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SpiceWare

Draconian (2600)

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outline each with a box.

I forgot - the radar was originally in a box:

post-3056-0-13460300-1413993294_thumb.png

 

After seeing that, Nathan sent back these four mockups:

post-3056-0-30010900-1413993417_thumb.gif

 

post-3056-0-07708800-1413993431_thumb.gif

 

post-3056-0-42969100-1413993434_thumb.gif

 

 

This one's animated, click to view:

post-3056-0-56238700-1413993440_thumb.gif

 

 

which is how the radar display ended up looking as it does today.

Edited by SpiceWare
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Silly question regarding the radar display. Is there a useful benefit or strategy that comes from knowing the shape of the formation? Or is it just an attempt to remain true to the original? It seems to me the radar is really there to give a general idea of what's approaching and where to find the action. And given the playfield really has no borders, I can see it as an essential addition. The flashing red line is a nice touch too. But knowing the ship formation ahead of time doesn't seem to do me any good. Unless I'm missing something?

Edited by DaveD

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Is there a useful benefit or strategy that comes from knowing the shape of the formation?

 

Nathan can answer this better than I, as I'm not that familiar with the game. I spotted his blog entry and thought it looked like an interesting challenge.

 

In the mean time, the Bosconian entry over at Strategy Wiki has this to say:

Enemy formations will remain in hot pursuit of you until they either collide with you, or the leader of the formation is destroyed. Don't be a hot shot and try to destroy the rest of the formation before the leader if that would result in the leader killing you. Once the leader is destroyed, the formation breaks off from the chase, but they may still be a threat to you depending on how they separate.

 

...

 

You can see what arrangement the formation is in so you can better prepare a retaliatory strategy, and the leader's position will be visible on the radar as a red square.

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To be honest, I rarely even notice the formation indicator when I'm playing in MAME. Maybe if I did, I'd be a better player. ;)

 

It's not critical to have it, but I think it makes a nice addition. It makes the port that much more feature-complete. Radar, on the other hand, is absolutely essential.

 

I'm incredibly impressed how much Darrell has been able to do with this so far. It's still a long ways from being complete, but it's already far exceeded my wildest expectations.

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According to that wiki entry they can break formation. In that case would the indicator disappear? I plan on firing up MAME in the next couple days to play some Blasteroids for the high score challenge. I'll play a few games of Bosconian as well and see if I can figure out exactly what the radar is doing. Just out of curiosity.

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I think the enemy radar dot and the formation display are both tied to the lead ship of the formation. When it's destroyed, both go away and the remaining ships break formation.

 

The shape of the formation is constant, so if they're in the line formation the lead ship is always the topmost ships with the other ships below - this holds true even if the ships are flying downward, making the lead ship the rear of the formation.

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Played this in Stella and it looks great. One thing I really miss is the sound of your spaceship as it travels - not having this makes the game too quiet.

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Played this in Stella and it looks great.

Thanks!

 

One thing I really miss is the sound of your spaceship as it travels - not having this makes the game too quiet.

It may not look it, but this is still a really early version of the game. I haven't even looked at the sound effects yet, just dropped in the ones from Space Rocks to use as a placeholder.

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So I fired up MAME and played a few games. I guess I never noticed the formation indicator before. After reading this thread I assumed it was integrated into the radar but instead it's implemented almost exactly as you currently have it. Next to the main radar but apart from it. The formation only appears as a red dot in the radar. Once the formation is broken the dot disappears.

 

Bottom line, it's looking good and accurate!

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After reading this thread I assumed it was integrated into the radar

I hadn't even considered the formation display when we started work on the game.

 

Sunday (the 19th) was when I finally put all the enemy ship graphics in place - before that the only images in there were up and right, which is why the enemy flew that pattern in the previous builds. When I sent Nathan a test build with the different formations flying around in a circle, he suggested alternating the radar with the formation display.

 

It worked, but my annoyance during additional play testing lead to the experiments that resulted in the new formation display on Monday.

 

The flashing red line is a nice touch too.

The line that goes from green to yellow to flashing red is the Condition Indicator. Eventually the colors will change based on trigger events in the game. These are spelled out in the Visual Conditions section of that Bosconian Strategy Wiki entry.

 

In the original build it was a different colored letter to the right of the lives that would be Green, Yellow or Red. Turned out to be a good thing we changed it as it gave us room for the formation indicator :)

post-3056-0-79678800-1414160543_thumb.png

 

The score display may look odd - it's showing diagnostic info. Since Stella doesn't emulate ARM run time, I often set up a way to show how much is left in the score line. The timer has $1d (29 decimal) remaining at the end of Vertical Blank and $28 (40) for Overscan.

Edited by SpiceWare

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2- regarding controllability, it is difficult to "cruise" diagonally. By that I mean you must release the joystick just so, or release the left arrow key and up arrow key (emulation) at exactly the same moment, otherwise the game makes your ship travel horizontally or vertically. I.e. It pays attention to the last direction command.

 

I've noticed that a few times, but never often enough that it crossed my mind as a problem. I'll have to think on how to deal with it, maybe caching the prior frame's joystick reading and merging it with the current frame will do the trick :ponder:

I just tried caching & merging the prior frame's joystick reading - not a good solution, it became more difficult to cruise diagonally.

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Its a bit more complicated, but maybe throw in a debounce for disengaging diagonal directions?

 

e.g.

1. if a diagonal-only direction is engaged, then diagonal=1 and do regular stick processing

2. if a cardinal-only direction is engaged && diagonal==0, then do regular stick processing

3. if a cardinal-only direction is engaged && diagonal>0 then diagonal=diagonal-1

4. if no direction is engaged then diagonal=0

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Had something like that percolating in my mind. Already figured out a simple test for Diagonal vs Cardinal, but hadn't finished thinking thru the rest of it yet - thanks! :thumbsup:

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Not a problem... I'll be interested to see how it works out. :)

 

I seem to recall that Bosconian would suffer the same diagonal dropping effect on occasion too.

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e.g.

1. if a diagonal-only direction is engaged, then diagonal=1 and do regular stick processing

2. if a cardinal-only direction is engaged && diagonal==0, then do regular stick processing

3. if a cardinal-only direction is engaged && diagonal>0 then diagonal=diagonal-1

4. if no direction is engaged then diagonal=0

Effectively that would mean for a cardinal direction you have to go via no direction in any case, no?

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Yes, for a frame, which is the intent.

 

If it wasn't clear, all steps should be run once per frame. If the user has transitioned from diagonal to cardinal, step 3 will clear the "diagonal" flag so step 2 will be true during the next frame's run.

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Not sure if that will fully solve the problem. Depending on the players skills and the joystick used, one frame might not be enough. But if we add too many frames, the controls will become sluggish.

 

Maybe a special handling when going into neutral position would be better, like e.g. averaging the last n directions then.

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I think a frame might do it since it's only happening sometimes, but neutral direction-filtering would work without the frame delay. :thumbsup:

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This is a fast paced 60 fps game with a large number of rapidly moving items (especially all the stations' shots). Averaging 2 frames of joystick readings didn't work out well at all, so I won't even consider 3+.

Selectively averaging 2 frames might work out OK; but, I didn't see the diagonal issue often enough to consider it a problem, so there's a high probability I'll end up leaving the joystick routines as originally written.

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Me too. It's currently 4th on my priority list of 2600 projects though, so I don't know when I'll get back to it.

  1. Just agreed to do a new project with a hard deadline
  2. Finish DPC+ ARM Development series
  3. Finish new BUS bankswitch scheme
  4. Reboot Draconian using new BUS scheme

BUS will be a new scheme kinda like DPC+, but using bus-stuffing to get TIA updates down from DPC+'s 5 cycles to just 3 cycles.

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Glad to see any and all updates. Very excited to buy this title. Do I need to post a "Take my money" meme? :D

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Just Bumping this. Darrell, you do awesome work, space rocks is amazing (I'm not even sure I boot into regular Asteroids anymore), and this is another one of my favorite 80's arcade games that plays so faithful.

 

Can't wait until you finish or at least get to a point to be able to shoot the incoming ships.

 

I get it about priorities though. I just hope you eventually finish this one. Sitting with baited breath.

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Thank you!

I'm currently working on the new BUS Stuffing support in Stella. I have the new Data Streams implemented, and am now trying to figure out the best way to do the audio. It'll be like the 3 voice music in DPC+, but will be a little more flexible. I hope to finish up Stella's support for BUS Stuffing this week, after which I need to write up a demonstration program (like the one I did for DPC+ back in 2010). Once I have that done batari will start writing the Harmony/Melody driver and we'll use the demo program to compare the results on real hardware with the results in Stella to make sure it works as we thought it would.

I've also written the new kernel for Draconian (though it's not yet tested). The new kernel has the same features as the original, plus it adds the following abilities:

  • shift the missiles left/right every scanline
  • shift the ball left/right every scanline
  • resize the ball

 

The resize of the ball object means I can use the ball to draw shots with less flicker - this does mean the stars will flicker more, but that should not be a problem as the stars can't kill you while the shots can.

The left/right shift of the missiles and ball mean I can draw diagonal shots.

The left/right shift of the missiles and ball also means I can draw rotating station shots.

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