Re: [stella] The Big Sprite

Subject: Re: [stella] The Big Sprite
From: Glenn Saunders <krishna@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 1998 20:08:39 -0700 (PDT)
On Wed, 8 Apr 1998, Erik Mooney wrote:
> The background could be completely blue or completely green instead of
> black if you'd like :)  Maybe a few cycles for a gradient culd be found,
> but no playfield data.

A gradient would certainly do wonders.  Or stripe it rather than just one
gradient so you have bands that suggest sky, horizon, and ground.

We all know how far the 2600 can get out of just one of its color
registers this way.

> way I can think of to do it is flicker a few blood particles at 15 or 10
> hz, and have the characters unable to throw projectiles while their
> oppoenent is spewing blood.  (and both the projectiles and blood are limited to 8
> pixels wide because the ball is, unfortunately - no Scorpion harpoons)

That sounds good to me.  Plus, at least you can widen the ball to take up
more screen real-estate if necessary.  Plus, theoretically the 1-bit
objects can give the illusion of being higher in resolution by altering
the width and position on a scanline by scanline basis.  Star patterns and
the like can be generated this way.  Do any current games employ this
trick?  It was discussed a while back but kinda fizzled out.

I think the missiles and ball have been underutilized in most 2600 games
because programmers automatically assume that 1-bit isn't enough detail to
bother painting the screen.

> I thought of that too... the problem with that is the sheer number of
> cycles needed to calculate the graphics.  IIRC, it takes something like 12
> cycles per byte to read it and store it in the "display-buffer" in SC

Because of this, I'd imagine that the interactions would have to be
incredibly limited, and table-driven rather than calculated, so it would
be like playing back a flipbook. 

Still, Suicide Mission itself manages to have a fairly busy display.

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