[stella] Qb: Release candidate 2.11

Subject: [stella] Qb: Release candidate 2.11
From: "Andrew Davie" <adavie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 02:15:40 +1100
Here's an updated version with some gameplay changes.  Latest version
(attached) is 2.11.

Eckhard wrote...
> As far as I can tell, all display problems have been removed.
> Both versions constantly show a stable picture now.

Time to celebrate!  Thanks for the report.

> is a problem with too much sound. When you hop on a nasty, the
> hopping sound doesn't stop until a new Qb shows up. When you
> loose your last live this way, the sound goes on forever.

OK, fixed :)  Thanks once again.

> And i think you should do something about the score countdown.
> there is nothing that you can do to save your score. Maybe
> during gameplay you could use the SELECT button as a give up
> function that costs you 1000 points for every cube not on
> the destination spot and a life or something like that.

I had another request (now implemented) which kind of fits in with this
problem.  In the original version, the usage of your weapon was slightly
different...  the weapon only threw off creatures which were about to hit
you.  In the 2600 version (until now), the weapon threw off any nasty except

Now, I have changed it.  The weapon will throw off any creature which shares
the same cube as you.  This includes fruit.  So, in effect, any creature
about to hit you (if you're jumping onto its square, or its jumping on to
yours, it is the same) will be tossed off by the weapon.  This adds a lot to
gameplay, too... if you have an octopus rearranging the hell out of
everything, you have to go chase it to get rid of it.

To compensate for that, I've loosened the tolerance on the available
time/screen.  It is now a linear function of the level # (up to 31).
Basically (31-level)/4  + 1--> timer.  So, on level 1 your time is 9 units,
on level 15 it is 5, and on level 31 it is 1.  I have also adjusted the
penalty/frame when your score is counting down from -3 to -1.  Thus, it is
1/3 the speed, and you have a lot more time to do things.  Hopefully this
will reduce the cost in score while you scramble to complete.

If you really want to kill yourself... well mmmh... you can eat/toss the
fruit until a nasty comes.  There should be lots more nasties on the levels
where this becomes a real option, anyway.  I suspect that the tolerance
adjustments will make the desire for suicide somewhat less, until the later
screens, when there are more nasties anyway.

I plan to adjust the fruit functionality.  Currently, you just jump on fruit
(without missing one) and you get your extra life.  I'm thinking of
requiring you to get the fruit in the correct sequence, and generating fruit
randomly.  That is, the sequence would be A,B,C,*D* (extra life).... but the
fruit might appear as D, C, C, A, B, D, A, A, B, A, D, C, A, A, D
To get the extra life, you could jump on the first 4 (as you need an A to
start), then the 5th, toss the 6-11th off the screen, as they break the
sequence, and jump on the 12th (the C) and finally the 15th for the extra

I don't quite have enough space for the code, but it seems worthwhile and
would significantly alter how you approach the fruit - and in particular how
easy it is to get an extra life.

Chris wrote...
>As compensation, a thought:  When you do the limited edition release later,
>you could make it a larger cartridge format, and put the title screen back
>in with added sound, etc...

I have NO desire to do a larger cartridge, though it has been requested of
me by several people.  I really want to get onto other things... though I
understand everyone's desire for additions/improvements.  Basically, 4K is
it.  I have always seen the fun/challenge/balance in 4K.  2K is a bit small,
and 8K is, well... easy :)

Besides, the amount of effort/work vs. the benefits to ME... mean that a
larger cartridge is out of the question.

And Glenn wrote...

> I know you have a convention coming up to release this thing, but I hope
> that you keep tweaking Qb in response to user feedback because this last
> is the difference between a good game and a perfected game.  It really is

No doubt there will be tweaks here and there as I get feedback.  I have
about 10 bytes free at the moment, and the time is coming (really) where
rewrites and optimisations will gain little.  I know you're disappointed
about the sound, but when I HAD space and asked for volunteers/help, none
were forthcoming.  The space went to other things, and my deadline is

> b) people like Jim Nitchals freed up code in there to deliver those

OK, I didn't get to 'jam' with Jim... he was a bit before my time.  Is it
rude to ask what happened to him?

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