Re: [stella] Poker Solitaire, build 00f

Subject: Re: [stella] Poker Solitaire, build 00f
From: "B. Watson" <urchlay@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 21:59:24 -0500 (EST)
On Sat, 24 Nov 2001, Jake Patterson wrote:

> This game has a high "just one more game" factor, which is a really good
> sign for its probable success.  Good job.

Thanks... good to see the `just one more game' factor translates well to the
2600 version. I actually spent 3 hours one night playing this game, putting
off doing any coding on the 2600 game I was trying to write (that thing with
the birds). I could almost see the lightbulb come on over my head after about
the 10th-15th hand :)

> I took the liberty of designing a crib sheet that may be a little easier
> to read, you can use it if you want...
> of course, you will have to convert it to your data format yourself :-)

I might just have to use your crib sheet.. though I was trying to avoid
the ALL CAPS syndrome, and experimenting with a proportional font, yours
is easier to read. I guess PF graphics & lowercase letters don't mix..

> I reordered the enterys to be in order of point value,

Whereas I left mine in standard poker hand ranking order.. Hmm...

> switched to a five
> line font, made sure there is enough space between the names of the hands
> and the column listing the point values, and applied a color scheme.

The colors do help a lot, I was already thinking of coloring the text, though
with solid colors instead of a gradient (to me, it's more readable, even tho
the gradient is visually prettier)

> It might be a neat effect to cycle the colors within each row of that
> table.

Neat-looking, but I think it would kill readability. On a black background,
the text would actually appear to shrink & grow as it gets brighter & dimmer
(at least on most TVs)

> and $C2 through $CA for "green".  Assuming a five line font.  It could
> momentarrally do a color scroll effect and play a fanfaire when you
> graduate from "red" to "yellow" or from "yellow" to "green", esp. if you
> modify it to update the score as you go, which may or may not be
> possible...

Wouldn't be all that difficult to score during the game, I guess..
There's enough time to score one hand per frame, and I'm only allowing the
cards to be placed on every 16th frame.. The routine will have to know to
skip card #52 (the blank card), that's easy enough.

> > Add difficulty switch setting for turning off sound, in case it annoys
> > you :)
> I wouldn't worry about that, TVs usually have a volume control.

Yeah.. Ever since the Atari 400 days I've had it hard-wired into my brain
that you should always give the user the option to disable sounds.. The 400
had a little speaker inside that made an annoying click on every keystroke,
which you couldn't disable without removing the speaker (or maybe burning
your own custom OS ROM...)

But TV's do have volume controls, and even mute buttons these days..

> > Add code to score a royal flush as 36 points, and use the other diff.
> > switch to turn it on/off (this really doesn't affect much, I've gotten a
> > royal flush *once* in hundreds of games)
> I've gotten it a few times in maybe 50 or so games, but then again, I had
> been playing for flushes until I saw their point values in the crib sheet :-)

Wow. It feels weird to hear that somebody actually played 50 hands of a
game I wrote (even if I didn't design it).. A good kind of weird though :)

> > Finish de-uglifying the score font
> I'm a fan of using the simplest possible font form, with just 3 x 5 pixels
> for each of the numbers, but it really looks OK.

3x5 pixels would look odd, the way I'm doing it. Those 3 score digits are
the same 3 players as the first 3 card columns, I don't reposition them. So
there's 8 pixels of blank space between each 2 digits.. a 3x5 font would give
me a 3-pixel-wide number and 13 blank pixels instead. This font is 8x8, and
actually takes up the whole 8 pixels both ways, to minimize the blank space
between the digits. I still think it needs more work (was trying to make it
a little more ornate than most 2600 fonts)

> > Possibly center the graphics for A, J, K, Q (some of them start one
> > pixel to the right of where the others do)
> I didn't even notice that...

Then it probably isn't worth fixing :)

> > Find a use for the color/BW switch :)
> > (hmm, it could toggle whether or not to score diagonals)
> If you score the diagonals, you should increase the points required to
> rate a given color code in the final score by 20%.

Nah, not that much. Anything you score in the diagonals is almost accidental.

> It would be really cool (if you could find the cycles) if the display
> included an indicator to the left of each row and the bottom of each
> column for what your hand is there.  Whenever you place a card that
> completes a five card hand (or hands) you could test them, update the
> indicators, and even play a fanfair or something for really good hands.
> Of course this leads to updating the score in game, not having looked at
> your code, I really have no idea if that would be possible or not.

If I can find the cycles... pretty big `if' there, though it wouldn't be too
hard to display one more copy of player 1, to the right of the tableau.
Possible I could squeeze 2 digits into one 8-bit player there, I might try

> Would you mind if I stole^W used your card forms for my Double King Pede
> game when I get around to it?

I don't mind at all.. They're meant to be pretty generic, anything you'd
design on your own would probably look pretty similar anyway, since there's
not that many ways to represent the ranks & suits (and playing cards should
be standardized anyway.. I tried playing solitaire with my grandmother's
large-print cards and it drove me nuts)

Hmm. I'm working on a card game, Erik is working on a card game (Euchre),
you're about to start on a card game.. If we were able to release the games
as a Deluxe Card Games Pack or something, it would be pretty cool (maybe
a multi-cart, or 3 individual carts with labels in the same style and in
the same box).. though I dunno how interested I am in making/ordering carts
and having manuals printed & such. It would be a fun thing, for the few
people who bought a boxed set, but it would be a royal pain to produce, and
would cost a lot of money to do right.

What do you think?


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