[stella] Hello, I'm new to the mailing list

Subject: [stella] Hello, I'm new to the mailing list
From: "Ghislain" <ghislaindeblois@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 23:12:41 -0700
Hello all,

I want to learn Atari 2600 programming because I love playing the games and
I want to be able to have one of my own games in cartridge format some day.
I feel that the Atari 2600 is a cultural icon and to add my name to the
roster of past and present Stella programmers will be a great honor.  It's
true that the playing audience for the Atari 2600 is not as great as it once
was twenty years ago, but the firebrands (die-hard Atarians) are still
around and I read somewhere that some of Bob Colbert's cartridges sold out
pretty fast.

My programming background for 6502 8-bit computers consists mostly of
writing games in BASIC mixed-in with some ML routines for the VIC-20 and
Commodore 64.  My 6502 programming ability needs to be improved of course.
I already finished reading the Stella programmer's guide.  Although the
video RAM is severely limited to a few registers, I like the idea that the
programmer has a lot of freedom to tell the TIA chip what to do.  On the
Commodore 64 and VIC-20, the programmer has to use up a lot of valuable
memory space to bit-map the whole screen to display hi-res graphics.

Anyway, I am currently in the process of reading the source code of Combat
and for my first game I want to make an ice hockey game (like Hat Trick).
In order not to over-extend myself, it will basically have the same type of
graphics as Combat.  If I don't use up all of the 4K of program space, then
I'll probably incorporate simple AI  (the computer will basically go where
the puck goes, and go around the back of the net, etc.) so that the game can
be enjoyed by people who have no one else to play against.

So for my hockey game, this is how the graphics will go:

PF0, PF1, PF2 - the hockey rink and the nets.
P0, P1 - the center players.
M0, M1 - the goalies (the missile sprites will look like the paddles in
BL - the puck, of course.

The only thing that I'm worried so far is to determine whenever the puck
makes a collision with the playfield, how it will differentiate between a
hit on the boards or a hit inside the net.  Here's an illustration of how
the playfield will look (somewhat) like:

X                                     X
X   XX                   XX    X
X   X                       X    X
X   X                       X    X
X   XX                   XX    X
X                                     X

So when the puck goes inside the net, the program will have to detect the
position of the puck and also take in to account the direction of the puck
(because we don't want the player to be able to score by hitting the back of
the net).  I hope that this part won't get too tricky.  I suppose I could
flicker the goalies with the center players and use the missiles to act as
the "inside" of the net, but I'd like to avoid flicker as much as possible
(at least for my first game).

I know I am babbling, so I'll get back to reading the source code for
Combat.  I hope that Nick Bensema's web site stays up for a long time as I
find it to be a great resource.

Thank you for reading,
Ghislain de Blois

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