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Lynxpro

What 2600 titles could/should have Trak-Ball support added?

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• Sentinel

• Crossbow

 

Both should have Trak-Ball added.

Sentinel is replacing light gun code; Crossbow is replacing joystick code.

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I've played Sentinel with a light gun. It's balls hard. Doesn't help that the gun always fires three inches to the right no matter how close the gun is to the CRT screen. :P

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I've played Sentinel with a light gun. It's balls hard. Doesn't help that the gun always fires three inches to the right no matter how close the gun is to the CRT screen. :P

 

 

Have you played both the 2600 and 7800 versions or just the 2600 version?

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I've played Sentinel with a light gun. It's balls hard. Doesn't help that the gun always fires three inches to the right no matter how close the gun is to the CRT screen. :P

Sounds like the speed of light may be out of calibration where you live.

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Sounds like the speed of light may be out of calibration where you live.

Yeah probably right. Physics behave strangely here, for I live on the edge of a black hole. The gamma radiation released by captured objects is extreme. My entire perspective of the universe is distorted by the bent of space time. Also a minute in my fast orbit is like ten years in real life. Also since I'm beyond the roche limit I feel myself getting stretched apart. I'm 5'11 but my feet are 50 yards from my head. If I stood on the 50 yard line, I could literally fall into the end zone. Speaking of which my Sentinel game ended early as my 7800 crossed over the point of continuity. Also took my trackball. I'm debating whether I should cross the barrier to retrieve it. What awaits on the other side?

 

I think only Mario has lived to tell about it.

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Yeah probably right. Physics behave strangely here, for I live on the edge of a black hole. The gamma radiation released by captured objects is extreme. My entire perspective of the universe is distorted by the bent of space time. Also a minute in my fast orbit is like ten years in real life. Also since I'm beyond the roche limit I feel myself getting stretched apart. I'm 5'11 but my feet are 50 yards from my head. If I stood on the 50 yard line, I could literally fall into the end zone. Speaking of which my Sentinel game ended early as my 7800 crossed over the point of continuity. Also took my trackball. I'm debating whether I should cross the barrier to retrieve it. What awaits on the other side?

 

If you see Matthew McConaughey floating around out there, tell him I want my 20 bucks back.

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Just the 7800 proto version.

 

I thought the PAL version was finished; the one Best Electronics sells.

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I thought the PAL version was finished; the one Best Electronics sells.

I dunno if it was the found proto or a conversion. Maybe a little of both. I got mine from CPUWIZ and it's NTSC.

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I started wondering about Wall Ball.

 

The game sure looks like a good candidate for Trak-Ball support. But unfortunately it plays very bad, because it is almost impossible to judge the ball location in depth. There is a reason why you get 99 balls! Also it displays too many lines to the screen, the bottom display is cut off on my TV (and in Stella).

 

The code is not very effective, so there is quite a lot of space which can be gained. RAM is also no problem. I already worked on the scan line issue and brought it down from 218 to 207, now the bottom display is visible. Adding Trak-Ball code seems easy, but first I want to make the game playable at all.

 

I thought about adding a "shadow" at the top and bottom colored area. This would pretty precisely indicate the depth position. Do you think this is sufficient to make the game worth playing?

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I started wondering about Wall Ball.

Here is a first update. No Trak-Ball support yet, but I fixed a number of issues and added shadows of the ball to the top and bottom walls. I think it helps recognizing the ball position in depth, but I am not sure if it is sufficient.

 

Please let me know what you think. Is it worth a Trak-Ball hack?

Wall Back Hack v0.04.bin

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Here is a first update. No Trak-Ball support yet, but I fixed a number of issues and added shadows of the ball to the top and bottom walls. I think it helps recognizing the ball position in depth, but I am not sure if it is sufficient.

 

Please let me know what you think. Is it worth a Trak-Ball hack?

Attached Files

I played to a score of 56, Level 1.

 

To know if it is worth a Trak-Ball hack, I'd need to know more about the game.

What incentive, other than score, is there to get to Level 2?

 

All I can say now is.

+ Track-Ball support should make it easier and more enjoyable to play.

+ It needs a lot of tweaks.

--The "ball missed" sound must change. It is bad enough after hearing it 2 times that I never want to play Wall Ball again. (Search for Chipoff :lust: for brilliant sounds.)

--Slow the ball down. Even with Trak-Ball, it appears too hard at the start to feel fun.

--More colors. The 2600 has plenty of colors. I like brown / green, but maybe changes to top \ bottom every Level? or every so many bricks hit (score)?

--Always need more explosions. :music:

--More cowbell :lol:

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Check out the manual to find out what more is in this game.

I am not sure if I will do a lot of tweaks. But I will release the code, so someone else can continue if he likes too.

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Atari Basketball arcade game uses trakballs, it would be cool if the 2600 version did too.

 

Mitch

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Atari Basketball arcade game uses trakballs, it would be cool if the 2600 version did too.

 

Mitch

 

Well, in that case, you'd probably want to add it to Atari Football since the arcade version used Trak-Balls. And the Realsports titles on the 5200 all supported its Trak-Ball.

Edited by Lynxpro

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Well, in that case, you'd want it for Atari Football.

This is what I was thinking the other day. I never played, but remember those early arcade football games.

Weren't they just X's and O's on the screen?

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This is what I was thinking the other day. I never played, but remember those early arcade football games.

Weren't they just X's and O's on the screen?

 

Yes, the 2600 version of Football looks nothing like the arcade version. Basketball on the other hand looks very similar.

 

Mitch

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After digging deeper into the code of Wall Ball, I must say, the ball movement is quite a mess:

  1. The movement of the ball is done in a small, low resolution 15x17 pixel grid.
  2. Then the position on the screen is defined by scaling the grid positions (via a big table) with just 15 depth positions.
  3. The scaling is not done correctly (linear), in reality it is much more complex (and exponential)
  4. There are no intermediate (fractional) positions
  5. Due to the low resolution, the positions are only updated every 6th (or 4th in fast levels) frame.

Overall, this makes the ball movement very jerky and unnatural, especially where it counts most: Close to the racket! Together with the very hard to recognize ball depth, this explains why the game became so unplayable that they had to give the player 99(!) attempts initially.

 

To correct these flaws, there is quite some refactoring of the existing code base required. Not only that the ball movement has to be completely revised (correct and fractional math instead of low resolution tables), but also the new results have to be considered for all kind of collisions (individual bricks, 4 walls and the racket). Also the graphics have to be adapted to match the correct scaling. Then comes the Trak-Ball code. And then, when the game hopefully and finally becomes playable, the difficulty has to be adapted too. Plus all the bells and whistles (e.g. sound) which people will ask for.

 

Probably a complete rewrite from scratch would be easier... :ponder:

 

Nevertheless, as long as I don't loose my motivation, I will try to tackle the numerous problems, step by step and post intermediate versions here. But no promises!

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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And then, when the game hopefully and finally becomes playable, the difficulty has to be adapted too. Plus all the bells and whistles (e.g. sound) which people will ask for.

 

Probably a complete rewrite from scratch would be easier... :ponder:

 

Nevertheless, as long as I don't loose my motivation, I will try to tackle the numerous problems, step by step and post intermediate versions here. But no promises!

If a complete rewrite is necessary, why not remake something worth playing, like a lost arcade conversion or something? :P

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If a complete rewrite is necessary, why not remake something worth playing, like a lost arcade conversion or something? :P

 

You mean like 2600 Crystal Castles using a DPC+ to track the Trak-Ball instead of the CPU? :)

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Another minor update:

  • added racket shadows; maybe this helps a bit too
  • corrected the scaling; now the ball moves correctly (but still in larger steps)
  • adapted ball size and top and bottom walls to corrected scaling

Wall Back Hack v0.06.bin

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I'll try to test it later. My gaming area is currently overflowing with an arcade machine repair project.

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