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Polishing off some work from the starfield thread: 2600 Cosmic Ark, ported to the 8-bit.

 

Controls:

  • Joystick 1 for main control, along with joystick 2 if a 2P game is active.
  • 1 toggles left difficulty (side fins), 2 toggles right difficulty (2P assignments).
  • Select to choose game, Start to begin/restart.

 

The starfield is updated from the version in that thread -- it now uses horizontal scrolling to avoid having to bitshift the writes into the playfield buffers, which in turn allows for player replication without overlapping. A few of the buffers have also had pixels doubled up to emulate the twinkling. The double-pixel and replication patterns are similar but not exact to the original, which is hard to implement precisely.

 

Colors in Cosmic Ark are on the bright side, and in particular meteors are a bit more blue than you will see with typical 8-bit emulator palettes due to color clamping. In Altirra, you will see better colors if you either turn down the intensity scale on the palette and turn up the monitor brightness, or enable HDR if you have a capable setup. But then again, if you have time to stare at the meteors, you're either playing it wrong or too good at it.

 

The audio driver is slightly updated, it needed a fix for 4-bit poly sounds ($1x) to force a cycle period with an offset of 1 mod 15.

 

Code is somewhat bloated because I had to unroll a bunch of P/M graphics loops in order to fit in VBI time and Cosmic Ark uses some rather tall animated graphics -- the planetary defenses and the tractor beam can both be about 40% of the screen height. Also, several of the objects can be vertically clipped, which also complicates P/M updates. Probably could go a lot faster, but I was happy enough just to get it to fit within NTSC time (PAL of course has loads of extra VBI time).

 

This is a port of the NTSC version and is intended to run at NTSC speed. I experimented with PAL speed correction, but Cosmic Ark is already known for shots tunneling through meteors at higher levels and doubling up the VBI made this much worse, in addition to making some motion jerky. Additionally, while meteors and the shuttleship have fractional accumulators driving them, other motion like the beasties don't. So, 50Hz adaptation is left as an exercise to the reader.

 

Happy holidays, everyone.

 

cosmic-1.0.zip

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this is really looking great.  star field looks darn close and definitely captures the spirit.  I wouldn't have even questioned or paid attention to the subtle difference if you hadn't pointed it out.  

 

I'd forgotten how much i liked playing the simple mechanics of this game.  

 

 

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Quickly tested for a few levels and working fine on a PAL 600XL with U1MB.

 

What is the TIA issue that causes the star field to be possible on the 2600?  

I've got a late 1980 PAL TIA which doesnt show the star field.  I swapped it for a later one when I found this out.

 

I love this game.

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Thank you very much for the port.

I bought it at the time and I have fond memories.

I liked the different species (7) and planets.

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4 hours ago, marauder666 said:

What is the TIA issue that causes the star field to be possible on the 2600?  

 

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Thanks for the port.

 

So what do you all think happens after Cosmic Ark?  In Atlantis when you lose the game, the little space ship flies off, and Cosmic Ark is the sequel.  In Cosmic Ark when you lose the game, the same ship escapes.  I wonder where they go?

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4 hours ago, Gibstov said:

So what do you all think happens after Cosmic Ark?  In Atlantis when you lose the game, the little space ship flies off, and Cosmic Ark is the sequel.  In Cosmic Ark when you lose the game, the same ship escapes.  I wonder where they go?

It ends up in the unreleased second sequel, tentatively titled "Fathom: Deep Six"  😛

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I went into this game knowing nothing about it or how to play it, yet in the true Atari way, it was easy to learn, but difficult to master.

 

That's a good game there.

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ZeroPage Homebrew is playing Cosmic Ark on tomorrow's stream LIVE on Twitch, hope you can join us!


Games:

 (WATCH AT 1080P60 FOR BEST QUALITY)

 

 

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On 1/5/2022 at 3:58 PM, Gibstov said:

In Cosmic Ark when you lose the game, the same ship escapes.  I wonder where they go?

I don't know. But I had the younger kids running around looking for it. Saying it flew out the back'a the TV set.

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It probably went to our PM's garden party during lockdown, just like everyone else...

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3 hours ago, Mclaneinc said:

It probably went to our PM's garden party during lockdown, just like everyone else...

He even had a party of doctors and nurses at his bedside in ICU.

how soon people forget... ;/

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14 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Maybe you should remove the whole COVID stuff.

I agree, so I removed all the COVID-related posts, starting with _The Doctor_'s entry to this thread, and especially after another anti-vaxxer posted his ill-informed opinions.  Guys, don't use AtariAge to spread your anti-vaccine nonsense, it will not be tolerated here.  Go find someplace else, like Facebook or Twitter, to do that.

 

Thank you,

 

 ..Al

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What does any of this have to do with a free game port showing up out of the blue?

Thank you so much for your time on this Phaeron. It's moments like these that make this hobby so rewarding, realizing that I can have fun with a 40+ year old game just the same as I did back then. I get more excited for a new 8-bit game than I do for the latest console release on todays market.

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8 minutes ago, gnusto said:

What does any of this have to do with a free game port showing up out of the blue?

Thank you so much for your time on this Phaeron. It's moments like these that make this hobby so rewarding, realizing that I can have fun with a 40+ year old game just the same as I did back then. I get more excited for a new 8-bit game than I do for the latest console release on todays market.

I agree 100% with EVERY statement made in this post. Thank you Phaeron. Outstanding port. Looks awesome, and it's a joy to play.

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2 hours ago, gnusto said:

Thank you so much for your time on this Phaeron. It's moments like these that make this hobby so rewarding, realizing that I can have fun with a 40+ year old game just the same as I did back then. I get more excited for a new 8-bit game than I do for the latest console release on todays market.

Yeh howa'bout that? Eh? It's always nice to see a new game/conversion for 8-bit machines.

 

Many modern games seem way overdone. Too many details in the artwork, both in-game and box art. Leaves little for the imagination to engage in. Part of vintage gaming is enjoying the abstractedness the simple shapes and vibrant colors provide.

 

I do see one serious problem with all this however. If these shenanigans keep up I may haffta go ahead and make a new folder on my emulation rigs for "hobbyist-homebrew conversions". At the very least it's going to be a decadal survey. Might even turn into a project backed by the Federal Gubberment!

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I've seen some comments (not on this forum) on videos of my ports saying "Why aren't the sprites improved, etc."   I guess they don't understand that I'm directly porting porting the 2600 game, as phaeron has done here also.

 

But I think to myself about that - "does it improve the game?"  Usually, the answer is no.  Simple fun games don't need the latest 3D whiz-bang  stuff!

 

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Why are the beasties upside down?

26cosmicark.png

 

Also some colors (meteors, frame around score, ship) are different to the 2600.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch

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16 hours ago, glurk said:

I've seen some comments (not on this forum) on videos of my ports saying "Why aren't the sprites improved, etc."   I guess they don't understand that I'm directly porting porting the 2600 game, as phaeron has done here also.

 

But I think to myself about that - "does it improve the game?"  Usually, the answer is no.  Simple fun games don't need the latest 3D whiz-bang  stuff!

 

Playability, king of the gaming needs...Does Jumpman need to look better, no, it needs to just be played and played..

 

I remember when they redid Bionic Commando (on the Xbox360?), just a mess, all 3D and loads of poly but not fun to play, same as Lode Runner 3D. I think I've only really liked 2 updates, Space Invaders extreme and Ghouls and ghost (or was it Ghost and Gobilns) on the PSP

Edited by Mclaneinc

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3 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

Why are the beasties upside down?

26cosmicark.png

 

Was just checking this out and I realized that when I got to the 'little dogs' : )

 

Brilliant port phaeron - thank you for the work!

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I had another go at it.  It's not my code, so any mistakes are my own, but I think I've fixed the color and inversion issues.  Changes are in the source:

 

cosmic-1.0g.zip

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