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palomino (2600)


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Hi, I have been recently working on palomino, a puzzle game for the 2600.


I attach the latest binary of the game, together with an instruction document in pdf format.


Thanks to iesposta, Csonicgo, r_type2600, and Thomas Jentzsch, whose DOOD utility ( http://atariage.com/...ta-overlapping/ ) helped me make room for AtariVox support.




(edit:outdated video removed)



Edited by seemo
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Hi, I have implemented some of the features that rtype_2600 suggested in his reply to my last blog post about the game:


For my taste the bonus mode is still a bit too long in comparison to the core gameplay, but no big deal.


Some suggestions:

- level indicator. Always nice to know which level you're on. How about a changing color pattern (a la Missile Command) with every new round. Would also bring some visual variety for the long run...

- bonus counter. Since the bonus round is basically a time challenge, it would be an added incentive to know how many patterns (and "super"patterns) you managed to complete. Two ways I can think of ad hoc: either some tally at the end of the round (somewhat boring), or an in-game indicator by displaying an increasing number on screen for each additional pattern (think Pac Man blue ghosts bonus points).

- I didn't get too far into the game to see how the rounds progress, but I have the feeling the model pattern remains unchanged during each wave. That's nice for early rounds, but wouldn't it increase the challenge and present a nice growing difficulty ramp by changing the model pattern at a progressively growing rate?

e.g. no changes on wave 1, changes every 4th pattern in wave 2, every 2nd pattern in wave 3, and every pattern from wave 4 on.

- now this is really far-stretched and I don't think feasible, but I hope it won't hurt dropping this idea here.

Is it possible to have the small square blocks (e.g the basic pattern elements) in different colors? Even if they only could be in two different colors, that would allow for exciting new gameplay elemetns to be introduced in higher waves, where players would not only have to make sure to get the shapes but also the colors right (and to think this further, in higher rounds also the right colors for multi-colored model patterns)


- the Bonus Mode now is shorter and its length is fixed for all the levels


- there is a level indicator at the top left of the screen - each level has its own colors


- during Bonus Mode, the counter of cleared squares is displayed below the square symbol (clearing 12 or more squares grants you another Bonus Mode - 'extra' squares are worth two squares)


- changing the pattern mid-stage would cause short continuous interruptions to the flow of the game, i.e. you would be waiting for the line to clear the current pattern before knowing what the next pattern will be


- I made many changes to the game to support two colors for the cells:

1) the playfield height has been halved

2) there is only one kernel now, with 'striped' cells and no playfield background color

3) when the vertical line picks up a pattern, the pattern is not shown anymore with the blinking color

4) the upper and lower borders of the playfield are shown with the active pattern color, with which you have to make a pattern in order to have it cleared by the vertical line (this forces you to use both colors)

5) during bonus mode, the borders are yellow, and any of the two colors are used to clear square patterns


I also attach an updated version of the manual.




(edit: outdated video removed)



Edited by seemo
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changing the pattern mid-stage would cause short continuous interruptions to the flow of the game, i.e. you would be waiting for the line to clear the current pattern before knowing what the next pattern will be


This version tries to solve the problem quoted above. It also introduces a few updates


- AtariVox speech has been livened up

- Game Over music is thegoldenband's airtheme ( http://atariage.com/...ng-music-in-bb/ )

- The color for new cells alternates between the two colors of the level (it was picked randomly in the previous version)

- Since I had space, I added a 'score/hi-score' label above the score

- The current pattern is displayed with its associated color

- The next pattern is displayed below the current one: this makes it more fair to pick a new random pattern everytime one is cleared

- Bonus Mode has been further shortened, and now you have to clear 10 patterns to extend it

- Added an 'x' besides the squares counter during Bonus Mode

- Bonus Mode is immediately extended as soon as 10 squares are cleared


I also attach an updated version of the manual




(edit: outdated video removed)



Edited by seemo
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Update... I was playing this latest version last night, a lot, and the scanner would get stuck for a while on the wrap around. I also experienced a massive influx of new tiles that occurred at the same time. The game would recover to a certain extent. I would say this happened after one or two color changes.


UPDATE: I was playing a bunch last night and couldn't reproduce the error I was observing on a regular basis the night before?

Edited by purduecrum
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The code has been completely reworked, here's what's new:


- playfield height has been increased by one row

- playfield upper/lower borders flash when a new cell is generated

- playfield cells flash when a pattern is cleared

- each pattern has its own small music variation

- purduecrum's bug has been fixed

- 'score'/'hi-score'/'next' labels have been changed to better fit with the digits font


Here's a video of the game





@purduecrum & Wickeycolumbus: thanks


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This version introduces 'mixed' color patterns: they appear less frequently than 'fully' colored patterns, and must be composed with 'mixed' color cells.

In order to obtain a 'mixed' color cell, you have to put two cells of different colors in the same space.


Mixed color patterns take more time to compose, but they are also worth twice the points.


To support mixed color cells, the cursor graphics now are 'striped', too.


I also attach an updated version of the manual.


@everybody: thanks for your support





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  • 2 weeks later...

- when the cursor is placed on the topmost/bottommost row, its upper/lower borders are shown now


- slight change to the sound fx when the player rotates the cells in the cursor


- added AtariVox speech for 'level up'


- when a new level is reached, the level indicator flashes briefly


- when the playfield moved to the left, it was quite frequent (especially on higher levels) to see patterns skipped by the vertical beam: this happened whenever a pattern got 'pushed' in the column where the beam had just finished scanning (see the picture)




To solve this, I delayed playfield movement until the vertical beam has finished scanning the playfield: this results in a somehow easier game, but since playfield movements are still present, they add to the challenge without penalizing the player too much.




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  • 3 months later...

- removed patterns are shown on the playfield with red color, flickering with the 'second color' cells in the cursor (enable phosphor effect on Stella to remove flicker)


- new cells are generated with higher frequency now, and to extend bonus mode 12 squares are needed


- mixed color patterns do not appear until level 4


- if a new level is reached during normal gameplay, the timer is reset - if it is reached during bonus mode, the timer is not reset


- score values have been slighly reduced


- music variations have been reduced


- ntsc cell colors have been reworked




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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

- fixed a bug that prevented the new cells from being generated in the topmost/bottommost playfield rows


- during bonus mode, the square counter has been moved besides the square pattern symbol


- during bonus mode, a 'bonus mode' label is displayed on the screen


- during normal gameplay, an arrow is displayed besides the current pattern


- the 'hat' sound fx length has been increased


- still a few changes to NTSC colors




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