[stella] Euchre: up against the wall again

Subject: [stella] Euchre: up against the wall again
From: "Erik J. Eid" <eeid@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 21:57:24 -0500
After managing to free up some space in my Euchre game by reducing the sprites from eight to six rows in height and trading image tables for calculations, I decided to proceed by positioning the second team's score in the "right" spot and hopefully adding a trump suit display. In the process, I discovered something rather disheartening: I only have about another 130 bytes or so to work with. This won't be enough to accomplish everything I want to do, much less need to - the computer players' AI routines aren't there yet and will need more than 130 bytes.

While further optimizations may help, I think now's the time when a sacrifice or two may need to be made.

I've begun to think that the message section at the bottom of the screen is excessive for a 4K 2600 game. I thought it would be good to have one to enhance communication between the game and player. After all, it won't be as easy for someone to play the game without a manual, and I believed it would show what can be done with 4K to include the messages. However, Chess, Checkers, Othello, Bridge, Backgammon, etc. manage to do without one, and some of these are far more complex than Euchre.

There's a lot of memory invested in the messaging scheme. The images for all the letters take up 29 (all letters, a space, a 2, and a 4) * 6 = 174 bytes. The messages themselves take up 25 * 6 = 150 bytes. I'd probably have GetLetterImage, GetMessagePointer, and GetMessageImages in some fashion since I'd want a couple of text messages (such as "by Erik Eid" :) ), so I won't count these. There's code sprinkled throughout the game regarding deciding what message to show; I make a conservative estimate of it at 120 bytes. All this together is 444 bytes, or at least 10.8% of the available space!

Were I to replace the messages, the game would still need to communicate with the player, but it could be accomplished as simply as showing "P" for pass, "O" for order up, and "A" for alone, plus a trump suit for the latter two options, where a card is displayed or near one.

About the only other changes I can think of at this point are to reduce the sprite size from six to five lines each or to switch from paddles to a joystick (though this would require keeping track of the current cursor position or selection).

Before I make such a drastic shift in direction in my game, I'd like to solicit the opinions of the list. Should I cut out the messages, considering them a luxury I cannot afford? Should I instead look to trim down images further and/or change to a joystick for input? Is there another option that I'm not considering and should?

. . \_ +\_ + o_-/ . O
. \-_o -=/- . .
. . \=// .
---------\_______ ||O ___.______
/* Erik Eid */ \____||L/\_____/
/* eeid@xxxxxxxxx */_______________________

Archives (includes files) at http://www.biglist.com/lists/stella/archives/
Unsub & more at http://www.biglist.com/lists/stella/

Current Thread