Re: [stella] vcs net play ?

Subject: Re: [stella] vcs net play ?
From: Mark De Smet <de-smet@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2001 19:42:05 -0500 (CDT)
> So, the port you plug a controller into can act as a plain old I/O
> port, right?  My idea is it hook a smart little signal forwarder (the
> ? in my diagram) into the second joystick port of the atari. The smart
> little box is also plugged into some port (serial port maybe) of a
> computer that is online.  Running on the computer is a client/server
> program that connects the signals from your atari to the signals of
> your friends atari.

This is competely doable.  the ? box in your diagram can be a simple as a
connector if you wire it to a PC parallel port.

> moves.  Maybe some games could even be 'updated' to deal with
> this net play?

Unlikely, probably only newly designed games.(see below)

> What do you guys think?  Has anything like this been thought
> of/attempted before?  Do you think there would be any interest in
> it?

I personally think it would be quite cool.  The two main catches:

PC software:  You need to write it.  It has to interface with the
parallele port at a hardware level, and it has to talk over the net.  Both
things that are a bit beyond me.

Net latency:  This is your big killer.  I looked at doing a net game a
long while back, and asked a few people very familiar with net
programming.  Turns out that programming games that converse over the net
is very difficult.  For example.  It is not uncommon for a packet to take
0.5 to sometimes a couple seconds for it to get to it's destination.  This
delay prevents any live action play on a lowly 2600(new games use
prediction methods to predict the other players moves before the update
packets actually arive).  Only games where slow response from other
players is ok would work.  How many games like that do you really want to
play over the net?


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