Re: [stella] Collaboration

Subject: Re: [stella] Collaboration
From: Glenn Saunders <cybpunks2@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 22:36:03 -0800
At 11:13 AM 1/14/2003 +0100, you wrote:
Should they be able to move (slowly) through the safe zones?

No, they'll bump off it similar to the tanks in Combat.

> Maybe if the tombstones had just 1 extra scanline (that would normally be a
> tombstone line--lots of CPU available) between them we could get the ball
> positioned in there? That way I could have the gremlins drop grenades
> when they are within the vertical range of the grenade line, and they'd be
> able to drop it anywhere horizontally on that line.

I think we would need 2 extra scanlines for that and with multiple grenades we would have to reposition them inside the kernel too. Or they had to flicker.

2 scanlines might still be narrow enough between tombstones to look okay. It might actually be a good way to separate the tombstones vertically. The way it is now two tombstones on top of eachother look like one continuous stripe. Could you try experimenting with this please?

I think I need to play the original game to understand every detail your are talking about. AFAIK DD isn't emulated by M.A.M.E, any other chance to play it?

The only place it's up for public viewing is California Extreme, which is a coinop convention every September. I've been wanting to go for two years straight to do research but never could break away.

I could get Rob Mitchell to send you a copy of his VHS screen footage, but it's pretty brief and really bad quality video. The guy shot the screen rather than tapping the composite video line.

My website has about as much information you could find on it without playing the game, I think. The manual that comes with it explains the gameplay pretty well.

The collision behavior:

"When you crash your car into anything, whether it be a Gremlin, cross, or a boundary (line), your car will pause briefly before moving again, unless you immediately shift it into reverse to back away from the scene of the crash. Even if you do not back away, your car will begin to move again. It is thus possible to crash into and pass through, after a pause, any boundary."

It doesn't really explain what happens if you manage to hit a gremlin within a safe zone. But I suspect you'd just pass through them or you'd crash and they would not turn into tombstones.

It would be nice to extract the graphics from the ROM data. I think it uses ROM chips for the sprites like Tank does. Here is the link to the manual:

here is the state of emulation:

You will notice in this screenshot that there appears to be two gremlins on screen at once. The in-game footage I have doesn't feature this. It might only happen if you coin up both players because I believe the in-game footage only had one car moving, the other was stationary. That would explain it.

Utilizing the ball won't be easy. And doing this only for the challeng IMO doesnt make too much sense.

I think the best kinds of classic games are ones in which there are multiple competing objectives where the player is forced into snap judgement. In chess that would be the mid-game where you often have opposing pieces locked on the verge of an exchange or mutual checks. In videogames, that's how you get into the "zone". All of Eugene Jarvis' Williams games feature that aspect. It's hard to do that without getting more objects on the screen, something the 2600 has trouble with. Having friendly/hostile zombies does satisfy that criteria, but adding one extra wildcard as a powerup or an obstacle I think will help, something beyond the ghost that will happen during the main gameplay mode.

That will only be possible by doubling the kernel(s) for each additional zombie.

Scratch that then. I doubt it will be that important. As the tombstones fill up the screen it will be too hard for clusters of zombies to navigate around them anyway.

That shouldn't be a big problem. Should the cars or zombies be able to move over that border?

Only the zombies.

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