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DINTAR816

New pacman for atari 2600

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Hi everyone, here is a new update of this game.

Just loaded this ROM on my Harmony in my 4-swticher and "WOW" dude! Scored 21540 points with my 7800 arcade joystick. Execution is almost flawless. Just slap it on a cart and take my money already... :grin:

 

post-33189-0-60481500-1427598337_thumb.jpg

post-33189-0-62072900-1427598345_thumb.jpg

 

^^ One thing I can't help but notice. On the title screen there are some weird characters next to the ghosts names. Is that supposed to be Kanji, or what?

 

I also saw all three intermissions (select the Apple and beat the stage for the second intermission and do likewise with the key for the third) and the animation is spot on. Big improvement with audio too. I love you you finally made the big Pacman.

 

If this had come out on the Atari in 1982 (even the 4k version), I think people would have been blown away, possibly avoided the crash even. Dare I compare it to PMP's Pacman collection on the 7800? It already feels about as arcade perfect as the 2600/VCS could ever get, although I'm sure the nay-sayers will find something to complain about. :P

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attachicon.gifTitle.JPG

 

^^ One thing I can't help but notice. On the title screen there are some weird characters next to the ghosts names. Is that supposed to be Kanji, or what?

It's a compatibility glitch. I haven't tested the rom on real hardware to see if it's the same or not, but it doesn't show up in Stella.

 

P0 is being used in a three copies close mode when the 'Ghost' or 'Monster is being displayed. Another copy of P0 is making up this glitch. You can see the left half of the sprite is the ghost graphics, and a update for the graphics is happening right as it's being drawn.

 

I suggest a simple solution to make this titlescreen compatible on all consoles. Shift the first RESP0 earlier in the scanline, and use the playfield to mask the first copy, and let the second copy draw the Ghost. You then can remove one of the RESP0's from the code (saving three cycles). I made a small demonstration rom. Note that the ghost will be shifted over by 1 pixel using this method.

 

 

post-7074-0-68959300-1427614181_thumb.png

 

pacmanTitleScreen.zip

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^^ Yeah, I noticed that now. The first half of the "glitch" character is part of the ghost, while the second half is the first character in the ghost's name. Carry on... :party:

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Great job!

I still love both versions.

The 4K for the skill of getting all that "arcade feel" in there.

And the 8K for the amazing refinements that can be added.

 

Back when 2600 PAC Man was released, it should have been 8K and even then it would not have been as good as this!

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If anyone gets a Delorian and decides to travel back to the early 80s, burn this on a cart and stick it on an Atari execs desk. Travel back to the present and check online to see if Pacman still ranks among the worst games of all time. You may be surprized to see the Atari One for sale adjacent to the PS4 and Wii-U.

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Not. The 2600 was outdated when Pac-Man was released for it. A "killer app" of Space Invaders proportions would do nothing at the time because the business model of runaway production was not sustainable once the majority of console owners already had your system. There were a few things which were developed to extend the system capability at the time (bankswitching, ram memory, and DPC co-processing)...but none of them made much of an impact at all. Not even the first next-gen consoles survived the shakeout. The 5200 was outdated at the time of its release.

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It's a compatibility glitch. I haven't tested the rom on real hardware to see if it's the same or not, but it doesn't show up in Stella.

 

P0 is being used in a three copies close mode when the 'Ghost' or 'Monster is being displayed. Another copy of P0 is making up this glitch. You can see the left half of the sprite is the ghost graphics, and a update for the graphics is happening right as it's being drawn.

 

I suggest a simple solution to make this titlescreen compatible on all consoles. Shift the first RESP0 earlier in the scanline, and use the playfield to mask the first copy, and let the second copy draw the Ghost. You then can remove one of the RESP0's from the code (saving three cycles). I made a small demonstration rom. Note that the ghost will be shifted over by 1 pixel using this method.

 

 

attachicon.gifpacmanTitleScreen.png

 

attachicon.gifpacmanTitleScreen.zip

Well, I tried it on 3 different systems (real hardware), and none shows that glitch, however that "simple solution" works best for me (thank you), because I can also enlarge the size of that screen 8 pixel more. :)
here it is:

pacman2600_8k_v3b.bin

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Hi DINTAR816,

Quick question, is it possible to set the blue color ramp of the maze darker like the Arcade? I believe it is currently 86. Can it be brought down to a 82 (Bringing it down two 'shades' darker)? If there's some sort of technical limitation for this, I apologize for my ignorance. If it is a personal preference, that's certainly understandable. :)

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Hi DINTAR816,

 

Quick question, is it possible to set the blue color ramp of the maze darker like the Arcade? I believe it is currently 86. Can it be brought down to a 82 (Bringing it down two 'shades' darker)? If there's some sort of technical limitation for this, I apologize for my ignorance. If it is a personal preference, that's certainly understandable. :)

 

If colors on a real Atari are darker than what you see in Stella, wouldn't that be too dark?

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If colors on a real Atari are darker than what you see in Stella, wouldn't that be too dark?

 

Too dark for some would/may be 80. Pac-Man Collection under the 7800 utilizes somewhere between 81-83. Skipping the 'odds' for the 2600, 82 should do nicely.

86, IMHO, is on the 'bright-side' for the maze.

 

For the record, utilizing the color chart on the real hardware, and keeping my C1702 CRT at defaults, 80 shows up just fine. Via my Panasonic LCD and Panasonic Plasma, 80 is also easily distinguishable. Ditto on my LG LED. 82 should be fine. ;)

 

Realizing I do have a composite mod on my current 'in use' 4-switch Woody console, it could make up a difference in brilliance, impacting perhaps 80 and other '0' ramps (May be less visible against black) via RF; however, 82 should still hold up very well.

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I would pick 84 or 82 also. Just because of poor displays, the values ending in 0 or 2 are avoided.

I personally like to have a well calibrated display showing all shades, and I would pick the darker color matching the arcade, but that choice is up to the programmer.

 

I kind of like the always transparent ghost/monsters of the 4K version as going solid to transparent is distracting. <- Not criticizing.

SpiceWare and I use what he calls "Lumaboost" and increase the color up one value during flicker because the flicker reduces the sprite's brightness.

(Still, for the Atari player limitation, having a fire sprite or a ghost/monster be transparent all the time should help the programmer / game design.)

 

Can you tell we _really_ like this program?

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Not arguing a valid opinion, but just to give a balance, I really prefer the new flicker routine. Not distracting for me personally.

 

I like that the monsters never fully disappear. Great work.

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@DINTAR816: The sprite glitch is intermittent. I've tested the game on both the VCS and 7800 using my original Harmony cart, and both consoles display the sprite glitch. Here's how to duplicate it:

 

When you first boot the game, don't touch any buttons and and let the demo roll. The dots between the ghosts and the names on the title screen display normally.

 

Now start a game of Pacman, play at least through the first intermission, and die. Wait a moment after the GAME OVER screen without touching any bottons, and when the demo cycle starts up, the sprite glitches will appear in the title screen like in the screenshot I displayed earlier.

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^^ I noticed you posted a v3b. I'll try it out later and see if the sprite glitch (after playing a game of Pacman) is gone. I'm staying over at my fiance's new apartment tonight, so I can't test it atm.

 

Another thing, the audio job you did was amazing. I put PMP's Pacman collection in earlier and it wasn't the same. The audio in your 8k is arcade perfect, even for the TIA! :wink:

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^^ I noticed you posted a v3b. I'll try it out later and see if the sprite glitch (after playing a game of Pacman) is gone. I'm staying over at my fiance's new apartment tonight, so I can't test it atm.

 

Another thing, the audio job you did was amazing. I put PMP's Pacman collection in earlier and it wasn't the same. The audio in your 8k is arcade perfect, even for the TIA! :wink:

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Not. The 2600 was outdated when Pac-Man was released for it. A "killer app" of Space Invaders proportions would do nothing at the time because the business model of runaway production was not sustainable once the majority of console owners already had your system. There were a few things which were developed to extend the system capability at the time (bankswitching, ram memory, and DPC co-processing)...but none of them made much of an impact at all. Not even the first next-gen consoles survived the shakeout. The 5200 was outdated at the time of its release.

How do you figure Nukey? Production continued into the 90's - pretty runaway production for a console.

 

Pacman was a high profile port and this one is better than the ports on other systems of the timeframe so there would have been an impact with more people buying the VCS instead of the other systems.

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Well, I tried it on 3 different systems (real hardware), and none shows that glitch, however that "simple solution" works best for me (thank you), because I can also enlarge the size of that screen 8 pixel more. :)

I suppose now that you're masking with the playfield you could also make NUSIZ1 three copies close and get six dots instead of 5. With a few minor adjustsments that would center the screen more.

 

 

I do have one minor request. Would you be able to adjust your writes to VBLANK so that they are not midline? On some TV's you can see the blanking lines as they are "blacker than black". I'm probably the only person on this forum that it really bothers (ha ha)... I guess this game is so close to perfection already I hate to see that. :)

 

 

You have made an amazing port. I can't really express it any better than that. Maybe phenomenal is closer. Also, most people won't know this because they are not programmers, but you are really good at writing in 6502 assembler language. That's not really apparent to someone who can't see the game under the hood, but for me that is something I can really appreciate. Please keep up the great work here. :D

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Quick question, is it possible to set the blue color ramp of the maze darker like the Arcade? I believe it is currently 86. Can it be brought down to a 82 (Bringing it down two 'shades' darker)?

Pac-Man Collection under the 7800 utilizes somewhere between 81-83.

I would pick 84 or 82 also.

Just confirming the specifics on the color...The value is 82 for PMC Pac-Man. :)

 

post-18-0-69582800-1428076129_thumb.png

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I've tried this too, and I think it's pretty good, although some sounds are a tiny bit off, as it seems. One request I'd still have: Can the intermission music be played in two voices, like the game start music is? Currently it's only monophonic, which doesn't sound very good.

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Don't just say some sounds are a tiny bit off, and not explain.

Do you mean the note values, the tempo, game sounds, or ???

I don't think anyone before has come as close as DINTAR186 has with game sounds: waka-waka, the death sound, the siren, the blue monster stage, etc.

 

You do know that the TIA is very harsh, primitive, and not "in tune" to conventional notes at all?

To get anything sounding good and close to the actual sound is an amazing skill.

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Don't just say some sounds are a tiny bit off, and not explain.

Do you mean the note values, the tempo, game sounds, or ???

I don't think anyone before has come as close as DINTAR186 has with game sounds: waka-waka, the death sound, the siren, the blue monster stage, etc.

 

You do know that the TIA is very harsh, primitive, and not "in tune" to conventional notes at all?

To get anything sounding good and close to the actual sound is an amazing skill.

 

It's true that many may not know how many notes are missing from the TIA.

I can't remember exactly, but think of a piano keyboard that is only one octave. Now break about 4 of the keys.

 

That is the TIA's ability to reproduce music. The notes that are broken are substituted by using noise channels that sound close to that pitch.

 

It is truly how close he got to the intro and intermissions so close by "fudging" noises as notes.

 

The accuracy of the sound effects actually blow my mind.

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Don't just say some sounds are a tiny bit off, and not explain.

Do you mean the note values, the tempo, game sounds, or ???

I don't think anyone before has come as close as DINTAR186 has with game sounds: waka-waka, the death sound, the siren, the blue monster stage, etc.

 

You do know that the TIA is very harsh, primitive, and not "in tune" to conventional notes at all?

To get anything sounding good and close to the actual sound is an amazing skill.

 

Yes, I do know. Sorry for coming off a bit harsh... I'm just trying to help improve things. I'll go into much more detail now, sound by sound...

 

Title music: The melody voice should have no reverb... in the arcade version, when the sound is off, it's off. In this version, it sort-of "reverbs" for one period. The reverb on the bass line should also be a bit shorter, but the way the music is working, that's OK. Otherwise the melody is spot on. It only occurs to me that the music in this version is immediately followed by the "siren" while there's about 3 frames pause in the arcade version.

 

The siren and the Waka Waka sounds are very close, I only ask myself if it would be possible to render the Waka Waka with a different waveform. Might not be possible though if that waveform doesn't have the necessary frequency range.

 

The "blue" sound is spot on, except for the waveform, but I realize of course that the waveform thing is hard to do on the TIA.

 

The eating sound is about correct. Here in the arcade version, the amplitude changes between high and low, but this would be very hard to reproduce on the 2600 because it's apparently part of the sound chip waveform. To reproduce this, you'd have to change the volume multiple times per frame which is probably too hard to do.

 

The sound of the eyes returning also seems to be spot on.

 

The dying sound seems to be about correct. What happens here is that the arcade machine has a waveform that makes the sound appear as if it would play two notes one octave apart. Again, this probably would be hard to reproduce on the 2600.

 

The "extra life" bell in the arcade version rings a bit more quickly and often... in the arcade it's 10 times with each "bing" being 12 frames apart from the next. On the 2600, it's 6 times, 16 frames apart. The pitch is a bit too high, one could try one notch lower (unless that's a huge step). It's about one half-tone higher on the 2600 than on the arcade version. But here, again, you have the effect of the "octave waveform" in the arcade.

 

The fruit eating sound is pretty much spot on, other than it doesn't go as deep as in the aracde, but that's understandable given the fact that the sound generator in the arcade can go right down to frequency 0 while the Atari 2600 has got a minimum frequency for each waveform / sound type. It's still pretty close.

 

I think the biggest downfall, as mentioned, is the intermission music which is in the wrong key and only monophonic. Now the wrong key would be understandable if that's the key that would generate the most listenable music on the 2600, but it still sounds a bit off-key. Since the title music is played with two voices, I think it should be possible to play the intermission music in two voices as well. (If you can't figure out the notes, I can help... I have an ear for this)

 

And don't get me wrong... the version is already fantastic, I'm just making suggestions on how to improve it even more.

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^^The audio in this port is nothing short of amazing. I plugged in PMP's Pacman Collection (7800) and noticed the sounds were not as accurate. I even seem to remember PMP asking the OP if he could "borrow" the sound effects for his Pacman 320 project. The intermissions are not quite there yet but I swear the in game sound effects are nearly identical to the arcade, or at least as close as humanly possible short of "bus-stuffing" the TIA to generate wave sound. :thumbsup:

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Yeah it's funny.. As my post #5 here can verify, the ONE thing that initially stood out to me about this cart was in fact the sound and it how could it be coming from a VCS.

 

I actually thought it was FAKE. :lol: I really thought it was done on at least an Atari 8-bit. The ghost sirens, the wocka wocka, and especially the BLUE GHOST frightened sound. i never really heard that done correctly anywhere else (aside from modern consoles).. it almost sounds like the real arcade, yet it's on the VCS.. it was surreal.

Edited by NE146
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Except for the intermission (which needs a bassline) the music and sound effects right now are about as good as you can get from the TIA chip. Remember the chip only has two audio channels and no special effects like echo and reverb.

 

I'd love like to see normal-fast speed and easy/hard difficulty settings added. I always wind up starting on the apple level.

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