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Houston, we have lift off


EricBall

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I did a quick merge of the rest of the 4K SpaceWar! 7800 code so now the ships move & fire again. Of course there were problems - the main one being top-to-bottom wrap around. Turns out there was a bug in the 4K version, it didn't handle it properly either. Although the code wrapped around the display list pointers correctly, it didn't handle the end of display list index correctly. Thus, it tried to add the sprite to display list 0 using index 25, wiping out the display list. Ick!

 

I still want to do some cycle counting and see if there's any possible optimization of the display list builder. I should also zero out the display lists at startup to prevent MARIA from going runaway if the active screen starts up before the display lists are built.

 

Then I need to make a list of features to add to make the "game" itself. One of the ideas I'm toying with is an energy counter. Rotation/Thrust/Fire would deplete your energy (which would slowly replenish, but maybe make that an option). Hmm... how to handle regeneration? Would you come back with a full tank?

 

Of course, kill counters & SFX are on the list. I don't think a one player mode is in the cards unless someone can come up with a reasonable AI. I'd also like to do some kind of title screen, but that's low priority.

 

Oh, I'll also slow down the starfield so it's more of a slow drift.

 

I'm also working on some sample code skeletons for other budding 7800 homebrewers. Watch AA and the mailing list.

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I don't think a one player mode is in the cards unless someone can come up with a reasonable AI.

What does "reasonable" mean? :D

 

You could probably come up with something not too complicated that would play pretty good. With a single enemy and a single "obstacle" it shouldn't be too hard. Probably do something with states:

 

State one: accelerate towards a spot near the player

State two: while drifting, turn and fire

 

Also, have some conditional states:

Conditional state one: accelerate away from the sun if projected trajectory is into it

Conditional state two: avoid player's ship if projected trajectory is into it

Conditional state three: take evasive maneuvers if player's ship is within X distance and is pointing at you

 

And in all states, fire if the player is in your line of sight. ;)

 

Could also add a third standard state where you follow a pattern, and/or pick a random spot on the screen and aim towards that momentarily, just to add some variety.

 

The main difficulty, on first glance, will be projecting future ship position.

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Or we could have a contest. A la RobotWar. See who could come up with the best and/or funnest AI. I'd be up for that! ;)

 

The 7800 game SDK is an awesome idea. I've been toying with putting out an SDK for Gameboy and PS1.

 

I'd like to see formalized SDK's for other systems as well, like Vectrex, Colecovision.

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Or we could have a contest. A la RobotWar. See who could come up with the best and/or funnest AI. I'd be up for that! ;)

 

The 7800 game SDK is an awesome idea. I've been toying with putting out an SDK for Gameboy and PS1.

 

I'd like to see formalized SDK's for other systems as well, like Vectrex, Colecovision.

I played RobotWar a long time ago at school. I just pitted some of the built-in robots against one another. I never saw tha manual and I didn't even know that you could make your own robots! Anyway, I got bored with it quickly.

 

But this does give me an idea... I'll post a blog entry and see how it goes.

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One idea I had for a single-player mode for my 2600 SpaceWar! game would be to have a computer-controlled ship that alternately dropped fuel pods and mines. The player would have to maneuver his ship to collect the former while dodging the latter. Such a game could fit very nicely with the inertial mechanics of SpaceWar! while avoiding any requirement of intelligence on the part of the computer-controlled ship.

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