Re: [stella] JtzBall Alpha

Subject: Re: [stella] JtzBall Alpha
From: "Erik J. Eid" <eeid@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 16:33:18 -0500
At 10:35 PM 3/16/02 +0100, Thomas Jentzsch wrote:
I've been thinking about a 2600 version of Qix for quite a while, but I
couldn't find a good solution. Then Manuel pointed at JezzBall, a more
simple version of the Qix idea, which was part of M$ Windows
Entertainment Pack.

The idea of doing Qix has come up from time to time, I think both here and in AtariAge. About the only I way I could think to do it is with a "Suicide Mission"-style screen, which would give a lot of resolution, plus by using the Supercharger you'd get a lot of RAM for screen data. You'd definitely miss out not having multiple colors, though.

Anyhow, I liked JezzBall the couple of times I played it, so I'm glad to see the idea come up for the 2600.

There are still some problems to solve and IMO the game flickers far to
much. But I'm only using one of the players until now, using the second
player looks very possible and should reduce flicker a lot.

That may help, as might Manuel's suggesting of using missles. I'm not sure about the ball since it would inherit the color of the playfield. However, smaller balls may help to alleviate some of the flicker. (I am presuming you'll implement the "intelligent flicker" method.)

The main problem is, that I'm running out of time, when computing the
atom/playfield collisions (~260 cycles/atom!), which alone would consume
all offscreen time with 20 atoms. And I still haven't done the atom/atom
collisions and the Y-sorting of the atoms for the kernel!

Given that you're not moving every atom in every frame (or so it seems), could you just check for collisions for the atoms that moved in that frame?

Compared to the 49 possible atoms of JezzBall on a 28x20 grid, JtzBall
should have up to 28 atoms on it's 16x20 grid. The demo shows only 8
atoms, the limited RAM should allow about 20..25 atoms (2 bytes each).

Perhaps you can technically get up to 28 atoms, but will the game be playable with that many atoms in so small a space? With less vertical room, the atoms will be bouncing very frequently.

So there are still a LOT of problems to solve and I'm absolutely NOT sure, if I can make a game out of this.

I'd bet you still can. It may not end up being a JezzBall clone, but it may still be a game. After all, Defender played with the rules of its arcade counterpart (having to go above or below the screen for hyperspace and smart bombs), but was still playable and enjoyable.

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