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Irgendwer

STUNT CAR RACER?

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I want to talk about how I feel regarding owning an Atari back in the day.

 

While I had the Atari and loved what it could do, I had a bit of an inferiority complex.

 

I think due to sheer numbers, hearing so many people say how great their Spectrums, Amstrads or C64s were, I felt that the Atari wasn't competing.

 

This was "backed up" by the fact that all the fashionable games in the late 80s were not coming out for the Atari 8-bit.

 

This was one such game. People told me that the Atari couldn't do it, the C64 had the graphics and the Spectrum had the clock speed.

 

There were individual games that I used to pick out as being great on the Atari, but there were many more which were never released on the Atari 8-bit.

 

Time has taught me something. I've seen Crownland. I've seen Space Harrier. I've seen Yoomp! and I've seen this game.

 

They have all taught me something, the Atari CAN do it and can do it better than the others.

 

My complaint though is that current podcasts that compare across different platforms only pick out officially released games.

 

I KNOW that the Atari is amazing. Look at Stunt Car Racer here, what an absolutely amazing game. I remember struggling to play this on other platforms due to a low frame rate, but guess what, I find this frame rate quite playable.

 

Look at what Sheddy did with Space Harrier, absolutely amazing.

 

I am amazed that the Atari does this so darn well, I am very, very pleased.

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I wouldn't disregard that productivity is greatly improved these days with cross-assembly, graphical tools and debugging in emulators we utilise, so "back-in-the-day" the editing, managing and building of source code was a different ball-game.

(My own experience was not getting a MAC/65 cart and disk drive until about 1987/8 and cursing myself as to why I'd battled by with just the Atari Assembler and a cassette deck :D)

 

That said, there is merit in that those other platforms being in the same boat, so perhaps the software houses of the day had invested in good setups, e.g. in-house dev tools?

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  • "Why no 64k version? Just put the music and other stuff aside!"

    The game filled nearly entirely the 64k of the C64. A8 has less available RAM and due to heavy loop unrolling for better speed even the base game wouldn't run on 64k. So we used the remaining RAM for something nice...

 

Maybe would be nice to make an Atarimax cartridge version, so to use the bank switching to make it work on 64k machines. Is it possible?

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File version for current HDD solutions (without xBios) would be great, too, even at the cost of not having HSC, loading-wait screen ;)

I also have the gut feeling, that even though I booted from SIO2SD with 3x ultraspeed, it switched to 1x SIO on the loading-screen, hmm...

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Maybe would be nice to make an Atarimax cartridge version, so to use the bank switching to make it work on 64k machines. Is it possible?

It would most likely be possible, but Fandal is unlikely to do it. However, if anyone else is interested in doing it, Fandal will surely gladly share his knowledge and source code.

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Maybe would be nice to make an Atarimax cartridge version, so to use the bank switching to make it work on 64k machines. Is it possible?

XXL made some changes to XBIOS to support higher SIO speeds, however, that version caused incompatibilities on most real hardware configurations, so Fandal had to resort to the older, slower version.

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I want to talk about how I feel regarding owning an Atari back in the day.

 

While I had the Atari and loved what it could do, I had a bit of an inferiority complex.

 

I think due to sheer numbers, hearing so many people say how great their Spectrums, Amstrads or C64s were, I felt that the Atari wasn't competing.

 

This was "backed up" by the fact that all the fashionable games in the late 80s were not coming out for the Atari 8-bit.

 

This was one such game. People told me that the Atari couldn't do it, the C64 had the graphics and the Spectrum had the clock speed.

 

 

I had similar feelings, especially after I started coding in ASM and learned about DLIs, I realized how restricted the Atari was in placing colors on screen, and that SID on the C64 sounded so amazing...

 

What I didn't realize at the time was that the C64 also had significant restrictions in placing colors. Both were trying to cheat 8K of screen memory and finding ways to stuff more colors than should be allowed. But the color restrictions were different. Games written on a c-64 might not look good on an Atari, but games written on an Atari often didn't look good on a C64 either. And the SID now sounds like a generic chiptune chip because of all the chips that came later, while the Pokey maintains a distinctive sound (if a bit harsh sounding)

 

I realize now how much more capable the Atari was than I gave it credit for.

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What I didn't realize at the time was that the C64 also had significant restrictions in placing colors. Both were trying to cheat 8K of screen memory and finding ways to stuff more colors than should be allowed. But the color restrictions were different. Games written on a c-64 might not look good on an Atari, but games written on an Atari often didn't look good on a C64 either. And the SID now sounds like a generic chiptune chip because of all the chips that came later, while the Pokey maintains a distinctive sound (if a bit harsh sounding)

 

I realize now how much more capable the Atari was than I gave it credit for.

Not sure, why that happened, as any corny sounding synth is called SID sound. As I did approve several times POKEY can do that sound, too. And The SID doesn't exist as well. The only part of what SID sound defined is the low and fat sound.

 

At least on the graphical side, it is now approved that every "ego view" game is the winner on the Atari ...

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This is awesome. Thanks! Already had a few runs up the ramps this morning.

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Just a small question to the devs, any reason you didn't allow it to use accelerators, was it the XBIOS?

 

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the game but I also like when stuff can use extra hardware to further help the program.

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Trying to catch up with the comments here:

 

>Do some writeup of the development process, please!

 

I don't think that will happen as this would be rarely read by some experts. I guess the reason f.e. why the music not only stops before SIO but also in the track overview is not of much interest: Sir Geoff's track code eats nearly the whole zero page, not leaving room for the RMT replay - so the ZP data has to be copied in-and-out before and after the 3D-part.

 

>The only aspect that would require slight improvement is engine sound, which unfortunately LACKS DYNAMIC a bit.

 

Fandal and I had many discussions about the engine sound. He don't liked to have the standard "Road Race", "E-Type", "Pole Position" etc. one, which I find understandable. I came up with different mixtures and he also experimented quite a lot so the selection procedure was a very tedious task and wasn't easy given technical constraints. IMHO the result is not only unusual but also convincing.

 

>So source code is available?

 

You have to ask Fandal directly. Not even I have the source code (a good thing if your everyday work consists of source code... ;-) ), but knowing that Fandal has Czech-comments in it (really) a disassembly may be easier to read... ;)

 

>While I had the Atari and loved what it could do, I had a bit of an inferiority complex.

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/134852-atari-v-commodore/?view=findpost&p=1625822

 

>I wouldn't disregard that productivity is greatly improved these days with... (today's tools)

 

QFT. So a "Thank you" has also be send to all the tool and library suppliers: tebe (G2F) , pfusik (DataMatrix) and the unforgotten raster (RMT) to name a few.

 

>Maybe would be nice to make an Atarimax cartridge version, so to use the bank switching to make it work on 64k machines. Is it possible?

 

Wrathchild already offered his help. I think it's doable but unlikely that Fandal will produce such version.

 

>File version for current HDD solutions (without xBios) would be great, too, even at the cost of not having HSC...

 

HSC has no direct relationship to xBIOS, xBIOS is needed to save and load the hall of fame and racing season - which I regard as an essential feature of the game.

 

>Just a small question to the devs, any reason you didn't allow it to use accelerators, was it the XBIOS?

 

It's not done by intend but a side effect. XXL has already tried hard to accomplish our request to allow the SIO patching of emulators to enable faster loading, without a break-through - it isn't easy given the environment and restrictions we had to accept.

You can see it this way:

  1. We are at the edge what is possible with the A8
  2. it's just to revive the old feeling that something is worth the loading time or
  3. want to give room for the nice loading screen... ;)

Maybe this can be changed in the future, but XXL is more competent to answer this question.

 

BTW: There was a problem with the HSC, which XXL fixed on hour ago. You can find my first (beatable) score now there.

The displayed code in the game is an ECC 200 data-matrix. If you have no mobile device to take a photo you may like to use PC tools, which also allow the conversion from a photo (or emulator screen-shot!) to an URL ("dmtxread" for Unix machines for example).

Most challenging process is the registration for the HSC (http://xxl.atari.pl/wordpress/wp-login.php?action=register) due to the use of polish language. I'm trying to help if needed.

 

Thanks again for the momentum!

 

Edit: If you like to do Fandal a favour as a "thank you", acquire the "XENOPHOBE"-proto-cart as mentioned on his page...

Edited by Irgendwer
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All I can say is SWEET! I like playing this on an ST when I had one, and as far as I can remember, this version seems to be just as fast, to me.

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Now I will start wishing for Test Drive...

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>Just a small question to the devs, any reason you didn't allow it to use accelerators, was it the XBIOS?

 

It's not done by intend but a side effect. XXL has already tried hard to accomplish our request to allow the SIO patching of emulators to enable faster loading, without a break-through - it isn't easy given the environment and restrictions we had to accept.

You can see it this way:

  1. We are at the edge what is possible with the A8
  2. it's just to revive the old feeling that something is worth the loading time or
  3. want to give room for the nice loading screen... ;)

Maybe this can be changed in the future, but XXL is more competent to answer this question.

 

If I were to hazard a guess, based on prior discussions on AtariAge, I would say that XXL is using undocumented opcodes that fail on a 65816.

 

(cue undocumented opcode debate)

Edited by FifthPlayer

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there are no undocumented codes in xbios and Stunt Car Racer works on computers similar to atari with 65816.

 

Instead of gossip just check :-)

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Can Jaguar do blits that could quickly translate the graphics, e.g. like 2 bpp to 8 bpp?

 

It'll be the ST version, so 4bpp planar to bitmap. This stresses the GPU. A lot :)

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there are no undocumented codes in xbios and Stunt Car Racer works on computers similar to atari with 65816.

 

Instead of gossip just check :-)

 

No gossip, its just if you boot the game with any thing other than a 6502 it seems to crash back in to XBIOS which seemed to suggest the different CPU didn't like XBIOS.

 

Its not a spite towards XBIOS at all, just an observation based on what happens hence my question...

 

I loved the loading screen that XBIOS provides and any memory saving it does so thank you..

Edited by Mclaneinc

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maybe your computer is not atari enough

 

;)

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No gossip, its just if you boot the game with any thing other than a 6502 it seems to crash back in to XBIOS which seemed to suggest the different CPU didn't like XBIOS.

Tested on an emulated U1MB/SIDE2 setup here with Rapidus, DracOS and a 20MHz 65C816 and the ATR booted fine (if slowly).

 

File version for current HDD solutions (without xBios) would be great, too, even at the cost of not having HSC, loading-wait screen ;)

The irony is that most modern IDE HDD solutions impose no restrictions on interrupts during IO (aside from CRITIC being set by the OS SIO handler, although one could circumvent this by calling the PBI handlers directly via one's custom SIO routine).

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Ah, found the problem, emulated 1050 Happy and Rapidus and the game just would not play well, emulated Happy without Rapidus & game, all fine.....

 

Removing the happy and just throwing a 65C816 1.79 all good here, up the clock to 3.5 and the picture starts jumping around in game, faster the clock the more insanely jumpy it gets...

 

Weird clash there...

 

Devs, please don't take this as a spite at the game, Irgw kindly explained the issue and I love the game as it stands, its simply amazing, I just like to tinker about and I thought an accelerator would boost the already good frame rate, obviously I was prepared for possible issues as it wasn't designed to use a different spec than the one it was released for.

 

See, I love it :)

Edited by Mclaneinc
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