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A while back Tempest shared a great idea of adding a menu screen for Atari games which had their options laid out in a matrix at the back of the manual. I really loved that idea because it breathes some new life into these old games. Menu screens are great because they take away the awfulness of having to use the select switch to cycle through all 112 options of Space Invaders, and lets you know what game you are selecting in Video Olympics. You can also choose valid game types for the amount of players that you have.

 

 

Example:

3500633_SuperBreakoutMenu.thumb.png.6fa089653ae6b25dbab67e62e57920f4.png

 

 

 

Games:

 

              -  START  -

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Omegamatrix said:

Please be aware that as of now you will need to configure Stella for the paddle games. 

This will not be necessary anymore with Stella's next release. Controllers will be detected automatically.

 

Cool idea. But quite a lot of work. :thumbsup:

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Yep, I've already updated the properties internally for what will become Stella 6.1.  But it mostly only adds the name name and manufacturer; as Thomas said, the controllers will be autodetected in the next release.  For now, you have to specify them manually.  Although even in the next release, you'll still have to specify 'swap paddles' and 'phosphor mode'.  There's currently no way to autodetect those conditions.

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I only briefly tested, but they worked perfect for me.

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On 1/1/2020 at 10:40 AM, stephena said:

Yep, I've already updated the properties internally for what will become Stella 6.1.  But it mostly only adds the name name and manufacturer; as Thomas said, the controllers will be autodetected in the next release.  For now, you have to specify them manually.  Although even in the next release, you'll still have to specify 'swap paddles' and 'phosphor mode'.  There's currently no way to autodetect those conditions.

Can we still change them manually if they are auto-detected incorrectly? I don't know if this will happen on a PC like it does for the Flashbacks with Genesis controllers and now the Hyperkin Ranger.

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9 hours ago, Swami said:

Can we still change them manually if they are auto-detected incorrectly? I don't know if this will happen on a PC like it does for the Flashbacks with Genesis controllers and now the Hyperkin Ranger.

Yes, you can always override any properties that are auto-detected.  But that being said, if something is incorrect, it's better to also let us know, so we can improve the auto-detection.

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One suggestion: Since many people will be used to using game numbers, it would be good if you would display the resulting game number on the menu screen.

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This is a good suggestion, and its something I went back and forth on when I was making the menus. I'm debating implementing it though because truthfully there hasn't been too much interest in these games.

 

 

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This is very cool!  After first seeing menus in homebrew games, I've always wondered if it would be possible to add them to original games as well.

 

Fantastic job, I would love to see more like this!

 

A small suggestion, would it be possible to gray-out options that aren't selectable (based on the currently selected options)?

 

(As for interest, maybe posting a screenshot of each game in the OP would help?  Also, the thread title is a bit confusing, before reading I just assumed you were soliciting feedback re: menus for your own (Omegamatrix) homebrew.🙂)

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Thank you so much, Jstick! I never thought about the Matrix connection, but in looking back I can see the topic title was nothing but confusing. So I renamed it "Original Games Updated With Menus".

 

When I created the topic I chose not to have any pictures of the screens. My thought process was it would be a nice expierence for people to see them for the first time when they open the game. This completely backfired on me. People didn't really find anything interesting so they moved on without trying the games. So I've now added pictures of each screen and placed Super Breakout at the top since it is the most colorful.

 

 

With the menu options being greyed out, this is already being done. Here is a screen shot of Super Breakout when 2 players are selected. Progressive mode is not availble so it is greyed out.

252011604_SuperBreakoutMenu_1.thumb.png.f64c19c0827b1801138ad2a7393fbc76.png

 

 

The most suprising thing I learned making these menus is that Video Olympics and Space Invaders are mostly multiplayer games. I never knew that. There are actually a lot of variations for each.

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What a nice idea! ..adding menus to old games.

 

What about going a step further and doing trainer/cheat versions. The basics like no timers, or unlimited men, or invulnerability. Of course cheats shouldn't be too complex, perhaps something as simple as changing register or byte here and there.

 

Like for Space Invaders an on-screen option to toggle the normal single-shot or double-shot for firing.

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Just now, Keatah said:

Menus within menus!

How META right Dude?     (Like a Hipster character might say...not me haha)

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2 hours ago, Keatah said:

What a nice idea! ..adding menus to old games.

 

What about going a step further and doing trainer/cheat versions. The basics like no timers, or unlimited men, or invulnerability. Of course cheats shouldn't be too complex, perhaps something as simple as changing register or byte here and there.

 

Like for Space Invaders an on-screen option to toggle the normal single-shot or double-shot for firing.

I really wanted to just add a front end to these old games, and selected themes for the screens that I felt were appropriate. It was important for me to leave the game intact as I wanted it to shine on its own. These menus are really meant for people like me who never read the manual, and never got past few the first few select switch presses.

 

The only modifications I did to the original games was to clean up some glitches so that the background color changes were even. That's just a little cosmetics polishing.

 

1 hour ago, Keatah said:

Menus within menus!

Yeah, I think you remember my full screen instuctions I made as a demo (36 characters max per line). I started thinking about doing this and realized it would be a little bit overboard, and instead of having time for 3 games I might have only done 1 or 2. I also thought it would take away from the main game too much with too many new features... so I didn't do instructions. In the end these hacks are meant to honor the original game while letting people expierence all the modes much easier.

 

 

 

For those that are interested here is some insight into how these games are constructed:

1) Create the menu screen as a new, built from scratch rom. This program runs on its own, and includes functionality such as row highlighting, available options, etc...

2) Disassemble the original game, and expand its size to add more code.

3) Insert the menu screen into the expanded rom. Modify the original game to go to some code that interfaces between the two screens when appropriate (like select being pressed).

 

 

The actually amount of hacking done to the original game is quite minimal. By far all of the work is in writing the new menu screen, and writing the two way interface between the original game and the menu screen. The amount of work is quite extensive as each game is different requiring a different approach.

 

 

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I for one think this is awesome and raises awareness for the various other games on each cartridge.  I am guilty of plugging in the first setting and starting and it wasn't until recently I learned that Asteroids had teleportation AND shields! Lol

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2 minutes ago, KevKelley said:

I for one think this is awesome and raises awareness for the various other games on each cartridge.  I am guilty of plugging in the first setting and starting and it wasn't until recently I learned that Asteroids had teleportation AND shields! Lol

 

53 minutes ago, Omegamatrix said:

The actually amount of hacking done to the original game is quite minimal. By far all of the work is in writing the new menu screen, and writing the two way interface between the original game and the menu screen. The amount of work is quite extensive as each game is different requiring a different approach.

I think this is an awesome idea! We need more of them hacked with menus.... Asteroids as KevKelley stated above would be a good one to add! Berzerk, Combat, Defender, and Human Cannonball would be my requests for future menu hacks!

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While there may be a certain nostalgic charm to rummaging through manuals, fiddling with the difficulty switches and toggling the Select switch dozens of times to get the variation you want, having fancy splash screens with menu options for the original games = mind blown. 🤯

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I won't look at doing another one of these for several months unless I really need bug out and switch projects for a while. Asteroids was the game I was going to do next because of the amount of variations it has.

 

While I did Super Breakout mostly because I really wanted to draw a logo out of bricks, Video Olympics and Space Invaders were chosen because they each had a lot of variations and needed the menu screen the most.

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19 hours ago, Omegamatrix said:

With the menu options being greyed out, this is already being done.

You are right, I see what happened.  When you use fire to select a boolean option, it toggles only once regardless of how long the button remains pressed.  But when you use right direction to do the same thing, it will cycle between states very quickly.  In this case I had selected an option and it turned on then off again immediately, so I assumed it wasn't a valid combo.

 

I'm guessing you used right as fast-cycle for things like the multiplayer variants in Space Invaders?

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On 1/11/2020 at 10:56 AM, Omegamatrix said:

This is a good suggestion, and its something I went back and forth on when I was making the menus. I'm debating implementing it though because truthfully there hasn't been too much interest in these games.

 

Looks like the words getting out - https://www.facebook.com/groups/Atari2600homebrew/permalink/826566564431178/

 

1972507868_ScreenShot2020-01-12at12_38_51PM.thumb.png.e3359953fe3e0b7edeebedafd4aeaeb9.png

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2 hours ago, Jstick said:

I'm guessing you used right as fast-cycle for things like the multiplayer variants in Space Invaders?

Yes, that's correct. Thank you for your feedback. I'll have to think about what is the most intiuitive way it should work for future games. Maybe I will slow it down when it auto toggles, or only do one toggle on items that only have two choices. Typing this right now it actually sounds like the latter would work well.

 

57 minutes ago, SpiceWare said:

I saw the spike in downloads and knew something was up! Thank you Scott. 😀

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