Re: [stella] Silly game idea

Subject: Re: [stella] Silly game idea
From: "B. Watson" <urchlay@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 01:44:00 -0400 (EDT)
On Thu, 25 Oct 2001, Erik J. Eid wrote:

> At 12:06 PM 10/22/01 -0400, B. Watson wrote:
> >I was thinking that your mission in this game is to protect something by
> >pushing the birds away from it... or else you have to guide the birds into
> >picking up something for you. I'm trying to move away from the whole
> >`shooting stuff & killing it' kind of game... [...] Anyway, I was hoping
> >for some feedback... does it look like it might make a good game? Does it
> >stink? Somewhere in between?
> I like the concept.  Trying to get the birds to move away from something or
> toward something sounds like an interesting challenge and a nice diversion
> from a standard shooter.  It's rather original.

Originally, it was going to be `spaceship shooting at planes' or something,
but the very first abortive project I ever started was the same thing.. If
there's one thing I've learned about game programming, it's that a boring
game isn't going to get finished (at least not by me).. Thanks for the kind
words, hopefully this will turn into something like a complete game..

> I think that with the sprites as big as they are in your sample, you won't
> be able to put much else in the screen.  If you plan on having more than a
> couple of birds, plus some things they are avoiding, the sprites will need
> to be smaller.

Yah, not only are they taking up too much space, they're also too easy to
hit with the crosshair..

> I'm also not sure there's a need to have a player down at the bottom of the
> screen since you will always concentrate on the crosshair.  One alternative
> is to have the player involved in the field, "pushing" birds
> somehow.  Repulsor beams?  :)

I'll tell you where the player at the bottom of the screen came from: ever
played the Atari 800 game `Necromancer'? It had a wizard (much better looking
and less cartoony) that moved around & also had a crosshair for casting
spells (well, planting trees, mostly)... I was about halfway done with the
player before it occurred to me I might be ripping something off... The idea
was (and maybe still is) that the birds are going to be carrying something,
and you're trying to control them by making them change direction, and your
player at the bottom of the screen will catch whatever it is they're carrying
(in the build I have now, they're supposed to be carrying gold rings, but
they look more like onion rings at the moment :)

I also thought of making it an educational type game, where the birds carry
numbers around, and there's a simple math problem on the screen and you're
trying to make the birds drop the answer in place (2x4=? and you have to
get the bird with the 8 to land in the right spot)... The rest of the game
is arcade-ish enough that it still might be fun for adults, not sure about
this though.

The hardest part with this kernel is getting a stationary object on screen,
or a moving object that doesn't follow one of the birds. I have a counter that
I use to draw X empty scanlines before I start drawing birds, X starting at
zero and incrementing once per frame until it rolls over at 17. Also the
routine that positions the birds horozontally eats up 2 scanlines, so any
object that needed to be drawn there would have a hole in it...

Still, the kernel can be tightened up quite a bit, I think... if I get anything
interesting to work, I'll post it here.


Archives (includes files) at
Unsub & more at

Current Thread