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In case it wasn’t clear, I am working on this and have started a new thread in the Programming forum.

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On 4/5/2020 at 3:48 PM, GoldLeader said:

Quick question,  Have you ever played Ultimate Qix (Sega Genesis), Volfied, or Neo Qix (All the same game, give or take which port you play)?

 

It's like playing Arkanoid instead of Breakout.  I have a hard time going back to regular old Qix now. 

 

 

Sorry to be off topic.

Just wondered...

Wow, thanks for the suggestion! Just purchased a reasonably-priced boxed Ultimate Qix on eBay. Didn't even know an update was made. Cheers. No need for a 7800 version now in my book haha

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37 minutes ago, Geoff Oltmans said:

It's amazing how much better the 5200 version is compared to the A8 version.

Agreed. The A8 version is unplayable to me due to the slow fill time.  Was the A8 version coded in ASM I wonder?   The 5200 version dropped to a slightly lower-rez graphics mode IIRC, but it is also completely reprogrammed. 5200 Qix is one of my favorite games on the system! 

 

ALSO - you can make the same observation comparing the original A8 Dig Dug and 5200 Dig Dug. 

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19 minutes ago, Cafeman said:

Agreed. The A8 version is unplayable to me due to the slow fill time.  Was the A8 version coded in ASM I wonder?   The 5200 version dropped to a slightly lower-rez graphics mode IIRC, but it is also completely reprogrammed. 5200 Qix is one of my favorite games on the system! 

 

ALSO - you can make the same observation comparing the original A8 Dig Dug and 5200 Dig Dug. 

Pretty certain the fill routines are the slow OS provided ones (as in the one that can be called from BASIC).  I agree - the computer version of Qix is unplayable.  5200 version is great - I love the sound effects as well.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Cafeman said:

The 5200 version dropped to a slightly lower-rez graphics mode IIRC...

The 5200 version also uses a much narrower screen width (32 bytes - 128 pixels, compared to the 8-bit version which uses 40 bytes - 160 pixels).

 

Those two elements give it a much quicker fill time.

 

Edited by MrFish

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Posted (edited)

I just did some calculations, and the total potential pixels that can be filled are as follows:

 

Atari 8-bit Computer Version: 24,335 pixels (157 x 155)

Atari 5200 Version: 9,963 pixels (123 x 81)

 

Huge difference. The 5200 version is only using 41% of the area used by the 8-bit computer version.

 

Edited by MrFish
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On 4/22/2020 at 2:50 PM, sixersfan105 said:

Wow, thanks for the suggestion! Just purchased a reasonably-priced boxed Ultimate Qix on eBay. Didn't even know an update was made. Cheers. No need for a 7800 version now in my book haha

Looked up a few videos out of curiosity. It's very pretty, but seems a bit broken. Good players seem to be able to clear the levels in a few seconds. (example 1example 2)

 

Am I missing something here?

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MrFish said:

I just did some calculations, and the total potential pixels that can be filled are as follows:

 

Atari 8-bit Computer Version: 24,335 pixels (157 x 155)

Atari 5200 Version: 9,963 pixels (123 x 81)

 

Huge difference. The 5200 version is only using 41% of the area used by the 8-bit computer version.

 

 

Based on youtube videos the A8 is visibly inefficient in some cases, seemingly starting from the very top of the screen when it doesn’t need to. So when you claim a large block at the bottom of the screen, you have to wait a while before it even starts filling.

 

The NES version is 159x159 and fills fast with the same 6502. (I don’t think the PPU can help with this stuff but am not certain.) So it’s not just the resolution.

 

Still, it’s an interesting point.

 

EDIT: I think I was wrong about it starting from the top of the screen. Sometimes there are delays even when the claimed area does start at the top of the screen. So I’m not sure what it’s doing.

 

EDIT 2: aside from that delay it looks like it only fills about 25 pixels per frame.

Edited by bizarrostormy

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, bizarrostormy said:

The NES version is 159x159 and fills fast with the same 6502. (I don’t think the PPU can help with this stuff but am not certain.) So it’s not just the resolution.

I was just comparing it with the 5200 version. I'm not doubting the 8-bit computer version uses a poor algorithm as well. I'm pretty sure Turbo-BASIC XL on the 8-bit computers (in interpreted mode) can fill the same areas much faster than 8-bit Qix can.

 

As Stephen said above, the 8-bit version is probably using the inefficient OS routines, which are notoriously slow.

 

I don't think it's a coincidence that the 5200 version uses 1/2 height resolution pixels and 32 byte width.

 

Edited by MrFish

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15 minutes ago, MrFish said:

I was just comparing it with the 5200 version. I'm not doubting the 8-bit computer version uses a poor algorithm as well. I'm pretty sure Turbo-BASIC XL on the 8-bit computers (in interpreted mode) can fill the same areas much faster than 8-bit Qix can.

 

As Stephen said above, the 8-bit version is probably using the inefficient OS routines, which are notoriously slow.

 

I don't think it's a coincidence that the 5200 version uses 1/2 height resolution pixels and 32 byte width.

 

I wasn’t disputing your point either. I think we agree that it’s a combination of algorithmic inefficiency and having to do 2.5x the pixels.

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5 hours ago, bizarrostormy said:

I wasn’t disputing your point either. I think we agree that it’s a combination of algorithmic inefficiency and having to do 2.5x the pixels.

Yes, agreed. I just wanted to be clear that my elaboration about pixels was specifically in comparison with the 5200 version, but that I am aware of the inefficiency in fill methods too.

 

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Never tried the A8 version, but invested a good amount of time in the NES and 5200 versions.

 

12 hours ago, bizarrostormy said:

The NES version is 159x159 and fills fast with the same 6502. (I don’t think the PPU can help with this stuff but am not certain.) So it’s not just the resolution.

The PPU has no fill or copy features, additionally VRAM can only be accessed outside of active scan. So their update routine is pretty quick - you can actually see it filling in the carpet patterns tilewise instead of linewise as in the 5200 version. Everything here is very well thought out.

 

Rendering both the playfield and QIX in cartridge memory kinda trivializes it, especially as the QIX itself only moves by drawing new lines and erasing old ones. So Atari's standard mapper would actually work fine - all the assets are aligned to DL regions. You could then overlay the marker and sparx with usual Holey DMA draws.

 

Of course, if you want to cram everything in a ROM-only cartridge then it becomes a challenge :)

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19 minutes ago, TailChao said:

Rendering both the playfield and QIX in cartridge memory kinda trivializes it, especially as the QIX itself only moves by drawing new lines and erasing old ones. So Atari's standard mapper would actually work fine - all the assets are aligned to DL regions. You could then overlay the marker and sparx with usual Holey DMA draws.

 

Of course, if you want to cram everything in a ROM-only cartridge then it becomes a challenge :)

 

For now I’m doing the playfield in onboard RAM — pushing that resource to its limit — and planning to do Qix in ROM (one object per segment) — pushing Holey DMA address space to *its* limit. I am resisting the urge to use cart/XM RAM until I know whether high-res mode is feasible. And then it would probably make sense to do Qix in RAM as you said.

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2 hours ago, FireTiger said:

I'm in for a cart let me know.

Nice to see the interest (from you and others). Knowing that other people are interested is definitely a motivator.

 

I hope to get to that point eventually but development is still very early.

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I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Gameboy version.  My personal favourite although I also love the Lynx version.

 

I would also be interested in a 7800 port.

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Qix is my all-time favourite game! So much so that I bought the arcade game. I would LOVE to see this on Atari 2600/7800. I can see the 2600 being an impossibility, but the 7800 has to be do-able? And it HAS to have the abstract quality of the original, no silly pictures to spoil the vibe! I hope this can happen!

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I think the 2600 can do anything. Look at Champ Games on the 2600 with Ladybug, Robotron 2084, and Galaga and then get back to me. 

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4 hours ago, Jinks said:

I think the 2600 can do anything. Look at Champ Games on the 2600 with Ladybug, Robotron 2084, and Galaga and then get back to me. 

All Harmony enhanced games so it's not a fair comparison.  Beautiful games, very impressive.  I can't believe the attention Galaga got on my 2600 I had setup at VCFMW14.  However, giving the system help from a 100MHz ARM processor does substantially change the game.

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1 hour ago, Stephen said:

All Harmony enhanced games so it's not a fair comparison.  Beautiful games, very impressive.  I can't believe the attention Galaga got on my 2600 I had setup at VCFMW14.  However, giving the system help from a 100MHz ARM processor does substantially change the game.

I agree with the general point, but LadyBug is just a regular 16k rom, without even on-cart memory.

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18 minutes ago, RevEng said:

I agree with the general point, but LadyBug is just a regular 16k rom, without even on-cart memory.

Thanks for the clarification.  Again - I want to state.  I am 100% not opposed to upgrades for our hardware, I think they are all awesome.  I have most of my 8-bit machines with expanded RAM, stereo, and one even has the VBXE video upgrade.

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6 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Thanks for the clarification.  Again - I want to state.  I am 100% not opposed to upgrades for our hardware, I think they are all awesome.  I have most of my 8-bit machines with expanded RAM, stereo, and one even has the VBXE video upgrade.

For sure, me too. 👍  Of course, there's nothing wrong with acknowledging the console gets a boost from the ARM, over stock hardware. I'm sure Darrell and John would be the first to say it.

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