Re: [stella] I live... again!

Subject: Re: [stella] I live... again!
From: "B. Watson" <urchlay@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 21:04:32 -0500 (EST)

On Wed, 13 Feb 2002, Erik J. Eid wrote:

> At 06:34 PM 2/11/02 -0500, B. Watson wrote:
> >(Note to self: Never get a job as a developer unless you already know the
> >language!).
> Ah, but what an opportunity to learn!  :)

Yeah, that it is... but I got brain overload from it, because I was (And
still am) trying to learn C++ at the same time, so I can work on the
Stella sourceforge project.. Trying to learn Java and C++ simultaneously
is maddening :)

> >Wondered if anybody cared to offer an opinion on whether the game is done
> >enough to release (via Hozer Video).. the last version I did is at:
> I haven't tried it on a real Atari, but I noticed a couple of minor oddities.
> First, the colors in the second, fourth, etc. rows of the "cheat sheet"
> alternate in StellaX for Windows, but not in Z26.  I wonder if that's just
> a function of how one of the emulators acts.

It's an emulator thing. It doesn't do this on my 2600s (tested on a 4-switch
and a 6-switch NTSC console) on either one of my TVs.. Actually it's a bug
in Stella (it should ignore the bottom bit of COLUxx registers, but doesn't)
and it's probably already fixed in the CVS version on sourceforge.

> Secondly, the card placement sound is very quiet.  I can barely hear it,
> even though I can hear the "game over" sound just fine.

I'll have to count that as a bug. It's because my sound driver is primitive
in the extreme, and uses the same counter for duration and volume (if you
notice, all the sounds in the game have the same rate of decay). I'll just
make the sound a bit longer (therefore louder to begin with).

> Besides these admittedly very minor points, the game is fun, complete, and
> is both simple and elegant.  You can't ask for more from the 2600!

It's good to hear that... other than the obvious reasons (ego), the more
I look at the nasty things I did to the code, the less I want to modify it
any more. It's become... fragile. The next game I do will definitely be
an 8K cart, so hopefully I won't have to go byte-scrounging (I managed to
optimize away 600-some bytes of code without changing the way the game
looks or plays, at one point). Of course, having planned to use 8K, I'll
probably use up all of it before I'm 1/3 of the way done, now that I've
said that :P

> I would suggest including a manual with the game.  It does help complete
> the old cartridge experience.  :)  It also will be useful in explaining the
> scoring and difficulty switch uses to the player.

You're right, though I haven't given any thought to what the manual or label
should look like yet. Well, I sort-of have, the other night I started hand-
drawing an X11 font that is supposed to look like the font on the old Atari
cart labels.. so far the lowercase `s' isn't looking right (nothing unusual
there). Hopefully it wouldn't be considered too blatant of a rip-off if
I used this font for the cart label (along with some nice artwork, if I can
find somebody to create some).

Worst-case scenario would be just an end-label with the name `poker squares'
in the Atari font, and the manual printed on my old 600dpi laser printer
(maybe one sheet of 8.5x11" paper, cut & folded to make a 4-page booklet).

Best-case scenario would be, I get my friend who works at Kinko's to slip
a few full-color glossy manuals past the eyes of mgmt., and custom stickers
from whatever web site it was I found that makes them (must.. organize..
bookmarks.. Scotty!)

> Welcome back and good work!

It's good to be back... the 2600 has fascinated me for too long, I couldn't
give it up if I wanted to. There are worse things to be addicted to, I guess..



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