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quohog

My first homebrew - Tap-A-Mole (WIP)

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Hello! This is my first 2600 game project and my first time sharing any work on this forum, so my apologies if I'm doing it wrong!

 

This is a WIP build of my game Tap-A-Mole. It's a whack-a-mole game that uses two keyboard controllers, mapped to a 6x4 grid of holes.

MsMCwr-HID8g-waUD6CVr2-hrnsMiRiY8eBt6fnlqmP8xqacCsCNQ0nlg9HmXO2fpi78_giBNzspj8qkfBZ_0Pbw8tSC9iDSM2HrfkNJ2DXH3Elx50NPUW06klqBn1Gu4698ZEkj

 

"Oh, like Holey Moley," you might ask? Well, here's the funny thing--I had never heard of Holey Moley until I proudly shared my first build with a friend and he said, "Oh, like Holey Moley?" 

 

But I checked it out and our games look and feel so different, I think they can happily co-exist in this world. Although I will admit, now I'm jealous of that name...

 

Anyway, Tap-A-Mole is structured more like Kaboom! (I didn't really want to end that sentence with an exclamation point, but you know...) The moles come in rounds, and when you finish off a batch, the next round of moles move faster and give you more points. If you miss a mole, it will steal one of your carrots. This will then lower you down a level, but in that "penalty round" you only have to get half as many moles, like in Kaboom! You get a carrot back every 1000 points. Lose all your carrots and the game's over!

 

Tap-A-Mole is best played with the original Basic Programming-style keyboard controllers locked together so you can "touch type" with your thumbs. 

 

ApeUkxGDj81N0OI_yo1jf6yU3wgagVb8jqTfE5G0fP0ECvmClOoOB8S6nrheb0B5FyABlLyMs-_oK619y0dnd9s6lW1c-tyFpVHYA4mXqTheesipTsq64-8vxMpSMA1yjcuqdE6u

 

I also tested it with the Kids Controller and the Star Raiders pad and they both work, but it's hard to hold two controllers at once with either of those.

 

Or you can play it on Stella and use your computer's keyboard instead. Just remember to open up Options->Game Properties->Controller and set both controllers to "Keyboard" and then exit Stella and reload the rom. Then you should be able to use the 1-2-3 and the keys below for the left keyboard controller, 8-9-0 and below for the right. You can also start Stella with the command line arguments "-bc Keyboard" to set that up. (Thanks to @CapitanClassic for helping me figure that out) This totally works although when I play this way I tend to hit tilde and tab on accident a LOT. :)

 

If, when you start up the game, you just get a hammer banging away somewhere on the bottom row, that means it doesn't think you have keyboard controllers attached. (One of the items on my to-do list is get rid of the forever banging hammer and autodetect the missing keyboards.)

 

Anyway, I'd love to hear what you think! And if you find any bugs of course! Especially if the game ever bounces up and down a scanline for you. That was happening on some crts, but not others. It seems to have been fixed, but you know how these things come back from the dead.

 

There are a lot of things I COULD add to this game, but I'm trying to figure out what I SHOULD do before I call it complete. So your feedback there is really appreciated.

 

I'd also love to hear your high score. My current is somewhere in the 4000s, but I've been playing a lot. You really have to "touch type" to get good scores. You can't be looking up and down at your keyboard when it gets fast. 

 

Thanks to @MikeMika, @Ed Fries, and @TikiDan for playtesting and making great suggestions. 

Thanks to everyone on this thread where I pilfered the code for reading keyboard controllers.

Thanks to @SpiceWare, @Omegamatrix, @stephena, @mksmith and @Andrew Davie for being so patient with all my questions. 

 

And thanks to everyone who helped create Stella, dasm, playerpal, the AtariAge forum, and all the great tools that make this kind of thing possible!

 

Hope you like Tap-A-Mole! :)

 

TapAMole.10.bin

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Congrats on your release! Look forward to trying it.

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Very clean. Good job.

Maybe you could have a good underground creature that you are NOT supposed to tap, which could speedup the mole activity if you get it (everything underground gets more frantic?).  Also, what happens if/when you hit on a hole without a mole?

A bit activision-like in the graphics - I'm impressed :)

 

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Posted (edited)

I've been testing it with some pretty funky keyboard controllers and the PC keyboard, so I've had some pretty shameful low scoring games. But I just cracked open a brand new factory sealed set of official Atari Keyboard Controllers and WOW. First game I got 444! This plays so great, and like Andrew said - This would have passed as an Activision game back in the day. From the personality to the cool sounds. I love the pacing and the difficulty adjusting after failures, too. This definitely gives that same zen/rush that Kaboom! provides, which feels rare to me.

 

If you have two keyboard controllers, this is by far the best way to play. Slot them into one another and have some fun.  

 

image.thumb.png.ae9bb01606e60fb2f666de2a4abb9394.png

 

Also, I liked it so much I starting trying to make a custom Atari cartridge shell in Tinker Cad for anyone with a 3D Printer. I know, it prevents it from stacking or slotting into a cartridge holder. 

 

image.thumb.png.2f9238d6d9107f0ea978cc883cf26edf.png

 

Great work, Quohog! 

 

 

Edited by MikeMika
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It looks really good.  You've given me a reason to dig out the keyboard controllers when I unpack at my new place.

 

All the mentions of Activision got me thinking, do you have enough cycles (or whatever it would take at this point) to add the Activision sunset?

 

TapAMole_Sunset.png.b172d4e6f0df9ebb8cc4d627cd4a75e5.png

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TTASR: 3 hours! A new record! TTASR = Time to Activision Sunset Request, Quohog! You now have a job to do. :)

 

And great idea, @KevinMos3! That mock up looks great!

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This looks fantastic! Excellent use of the keypad controllers. To be honest I forgot they lock together and I'll have to dig mine out.

 

I really love the drawing of the white picket fence, the moles, and the carrots. I appreciate the polish you've put into the animations of the hammer, carrots appearing, etc. There's obvious love and craftmanship in the construction of your game.

 

 

Well done! 😀

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Great idea for a game and novel use of controllers. I love it. Reminds me of Wabbit for some reason.

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1 hour ago, SpiceWare said:

 

 

Thanks for the recommendation Darrell! I've added this game to tomorrow's lineup on the stream and coincidentally I already had another Whack-a-Mole game from 2009 scheduled for the show, WEIRD!

 

I love games that use controllers in a unique way and this is definitely one of those, looks like a ton of fun!

 

- James

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2 hours ago, sramirez2008 said:

Might as well add Holey Moley to the lineup and go for the Mole hat trick!

You can also use a joystick for Holey Moley. I did that conversion long ago.

 

Joysticks wouldn't be feasible for Tap-A-Mole though as there are 4 rows, 6 columns, and well it just wouldn't work.

 

 

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Wow! Thanks for all the responses everybody! I really appreciate all the feedback and support!

 

@Andrew Davie Yes! Something that pops up that you're NOT supposed to hit would be interesting. Holey Moley has those mole butts (Molasses?) and some mobile games have bombs. But the idea of having it speed up the action is new and something I hadn't thought of.

 

@MikeMika Wow, that 3d mole cart is amazing. Can we make it squirt water in your face when you miss a mole? :)

 

@KevinMos3 Yes! There is certainly time left over in that picket fence line to do some thing. A sunset would be nice. Other things I'm thinking about: Little tufts of grass at the base of the fence. A lawnmower that drives by and says "Game Over" in the grass. :) Something should go there for sure!

 

@Omegamatrix Thanks for the kind words! I hope you do get a chance to try it on the real keyboards. I love the way those controllers feel and wish there were more games for them! I agree with you 100% about joysticks. Part of the assignment I gave myself for this game was, "What game could you make for keyboard controllers that you really couldn't play with anything else?" You need the instant access to any point on the grid. Also, I just love the way they feel, how they lock together, and the way the buttons snap.

 

@SpiceWare Wow, thanks for the tweet! And for getting ZPH's attention! :)

 

@JetSetIlly I've seen the box for Wabbit so many times on ebay, but had never looked at the game before. They do have such a similar look with the grass and the white picket fence! I'm jealous of their yellow sun. I've thought about having the score turn into a sun with a big smiling face on it in between games, but now I'm using it for the high score. Hm, maybe it could be the high score AND the sun? 🤔

 

@ZeroPage Homebrew Omg, what an honor! I'm super excited and will be tuning in for sure. Please let me know if you have any trouble with the build. I hope you can dig up some keyboard controllers that snap together! (Star Raiders and kid's controllers work, but not recommended) :)

 

@sramirez2008 Ultimate victory for Tap-A-Mole is that it causes a run on ebay for keyboard controllers, and their price goes through the roof. Then I can sell my stockpile for a fortune! Bwah-ha-ha! (jk. I actually only have the one set)

 

Thanks everybody! Your encouragement means a lot!

The war against moles continues! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, quohog said:

A lawnmower that drives by and says "Game Over" in the grass.

This would be a cool animation.👍

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41 minutes ago, D Train said:

do the moles go googly-eyed when you bonk them on the head?

 

am I seeing that right or am I imagining it?

Their tongue sticks out and their eyes get a little kooky. It's my cheap, "Lights out" effect. :)

 

image.png.99eff743a10f48471c60b7de0506719a.png

 

Hm... maybe THAT would make a better avatar...

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On 8/9/2020 at 10:27 PM, MikeMika said:

 

image.thumb.png.ae9bb01606e60fb2f666de2a4abb9394.png

Also, I liked it so much I starting trying to make a custom Atari cartridge shell in Tinker Cad for anyone with a 3D Printer. I know, it prevents it from stacking or slotting into a cartridge holder. 

 

image.thumb.png.2f9238d6d9107f0ea978cc883cf26edf.png

 

Great work, Quohog! 

 

 

Please make these available. 🙂

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6 hours ago, sramirez2008 said:

Might as well add Holey Moley to the lineup and go for the Mole hat trick!

I will mention that game and pop it in during the stream tomorrow! 🙂

 

3 hours ago, Omegamatrix said:

You can also use a joystick for Holey Moley. I did that conversion long ago.

Joysticks wouldn't be feasible for Tap-A-Mole though as there are 4 rows, 6 columns, and well it just wouldn't work.

Oh nice! Thanks so much, I never knew about those joystick conversions you did. I'll talk about them during the stream.

 

2 hours ago, quohog said:

@ZeroPage Homebrew Omg, what an honor! I'm super excited and will be tuning in for sure. Please let me know if you have any trouble with the build. I hope you can dig up some keyboard controllers that snap together! (Star Raiders and kid's controllers work, but not recommended) :)

I love supporting new homebrews and especially ones that use the less conventional, but really effective, control schemes! I do have keyboard controllers that snap together, it'll be fun playing with them again. I think the last homebrew that supported them that we played was 2019's Laser Keyboard.

 

- James

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We'll be checking out Tap-A-Mole on tomorrow's (Tue Aug 11) ZeroPage Homebrew stream LIVE on Twitch at 6PM PT | 9PM ET | 1AM GMT! Hope everyone can watch!

 

Games:

 

(SET VIDEO TO 1080P60 FOR FULL QUALITY)

 

Edited by ZeroPage Homebrew
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Oh and on your last question, @Andrew Davie, if you hit a hole without a mole I was thinking about subtracting points, but only if you have the A/B difficulty set to A. 

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1 hour ago, quohog said:

Their tongue sticks out and their eyes get a little kooky. It's my cheap, "Lights out" effect.

hahahahaha!

 

I *thought* that's what I was seeing!

 

so great.  nice touch!

 

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10 hours ago, quohog said:

image.png.99eff743a10f48471c60b7de0506719a.png

 

For some minor graphics variation, set REFP0 after every other group of holes. That'll give you this:

 

image.png.99eff743a10f48471c60b7de0506719a.png.e55dd1fbb5a63586977bcff9d070e766.png

 

From Stella Programmer's Guide, found at MiniDig:

 

1759034801_ScreenShot2020-08-11at9_28_12AM.thumb.png.4b87bc697ede12e679b1ca9da2693c86.png

 

89117799_ScreenShot2020-08-11at9_24_06AM.thumb.png.781b6f4b9d00cb0dd2e3fbc2ecb1e9c0.png

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muy interesante amigo! lo estoy bajando en este momento para probarlo con mis keyboards atari, ya era justo que alguien hiciera un juego para los incomprendidos keyboards, tanto tiempo olvidados en un cajon!

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