Re: [stella] Hello again...

Subject: Re: [stella] Hello again...
From: Erik Eid <eeid@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 19:53:02 -0500
On Thursday 22 January 2004 10:42, B. Watson wrote:
> Actually I want pauses between my levels. Why? Well, go play Nintendo
> Tetris (on the NES), then compare to Atari/Tengen's arcade Tetris game.

I agree with you!  I've been disappointed to find that home versions of Tetris 
rarely have the "round" concept that the arcade game does, with the chance to 
clear the board every so often, but also to add interesting features (like 
blocks already on the screen, different numbers of lines to clear, little 
squares popping up randomly).

> Regular level, crushing ceiling level, regular again, squishing wall level,
> ??? (some other level I haven't invented yet), then a bonus level, then
> repeat (possibly with variations).

Nice... I like this.  That will keep the feeling of variety high, so you don't 
encounter the same thing, just faster, in each level.

> Hm. [Galaga Arrangement is] a game for the PC, or an arcade game?

It's an arcade game.  Namco put out two Namco Arcade Classics collections.  
Volume 1 was Mappy, Galaga, Xevious, and Super Xevious.  Volume 2 was 
Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Rally-X.  Each one had the three originals plus three 
"Arrangement" versions which allowed two-player simultaneous play and had 
enhanced graphics and fancy additions to the game play.  However, each 
remained pretty faithful to the original.  With Pac-Man, you still moved 
around eating dots and ghosts on a non-scrolling screen.  With Galaga, you 
still shot hordes of bugs and faced challenging stages.

> Actually, I was planning on having each level being over after X number
> of large balloons get spawned. They'll spawn at semi-random intervals,
> but only when there are 4 free `ball slots'. I wasn't thinking in terms
> of waves of them... maybe that's an idea for a different level type.

I think that's the same idea; we were just using different terms.

> Also I thought of 2 new ball types: wide-angle (moves twice as fast in
> the horizontal direction, so it'll bounce off the floor at a less acute
> angle), and bombs (medium-sized balls that fall straight down, *fast*,
> like the Flea in Centipede. If you shoot them, or they hit the floor,
> they split into 2 regular small balls). Could possibly even have waves
> of them (like the swarms between levels in Millipede).

I like them both, especially the bombs!

Also, you could have balls that bounce very slowly.  They might be easier to 
shoot, but they'll also get in your way more often.

> A disclaimer: I'm perfectly aware that I've come up with more features
> and bonuses and junk than I probably can fit into the game (even with a
> large bankswitch cart, I still only have 128 bytes of RAM). The process of
> design here is going to be coming up with all the ideas I can (the ideal,
> abstract version of the game), then squeezing as much as I can into a
> 2600 cart (the actual, concrete implementation).

I think that's normal for any 2600 game.  You have a wish list of things you'd 
like to accomplish, and then leave some things behind when you realize 
they're either too difficult, not essential to the game, or both.

- Erik

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