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

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, KevinMos3 said:

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.

So the game does not prompt you to enter the high score?  Does it freeze on the game over (i.e. you can still see the graphics?), or go to black?

 

Oddly, I'm getting everything working fine in MAME, and BupSystem crashing -after- I enter my high score initials....

 

[EDIT:] A quick stab in the dark, but folks might try this build - I added another "clearscreen" for good measure, and at the very least it seems to work on BupSystem and MAME A7800 for me...

DragonsCache_6_7_2020.bas.a78

DragonsCache_6_7_2020.bas.bin

Edited by Revontuli
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It froze with game over displayed on the screen. You could still see all the graphics.  Other than it being froze, there was no visible sign of anything wrong.  It just became unresponsive.  Reset, Select, etc. did nothing.  I had to power off the system.

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1 hour ago, KevinMos3 said:

 

It froze with game over displayed on the screen. You could still see all the graphics.  Other than it being froze, there was no visible sign of anything wrong.

 

Thank you for the details - did you try the build I uploaded in the last message?  

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The last one you uploaded (6_7_2020) seems to work correctly.  After Score mode, I got the name entry screen then the option to retry or return to title.  The other modes, Training and Race, did not prompt for name entry.

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Confirmed same results as Kevin with the 6_7_2020 build, under the MCP DevCart, via real hw.  SCORE mode brings you to the High Score entry page and then RETRY or TITLE options.   RACE and TRAINING just go to RETRY or TITLE when Game Over completes.  

 

Seems like you nailed it, Revontuli. ;)

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On 6/8/2020 at 6:01 AM, Revontuli said:

Oddly, I'm getting everything working fine in MAME, and BupSystem crashing -after- I enter my high score initials...

Very strange, because i have played the version 6/5 in BupSystem v0.9.6.3 for hours without this problem and after i read this now, i opened the emu again some minutes ago and played the score-modus and then entered my highscore without a problem. Game don't hangs and i can go on playing or into the menue then.

 

These here are my standard-settings in the emulator, maybe it could have something to do with this (it must normally, what else should be the reason, when it works here?)

 

Console - NTSC

Sally - 1,79MHz and "slow cycles" turned off

Maria - "coarse rendering" and "triple bandwidth" both turned off

BIOS - no BIOS inserted

 

The rest of the settings could have nothing todo with the fact, if the game works or not, i guess.

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New build:

 

DragonsCache_6_11_2020.bas.a78

DragonsCache_6_11_2020.bas.bin - Binary

 

DragonsCacheScreenshots_Hit.thumb.jpg.d95b57f8cca0975aa6fd53664d8bb702.jpg

 

A few attempts at some bug fixes, cleanup, plus an added "hit" frame for when you're under attack in battle mode.

 

There -might- still be a bug where the left/right controls of the 2nd player aren't very responsive, particularly after a rematch or two.  It seemed to come and go between matches.  It's something in the game with how I ramp up speed.  I tried to fix the bug, but I'm still not 100% sure what causes it.  It should show up in emulation, and likely hardware, if it's still present.

 

I realize 2 player games are tricky in right now with the lockdown - I mentioned this earlier, but I was able to get a network game up and running using a combination of Parsec (for the online matchmaking) and Retroarch (for the actual emulation).  In my humble opinion, it's worth looking into for those looking to play with a 2nd player remotely with classic games, and only took a little bit of tech wrestling to get functioning :) 

One thing to keep in mind is that both players should have their own controllers - keyboard play overlaps with a lot of the Parsec service's hotkeys.

 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Revontuli said:

New build:

 

DragonsCache_6_11_2020

 

Tested in BupSystem again and sadly i must tell you, that in this new version 6/11, the highscore-screen-bug has returned, which last appeared in version 5/24. This means, when the player waits until the highscore-screen appears one time, the game hangs and also the color-cycle in this screen then can not be seen (everything is grey). Player has no other possibility, than making a reset. Don't know how the real console will react with this version, but i guess, also there it will hang in the highscore-screen. We will know, when console-owners have tested it.

Edited by AW127

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, AW127 said:

 

Tested in BupSystem again and sadly i must tell you, that in this new version 6/11, the highscore-screen-bug has returned, which last appeared in version 5/24. This means, when the player waits until the highscore-screen appears one time, the game hangs and also the color-cycle in this screen then can not be seen (everything is grey). Player has no other possibility, than making a reset. Don't know how the real console will react with this version, but i guess, also there it will hang in the highscore-screen. We will know, when console-owners have tested it.

Give this version a try (QUICK EDIT: in the first build I posted here, the attract mode bug went from consistent to inconsistent...here's hoping this build update works....)

DragonsCache_6_13_2020_B.bas.a78

DragonsCache_6_13_2020_B.bas.bin

 

It seems to be something involving me switching from double buffer to single buffer (for the high score mode) and not "house cleaning" the graphics lists/buffers properly.  MAME A7800 doesn't seem to mind, but BupSystem does.  Hopefully this version works on both (and physical hardware!)

 

First build posted:

DragonsCache_6_13_2020.bas.a78 DragonsCache_6_13_2020.bas.bin

Edited by Revontuli

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Revontuli said:

It seems to be something involving me switching from double buffer to single buffer (for the high score mode) and not "house cleaning" the graphics lists/buffers properly.  MAME A7800 doesn't seem to mind, but BupSystem does. 

And the real hardware? Does it behave like BupSystem or like MAME here in this case? When it workes normaly on the real hardware, then it can be made a bugreport in the BupSystem thread about this thing and then nothing must be changed in the game when it comes to this point. But i guess, the real A7800 will also hang in the highscore screen, right?

 

16 hours ago, Revontuli said:

Give this version a try (QUICK EDIT: in the first build I posted here, the attract mode bug went from consistent to inconsistent...here's hoping this build update works....)

 

Sadly this problem is still there in both new versions, 6/13 and also 6/13B, they both hang, when one time the highscore screen appears. Look here:

 

untitled.thumb.png.410ed4bcde92bbae66e074a15613632a.png

 

This is a screenshot from the new version 6/13B and the first sign, that something is wrong, is the missing color-cycle in that highscore-screen. When this screen comes and everything there is grey, the user knows, that the game will hang now and something is wrong.

 

Seems like the real reason, why this problem appears, is not found until now. But like i already wrote, the most important thing is - does this problem happens on the real console too in the new 6/13 versions? If yes, i make a bugreport in BupSystem thread about it, then it's not a problem of the game. But i guess, this will happen on real console too, right? We should wait for the results of testing on more than one real A7800, then we know.

 

Edited by AW127
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17 hours ago, Revontuli said:

It seems to be something involving me switching from double buffer to single buffer (for the high score mode) and not "house cleaning" the graphics lists/buffers properly.  MAME A7800 doesn't seem to mind, but BupSystem does.  Hopefully this version works on both (and physical hardware!)

 

First build posted:

DragonsCache_6_13_2020.bas.a78 48.13 kB · 6 downloads DragonsCache_6_13_2020.bas.bin 48 kB · 4 downloads

Under real hardware (Courtesy of the MCP DevCart) and A7800, it does indeed work perfectly fine.  Same results as previously posted, where the SCORE game keeps track of the high score including entry and then gives the option to TITLE or RETRY.  The other two modes, RACE and TRAINING simply go to RETRY or TITLE selection after game over.

 

No lockups, no freezing, all color cycling is present during high score entry; tried under 4, 5, and 6 gem game variations for all modes.

 

One thing worth noting though, which can be replicated on both real hardware and A7800 emulator, is if you select the BACK option when at the game mode select screen, it does go back to the title screen with player and gem selection, but there is occasionally an odd rapid flicker effect on the dragon graphic columns on the left and right sides of the screen once the screen goes back and presents the title/player/gem selection screen again.   

 

It doesn't seem to break anything, any you can continue making selection, but I did come across it happening at least twice on the real hardware and under the A7800 emulator as well.  While it doesn't seem like a big deal, thought it is worth a mention.

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New build:

 

DragonsCache_6_14_2020.bas.a78

DragonsCache_6_14_2020.bas.bin

 

This changes the scoring in the 1-Player "Training Mode" to make things a little more fun and strategic.  You get one point per "notch" on your power meter.

 

As for that high score/attract mode bug, I can post the code where is seems to be happening (i.e. if I skip it, it doesn't seem to happen) - It involves some combination of clearscreen, savescreen, restorescreen, and doublebuffer on/off.  It's hard to point fingers, really, since it could be me, something with 7800Basic, something with BupSystem, or even something with the 7800.  I'll try a few more things, but might post the code in this thread for folks to ponder.

 

I also have a few things to try involving the input/framerate stuff, especially in 2 player modes.  Thanks, everyone!

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15 hours ago, Revontuli said:

As for that high score/attract mode bug, I can post the code where is seems to be happening (i.e. if I skip it, it doesn't seem to happen) - It involves some combination of clearscreen, savescreen, restorescreen, and doublebuffer on/off.  It's hard to point fingers, really, since it could be me, something with 7800Basic, something with BupSystem, or even something with the 7800.  I'll try a few more things, but might post the code in this thread for folks to ponder.

 

 

Or you post this code directly in the BupSystem thread, as a bug-report, because "Trebor" wrote, that it works normally on the real hardware, which then means, that it must be some kind of incompatibility in the emulator.

 

Strange thing is, that it works perfect in BupSystem when i use the versions from 5/30 to 6/5 of your game. Then there is not such a problem in Highscore-Screen, the problem only came back from version 6/11 on.

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Here's a first peek at the Dragon's Cache box, featuring the wonderful artwork created by Benedikt Scheffer.  :)

 

7800_DragonsCache_Render_Boxes.jpg

 

 ..Al

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I totally didn't even know about this until Albert's post on Bookface! (I don't follow programming forums...I tried 7800basic and, well...I don't have the aptitude for game programming!)

 

Is it pronounced "cash" or "cashay"?

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1 hour ago, Dauber said:

Is it pronounced "cash" or "cashay"?

The actual word 'cache' should always be said as 'cash', but of course if Revontuli wants to say it's officially 'cashay' in this case then who's to argue.

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4 hours ago, Dauber said:

I totally didn't even know about this until Albert's post on Bookface! (I don't follow programming forums...I tried 7800basic and, well...I don't have the aptitude for game programming!)

I tried for more awareness... 

😉🙂

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Just now, Trebor said:

I tried for more awareness... 

😉🙂

Thank you!  :)

 

 ..Al

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It's wonderful to see the box art finally released to the public! 

 

I was taught to pronounce "Cache" as "cash" - it's almost a pun in this context :) 

 

I'm working on some final polishing and bug-hunting, but it feels good to have the print materials for this game largely handled!  

 

It's been great to get help from so many folks, be it with art, testing, or getting the word out, as I get game ready for release...

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New build - Getting close, hopefully!

 

DragonsCache_7_25_2020.bas.a78 - a78 File

DragonsCache_7_25_2020.bas.bin - Binary File

 

Some more bug fixes - mainly having to do with playing multiple games in a row, switch modes, etc.

 

-Certain modes wouldn't count particular endgames as "wins" for a player (such as one player overflowing in Racing Mode). 

-Restarting a match sometimes made side-to-side movement for a player very slow - I think I know why now (I change side-to-side speed as Score Mode levels increase, and it didn't reset properly), but the bug has popped up in different places, particularly if you switch Game Modes, and is hopefully fixed.

 

The High Scores might still be buggy with certain emulators - MAME A7800 is what I've been using, and it seems to be fine there, but the priority right now is to make sure the game works properly on actual 7800 hardware. 

 

Since the lockdown is going on it's been hard to test the 2 player modes properly, but I've had luck using Parsec and playing matches with some friends of mine.  If anyone is interested I might do a little post on my experiences combining Parsec's matchmaking service and the RetroArch emulator in order to play this game over the 'net with someone else.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/26/2020 at 9:42 AM, Revontuli said:

The High Scores might still be buggy with certain emulators ...

 

Indeed. When once in the Highscore screen it hangs again in "Bup System" (latest build). But like i said before, when it works 100% correctly on real A7800 consoles, then it's a bug that must be solved in the emulator itself. So i stay with release-version 6/5 for now, this is the last version, in which this works correctly with "Bup System". This version i can play for hours without any problem and it never hangs in Highscore screen. But all the following versions after this, hangs there.

 

Strange thing is - when this really is only an emulator-problem, why it works with some release-versions of the game and with others not and the thing, which causes the problem in certain versions, can still not be really identified.

 

Was there done a bigger change in the programing between version 6/5 and the following released version after v6/5? Some special changing in something which was not made again between all the following releases? Something, that could cause this highscore-problem? Not easy, to identify exactly this thing, that causes the Highscore screen to freeze.

Edited by AW127

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D'oh - had to take out some debug stuff - latest builds here:

 

DragonsCache_7_26_2020.bas.a78

DragonsCache_7_26_2020.bas.bin

 

45 minutes ago, AW127 said:

When once in the Highscore screen it hangs again in "Bup System" (latest build). But like i said before, when it works 100% correctly on real A7800 consoles, then it's a bug that must be solved in the emulator itself. So i stay with release-version 6/5 for now, this is the last version, in which this works correctly with "Bup System". This version i can play for hours without any problem and it never hangs in Highscore screen. But all the following versions after this, hangs there.

Most of my changes recently have been important, but involve gameplay bugs and not graphical ones - they're particularly important in 2-player modes, especially over multiple matches.  While I did do some adjustments on the assembly code for the high scores, I *think* the code with 6/5 and later is basically the same (the Basic code is identical in the high score section in question).

 

1 hour ago, AW127 said:

Strange thing is - when this really is only an emulator-problem, why it works with some release-versions of the game and with others not and the thing, which causes the problem in certain versions, can still not be really identified.

It could be any number of things - ultimately the code is compiled into a ROM image where some section of data could cause issues for the emulator (or hardware, for that matter).  I can take another look, but my priorities need to be on the cartridge version - I'm looking to see if there's anything sinister, but debugging possibly obscure graphical bugs on an emulator can take time, and it's been tricky enough working through MAME and not having direct access to hardware.  BupSystem is a great emulator, but it sounds like updates for it are on hiatus, and the possible causes for the bug can still be in any number of places.  Right now I'm trying to see if glitches like the high-score *do* show up on any physical 7800s.    

 

As far as emulators, I've been sticking with MAME-based emulation for now (RetroArch, the Browser-based JS7800, and, when I can, RetroPie) - RetroArch and JS7800 in particular are very easy to get set up.  There's been a lot of little behavioral/menu bugs that only show up after multiple matches, that are annoying to track down but even more annoying to find while playing, such as the slow side-to-side movement, or inaccurate match scoring (which I hope is fixed).  These are also the kind of bugs I, the programmer, might take hours to find, but other folks can somehow find after 2 minutes of playing, so any playtesting is appreciated :) 

 

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I must correct my statement here:

 

On 7/28/2020 at 3:27 AM, AW127 said:

So i stay with release-version 6/5 for now, this is the last version, in which this works correctly with "Bup System".

 

As i found out now, version 6_7_2020 that was posted in entry #151, is the latest version, that works correctly in "Bup System". So the incompatibility to this emulator (hanging in highscore screen), came in, with the changes from this version to version 6_11_2020. Just want to correct this, for an easier limitation of the 'problem'.

Edited by AW127

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I tried another quick fix, I think this one might work for BupSystem as well as MAME-based emulation.  I was extra thorough in clearing the double buffer - while I did so earlier in attract mode, I didn't in the player hiscore mode.  There might be some other bugs, but let's see how this build plays:

 

DragonsCache_8_2_2020.bas.a78

DragonsCache_8_2_2020.bas.bin

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