[stella] Death Derby status update

Subject: [stella] Death Derby status update
From: Glenn Saunders <cybpunks2@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 02 Oct 2002 23:44:32 -0700
I thought I'd let the list know that I've decided to temporarily shelve Death Derby for the 2600.

Reason being that it's just too time-consuming for me to figure out the intricacies of the kernel I want to be able to do. If I had more free time, I'd enjoy the challenge, but I'm too anxious to take what I've learned so far in 6502 assembly and reading the driving controllers and get a working game up and running. I'm actually losing my motivation to work on the game because it seems like I'm so far away from getting a working kernel done. But I don't want to ask the group to lead me every step of the way or I'll feel no sense of personal accomplishment when all is said and done.

I only have brief bursts of free time to work on this, so I'd rather focus on an easier 6502-based platform first.

So I think I'm going to transition the game over to the Atari 8-bit, where I first learned programming way back when. There I'll be able to do 4 sprites and the tombstones without any special tricks whatsoever. The tombstones can merely be a redefined character set. I could even use Gr.0 if I wanted 320x200 res on the playfield, since the game is monochrome (although I don't think the tombstones need that much detail). I'd also have a 5th sprite I could use for some special purpose like a vulture or ghost bonus or something.

If I can finish the game there, then I might try porting it back down to the 2600, taking what I've learned about 6502 with me in the process. I'll also have worked out all the game design issues which I'm more interested in than the technical stuff right now.

I would like to minimize memory usage on the 8-bit, though. I don't want the game to require any more than 8K ROM ala Star Raiders. I don't see why it should, even if I add in some bells and whistles.

I don't think anybody has done a homebrew 8-bit game cart yet, just 5200 stuff, so maybe it will be a novelty. There is no reason for it to be a cart, though, since it could run directly from RAM as an executable file. So I'm not sure if I'd bother trying to get physical carts made unless people were particularly interested in it. But I'd still do the custom Y-cable controller thing, although maybe I could support the 4-controller ports on the 400/800 at the same time.

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