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Would a regular here like to make a Joust hack for me? ($)


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I still use 7800 basic because it's easy to jump in and program games(I use asm) and you can learn a lot about the system by digging in,this helped me tremendously when using debugger to learn how commercial games handled things.

Edited by CloakeD
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Should any of this ever come to fruition,   I'd like to pitch in $4.69 to help.  :)


Sorry I've got way too many bills to pay right now to meaningfully contribute...But then again,  weird odd numbers are more fun and get people talking...And if Everybody pitched in $4.69...

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I should start by saying that I am not interested in the bounty since it's best not to mix hobby and money plus the VS mode would be too much work. For that I think you'd pretty much need to understand all of the existing code and I've only done that once from a disassembly with 2600 Miniature Golf, which is a 2K ROM and took me a year.


The first thing I noticed with the Joust ROM image is that the last 8K at $E000 is identical to the preceding 8K at $C000. It could be a 24K cart with the last 8K mirrored. This might be useful as it would provide free space for any hacks without having to increase the cart size (although that doesn't really matter as it could become a 48K cart).


It's always good to have an expert player test to make sure nothing is broken. Maybe you can test the attached which is simply the Joust ROM with the last 8K blanked out (other than the 6502 vectors). Hopefully this will play exactly as the original and will mean that the last 8K is available for hacks.



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The second thing I did was to see where the code reads the trigger and follow the path from there. I got to this routine which seems to be applying the flap acceleration to the velocity. I've added comments for what I think is going on:

BCBF	C9 08		CMP #$08

BCC3	BC 59 22	LDY $2259,X ; get flap index

BCC6	38		SEC
BCC7	BD 8B 22	LDA $228B,X ; velocity (low) = velocity (low) - flap acceleration (low)
BCCD	9D 8B 22	STA $228B,X

BCD0	BD A4 22	LDA $22A4,X ; velocity (high) = velocity (high) - flap acceleration (high)
BCD6	9D A4 22	STA $22A4,X

BCD9	BD 72 22	LDA $2272,X
BCDE	DE 6D 01	DEC $016D,X

BCE1	A9 01		LDA #$01
BCE3	9D 60 23	STA $2360,X
BCE6	9D 72 22	STA $2272,X
BCE9	A9 00		LDA #$00
BCEB	9D 4A 01	STA $014A,X
BCEE	E0 02		CPX #$02    ; x < 2 indicates player
BCF2	A9 12		LDA #$12    ; flap sfx
BCF4	4C 85 D4	JMP LD485

BCF7	60		RTS

So it's using 2 tables for the flap acceleration:

LDE2C: .BYTE $80,$00,$5A,$DC,$00 ; flap acceleration (low)
LDE31: .BYTE $00,$01,$01,$01,$01 ; flap acceleration (high)

It seems that the first 3 columns are for the enemies, the fourth is the player but don't know what the last column is used for.


So it would seem possible to hack the code to adjust the flap power. In the attached I set the first 3 columns to a really small value which stops the enemies from flying. One interesting thing here is that during an egg level, if you just sit on a high platform and don't do much you often end up stuck on that level; everything is cleared but nothing happens other than the occasional pterry attack. This could well be a bug in the original game which doesn't normally manifest itself because things aren't dropping into the lava so much.


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Having found the code above I then looked for other updates to the velocity variables, hoping to find something that was applying gravity. I found this:


8186	B9 27 DE	LDA $DE27,Y
8189	85 64		STA $64
818B	B9 36 DE	LDA $DE36,Y
818E	85 62		STA $62
8190	B9 3B DE	LDA $DE3B,Y
8193	85 63		STA $63

81F8	BD 8B 22	LDA $228B,X ; velocity (low) = velocity (low) + gravity (low)
81FB	18		CLC
81FC	65 64		ADC $64
81FE	9D 8B 22	STA $228B,X

8201	A9 00		LDA #$00
8203	7D A4 22	ADC $22A4,X ; velocity (high)
8206	30 10		BMI L8218
8208	C5 62		CMP $62     ; compare with max velocity
820A	F0 17		BEQ L8223
820C	90 15		BCC L8223
820E	A9 00		LDA #$00    ; reset velocity (low)
8210	9D 8B 22	STA $228B,X
8213	A5 62		LDA $62     ; set max velocity
8215	4C 23 82	JMP L8223

8218	C5 63		CMP $63     ; compare with min velocity
821A	B0 07		BCS L8223
821C	A9 00		LDA #$00    ; reset velocity (low)
821E	9D 8B 22	STA $228B,X
8221	A5 63		LDA $63     ; set min velocity

8223	9D A4 22	STA $22A4,X ; set velocity (high)

8226	BD 8B 22	LDA $228B,X
8229	18		CLC
822A	7D 40 22	ADC $2240,X
822D	9D 40 22	STA $2240,X

8230	BD 6D 01	LDA $016D,X
8233	7D A4 22	ADC $22A4,X
8236	9D 6D 01	STA $016D,X
8239	4C 70 82	JMP L8270

Which is using the following tables:

LDE27: .BYTE $0C,$14,$1E,$26,$00 ; gravity (low)
LDE36: .BYTE $04,$04,$04,$04,$02 ; max velocity (high)
LDE3B: .BYTE $FC,$FC,$FC,$FC,$FD ; min velocity (high)

So it should also be possible to hack gravity.

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  • 4 months later...

I don’t know that somebody would take this on for 250 dollars (or maybe even any amount) unless they already had planned something similar and wanted to take your money. I just feel like it would equate to far less than a living rate for the time investment, plus being financially obligated would take it out of hobby realm where they could no longer back out if life demanded it. 

I’m not going to lie, I thought about putting a several thousand dollar “bounty” out before for a game to be programmed and made available, but I don’t think the money makes a difference to the hobby developers. Again, if things aren’t working out or they don’t like how the project is turning out they would feel locked in and unable to step away or drop it. So I took the route of learning programming myself and maybe in a few years I’ll be able to make my dream 7800 game. Not being rude but maybe you could try the same?

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