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Rob 'n' Banks release thread


Ryan Witmer
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image.thumb.png.a102595ae0d508372e406f0f10f3d80c.png

 

Alright, it's that time again.  Getting very close to having this thing done, and I'm posting a version I'm calling alpha 2.  Build ID is Alpha 2, 6/17/2022, 256 bytes from the end of the file, as usual.

 

This version is feature complete, but it's still missing a couple things and has a couple of known bugs.  Here what's not in this build:

  • Sound.  I still only have the one door sound I stole from Intellidiscs.
  • Title screen logo.  Hope to have this in a few weeks.

 

As mentioned before, there are some known bugs:

  • The bonus points awarded for trapping cops aren't always right.  Something's wrong with the code that counts the cops.
  • While testing some other stuff, the game just completely spazzed out on me.  I have no idea what caused this, but it seemed to happen shortly after I picked up a cash bag.  This is a serious, game-breaking issue and is my top priority.

 

I also might make some adjustments here and there.  The game might be too hard at the higher levels.  I may tone things down a bit.

 

I've packed a few things into this game that I haven't really told anyone about yet, so let's see what you can find!

 

Once I track down these last bugs, I'll probably do another release.

 

 

robnbanks_a2.bin

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I gave this build a try on Argon - shots attached (we may need to adjust the pixel aspect ratio - we were experimenting with it recently)

 

The title screen animations are quite nice - the character intro, the scoring intro, the prize intro.

 

I look forward to the finished one with title image, music and sound effects for the title animations.

 

As to the game...

 

The animation is smooth.

 

I like the mechanic of the opening and closing "doors" (or are they lasers?)

 

Would be nice to have an interstitial animation for when you exit a level and go to the next one (different from, but similar concept to the car crossing the screen for a new player/life)

 

For future proofing, might be nice to support using joystick+fire for start of game menu vs using keypad keys. Makes it easier to play with aftermarket joysticks and emulators.

 

Can't wait for a version with sound!

 

Screenshot_20220620-112518.thumb.png.6d71a4372f4413718675ae0ea733a3ff.png

 

Screenshot_20220620-112147.thumb.png.f512fbcadf5224047ce3ef409c18814d.png

 

 

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I played it just now for the first time. It is already very well done and seems to play perfectly to me.   It is a bit on the quiet side, I hope more sounds are coming.

 

You know, I would like to make a 5200 or A8 maze game too someday.  But, I never really thought it through, how to set up the movement boundaries so you don't walk overtop the maze, and how best to use the players / missiles / playfield graphics.    I was looking at how you used the 5200's resources for this game. A couple tech questions? 

 

1. It looks like the red cop is 'player5', i.e. the 4 missiles.  True? 

2. Then I assume the other 3 cops are players 1/2/3?    And do you use Player0 for a bonus item?   

3. That would mean you use playfield graphics for Rob right? 

4. But on the pre-game demo screen, when Rob or Banks walks across the screen grabbing all the horizontally lined-up bonus items, it looks like you use a players for Rob here, and use playfield graphics for all the multicolored bonus items. Right?   

 

 

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1 hour ago, Cafeman said:

1. It looks like the red cop is 'player5', i.e. the 4 missiles.  True?

Yes, the red cop is the four missiles in "fifth player" mode.

1 hour ago, Cafeman said:

2. Then I assume the other 3 cops are players 1/2/3?    And do you use Player0 for a bonus item?  

The other cops are indeed players 1, 2, and 3.  The bonus items are actually part of the character set I'm using for ANTIC mode 4.

1 hour ago, Cafeman said:

3. That would mean you use playfield graphics for Rob right?

Rob is player 0 with a display list interrupt for coloring.

1 hour ago, Cafeman said:

4. But on the pre-game demo screen, when Rob or Banks walks across the screen grabbing all the horizontally lined-up bonus items, it looks like you use a players for Rob here, and use playfield graphics for all the multicolored bonus items. Right?  

Yes, that's right.  Normally I have the cash bag and only one bonus object (the one for the stage you're on) in the character set, on the title screen I rigged it so all of them were available at once.

 

As for stuff like the maze structure, I have a basic 'map' of sorts in ROM and the cops/player track which large tile they're currently standing on.  I can then do lookups into this map for tile collision.

 

; Map collision lookup table.  Tiles are numbered from top left
; running across.  A 0 is a clear tile, 1 is blocked.
map_collision
    .byte 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1
    .byte 1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1
    .byte 1,0,1,1,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1
    .byte 1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1
    .byte 1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,1,1
    .byte 0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,0
    .byte 1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1
    .byte 0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0
    .byte 1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1
    .byte 1,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1,0,1
    .byte 1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1,0,1
    .byte 1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1
    .byte 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1

 

The side tunnels and escape doors need a little bit of special handling, of course.

 

As always, I'll be releasing the full source once the game is finished.

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17 hours ago, Ryan Witmer said:

Rob is player 0 with a display list interrupt for coloring

Do you dynamically set the DLI mode line each frame, based on Robs Y position?    For example if Rob is midway downscreen at about $80, do you divide that by 8 pixels per Antic4 mode line and set a DLI at the 9th or 10th mode line?  Or another method to know when to trigger the DLI Player 0 color changes?  

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2 hours ago, Cafeman said:

Do you dynamically set the DLI mode line each frame, based on Robs Y position?    For example if Rob is midway downscreen at about $80, do you divide that by 8 pixels per Antic4 mode line and set a DLI at the 9th or 10th mode line?  Or another method to know when to trigger the DLI Player 0 color changes?  

No, I actually start the DLI near the top of the screen and run it all the way down.  The player's color actually gets set on every scan line.  The DLI reads a color table on page $3e that mirrors the data in the player's graphics page.

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On 6/20/2022 at 9:28 AM, bhall408 said:

Would be nice to have an interstitial animation for when you exit a level and go to the next one (different from, but similar concept to the car crossing the screen for a new player/life)

I let this comment sit for a bit, hoping someone would mention them, but I added some Pac Man style intermissions to the game, so there is something like this in the game, just not after every stage.

 

The intermissions happen after stages 2, 5, and 9 I think.  Getting the one for 9 might be too hard right now, but 2 and 5 should be quite easy to see.  Try to check them out if you get a chance.  I'll probably post a video of them once I have the sound in place.

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I must have seen the first intermission, but since I'm unfamiliar, I'd never have know you adding these things yourself.  Will play some more today.  

 

Side note, it is a bit disappointing to add little cool things to a game, only for nobody to ever mention them. :( :)

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5 hours ago, Cafeman said:

Side note, it is a bit disappointing to add little cool things to a game, only for nobody to ever mention them. :( :)

You're the only one who understands me.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/17/2022 at 10:25 AM, Ryan Witmer said:

image.thumb.png.a102595ae0d508372e406f0f10f3d80c.png

 

Alright, it's that time again.  Getting very close to having this thing done, and I'm posting a version I'm calling alpha 2.  Build ID is Alpha 2, 6/17/2022, 256 bytes from the end of the file, as usual.

 

This version is feature complete, but it's still missing a couple things and has a couple of known bugs.  Here what's not in this build:

  • Sound.  I still only have the one door sound I stole from Intellidiscs.
  • Title screen logo.  Hope to have this in a few weeks.

 

As mentioned before, there are some known bugs:

  • The bonus points awarded for trapping cops aren't always right.  Something's wrong with the code that counts the cops.
  • While testing some other stuff, the game just completely spazzed out on me.  I have no idea what caused this, but it seemed to happen shortly after I picked up a cash bag.  This is a serious, game-breaking issue and is my top priority.

 

I also might make some adjustments here and there.  The game might be too hard at the higher levels.  I may tone things down a bit.

 

I've packed a few things into this game that I haven't really told anyone about yet, so let's see what you can find!

 

Once I track down these last bugs, I'll probably do another release.

 

 

robnbanks_a2.bin 32 kB · 50 downloads

Thank you, Ryan!  Your work is incredible.  I really like how you share your development process.  I wish I knew how to program music on an Atari so you could use it. 

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I also must say "THANKS!" for your passion and dedication to putting out great games for our beloved Big Sexy, this and the release of a 5200 version of Bowling from @glurk and all the other great homebrews and A8 conversions over these past 20 years have definitely made me a lifelong 5200 owner (since 1983, receiving my first 5200 on my 17th Birthday, May 19th) for the rest of my life along with "the other unit" that competed against her in the now-infamous "Third-Wave Wars" between the two. I am proud to own both because I used to play both at other friends' houses, when they came to my house I taught them how to play 5200 titles and vice versa for Coleco as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Is it just me or does the door control seem off?  Feels like it takes too long for the last door you walked through to update.  I assume you have to fully make it onto the next tile before it updates, but even then it feels sluggish.  Not an issue until higher levels, but it feels like it' causing some unearned losses for me.

 

I hope you decide against scaling back the difficulty.  I think the challenge level is right, but the difficulty does seem to jump fairly abruptly around level 8.  Level select is great to have, I so wish Intellidiscs could be updated to include this.

 

Great effort on the whole.  Can't wait to hear it with sound.

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16 hours ago, MrTrust said:

Is it just me or does the door control seem off?  Feels like it takes too long for the last door you walked through to update.  I assume you have to fully make it onto the next tile before it updates, but even then it feels sluggish.  Not an issue until higher levels, but it feels like it' causing some unearned losses for me.

You're 100% right about this.  For some reason I thought the doors didn't set until you reached the next tile, but I just went back and tested the arcade game and the trigger should be set much closer to the door.  I'll need to change this.

16 hours ago, MrTrust said:

I hope you decide against scaling back the difficulty.  I think the challenge level is right, but the difficulty does seem to jump fairly abruptly around level 8.

I have to keep reminding myself that the arcade game was also really hard, or maybe I'm just bad at it.  I actually get about as far in this game as I do in the arcade version, so maybe it is about right.  The top levels probably do need some adjustment.

 

So, I've been working on this a bit.  It turns out I was counting the cops incorrectly in the corners, but I also managed to break the score table at some point, so this bug was coming from two places at once.  I think it's fixed now.

 

@Synthpopalooza has also started work on the sound.  I'm planning to release another alpha once I have more sound, and after revising the door behavior.

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3 hours ago, Ryan Witmer said:

You're 100% right about this.  For some reason I thought the doors didn't set until you reached the next tile, but I just went back and tested the arcade game and the trigger should be set much closer to the door.  I'll need to change this.

 

Giddyup.  This will definitely make the higher levels more playable when you're being chased by the cops.

 

3 hours ago, Ryan Witmer said:

I have to keep reminding myself that the arcade game was also really hard, or maybe I'm just bad at it.  I actually get about as far in this game as I do in the arcade version, so maybe it is about right.  The top levels probably do need some adjustment.

 

I played another couple of games, and the ramp feels a little smoother the more I play.  Seems like the red cop in particular gets super aggressive on the sunglasses level and up, so being on the lookout for that makes the higher levels feel more manageable.

 

Point of curiosity: I notice that on both Intellidiscs and Rn'B, the character moves faster vertically than horizontally.  Is that a hardware limitation, an intentional choice, or something I'm imagining?  

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On 7/13/2022 at 1:36 PM, MrTrust said:

I played another couple of games, and the ramp feels a little smoother the more I play.  Seems like the red cop in particular gets super aggressive on the sunglasses level and up, so being on the lookout for that makes the higher levels feel more manageable.

The red cop is definitely the most aggressive and the biggest threat.  Keeping away from him should help a lot.  If anything gets tweaked, it will probably be him.

 

On 7/13/2022 at 1:36 PM, MrTrust said:

Point of curiosity: I notice that on both Intellidiscs and Rn'B, the character moves faster vertically than horizontally.  Is that a hardware limitation, an intentional choice, or something I'm imagining?  

Possibly all of the above.  The sprite pixels on the 5200 aren't square, they're roughly twice as wide as they are tall, I think the actual ratio is 1.92:1 or something.  This means that if you moved the same speed horizontally and vertically, vertical motion would be about half the speed of horizontal.

 

This means you need to make vertical motion faster to compensate, but the awkward width/height ratio makes it really hard to get it exact.  I just do 2:1 since that's close enough, which just might be a tad faster on the vertical.

 

What also affects it is that vertical motion is jumping from scanline to scanline and different sets can have different spacing between scanlines, so it may even vary with your particular display and how it's configured.  Once I get the sound effect for coin pickups I'm going to use the rhythm of the sound as a gauge for adjusting the movement speeds.

 

Yesterday morning I made some adjustments to the locked door triggers.  They should be much better now.  I'm not going to do another release until I get a few more things done, but I streamed the development session and you can see the new behavior for as long the video is up.

 

https://www.twitch.tv/phasercatgames

 

You should be able to find it in the recent video list and if you dig around in the second half of the video you can find the new behavior.

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On 7/15/2022 at 4:30 PM, Ryan Witmer said:

Yesterday morning I made some adjustments to the locked door triggers.  They should be much better now.  I'm not going to do another release until I get a few more things done, but I streamed the development session and you can see the new behavior for as long the video is up.

 

I saw that.  Very interesting; door control looks a lot better.  Maybe I missed something on the video, but I'm wondering how cop movement affects the new implementation. You don't appear to be able to close a door on a cop, so I assume there's a check within the fire button subroutine that dumps you out of it if a cop is in the way of the player's current triggered door.

 

So, from what I can tell with the old implementation, if a cop gets within one tile's distance of you, you're basically dead unless you exit the maze or collect a bonus item within a few seconds.  By the time you hit the next door trigger, the cop will already have passed the threshold where you can no longer close that door, and since he moves faster than you, there's pretty much nothing you can do.  I think that's the main problem with the old behavior from a gameplay standpoint, aside from not matching the arcade or the fact that the door your brain expects to close when you hit the button isn't the one that closes, it's that you can't effectively cut off a close pursuit.  Depending on how the cops being in the way of the player's triggered door is handled, I could imagine where you still might not be able to.

 

If that makes sense, that is.  Something to look out for, anyway.

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1 hour ago, MrTrust said:

Maybe I missed something on the video, but I'm wondering how cop movement affects the new implementation. You don't appear to be able to close a door on a cop, so I assume there's a check within the fire button subroutine that dumps you out of it if a cop is in the way of the player's current triggered door.

That's correct.  The code in the video is just concerned with figuring out which door to lock.  The code that runs when you press the button checks for obstructions before actually locking the door.  These need to be separate because there could be a lot of time between the events, if for example you're sitting in the corner waiting for cops to trap or something.

1 hour ago, MrTrust said:

So, from what I can tell with the old implementation, if a cop gets within one tile's distance of you, you're basically dead unless you exit the maze or collect a bonus item within a few seconds.  By the time you hit the next door trigger, the cop will already have passed the threshold where you can no longer close that door, and since he moves faster than you, there's pretty much nothing you can do.  I think that's the main problem with the old behavior from a gameplay standpoint, aside from not matching the arcade or the fact that the door your brain expects to close when you hit the button isn't the one that closes, it's that you can't effectively cut off a close pursuit.  Depending on how the cops being in the way of the player's triggered door is handled, I could imagine where you still might not be able to.

Yeah, I think this was a big problem with the old code.  This effect won't go away completely, nor should it since that's how the arcade game also works at high levels, but the window will be more manageable now.

 

The key at high difficulties will be finding ways to avoid putting yourself in that situation.  It kind of reminds me of how after a certain point in Pac Man the power pills no longer turn the ghosts blue.

 

I haven't spent a huge amount of time testing the new behavior, but from what I played it definitely feels better, which is a win.  Over the next few days I'll probably dig into it a little deeper.

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Just played it for the first time since this new Alpha was put out. A great piece of work, how @Ryan Witmer concocts things like this (and from mere scratch at that!) amazes me, this right now is a front runner for the top homebrew for when those awards next come around, wonderfully done!!! 

 

Games like this are why I'm glad I kept my 5200, the lineup of great titles just keeps growing, and imagine this, only 69 titles were ever officially released from 1982-87!!! Thank goodness for guys like @Ryan Witmer and Phaser Cat Games, the guys at Mean Hamster Software, @glurk of Glurkvision, as well as Peter Meyer of Video 61/Atari Sales, Keithen Hayenga (known for his work on Tempest) and of course the trio of A/W/A for coming up with new games for our beloved Big Sexy, as well as Paul Lay @playsoft, Steven Tucker @classics, and @Wrathchild for all their hard work and dedication in doing all of those A8/XL/XE conversions (yes I know I always want some more but we do have about 450 titles already but what's a few more) and for those who got those prototypes (both finished, in which most of them were and unfinished too) out for us to enjoy too.  

 

WE SALUTE YOU!!!

 

(the last 2 minutes with all the cannons in it of AC/DC "For Those About To Rock [We Salute You]" playing in the background)

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2 hours ago, Cebus Capucinis said:

You didn't tag 17 people, you're doing it wrong.

I did that as both a sign of respect and of acknowledgement to those who I did tag in my last post, I feel that it sends a more-direct message whenever you do tag someone as opposed to just mentioning their name. Credit where credit is due, tagging them is exactly that, a form of showing respect (when used properly of course).

 

Once again well done Ryan!!! 

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