Re: [stella] Generic kernal or just build a game?

Subject: Re: [stella] Generic kernal or just build a game?
From: KirkIsrael@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: 15 Mar 2004 02:30:38 -0000
> > Anyway, my question is:  Is it worthwhile to build a generic kernal or
> > should I dive right into game-specific kernal development?
> I believe that most 2600 games use a kernel designed specifically for the
> game.  Each game has a different set of requirements, thus needing a unique
> kernal.

Respectfully, I think this deserves qualification...

I think there might be a reasonable value in a 'generic kernal'
whose capabilities are carefully defined, like, N players, the same
color, no missiles or ball, no playfield....oh, wait, repositioning 
would be a big problem...ick, that's where it really breaks down.
Maybe you're right.  And of course, most games can reap huge benefits
by restraining game play in subtlish ways, like limiting the # of 
computer controlled players on a scanline, etc.

Actually, I've been thinking about dealing with what to me seems
the biggest hardship of the Atari, the difficulty of getting lots
of independent enemies moving on screen at once.

(And man, having done my own game, I *really* can appreciate the 
sheer genius of some games that before I considered mundane and 

Like, today I fired up Wizard of Wor, dumped an AVI in PCAEWin,
and took it frame by frame in Animation Shop (easiest frame by
frame I know of).  It looks like 6 enemies take turns flickering
through 1 sprite!  But I never thought of it as a super duper 
flicker game.  (I wonder if Adventure suffers from its light background?
I know color can play a big role in perceived flicker, but I'm not
sure of the details)  But I liked the # of enemies in it, that really 
makes the game.

Tron Deadly Disks, an old favorite of mine (because it feels so
symmetrical, like the enemies are just computer controlled versions 
of me, practically) is probably doing some relatively subtle motion
restraint so each enemy gets its own horizontal area...but I barely
noticed that - if ever - when I was just an atari gamer instead of 
an atari coder

When I get some freetime, I'm really going to dive into old Atari 
ROMS, try to see what tricks I know and what ones still make me go
"how the hell did they do THAT"...

> Thought - a "generic" 2600 kernel would probably have similar capabilites as
> the 5200 in low-res mode. :-)


I remember trying and failing to understand Atari 8-bit computer 
Player/Missiles back in the day, when I was young, they're kind of 
similar to what the 2600 does, right? I should look at some techie books.

 So, if happiness isn't being rich, then it's probably not being middle class, 
 which means you're just as likely to find it at rock bottom, which doesn't 
 require all the effort, and hell, I'm already there. --"Staggering Heights"

Archives (includes files) at
Unsub & more at

Current Thread