Re: [stella] Marble Craze v0.90

Subject: Re: [stella] Marble Craze v0.90
From: Paul Slocum <paul-stella@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 02 Jul 2002 16:47:02 -0500
Thanks for your feedback!! I'm really happy with the new Z26. It's going to make programming a lot easier. Although the game is way too hard with the mouse. I couldn't finish the first level with the mouse, and I can do it pretty easily with the paddles. Also, the emulator doesn't handle the flicker in the game very well. I (sort of) interlaced and tried to keep the contrast low on the level shading, but this doesn't help much on the emulator.


- what I'm really missing, is something that indicates the center of
both paddles. If this is not graphically possible, then maybe some color
could help.

I was thinking of making the paddle bar get fatter when you're on the center position. I use the ball for the horizontal paddle and I could change the width of it. I can't think of a way to put a marker at the center position for the horizontal paddles.

- There is a break at the start of each new live, but I can not control
exactly how long it is. If I press the button, sometimes the game seems
to react and sometimes not. Sometimes the times starts running, but the
ball doesn't. A little ping noise might help here and a more
understandable timing.

The button doesn't have any effect. The timer keeps running when you fall off. It stops at zero for a second when you run out of time, but starts again as you reset. I'll try to clean this up a bit. I'll look into adding some sounds too.

- some friction might make the game a bit easier

It's on the todo list.

- I would like to hear (any maybe also see) the ball rolling

I'm using both oscillators for the music, so I don't see a way to do this. I originally wanted to make the ball appear to roll, but I won't have space for this unless I rework my kernal a bit. And it's pretty tight as is. Maybe I could at least use the idea that Kirk suggested with a 2 frame animation. I'll see what I can do since all three of you mentioned this.

- the graphical effect at the right is quite annoying. There should be
an option to disable it without having to disable the music too.

It looks a lot worse on the emulator than on a real Atari. At first I thought it was too distracting but then I got used to it and it grew on me. But maybe I could redo the animation into something less distracting and/or slow it does a bit. I could always just include a way to turn it off completely. The ability to turn it off with the B&W switch was actually not intentional. Maybe I should just have the B&W switch turn off the animation and not the sound? You can always turn your TV down if you're tired of the music. I just got tired of listening to the same unfinished song a million times.

- a small preview of the next section would be nice

I don't think I have the cycles or time to try scrolling. But maybe a short pause before continuing gameplay?

- why don't you use SELECT for selecting the levels?

It's on the todo list. It will cycle through all the combinations of players and levels.

BTW: What happened to the ramps?

I just haven't added the code to make them functional yet, so I didn't display them in this version.


- When you fall off the edge, it would be nice if you could actually shrink
the marble to give it the effect that it fell off the edge.

I wanted to but again, I wasn't able to work the kernal right for this yet. If I can't get the kernal fixed up, the plan is to make the marble fade away, and I'm going to make the marble keep moving as it fades.

- Can you add some kind of audible feedback as your time is about to run

I'll either do that or make the timer flash or change colors.

- I personally would put the START option on the bottom, instead of in
between the number of players and level.

I moved it to the middle because it makes you (almost) center your paddle before the game starts. Maybe I'll try it at the bottom again and see.

-I feel that people trying to play this at
CGE are going to be a bit aggravated, because you need to invest a little
time to associate one hand with up/down movement and the other with
left/right. It also didn't help that it's a bit cumbersome trying to hold
two paddles in your lap while playing. Would it be possible to add TrakBall support?

There will be much easier levels to play at CGE, so people will have a little more chance to learn the controls before getting to hard levels like these. Plus I'll secure the paddles somehow at CGE. If I have some extra time, I will add trackball support.


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