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UPDATE: The final version can be found here!

 

Donkey Kong was one of my childhood favorite games. I have always loved the attention to detail in the Atari Computer port.

The gameplay is smooth, and it include more game nuances than other conversions of the time.

 

I always thought that Mario and Donkey Kong could have looked a little better. I actually thought Pauline looked BETTER than the arcade. (I did make her more arcade-like in this hack, because I am going for arcade closeness.)

 

After I dug into the game, I found even more appreciation for the A8 version. The memory-saving techniques that Landon used were great. His software sprite routine is terrific. These techniques allowed him to fit SO MUCH into 16K. They did come with a price. Donkey Kong is a mirror image, which means that there are some sacrifices that need to be made. In order to keep Kong's eyes only 1-pixel apart, his mouth is a little off-center in one of the chest-beating frames. Drawing the software sprites on screen seems to mean one less color than a "tile/character" mode. That means no white teeth or eyes for Kong. However, the smoothness at which the software sprites move make it totally worth it.

 

So, in the end, I am trying to make some tweaks, using the advantage of modern day tools. Mario will be the toughest. Mario's made up of 3 player/sprites: red, flesh, and blue. The blue player seems to always be 1-pixel behind the other two. I would really prefer to get rid of that, because it is going to create issues for some of the frames.

 

At this point, I have tweaked most of the playfield objects (Kong, Pauline, Girders, Oil Can, Still Hammers, Fireballs, Pies, etc.). The only player (sprite) I have touched is Mario, and I have only replace ONE of his frames at this point. Pauline's items are also a player.

 

I am sure, as with JR, this will evolve.

 

Original Update

post-13491-0-90908000-1457112871.png post-13491-0-88189200-1457113025_thumb.png

 

Updated Screens:

post-13491-0-46170700-1457115683_thumb.png post-13491-0-34636400-1457113079_thumb.png

 

post-13491-0-90213700-1457115681_thumb.png post-13491-0-90474100-1457113076_thumb.png

 

post-13491-0-70728200-1457115682_thumb.png post-13491-0-78178000-1457113077_thumb.png

 

post-13491-0-23526600-1457115684_thumb.png post-13491-0-20648700-1457113080_thumb.png

Edited by darryl1970
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Looking really good man, DK himself is a big difference! :D

 

He looks much closer to the arcade. I agree with the gameplay it's pretty close to the arcade, with some massaging you'll be able to make the best version yet.

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Some usage of white would be good, like Kong's teeth and maybe extend that to some of the score items.

So long as there's no overlap with other objects it should work fine.

I don't think Kong shows inside his mouth during any times he's climbing ladders etc? But does stuff ever overlap score and status items?

 

Also the colours can be a bit bland. Maybe a better brown for the girders. And the ladders stand out too much, maybe slightly darker and use a more saturated blue.

Edited by Rybags

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Some usage of white would be good, like Kong's teeth and maybe extend that to some of the score items.

So long as there's no overlap with other objects it should work fine.

I don't think Kong shows inside his mouth during any times he's climbing ladders etc? But does stuff ever overlap score and status items?

 

Also the colours can be a bit bland. Maybe a better brown for the girders. And the ladders stand out too much, maybe slightly darker and use a more saturated blue.

None of that is really possible. There are no more colors available. There is no white. :(

This is a 4-color mode. One of those is the black background. That leaves Red, Blue, and yellow-ish light skin.

In fact, the light "skin" tone color will not show up in the mid ramp areas. That is why the hammer is accented with blue.

These are not character graphics. The game is actually drawn onto the 160x192 graphics mode.

I tried light blue Kong teeth. Blue looks good nowhere on Kong.

 

Maybe as time goes on, something idea will pop up.

 

I always wondered why DK's eye was blue in the original Atari version. Now I know.

I would LOVE it if there was a white available for Kong's teeth and eyes.

This is mainly going to be a graphic hack. I never cared much for the Mario rendition.

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That's pretty nice.

 

I think it would be awesome for someone (not me!) to re-do the XOR graphics. With more memory available it should be possible to do a masked draw-and-repair rather than a repeated XOR; that would make the artifacts when things overlap go away. Those always bugged the hell out of me, but I didn't have time (or memory) to do anything about it. You'll have to make masks for the bitmaps; shouldn't be hard.

 

It also might be possible to reposition a player or missile with a VBI to get white into Kong's face.

 

And fix Mario's final death frame. Argh, that was embarrassing. :-)

Edited by landondyer
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The music, IMO, could be updated to sound better. Instead of using the distortion 12 bass for the How High can you get? music, it would be neat if we could hack in a 16-bit $0A bass to take it's place ... and also use it for the ostinatio that happens during the game.

It would be awesome if we could also have that lovely music from the NES version of the game:

 

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OK... Mode E.

 

For some reason I was thinking it used Mode 4 and wasn't using the PF3 colour.

Let's not forget there's the "arcade" version with Sal's extra music.

 

IMO though, I find it way preferable to have the intro the way Atari did it, ie straight to the "How high..." and leave the Kong jumping on the girders to form the level as part of the attract mode.

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OK... Mode E.

 

IMO though, I find it way preferable to have the intro the way Atari did it, ie straight to the "How high..." and leave the Kong jumping on the girders to form the level as part of the attract mode.

 

The decision to start the game immediately was conscious. Artificially extended play time is good for Arcade machines, because that means an arcade owner may need to buy multiple machines to satisfy demand. In the case of a home game cartridge, you already *have* the user's quarter, so to speak, so making them wait through a long intro on every play is unnecessary (and irritating). The attract mode was there for traditional reasons, to drive sales in kiosks . . . and somehow it wasn't Kong without the music and the platform collapse.

 

I should add that no one in Atari HCD marketing ever told me to do those things. I don't think they knew enough to even ask.

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I always thought that Mario and Donkey Kong could have looked a little better. I actually thought Pauline looked BETTER than the arcade. (I did make her more arcade-like in this hack, because I am going for arcade closeness.)

 

 

On second viewing, Kong looks far less like a teddy-bear now. One of you time-travelers go back and hand those fixes over, k?

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I agree on the teeth thing... possibly a DLI could be used with PM objects.

It's something that'd need investigation first... check all the possibilities, also see if they're needed at the Kong falling sequence.

 

The Xor graphics didn't really bother me in the day... though agreed if the effort is to go into enhancing this game further then may as well do as much as memory will allow.

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This was one of my favorite cartridges back in the day. Still enjoy playing it! The graphic tweaks look really good so far. The change in donkey kong is super!

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I'm looking forward to this, although there's only so much you can tweak since this version is nearly perfect as is. You've already fixed the only real gripe I had 'Teddy Kong' (although back in the day I always thought he looked like a big hamster).

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I'm looking forward to this, although there's only so much you can tweak since this version is nearly perfect as is. You've already fixed the only real gripe I had 'Teddy Kong' (although back in the day I always thought he looked like a big hamster).

I grew to love his look. It brings back memories of looking through an old catalog. I didn't have an Atari computer YET -- just a 5200. When I saw the picture in the catalog, I knew I needed to have it.

Kong looked sad to me, and he had cinnamon rolls for hands, but I couldn't believe Atari SMASHED Coleco that hard, and they didn't advertise it more.

Too bad.

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I did a little tweaking tonight. It's still a work in progress. Here's the latest. I'll probably refine it more here and there.

post-13491-0-55187600-1457318973_thumb.png

 

post-13491-0-86229800-1457318985_thumb.png post-13491-0-14421300-1457318996_thumb.png

 

post-13491-0-23519700-1457319008_thumb.png post-13491-0-21671700-1457319014_thumb.png

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On second viewing, Kong looks far less like a teddy-bear now. One of you time-travelers go back and hand those fixes over, k?

Thanks! In a way, your approval is my equivalent of Shigeru Miyamoto telling you what a great job you did capturing it in the first place. If he hasn't, he should!

 

あなたは素晴らしい仕事をしました!

Anata wa subarashī shigoto o shimashita!

 

The only thing I would question is... and maybe this has come up before.... Where in the world did the birthday cake come from??? LOL.

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OK... Mode E.

 

For some reason I was thinking it used Mode 4 and wasn't using the PF3 colour.

Let's not forget there's the "arcade" version with Sal's extra music.

 

IMO though, I find it way preferable to have the intro the way Atari did it, ie straight to the "How high..." and leave the Kong jumping on the girders to form the level as part of the attract mode.

I prefer all of the arcade intermissions, in the arcade order, BUT I am a fan of being able to skip it by pressing jump. (Like Mario Bros XE) I'm all about graceful degradation from the arcade. The arcade is the goal. I want to see how close, while embracing the platform limitations. I find aforementioned to be ideal.

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Don't forget the original arcade version had a basic 1-2-3-4 stage progression. I'm not saying to do that, although it would make for an interesting option to have. :)

 

Although you'd probably have to figure a way to make the Pie Factory & Elevator levels into a "level 1" difficulty if there's not one already in there..

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It would be nice to have the original level representation as well. Also agreed on the intermission part, probably best would be make it like the arcade but real easy to just skip over.

 

It was only US machines that had the revised level order, Japan and supposedly rest of the world had the 1-4 progression.

As it was in the day, I'd only ever seen or played an international machine and at that it was the "Crazy Kong" cheap ripoff of the original so the computer version was a surprise in both the level order and in fact the music and sound were foreign to me - Crazy Kong had shockingly bad music/sound, to me it seems weird you'd rip someone's game off then procede to make it worse.

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Crazy Kong had shockingly bad music/sound, to me it seems weird you'd rip someone's game off then procede to make it worse.

Didn't Crazy Kong run on different hardware? That would probably explain the poor music.

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So it does... Crazy Climber hardware.

 

And it would seem it was actually an authorised copy for which royalites were paid to Nintendo, but it was supposed to be to a limited market and there was some legal action regarding sales of it in the US at least.

There were also unauthorised Crazy Kong clones around.

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So it does... Crazy Climber hardware.

 

And it would seem it was actually an authorised copy for which royalites were paid to Nintendo, but it was supposed to be to a limited market and there was some legal action regarding sales of it in the US at least.

There were also unauthorised Crazy Kong clones around.

Since Atari had such an EXCELLENT version of A8 Donkey Kong, I always hoped they would re-brand it as Crazy Kong for my 5200. I wonder what kind of legal action they could have faced. Why not though? Remove the music and limit the barrels to 3 on screen at a time...

 

Crazy Kong, Part II was the version I most often saw here in the states (mainly Ohio). It was the version that was at the Boy's Club, bowling alleys, and mom and pop shops.

post-13491-0-86255700-1457366536_thumb.png

 

Some people preferred it, because it's much easier. I enjoyed it, but it was very glitchy.

 

Kong wasn't completely animated on the ramps.

post-13491-0-69445900-1457366586_thumb.png

 

His sprite was replaced by a giant ape on other levels. This big ape was blocky and had holes in him.

post-13491-0-58833100-1457366626_thumb.png

 

There were only 3 elevators on screen at a time.

post-13491-0-22212800-1457366626_thumb.png

 

The conveyor belts sped up really fast on the second level. This allowed a trick where Mario could get stuck in the corner and 'drop' the hammer. The hammer would disappear, and it would still hit objects regardless of where Mario was on the screen.

post-13491-0-86760000-1457366625_thumb.png

 

It had the "black hole" level warp (found on original DK, but fixed quickly), and it had the trick to put Mario's hand up on the level to keep barrels from going down the ladder. The Rivets had fireballs, instead of the firefoxes. Level two ramps had holes in the floor. It was also weird how they cut the ends of the levels off. Mario had to jump just right to get the top hammer on the ramps. Yes, I am standing on the oil barrel, and I can clear the screen by jumping to my left.

post-13491-0-35383700-1457366627_thumb.png

 

A little added in Pt 2. If the middle hammer wasn't used, gold bars would flash for a second there after clearing the screen. It also added, "Give Up!" Funny that Kong's head was upside down.

post-13491-0-97399800-1457366626_thumb.png

 

Funny also that some preferred it for being right and left handed. I had a mental block myself back then. I would sometimes play DK with my hands crossed over. I eventually sucked it up, but I used to wonder why Nintendo had all left handed machines. Now it's the standard. Funny!

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Here's the beta graphic hack. (2 of them)

 

I don't know how much more I will do, unless somebody picks up some programming (see list below of some suggestions).

I'll gladly draw more frames.

 

Playsoft was gracious enough to take time and help me inject the graphics into the game. He also fixed the death sequence to go 360deg.

Here is the graphic hack of the original Atari version, by Landon Dyer:

DonkeyKong_XL.xex

 

He also hacked them into the RMT sound update, by Kjmann. (Link to original thread)

 

The RMT has an alternate set of sounds. I like some of the sounds better, such as Mario's footsteps, some of the tunes, and Mario's death. I like some of the original sounds better, such as the jump and springs. The best AND worst part of the hack is the collision detection. Mario no longer hits his head on the barrels above him when he jumps. However, the collision for the hammer is broken. Mario cannot hit barrels over his head at the end of the ramp, AND the hammer seems to miss objects more than connect.

 

Here's the GRAPHIC hack of the RMT hack:

Donkey Kong_XL(Kjmann RMT Sound).xex

 

Enjoy. Let me know if anybody is up for programming changes. Landon suggested some software sprite update ideas.

It would be great if we could get the hammer fixed in the RMT version!

Mario is missing a few minor frames, like the landing position.

The Rivets intermission could be extended. I'll draw Kong's head, with broken teeth.

White might be able to be added to Kong's face, with some fance DL interrupts.

Probably too much to ask -- scrunch the levels and position Kong on the left... :)

 

 

 

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Tried only XL hack of the original.

 

I ilke mario's walk and death spin. He walks with a slight bounce as opposed to the original kind of shuffling. The death spiral looks more like he is actually spinning.

 

Love everything about the new DK. He looks awesome up on his girders. Yes, it would be nice to have some white in there on his teeth, but working with the the colors you had at hand it is great improvement!

 

Like the new stripes around the score. Looks more Nintendo-esque.

 

The barrels I am on the fence about. The new one look cleaner and sharper, but the original ones gave a more wooden-barrel feel...still thinking about this one.

 

Extra lives..better, girders...better - Wow and this is just the first screen. It's a great face-lift to a great game!

Edited by TheNameOfTheGame
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