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Dutchman2000

Pursuit of the Pink Panther ROM Released!!

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3 hours ago, Tempest said:

Let me know if anyone finds any differences between this rom and the one I reviewed.  They *should* be the same, but who knows?

 

http://www.atariprotos.com/2600/software/pinkpanther/pinkpanther.htm

Well, if you got both roms you could compare them yourself. Just google binary file compare with the command line.

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10 hours ago, Tempest said:

Let me know if anyone finds any differences between this rom and the one I reviewed.  They *should* be the same, but who knows?

 

http://www.atariprotos.com/2600/software/pinkpanther/pinkpanther.htm

Perhaps its just me but this one seemed a little harder than the one I played but then again perhaps it is just my memory playing tricks on me as it has been a while.

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4 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

I am very sure the ROMs play 100% identical.

They're both supposedly the final versions so they should.

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The most difficult part is the first screen waiting to collect the bricks. I've rarely been able to do this without loosing at least one life due to the timer running out. I've not been successful at jumping the gaps to land on the small parts of the ground so I just wonder back and forth on the largest section and collect the bricks that the inspector drops over that part. So if anything the jumping seems a bit off. If you hadn't noticed, you can also jump like you do in Smurfs by pressing up a second time on the controller.

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I doubt the current initial state of the platform is the final version. Almost all the gaps are towards the right and out of reach for the player. I suppose the gaps would be more evenly space then. Though this may result into problems with the odd jumping.

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14 hours ago, Dutchman2000 said:

Looks like the UNO cart is going to add support for this game.  Can Harmony be far behind?

After that it would be nice to see a hack of this where the fire button is the jump instead of up!

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14 hours ago, Dutchman2000 said:

Looks like the UNO cart is going to add support for this game.  Can Harmony be far behind?

Done

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1 hour ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

I doubt the current initial state of the platform is the final version. Almost all the gaps are towards the right and out of reach for the player. I suppose the gaps would be more evenly space then. Though this may result into problems with the odd jumping.

I don't know, I think it's final to be honest.  There's even a sample prototype label out there.  Then again I can't be 100% sure.

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20 minutes ago, batari said:

Harmony binary. Let me know how this works.

Pink_panther_harmony.bin 32 kB · 3 downloads

Thanks for posting.

BTW: I think we got slices #2 and #3 swapped during dumping (current #2 is executed in 0xc00..0xfff, #3 in 0x800..0xbff). Would that makes sense from hardware perspective?

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5 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Thanks for posting.

BTW: I think we got slices #2 and #3 swapped during dumping (current #2 is executed in 0xc00..0xfff, #3 in 0x800..0xbff). Would that makes sense from hardware perspective?

I don't know, as I see no logic at all to the bank organization. The PP banking scheme makes little sense to me and the underlying hardware supporting it is equally weird, and the 3-cycle delay for bankswitching is also strange. The game chip appears to be on an ASIC, which is curious, or if not an ASIC, what is the chip exactly? I heard a rumor that the reason this game was never released was because of the unavailability of the hardware which makes me wonder what exactly they did?

 

 

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Agreed. The logic is complex. But with 2 and 3 swapped it looks a bit better. And if you organize them in groups of 4, there is some pattern to spot:

 

The middle 2 hot spots always cover all 8 slices and the first hotspot doubles slice 0. The latter allows accessing the first 128 bytes of the ROM mapped to the 2nd segment. Only the 4th hotspot seems pretty random.

 

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if the scheme was planned to support 16K ROMs. 

 

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2 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Only the 4th hotspot seems pretty random.

Or not. For 0x33 and 0x33b and via 2nd segment, it allows access to the first 128 bytes of slice 4. So it has the same function as the 1st segment for slice 0.

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On 10/12/2019 at 8:16 AM, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Thanks for the compliments. With today's knowledge and equipment, it wasn't all that hard anymore.

 

This is how you do it:

  1. Put a SaveKey (or AtariVox) into the right port of your Atari 2600
  2. Start a cart (e.g. Harmony) with my RAM based dumper program (especially tailored to the PP bankswitching) loaded
  3. Hot swap the cart with the PP cart (since my program is running in RAM, it will continue to work)
  4. Press fire (this dumps the ROM onto the SaveKey)
  5. Attach a 2600-daptor II flashed with the AtariVox firmware to your Windows PC
  6. Attach the SaveKey to the 2600-daptor
  7. Use the EEPROM utility from the same page to download the SaveKey content onto your computer
  8. Finally convert the downloaded data into a working ROM
  9. Release! :)

So no rocket science. With the right, currently easily available hard- and software everybody can dump a cart. And for the other steps I can help.

That's really clever! I never would have thought about using a RAM-based dumper and storing it on a SaveKey.

 

Steps 2 and 8 are kind of a mystery to me: How did you know what bankswitching scheme PP was using? And if that bankswitching scheme was unknown until now, how do you get Stella to understand and run it?

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Just an FYI to those that don't realize.  You can press Fire to extend PP's tail, and when he catches a brick that way, it doubles the points (from 100 to 200).

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10 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

The most difficult part is the first screen waiting to collect the bricks. I've rarely been able to do this without loosing at least one life due to the timer running out. I've not been successful at jumping the gaps to land on the small parts of the ground so I just wonder back and forth on the largest section and collect the bricks that the inspector drops over that part. So if anything the jumping seems a bit off. If you hadn't noticed, you can also jump like you do in Smurfs by pressing up a second time on the controller.

I have found jumping seemingly broken. The only “good” way seems to be to press up twice in quick succession. The first time pp pointlessly jumps straight up and the second time some fixed distance in the direction he is facing. 

 

Also, another hint is you can walk into a small gap if you catch a brick that fills the gap at the the same time. 

 

As as far as being finished, the randomness of the second stage makes me doubt it or the vigilance of the designer/programmer. 

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You can calibrate three types of jumps: straight up, small forward jump (by walking forward and jumping), and large forward jump (by jumping straight up twice). It's a bit like Smurfs that way.

 

Great tip on using the tail to catch bricks. I was wondering what that tail flourish was for!

 

What do the difficulty switches and game variations do? (Does game #2 equal the second loop of game #1 in difficulty, and game #4 the fourth loop?)

 

I know the game gets harder after the first loop -- does it continue getting tougher forever, or does it hit a ceiling?

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1 hour ago, thegoldenband said:

You can calibrate three types of jumps: straight up, small forward jump (by walking forward and jumping), and large forward jump (by jumping straight up twice). It's a bit like Smurfs that way.

 

Great tip on using the tail to catch bricks. I was wondering what that tail flourish was for!

 

What do the difficulty switches and game variations do? (Does game #2 equal the second loop of game #1 in difficulty, and game #4 the fourth loop?)

 

I know the game gets harder after the first loop -- does it continue getting tougher forever, or does it hit a ceiling?

The small jump lands me in the water with no jump at all 4 out of five times...and I've had this game for a couple years. Well, maybe three out of five times.

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7 hours ago, Dionoid said:

Steps 2 and 8 are kind of a mystery to me: How did you know what bankswitching scheme PP was using? And if that bankswitching scheme was unknown until now, how do you get Stella to understand and run it?

I was able to build up on the findings of other people. The PP cart was known for quite some time and even repros have been released. So the bankswitching scheme was well known and even implemented and documented in Stella already. 

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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