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Dragon's Cache - Vs. Puzzle Drop Game [WIP] - First Beta Released!

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Are you using a topscreenroutine with temp variables, or any of your game variables?

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I've used almost every EMU under the Sun-except 7800!

Looks like I'll have to look into it, if this is as "quality" as Dragon's Descent, it HAS to be good!!!

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16 hours ago, SmittyB said:

Are you using double buffering? This reminds me of an issue I had where occasionally 7800BASIC would need to jump out of a subroutine to run all of the usual things it does each frame, but once it returned to my routine it had changed a few temp variables I was using.

I am using double buffering - the game kinda needs it, and learning to use the double buffer was one of the reasons (not a big one, but one nonetheless) I started this project...it's very handy but you need to be careful with it :)

10 hours ago, RevEng said:

Are you using a topscreenroutine with temp variables, or any of your game variables?

I am not - I'm trying to avoid the explicit temp variables - although I do allocate my own, usually using the alphabet vars including the ones that the music tracker uses oh that's almost certainly the problem let me give this another series of tests....:P

 

[EDIT:] That's what I get for adding the music tracker later - I forgot it used some vars that I had already been using.  I'm doing a few other things as well, but I'll try and post again soon - it's a glitch that seems to be rare or needs to be forcefully activated most of the time, so hopefully it shouldn't be a huge deal for the time being...

 

[EDITING THE EDIT:] Hm, still seems to happen sometimes (button mashing the music or gem options while moving left/right), although the previous stuff should help some things.  I'll keep testing...

 

With the music track in, I know the variables i, k and t are used, and I'm not using the temp0-temp9, any other sections of RAM I should be wary of?  I'm using most of the vars up through 99, and $2400-$2600 or so are used for the gem/tile buffers.

 

 

Edited by Revontuli

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Can somebody do a video of this game please. I am away from my 7800 in house 2 till June.. Hmmm how about...

TREBOR!!! 😛

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2 hours ago, Revontuli said:

With the music track in, I know the variables i, k and t are used, and I'm not using the temp0-temp9, any other sections of RAM I should be wary of?  I'm using most of the vars up through 99, and $2400-$2600 or so are used for the gem/tile buffers.

All of the a-z, var0-var99, and $2400-$27FF memory is owned by you, and 7800basic doesn't ever touch any of that.

 

Anything else is off limits, and potentially problematic.

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2 hours ago, Jinks said:

Can somebody do a video of this game please. I am away from my 7800 in house 2 till June.. Hmmm how about...

TREBOR!!! 😛

😉

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Label contest should be started for this one, I can already see myself wasting hours of my life with it.

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On 2/12/2020 at 8:39 AM, SlidellMan said:

I managed to beat the "Race to 10,000 points" mode.

Awesome!  About how long did it take?  I might be readjusting some of the race "lengths" - the lower ones on the scale depend a lot on luck, and are really close together.

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I spent this last week doing some tests, but it doesn't look like a CPU opponent is in the cards for Dragon's Cache, my apologies.   Even in the best of circumstances a CPU opponent is not a simple feature to add to a game - it's kind of the difference between making a chess set versus making a robot to play chess with you :P

 

While I agree a CPU opponent would be really cool, the tests I've done already take too much processing power, and my barely-functional dummy CPU is currently a huge pushover.  This "AI" actually gets easier to beat with more gem types, and even under optimal conditions is a terrible player (and drags the framerate to a halt - taking several seconds to decide where to drop if it does more than simply drop gems in lowest spot).  

 

To put things in perspective, calculating the gem-breaking combo system on its own was tricky enough to do in realtime on the 7800, and a good CPU opponent has to do the equivalent amount of calculations several times over (figuring out the possible consequences of any number of possible "moves," even without taking into account the possible knowledge of the "next" set of gems), which is a lot to ask of an early 8-bit console while keeping things in real time.

 

In my defense, -very- few puzzle drop games had a CPU opponent in the 8-bit era, and when they did it was very late in the era.  The original Tetris on the NES and GameBoy didn't have one, nor did the original (16-bit!) Sega Genesis Columns.  On the NES I couldn't find much until titles like Tetris 2, and that game didn't come out until 1993 (which was in the later stages of the system, and well into the 16-bit era).

 

I hate to disappoint, but I hope the other variety of modes in Dragon's Cache prove engaging, even with a single player.  I'm aiming to do more polish and bug-testing on the game (and adding in some other fun, if simpler features), but I also have other projects in mind for the future.  Part of this project was to try and have me get in the habit of -finishing- a project, and there are several other games I'm developing that need finishing!

Edited by Revontuli

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Latest build: DragonsCache_2_14_2020.bas.a78

 

Nothing too drastic, but I hopefully got the menu glitch taken care of (or at least harder to invoke).  

 

As with Dragon's Descent, anyone who can test on authentic 7800's are encouraged to try and see how Dragon's Cache plays - I still don't have any good way to test on hardware at the moment, so any help is greatly appreciated!

 

I'll try and get some friends of mine playing the Battle mode this weekend...

Edited by Revontuli
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57 minutes ago, SlidellMan said:

Over 30:00 to be honest. Next time, I'll take a screenshot.

Good to know - the game in that mode and setting is meant to be a marathon, while other modes are currently relatively short, time-wise.  Battle Mode and even the Scoring modes seem to be shorter than an equivalent game in Tetris or Columns, it feels like.  Not necessarily good or bad, but it's good to get a sense of how folks are playing.

 

Score chains can really up your points - With 4 Gem Types I purposefully fill up the board a bit so I can get some combos, even by chance or luck.  That's harder to do with the 5/6 Gem type modes, of course...

 

Thanks again for playing!

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Whew!  Played a few rounds of Battle Mode with a friend in a proper 2-player setting.  I found a few bugs from several play sessions.  I'll post here and in the original post:

 

-Under certain circumstances, battle-blocks turn into solid unbreakable blocks (which should normally just appear on the bottom rows after a fully charged attack by your opponent).

-The Title menu glitched out again after playing several games and returning, and then trying to adjust the number of gems.  

 

I'll be trying to fix these bugs, but I'm still looking at when/how they happen.  If anyone wants to try playing the 2-player battle mode with someone, any feedback would be appreciated-That mode needs some stress testing!

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On 2/15/2020 at 1:46 AM, Revontuli said:

I still don't have any good way to test on hardware at the moment, so any help is greatly appreciated!

I'd really like to help and testplay this awesome looking game on my 7800.

I have an EPROM-Cartridge for 48K games but I only have a PAL machine as I'm living in Germany.

So my question is now: Is this game already PAL compatible? 

And is anyone able to convert this a78-file into a bin-file? (Unfortunately I don't know how to do that)

 

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3 hours ago, ongikong said:

I'd really like to help and testplay this awesome looking game on my 7800.

I have an EPROM-Cartridge for 48K games but I only have a PAL machine as I'm living in Germany.

So my question is now: Is this game already PAL compatible? 

And is anyone able to convert this a78-file into a bin-file? (Unfortunately I don't know how to do that)

 

It's made in 7800basic, so the game automatically has the display requirements for PAL machines built-in. (ie. extra Display Lists for the larger number of scanlines that PAL machines display)

 

The difference between an A78 file and BIN file, is the A78 file has an extra 128 byte header added to the start of it. So to convert to BIN, you could strip off the first 128 bytes. Or there's a "7800header" utility in the 7800AsmDevKit which can add, modify, or remove headers. It's a command-line utility, but it works in Windows to drag-and-drop an A78 file onto it and then just type-in commands from the displayed menu.

 

I'll let Reventuli respond with his bin file. It would be better if his software was in his posts, so he can edit them as desired.

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5 hours ago, RevEng said:

I'll let Reventuli respond with his bin file. It would be better if his software was in his posts, so he can edit them as desired.

Thanks!  I'll post my .bin here and in the original post - I think it should work.  7800Basic outputs it along with the .a78:

 

DragonsCache_2_15_2020.bas.bin

 

I quickly ran the game in PAL mode in MAME - the game runs a little slower (although still playable, I think it's the PAL/NTSC frame rate differences).  The colors are, as expected, a little different but not totally off or clashing, at least on my computer.

Edited by Revontuli
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Great! Thanks for the bin-files! I am away with my family until tuesday.

But i will definitely test the game on my 7800 by mid/end of next week.

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