. :)

 

This's how I figured it too, I think using those "curves" would make the game to look more apealing and also non-linear

 

Don't get me wrong, Else's demo look wonderfull, but by adding those "curves" it will look like you are racing on a "ring" course instead of a "linear" course

 

My two cents :)

Indeed. By the way, was there only one "curve" screenshot in the press kit? I'm just wondering why you made two symetrical mockups.

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By the way, was there only one "curve" screenshot in the press kit? I'm just wondering why you made two symetrical mockups.

 

Yes, there was only one in the Press Kit, however I made the right side simply to show both side ;)

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