+5-11under Posted December 18, 2020 Share Posted December 18, 2020 I thought about making games for the Microvision close to 10 years ago, when I was working on trying to reconstruct the Microvision (using an Arduino compatible microcontroller and color LCD screen). Somewhere I have some "screenshots" of games that I thought would work well for the Microvision, with it's 16x16 monochrome display and paddle controller. I started buying games and systems as part of both of these projects. The reconstruction was cancelled after I found out that duplicating the LCD was an easier and cheaper solution. The games programming was still in my head, though. If you recall, there's an unreleased game for the Microvision, Barrage, that was advertised in the Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog for 1982. I think all that exists is this picture from the catalog: I thought it would be fun to create a game based on this picture. I call it Barrage 2021, so it's not completely confusing compared to the unreleased game. About 3 years ago I started programming the game. It got lost in busyness, and about 2 months ago, I finally finished it off with some tweaks and an additional game mode. Somewhere in there, I also made a few board layouts for the Microvision. I've got a newer one, but this is the one I used (because apparently at some point I bought a batch of boards): The original Microvision games use old microprocessors that are difficult to find and program, so instead, I'm using relatively modern parts... an Atmega328 as well as a 9V<->5V level shifter. The '328 has some EEPROM space, which I've used to store high scores. I programmed the game in the Arduino IDE, and programmed the '328 with a TL866 programmer (without the Arduino bootloader). Programming the Microvision has some similarities to chasing the beam on the Atari 2600, as you need to refresh the screen on a regular basis. There's a few other timing/switching things to be concerned about, but mostly it involves setting up the row (or column) patterns you want to display, and sending out that data on a regular basis. To help in this, I set up a bit of a "state machine", to make it fairly easy to output the correct display, depending on the current status (for instance title screen, setup screen, gameplay screen, game over screen). Just change the mode (state) from 1 to 2, for instance, to switch the display from title screen to gameplay screen. A few years ago I created the box and labels and manual layouts, but lost them when my computer died (back up your files, people!!! ). It's been a crazy year, so I can't even remember if that was one or two years ago. Anyway, over the past month, I recreated those, to match the standard design of other Microvision games. I haven't 100% duplicated everything, but it's close enough, and in some ways makes more sense for today. Hopefully in a few months I'll be able to produce a batch of these for anyone who wants one (don't PM me yet... this might take a while to get everything figured out... there'll be plenty of notice). For the pictures below, all of the materials for the pictures below are printed on regular paper, using a laser printer (instead of being properly printed, with decent paper, mylar, and sticker material). The bezel was also quickly painted by hand, and is cracked - I need to figure out a good and repeatable way to do the painting better. I also just used an existing box - I'd much rather make my own boxes from scratch - so I'll need to find some material for that. Here's some pictures... The box: Unboxed: Manual (outside) and cart with system: Manual (inside): There's a lame backstory in the manual, but basically you need to catch all the single-block-wide "fireballs" that are falling from the sky. However, if you see a double-wide "ship", you want to avoid that. The main mode has one ship every other wave. There's an alternate mode that has a ship much more often. There's 3 skill levels, and 99 waves (30 fireballs/ships per wave), that vary in speed and vary in amount of space between one fireball and the next. As you proceed through the waves, the speed generally (but not always) increases. You start with 8 or 16 "players" depending on skill level, and if you miss a fireball or catch a ship, you lose one player. In the main mode, if you miss the rare ship, you get an extra player, and in the alternate mode, you gain an extra player every other wave. The bottom row of the display shows the number of players. Gameplay video, in the spirit of Blair Witch. Apparently when I'm trying to play a game and hold a phone at the same time, I'm really bad at both. This is the alternate mode (and uses a slightly outdated program file): InShot_20201218_144802568.mp4 Cheers! 16 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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