Re: [stella] Hiragana Font For The 2600

Subject: Re: [stella] Hiragana Font For The 2600
From: Chris Cracknell <crackers@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 02:52:02 -0400 (EDT)
In article <199804170503.WAA15266@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, you wrote:

>First of all, you misspelled "katakana".. hope this helps.  And katakana
>would be a good next step.

DOH!!!! Boy I've really been pulling the boners lately. I guess my brain is
still burned out from school.

>second, that's a good idea.... though you're certainly not the first
>to put kana into 8x8 bitmaps.... loot at any Japanese Game Boy game,
>or Japanese NES RPG's.  One could probably rip the fonts from one of
>those, but the effort would probably be too great.,

Yeah, definetly more trouble that it's worth. The katakana font will be
much easier since the characters are much simpler in design.

Kanji on the other hand.... Oy!!!! I'm not going to be doing to much of
that. A lot of it would require at least double sprites, but there are
a few the could be accomplished in only 8bit widths. 

I started the font after I made a Hidari and Migi sprite so I could make
a Hidari Vs Migi game like in Nadesico. ;) It worked well in the 8x8 block.
Then I decided to make the whole Hiragana set.

>If you're going for a Japanese Hangman or something like that,
>this would be good.  For a demo, this would be a pretty cool touch.
>If I ever focus long enough to make a 2600 demo, I might throw in
>some of this just to mess with people's heads.

Hey, if we kept this secret, we could have some real fun on r.g.v.c. by
announcing the discovery of some newly discovered Japanese 2600 Prototypes!

When I finish my V-pet program I'm planning to make it look like a Japanese
game with a Japanese label and manual that is poorly translated into
english. ;)

That's kind of how I practiced Japanese last summer. I translated songs
into Japanese then back into English. The results were often amusing.

>In practice, though, we're probably only going to use one or two
>phrases anyway, so it might be more economical to just draw the
>characters in manually, like we do for English text.  A word like
>"kudasai", for example... "oshite kudasai" to press the button,
>etc.  I can do that in 24 bytes.

Well, I would doubt that anyone would use the whole font set, but they can
cut and paste, from the set I made, only the characters they'll actually
need. They can even string them together as a single sprite if it's easier
for them.

You can reduce the "kudasia" even further by using the Kanji for "kuda".
It'll fit nicely into an 8x8 block.


>.11.....  also, traditionally video games use horizontal text like
>11..11..  we do, even in Japan.  Even, apparently, in Japanese-made
>.1.1....  arcade games, which have an excuse to write vertically with
>.1...1..  those vertical monitors.  In fact, a lot of Japanese arcade
>.1.11...  games just use Roman letters.  I don't know why, or how the
>........  Japanese people deal with another language intruding into
>...1....  their society so much, but I have seen the Japanese versions
>..111...  of enough games to get a feel for the trends.

There is a lot of speculation that within the next 50 years the Japanese
are likely to switch to Romaji instead of their current Kanji/Kana
method. Prompted mostly by the need to use computers quickly and

I hate using Japanese word pros. And since you have to type the words in
in Romaji in the first place, it would only make sense to keep it that
way. Most of the younger generation can read and write Romaji and it would
certainly free up a lot of academic time not having to memorize a gazillion

>.1......  I bring this up because if we were to make Japanese versions
>..11....  of our games, we'd probably have to rewrite the kernel to
>........  display text vertically down the screen instead of across
>.1......  the bottom of the screen where it usually is.  In fact, 
>.1..1...  we'd probably have to use a lot of cycles on the main 
>.1..1...  scanning loop to display the text alongside a playfield.
>.11.....  We'd also have to use up a player.  Titles are another
>          story, but the way most Atari 2600 games stuff everything
>into 4K is to use just one display kernel and leave it on no matter
>what, replacing the score with an option number or a copyright notice
>when no game is being played.

A simple title screen with vertical japanese probably wouldn't take up much
memory though. As long as there wasn't anything going on.

But if you used the "six digit score routine" (which I will henceforth
refer to as 6DSR) you should be able to display a variety of words.
You can say a lot more japanese words in 6 kana or less than you can
probably say in english with 6 letters or less.... of course the dotdot
takes up an additional sprite, which kind of sucks. But you could use
it to give clues during a game by briefly replacing the score with a
japanese word.

>But then again, look at what Warren Robinett did.  I think the only
>English phrases I've ever seen written vertically are "MOTEL"
>and "Created by Warren Robinett".  Oh yeah, and thanks to the
>emulator, "A-TEAM".  I didn't know the A-Team had a rocketship.  :)

I think Dragon Stomper has quite of few words in it. And then there's the
"Press Play On Tape" that the Supercharger displays. I think that was
the first text message other than a company name that I ever saw on the
2600. The first time I saw the Supercharger I thought it must give the
2600 an ASCII character set.

HEY! I know what we could do.... 

Let's translate "Dark Mage" into Japanese! ;)

                        (Baka from hell!!!!!!!)


Accordionist - Wethifl Musician - Atari 2600 Collector | /\/\
*NEW CrAB URL* ***| \^^/
Bira Bira Devotee - FES Member - Samurai Pizza Cats Fan| =\/=

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