Re: [stella] Skeleton - complete

Subject: Re: [stella] Skeleton - complete
From: "Eric Ball" <eball@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 10:46:01 -0400
Hi Manuel!

> Well, on the one hand I don't see how this approach would *add* in any
way to the gaming experience of the PAL player (I live on planet PAL, too
BTW :-)), on the other hand, I'd say that it'd probably look even worse on
PAL screens, since adding those 20% would change the aspect-ratio as well,
which might result in an odd looking screen anyway. That is, if you don't
grow the PAL skeletons 20% as well.

Oh, the Skeletons will also be 20% taller (with some minor graphics
changes).  With everything being 20% taller, it will mean that the PAL
version will look nearly identical to the NTSC version.

 >Another thing on the minus side is, that you always say "Can't do
this/that, because of the PAL version", so in any way, I'd rather sacrifice
the big-screen for maybe 10% of your targeted customers and invest the
gained ROM into features that really *add* to the gameplay.

An interesting point.  There are three things which are preventing me from
adding features:
1. The kernel (as I described in gory detail earlier) is very time
constrained.  (Aand I haven't figured out a way to do what the kernel does
in a more time or space efficient manner.)  This means that I really can't
add much, if anything, to the screen itself.
2. I have very nearly filled the entire 4K ROM, even with the NTSC version.
I have maybe 1 or 1 1/2 pages at the most if I re-arrange the NTSC version
like I am for the PAL version.  (Fitting chunks of code in the "data" area
between lookup tables.)  As I discovered when adding the title & ending
screens, a hundred bytes can be used up very easily.
3. Time in general.  I have only so much time to work on Skeleton, and I
would like to very soon get to a point where it can be released as a
cartridge.  Just like in commercial game development, at some point you
have to lock down the feature set.  Mentally, I've set that point as
shortly after I get the PAL version working.  Then I can see what features
will fit and roll them back into the NTSC version.

Now, if someone would like to re-use my kernel and develop a 3-D RPG for
the 2600 I am all for it.  ("3-D Adventure, using the Skeleton 3-D engine")
Because that seems to be what some of the enhancement requests are.

Then again, maybe I'll finish off the current version of Skeleton & start
working on Skeleton 2004....

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