RE: [stella] Re: About your tutorial

Subject: RE: [stella] Re: About your tutorial
From: KirkIsrael@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: 12 Apr 2004 18:23:46 -0000
> well, I haven't seen the things using this point of 
> view. Indeed, your explanations are judicious ;-)

Yeah, I think he made the same point I made about the 
same time, but maybe he said it better...

There was interesting idea in Paul Slocum's Atari Tips 
document that he just reposted in response to 2600 Cookbook,
which is some specific advice if you are nervous about the 
"just keep adding code and see if it ever breaks" technique:
Paul Slocum

It's difficult to make sure that there is no unusual case where your game logic in VBlank and Overscan will use too many cycles and cause the number of scanlines in a frame to fluctuate.  To insure against this problem, pad your VBlank and Overscan with a few STA WSYNCs to add extra cycles during development.  Optimize your game so that it runs fine with these in.  Then when the game is finished and ready for release, comment out those extra WSYNCs.  This is also an easy way to estimate how much time you have left in VBlank and Overscan: keep adding WSYNCs (each line is 76 cycles) until the screen jumps.

Novices to 2600 programming tend to worry about some of the wrong things;
I too thought I was out of cycles, maybe because of a page boundary issue,
and spent a lot of time writing tools to track those issues down, when
really it only mattered in A. the kernal B. some fine positioning code I had.
(and the errors I was seeing were rookie "forgot the # sign" mistakes)

And it is not just modern day novices that have an issue with 
underestimating the time available, I'd guess: there are certain things 
in various latches, player collision and joysticks, that seem to indicate
a suspicion that there wouldn't be time to do basic checks every 
frame.  (That's just speculation on my part, however...and a minor 
quibble with the AMAZING techincal work the 2600 design represents.)

 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"

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