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Zach

Non-Infringing Russian Block Game

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I've been dropping a few hints about my latest project recently. :)

 

First let me explain the title: Chetiry (Четыре) is the Russian word for four, and is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. I strongly encourage everyone not to use the trademarked name when refering to my project.

 

This version is a little buggy, but playable and good enough for a demo. It uses RAM plus bankswitching, which z26 and Stella should recognize automatically. I eventually plan to implement the game with just the regular 128 bytes of RAM.

 

The kernel works without flickering, and it took me a long time to figure out how to do 10 colors in such a short span. I'll decribe how it works in my blog soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the demo!

 

post-2163-1166903060_thumb.png

chetiry23Dec06.bin

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Very nice! It plays well. Will this make its way to the AA store eventually?

 

tjb

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Cool! I can't remember having seen a game like this before. :)

 

And it's almost completely playable now. There is just one thing, that currently hurts the playbility. That's the aspect ratio of the blocks. E.g. I constantly try to turn the red block and wonder why this never works. Since I suppose you can't change the horizontal size, I suggest you should increase the vertical size (quite a lot).

 

And now I will have a closer look at your kernel. :)

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Even at the demo stage it looks very wonderful! If this gets finished, IMHO it'll be the best falling block game for the Atari 2600 so far.

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BTW, I had trouble running this on a Krokodile Cart. Something gets screwed up when a row is cleared and the game becomes unplayable. Has anyone else tried this?

 

Since I'm going to ultimately overhaul things to use the standard RAM, it shouldn't be a problem later on.

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Since I suppose you can't change the horizontal size, I suggest you should increase the vertical size (quite a lot).

Well, there are 18 rows at 10 lines tall. If I increased to 11 lines per row, that would be 198 lines for the play area. If the score were only 5 lines tall, that would make the picture 203 lines. Has anyone exceded 200 lines in an NTSC picture before?

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Well, there are 18 rows at 10 lines tall.

Each block is ~8 pixels wide, each pixel is about 1,6 vertical pixels. So, for a correct aspect ratio you would have to display ~13 pixels vertically (18*13=234).

 

If I increased to 11 lines per row, that would be 198 lines for the play area. If the score were only 5 lines tall, that would make the picture 203 lines. Has anyone exceded 200 lines in an NTSC picture before?

Don't know, but with PAL you can easily do 240 lines. :)

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I enjoy Tetromino games. Like it or not that famous company doesn't own the rights to that geometric terminology.

 

Yours looks pretty good so far. :)

 

(OMG DON'T CALL IT "CUBE" THE ''SQUATRAX'' COMPANY OWNS IT.)

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Aside from the odd aspect ratio, it seems very close to the you-know-which-game.

 

Since there isn't much room to stretch it height wise, about losing one "line" to make a bit of room? That in theory should allow some room in NTSC screen to make the blocks closer to proper aspect ratio.

 

A few more things I noticed with the early version: blocks can wrap around the screen which didn't in the you-know-which-game. Also when you do run out of room at the top, the game keeps playing and piling more blocks. Also looks like scoring, and select and start switch haven't been implemented yet. Still, the early version looks promising.

 

Also are you planning on special screens based on how well you play the game and the starting game level? The you-know-which-game for the hand held system or toaster box system released in 1989 had such screen that displayed a number of well known characters. Which ones you get to see depends on if you started at game level 1 (slow) to 9 (fast), the difficulty from 0 (no existing blocks on bottom) to I think 6 (6 rows of random blocks on bottom) It would be nice if that can be included in the 2600 version.

 

The you-know-which-game also had another game mode, an unlimited type play where you just keep clearing for as long as you can and the game speed increases every so often like every 10 lines cleared.

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To help the aspect ratio, I'd give more lines to the play area and push the score into the "forbidden zone."

 

I realize it's not complete, but this game is very playable - I spent maybe an hour on it. The only feature I found myself wanting is the "next block."

 

Also, the screen jumps noticeably when you clear multiple rows.

Edited by batari

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Well, there are 18 rows at 10 lines tall. If I increased to 11 lines per row, that would be 198 lines for the play area. If the score were only 5 lines tall, that would make the picture 203 lines. Has anyone exceded 200 lines in an NTSC picture before?

Yes, I'm using a 240-line picture in E.T. Book Cart, but several lines at the top and bottom do *not* have important information in them (i.e., they use the background color, and some of them use the playfield, but not the players/missiles/ball).

 

In the 262.5/60 format, the ideal default seems to be 240 active lines per field.

 

The central 90% (216 lines) of the active area is generally considered to be viewable for non-critical picture information.

 

The central 80% (192 lines) of the active area is generally considered to be viewable for critical picture information, such as text.

 

But those figures are geared toward older TVs. I think newer TVs should display more lines-- maybe even all 240/480 lines?

 

In E.T. Book Cart I'm using the central 200 lines (83%) for the text pages, and I would have gone as high as 208 lines (87%) if it would have worked out with my text kernel.

 

So I think you could safely use 198 lines for the play area, and still have up to 10 lines for the score. And if you're worried about cropping, I'd suggest positioning the active area so that any cropping will leave the score visible, and shave off a little bit of the play area, since it should be okay if *most* of the first or last row of blocks is still visible.

 

Michael

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Cool demo :thumbsup:

 

I strongly encourage everyone not to use the trademarked name when refering to my project.

 

Do you want me to scramble references from people not paying attention? :)

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Good idea about scrambling, Manuel. Thanks!

 

Thanks to everyone who replied so far. My first motivation for this project came because the other VCS versions of this game are hard to find. Authorized copies are even more elusive. I have the utmost respect for the early homebrewers who came before me, but with the growth in homebrewing knowledge since then, the time seemed ripe for a new version of this game.

 

I have ambitious plans to improve on this demo and make a nice polished game. I am building a dream list of features I want to add, aside from the obvious things like blocking wrap-around, and showing the next piece.

  • Flashing effects for clearing a row, and even flashier effects for clearing four rows (Chetiry!).
  • Lots of sound effects, including maybe the AtariVox.
  • Lots of public domain Russian music.
  • Cutscenes with Russian landmarks and characters.
  • High score recording with the AtariVox or SaveKey.
  • Different game variations.

Once again this is an ambitious list. Even getting the demo to work as-is with standard RAM will take a lot of work. Unfortunately I won't have time to get to it all right away. I've put aside a lot of Real Life to work on Four-Play and Toyshop Trouble, and I need to get caught up. Remember that homebrewing is a slow process, and be patient.

 

Please don't be offended if there isn't enough room for everyone's ideas in the project.

Edited by Zach

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Your game's great, VERY playable. Takes me back to the old GameBoy days (probably the last time I played that 'Russian block game thingy') :thumbsup:

 

Also, thanks for considering AVox / SaveKey support

Edited by Richard H.

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My first motivation for this project came because the other VCS versions of this game are hard to find. Authorized copies are even more elusive. I have the utmost respect for the early homebrewers

I have been looking for a game like this for a while.

I could GET a copy of Edt#@# from a certain feller who cooks up carts but I gave my word to the good folks of AA that I would not do business with him, so this is the answer to my problem :)

Can't wait to buy a copy. Cool if ya don't like my Text Label idea also :cool:

WP

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Cool if ya don't like my Text Label idea also :cool:

It's not that I don't like it. I'm just not sure what you mean. Do you mean like the early Atari games? Or like some of the first homebrews? Why would this particular game be a "good candidate"? Edited by Zach

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Cool if ya don't like my Text Label idea also :cool:

It's not that I don't like it. I'm just not sure what you mean. Do you mean like the early Atari games? Or like some of the first homebrews? Why would this particular game be a "godd candidate"?

Like the early Atari games.

I think it is a good candidate because it is a puzzle type game, something popular back in the text label days (Othello etc.) :)

WP

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