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Revontuli

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

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Posted (edited)

"Revontuli", some minutes ago, i found out that from "Dragon's Cache" version "5_30_2020" on, this highscore problem in BupSystem (i use v0.9.6.3 at the moment) is gone.

 

While version "5_24_2020" has it, which can easily been seen, cause the color-cycle in the highscore-font is not there when in this screen and then the game hangs, it works flawlessly in the the two later versions (5_30 and 5_31). The game goes back from the highscore screen now by itself after some seconds and i can also go back to the menue-screen at once, when pressing a controller-button.

 

Seems like this is solved now. What have you changed in "v5_30", because you have nothing written about it? Or is it a coincidence that this is fixed now and in v5_24 simply was a kind of bug, that was then overwritten with new code in the later versions of the game?

 

Only one last question to the highscore. I never had a real Atari-7800 so i don't know this - had the original cartridges for this console a battery for saving highscores or for example, reached levels in a game that the player later could go on from this point again in gameplay when starting the game new? I ask, because the highscore in "Dragon's Cache" is gone, every time i close the game in BupSystem and start it again later. Is this the normal behaviour or should the score really be saved and always visible after turning off and on the console again?

Edited by AW127

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When you finish a training game it is stuck at game over.. select reset and buttons do nothing..

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, AW127 said:

Seems like this is solved now. What have you changed in "v5_30", because you have nothing written about it? Or is it a coincidence that this is fixed now and in v5_24 simply was a kind of bug, that was then overwritten with new code in the later versions of the game?

I don't think I did anything directly - I've mainly been looking at battle mode and adjusting drop speeds.  I have been playing with how the title screen transitions to the high score menu, but I think that hasn't been changed since the 5/24 build.

 

The Atari 7800 can’t save scores without some sort of peripheral like the Save Cart or AtariVox, so your scores are gone when you turn off the machine by default.  This is common across most consoles, and was a frustration that I remember well into the days of 16 bits...

4 hours ago, Jinks said:

When you finish a training game it is stuck at game over.. select reset and buttons do nothing..

Is this using an emulator (and if so, which one?) or on a physical 7800?

 

I still need to do more testing, especially with 2-player modes, but feedback like this is good and necessary!

Edited by Revontuli

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14 hours ago, Jinks said:

Real 7800. One player. Training. 

If you don't mind, I'll PM you with some more questions - I'd love to track this down and see that the issue is.  Does this happen in other modes, or just training?

 

Also, if anyone else can play on a 7800, see if the game freezes when you finish a game in 1-Player training mode...

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Revontuli said:

I don't think I did anything directly - I've mainly been looking at battle mode and adjusting drop speeds.  I have been playing with how the title screen transitions to the high score menu, but I think that hasn't been changed since the 5/24 build.

 

Hm, really strange, but you can try it by yourself with the BupSystem emulator and see it. Game hangs in highscreen-mode and even the color-effects are not there with version 5/24, but works like it should in 5/30 and 5/31 with exactly the same version of the emulator. Something must have caused it and is gone, it seems.  :)  I'm curious what comes out from the tests of real console owners here.

 

21 hours ago, Jinks said:

When you finish a training game it is stuck at game over.. select reset and buttons do nothing..

 

This problem in turn, exists not in the emulator. *lol* Works normally here after a training-match. Funny, everwhere different behaviour with this game. But like the game reacts on the real console is the benchmark. If it reacts the same on all real Atari-7800, this will be the next thing, i'm curious about. We will see.

Edited by AW127

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With some testing it looks like the game is glitching on at least one physical 7800.  Does anyone with a physical 7800 have the problem of the game freezing on a game over, particularly after a session in Training or Racing Mode?

 

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50 minutes ago, Revontuli said:

Does anyone with a physical 7800 have the problem of the game freezing on a game over, particularly after a session in Training or Racing Mode?

Looks like the game froze when I intentionally game over'd on Training and when I successfully completed a round of Racing.  I had to turn off my 7800.  No exiting from the screen any other way.  Is this what you're referring to?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, KevinMos3 said:

Looks like the game froze when I intentionally game over'd on Training and when I successfully completed a round of Racing.  I had to turn off my 7800.  No exiting from the screen any other way.  Is this what you're referring to?

Yes!  There should be a menu, with Retry/Title (or Rematch/Title in 2 player mode).  I'm posting a build with the high score stuff removed.  I don't think it has any direct reason to effect things, but it's a bit of a wildcard right now.  I'm also looking at game logic, but since it seems to work on emulators, I'm flying blind without some other folks testing.  

 

This could take some work - testing is annoying and tricky.  It's one reason I can get a 90% of a game working in a few weeks, but it still takes a few months before I feel comfortable with a cartridge build.

 

I'm asking for help on this, if anyone can play a 7800 try and see what happens when you get a game over on any mode, but with Racing and Training mode in particular.

 

Here are the test builds, which have High Scores removed, but should otherwise be the same as the previous build:

DragonsCache_5_31_2020_NoScore.bas.a78

DragonsCache_5_31_2020_NoScore.bas.bin

 

Questions I have for anyone testing, on this build, or the previous one:

 

Does the game crash in Training or Racing Modes (both 1 and 2 player)?

Does the game -work- in Scoring Modes (both 1 and 2 player)?

Less important on this "No Score" build, but does the title screen cycle to the high score board and back the title screen properly?  The high scores should show up if the title screen is idle for several seconds (roughly 3-4 color changes on the dragon pillars that frame the screen).  Does this occur, or does something else happen at any point?

Edited by Revontuli

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1 hour ago, Revontuli said:

Does the game crash in Training or Racing Modes (both 1 and 2 player)?

This build seems to work fine for 1 player in Training and Racing modes.  I haven't been able to test 2 player yet.

 

1 hour ago, Revontuli said:

Does the game -work- in Scoring Modes (both 1 and 2 player)?

Same here.  This one works fine for 1 player in Scoring mode.

 

1 hour ago, Revontuli said:

Less important on this "No Score" build, but does the title screen cycle to the high score board and back the title screen properly?  The high scores should show up if the title screen is idle for several seconds (roughly 3-4 color changes on the dragon pillars that frame the screen).  Does this occur, or does something else happen at any point?

No high score screen in this build when idle on title.  It stays on the title screen with pillars color cycling.

 

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10 hours ago, KevinMos3 said:

This build seems to work fine for 1 player in Training and Racing modes.  I haven't been able to test 2 player yet.

OK - it looks like something is associated with the way I'm either doing the high score system, or how I'm switching around the menus.  I'm planning on posting a few builds pretty soon, where I gradually add back in the code I took out, and see if I can narrow down where the problem is.  I realize this isn't the most efficient way to debug, but I appreciate the help folks have been giving me - thanks!

 

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Posted (edited)

In this build I've tried including the high score code, but do not call it directly - I'm curious to see if it has the same behavior as previous builds:

 

DragonsCache_6_3_2020_Test1.bas.a78

DragonsCache_6_3_2020_Test1.bas.bin

 

[EDIT] : Just to make sure, in the older builds (like 5_31), did the high score board and the scoring mode game over/retry menus work properly, even if the battle/training/racing modes did not?

 

Edited by Revontuli

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Another build meant to specifically test something about the menu.  THIS IS NOT MEANT FOR A NORMAL GAMEPLAY

 

This always directs you to the high score menu, whether you're in scoring mode or not.  WARNING This can really screw up your scores, especially in training mode, where it will give you a near-max score, which shows up as a the power meter!  Don't get too attached to the scores on this build, and/or REMOVE ANY SAVE PERIPHERALS for this SPECIFIC build (it shouldn't fry anything, but will give you the "power meter" values on the leaderboard, which are technically waaaay more than someone could possibly get in gameplay).

 

I'm doing this to see if the game still hangs, or if it goes the score screen and then to the retry/title menu.  This is not a "fix" of the other test versions.  Folks testing the game should try the previous (6_3 and 5_31) builds as well if they want to give me feedback.

 

DragonsCache_6_4_2020_test2.bas.a78

DragonsCache_6_4_2020_test2.bas.bin

 

I appreciate folks' help on this - this the primary reason I'm hoping for some kind of SD Cart coming back - it's hard to test otherwise!

 

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18 hours ago, Revontuli said:

In this build I've tried including the high score code, but do not call it directly - I'm curious to see if it has the same behavior as previous builds:

 

[EDIT] : Just to make sure, in the older builds (like 5_31), did the high score board and the scoring mode game over/retry menus work properly, even if the battle/training/racing modes did not?

This one did not freeze, but it did not go to the high score screen when left on the title screen either.

Just saw your latest test.  I'll give that a try now.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Revontuli said:

This always directs you to the high score menu, whether you're in scoring mode or not.  WARNING This can really screw up your scores, especially in training mode, where it will give you a near-max score, which shows up as a the power meter!  Don't get too attached to the scores on this build, and/or REMOVE ANY SAVE PERIPHERALS for this SPECIFIC build (it shouldn't fry anything, but will give you the "power meter" values on the leaderboard, which are technically waaaay more than someone could possibly get in gameplay).

 

Ok, this one seems to behave like you're expecting it to.  The title screen and high score screen cycle.  I go to the score entry screen when getting a game over on all modes and then get the option to retry or go to title.

Edited by KevinMos3
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6 hours ago, KevinMos3 said:

Ok, this one seems to behave like you're expecting it to.  The title screen and high score screen cycle.  I go to the score entry screen when getting a game over on all modes and then get the option to retry or go to title.

If that's the case, then it -might- be a case of me know going from double buffer->single buffer->double buffer again properly.  I tried adjusting some things, but it's hard to tell if this will work:

 

DragonsCache_6_4_2020_test3.bas.a78

DragonsCache_6_4_2020_test3.bas.bin

 

Thanks for testing!  If you (or anyone else, the more testers the better) can try this build and let me know how it works.  I'm trying to get things ready for a proper cartridge release pretty soon if I can, but ideally I want to stress test this game as much as possible before then!

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"Test 3" ROM behavior under real hardware courtesy of CPUWIZ's MCP DevCart:

 

Power On - don't touch anything:
12 seconds - Title screen.
06 seconds - "FOUR GEMS" high score screen.

(Constant rotation)


Increase gems to five:
12 seconds - Title screen.
06 seconds - "FIVE GEMS" high score screen.

(Constant rotation)


Increase gems to six:
12 seconds - Title screen.
06 seconds - "SIX GEMS" high score screen.

(Constant rotation)

 

In Game:
SCORING (4 GEMS) - Entered High Score - Select TITLE - Works perfect.
SCORING (6 GEMS) - Entered High Score - Select RETRY - Works perfect.
SCORING (5 GEMS) - Entered High Score - Select TITLE - Works perfect.


Side note:
Currently, even if the player scores 000, they are still prompted to enter their initials.

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2 hours ago, Trebor said:

Test 3" ROM behavior under real hardware courtesy of CPUWIZ's MCP DevCart:

Excellent!  I would like to see if the non-scoring modes behave as well. With the “test3” ROM they shouldn’t prompt a high score, but should go directly to the “retry/title” menu.

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1 hour ago, Revontuli said:

Excellent!  I would like to see if the non-scoring modes behave as well. With the “test3” ROM they shouldn’t prompt a high score, but should go directly to the “retry/title” menu.

It does exactly that.  Both RACE and TRAINING goes directly to RETRY/TITLE options after the game is over.

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1 hour ago, Trebor said:

It does exactly that.  Both RACE and TRAINING goes directly to RETRY/TITLE options after the game is over.

Great - thank you! I'll also welcome further verification from other folks as well...

  

If the problem is what I think it is, it seems like a double buffer mode switching issue that MAME A7800 overlooks.  It can get a little confusing when going from double buffer to single and then back, particularly when you need to make sure the display lists are properly cleared or saved.  

 

I've said this before, but I'll say it again - thanks to everyone who has tested the game!  Even if I had access to an SD-Cart-like peripheral for the 7800, I'd still want other folks playing and looking for issues.  Paradoxically, it's often the case that the person who programmed a game is the worst person to find bugs in it.

 

I'll try to get a new build up soon - I'll aim to make the high score board last a little longer, and hope the other fixes I've made stick.

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Posted (edited)

I can not help by testing on a real A7800 console, because i don't have one, but i will go on testing in different emulators (BupSystem, ProSystem ...) and tell, when i see a strange behaviour in the game again. This highscore-problem, was found with BupSystem, so it can even help, testing around in emulators too here. But like i said, the benchmark in testing must be the real hardware of course. But we can also see here, that BupSystem has a good emulation of the A7800, otherwise this highscore-problem for example, would not have been visible there.

 

And i have one question more about the A7800. Is it known, if there exists different board-versions of this console, like it is for example on the C64 or the Amiga and so on? Or they are all exactly the same, because the life-span of this console (when i am informed correctly) was not that long? I ask, because on the C64 or Amiga i know from my own experience, that there can be software, which reacts different depending on the board-version the user has, especially when it comes to complexe demos. This is seldom, but it can happen. Could something like this also be on the Atari-7800, that a certain game works on this console and on the other console not?

Edited by AW127
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New build - incorporates the testing changes (which might be premature, but we'll see how this build works on hardware)

 

I also lengthened the high score board time to 12 seconds - and, as usual, you should be able to "cancel out" of it by pressed the joystick button to return to the main menu.

 

DragonsCache_6_5_2020.bas.a78

DragonsCache_6_5_2020.bas.bin

 

31 minutes ago, AW127 said:

i will go on testing in different emulators (BupSystem, ProSystem ...) and tell, when i see a strange behaviour in the game again. This highscore-problem, was found with BupSystem, so it can even help, testing around in emulators too here. But like i said, the benchmark in testing must be the real hardware of course. But we can also see here, that BupSystem has a good emulation of the A7800, otherwise this highscore-problem for example, would not have been visible there.

Thank you - the BupSystem behavior is troubling, and seems to be directly related to the high score code.  I removed the high score code to see if it was directly related to the physical 7800 bugs that folks found, although (hopefully) it looks like the bugs were caused by something else (some graphical buffer code, it seems at the moment).  I'm aiming for more tests, even as I try to get the manual and box media ready.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Revontuli said:

Thank you - the BupSystem behavior is troubling, and seems to be directly related to the high score code.

 

Luckily, as said before, this problem is only visible in version 5/24. In all later versions, also the newest 6/5, everything works like it should in "BupSystem". Today i played the latest version over one hour. Also Race and Training modes showed no bug so far in the emu. Also loaded the game in "ProSystem" the first time today, but only get a blackscereen, while i hear the music playing. Think, testing with BupSystem makes more sense, cause it's more compatible and also ProSystem has got no update for a long time now. With this emu, i think, it makes no sense with this game to test, i will go on only with BupSystem for testing in this game now.

Edited by AW127
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On 6/5/2020 at 3:11 AM, Revontuli said:

New build - incorporates the testing changes (which might be premature, but we'll see how this build works on hardware)

Sorry for the delay in testing.

- The title screen behaves as expected.  Cycles with high score screen which lasts for 12 seconds.

- The Training and Race modes did not prompt me for a high score.

- Unfortunately, the Score mode froze on the game over screen again.

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