Re: [stella] demo update: PCMSD20.BIN

Subject: Re: [stella] demo update: PCMSD20.BIN
From: Lee Seitz <lkseitz@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 14:37:50 -0500 (CDT)
Piero Cavina boldly stated:
>At 20.36 10/04/97 -0500, Lee Seitz wrote:
>>Piero Cavina boldly stated:
>>>Here's a major update of my current demo.

You're welcome! 8)

>Yes, they're too fast. I've also tried to enable sprite-replication for the
>balls - looks great so this feature will be added sooner or later.

So, you'll have to hit several balls on each line?  That would add
some difficulty (that could be a good thing).  Will the balls bounce
off each each other (that would be neat, but would probably cause
flicker) or just go back and forth as a group? 

>Good idea, this must be done. I suppose that balls speed should depend on a
>skill level parameter.

That sounds like a good idea, too.  Probably good for the game select
switch so experienced players can skip to faster levels.

>I think that the player should move whith acceleration, that is:
>player is standing still. you push the joystick, and it moves slowly; keep
>pushing the joystick and after a few moments it moves faster and so on until
>the maximum speed is reached.
>'River raid' plane moved this way, if I'm not wrong.

Sounds like the way the ship in Asteroids accelerates to me.  Perhaps
the difficulty switches should control the rate of acceleration? 
(Faster being harder, I think.)

>Player could regain from the bouncing effect opposing its motion to that
>given by the colliding balls... I hope you understand what I mean.

Yes, I do.  The faster the balls are going, the faster you'll bounce
and the harder it will be to regain control.  Sounds good so far.

>Hey, mine could me much better than Kool Aid Man... =)

Oh, I have no doubts about that!

One thing I noticed was that there's no randomness to anything's
starting position.  This means the demo "finishes" the "first board"
after a couple minutes, but then goes on for longer than I cared to
watch on the "second board."  Are you planning on adding any
randomness, or will you depend on humans' inability to precisely
repeat the same actions twice to do it for you?

This leads to another question I have.  (Please understand that I
haven't read the Stella manual, I'm just trying to learn the concepts
until I have time to learn 6502 assembly at some undetermined date.) 
Am I correct that the 2600 reset switch actually has to be recognized
by the software for it to do anything?  In other words, you could
write a program that doesn't let the user reset in the middle of a
game, only when it's over?  (The demo doesn't do anything when you
press reset.)  This explains how Asteroids and Maze Craze work, I
assume.  They step through a predefined table of values as long as the
user holds reset down.  In this way, the user "determines" what the
maze looks like or where the asteroids are.  And I assume it's
stepping through the table in milliseconds, so the player can never
intentionally pull up the exact same screen twice.

>MP was almost finished when the Mac Powerbook where it was being developed
>on had big troubles. I had to switch to a PC outside Supercharger+Atari+TV
>range if I wanted to keep working for the 2600 :-/

Oh, sorry to hear it.  Glad you kept at it, though!

>Meanwhile, I've started playing with DASM and emulators and in a few days
>the first Multi Sprite demo was ready. Now MP might be shelved for a while
>(thought I hate to suspend projects when they're almost finished) because I
>don't want to lose too much time porting MP from the XP2 Assembler to DASM,
>not forgetting that testing and debugging on emulators a two-players
>_paddle_ game is really annoying.

I understand.  I'll look forward to MP whenever you can get back to
it.  In the meantime, I'm really enjoying watching the evolution of
this demo/game.

If I keep reading this list, I'm going to have to take a crack at
programming.  I'm sure the Nexus would suffer for it. 8)  If anyone
thinks discussion of game design in off-topic to this list, just let
me know and I'll move it to private e-mail.  (I'm sometimes do it
accidentally anyway due to the way follow-ups are set.)

   Lee K. Seitz * lkseitz@xxxxxxxxxx *
Classic Video Games Nexus Maintainer (
   Dare to be stupid.  Do the Donkey Kong.  O-  Finger for Geek Code.
  Live long and prosper.  May the Force be with you.  Up, up, and away!

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