RE: [stella] Reflex: Source of PAIN!

Subject: RE: [stella] Reflex: Source of PAIN!
From: "Lee Fastenau" <stella@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2004 01:17:18 -0500
> <Insert usual "looking very good very quickly" comment here>

<Insert usual "thanks, I'm not getting much sleep" response here>

> Yeah, I take it the paddle is still acting like wall in terms of
> simple reflections...the "virtual concave" surface will add a lot
> to the gameplay.

Exactly right.  As I stated in a reply to Chris, the paddles are still using
brick reflection code as a stop-gap until I can get "real" code in there.

> You know what game mode might be really interesting? Multiball.

Good lord!  I mean... great, I'll add it to the list!  As you said, once I
start focusing on game balancing, multiball may not be as much a "challenge"
necessity as a cool feature.  I'm not certain that I want to ditch my cool
two-colored ball.  I've grown rather fond of it. :)

> What's that thingy at top of the title screen?
> Oh, i see, it's a joystick.  Heh. (I swear I didn't realize at first,
> not just trying to make a funny)
> Is that a normal player graphic?  There might be a way of making a
> more identifiable icon.

[naughty ASCII art clipped]

> (it looked better on playerpal, I swear,
> )

Sure it did.

> in between. Just some cheesy animation. I dunno, maybe the title
> screen is "busy" enough

Again, Kirk, you frighten me with your uncanny ability to say the things
that I've been thinking.  I thought about a little spot animation to make
the joystick more identifiable, but thought it a bit too much.  Plus, the
joystick/driving controller flag is dual purpose.  It's stored as bit D3 in
the gameMode variable, which equates to decimal 8, which just happens to be
the offset of the joystick and steering wheel icon graphics.

> I'm sure you're doing fine.  I was so free -n- easy with my RAM use
> it was pathetic.

I was pretty free and easy until I ate up another 15 bytes of my already
dwindling RAM with the BCD score and pointers.  Now I'm trying really hard
to reuse variables and compacting flags & such.  I have 19 bytes free, but
with two levels of JSR's, that brings me down to 15 useable bytes.  The
foundation is already laid, so I'm not really afraid of running out... I'd
just rather not risk it.  (The view of the Grand Canyon is just fine from

> I never got into JSR/RTS.  Which is probably awful--in a higher level
> language, I'm all about proper reuse, but for some reason, I
> got scared of it from something in the Dig, maybe Nick's old stuff,
> about how a "real program" wouldn't do so much subroutining...but real
> world experience shows me that, except for the kernal, things don't
> generally have to be as hyper optimized in the rest of the game.

Ha.  I felt EXACTLY the same way.  We probably read the same stuff.  But
you're right, hyper optimization is critical in the kernels, but perhaps
what you lose in efficiency in other parts, you gain in maintainability.
Anyway, all the veterans have probably had this discussion...  I'm sure if I
*really* knew what I was doing, I'd probably find a way to do it without
JSR's. :)

> On the other hand, JSR/RTS does eat into RAM a tiny bit, stackwise,
> right?

Yes.  Each JSR pushes the program counter (2 bytes) onto the stack (upper
end of RAM, going backwards).  Each RTS removes two bytes (or at least moves
the stack pointer two bytes closer to the bottom of the stack).  I'm being
very cautious about where and when I use JSR's.  I've had to catch myself a
few times already to keep from going three levels deep into subroutines.

> "All manner", huh?  You realize, techincally, that could include
> commentary in the form of digital pictures of one of us with
> specific comments in bodypaint on our naked body. I don't think
> any of us want that, so please be careful what you might hve
> "encouraged" there.

I don't suppose Brittany Spears subscribes to [stella].  No, I didn't think

> Luckily, I am a beacon of restraint, and limited my comments
> to the usual pure text e-mail, generally "constructive" variety.

As always, very constructive and a joy to read.

> Well, except for the ASCII art.

And as always, inadvertantly offensive.



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