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Is Gyruss porting faisable on Intellivision?


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  • 1 month later...

If the 2600 can do it the Inty can too ;)


With more than 8 sprites on screen at once you'd need to get creative with the BACKTAB characters. Maybe use some of the sprites for the star field? It'd be an interesting project if somebody wanted to work on it.


I would work around the 8 sprite limitation like this.


First, the star field can be done with a creative BACKTAB pattern, I'm sure of that. The same goes for the "parked" enemies, when they arrive to the center of the screen.


Second, I'd draw the player's sprite in the BACKTAB (since its movement is limited), which leaves me eight full sprites for each enemy wave, plus laser bolts. That's a maximum of six enemies on each wave, the player's bullet, and one enemy bullet multiplexed for each enemy firing. The enemies typically fire one at a time, except on the later stages, but by then the player should be well engaged and immersed. Six enemies may not be too much, but I think they're sufficient to replicate the attack patterns effectively.


The controller disc would be an excellent translation for the circular movement pattern; the action buttons... not so much. But, hey! what can you do?


It is certainly possible. You can reproduce the action, the music, and the feel of the game, the look will be a bit compromised by using single color sprites, but it still can work.


Regarding the comparison to the 2600, it's not really fair. The Atari VCS gives full control of the raster gun to the developer, if he so wishes. This allows some very fancy sprite multiplexing (which is necessary, since you only get three, and no GRAM buffer). The Intellivision's STIC does not give you such facilities, you're stuck to one full frame or nothing, so multiplexing can only be done on VBLANK which reduces its versatility--and adds flicker.


The Intellivision does, however, provides eight full 8x16 MOBs with GRAM buffer and handles all the raster synchronization hard stuff for you, so I'm not complaining. Stella programming is too hardcore for me.



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Has anyone run a feasibility study on that? Would a high-level compiler be possible on the Inty, or is the machine just too slow to handle it?


I haven't done a feasibility study but from the coding I've done on the machine I think it would make an interesting target for GCC.

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