[stella] request for comments: RESCUE.BIN

Subject: [stella] request for comments: RESCUE.BIN
From: Greg Troutman <mor@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 1997 11:00:03 -0700
I need some opinions on a few things.

1. I've kinda dug a hole in RESCUE.BIN by changing the gameplay
mechanics from the original.  The arcade machine used a left and right
button for moving sideways, and the retro-rockets and missiles shared a
single fire button.  This worked okay, because you only fired missiles
when returning, and on your return, the ship automatically flew upward
without the need to use retro-rockets.  You could go up faster by using
the retro-rockets, and this would simultaneously shoot a missile.  Of
course that means you also got a brief burst of speed any time you fired
a missile... It worked okay since using the retro-rockets on your return
flight was a fairly minor thing you gave little thought to (at least in
the first few levels).  Letting the ship fly up more slowly on it's own
was a good thing, because using the retros ate fuel and reduced your
bonus points at the end of the level.

Now, I have changed the basic mechanics of the game to require active
usage of the retro-rockets to return to the ship.  I like the way that
works for flying and maneuvering, but in writing a routine to also shoot
back at the spaceships, the controls are much more difficult when you
share the fire button for those two things... It just autofires as you
fly, and that's not good because you really need to pick your shots very
carefully...  So, I've tried using the joystick-up as the retro-rockets,
and it's playable and kinda okay, but I don't really like it as much as
the button.  There's something very cool about separating the 
left-right and up-down controls between the stick and button... I
definitely don't fly as well in the new configuration.  I'll probably
try using the joystick-up for firing missiles, but that will mean losing
lateral control of the ship briefly, and I think somehow it won't be
good either...  So, I'm wondering about various ways to proceed:

 	- eliminate shooting completely, and add more challenge to the
flying/rescuing aspects of the game

	- program numerous less-than-perfect control schemes and let the player
select which one he prefers

	- simplify the flying, back to the original style where the ship moves
upward automatically after you've picked up a man

	- build a custom cable to connect a Genesis controller to both joystick
ports and use two buttons (just kidding ;)

2.  I've optimized a bit and found room to add some things.  One thing
I've tinkered with is further animation of the little guys on the
platforms.  I've got a much more efficient kernel routine for drawing
the platforms, lander and little men, and I'm planning on having them
run around on the platforms, making it look better and also increasing
the difficulty of landing without squashing them ;)   I could also
design different shaped platforms for each level, but there's not enough
room in the current one-screen setup to do very much with that.  I was
wondering what anyone thought about dividing the flying and landing
portions into two separate screens.  I might be able to build fairly
significant platform structures with more men on them if I do this. 
Maybe even making the ship descend into cave-like settings to rescue the
men.  Would anyone object to going in that direction before completing a
more accurate port of the original game???

3. I've been using over 200 lines of screen for a while and I was
wondering if anyone thinks that's a mistake.  The game currently cuts
off much of the bottom portion where your remaining ships are displayed
when using Stella.  But maybe that's something that can be configured in
emulators to fix and isn't a big problem???  Anyway it looks fine on
real NTSC TV and I think I'd like to go this way unless anyone has a
huge objection for some reason that hasn't occurred to me...  That one
extra row of asteroids really makes a difference ;)  Of course, if I go
with the two-screen setup described above, I can probably go back to 192
lines and be satisfied...



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