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Before I Get In Too Deep...


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As a 6502 enthusiast, I'm always seeking a new adventure to flex my skills. Although I'm confident in my abilities, I have been looking for the "right fit" when it comes to projects.


I started out with NES development, but I came to the conclusion that the NES architecture was great, but also very complex. This made engineering a decent game possible, but required a lot of time. A large portion of my time went to inventing the graphics engine. Not to mention the time it took to write compression algorithms for my levels. Don't get me wrong, this is right up my alley, but it just took forever to write a game.


This was the gateway to Atari 2600 development. I love how the 2600 has so little going on that you don't have to write tons of routines to display sprites and such. However, most who have "raced the beam" tend to get exhausted with cycle counting. Going from the PPU (NES) to the TIA (VCS) was both rewarding and tedious.


Once again, I'm not sure if the 2600 is the right fit either. I have successfully written some decent demos, but since I grew up in the 80s (not the 70s) I find the graphics and other limitations aren't enough to write the kind of games I want to make. I also felt that the 2600 was too far in the other direction. 128 bytes of RAM isn't enough.


I know I might sound fickle, but I'm really just trying to find a system that uses the 6502 that I can enjoy writing for. I like the sound of the 7800 so far. The MARIA doesn't seem as complex and convoluted as the PPU of the NES. And as a plus, I'm very comfortable with the RIOT and TIA for timers and input.


I'm hoping that this thread can shed some light on what you have enjoyed about 7800 development. Is it as tedious as the 2600? Are there any "gotchas" I need to consider before digging in? Considering the above, do you think that it would fit my needs?



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7800 programming is all about building & managing display lists (and sometimes display list lists). IMHO the 7800 is significantly more difficult than the NES for any game which needs less than 64 sprites (especially with background scrolling). See https://sites.google.com/site/atari7800wiki/7800-compared-to-the-nes for some additional commentary & comparisons.

Edited by EricBall
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