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Ratcatcher, a new original Atari 5200 game


Ryan Witmer
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Hello, long time fan of this site (and store customer)!

 

I've been interested in the Atari homebrew scene for a long time, and a few years ago I came up with a project suitable for the Atari 5200. I chose the 5200 because it always had a legendary status in my mind from when I was a kid. I never had one myself, but knew a few people that did and it never ceased to blow me away.

 

I finally bought my own 5200 a few years ago and began collecting games. As a long-time game programmer, I wanted to try my hand at 5200 development.

 

Attending one of David Crane's talks at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo inspired something I've called Ratcatcher. It's a 1-3 player game featuring sewer workers running around a dangerous sewer collecting rats while avoiding alligators and other hazards.

 

The game was simultaneously developed for the 5200 and a number of PC platforms. I've licensed the project under the GPL3, so all of the source code is included. This is my first 6502 project, so the code is probably awful, but I still hope it might help someone out.

 

It's currently in beta, I expect to make a few gameplay tweaks. There are no known bugs, but I can't rule those out, of course.

 

I have a project page on my website with download links and screenshots for both the PC and Atari versions. All downloads include the full source tree for all versions.

 

If anyone wants to bang on the 5200 version, feel free. I'm not really accepting gameplay suggestions or anything like that, the game is what it is and it served its purpose (teaching me Atari 5200 programming). It really isn't very good, but I have some much better projects in mind for the future.

 

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Simultaneous 3-player? Sweet! Uh oh…working joystick shortage! :)

 

Those third and fourth controller ports are way underutilized. I realized that nobody really makes three-player games, so I figured I'd fill that gap.

 

The next project I have in mind will use all four!

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Atari 5200 *and* Haiku? <high five>

 

I'm an old BeOS fan... miss it so much

 

I've never actually used BeOS, but I remember it being discussed quite a bit back when Apple was thinking of buying it.

 

Haiku is just so much fun to develop for. Sadly, it won't run directly on my hardware anymore, so I have to work in a VM, which isn't the most ideal way to work.

 

You have to love a system that provides an "is_computer_on()" function.

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I got to play this on my 5200 over the weekend. It is a very fun game with a nice arcade feel to it. Thanks so much for creating this and sharing it with us all!

 

No problem, glad you enjoyed it.

 

I just posted a second beta. I found a graphical glitch in the 5200 version, and a crash in the Windows version.

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Is there any way we will see a 5200 cart version made for fans? Like the game alot.

 

I'm certainly going to have a few made for myself, if nothing else. I'd love to get it in the store, I need to figure out who to talk to about that.

 

Part of "the dream" is to go to this year's Portland expo and see it there.

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I'm certainly going to have a few made for myself, if nothing else. I'd love to get it in the store, I need to figure out who to talk to about that.

 

Send a PM to Albert, he's definitely the guy to talk to about getting this great game into the store

 

http://atariage.com/forums/user/3-albert/

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Wow, just realized that I left some debug code in the latest build, and the game starts on stage 4!

 

Going to fix that as soon as possible!

 

Also on a side note, would love to see this game at the Cowltiz Gamers for Kids Expo this next year. It is on April 1st.

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I have a new build posted that removes the debug code and addresses a couple of issues. The random seed that controls creature spawns wasn't being retained correctly when the game was paused. I also added a blink effect when the water pressure gauge gets full to provide a better visual warning.

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Neat game. Any interest in doing an Atari 8-bit computer version? It and the 5200 are very closely related systems.

 

I personally have no interest in porting it, but the code is open-source so anyone that wants to try is free to do it. I would of course answer any questions about my awful code.

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I personally have no interest in porting it, but the code is open-source so anyone that wants to try is free to do it. I would of course answer any questions about my awful code.

 

Alright. Converting 5200 games to work on the 8-bit computers is usually fairly trivial without the source code -- for someone experienced with it. So I imagine someone might be interested since having the source code available should make it that much more simple.

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