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Playtesters needed



I built a special version of Space Rocks for a tournament to be held at the Classic Game Fest next weekend.

The menu is gone, it's been replaced with this:



And every round starts out with 12 large asteroids


Left Difficulty controls a game timer: A = ON, B = OFF
Right Difficulty controls how long, A = 2:00, B = 5:00

Status of the timer will show up in the scroller:



If on, the timer will display on the right side:



The scroller will also show the score of the last game played:


What we needed tested is:

  • the timer options work as expected - if enabled the game should end when the time runs out, if disabled the game should end when you run out of lives
  • confirm the "last score" value shown in the scroller is correct




Swapped out the DPC+ driver with the Encore compatible version. See Reply 609 if you'd like to know more about this.


I had a couple issues crop up while testing, one game had a screen roll and another crashed. Both happened right after starting a new game. In both instances I noticed the score display looked odd, thought it corrected itself after the screen roll. The score kernel is controlled by reading this datastream:

Score8:        .byte PLAYER1_COLOR ; 0
               .byte PLAYER2_COLOR ; 1
               .byte WHITE         ; 2
score color    .byte zz___XXX__    ; 3
               .byte zz__X___X_    ; 4
               .byte zz__X___X_    ; 5
               .byte zz__X___X_    ; 6
               .byte zz__X___X_    ; 7
               .byte zz___XXX__    ; 8
               .byte zz__X___X_    ; 9
               .byte zz__X___X_    ;10
               .byte zz__X___X_    ;11
               .byte zz__X___X_    ;12
               .byte zz___XXX__    ;13
               .byte 0             ;14 ends the score loop
               .byte PLAYER1_COLOR ;15
               .byte PLAYER2_COLOR ;16

In DPC+ all the datastreams are in RAM, so I suspect the .byte 0 was somehow changed to another value, which would cause the score loop to run for an unknown number of additional scanlines.

If you're testing in Stella please enter the debugger (hit the ` key, the one just to the left of the 1 and above tab) and enter the following in the Prompt:




breakif { _scan > #262 }

If typed correctly, Stella will reply with




Added breakif 00


Hit the ` key again to exit the debugger. Stella will enter the debugger again if too many lines are drawn on the screen, so if that happens take a screenshot and post it over in the Space Rocks homebrew topic.

Great idea by Thomas Jentzsch - if Stella enters the debugger, save the state and post that. See reply 559 for more info.

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I've played several times already (on Stella) both with timer on and off, and 2mins and 5mins everything works for me.....and the last score has been correct everytime too.

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Harmony testing on a real console would be ideal, since the game will be running on real hardware at the show. :)

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The testing in Stella is still useful, mind you, since the game SHOULD behave the same as it does on real hardware. But, that isn't always the case, and it's best not to find that out the day of the tournament! :D



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Had a couple weird issues occur, so I've added an addendum to the blog post about it along with extra instructions for those who are testing with Stella. Hopefully somebody can get a screenshot of it, which would help in figuring out what went wrong.

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Addendum 2 added: if Stella enters the debugger due to the line count, besides the screenshot save and post the state.

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Nothing helpful to report.


I like that this starts out hard with/without timer.

The whole Game Fest shield looks fantastic, but I had forgotten it was the Power Glove and thought it was a Computer Space until I saw the shield on AtariAge's front page!

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It is one of those things that now I know what I'm looking at - it is clear.

Just thought that it was something funny to mention. :D


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Played a few rounds, 9k was my best, dying at the beginning of the 2nd wave.


Since your success greatly depends on the initial thread provided by the asteroids, for the tournament, you should allow a few immediate restarts.


BTW: The final score is displayed only for a few seconds after the game is over. If you don't look for the remaining lives then there is no indicator for game over. Maybe make all asteroids gray then?

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I dropped a note to Al about the restart suggestion. That might be dictated by how many people sign up for the tournament.


Timer running out definitely needs something to happen. I initially had it explode the ship, but did not like how that worked out. I next looked into added an "end of game buzzer", but didn't have room where the sound effect tables are stored. With more time I could have shuffled things around to implement the buzzer, and plan to look into doing that if we make another tournament edition.

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