Re: [stella] DiscoTech

Subject: Re: [stella] DiscoTech
From: Christopher Tumber <christophertumber@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 12:49:12 -0500
Hoookay - Gonna tackle all this in one post. It's a long one folks...

Manuel wrote:

>While the idea itself is dead cool, may I suggest using another "Dancing Baby"? - pleeeeeease!

A 2600/Vectrex dancing game has been on my "potential projects" list a long time and the Dancing Baby was the big inspiration behind getting it off the ground, but, I see the game as being more than the Dancing Baby.I'd like at least a half dozen levels, hopefully more...

Erik Eid wrote:

>I tried this out on Stella for Linux.  What is already there is impressive.  
>It's also difficult!  I found myself receiving a "Miss" on several occasions 
>that I thought I was close.  Could it be a little more forgiving on the early 

Considering it's not even synched to the music yet, the difficulty is nowhere near being set.

>Also, why are the arrows going to the left rather than up?  It's kind of an 
>odd perspective.  

While arguably the two most popular games in the genre (DDR and Beatmania) run their icon sequences vertically, several games in this genre (Bust A Move/Groove, Parapa/Um Jammer Lammie, etc) run vertically.

>I bet it's to have room for the image at the top.

Yes, overlaying the icons on the visual display area would tend to severely restrict the possibilities for the display area.

>Allowing joystick control places one key limitation on the game - you are 
>either limited to one contact at a time or to adjacent directions.  You 
>couldn't have opposites like up-and-down or left-and-right.  It's probably 
>not a big deal.

I suppose I should elaborate on the controls, DiscoTech will use:

Dual joysticks (1 Player game only)
Single or dual keypad controllers (1 or 2 player games)
Single or dual dance pads (1 or 2 player games)

Single or dual keypad/dance pad play will be supported in 1 player mode. That is, in 1 player mode you can play on 1 dance pad (8 steps) or 2 dance pads (16 steps, larger play area).

With, obviously, emphasis on the dance pads.

Glenn wrote:

>The other thing that should be worked out is how to handle two players.  I think it should be doable although screen real-estate will be at a premium.

Already taken care of. DiscoTech currently supports 2 player sequences.

Mark wrote:

>FYI, speaking from experience, no you do not need an extra power supply to
>adapt the power pad.  The joystick port puts out +5V and ground, so
>stealing 10 or 20mA is no problem.

So, Left/Right/Up/Down/Fire (pins #1-4 & 6) are all +5v?

I ran the whole thing past Alex H a couple weeks ago (I am SO not a hardware guy and he did great things with the VecLink) and he suggested it would be trivial given a +5v, however, none of the pinout diagrams I've seen mention +5v and I haven't had time to get back on the controller interface since..

However, his suggestions don't have the pad mimicing a joystick, rather the dance pad would be read with custom software, similar to the keypad controller (ie: 12 different inputs).

If you can elaborate, I'd appreciate it... (Making it usefull for other 2600 games would be a really good thing...)

I really don't want to be hacking the pad itself since I can see a lot of resistance to people doing it themselves, rather I'd really like to offer an interface for a couple bucks (or whatever).

Glenn wrote:

>While a huge 3F banked ROM would be exciting to see, and the temptation is strong to make a physical cart out of this, if the upper animation portion used regular sprites doing Ms Pac Man intermission style moves rather than a megasprite, then I think it would take less overhead, maybe small enough that you could fit one or more songs into one 6K Supercharger load.

I expect the various main display sequences will incorperate a variety of effects. The core program is very modular with the music, dance and display accessed through address tables. (So different main display's may use completely different kernals, or they can share kernals with different init routines to point them at different data tables, or whatever)

IMHO a Supercharger only game is a non-starter. It just limits the potential audience too severely. A physical cart is a must.

That being said, I could see a CD version for the Supercharger that would include a whole pile of levels. You wouldn't need any cheat sheet, the game would instruct you which CD track to load.

In addition, I could see an SDK (eventually). There are three main components to a "level" - The music, the dance steps and the main display.

The music and dance steps fall within very consistent parameters. Providing a song tracker and dance step sequencer would be no big deal, particularly since they both already exist. So allowing the end user to compose new songs or dances is already possible.

The main display would be a little more problematic, but also possible - There could be 2 options. For the programmer, they could be given the freedom of designing a complete 136 line kernal (with several bytes of RAM reserved for the display kernal) in 1k or 2k (or whatever). For non-programmers, there could be some sort of sprite based animation sequencer that could take care of the coding.

And the SDK would take take of combining everything into a valid level .bin file.

But all that's really far down the line - My immediate goal is to have a working prototype of at least 1 level ready for PhillyClassic.


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