RE: [stella] Reflex Update (source and binary)

Subject: RE: [stella] Reflex Update (source and binary)
From: "Lee Fastenau" <stella@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 23:28:59 -0400
Doubling up responses... :)

> From: B. Watson [mailto:atari@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
> Unfortunately I'm at work, and can't really play the game right this
> minute... At least the title screen is nice (boss didn't catch me looking
> at it :)

Whew!  Don't get caught!

> > You can also hold Select or Reset at
> > power-on to start in PAL60 or PAL50 respectively... this works on my
> > SuperCharger, but I can't reproduce it in emulators.
> You can in recent Stella nightly builds [*]. Run the emulator like so,
> from a command line:
> stella -holdreset reflex98.bin
> stella -holdselect reflex98.bin
> The switch will be held until the first time you press it.
> There's also a -holdbutton0 option (left joystick fire button).

Naturally, I just wasn't looking hard enough.  Is there anything Stella
_can't_ do?!  Can it send me to Hawaii?  (Finally!  An opportunity to quote

For your entertainment:

> From: Aaron [mailto:stella-receiver@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
[...stuff about paddle english...]
> Great!  It makes the game much more interesting.

That's good to hear.  That algorithm took me _forever_ to finish.  I wanted
the reflection routine to be "smarter" than typical breakout reflection
routines and the alpha releases of Stella 2.0 were invaluable in wrapping
that up.  I was a little anxious about how it would perform.

[...stuff about multiple levels...]
> It's very difficult to pick out a level you'd like to play, since the game
> starts once you look at one for more than a second.  I would definitely
> change this.

Yeah.  Playing with it some more in an emulator, I found myself losing
patience with the timing.  I've got a lot to think about here... I'm even
considering embedding level-skip more as an easter egg.  It seems like
instant access to all levels could weaken the game.  I had thought of it
more as a way for advanced players to skip the easy levels, but instead I'm
probably going to use the difficulty switch to make the game more
challenging for them.

[...stuff about increasing ball speed...]
> Seems ok.  At least, I was usually finishing the levels before it got too
> fast.  That's not to say I didn't die a lot even when it was moving slowly
> though.

Thankfully there's quite a bit of wiggle room for fine-tuning the difficulty
of the game.  (ball speed, ball acceleration, level design, etc.) [And by
"etc." I mean I can't think of anything else!]

> One other thing, I liked the score graphics in the older versions better.
> You
> know, where zero was smaller than the other numbers?  It looked cool.

That's the first thing I changed when I got home today. :)  I also managed
to free up about 40 more bytes by optimizing a big SLEEP that was in a
sensitive part of the kernel.  Speaking of sleep, I need to catch up on some
of that!

Thank you for the great feedback!


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