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Hi Team,

 

I had read that Missile Command was impossible on the Intellivision due to the line drawings required. Then came Missile Domination. That got me thinking about an old game idea.

I imagine a game set in the Cold War Era, a game that opens with an expository text legend like "The Hunt for Red October", being spelled out on-screen. Your mission takes place in the deep Russian winter and is to take the B1 bomber (called "Bone" by some Air Forcers) up a fjord in the Kamchatka Peninsula and take out a Hydroelectric dam. The Soviets are using the hydroelectric power generated by the dam to make large amounts of heavy water. Soviet "Hind" helicopters would be the airborne adversaries of our B1, along with SAM launchers.

 

The graphics technique is to essentially draw two sets of craggy lines, conjoined at the points where the lines change direction. The "lower" (or closer together) set of lines moves a little slower than the "upper" (further apart) lines, causing parallax. The joining lines make the sections appear as polygons. So the effect is pseudo 3d. See the attached mock-up movie file if you are interested.

 

I see this game very clearly in my head, and it's rad, sorry if my explanation is lacking.

 

Journeymen coders and Game Producers, I'm asking you if you think this is feasible.

 

Thank you for your time.

 

KB

 

 

KB_iceBone_v1.mp4

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From the demo movie the answer is no. For a vertical scrolling game you'd need at least 2 columns on each side of the canyon making 44 cards (2x11x2). Its not possible to reprogram that many cards in the vertical black period using your "on the fly" parallax effect. You could do it by switching the screen off, reprogramming all the cards needed and switching the screen on again but then you'd get flicker on everything. The easiest thing to do would be to have a selection of pre-drawn 8x8 cards and make the canyon walls from them.

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Hi Team,

 

I had read that Missile Command was impossible on the Intellivision due to the line drawings required. Then came Missile Domination. That got me thinking about an old game idea.

 

Who said that Missile Command was impossible? I'm pretty sure most of us said it would be hard. And it was, until someone came up with a technique for it. Even then, it took most of the graphics capabilities to draw the contrails of the missiles, making the game a bit more one-dimensional than the original.

 

As for your new idea, perhaps it may not be practical to implement the parallax effect with those jaggedy edges in the canyon; but I can see something like the trench-run in the original Star Wars vector graphics arcade. The difference is that the walls are more uniform, which may allow for more card re-use.

 

One thing that I'd say on this: It's fine to play around with techniques and push the state of the art in Intellivision programming, but you should not forget the fun. If the entire game boils down to a "tech-demo" of some cool technique, leaving little space (or spare thoughts) for interesting game-play features, then what's the point? The Intellivision has some unique capabilities that make it stand out amongst its peers and classic Intellivision games show that plenty can be done while staying within these limits.

 

-dZ.

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As a new member here I appreciate the thoughtful feedback. My goal was to have an original concept with a visual style that underlined the hi-tech "Tom Clancy-esque" storyline. I've not seen anything like this on an eighties console, and wondered if it was strictly due to technical limitations.

 

Thanks again.

 

KB

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As a new member here I appreciate the thoughtful feedback. My goal was to have an original concept with a visual style that underlined the hi-tech "Tom Clancy-esque" storyline. I've not seen anything like this on an eighties console, and wondered if it was strictly due to technical limitations.

I can see something like it being done on the 5200/A8 or the 7800 (not at 60 FPS and probably with "XOR flicker") but not on the Inty. It doesn't have the architecture or CPU grunt to do it.

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Not all consoles have the same strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the Intellivision has hardware support to scroll the entire screen one pixel at a time, but reasonably few GRAM cards for displaying custom/bitmapped graphics. On the other end, the newer Colecovision should support bitmapped graphics but needs various tricks to simulate soft scrolling. The Atari 5200 as mentioned is another system where it might be possible, or of course NES.

 

So if you know what each system is good at, it is easier to design the game and/or choose the system to develop for.

 

Of course if you are fond of wireframes, it seems like a nice concept for the Vectrex.

Edited by carlsson

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