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Dutchman2000

Kickman for 2600 found and RELEASED!!

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11 hours ago, Dutchman2000 said:

No, as that did not work at all. 

I logged into this account for the first time in ages to ask you to please reconsider this. There's nothing wrong with preserving the unmodified game data, as long as it's made clear that the game won't work without proper fixes. Lots of console dumpers do this, there's no reason to hold back on releasing the original dump.

 

Plus, emulators can be tuned to run the original game data by applying the needed fixes on the fly, can't they?

Edited by Kitsune Sniper

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3 hours ago, Kitsune Sniper said:

I logged into this account for the first time in ages to ask you to please reconsider this. There's nothing wrong with preserving the unmodified game data, as long as it's made clear that the game won't work without proper fixes. Lots of console dumpers do this, there's no reason to hold back on releasing the original dump.

Like I said above, only 2 bytes (0, 0 @$fee) had to be removed.

 

3 hours ago, Kitsune Sniper said:

Plus, emulators can be tuned to run the original game data by applying the needed fixes on the fly, can't they?

Yes, but IMO it makes no sense here. 

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So does the date stamp mean August 1, 1982 or January 8, 1982? As far as I know, the otherwise only known home version of Kick Man started off on the MAX Machine. According to an internal memo from May 24, 1982 it was planed to be ready by July/August. The MAX Machine itself had fabrication issues and wasn't launched (in Japan) until December or even January 1983. I've seen other documents about how Commodore made agreements with Bally, but I don't remember how exclusive those were, compare Atari's deals with Namco, Nintendo etc about being exclusive on home versions of arcade games. What I'm trying to imply is that perhaps Commodore had established an exclusive deal about Kick Man, which was yet another reason for CBS to not pursue publishing it, if this playable "release candidate" is dated August 1982.

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5 minutes ago, carlsson said:

So does the date stamp mean August 1, 1982 or January 8, 1982? 

The latter.

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Ok, makes more sense and might predate the Commodore-Bally agreement whether it pays any importance for the likelihood of publishing the 2600 game.

 

However the arcade game is said to have been released in December 1981, which means the 2600 game was developed in about a month after the arcade game was made public. I don't know how much sooner Kick Man was known to be in development, but any earlier would mean that CBS was in deep contact with Midway (I just learned that the Bally/Midway label was not used until 1982) to prepare a home version of an upcoming arcade game.

Edited by carlsson

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Many thanks for sharing this!

 

Where does this come from? Given the odd size of the binary, I guess it has not actually been "dumped" from a chip, but that it was a file archived somewhere?
The lack of start vectors makes me think it was supposed to run in some kind of development system.

 

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I can see this from both perspectives. On the one hand, preserving the original data of any proto, in its true unmodified state, is always important in any & every circumstance. But on the other hand, if it’s completely unplayable, as in, not even bootable, then its kind of useless in that state. So I understand why he modified it & truthfully without him having done so, we wouldn’t have anything to play anyhow. (beggars can’t be choosers)

 

And granted, I’m sure some of the other programmers around here can & will eventually take a crack at it & see if they can modify it differently whereas to correct the unstable title screen & re-enable the “balloon explosion”? (which is what still confuses me & remains unanswered btw?)

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Sorry, missed your questions.

11 hours ago, Supergun said:

Could anything have been done about the title screen rolling? (within the 4kb limitations) I mean, that’s a pretty relevant quality control issue. 

Well, heck, can anything be done about that now for that matter? 

There currently is an empty, 120 lines loop. Increasing it by ~30 would fix the issue. I suppose that area was planned for some kind of title graphics. I suppose, since it is a still rather early WIP, nobody back then cared for.

 

11 hours ago, Supergun said:

And when you mentioned earlier removing code from the balloon explosion; does that mean it alters (visually) those graphics / animation?

Yes, if you watch closely, there are sometimes(!) a few stay pixel at the bottom at the end of the balloon hitting ground explosion.

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6 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Sorry, missed your questions.

There currently is an empty, 120 lines loop. Increasing it by ~30 would fix the issue. I suppose that area was planned for some kind of title graphics. I suppose, since it is a still rather early WIP, nobody back then cared for.

I thought this was the final version?  

 

7 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Yes, if you watch closely, there are sometimes(!) a few stay pixel at the bottom at the end of the balloon hitting ground explosion.

So that part was a bug that you fixed?

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2 minutes ago, Tempest said:

I thought this was the final version?  

IMO definitely not. More like 50% or so. What made you think so?

 

I am pretty sure this game would have been extended to 8 KB. Or it was cancelled because it did not fit into 4 KB.

 

2 minutes ago, Tempest said:

So that part was a bug that you fixed?

Yes, I had to get two bytes from somewhere in the last page. It was minimal invasive, but there are of course many different and better ways to fix it.

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I finally got to play the game for the first time this morning, (ntsc CRT TV with coax connection / stock ntsc 2600 console / harmony cart), and I didn’t have any “rolling issues” whatsoever? There is no “title screen”    per say, but yes, I can see where perhaps the text with the title might appear on the opening screen prior to hitting reset.

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Is anything within the rom data indicative of possible text or graphics of a title screen?

 

Gorf and Wizard of Wor are the only official CBS releases that were 4k,  and neither of them had title screens. So it would seem highly unlikely that if a title screen had been implemented, the Kick Man rom would have remained at only 4k.

 

So they could have either had a programmer “quick fix” the minor problems with this rom & released it as is. Or they could have upgraded to 8k, and implemented more features such as a title screen.

 

My guess as to why it may not have been released however has nothing to do with the above. I only had to play this for 5 minutes to realize & understand what was most likely the death of this game.

 

In a word, PAC-Man.

 

Pac Man and Ghosts are in this game. (And btw the sprite of the ghost looks identical to the ms.pac ghost)

 

Atari was extremely possessive of their exclusive home video game rights to Pac-Man. And they aggressively pursued violations, such as K.C. Munchkin, Jaw Breaker, etc.  (also why Astrocade Munchie / Muncher was axed)

 

In addition, Atari themselves couldn’t even use the Namco Galaxian ship as a fruit icon in their own ports and had to replace it with the Atari logo. (even with them having had the Galaxian rights as well!) So what chance in hell would CBS of had putting those in this game?

 

Granted, CBS had a clear relationship with Bally/Midway with regards to the majority of their game licenses, especially with regards to Galaxian used in Gorf, but this one may have been a bit too much to fight.

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This game was originally developed on an Atari 800 computer using the Atari Editor Assembler cart.  No cartridge was found but I did find a disk containing the source code.

I converted the code to compile with DASM, which required a lot of editing.    The resulting code compiled, but the game would not work.  So I turned to my friend Thomas, who knows more about compiling 2600 code then I do.

He was able to get it to work and I released it for all to enjoy.  

image0.jpeg

atari000.png

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5 minutes ago, Supergun said:

In a word, PAC-Man.

 

Pac Man and Ghosts are in this game. (And btw the sprite of the ghost looks identical to the ms.pac ghost)

 

Atari was extremely possessive of their exclusive home video game rights to Pac-Man. And they aggressively pursued violations, such as K.C. Munchkin, Jaw Breaker, etc.  (also why Astrocade Munchie / Muncher was axed)

How did the arcade version get away then?

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Since Bally/Midway distributed Pac-Man overseas, I suppose they somehow had (or "stole") the rights to reuse the Pac-Man character. Regarding the home versions, Michael Tomczyk a while ago posted on Facebook how Commodore had negotiated a licensing deal with Bally/Midway which included all their games except Pac-Man. On the Japanese market, Commodore sold a licensed version of Pac-Man for the VIC-1001 but due to Atari held the worldwide rights outside of Japan, Commodore had to rename it Jelly Monsters for the VIC-20. Jack Tramiel was thinking ahead and set aside royalities from the sales of that game (about 1 million according to Michael), and knew that once Atari would object, Jack would offer them royalties as a settlement (and I presume quietly pulling Jelly Monsters from the market while remaking it to look less like Pac-Man). Due to Commodore had a deal with Bally, they were unlikely to join a lawsuit from Atari's side. Now I don't know if any of the others like e.g. Magnavox ever were touched by Bally/Midway anyway or if it solely was Atari's doings. Also as you mentioned the Bally Astrocade Munchie/Muncher, it also reduces the importance of Bally over Atari.

 

But yes, Kick Man on the MAX/C64 has the Pac-Man character too and I can't recall ever Namco nor Atari throwing a lawsuit on them for that.

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, pedgarcia said:

Out of curiosity, how did you guys got the ROM file?

 

Cheers

 

The disk was found in the archive of a retired programmer who has graciously allowed me access to it.  

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2 hours ago, Dutchman2000 said:

This game was originally developed on an Atari 800 computer using the Atari Editor Assembler cart.  No cartridge was found but I did find a disk containing the source code.

I converted the code to compile with DASM, which required a lot of editing.    The resulting code compiled, but the game would not work.  So I turned to my friend Thomas, who knows more about compiling 2600 code then I do.

He was able to get it to work and I released it for all to enjoy.  

 

Are there any plans to release the original or "corrected" source code?  They could prove interesting from a historical / preservation perspective.

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41 minutes ago, awhite2600 said:

Are there any plans to release the original or "corrected" source code?  They could prove interesting from a historical / preservation perspective.

At this time the owner of the archive doesn't want any of the source code released. 

Edited by Dutchman2000

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On 10/21/2019 at 9:06 AM, Thomas Jentzsch said:

The 'unmassaged' ROM was 4094 bytes long and missed the startup vectors. So I removed two bytes from the explosion when the balloon hits the floor and added the missing 4 bytes.

I found similar faults with the reset vector in some of Alex's other games.

 

 

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