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joeybastard

Better arcade versions?

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Why colors were different was theorized in another thread. "Black background? NO! This machine is in color...give it some."

I read a very old interview in which Tim Skelly (Star Castle, Reactor, etc) opind that a big part of video game magic was that black background, which allowed the other graphics to look brighter and more interesting by comparison.

 

It is amazing that games were released with some of the color schemes that were used. The games look much better with black backgrounds.

 

 

There so needs to be a black-background hack for Video Olympics . . . Pong just doesn't look right with low-contrast colors . . .

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There so needs to be a black-background hack for Video Olympics . . . Pong just doesn't look right with low-contrast colors . . .

 

I second that. :) Should be easy to do! Make the paddles/playfields monochrome green or white too.. that'll be nice and vintage looking. :D

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Video Olympics fetches it's colors in a less-than straightforward way (starting at $F271)...so I didn't look through all that mess.

 

Quick 'n dirty hack:

voblack.zip

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Original routine

LF271: STX    $81    ;3 save AND value ($FF, or $0F if B&W)

      LDX    #$03   ;2

      LDY    #$07   ;2

LF277: CLC           ;2

      LDA.wy $009B,Y;4 grab color value

      BIT    $81    ;3

      BMI    LF282  ;2 if color, skip ahead
;use B&W

      LDA    LF698,X;4 use the B&W table

LF282: ADC    $80    ;3 add attract mode

      AND    $81    ;3 strip off top nybble if B&W

      STA    COLUP0,X;4 save the color

      DEY           ;2

      DEY           ;2

      DEX           ;2

      BPL    LF277  ;2 loop for all 4

 

 

 

Replacement

LF271: STX    $81    ;3 save AND value ($FF or $0F)

      LDX    #$03   ;2

LF277: CLC           ;2

      LDA    Color,X;4 fetch the color from a new table

      ADC    $80    ;3 add in attract mode

      AND    $81    ;3 strip off top nybble if B&W

      STA    COLUP0,X;4 save the color

      DEX           ;2

      BPL    LF277  ;2 loop for all 4

      BMI    LF277A ;2 skip over unused bytes


;new color table

Color: 

      .byte $34,$AA,$06,$00


;5 unused (the 4 bytes at LF698 are also unused)

      .byte 0,0,0,0,0

LF277A:

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We outta just put his picture on top of the "hacks" page :D

 

Come to think of it.. there are ALL sorts of nifty little Nukey hacks he's done through the years... and I think some of them (especially the little ones like this color change for example) have probably fallen through the cracks! Nukey do you have some kind of history of all your various tweaks to games?

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I wish I could find that Tim Skelly interview, it was one of the best I've ever read. It's in an old issue of Video Games (which remains the best and least-known of all old school game mags).

 

He also gave the theory that playing vidoegames is an evolution from the days of sitting around a fire for your evening's entertainment. Video games allow us to play with the fire.

 

He also talked about Reactor's failure at the arcades (it was his first raster game and the first game he made for anyone other than Cinematronics) due to gamer's puzzlement at the play mechanic. He also showed off a game called Screw Loose which was rejected by Mylstar for weird reasons. Don't know if that ever surfaced on MAME.

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I wish I could find that Tim Skelly interview, it was one of the best I've ever read. It's in an old issue of Video Games (which remains the best and least-known of all old school game mags).

 

Yeah.. I scanned that interview! I still have them at home although I posted it to various places. I love Video Games magazine and often scan them.

 

And yes that looks like the one Nukey... someone transcribed it as well it looks like. :)

 

.. let me know if you want the scans though Nova..

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I should have know that NE146 would have been the only other person who bought that mag. It was the sleaziest-looking but had the best content. From the people who now bring you High Times magazine.

 

Do you have the interview with Imagic's owner? I thought that one would have had some good lost information.

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One more reason, though it may just be a conspiracy. If home system games looked as good as their arcade counterparts then why would anyone pluck a quarter in the machine? It would kill the arcade market as we know it. Thank goodness that will never happen!! oh.......wait

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Apples and oranges. Why would Atari care about Taito losing money?

 

And hit arcade games had a limited shelf life anyway, four or five months of big sales then relegated to the back of the arcade. Think of home versions as the DVD coming out after the movie . . . nothing but extra revenue.

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Mostly guesses, but reasons for 'arbitrary' differences between arcade and 2600 game versions:

 

. Porting games from arcade to home was a relatively new concept at the time.

 

. Preference and/or self expression on the part of the programmer.

 

. Tight schedules and/or budgets keep things from being done down to the details.

 

. Atari brass probably felt no one cared as long as the game played semi-OK. Atari's own arcade ports didn't start getting tight until there was more competition getting their own arcade conversion licenses.

 

. Colors probably chosen to make games look more 'colorful', or to have lower contrast to avoid burn-in on TV sets.

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Programming used to mean only dealing with teletypes or text terminals.

 

The art of computer graphics was still in its infancy in the late 70s, early 80s. A lot of the programmers that were drawn into videogames had no prior experience writing anything that would generate color graphics. They came into programming from an analytical, mathematical perspective, not an artistic one.

 

Now, Rick was an exception since he wrote for the Fairchild Channel F. Still, he was porting a black and white game at a higher resolution down to a color platform.

 

And there were no dedicated in-game art teams or anybody with the eye to give proper feedback on aesthetics before the game shipped. It was all pretty much peer review by, you guessed it, other programmers.

 

Since SI was Atari's first port of a contemporary coinop hit, they really didn't know what the public were looking for in a port. And based on the sales of SI, the public didn't seem to demand a 1:1 translation as long as the play mechanic was preserved.

 

Remember that this was the era where the gameplay mattered more than the eye-candy.

 

I agree that graphics became more important when Intellivision and Colecovision started trying to beat the 2600 over the head by comparing the graphics.

 

And I think the general concensus was that the colors in Pac Man were chosen in order to minimize the perception of flicker.

 

Remember that Pac Man himself is still yellow.

 

The vertical maze exits might have been done in order to avoid the sprites venturing to the far left and right of the screen due to kernel timing issues.

Otherwise you might see tearing effects. Just a speculation.

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Note:

I have ONE (1) hack in the hacks pages :grin:

 

Yes, but only because you are constantly improving your hacks and can't leave them alone.

 

This is in no way a criticism. Keep up the great work.

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"Apples and oranges. Why would Atari care about Taito losing money?"

 

I'll try and not be insulting, but ATARI was a leader in coin op video games back in the day, plus SI was a good port to begin with.

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I'll try and not be insulting, but ATARI was a leader in coin op video games back in the day, plus SI was a good port to begin with.
Go ahead and be insulting if it explains what the fuck you're talking about.

 

Thanks for telling me that Atari made coin-ops, I had no idea! What's your point?

 

My point was that Atari would have no reason to worry about what SI made in the arcade because Taito's sales are not their problem. Your retort?

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. Porting games from arcade to home was a relatively new concept at the time.

Try unheard of ;) AFAIK every game had gone at the very least by an new name until SI came along (or maybe it was just because SI was so recognisable...nobody didn't know what it was).

 

 

And I think the general concensus was that the colors in Pac Man were chosen in order to minimize the perception of flicker.
The colors were already there. Just at such a high luminescence that you couldn't notice it.

 

 

Remember that Pac Man himself is still yellow.
As it would have to be in order to even consider using the name. Sure the maze is different and the rest of the colors are wrong and he's sliding sideways with an eye socket...but it's still recognisable as the yellow chomper from the arcade game.

 

 

The vertical maze exits might have been done in order to avoid the sprites venturing to the far left and right of the screen due to kernel timing issues.

Otherwise you might see tearing effects.  Just a speculation.

I don't believe so...since that sprite is used exclusively for the character which can be positioned on any scanline (apart from the score display of course). Horizontal tunnels would have actually been easier to accomplish...no special sprite-handling routines needed. Simpler just to say 'if X<0 then X=80' and have the full sprite blink from one side of the screen to the other.

I think that the game was originally going to be made sideways in order to keep the same ratio as the arcade game (this was common among home computer rip-offs of the time)...but the layout of the maze was altered in order to keep the cart size 4k once...according to Tod...the 8k request had been turned down.

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Do you have the interview with Imagic's owner?

 

You know.. I think I just may... I'd have to dig it out but that's fine. I'll let you know if I do find it.

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]Go ahead and be insulting if it explains what the fuck you're talking about.

 

Thanks for telling me that Atari made coin-ops, I had no idea! What's your point?

 

 

 

Have you noticed that you are a bit cocky? Why? I can't believe you have no idea what I was referring to with my arcade theory. Lets say that that Space Invaders was a popular arcade and that it may have been a reason that some people decided to walk into an arcade in the late 70's. They might see another game, perhaps made by a company other than Taito and plunk a couple quarters into it too, so Taito having a popular game was good for all game manufacturers. Why would Atari decide to crash the arcade market so early? Factor in the other theories listed in the thread and the answer is probably a combo of many.

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I think since the industy was in its infancy, you didn't have many real expectations from the consumer either. If the game was remotely like the original, then people considered it to be the same.

 

Speaking as someone who has been heavily into video games since the 70's I'd like to point out that we didn't consider it to be the same. It's not like we were morons and didn't notice the difference. Being able to play video games at home was such a novelty that close was good enough.

 

-S

 

Exactly, plus you needed a bit of imagination as well. I was playing asteroids at home dammit! And my friends could come over too! But then again, given the chance to ride my bike up to the arcade with my buddies, well that trumped everything ;)

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