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Dig Dug (1983) - Graphic Improvements


MrFish
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Preview version of initial edits.

 

Changes so far:

1. All Pooka and Fygar sprites / animations

2. All vegetables and fruits

3. Numbers fonts (score and bonus points)

4. Digging tool (more pointed)

 

Changes planned:

1. Playfield graphics

2. Player sprite animations (possibly)

3. Various colors adjustments (possibly)

4. Title screen

5. Version for the Atari 5200

 

Thanks to Daniel "Dan" Śniegoń for his Dan Casper Editor, for editing player missile animations.

 

dig dug 9-10.rom

 

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Is there a link to the Dan Casper editor? That page is in Polish or some other language. Even translating it, I'm not sure where the link is. I would like to try that.

 

It has been a long time since I played A8/5200 Dig Dug so the changes are subtle to me. I think the veggies look different. Not sure if the characters look different , again it is subtle if so.

 

post-37-0-96182600-1441905263_thumb.pngpost-37-0-81320000-1441905264_thumb.pngpost-37-0-60863700-1441905265_thumb.png

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It has been a long time since I played A8/5200 Dig Dug so the changes are subtle to me. I think the veggies look different. Not sure if the characters look different , again it is subtle if so.

 

Some changes are subtle, many are not.

 

The Pooka's general shape is the same, but his animation (jumping) and death/inflation sequence are quite a bit different.

 

Fygar's are pretty much different all around.

 

I'll try to do a little sprite comparison sheet later, to give a little side-by-side of the old and the new.

Edited by MrFish
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To me the Pooka's always seems to be squished. They look more like squashed ovals than round balls. Is there any way to fix that?

 

Yeah, that's true. There's no way to fix it in this version without revamping the graphics engine -- where you could raise the height of the tunneled out areas, or alternatively allow the characters to have more than a single color.

 

I did try a version where I thickened him up a bit vertically. But I thought it made him look overweight. icon_mrgreen.gif Part of the problem there is that it's a single color sprite, so if you add more vertical space to the character, you just have a lot of one color with a couple of eye dots sitting in the middle. So with that type of design restriction it actually looks better for them to be a little on the thin side. Also, you then have less space for animating the legs, which poses it's own problems. I can post a version where he's thicker vertically if you'd like to check it out. It isn't bad at all, but I preferred leaving him with the same vertical thickness.

 

My focus was on the animations (how they move around -- and in the Pooka's case jumping / pursuing) and the death sequences (which I thought the original version was lacking in emulating what the arcade does).

Edited by MrFish
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I just played a round of 5200 Dig Dug, then your new version. Yes, I see the improvements. The pooka's swing their little legs a lot more now , and I like their "eyes" when they are getting exploded now. And you added more detail to the veggies, which in the 5200 version were usually solid one-color images. You added black bg pixels which adds detail. Nice job!

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I do think it is great job you are trying to do, and I welcome to see such hacks as such.

 

I never liked the Atari home versions of Dig Dug and thought they could be better, with the right programmer behind it.

 

So called multi-coloured sprites are desirable - and if possible should be used, hence reprogramming as such, or rather, start from scratch all over again.

But if bad flicker is present - then software sprites seem the only other option.

 

If you had the availability of the editor(s) for any game - would you jump at the chance to create your own levels etc in which you have full control over the graphics?

 

I would ask this of any other persons who are keen on graphics design as such. Should new homebrew games - have such an option available? Would programmers welcome such input into projects they have completed.

 

Maybe some new homebrews could be started that way - in which the graphics are a WIP - yet to be designed?

 

Well maybe, maybe not?

 

Harvey

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I just played a round of 5200 Dig Dug, then your new version. Yes, I see the improvements. The pooka's swing their little legs a lot more now , and I like their "eyes" when they are getting exploded now. And you added more detail to the veggies, which in the 5200 version were usually solid one-color images. You added black bg pixels which adds detail. Nice job!

 

Thanks. Yeah, if you look at the arcade version, the Pooka's bring their legs forward, up, and their feet are at a slight angle. In the original Atari version they just pumped up and down, and actually out of sync with when they should be doing it. You can see in the comparison sheet below that mine are shortened when theirs are lengthened and visa versa. The way the eyes look is important too since it gives them more of an appearance of being in pain or being stunned. A small detail, but it makes a difference in the overall impression. Yes, the vegetables and fruits were pretty plain looking in the original. Just adding a few extra pixels here and there can make them a look better, although in some cases they needed a little bit more than that. This is one of the reason why I thought it was a good candidate for improvements.

 

post-6369-0-96580100-1441925852_thumb.png

Edited by MrFish
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I do think it is great job you are trying to do, and I welcome to see such hacks as such.

 

I never liked the Atari home versions of Dig Dug and thought they could be better, with the right programmer behind it.

 

So called multi-coloured sprites are desirable - and if possible should be used, hence reprogramming as such, or rather, start from scratch all over again.

But if bad flicker is present - then software sprites seem the only other option.

 

Thanks. They cut some corners on what is otherwise a quite good game. So I figured I'd hack at 'em a little bit and see what could be done. I also like the challenge of working with 1-bit graphics sometimes. Makes you a little more aware of what kinds of challenges go on in the 2600 community.

 

You have to remember, there are already two completely different versions of Dig Dug available on the Atari 8-bits. The other one actually uses bitmapped playfield graphics for the enemies, and P/M graphics for when they turn in to ghosts (or whatever they are) and float across the dirt. Whereas this version uses P/M's only for the enemies at all times -- although the flames and pump hose (except when the pump hose is used vertically, in which case P/M's are used) are both playfield graphics.

 

[Note: Why they didn't use the same color for the pump hose when it's rendered as a player as when it's rendered using the darker red playfield graphics, I have no idea. Screw up?]

 

Yes, something better is surely possible using either character or bitmapped soft-sprites, and using the P/M's for static coloring and the enemy ghosts.

 

 

If you had the availability of the editor(s) for any game - would you jump at the chance to create your own levels etc in which you have full control over the graphics?

 

I would ask this of any other persons who are keen on graphics design as such. Should new homebrew games - have such an option available? Would programmers welcome such input into projects they have completed.

 

Maybe some new homebrews could be started that way - in which the graphics are a WIP - yet to be designed?

 

Well maybe, maybe not?

 

It all depends on the game. If I don't care for the game then I wouldn't care to spend time and effort on the graphics. I do think it's a good idea to leave things open and even provide the necessary tools if you think there's a chance someone might be able to do some improvements later. The tools are often needed to begin with -- such as level editors.

Edited by MrFish
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You're right... and a very popular one at that, it seems.

 

Let's see, I was 15 years old at the time it was released... how could I have missed it?? icon_confused.gif

 

Maybe I was still spending too much time playing Pac-Man, Asteroids, and Galaga... or sometime after that... dare I say... the mighty Mr. Do! icon_twisted.gif (alright, it was a copy of sorts, but weren't a lot of them back then, in some form or another?).

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Hard to compete with digitized boob games, yet Dig Dug moves on... icon_mrgreen.gif

 

A few more improvements to the playfield graphics:

 

1. Rock sprite shape and animation (matched better to arcade)

2. Large flower (matched better to arcade)

3. Smaller number font (experimental)

4. Tunnel ridges (matched better to arcade -- on pre-drawn ones only)

 

post-6369-0-28684200-1442947203_thumb.png

 

Dig Dug (1984) 9-21.xex

Edited by MrFish
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