Jump to content

Planetary Defense 2012


Recommended Posts

Hi All,


Recently I installed the "Colleen" Atari 800 emulator for Android on my phone and after playing with it a bit got the idea that it would be really cool to do a "hack" that would allow people using touchscreens on the Android devices to be able to play certain old Atari games using the touchscreen as input.


Back in the day, we had the Atari Touch Tablet and Koalapad, which worked by using the paddle controller registers to deliver X and Y coordinates. So after a little discussion with Kostas, the developer of Colleen, we decided to hack in a special input mode that would take touches on the touchscreen and then scale them to the same range as the paddle registers, and when the touch occurs, set the coordinates and activate the PTRIG0 value.


I mostly wanted to do this so that people could play my old ANALOG Computing game, "Planetary Defense" on Android devices using the perfect input method -- If you're not familiar with Planetary Defense, it's sort of like a rotary version of "Missile Command" where your orbiting defense platform fires missiles to stop incoming bombs from destroying your planet. The original could be played in two modes -- joystick or Koala -- you simply moved a target cursor around the screen to indicate where you wantd to fire.


So I added a new "TOUCHSCREEN" mode which, when used on the upcoming release of the Colleen emulator, will take advantage of this feature and let you simply tap on the screen to fire. Running the game on actual Atari hardware will still work with the joystick or Koalapad.


While I was at it, the old "while I'm in there" mode kicked in and I decided to go for some really fun stuff...


Back in 1982 when we wrote the original game, we had a lot of readers with 400s who only had 16K of memory, so we had to keep the programs small enough to run on those machines -- so Planetary Defense was a pretty minimal game. I always wanted to have a bonus in there that would do partial restoration of your planet if you hit certain score levels (kind of like getting bonus cities in "Missile Command"). As it was, once your planet was damaged, it wasn't getting fixed.


In Planetary Defense 2012, you not only get bonus satellite lives every 5,000 points, but every 8,000 points (at the end of a level) your planet will get terraformed, restoring up to 25% of the planet at a time, allowing you to play on longer. I also adjusted the difficulty ramping for more levels than the original. This new bonus system works on the original hardware as well as emulators.


Finally, and this is one of the most exciting parts -- We set up the upcoming "Colleen" release with the ability for the Atari program to talk to the Internet via a new "B:" device, short for "Browser" -- which allows Planetary Defense 2012 to report high scores to an Internet leaderboard! This is really cool -- the program checks at launch for the presence of the "B:" device, and if it's there, when the game is over it brings up a screen that allows the player to enter his or her name and then it submits the score to my website using a simple URL query.


The leaderboard itself is at: http://analog.klanky.com/leaderboard.php


You can see that I've been playing a bit -- Once this is out there, it'll be fun to have some real high-score battles.


Getting back into the 6502 assembly code has been a huge blast. I used the "ATASM" assembler (compatible with the old MAC/65 assembler) to do the development. It has been really cool to work with Kostas on these "hacks" that push the envelope a bit and expand the old Atari software into the 21st century.


So, that said, I think the code should work properly on actual Atari 800 hardware, but it would be nice to have someone help me out with some beta-testing before we release it to the world. If you have a working 32K+ Atari 8-bit machine, and would like to help test this out (using either joystick or Koalapad), please send me a PM here. Running on the actual hardware, you won't have the high-score leaderboard feature, but the enhanced gameplay and bonus features will be there.



  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

nice... but B: :/

... so, only emulator :/ & only new games :/ & can't switch off Atari OS :/


I use xbios lib for save score on atari games (on real atari xl/xe computers)











upload scores/awards by .dta file or data matrix code

Edited by xxl
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Instead of developing a new device (B:), why not use the standard R: device and make your website request via telnet? That way all the existing emulators could be used, as well as real hardware with SIO2PC and a peripheral emulator that provides the R: telnet service?

Well, for the Android touch screen interface, we were in new territory anyway and just came up with a quick way of pulling off the high score submission that could be done without breaking anything else and would be transparent to the user -- no needing to type anything, etc. It was only afterward that I came up with the other features that would be seen on standard hardware. So that said, it would be cool to fall back to the R:/telnet communication method to submit the scores if someone has their system set up for it.


Since I haven't really been exposed to any of that (I do have an SIO2PC interface with my 800), is there any documentation on doing it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

P.S. Is there a "standard" established for that sort of telnet action? Or is it just something a few people have set up?


P.P.S. Yeah -- is there documentation on the xbios method? How is that accessing the scores in the games? I have a method implemented in my leaderboard system that protects against counterfeit scores, so it will all need to be automated -- and no manual entry by the user to do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Planetary Defense was one of my favourite time-killers :-)

Here is a little remake written by me a few years ago. On Windows 7 in full screen mode colours are wrong. You should run the game in a window by choosing the in game option or add "-window" parameter to execution.





Btw - Tom, I love your games! :-)

Edited by ilmenit
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Planetary Defense 2012 is now IN THE HOUSE! Well, IN THE EMULATOR, anyway... The new version of the "Colleen" Atari 800 emulator is up in the Android Market and Planetary Defense 2012 is bundled in the package and launchable directly from the "Preferences" menu:


Colleen Emulator Link


After completing a game in the emulator, you'll get a screen which will allow you to submit your score to the leaderboard with your name (up to 8 characters). Just bring up the Atari keyboard with the Preferences menu, enter your name and press ENTER -- your score will be submitted and you'll be taken to the leaderboard to see where you rank.


Top my high score on the leaderboard, if you dare! ;)


I had Kyle Peacock try it out last night on his Asus tablet, and he said it plays great on the larger screen -- Please give it a shot and let me know what you think!


This has been an extremely fun project -- revisiting the old Atari 800 assembly-language code was a blast, and going beyond the magazine's old 16K limit was very liberating! :) I'm thinking about some additional projects using the touchscreen capability...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Bill -- always nice to hear that people liked our work.


It's funny -- I saw that Buried Buck$ was used in a high score competition here some time back, and there was a comment that someone got "stuck" when the $ became unreachable under one of the pools of water and they had to quit the game. Actually, IIRC you could hit the ESC key in that situation and it would abort the level and you'd be penalized a certain amount of cash for it -- but you could play on, having to replay that level. I'll have to run it on my office machine and see if my recollection is correct.


You know, if someone comes up with a way to connect a standard Atari 8-direction joystick to an iPhone, I'd finish up the iOS port of BB and release it! Lee Pappas found the old source code and I went through and converted the assembly to C++ and initially used the accelerometer interface to control it, but it was pretty much impossible to fly the chopper underground that way -- the project's just sitting there waiting to be finished.


I have the USB Legacy Joystick, which is awesome -- and I picked up the iPhone's USB adapter to see if it might be possible to get them to work together, but unfortunately there don't seem to be any guidelines from Apple for writing USB drivers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When will you release the Non Colleen version Tom?

I'll post the executable on my website ASAP. The same code runs on a stock 800, just no touch interface (duh!) or Internet leaderboard. If someone will send me specs on how they get the system to communicate via telnet, I can add that to the code as well so that someone with real hardware and SIO2PC can use the leaderboard.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Missile Command using one finger to aim and the other to launch would be super-cool.

Actually, a single finger would work there as well as it does in PD2012 -- tap where you want to fire and it aims and fires in the same action. That would rock. (Anybody have that source code? I could add the leaderboard mechanism to it as well! :-D )
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, I have the new Planetary Defense 2012 executable (playable on original hardware and emulators) up on my website at THIS LINK




Thanks for that Tom, off to play ..


Before I go can I say its a pleasure to have chatted to you in the thread, its not often we get to chat with the guys behind the scene..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

even though I don't have a smart phone, and rarely use an emulator, this will be cool to run on real hardware! Thanks for the updated game. I didn't remember it until I saw the thumbnail pic of it above, but I now remember it from Analog back in the day. I think I typed that game in (or was it a disc bonus game?), But I didn't have a disk subscription, so either I typed it in, or got a copy from my user group. Fun game, I played it a lot back then, some quick 5 minute games, like I used to do with all the small games back then; I used to game surf through the disk menues sometimes for just quick games like this one.


has this game been posted for download someplace yet? Did I miss a link in this thread for the file/disk image?


One last thing; why no graphical update? maybe some multi-colored player/missle graphics? Or is that just too much rewriting?

Edited by Gunstar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just played this a bit on my 800XL. Fun game. It's really cool seeing a new game by guys on the 800XL. Almost like going back in time.

If you could it would be greatly appreciated if you could add Atari Touch Tablet support. I think it's just the reverse of the Koala tablet.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Tom,


I can´t remember mow much score I used to get, but I am sure that wasn´t the 100k you got in the leaderboard.


Any tricks for this game ?

Well, I was pretty amazed last night when I got the score over 100K -- you probably couldn't get near that score with the original, but with the new terraforming bonus, you can get your planet built back up periodically and extend your score substantially.


The biggest trick is to shoot the saucers as fast as you can! Those suckers can drill down into your planet incredibly quickly, and if another one comes in from the same direction and shoots into the cavity left by a prior saucer, youir planet is probably doomed.


Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...