Re: Re: [stella] Megacart Specs

Subject: Re: Re: [stella] Megacart Specs
From: Glenn Saunders <krishna@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 20:19:29 -0700 (PDT)
On Tue, 14 Apr 1998 kurt.woloch@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Is it really that simple to ask him? I'm thinking of him like a
> superstar like Michael Jackson, whom you would hardly be able to manage
> to ask anything :-)

It's not hard for me to ask him.  I have his Email address.  Whether he
answers is another matter entirely.  I also have his telephone number but
I'm reluctant to call him on a whim.

> Since PCAE 2.0 supports Pitfall II, someone must already have figured
> out how that chip works. Maybe looking into its source code would solve
> the puzzle?

Knowing how to emulate something isn't quite the same as being able to
clone the hardware.

> I wonder what it is (except,
> of course, for the music) that couldn't have been done without the chip.

CPU and memory are the two bottlenecks on the 2600.  That's why some games
look a certain way, with all the CPU devoted to one task, and another game
looks another, with the CPU doing something else.  The specs of the 2600
are one thing, but making a game is another.  Sometimes you just can't do
relatively simple things on the 2600 due to lack of CPU.

INV and Oystron have limitations in their kernel, for instance, due to
lack of available CPU cycles per scanline.  In INV's case, it can not
stripe individual scanlines of the playfield.  Plenty of OTHER games
stripe every single scanline, but because of the unique demands of the INV
kernel with its playfield bitmap, it has only enough time left to do a few
color changes.  Same deal with complex missile shape/size/position
manipulations.  Plenty of other games have done these individual things,
but none can do them all at once. 

Pitfall II doesn't do anything that hasn't been done separately in
individual games.  TIA is still handling the video, but because of the DPC
chip, the kernel is given more time to do more tricks at one time on each
scanline than would normally be possible.

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