[stella] Thrust -> Multiload

Subject: [stella] Thrust -> Multiload
From: Glenn Saunders <cybpunks@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 15:14:44 -0700
At 11:08 AM 7/22/2000 +0200, you wrote:
It's a 12k-game now, i don't know much about the Supercharger, but
i thought 8k was the limit.

The Supercharger can hold 6K at a time, of which 4K is accessible linearly at a time. It arranges memory in 2K chunks, so a game would need to periodically flip banks to access the last 2K. There is also a ROM bank which is what holds the audio loader program.

Remember, all of this 6K of program space is read/write so it's quite flexible. Because of this, it may even be possible to crunch code a little and take up less space (like with self modifiable code or pseudobitmaps) vs. how a ROM-only game manages things with tables and swapping things in and out of the 128 bytes of RAM.

The maximum memory for the entire game is unlimited, though, through multiloads. It just forces a pause in the gameplay (which most modern gamers are used to on CD systems....) Any game that employs multiple waves or stages can be written in which one or more of these waves are stored in separate data loads. You can lock off blocks of memory to be persistent as you load in new data. I don't know how much control there is, not sure whether you have to lock off an entire 2K bank or not. I think the Supercharger loads 256 byte blocks at a time so maybe 256 bytes is the minimum. You'd need to earmark some memory to be preserved to keep your state (score, lives, and so on). Otherwise you can load up totally new code.

An example of a game that used multiloads just for waves would be Escape from the Mindmaster. An example of a game that had wildly different play modes in its loads (while preserving state) would be Survival Island.

Glenn Saunders - Producer - Cyberpunks Entertainment Personal homepage: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/1698 Cyberpunks Entertainment: http://cyberpunks.uni.cc

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