Re: Aw: Re: [stella] Maze Craze and 650x

Subject: Re: Aw: Re: [stella] Maze Craze and 650x
From: Paul Slocum <paul-slocum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 17:17:42 -0500

I think this might be possible if you're willing to tolerate some flicker. Display each brick of one color in one frame, each brick of the second color in the second frame, and so on. Three or four colors would probably be the limit before it starts looking bad.

I think four frames would be too much flicker. Two frames would be the most I would want to do. But consider that you could change those two colors on each row. So you'd only have two colors per row, but many colors on the whole board. Also, I wonder if the 2 player graphics could be used to display the gold and silver bricks. The balls and paddle can be displayed using the missiles and ball, so the player graphics would be free.

I think the biggest challenge wouldn't be so much in the display, but in the memory. The simplest brick-breaking game could allocate one bit per brick. However, with Arkanoid, you'd need more bits per brick in order to store its color, how many hits it has taken (for silvers), and whether or not it hides a capsule. Assuming four bits per brick, that's only two per byte, so an 8x16 field (for example) would cost 64 bytes. I'm pretty sure Arkanoid fields could have more than eight rows, so the cost could be higher.

Capsules could be made random, and silver hits could be stored in a separate array, making it 2 bits per block. And there could maybe be two different layout configurations -- a wide short brick layout, and a tall thin brick layout.

An easier way to do all this would be to make it less of an arcade port, and more of an Atari programming friendly interpretation of Arkanoid. Call it Atarkanoid. Preserve the gameplay, but make a few changes (mainly to the levels.) Don't you want to play a level where the blocks make up the Atari logo? ;o)


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