Subject: Re: [stella] 2600 rpg|
From: emooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Erik Mooney)
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 03:14:02 GMT
>I heard a rumor that there was a group of people working on a rpg >for the 2600, but they stopped/gave up/whatever. Anyone know anything >about this? They had storyboards and some other stuff ready, but couldn't find a programmer who knew how to implement the bankswitching (16k minimum would be needed and probably Superchip RAM, possibly more) and was willing to do it. >I think one problem might be storage. I've just started dabbling in >programming, so I don't know any tricks to fit all that info into a cart. >I've seen it done, but haven't a clue. But if more space is needed, I >finally completed the design for my super cart. 128K ROM and 32K RAM. Woohoo! >The entire address space is accessable by software. No kludgy dip switches. >This cart was designed with use by a single program in mind. Just waiting >for parts! Yeah, it's only a paper design, but you have to start somewhere! What sort of bank switching do you use? However addressable by software the cartridge might be, the 2600 is limited to 4K (12 address lines) of ROM address space and 128k of RAM... even performing writes to the ROM address space, like the Supercharger allows with its 6k RAM, is tricky. For a full-blown RPG, you'd need a *lot* of RAM if you're maintaining a list of, say, what treasures in which dungeons have been taken (a la NES Zelda or Final Fantasy.) I suppose a Gauntlet-style game, with lots of levels in ROM but not a lot of RAM needed wouldn't be too difficult, and a linear RPG structured like NES StarTropics could be done similarly (once you complete an area, you can't go back.) Or, you could cheat and do it like the NES Ultima series, which kept track of what stuff the characters had but restocked all the dungeons whenever you entered one. Also, do your specs include a battery back for the RAM? If not, a password-to-continue wouldn't be too hard to do, as in pseudo-RPGs like NES Willow and (arguably) Metroid, Metal Gear, etc. If I remember correctly from a FAQ I read some time ago, about half of a standard NES cartridge was taken up by bitmapped graphics.. this would be considerably less on the 2600 because the graphics (playfield) are natively monochrome and any significant color would to be handled with code. Text, though, is an important part of RPGs, and the 2600 really huffs and puffs to do that both in storage and on screen. Using a 4-pixel wide font (when playfield graphics are used for numbers, they're typically three blocks wide with a one-block space between characters, so this isn't too thin but I don't know how readable it would be) and three copies of each player drawn on alternating frames, a 24-character wide and arbitrarily high text matrix is possible.. this isn't too far from the 40-column standard of the NES. Other possibilities... what other genres didn't exist in the 2600's heyday but could be implemented now? A two-player fighter would be possible with monochrome graphics, but I suspect most classic fans wouldn't be interested =) Myst-like puzzle games would be quite possible with limited graphics (arguably, Okie Dokie already fits this type). Tetris has been done, but every other system has many Tetris clones (especially the PC), so why can't we do it for the 2600? =) I'd also love to see some of the early post-crash games like Bubble Bobble (very doable), Arkanoid (I may try this one myself) and Galaga ported to the 2600. Sidescrollers of any kind are still difficult, though. (Anyone know exactly how RSYNC works? .. could it be used to shift the playfield left or right in single-pixel increments, allowing smooth scrolling?) Sorry Crackers, but I have to say this: (Brainstorming from hell!) =) -- Archives available at http://www.biglist.com/lists/stella/archives/ E-mail UNSUBSCRIBE in the body to stella-request@xxxxxxxxxxx to be removed.