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So why does grandma keeps flashing you and winking? Is she showing you that you have completely rid her from the saber tooth crotch crickets?

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The way they describe the game and the contest, it sort of sounds like "DeloreanQuest: StacksWorld" combined with viral advertising. ;)

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neat, very meta. does look very flinchy. is this a real 2600 game or a web only thing mimicking a 2600 game?

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Looks buggy to me, the ladders all look weird.

 

It's because they're made out of the missiles, so they take to color of their respective players. Just like the vines in Jungle Hunt.

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Looks buggy to me, the ladders all look weird.

 

It's because they're made out of the missiles, so they take to color of their respective players. Just like the vines in Jungle Hunt.

 

I figured, but it looks buggy and not very polished.

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I figured, but it looks buggy and not very polished.

 

That doesn't surprise me -- that it doesn't look Polish. All the Polish guys have moved on to the A8 computers now.

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The article claims a cart is in the works, with Atari Age's help. Um, is there a signup list yet? :-)

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I just managed to beat the game. IMO the difficulty is well suited to the challenge. But for a standalone cartridge, the game is too easy and lacks any variation, making the replay value very low.

 

So before turning this into a real game one should change:

- randomize distribution of the puzzle pieces, burgers and floppies (maybe by following a certain pattern to avoid too much randomness)

- randomize the enemy movements (currently they all follow one single pattern each, more patterns would sure help)

- add several stages (e.g. start with a smaller maze and increase after you beat the previous stage, add more speed and randomness at higher levels)

- currently you can only jump over things, maybe add flying objects you have to duck

- more and different enemies (discover them stage by stage, maybe mix them)

- maybe add a timer that runs down to force the player to hurry

- less extra lives (burgers)

- add some more sound

 

If the stages are created by (RT will love me :)) "controlled randomness", the quest could become huge.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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I figured, but it looks buggy and not very polished.

Only slightly. There is a scan line bug when a puzzle piece is found and some glitches (e.g. when entering the very left screens). Everything else results from the kernel design.

 

I suppose the game had to meet a tough deadline. And for that it is done pretty well.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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I'm guessing Albert is running a bit behind on the news, eh? :) The game looks interesting, although very repetitive. I might just have to check out the book, though.

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Ha! Oh no, someone posted about it! Yeah, we were trying to make it and ship games at our day job, so it was very little time. We were wary of anyone bringing it up on AtariAge, actually. Not until we managed to fix it up. We view the current version as the "contest version". We worked by priority until hours before launch. Thomas nailed the feature set that remains:

 

- randomize distribution of the puzzle pieces, burgers and floppies (maybe by following a certain pattern to avoid too much randomness.

** We planned on doing this but could not get to it. Weighing the bug testing versus time made us drop it. In reality, we were tagging rooms as "puzzle potential" and it would pick from like 20 of them. The idea was to be a little bit like Impossible Mission.

 

- randomize the enemy movements (currently they all follow one single pattern each, more patterns would sure help)

** Agreed. The interiors went in last, and the enemies did not get the variety they really needed. They also have display problems - Sprite corruption when you are on the right hand side of the enemies, timing issues when entering and exiting, and some other issues.

 

- add several stages (e.g. start with a smaller maze and increase after you beat the previous stage, add more speed and randomness at higher levels

** We originally had three stages, small , medium, large. The you could play front to back, or select the stage 1, 2, or 3. The only way to get the secret would be to complete and unveil the hidden message on level 3. An homage of sorts.

 

- currently you can only jump over things, maybe add flying objects you have to duck

** I have the ducking sprites and planned to include it, with Dragonfire-like enemies planned. We just didn't get to it.

 

- more and different enemies (discover them stage by stage, maybe mix them)

** I have a large variety of enemies planned, just didn't get to them. Some of them required specific timing, others were more reflex. They were all pretty abstract. I initially based them on Keystone Kapers.

 

- maybe add a timer that runs down to force the player to hurry

** Originally, I planned on the score being a timer. For the contest, the game was really hard. So we made it a score that serves no real purpose.

 

- less extra lives (burgers)

** Because of the challenge more casual playesr were encountering, we overused the burgers.

 

- add some more sound

** Like my day job, audio got neglected until it was almost too late. I was literally looking at a text file (Slocum's) on my iphone and telling Kevin to "just try this value" over his shoulder.

 

Other notes:

 

1. Fix all the timing issues... there are a lot.

2. Add black "holes" ala pitfall where the ladders are.

3. Fix display timing.. Those ladders were driving me crazy... I have a different plan for that that fell through, more to do with the platyfield than using missiles.

4. Add some musical stabs.

5. Require a certain score to unlock the master secret, OR go back to a timer.

6. The title screen was supposed to descend to the player on teh ground and you'd start outside of the stacks. Maybe return to that.

7. Optimize the code. It's so sloppy and hacked. I barely looked at the 6502 inst. set, I just tried to code it by memory... not smart. I misued insyructions, did things the long way, and forgot all the old tricks. It's code bloat of the worst kind.

 

Anyhow, glad some people thought it was amusing.. It needs a lot of work. It was really fun to make, and I'm happy with the results in the short time we had. I could not have done it without Thomas' code samples, the programming forums here (Humbling), and Slocum's info.

 

We couldn't talk about it, obviously, because it was related to a contest. So I couldn't actually engage folks here, which would have been the ideal way to make the game.

 

Best,

Mike

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... also, we were using an iPhone and the CuttleCart to check it on hardware, on a TV that made everything seem sort of fine. Only later after the first carts came in did we notice more issues.

 

We joked about it, maybe to comfort ourselves.. "We're basically like a DataAge game, not as good as Activision or Imagic, but definitely not a Mythicon game!" Tears....

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Ha! Oh no, someone posted about it! Yeah, we were trying to make it and ship games at our day job, so it was very little time. We were wary of anyone bringing it up on AtariAge, actually. Not until we managed to fix it up. We view the current version as the "contest version". We worked by priority until hours before launch. Thomas nailed the feature set that remains:

(quotation cut short)

Best,

Mike

 

So does this mean we can hope that the "release version" will be pumped up with all the great improvements you have planned ?

What's there looks very promising and is already quite entertaining, it would be most desirable to see this clever game raised to its full potential - e.g. another exciting and addicting homebrew based on an all original concept.

This game could become another modern classic for the 2600, just as Toyshop Trouble, Lead, and hopefully one day Man goes down (to name a few).

Edited by r_type2600

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We couldn't talk about it, obviously, because it was related to a contest. So I couldn't actually engage folks here, which would have been the ideal way to make the game.

 

For future reference, you could have approached a few for testing/feedback/programming pointers. We do that for the holiday carts and some other projects.

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Definitely. At the end of the day, we needed to service the contest and that worked out well.

 

Now we need to find the right time to make it a real game. I'm torn because both Kevin and I loved the experience, but would probably prefer making a new game from scratch. But since we are so close, it's tough to move on - people genuinely want it to evolve. Ugh.

 

And then there is the pesky day job which turns into all consuming work. Which, BTW, we play Medieval Mayhem at the office at least three times a week. ;)

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I definitely hope you find the time.

 

Another idea:

- the rooms could be randomly connected to other entrances (a shortcut, like the underground passages in Pitfall!)

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I love that idea. We discovered that some trailers without doors could be entered. A simple human error. It Would be cool to add hidden teleporters in those trailers. :)

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Please let me know if there are carts of this to buy somewhere at some point :) 2600 contest cart! Sweet! Like Atlantis 2 or that nes cart...

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