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tman03

I dont know where to start!

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I got Atari Dev Studio up, but honestly I dont know where to start with ideas, and I dont know how to get started coding! I'm utterly lost! Help?!

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What got me started was I stumbled across the Tinkernut video and that got me a basic idea of the structure of the game and then over the last couple years I had been working on things trying to learn some of the finer points. I still get lost with some of the more complicated ideas but many have helped me along the way... 

 

The forums are great.

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Posted (edited)

If you are planing to go full 6502 assembly, it is best to start with the tutorials by Spiceware and Andrew Davie.

 

 

https://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-tutorial-andrew-davie-01.html
 

Getting a complicated display on screen (display kernel) might be a very difficult. I found it difficult and switched to bBasic and the DPC+ kernel. The DPC+ kernel allows for one sprite and up to 9 virtual sprite, each that can change color each scanline, a playfield that can have a maximum resolution of 32x44 “pixels,” and it handles the display kernel for you (you only need call drawscreen), and has 7 banks with 4K ROM available (huge compared to a stock 4K non-bankswitched cartridge.

 

I found these code snippets helpful, as well as the bBasic commands document on RandomTerrain


https://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-batari-basic-commands.html

 

In either case, work on getting a stable display working. Slowly add elements, and make sure everyone still works in Stella after every addition (turn on Developer mode to catch common mistakes).

 

 

Edited by CapitanClassic

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I got an idea!! My first game will be a port of Karateka, better than that lousy 7800 one!

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4 hours ago, tman03 said:

I got an idea!! My first game will be a port of Karateka, better than that lousy 7800 one!

You might contact Jordan Mechner for permission first.  After reading his impressions of other ports of the game, I imagine the bar will be set high.

 

There's also a chance that something else could arrive later and sap your enthusiasm.

 

 

IMG_20200826_223404.jpg

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Best advice i have if you have no idea where to start is to make it simple. Get some sprites on the screen and start moving them around with the joystick ect. Learn about playfields and screen transitions along with TIA registers so you can change colours and create some sounds. It's best to experiment first with these simple fundamental parts then you can progress into something more like a game. The learning curve is steep to begin with but gets easier over time

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9 hours ago, tman03 said:

I got an idea!! My first game will be a port of Karateka, better than that lousy 7800 one!

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, tman03 said:

I got an idea!! My first game will be a port of Karateka, better than that lousy 7800 one!

Wow!

As a first game goes you've gone all in ambitious.

 

First game should be:

Guy at top of a wall dropping bombs. You at the bottom must move left or right to avoid them (my first ever game). Something like that.

 

 

 

It works like this. Read a lot of coding books. Design your game out on paper. Make it simple. Write your game. Finish it. Then write a better version.

Then work on a relatively bigger game but stay small. Eventually you will have the skills and experience to work on such an ambitious game.

 

But don't try to do more than you are capable of, you will just get frustrated and give up.

 

Imagine you wanted to be a painter. How much time, effort and work do you think that takes ? 

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I agree that that is ambitious for a first project, but sometimes that works out okay, too. A game like that can be built in parts, and start off simple, and can be made more complex from there. If that's where your muse is, I say go with it, and see where it takes you.

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When I first got started, after playing around with what I learned from the Tinkernut video and the initial readings on Random Terrain's page, I decided I would make the game I had wanted to make for years, which was ambitious for a beginner. As I continued I wound up changing and adapting my idea to something I could program and if I couldn't I practiced making little programs or injecting snippets of code to see how it worked. 

 

It was a long and arduous process and I am still learning but I am miles away from where I started and I can now make little games if I choose to putz around for an afternoon on my computer.

 

I think all the people on this forum have great, sound advice and a lot of experience to learn from. Don't get discouraged!

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I started by downloading every bas file I could find to an example folder, and I remembr looking at them and wondering why some people read the joystick before the drawscreen and some after, it took a worrisome long time before I got that it's a loop, and that they both where before or after the drawscreen depending on how you look at it, there's a thread of beginner examples at the top of this bB section, it took me about two weeks to copy code from those and make a spaceship fly around and shoot a missile, and I've been hooked on programming ever since then, also you will start by making code that's incredibly over complicated, it start's to get really fun when you get how to make things simple, actually it's fun all the way.

 

One advice I would give myself both then and know is to not worry if you don't get exactly how something works, just continue and and you will get it eventually.

Edited by Lillapojkenpåön
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I still haven't made the game that was the idea that got me wanting to learn to make an Atari 2600 game. I'm still building my way up to it. With each game I make I learn something new and get more confident in my abilities. And experimenting with things while learning has led to ideas I never would have had if I had just jumped in and tried to tackle my original idea from the start (and probably prevented a lot of frustration).

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Just now, KaeruYojimbo said:

I still haven't made the game that was the idea that got me wanting to learn to make an Atari 2600 game. I'm still building my way up to it. With each game I make I learn something new and get more confident in my abilities. And experimenting with things while learning has led to ideas I never would have had if I had just jumped in and tried to tackle my original idea from the start (and probably prevented a lot of frustration).

 

One of the main things I wanted to make was a platform adventure game where everything is different every time I play. Although I was the programmer, I could play it without knowing exactly what is going to happen next.

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10 hours ago, KaeruYojimbo said:

I still haven't made the game that was the idea that got me wanting to learn to make an Atari 2600 game. I'm still building my way up to it. With each game I make I learn something new and get more confident in my abilities. And experimenting with things while learning has led to ideas I never would have had if I had just jumped in and tried to tackle my original idea from the start (and probably prevented a lot of frustration).

This is what happened to me. I had my original idea. But in my attempt to learn using test programs, those programs took over but I learned a lot. Now looking at my first program I realize I have a lot of work to do but am excited because my original idea feels easier. 

 

For me I found it easy to pick one small task for the day (since I generally would work on my lunch break) and then try to complete it. I'd do a lot of trial and error to see just how everything worked and make notes. Then later on if look at it with new eyes to see if I can accomplish the same goal better. And when I'm not working on it in reading the forums. Lots of great ideas!

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