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Another Galaga thread

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I did a search of this forum and it has been a while since this was discussed. I didn't want to bump a years old thread so here goes.

 

Now that the 2600 has a real Galaga after hearing for years it couldn't be done what about the 5200? For those who do not know Champ Games has released the demo and the AA Store will be selling it sometime after the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. I've linked the forum post below. The demo really shows again what the 2600 is capable of. 

 

From a technical standpoint could the 5200 actually do a good job at Galaga? I don't know programming or the limitations that the 5200 has to deal with. I also know the 2600 version has been helped with some new tech over the years. Seeing what is possible with the 2600, 7800 and ColecoVision lately makes me wonder about the neglected middle child of Atari. Unfortunately I think the support for this system is so small that getting a version of Galaga would probably never happen even if it was possible on the tech side. 

 

Just wanted to throw this out there. We have Tempest and the awesome Trak-Ball controller so I guess we are lucky to have be gifted with that. 

 

 

 

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I seriously doubt the stock machine could do it - not enough hardware PM/G and from what I have recently seen in the A8 programming forum, you won't get more than 12 soft sprites running in a single frame.

 

I'd sure love to be proven wrong.

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I'm not a believer that every game has to be on every system. I also know that programmers are going to make games they want to make, and sometimes they get sensitive to 'suggestions'. We all have our own wishlist of games. Sometimes it's cool when you see 2600 Mappy and Galaga, it's like 'WOW THAT'S AMAZING!!'. And I think that's almost the point, just to show how amazing something could be done on the 2600. I don't necessarily think that feat needs to be duplicated on every other home console.  

 

Saying that, I enjoy reading discussions on what is technically possible.

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Here is a test for Galaga for the Atari 8-bits - towards the bottom of this page there are 2 tests for it.

I don't know if this test applies to the 5200 also.  Probably I'll guess?  The pic below is not 'IT'.

 

It is the only known example to date - (You can run it via Altirra or whatever other emulator) that has a good go at 'trying' to do it.

I don't know if this programmer will work on it further?  But the source is provided - so it's open to some other programmer to take it further - this particular approach to it.

 

Harvey

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3 minutes ago, Nuclear Pacman said:

I'm not a believer that every game has to be on every system. I also know that programmers are going to make games they want to make, and sometimes they get sensitive to 'suggestions'. We all have our own wishlist of games. Sometimes it's cool when you see 2600 Mappy and Galaga, it's like 'WOW THAT'S AMAZING!!'. And I think that's almost the point, just to show how amazing something could be done on the 2600. I don't necessarily think that feat needs to be duplicated on every other home console.  

 

Saying that, I enjoy reading discussions on what is technically possible.

I'm very much in agreement with you on not needing to see every game on every system. Original games or games that are a little more obscure are things I really enjoy. Take L.E.M. and Star Castle on the 2600 recently. While they have been on other platforms they really didn't make it to a console so I never had a chance to play them before. Real Sport Curling was a surprise. My concentration for this era of gaming has always been on the console side so there are many titles I've never had a chance to experience. 

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43 minutes ago, kiwilove said:

Here is a test for Galaga for the Atari 8-bits - towards the bottom of this page there are 2 tests for it.

I don't know if this test applies to the 5200 also.  Probably I'll guess?  The pic below is not 'IT'.

 

It is the only known example to date - (You can run it via Altirra or whatever other emulator) that has a good go at 'trying' to do it.

I don't know if this programmer will work on it further?  But the source is provided - so it's open to some other programmer to take it further - this particular approach to it.

 

Harvey

Thanks for the link. I've never messed around with A8 emulation so I will give that a shot. Looks like the folks on that thread have been throwing a bunch of ideas around. I don't understand most of the programming stuff they are talking about but it looks like it might be possible with a large amount of work.

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...and from what I have recently seen in the A8 programming forum, you won't get more than 12 soft sprites running in a single frame.
 
I'd sure love to be proven wrong.


Stephen, those tests we're done with horizontal scrolling and parallax.


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3 hours ago, AverageSoftware said:

Don't need Galaga.  Galaxian has always been the better game anyway.

 

Yes, I just went there.

If there was a vote for it - I'll guess it'll be for Galaga to be done - for the A8 hardware.  What's not to love about it?  Any Galaga fan could go on and on...

Galaxian was a good game for it's time - stood out then - but when Galaga appeared - this was a huge leap ahead.

I never saw anything special about Galaxian - whether it be the coin-op or the well done A8 cart.

I was given the cart as a present - BitD - but felt no kind of buzz about it...

Technically it is brilliantly done - but gameplay wise - it had no sort of addiction to it.  Which I could say about other games - Donkey Kong, Defender...

 

Harvey

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8 hours ago, AverageSoftware said:

Don't need Galaga.  Galaxian has always been the better game anyway.

 

Yes, I just went there.

Agreed.

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12 hours ago, MrFish said:

Stephen, those tests we're done with horizontal scrolling and parallax.

The stuff you can do with scrolling tricks is actually pretty amazing and any decent Galaga port is going to make crazy use of this stuff.  I still remember when I was playing Space Invaders and it dawned on me that the alien formation was really just a scrolling background, in effect.  At least I'm pretty sure it is.

 

I'm trying to make use of some these tricks right now in my current project, and although I'm not on the Galaga train, I'd love to see how someone pulls it off.

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1 hour ago, AverageSoftware said:

The stuff you can do with scrolling tricks is actually pretty amazing and any decent Galaga port is going to make crazy use of this stuff.  I still remember when I was playing Space Invaders and it dawned on me that the alien formation was really just a scrolling background, in effect.  At least I'm pretty sure it is.

 

I'm trying to make use of some these tricks right now in my current project, and although I'm not on the Galaga train, I'd love to see how someone pulls it off.

But unlike Space Invaders which is dead simple to scroll because the aliens are essentially static, in Galaga, all the aliens "swell" and contract.  They will not be able to just be static characters until dropping down in formation.  For Galaga to be done properly, every alien will need to move on a per pixel basis, ion any direction, every frame.  So as soon as someone whips up a completely non-restricted softsprite engine capable of doing 40 multi-colour sprites in a single frame, we'll have what we need.

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But unlike Space Invaders which is dead simple to scroll because the aliens are essentially static, in Galaga, all the aliens "swell" and contract.  They will not be able to just be static characters until dropping down in formation.  For Galaga to be done properly, every alien will need to move on a per pixel basis, ion any direction, every frame.  So as soon as someone whips up a completely non-restricted softsprite engine capable of doing 40 multi-colour sprites in a single frame, we'll have what we need.

 

You're starting to sound like emkay now, Stephen. All that isn't needed for a decent version. Obviously, compromises would be necessary. We can't go in looking for 1 to 1, arcade accuracy on a game like this.

 

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30 minutes ago, MrFish said:

You're starting to sound like emkay now, Stephen. All that isn't needed for a decent version. Obviously, compromises would be necessary. We can't go in looking for 1 to 1, arcade accuracy on a game like this.

I knew that comment would come up - I even thought that to myself 🤣  Sorry for being such a stickler about this.  Galaga is by far my favourite arcade game, even beating out Tempest and for me, if the port isn't 100% accurate with regards to speed and enemy movement, it is not worth playing.

 

The Champ Games port for the 2600 is simply stunning, and it obviously makes good use of the extra computing power provided by the Arm processor.  I'd love to see a VBXE version for our machine.

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I knew that comment would come up - I even thought that to myself   Sorry for being such a stickler about this.  Galaga is by far my favourite arcade game, even beating out Tempest and for me, if the port isn't 100% accurate with regards to speed and enemy movement, it is not worth playing.

 

Ok, you're welcome to join team emkay if you like.

 

But, let me ask, how do you feel about the recent version of Time Pilot on the Atari 8-bit computers?

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, MrFish said:

Ok, you're welcome to join team emkay if you like. emoji2537.png emoji16.png

 

But, let me ask, how do you feel about the recent version of Time Pilot on the Atari 8-bit computers?

 

That was a fantastic conversion, but it was a game I have never played in the arcade so I have zero previous interest in it, not did I have any expectations for it.  Same with Bosconian, it was a stunning piece of work for our little machine.  Great game, I love it, and I have demoed it to many many people.  Again - never played it in the arcade, so I am not picky about it.

 

Sorry I am so stubborn on just this one topic, but as I said, I am neurotic level when it comes to Galaga.  I realize my craziness.

 

I will not say a good port could not be done, and I would certainly support any and all efforts of such.  I said in my very first reply "I'd love to be proven wrong".  I'll not add more negativity to this topic as I welcome any new ideas and software.

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That was a fantastic conversion, but it was a game I have never played in the arcade so I have zero previous interest in it, not did I have any expectations for it.  Same with Bosconian, it was a stunning piece of work for our little machine.  Great game, I love it, and I have demoed it to many many people.  Again - never played it in the arcade, so I am not picky about it.

 

I suggest you fire them up in MAME; they're both great arcade games, and their Atari 8-bit versions hold up nicely against the originals.

 

 

 

Sorry I am so stubborn on just this one topic, but as I said, I am neurotic level when it comes to Galaga.  I realize my craziness.

 

I will not say a good port could not be done, and I would certainly support any and all efforts of such.  I said in my very first reply "I'd love to be proven wrong".  I'll not add more negativity to this topic as I welcome any new ideas and software.

 

 

Galaga is a classic; it deserves a worthy port, in both speed and graphics. It would take some testing to see what level of compromises could work and still retain a high enough level of faithfulness to the original. Honestly, that's one of the things that makes working with these old beasts so much fun -- pushing up against the limits.

 

 

 

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Galaga fans would be happy with any kind of derivative Galaga like game - I'll guess.

 

It does look like it'll be very hard work to get a decent conversion of Galaga done - to make an accurate version. So then - you can go the other route - of using the A8 hardware to it's best advantage - to produce a game inspired by Galaga - so that you can drift away from an obvious failed conversion - towards one that looks and plays better - that has similarities to Galaga?  That you can use 'tricks' to make players think there are so many independent sprites present - but actually that is not the case at all.  That there are only 6 or so 'independent' sprites active at the one time.  When they are in formation - there is a trick used, so that they appear like they are independent.

 

Harvey

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On 9/17/2019 at 7:11 PM, AverageSoftware said:

Don't need Galaga.  Galaxian has always been the better game anyway.

 

I think you'll find that you misspelled 'Gaplus' as 'Galaxian' 😜

 

On 9/18/2019 at 3:58 PM, kiwilove said:

It does look like it'll be very hard work to get a decent conversion of Galaga done - to make an accurate version. So then - you can go the other route - of using the A8 hardware to it's best advantage - to produce a game inspired by Galaga - so that you can drift away from an obvious failed conversion - towards one that looks and plays better - that has similarities to Galaga?  That you can use 'tricks' to make players think there are so many independent sprites present - but actually that is not the case at all.  That there are only 6 or so 'independent' sprites active at the one time.  When they are in formation - there is a trick used, so that they appear like they are independent.

 

Part of me agrees with you re: a really good Galaga-inspired game, but part of me also thinks that if you're going to go that far with it, you might as well shoot for the best Galaga port possible.  Time Pilot and Bosconian are excellent examples of what can be achieved in this regard: they're not absolutely 100% perfect ports from the arcade, but they are exceptionally good ports to the 8-bit.

 

Hm, I wonder if the same game engine used for 8-bit Bosconian would also work for Rally-X?  The two were on somewhat different hardware platforms in the arcade versions, but given that the basic game playfield motion and layouts are similar it might be possible.

 

Back to Galaga: the per-line sprite limitations might be able to be worked around with some careful textmode usage as well as 'permissible' flicker on PMG objects, but someone who actually knows about these things might be more appropriate to come up with ideas 😁

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I have been playing around with a Galaga clone. It's on hold for now but when I come back to it next year I will look at the expanding formation. That will be the make or break point for me, if I can do something acceptable I will go ahead with it otherwise I will move onto something else. My aim is to try and do something along the lines of the NES version since I think that is also using playfield for the formation (although it has lots of hardware sprites, too many in a row will flicker). The NES has the advantage that it has more characters available and it isn't spending huge amounts of CPU time drawing software sprites, so I won't be able to match it but hopefully I can do something in a similar vein. Attached is where I'm currently at, pressing 1 or 2 switches between single and double ship.

test5200.bin

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4 hours ago, playsoft said:

I have been playing around with a Galaga clone. It's on hold for now but when I come back to it next year I will look at the expanding formation. That will be the make or break point for me, if I can do something acceptable I will go ahead with it otherwise I will move onto something else. My aim is to try and do something along the lines of the NES version since I think that is also using playfield for the formation (although it has lots of hardware sprites, too many in a row will flicker). The NES has the advantage that it has more characters available and it isn't spending huge amounts of CPU time drawing software sprites, so I won't be able to match it but hopefully I can do something in a similar vein. Attached is where I'm currently at, pressing 1 or 2 switches between single and double ship.

test5200.bin 32 kB · 5 downloads

This is SO impressive. The 5200 and A8s never saw their full potential. While the 7800 version didn't tap the true potential of that machine, this blows that version away in terms of smoothness. The star field doesn't look like huge, white periods. The patterns, although preliminary, are more accurate. Of course the sound has potential to be even better. It great to finally see a proof of concept. Thanks for sharing this. ;)

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On 9/17/2019 at 5:11 PM, AverageSoftware said:

Don't need Galaga.  Galaxian has always been the better game anyway.

 

Yes, I just went there.

 

Hahaha, I'd have to agree in terms of I never got the hype of Galaga back in the day, I would much much rather have Moon Cresta or Space Firebird on the 5200.  On the other hand, Galaga is one of those standards that sort of should be on every console, it was such a well-known game, like requiring a home console to have a version of Pac-Man or Asteroids or Donkey Kong in order to be "legitimate".

 

Sounds like Galaga is way harder to code than it looks, since it looks like just a variation on Galaxian.  I agree that Bosconian and Rally-X seem to play very similar such that if one is possible then the other should be, too.  I'm still baffled that Marble Madness isn't on the 5200.

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It's so nice to see such a well executed WIP that replicates a lot of the coin-op so closely.  The non-coders will have to marvel at what was done to achieve this?

It is just great to see something you never expected to see running - running.

 

Harvey

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8 hours ago, playsoft said:

I have been playing around with a Galaga clone. It's on hold for now but when I come back to it next year I will look at the expanding formation. That will be the make or break point for me, if I can do something acceptable I will go ahead with it otherwise I will move onto something else. My aim is to try and do something along the lines of the NES version since I think that is also using playfield for the formation (although it has lots of hardware sprites, too many in a row will flicker). The NES has the advantage that it has more characters available and it isn't spending huge amounts of CPU time drawing software sprites, so I won't be able to match it but hopefully I can do something in a similar vein. Attached is where I'm currently at, pressing 1 or 2 switches between single and double ship.

test5200.bin 32 kB · 7 downloads

WOW!  So I will have to eat crow and take back everything I said about Galaga not being possible (or worth converting) to the 8-bits.  This is one fine piece of soft-sprite code!

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Wow.  This is one of those things where I just have to try to figure out what's going on.

 

I'm guessing the starfield is done with two missiles.  The enemies appear to all be playfield, and the player ships might be all four player objects.  I reckon the player's shots are also using the players, and the enemy shots use the other missiles.  Is that about right?

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