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mike99mccarthy

“Attack of the PETSCII robots” for 7800

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I know nothing of programming or coding at all but in regards to the control scheme for this game I offer this: the best solution is usually the simplest. Don’t reinvent the wheel if it adds more stress and time to your life or the project, especially if you have another method that may already exist. 
As I said I know nothing so feel free to ignore me but I just wanted to offer that. Looking forward to seeing what great things come from this project!

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As the game is a single player only game. It would make more sense to have the buttons on the controller act as search, move, use using a button on a keyboard controller to switch, and the other to be held down while moving the controller to fire the currently selected weapon I think? The keyboard controller on port 2 could be used to quickly switch to an item like the med kits, timebombs..etc. This would be quicker than the actual computer versions wherein you use a single button to toggle between the currently selected item and then use a button to use the current item. Or I suppose the search could remain on one button of the player 1 controller and the 2nd button be used to hold down and fire in the direction you press the controller. Move and use could be designated to keys on the keyboard controller then?

 

 

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6 hours ago, Irgendwer said:

In regard of the discussion, do you really think serving clock and estimating data will take lesser effort?

Well, that scheme should take a minimum of 4 instructions for each bit read, plus the instructions for the loop. And it will take only two bytes of RAM.

 

But there are other schemes that can be used as well, to save processing time, for instance you can left some buttons on a compatible map and use PB2 to change to an alternate map, And that will take very few instructions  to read all the 12 buttons. That is doable on your adapter. The detection can be performed by reading a combination of keys that are not possible for a standard controller like SELECT+START at the same time

  1. read LOW (U,D,L,R,A,B)
  2. PB2 = 1 (make pin 6 low)
  3. read HIGH (ST,SL,LS,RS,X,Y)
  4. PB2 = 0 (make pin 6 high)

image.png.7af06cb55eb0e338dcb2d86da9d6f16e.png

 

But hey, there is room for other solutions too, for instance to use a Megadrive (Genesis) controller with an adapter harness with mostly straight connections. That should also provide a compatibility with the 7800. To read the extra buttons just do a sequence of readings to get all buttons.

  1. PB2 = 1
  2. PB2 = 0
  3. READ (U,D,L,R,B,C)
  4. PB2 = 1
  5. PB2 = 0
  6. PB2 = 1
  7. read (0,0,0,0,A,ST)
  8. PB2 = 0
  9. read (Z,Y,X,MODE,1,1)
  10. PB2 = 1
  11. read (1,1,1,1,A,ST)
  12. PB2 = 0

The readings at steps 7 and 11 serve to detect that the controller is a 6 button type.

 

image.png.09f3ea0abe0206fc507d7b710c402caa.png

I am sure that the latter two methods can fit into leftover cycles of processing scanlines.

image.thumb.png.f638cf1c9ea0c8aef9060002e9593e49.png

Edited by Danjovic
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This SNACK NES controller stuff is interesting and all, but it’s realistically a complete non-starter for a port of PETSCII Robots. Asking people to buy a cheap second joystick or a set of commonly-available paddles is one thing; asking game buyers to break out the soldering iron is another. ;)

 

I suggest leaving this thread for Mike et al to talk about the game and share progress reports, and maybe start a dedicated thread for homebuilt controllers as a stand-alone topic. 

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As far as the default single-stick (proline) controls go, I believe we're nailed the scheme down really well. It will actually be my preferred way of playing the game, though we intend to offer the previously discussed alternatives. (another stick in port 2, a keyboard control in port 2, possibly others)

 

I'm avoiding spoilers at this time, because we still need to finish off some of the conversion, and then give David a chance to review before we reveal any updates. (likely his channel will be where you see it first) But people don't need to worry about extra controllers or frequent lunging for the console buttons; none of that will be required for a good experience with the game.

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Ok, I'm currently starting to implement the alternate control schemes, and I'm looking for some input from folks who would like to use 2600 keyboard controllers with this game. (recall that I said single-proline action would work well, so this is only for those of you that want to use the keyboard controller)

 

It seems to me that implementing run-and-gun buttons (shoot-up, shoot-left, shoot-right, and shoot-down) on the keyboard controllers isn't going to work well ergonomically. Picture yourself with a joystick in one hand to move the character, and another on the keyboard controller trying to shoot in different directions. Doesn't seem great, unless you duct-tape your devices down to a table. So for the keyboard scheme I'm inclined to go with the standard change-weapon, change-item, use-item, in addition to fast-use buttons that Crossbow suggested earlier. (e.g. use-medkit, use-bomb, etc.)

 

Does that work for you guys? Is there anyone looking to run-and-gun with the keyboard, despite the seeming impracticality? I'd rather not implement options for the keyboard scheme, because extra-but-unusable flexibility isn't really a UI win.

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I don't know yet if I'd prefer the two-button joystick scheme or joystick+keypad controller scheme until I know more about how the former works and have a chance to try it out. Would either the single-controller scheme or what you suggest above for a keypad controller scheme allow for the ability to move one direction and shoot another by any means? For this purpose, I could see the usefulness of the keypad buttons mapped to fire directions ... but that's because I personally would be using a gamepad instead of a stick, and could easily hold that controller in one hand, and have the keypad controller in my lap to press a shoot button when needed.

 

To make it more complicated though, I wouldn't want to use the keypad to shoot *all* the time; just for special cases where I'm e.g. running away and shooting behind me at once.

 

Still, I follow your logic, and I imagine most people would be using a stick instead of a gamepad, which would likely make it impractical for most given your logic above, so I understand dispensing with that option.

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I will be honest and state that I've not played too many of the other levels in the 8-bit version I own. But, I've seen videos where needing to move and shoot at the same time does seem to be required. And the computer versions of the game of course break this out on the keyboard with the WASD keys actually being the directions you fire with and the IJKL being the movement. In those cases, it would be required to somehow create a way to shoot and move at the same time.

 

But if that isn't really required and it just something some folks are doing, then I don't see an issue with having a button press plus direction might be to fire the current weapon while without a button pressed, it controls your movement.

 

I'm quite curious to know what you come up with since the other actions like search and move require you to use the direction controls after selecting those options to control the direction in which to search or move an object and during those modes you aren't able to move the character physically. 

 

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@-^CrossBow^- I haven't run across a situation where I needed run-and-gun, or even felt compelled to run and gun, and I've been through a fair bit of the game with play testing. That said, if you can point to a video, map, or whatever, I'm totally open to reconsidering that opinion. If run-and-gun is truly required, then we would remove single-proline as an option. If it's a nice-to-have, the alternate control schemes that support it are there. (twin-proline, for one)

 

@Karl G fair point about not knowing until you try.

 

Having revisited the keypad layout, based on both of your feedback, I think I might be able to pull-off both quick-item-use and run-and-gun. I was initially worried about both schemes forcing button-soup, where you'd need to memorize the locations of 12 buttons (or play with an overlay and glance down a lot) but this doesn't seem too bad...

1=use-medkit    2=shoot-up     3=use-bomb
4=shoot-left    5=???          6=shoot-right  
7=use-magnet    8=shoot-down   9=use-emp
*=change-weapon 0=change-item  #=use-item

The run-and-gun is in an expected cross pattern, with the quick-use items at the diagonals of the cross. Seems workable.

 

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On 1/5/2022 at 7:25 PM, RevEng said:

That said, if you can point to a video, map, or whatever, I'm totally open to reconsidering that opinion. If run-and-gun is truly required, then we would remove single-proline as an option.

David's statement regarding the controls:

 

 

 

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Thanks! (I have watched it before, along with all of his other Petscii Robot videos) He says he feels one button shooting is clumsy, but he doesn't say that run-and-gun is absolutely required. I don't agree it's clumsy (any more than it is in Berzerk), but be that as it may, we have 2 optional control schemes that allow for run-and-gun, with a possible 3rd one in the works.

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3 hours ago, RevEng said:

but be that as it may, we have 2 optional control schemes that allow for run-and-gun, with a possible 3rd one in the works.

The 3rd one is the long-awaited 7800 neural interface, right?

 

Doc Brown GIF by Back to the Future Trilogy

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[stunned silence. went too far? lol]

 

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10 hours ago, RevEng said:

[stunned silence went too far? lol]

 

In my case, I couldn't make out the image well enough on my phone to get the humor, so I came back to it now that I'm on my laptop - but too late, apparently. I can't see this group being that easily shocked into silence, though. :)

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On 1/5/2022 at 3:25 PM, RevEng said:

Having revisited the keypad layout...

I've looked for keypad controllers on the ebay and found that they are still relatively easy to find, but then again for the DIYer...

 

Keypad_DIY.thumb.png.fff809b7b31269cf30348ecbb73a21f4.png

 

ATARI  FUNCTION   KEYBOARD  NOTE
  1      ROW1        2
  2      ROW2        7
  3      ROW3        6
  4      ROW4        4
  5      COL1        3
  6      COL3        5      4k7 p.u. to Vcc
  7      VCC         
  8      N.C.        
  9      COL2        1      4k7 p.u. to Vcc

 

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It looks like a sneak peak video of the improved 7800 version has been posted in the Attack of the PETSCII Robots Facebook group. I'm not sure if the video is available anywhere else at the moment. It doesn't appear to be on YouTube:

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/975620876261750

 

Btw, it looks AWESOME!

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15 minutes ago, Karl G said:

It looks like a sneak peak video of the improved 7800 version has been posted in the Attack of the PETSCII Robots Facebook group. I'm not sure if the video is available anywhere else at the moment. It doesn't appear to be on YouTube:

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/975620876261750

 

Btw, it looks AWESOME!

But you need to join facebook. Who would ever do that? 

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19 minutes ago, Jinks said:

But you need to join facebook. Who would ever do that? 

I figured a comment like that was coming. At least I didn't have to wait long for it. :P

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Yes, in the end we did manage to get a little bit more color in there. ;)

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7 minutes ago, RevEng said:

Yes, in the end we did manage to get a little bit more color in there. ;)

Yeah.. "little".

Like the Grand Canyon being a little hole in the ground.

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So does anyone have a publicly available video without joining yet another tracking site? 

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Mike has done an amazing job getting the colorised version of PETSCII going on the 7800! So many little aspects, animations, sfx and features have been added for this version - the mix of 160B!! and 320 modes for text has been mind-blowing!  For those unable to see the quick video here are some pics:

 

Title

title.thumb.png.b2a97d5144bb912a509e368f018ae931.png

 

Gameplay

Mike was very confident to pull this off as the c128 tileset has been included!

game.thumb.png.67bad43b52ac7e239d0ed6a03b602c8a.png

 

Map (yes fully animated!!)

map.thumb.png.957876ae20c8d582276b62e2bd61eb07.png

 

Still some things to work through to finish off the game:

  • Added music (TIA) to title, win/lose game over (we have decided on not using the pokey at this point as that added further complexity to the custom cart design from Fred and Mike). 
  • Control schemes (some have been added but more to come). These will need to be tested on real hardware before being finalised but they're will be a mix of controllers to suit every need.
  • Player animation.  As the original sprite for the player is 320 resolution Mike has created an initial player in 160 resolution (VG too!). We also have a couple of our talented AA artists taking a look at redoing this so more to come!
  • Playtesting and remaining bug fixes (most should be gone now)
  • Review further feedback from David (we have some already to work on).

 

 

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2 hours ago, mksmith said:

Mike has done an amazing job getting the colorised version of PETSCII going on the 7800! So many little aspects, animations, sfx and features have been added for this version - the mix of 160B!! and 320 modes for text has been mind-blowing! 

:-o:-o:-o

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2 hours ago, mksmith said:

Mike has done an amazing job getting the colorised version of PETSCII going on the 7800! So many little aspects, animations, sfx and features have been added for this version - the mix of 160B!! and 320 modes for text has been mind-blowing!  For those unable to see the quick video here are some pics:

Amazing! The new colour update looks incredible. Great job Mike and Matt, can't wait to play it!

 

- James

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