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lots of unfinished, awesome projects .. but why?


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Mark... That's exactly How I converted some c64 code... Doubled the fonts and luckily it worked out....

Well, it works, if any character has a fixed position on the screen, getting filled with new data.

But it won't work, if chars get interchanged , keeping fixed character data.

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  • 1 month later...

I try to keep my game projects going and finish them. Despite whatever heat I get on here about selling the game on cartridge or who ever had past issues with Video61 or KJMANN12. I try to stay out of these things.

I wish more people would finish their games and hope some can still make some money from them.

I always wondered how well those "soft-sprite" perform against player multiplexer routines that so many of my game projects now use.

I had been looking for new innovative graphics routines and see if there is a way to make a game to use them.

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I had a game finished except for sound on another platform, and I thought... It didn't garner interest, so even the sound wasn't worth finishing. You know some genres are more interesting, like SMB clones etc.


Well life also took me away and years later I found an old thread, and I was like oh they are discussing my WIP... And oh there was interest. Too bad I didn't even have the same computer any more or any source code. I would have finished it.


I have finished a few programs for the ti99 and palm pilot... But in truth I rarely finish most hobby stuff. But what I do now, if I am going to put it aside...upload the source! Then I could... Or someone else, finish it later

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I always wondered how well those "soft-sprite" perform against player multiplexer routines that so many of my game projects now use.

I had been looking for new innovative graphics routines and see if there is a way to make a game to use them.

Not so slow as some think. Imho, larger problem is lack of colors. If you make a game that works well with 4-5 colors then it's a great choice.

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That could well depend on how you organise your background. You could be using a bitmap mode or char based model. On top of that could be double buffered which gives you the option of redrawing everything. Of course that is more practical with a char based approach as less to write. More variables into the mix... the screen memory layout could include the whole scrollable area but a more common approach is to render in the newly appearing area - so more memory & less time versus less memory but more time.


Overall the redrawing can be done before or after the scroll, your aim is more to avoid the erase and drawing being done whilst the screen's raster redrawing in within the soft-sprite's y-boundaries.

Edited by Wrathchild
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Possibly something could be done as a demo - that points to how it could be done/started.


And it may just remain as a demo - if the author does not want to make it transition into a game proper - simply because there is tons of work to do on it to make it into a game proper. But it is done as a show and tell. Then it is up to anyone else to make it transition.


I haven't played Zelda on the NES or Gameboy to know how good it was/is? But played it on the SNES - which is a good benchmark to aspire to?

Possibly you could add elements from that, into the mix?



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How do you animate soft sprites over a scrolling background like this? Do you erase, scroll, and re-draw them all? Or erase and re-draw one at a time, scrolling after the animation? Just trying to work out in my head how this is done, thanks!

It's done in character mode. Each sprite takes 4x4=16 chars.

That's why there's only 6 of them, so there would be some chars left for background :)


There are two screen buffers and two character set buffers.

Each frame I erase characters for each sprite at the old position, put sprites characters into onto new location. Thats only 16 bytes per sprite so it's fast.

Then I draw each sprite into each 16char sprite definition (characters are ordered in 4 columns of 4 chars).

When drawing sprite I take each background char code, calculate where in character set it is and use those 8 bytes as background for that part of sprite.

Each sprite has a mask so 4 colors are possible.


Routine was designed to feel as close to hardware sprites as it's possible... Uggghhhh... It was written 3 years ago, think I should improve it ;)

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I am trying to find the authors for some of these unfinished game projects to inquire if they have any interest to *also* put their game on a cartridge. Of course I know someone who has tons of shells and blank boards. It will still be the authors decision if they want to distribute their game on other media like floppy disk for those that like to play on real hardware.


I cannot find out who is doing this Contra or Ghost-n-Goblems games.

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Ghost'n'Goblins is scrolling of level1 with the guy all the PMGs multicolour used moving over gfxs Antic4 charmode and nothing more.

Done by Gonzo that is very active at AtariOnline but he's also here with other name. Don't have time but I think that on this topic back pages or on a similar there are some posts of him.

Don't think that the game could be more with just soft sprites and if the way he did there's chars free and possible colorings for them :(...

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Not so slow as some think. Imho, larger problem is lack of colors. If you make a game that works well with 4-5 colors then it's a great choice.


I am using character (antic 4) on many games, but all the fine moving sprites are still done with player/missile graphics multixplexing. Character mode will limit the game to the 5 colors and use up additional CPU cycles for the sprites. I had tested my multiplexer to handle up to 20 moving monocolor objects (10 multicolor),each having their own color. Of course they will flicker if more than 4 sprites share the same vertical position. One trick is use the 4 missiles as the 5th player, if you are not using the aux character color for the background.


My "Megaoids 2016" game, mixes both. All the moving rocks are done with graphics characters, moving 1 character space at a time (4 pixels hoz/8 pixels vert), around 25 frames per second. I have games that synced to run the same speed on both NTSC and PAL systems. If NTSC, it calls to an alternate VBI 1 out of every 6 frames on NTSC, but on PAL, calls the alternate VBI, than the game VBI.

Edited by peteym5
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  • 2 weeks later...


I tried out the GBA Zelda graphics and I thought they looked great (alternated between modes D and E to stretch them out).


Great demo. And that idea of alternating the two modes to make the 160x144 look suiteable on the A8 is crazy and cool. I had player around a lot with Zelda back then and never had that idea. And it doesn't look bad at all.

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A shame of course, but human nature to not finish things. Especially when it comes to the really cool projects it seems. :(


Like to show support for whatever (especially 2600/7800 games) early on, but end up losing track of projects when it takes years and/or dozens of pages later in the thread. Unless I can help out with testing, pretty much just wait until whatever finally shows in the store. Less "heartache" that way. :lol:


Absolutely. I see this in a lot of projects right here on AA. All good intents aside, the projects, imho are failures. Failures to make it to market.


The good thing about being a kid in the 70's vs. today is that back then we had EGM, retail stores, distribution channels, and real-life business requirements/events to filter out all the ideas and protos and ramblings and concept products. Those things and activities distilled it down to a very simple process. See the game on TV or in EGM, go buy it in the store. SIMPLE! And exciting!


Today we see into the garbage dumps of the brain courtesy of blogging and the internet and pre-pre-alpha releases and crap like that. And kickstarters allow you to pay for something you might never ever receive! Something that isn't finished. Not even on the drawing boards. Kickstarters allow you to buy a non-existent product.


And kickstarter rewards the developer for simply making things up. Takes away the will and desire to finish something and put the best possible finishing touches on it.


No thanks. I'll stick to what is real and available the instant I pay for it. Just like the good old days.

Edited by Keatah
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That little Zelda demo is frikking awesome - some careful colour choice and some PMG spot effects (skin for example) and it would be superb - the style is lovely and the gameplay "could" be brilliant!!


The GB library is choice full of games that were beautiful examples of minimalist art and great gameplay!





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  • 7 months later...

I've worked on my sprite routine and remembered this thread where I showed you earlier version.
Here is fixed and improved version of my NYD2017 entry (music is not from Atari, I've just added one because of problems recording sound from Altirra):

14 sprites, 8x16 pixels in 4 colors with full mask support. Running at 25fps with music routine active and simple drawing of back and front layer.

As I've said before, this is done with interleaved charsets so it only uses 14x3 chars out of 128. That leaves 86 chars free for background. should be enough for shooter or platform game.
Much more can be achieved adding fifth color into mix and with something like separate characters per each of charsets (4 of them are used in this example) or dynamic charsets (replacing character definition as chars leave and enter screen).

Imagine something like Plus4 preview "Adventures in Time 2" but with dozen sprites active on screen (download here: Adventures_In_Time_2_Preview):


Plan is to fix it up nicely so it can draw different sized sprites and release source code so others can make cool games with it :)


I hope that will change what title of this topic said "Why so many of unfinished, awesome projects?"
At least "not good enough sprites" won't be the reason ;)


Till then here is xex file:


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Nice indeed. The masking to give priority looks good esp. because the mask can also mask out the $00/black of the tile. That gives an additional level of detail.

Yeah, it's even used in that Plus4 example (sky color - light blue inside objects). It would be extra useful for 3d iso game.


Sprite routine like this is maximum user case. Something like platform game where sprites go over empty space and don't overlap would be simpler and much faster (no background lookup, no AND operation, just pure LDA,STA. I should make multiple versions so you can choose what type of sprite you want to use...

Will have to figure out some nice way to organize things. Animation, movement, sizes etc. All needs to be in there.


Ever thought of using PM Multiplexing for the Background and to create moving objects by the playfield? I would allow complex platform games with huge "Sprites"

I did think about it ... PMs are rather limited (40 pixels wide, one color each...).

My opinion is that they would be better used for Player sprite, bullets or coloring objects as underlay-overlay (maybe even prior 0).


On the other hand there are couple rare types of game where it would fit. 40 wide PMs in quad size with color change each line would make nice platforms. For some arcade jumping game it makes sense to make huge sprites with chars and move it all in crazy speed...


It's only that I don't want to make such a game right now ;)

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